Quiet Time

I woke up yesterday from immense pain that my doctors have not been able to control just yet, but they are working on it. Anyway, when I wake up in that sort of pain I have to get out of bed and sort of start my day. It’s kind of like how when I was younger and my mom would go out in the mornings to warm up her old 1972 Dodge Cornett. We didn’t have a garage and this was back when it still snowed regularly in Kansas, and the car would have to run for a bit, get all of its bits and parts warmed, or we wouldn’t have heat, might not even make it to school and her to work without a jump start. My body is kind of like the old Dodge now and it isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t great.

So when I got up yesterday morning, it was so early the family was still asleep and I made coffee and took my morning ibuprofen, with food of course, then I sat down in the silence and started working on the family Christmas puzzle. We do a puzzle every Christmas season as a family. It sits on the kitchen island and whenever someone has some time they sit and work on it. This year it’s a Charlie Brown Christmas puzzle and the edges are almost done thanks to Jackson and me. Anyway, I got bored with that after the pain finally went away and so I sat to talk with Jerimiah who in the time it took me to get Snoopy’s feet together, had woke up, worked out, and taken a shower. He was sitting down at his desk when I meandered over to the dining room table to chat.

His office is right off the dining room so we usually sit, him at his desk, me at the dining room table with the laptop and get caught up on the morning news for a bit. Yesterday morning however I skipped the news for a coloring book that was on the table from the night before and I picked up the colored pencils and went to work on a geometrically-correct llama. Then suddenly I was transported back to fifth grade.

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Coughran, would read to us every day after lunch. I think she called it “Quiet time.” She knew we needed a bit of a break, so we would filter into the classroom, she would saunter over and turn the lights off, and we would get coloring pages. She had a ton of them and she would let us choose whatever we wanted and we would take our crayons, or colored pencils, or markers and set to work on our pages, while the sun streamed into the windows, and she sat atop the old heater and read from whatever book we happened to be reading at that time. The Call of the Wild or Where the Sidewalk Ends, the books were as varied and interesting as her coloring pages.

I remember it plain as day now, because it was the first time I realized how relaxing it could be to just color. To sit in relative silence, only her quiet voice reading to us, and just focus on one thing, staying inside the lines. I didn’t have a quiet house. It wasn’t loud, it being just my mom and me (most of the time) but my mom always did have the television on and she was usually talking on the phone too. Sometimes I’d slip into my room, grab a coloring book, and color in silence when I needed a break. It didn’t occur to me until yesterday what a service Mrs. Coughran must have done for some of us, me sure, but even more so for the kids in my class that never got privacy or silence.

There were a lot of different kids in that classroom. A hodgepodge of Army kids and kids with dads in prison. Really smart kids, really funny kids. Kids who got to school way past our math class, kids who were dropped off to wait in the snow for 30 minutes, until the cafeteria opened up and they could grab their free breakfast. There were probably 25 of us in Mrs. Coughran’s class, and I don’t really remember anyone struggling, or not getting along, or being mean to each other, generally speaking.

As it sits today, there are two less of us in this world from Mrs. Coughran’s Fifth grade Class at Anthony Elementary School. One we lost to gunfire and one to a heart condition undetected by her doctors. They were both my friends. One was funny and silly, one smart and stoic. We all sat together in those quiet moments, as students, as kids, for that full year and we colored together in the quiet calm of Mrs. Coughran’s classroom, and while I wish we were a whole unit, and I sometimes wish for days that were as simple as those were, I am forever grateful for the time we had.

Hope you can find some calm in the storm today.

M.

All Hallow’s Eve

This Halloween was a bit different from others in the past. We didn’t go trick-or-treating, or partake in a fun family costume. We were just too nervous and didn’t know what to expect from the evening. Instead, we did some new and interesting things, like visiting the filming locations of “Stranger Things” a show that Jackson has just started to be really interested in. You can scroll on down my blog and see where we went the last couple of weeks.

But for the actual night of Halloween, we opted to sit out in the front yard and have a s’mores pit going while we put pre-bagged treats in a bucket six-feet from us, just in case we had any trick-or-treaters. We didn’t have many, maybe six, but we did have a couple visits from some friends, and picked up an invite to watch a movie outside a friend’s backyard around the fire pit, where we saw “Flaming Pumpkins” for the first time ever! Seriously, see pics below.

It ended up being a nice night. We didn’t get home until 1 am, however, so we were dragging butt all the next day, but it was just the sort of social gathering (safe, fun, and outdoors) that gave us a little fire to keep going (pun intended).

Before the backyard party, Chief Hopper ended up walking up and down our street to lighted porch lights, and because he’s the only kid on the cul-de-sac and all the neighbors adore him, he filled up on candy! Then while at the party he got to partake in the age-old ritual of “The Candy Swap.” So it really was a fun night after all.

I hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween, but more than anything I hope you have already voted or have a plan to vote tomorrow. Please, pretty please, with spooky, scary sprinkles on top!

M.

We “Boo’ed” Jackson’s friend Bella earlier in the day!
Candy bucket ready!
Getting ready for All Hallow’s Eve in the front yard!
S’mores on the ye olde fire pit!
You know me, just there for the “Boos”
The haul.
The much anticipated “Candy Trade” to end the night.

500 Posts!

We are pausing for a celebration today: This is my 500th blog post. So I guess if you’re still reading, and some of you are, thank you! And look at you! You have nothing better going on in your life?! Really? Are you just shirking responsibility to be here? I mean, I don’t mind if you are, I do it ALL the time. Just this weekend I had about 19 chapters to read, so I went to the pool and to Target. Cause when I have a lot to do I find other shit to do instead.

Off topic.

Five hundred posts!

Now listen, they haven’t all been good. Matter of fact, I’d say the fast majority of them are me just complaining about one thing or another. But that’s the beauty of having your own blog, you can say whatever you want!

I’ve been writing every day this year, this horrific, bitch of a year. And it’s been great. Something I never thought I’d be able to pull off. Unfortunately it hasn’t really upped my craft, but, and this is a big BUT, it has kept me regular. Like when you take probiotics.

I’m veering off again.

I love y’all, those of you who have been around awhile and our new friends. You make this community fun, my days have some kind of meaning, and hey, who else would I want to talk about probiotics and regularity with?! No one else.

Thanks.

Keep being you, and I’ll keep being me.

M.

The Funny Thing is…

Everyone liked Duke’s Christmas List post yesterday. And people loved my Thoughts in the Carline schtick from the other day and the Florida stuff. In fact, people still, to this day stop me and tell me how funny they think my Random Thoughts are, and we both laugh about how dumb I am. But what some of them don’t get is that when I’m at my funniest, when I’m full of that light-hearted banter, when I’m witty, or quick with a comeback, I’m at my darkest inside. And that’s why I’m writing funny right now, light and fluffy right now, because I’m in a serious case of the blues. And when shit gets serious, I hide behind humor. A lot of people do. Have you ever met a genuinely funny person who isn’t battling something? I haven’t. The absolute funniest people I have ever met, are all desperately trying to hide from something, and humor is their coping mechanism, and often times their shield.

The funny thing is, it didn’t occur to me that the blues was even here until I spent two mornings in a row writing silly stuff. Some of it I published on my blog, some I saved for a rainy day. Never mind that I’d been crying on the phone with my husband the night before. Never mind that my anxiety had me frozen with fear and I couldn’t sleep. Never mind the mood swings, the needing to be left alone, the Netflix binge of sad documentaries. Never mind, never mind, never mind. It was when I could only write stupid, light-hearted stuff, that I knew I was knee deep in a shit storm.

I texted a friend who happens to be in her own storm right now, and whom I desperately wish I could reach out and grab for just a minute, hold her close to me while our storms rage around us. I told her that I was writing funny stuff, and she asked what was wrong, and I vomitted all the things. Then I felt shitty for doing that to her when she’s going through what she’s going through. Jesus, why does this all have to be so hard all the time? Why can’t we go forward, forward, forward, instead of forward, forward, backward?

I can’t write serious stuff right now, unless it’s seriously about how I’m trying to combat this shit storm. I guess I’m writing my way through this because I honestly can’t write about other things I want to, need to be writing about. I can’t write about my childhood, because there’s something there, waiting to be discovered. I can’t write about the grief that kicks up ever time this year from the loss of a loved one. I can’t even write about the world right now, or finish that story about that place I lived, and how my mom had been there years before as a teenage girl. I can’t tell you about my sister sneaking me into a Bon Jovi concert. I can’t submit anything new for publication, because I can’t sit down long enough to write anything worth publishing, because if I do then I fall. Down, down, down, into a rabbit hole of darkness. Because it’s there, just sitting there. Waiting for me to write something, to say something, to trigger it in some way, and I’m trying desperately to hide from it. My shield is up. Way up. And I’m down.

I wish I was making you smile right now with some anecdote. I have them, I do. They’re laying dormant right now. I have so much to tell you really. But I think maybe today I’ve used up all my smiling potion, all my story-telling magic. I think I’m back to the sitting on the couch watching television until I forget what day it is. But tomorrow is a new day. And maybe it will be better. Surely it will be better. But if it’s not, that’s okay too. I’ll wake up from the fog one day soon. And you will too.

Take care of yourself, however that looks today.

M.