Posts Tagged With: daily post

All Things Chia

Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress asked:

“What’s the most dreadful or wonderful experience you’ve ever had as a customer?” 

My post twists the question around somewhat to reply as the one providing the customer service. I’m sorry to have to report that it turned out as rather inept service.

“I’m making a chia cava,” the woman said. “Can you tell me what fabric would work for that?”

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I’m not sure I heard you right.”

“I’m looking for fabric, for a chia cava,” she said again.

After the tragic and premature death of Fernan...

Chia cava. Chia cava. Chia cava. I repeated in my head. I’m picturing chia plants, chia pets, chia heads. But what’s a cava?

“My hearing isn’t very good, ma’am,” I said apologetically, “could you say that again?”

“Chia cava,” she repeated louder. “Fabric for making a new chia cava.”

She didn’t have an accent, she wasn’t from a foreign country, she could pass as my grandmother and yet I couldn’t tell what she needed.

“Just a second,” I said as looked for the other sales associate to call her over.

“I’ll just find it myself,” the woman said and she walked away toward the stacks of fabric. Exasperation wasn’t exactly the look on her face, but I had clearly failed her.

I explained the misunderstanding to the other sales associate who looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

“Seriously, she said ‘chia cava,’” I whispered to her. It wasn’t a very big fabric shop.

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii

Fabric shop in Hilo, Hawaii. Not, unfortunately, the one I worked at.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My coworker walked over to the misunderstood and somewhat frustrated customer and started chatting with her. They ran their hands over the bolts of paisley’s, prints, stripes and solids. They took out a bolt or two and spread out the fabric a bit. There were hand gestures I couldn’t quite make out. I still had no clue what a chia cava was. They walked over to another section of the store and talked about some of that fabric.  And again, there was the touching of fabric, more pulling bolts and spreading it out across the top of the other bolts. There was some laughter. Then they walked over to another section and chatted some more.

I stayed busy restocking a few notions while I surreptitiously watched the two of them chat and talk about fabric. When the customer selected the fabric she wanted the two of them walked back to the cutting counter together. I found something to do in another section of the store. Embarrassed at my inability to understand or help, I made myself as scarce as possible.

After measuring the fabric, cutting it, bagging it and collecting the money, my coworker walked to the door with the customer, chatting comfortably. As the door opened they both looked back at me briefly and I hid my face again. I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure I heard chuckling. The customer left with a look of satisfaction clearly on her face.

I stepped out from my hiding place near the notions wall and lifted my hands and shrugged my shoulders to ask, “well?”

“Well, what?” my coworker laughed.

“What is a chia cava and what kind of fabric do you make it from?”

She pulled up a chair behind the counter and sat down.  “See this?” she said, leaning back in the chair and letting the front legs lift off the ground.

“What? The chair?” I said exasperated.

“Yes, the chia,” she replied, dropping the “R” in the word chair.

“A Chair?” I said hitting myself in the forehead with the palm of my hand. “But what’s a chair cava?” I asked, but as I said the two words together out loud I understood. “A chai cava is a chair cover?” I said emphasizing the “R” sound in each word.

English: Chair

“Yup, simple as that,” she said. “She wanted to recover a chair in some new fabric, and if it turns out well, she’ll be back for more fabric.”

I looked at her, stunned and sheepish.

My coworker laughed. “That customer thought you were the strangest, dumbest salesperson she’d ever encountered in her whole life.” She laughed again. “I told her you were really new to the job and didn’t even know how to run the cash register yet.”

Now it was my turn to laugh. I’d been working there for over two years. I thought it better for the customer to think I was silly and inexperienced than for her to feel awkward or embarrassed herself.

I’m sure she told her friends and her husband about the airheaded sales clerk who couldn’t understand simple English. Just as surely as I told my family about the customer who couldn’t make herself understood by a simple sales clerk in a fabric store.

Occasionally when one of my kids says something I can’t quite hear or understand, I’ll throw out the phrase, “you want a chia cava” and get a laugh out of them. Then they’ll repeat themselves very slowly as if I am hard of hearing and dimwitted, laughing at me the whole time.

