Friday, December 9, 2011

Gumdrop Tree

green foam cone: $2.49

box of toothpicks: .49

two bags of gumdrops: $1.98

having fun with my favorite little boy....


I wish that was the end of it.  It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  But aren't you wondering where the "ta-dah!" picture of the finished tree is?  Don't the crafty blogs always have the ta-dah shot?

The tree needed to be admired at eye-level on the coffee table.  That's when it got tipped over and the top of the cone fell off.

No worries, a stumpier tree has its own charm.

And then one night I found a gumdrop in Landon's mouth, half a broken toothpick and all.

No(?) worries, an explanation that this is a decoration and toothpicks can hurt a tummy if swallowed seemed to be enough.

Now our poor little gumdrop tree reminds me of  a patient from an old-time insane asylum.  Like a tortured soul who worries patches of her hair right off her scalp, the poor tree is getting patchy and losing gumdrops.

a bit distressing

Ok, so maybe our lives don't play out like a commercial.  But I'll take the crazy little tree and the memories that came with it and hope that I don't pull out a filling sneaking stale gumdrops.

That would be just priceless, wouldn't it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Confessions of a Lazy Girl

In a rare moment of honest clarity, I realized something about myself: I am lazy.

It stings to type it.  Just as it scraped to even think it.  I certainly know how to work hard, and do when I am getting paid to, but in my personal life, I think it's time to admit that laziness is a deficit I need to address.

If you're wondering how I could just now be figuring this out, read on.  Perhaps your laziness has been masquerading as other things, too.

  • "I feel so overwhelmed."  This past year, I have said this to Bill a few times, and to myself, many more.  It is such a solid, legitimate, unarguable statement.  And over and over, the train of thought that follows this engine is, "I'm so overwhelmed, I don't know where to start, I can't get anything done."  At the end of the day, the caboose comes rolling in, "I'm so overwhelmed, I've gotten so little done, I am feeling paralyzed by how much there is left to do, I just need a break from it all."  

So I spend the day in a state of panicky inaction because there is a lot to do.
The evening is a state of regretful inaction because so little got done.
And the morning becomes frustrated, frantic action as I scramble to get to work on time because I spent a fair two, three hours past my bedtime "taking a break" from my stress.

To be fair, it has been an overwhelming year.  Death and loss came knocking at our door, and on the doors of many we love.

And the sadness of it all, the deep heavy ache, of things gone wrong that can't be righted, of people gone who we won't see again this side of Heaven, of a baby we briefly held, of our own two we didn't get to meet...these were no small sorrows, indeed.

So when it seemed like I was surviving better than thriving, I chalked it up to the circumstances.  How could I expect myself to be productive, considering??

But here's the raw truth: I was no more productive before this difficult year.  Now, I've simply been sad and unproductive.

  • "I don't have the capacity for this."  This is not a train of thought.  This is a steamroller of thought that barrels through and leaves me flat.  I do not brainstorm how to increase my capacity, I just decide I've reached it, and can't do another thing.  (Except maybe go watch a movie, read a book,  or waste an hour online)  My capacity limit doesn't send me to the logical place: bed.  Instead, I almost guarantee to keep my capacity low by not getting enough sleep.

  • "I am the fun one in this family.  It's my job to make sure that we don't miss out on the good times because we're so busy checking off items on a to-do list."   I love how I'm the hero in this one.  The trouble with it, though, is that it is just NOT fun for my family to function in varying states of chaos, varying degrees of lateness, and varying levels of unpreparedness.  It's really hard to take advantage of a beautiful day with a spontaneous picnic if nobody went grocery shopping and bought a few basics.  Kinda hard to see what's so fun about taking a drive in the mountains in a car that resembles a rolling trash bin.  (Sure, I'm painting it bleak, but it's easier to see in exaggerated sweeps.)

It brings me back to laziness.  Seems like I've realized three things my laziness might be hiding behind:

A sense of being overwhelmed
My sense of capacity: what I can do, or be expected to do
A sense of identity

What I haven't yet thought through: how does one go about getting that balance?

Between taking time to grieve and getting on with what needs to be done
Between working hard and renewing myself
Between getting things done and letting the beautiful happen

Even as I type this, my favorite little boy has crawled up into my lap and is ready to spend time with me again.

Days off with him: sum total of my to-do list: BE with Landon.  Somehow, that never feels too lazy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Here They Come to Save the Day

The snow falls.  For so many people, it is magical and beautiful, heralding outdoor fun or a reason to light a fire in the fireplace and cozy up with quilts and good books.

For me, it ushers in a new season of tension headaches, teeth grinding, and moments where I forget to breathe.  Because this California-raised girl is no snow driver.  And I certainly don't cherish the hours I spend with the road warriors on slippery roads, all of whom are in various states of reckless urgency about arriving on time.

This weekend, on the way to work, as I was about to merge onto a snow-packed busy road, it seemed I could have cued up the movie music as a caravan of snowplows came around a curve and were going to blaze a trail.

Knights in painted orange, I am so grateful to see you, I almost forget to turn when you don't.

Your early-morning rounds are the biggest reason I'm not stuck in a gutter just blocks from my house.

Because even on a Saturday, we still have places we need to be.  On time.