At least they all get a laugh out of it.

I’m happy to be of service.

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Categories: Humor, People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Closest Friend is…Dying

I saw this Daily Post prompt today and thought this would be good for me to write about. I thought I might simply write something but not really post it. It would be cathartic, healing, helpful, insightful. Writing on this topic could lead to some much-needed answers.

I’ve written about her and our friendship before, but that’s been a while. It’s time to think things through again.

Vault Door

Vault Door  (Photo credit: mmahaffie)

Crap.

I sit here blank and empty.

Now I see I have a bunch of steel walls of denial and protection shielding me from facing this reality.

Oh, we talk about it. She and I. What her funeral will consist of, who will speak, what music to have, even what food to serve at the luncheon afterwards.  We’ve talked about her headstone, a bench for visitors. We’ve talked about how she doesn’t want to die in a hospital, but at home. We’ve talked about the raw deal this is. We’ve talked about the good stuff that’s happened in spite of such misery. We’ve talked about the constant pain, the nausea, the chemofuzzybrain. We’ve talked and talked and talked.

Not sure there’s a topic we haven’t touched on.

We’ve talked about our lives. Lots of that stuff. That’s what makes friends, talking about real things, worries, bad choices, craziness, kids, husbands, fun times. It’s a pretty even give and take, too. You’d think it wouldn’t be. You’d think it’d be me listening to her and her concerns. But no. She’s quite the listener. And she gets it. She gets my odd life, she commiserates with my whiny ways. She asks how I’m doing and then she cares and remembers. It isn’t all about her. How’s that for an amazing friend?

There are days I do a bunch of the listening, but we’re pretty evenly matched on talking and listening.

She’s got my back. And I’ve got hers.

That’s friendship. Someone you can count on who gets you.

It stinks big time that I’ve finally got this best friend ever in the history of the world after a zillion years and now she’s going to go away.  It’s not like she’s moving across the country and we can call every day. It’s not like she’s moving up north for more reasonable weather and we can still text back and forth. Crap. No. It’s not like that at all.

As far as I know there’s no social media, telegraph, phone, wireless connection, garage code or front door that I can knock on to get in touch with her once she’s gone.

three drinks from sonic

(Photo credit: Rakka)

Then what?

I have no idea.

I don’t even want to go there, think that far ahead, or be that person.

I’m just going to stay in denial. Who says I can’t. No one, that’s who. I can pretend as long as I want that our friendship will last forever, that’s she’s always going to be there.

I’m going to pretend that we’ll keep getting diet cherry Cokes at Sonic for the rest of our lives, until we’re dragging our great-grandkids along for happy hour slushies and corn dogs.

You would, too.

Believe me. With a best friend like I have you would be in denial, too.

Categories: Death, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Childhood Revisited: Swinging In From a Star

Today’s post  is a response to this WordPress Daily Post writing prompt.: “What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”

 

Pressing my face into the mesh of memory, I’ve searched and searched for details from my earliest childhood.  My attempts to peel back the layers, clarify the view and remove the dust and cobwebs find little substance. 

The few memories that surface are vague at best.  I couldn’t tell you how old I was, only where I was, but not when.  It’s as if I’m waiting for movie clips about myself from the outside like an independent observer.  But in reality the only point of view is from the inside looking out.  There aren’t any movie trailers.

Well, there are those 8mm films my parents took.  But that’s a memory of a memory.

There is this one clear, unchanging mental image, my first memory, my first awareness of being. My first experience with me-ness. 

I am walking between my dad and my mom, going up the street towards our little white clapboard house.  Each of them has taken hold of one of my hands. Whether I could walk on my own, I have no idea.  Maybe I was young enough that they were encouraging walking, or I could have been older and needing to be kept in check by the two of them. The world is vague and blotchy, all color and wash. The features of most things have no distinct form or shape. Our house is the only clear landmark.

The sensation of a hand in each of theirs is vivid; warmth and energy pulse into me.  And then, suddenly, I am soaring up and out, secured between them like a swing.  Then I am walking on the ground again.  I hear, “One, two, three!” and I sail out into the air again, safely tethered to them both.

Multiple times they count and launch me heavenward.  Each “three” creates the sensation of my body feeling free and ephemeral, accompanied by gravity’s pull back between them. Whether I spoke the words or merely thought them, my mind says, “again,” after each swing out and back. 

night sky

night sky (Photo credit: dcysurfer / Dave Young)

I remember laughter, mine or theirs.  Both, I’m sure.

I could easily believe a tale of my birth as a launching from heaven, lofted into the cosmos, riding a wave of star dust and gently landing between my father and mother. Caught between the two of them, I scatter dust from my journey as I swing back and forth, back and forth.  It’s a fairy tale worth holding on to. 

My earliest memory of childhood makes it feel as if I came swinging into this world suspended between them, held fast by love and joy.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Love, Memory Lane, parenting, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Getting to Know Me. A Trifecta Challenge of Sorts.

As a new blogger I’ve explored other blogs, blogging ideas, blog challenges and blogging prompts. What a surprise huh?  Ran across this one called Trifecta with a different twist that I want to keep following.  The questions and answers below are part of my participation in Trifecta. So without further ado, fan fare, annoyances, or advertising, here are my answers to ten fascinating questions.

Size comparison between the famous ceratopsian...

Size comparison between the famous ceratopsian Triceratops and a human (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?

 Kami Tilby.  It’s real. Really. Otherwise, I’d make up something like Hortense Decrepit.

2.Describe your writing style in three words. 

Fluent, Fluid, Funny-ish.

3.How long have you been writing online?

Two months and 6 days as a blogger.   Overly long status updates on Facebook for 2 years. Snarky comments on Facebook for 3 years.

4.Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in? 

I rocked NaBloPoMo in November.  I’m a dabbler in the Daily Post, meaning I post daily, but don’t often respond to specific topic challenges on WordPress.

5.Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.  

Be less timid; write like I’m a rock star with a million followers who hang on my every word.

6.What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

A)  Keep your butt in the chair and write!  B) Limit adjectives and adverbs. C) Read great literature.  And D) a twist on the Kindergarten classic, “show, don’t tell.”

7.Who is your favorite author?  

I love Anne Lamott. I swoon over Geraldine Brooks! Ivan Doig‘s descriptions leave me breathless. Anna Quindlan and Anne Tyler are exquisite.  Elizabeth Berg reads minds and hearts. Richard Ford, Barbara Kingsolver, Marilyn Robinson, write with rich, evocative, flowing prose. Leif Enger, oh my, you have to read his books. Ann Tyler, covers it all. Thomas Hardy, is all pain and stark beauty.

8.How do you make time to write?

I give up two hours of sleep every morning.  Sometimes I give up  bedtime too.  Depends.  My best writing seems to happen when I’m only partially coherent. Which, come to think of it, is most of the time. I must be a brilliant writer. Or delusional.  Or very sleep deprived.

9.Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition.  Incandescent. Then, I could write about myself, on a good day, slightly delirious and self-aggrandized, and with a bit of a God complex. Or not.

10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.

What happened to the trifecta idea?  Fine, if you’re going to limit me to just one post.  It would  have to be “The Good, The Bad, The Not So Pretty of Parenting Moments.” Although, be assured this is not a mommy blog.

There you have it.  Me in a Meme.

I’m not usually so me, me, me.  But I couldn’t help myself. Embarrassing.

(Seriously, you should check out one of those writers I mentioned in number 7.  You can’t go wrong with any of them. Sure, you can wait until after Christmas, but no longer.)

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smile, and the World Smiles With You

I’m not sure when it happened but I adopted a coping skill that is best described by a quote from a famous American humorist and writer.

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it “– Erma Bombeck

I’m not sure why I started laughing, or creating a joke in stressful situations.  I didn’t decide I was going to do it.  I didn’t read about it as a way to alleviate tension or anxiety.  There was no epiphany where I suddenly saw humor as a temporary solution to contention.  It just happened.  Like jumping at a sudden loud sound, this was reflexive. When a friend pointed out to me that I had this ability to defuse a situation with humor, it surprised me.

I just don’t deal with anger very well, mine or others’.  Tears I can handle.  But anger unmoors me and sets me adrift.  I want to run from the room if someone is angry or mean or bitter.  I don’t like the taste or texture of anger.

I’m not much of a comedian. I might not be able to neutralize a bad scene for others, but I can alleviate my own internal reaction to what’s going on around me.

Sure, laughter isn’t going to bring us world peace, smiling might not cure hunger, being happy may not rid the earth of heartache.  But, I’ve found that looking on the shinier side of things, having a hopeful point of view is easier than the other options and makes the tough stuff more bearable.

Here are some great quotes on humor, laughter and smiling that say more than I ever could on the subject.  That’s why they’re quotable.  Enjoy.

Dealing with Life’s Difficulties

There is a proverb that says, “ A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

 “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” -Yiddish Proverb

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”  -William Shakespeare, Othello

“Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it. “ -Unknown

Humor can improve your life in many ways:

“A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.”  -Charles Gordy

“Laughter is inner jogging.”- unknown

”Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

It can sometimes forge or improve relationships

English: Danish American comedian Victor Borge...

Danish American comedian Victor Borge, in 1990 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A smile is a curve that can set everything straight.” – Phyllis Diller

”Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. “-Victor Borge

“Everyone smiles in the same language.” – unknown

I hope you find a reason to smile, or laugh today.  If you have read a great article, blog, joke or story, or have seen a video or photo that makes you laugh, please share!

Categories: Humor, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Are You?

Just for fun, when the grocery clerk, or the bank teller, or the fast food server, asks my dad, “How are you today?” he often replies with “fair to poor” in a pretend whiney, worn out voice.  Then he smiles at them.  About half the time there’s no reaction.  Sometimes, they respond with, “Oh, sorry to hear that.” Sometimes they don’t know what to say but he can tell they were paying attention, because they seem to be searching for the correct response.

Here in the US, and many other countries, asking, “How are you,” is more of a greeting than an actual concern for someone’s well being.  It’s much like saying, “Good Morning,” or “Hello,” or “Nice Day.”

Smiley Face

Smiley Face (Photo credit: GreyArea)

The socially acceptable answer to “How are you” is “I’m fine, how are you?”  Perfunctory.  Pleasantries exchanged.  End of interaction.

It’s a tricky thing though.  The question seems like a real question, and to someone who’s having a less than stellar day, who might need a person to express genuine concern about how they are doing, it’s a frustrating exercise.

Sometimes, someone really is inquiring after your health, or well-being, and they’re prepared and wanting a full and honest answer.  Knowing who and when this is can be a tightrope walk.  Too much information is, after all, a bit awkward.

This exchange happening always humors me when I’m in a doctor’s office or worse, an emergency room.  Doctor walks in and says, “How are you today.”  Patient answers, “Fine.” Which is the expected answer, even in this situation.

“Well, no not really, I’m here, seeing you, a doctor, obviously I am not fine,” is what I’m thinking, and sometimes what I say out loud after answering with “Fine.” I’m thinking maybe doctors need to come up with a better question to ask a patient on entering a room.

There’s this great movie, “The Italian Job,” that deals with this quirky inquiry in a fun way.  I try to think of it most days when this question arises.  Some days it applies more than others.

It’s an acronym for the word FINE. The idea is that when one of the characters says, “I’m fine,” what they really mean is I’m:

Freaked Out.

Insecure.

Neurotic and

Emotional.

It’s what most of us are feeling about 50% of the time anyway, isn’t it?  Or is it just me?

If we crossed paths sometime, and you said, “Oh, hello, how are you?”  I could genuinely answer, regardless of the days’ ups and downs, “Oh, I’m FINE!” and really mean it.  I could mean it in the conventional way, I could mean it in the really having a great day way, or I could mean it the “Italian Job” way.

I’d put money on the “Italian Job” most days if I were you.

In the meantime, “Have a nice day! ”

Categories: Humor, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seven Steps to Organizing the Garage or Losing Your Sanity

So, tomorrow is the day we follow through with AnClOuGaSoMo.  Annual Clean Out the Garage Sometime Month, number 4 from  Top Ten Reasons November is the Best Month Ever.

I know, I know, tomorrow is also the first day of December.  We put it off as long as possible to the point of procrastinating into December. You’d put it off too, if it were your garage.

I’ve toyed with the idea of sharing a photo of the disaster zone, but I don’t want FEMA, DES, HUD or PETA or any other government acronym  getting involved in our cleanup project.  (The only critters involved would be scorpions or other six or eight-legged creatures, no worries.)

Just imagine a storage unit, fully packed top to bottom, front to back with a narrow winding path in the middle.  That’s our garage.  A year ago we could almost pull a car into the space that now barely accommodates a small human body moving stealthily. How does this happen?

not a garage saleIf our kids are wise they’ll have their day fully booked so they don’t have to participate in the ritual rearrangement of our stuff.  They might show up briefly just to taunt us, but that’s treading awfully close to actually getting involved in the process, which is not fun.

Here’s how it will go:

1. We’ll take everything out of the garage and set it in the driveway.

I’m thinking of just making a sign that says, “NO! THIS IS NOT A GARAGE SALE!  WE’RE JUST CLEANING UP!!  Even with the sign we’ll have overloaded trucks, trailers and cars stopping to ask how much item X is, or offering to take the whole load off our hands for a stellar price of two hundred bucks. Tempting, but no.

2. Every person in the neighborhood will walk or drive past.

Embarrassing!  Don’t they have something better to do than gawk at how much crap we have accumulated?  I’m sure I’m just being paranoid here.  The garage door gets left open occasionally, they’ve all seen the chaos, the potential for disaster that lurks in there.

3.  A six-hour unmoderated debate ensues about what gets donated, what’s trash, what’s recyclable, and what we keep.

The question WHY? will emerge from my lips every forty seconds or so.  Why do we still have this?  Why don’t I let this go.  Why am I still digging myself out of piles?  Why can’t I keep it organized all year-long?  Why don’t I run away and live on a desert island with a volleyball and a loin cloth?

4. We’ll sweep out the garage and briefly revel in the joy of empty, usable space.

Then we’ll look out into the driveway and wonder where the matches and lighter fluid are.

5. Someone will get angry.

It’s inevitable.  No one wants their hoarding idiosyncrasies challenged.  No one wants to deal with the things we can’t manage to get rid of.  That’s why we don’t get rid of it.  One person’s trash is another’s treasure, or obsession, or neurosis.  I wonder if Dr. Phil is available tomorrow.

6.  An oversized, non electronic version of TETRIS will ensue.

If I think of it as a game, fitting in all the boxes and odd-shaped items (i.e., a papasan chair belonging to a daughter, the behemoth TV the size and shape of the first manned spacecraft) it might make it less aggravating.  Maybe I can devise a point system!  Now, if I could just figure out how to get the first couple of layers to magically disappear into the concrete I’d still be sane by evening.

7. I’ll think about creating the female equivalent of a man cave in the freshly organized space.

A writing desk up against the tool chest, a lamp hanging from the bike hooks, a bright-colored outlet strip to plug-in my computer, a comfy oversized… oh wait.  That would require more stuff. I could  just unfold one of the camp chairs when I want some privacy.  Set my mug on one box, kick my feet up on another, use the ugly orange extension cord, and write to my heart’s content.

That is, if I survive tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Small Things That Get Us Through

The last four months of last year I was working two part-time jobs.  Added up to about fifty or sixty hours a week.  They were physically demanding, on my feet for much of it.  A lot of lifting and carrying involved.  The exhaustion was formidable.  After all, I’m not a spring chicken, as my dad used to say.  There were days when simply getting out of bed seemed like a major accomplishment.

One of the jobs, in particular, was the sort of position that  can make a person feel invisible and maybe even small.  There are a few jobs out there like that.  I’ve had a few of them over the years.

There are advantages to that invisibility.  Being disappeared allowed me to observe with unabashed curiosity and clarity.  I watched all sorts of interactions between people that I filed away for future inclusion in a short story or a scene in a novel.

Most of the time I didn’t mind not being noticed.  I was doing my job, which, if I didn’t would be noticed and create some big problems.  Maybe that’s the way most jobs are.

Occasionally, a tough day would rear its ugly head and getting through the first job of the day was discouraging and weightier than normal.  Moods can do that to me.  On just such a day, nearing the holidays, I was the recipient of a gift.

I’m sure that the gift giver didn’t realize how significant her gift was.  I’m sure she didn’t even consider it a gift.  She’d be shocked if she knew I thought of that gift a year later, that I still have the package the gift came in.

Here’s what it looked like:

Yes, she offered me a cup of hot chocolate in this very cup, which I’ve kept.

Suddenly I wasn’t a disappeared person.  I was me, a fellow human being, like her, just trying to get through the day.  The invisibility cloak slipped off my head and fell to the floor around me.  I felt cared about.

Somewhere in the universe, some cog clicked into place that settled some ache in my heart that day.  I felt lighter.  I felt lifted.  I felt love.

Her gift to me was more than hot chocolate.  It was acknowledgment, personhood, a hand of kindness, recognition, friendliness, caring.

Reminds me of this quote:

I can do no great things, only small things with great love.“
– Mother Teresa

Here’s wishing  you a month filled with small things, received and given.

Have you had anything like this happen to you?  What was the gift?  How did it help you? I’d love to hear about it.

Categories: Gratitude, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

It’s Gratituesday! Booking It Big Time.

It’s Gratituesday!  Today I am thankful for school librarians and bookmobile drivers/librarians.  These are the people who helped me find the already written words that would shape the person I would become.  The results of their labors would probably surprise them.

Bookmobile

Bookmobile (Photo credit: revger)

One of my most vivid memories of the bookmobile which came to our elementary school not often enough, in my then young opinion, offers evidence of the twists a guiding hand can take.

The general guideline, the bookmobile driver/librarian said, was that books at your eye level were the books you would be able to read easily.  My eyes scanned the shelves running the length of the bus-sized van, and my body turned to look at the back of the vehicle filled floor to ceiling with books.  I wondered if I could ever read them all.  Then my body turned a bit more to follow the rows of books toward the driver’s seat and found bookshelves even tucked in near there.

I read some of the titles at my eye level.  Thin books, with chapters, large printing.

I let my eyes wander above eye level and saw fat spines, bulging with words in small print. I swear I could almost hear voices saying, “read me, read ME, choose ME!”  But then I had a vivid imagination.  I let my hands run along the base of that shelf, fingers brushing the spines of the above eye level books.  That touch was a promise I was making to them, that I would be back, soon, to take them off their shelf and home to mine for a visit, a get to know you week, a sleepover.

That first day I was a dutiful student.  I selected books at my eye level and envied the tall kids in the class.

Next time!  Next time the traveling library pulled in beside the artesian well water fountain and opened its doors to me, I would be ready.  I would write my name and stamp the card for one of those bigger kid books and I would read it all. I would practice what to say to the driver when she protested my book choices.

I wanted tall stories, wide vistas, big characters.  I would have them and so much more.

How grateful I am for those additional choices the bookmobile brought, especially when the school library had exhausted itself on me. The salvation of a bookmobile visit over summer break was sometimes all that got me through those long summer months.

Well, that may be exaggerating it some. But then, it seems I’ve always wanted more than the average.

I am thankful for that mental meals-on-wheels filled with books, filled with other worlds, filled with wonders.

Categories: Books, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Connect The Light Bulbs

Lately, I’m only partially aware, only half-awake, my eyes shaded to most of what’s going on around me. It’s like part of me in is the room and the other part of me got left somewhere else.

Is it intentional?  No.  It’s probably lack of quality sleep and being off my routine. Or, maybe it’s hormonal. Or not. Maybe I need more chocolate. Or less.  It could be I’m dehydrated most of the time, since I don’t think diet Pepsi and hot chocolate count towards daily water intact.  Or could they?  Maybe I’m lacking a specific mineral in my diet, so I’m taking a vitamin supplement.  Perhaps I need more exercise. (My daughter doesn’t need exercise. She chases an 18 month old energizer-bunny toddler around all day while her med school husband is off slaying dragons.)

I digress.  I digress a lot lately.  That thing you do when you go to get something but can’t remember why you are in the room you’re in, so you walk back to the spot where you had the thought that you needed something in order to help you remember what you were doing?  I do that far too often lately.  Like, hourly. Like, way too much.  Slows me down, ruins my groove.

I sit down with paper and pen in hand to create a menu for the week and from there a grocery list. I come up blank. The connection from point A in my brain to point B in my brain has a short.

English: Closeup of a string of decorative Chr...

Closeup of a string of decorative Christmas lights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually it’s probably more like those strings of Christmas lights my son helped me hang on the house yesterday.  One bulb missing or broken is okay.  The string still manages to stay lit.  Two bulbs out, half the lights won’t come on. Replace the missing or broken bulb and voilà a whole string is working again. It’s a little miracle to me, since I don’t understand electricity.

Now the house looks great and thanks to the stellar design of outside plugs under the eaves and indoor switches, all I need to do is flip a switch and the house is lit up all red and green and cheerful.

I need a “brain on” switch. My brain probably needs a loose bulb snugged into its socket a little tighter.  Or maybe one of my neurons cracked and needs replacing. Maybe a few mental bulbs are out along several different strings.

If only a brain fix were as easy as those lights from yesterday’s stringing exercise.

The energy required to make my brain work more effectively isn’t, unfortunately, something I can plug into with a wire and socket.  It’s something much more elusive than that.

When I let myself be in nature, breathing fresh air, that’s one of my electrical cords connecting me to the energy of the earth, to beauty, to life.  I try to plug into that often, but that’s slipped lately. I’ve been busy!

Magic in a Bookstore

Another power source for my brain is reading, usually.  Although lately, reading has been of the audio type and requires less brain power and perhaps less of the written word is absorbed. But  I don’t know.  I’m rambling now.  Rambling happens often lately too.

Maria

This is someone named Maria.  I don’t look this good in a fedora, or anything else for that matter. (Photo credit: tamara.craiu)

Recently I was in a bookstore as part of a treasure hunt.  Dressed in a fedora, sunglasses and a trench coat, I was to wait until being located by a gaggle of girls, then hand over a clue to each group that found me.  Very few people looked at me oddly, which I found strange, since I’m certain I looked questionable.  The best part of this was having an entire hour to peruse bookshelves filled with newly minted books. It was nirvana, bliss, heaven and grace all packed into one hour.

When my assignment was over, I ended up buying a book.

It was a real book, not an audio one. Hard cover, with a dust jacket.  I took it home and read it that night.  Yes, I concentrated long enough to read it in one sitting.  Short book. But packed to the brim with wisdom and insight that I’ve needed to learn.

It’s a keeper. It’s one of those books I’ll end up writing in, with exclamation points, underlining, commenting, question marks, maybe even cross-referencing. No, I won’t be lending out my copy.  Well, maybe, but you’d have to promise not to read all the margins or make any of your own notes.

The book is Anne Lamott’s “Help. Thanks. Wow.  The Three Essential Survival Prayers.”   This one sentence speaks to my current need for brain-power and clarity.

“In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness.”

Some of the energy I need is in the created world, not just the natural world.  And the energy in that is readily dispersed by my overly scheduled, multi-tasking, transmission-challenged but driven life.

Perhaps if I slow down, notice the beauty around me in the architecture of a wall, the care in the moulding of a door frame, or in the design of a freeway bridge,  I might touch some of that energy.  If I take time to hear the poetry in a song, or the music itself, or actually read a poem, I might connect a loose bulb in my head.  The lights may reignite mentally if I allow myself time to experience art in diverse places and ways.

String Light

String Light (Photo credit: felixtsao)

Energy is captured in the beauty and art in my life, just waiting for me to plug in to that brain enlightening power.

What better time of year than now to look for the light and energy that surrounds us, to gather it in instead of pushing it away. Maybe I can do that.  Maybe I’ll get all my mental light strings lined up and glowing again. I can try.

Categories: Books, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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