Friday, September 20, 2013
ďMemory lives longer than what it remembers.Ē
This quote from Lloyd Alexanderís Prydain Cycle is stuck in my head. The entire work has been stuck in my head lately, but this quote may as well be lit with neon and hung right behind my eyes.
I remember hopping up behind my dad on his motorcycle. He used to pick me up at grade school and that gave this very un-cool girl some appreciation, let me tell you! More so than when he would pick me up in his police cruiser.
I remember that, because he did shift work, Dad was able to come to my daytime assemblies at school and watch me square dance in my blue-swirl frock with the pink velvet ribbon, or listen to my flatulent French Horn rendition of ďGo Tell Aunt RhodyĒ.
I remember when Dad had us stay up half the night looking for money my step-brother claimed one of us had stolen, but which he had actually spent at Seeís Candy that day. At the time, it seemed like a symptom of insanity to have five kids searching each otherís rooms to find money we all knew wasnít there. But in retrospect it was a pretty good lesson about accusing people without proof.
I remember my Dadís fits, I remember the cross-country trips he took us on when we were kids, and the motorcycle trips he & my step-mom, and my cousin and I took as adults. I remember sitting with him in front of the stereo and taking apart pieces of music, sharing what that piece said to each of us. I remember him playing guitar and eating Filippiís Pizza and Winchellís Doughnuts.
And I remember him walking me down the aisle, which was really a path in a garden. I remember he said, ďItís okay. You donít have to hurry. Heís there waiting for you.Ē
I can remember all of this and more. But he cannot. He knows Iím 55, but says he remembers me as 12. He knows he is forgetting, but doesnít know what he is forgetting. He says that he doesnít like it, but he can accept that this is what is happening to him, but then cries, Ďplease, please, please donít take my memories.í
Does memory live longer than what it remembers? It must. He does not remember, so the memories are in my keeping. Not to be held, but to be shared, so someday my children and grandchildren will tell the stories to their own kids : that my Daddy was a motorcycle riding, horse-loving, pizza eating cowboy.
And I love him.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Iíve been thinking a lot about choices lately. Iíve been reading that our lives are what they are because of the choices we make and while I want to shake my head and shout, Ďno! no! no!í the fact is, itís true.
We make certain choices for a lot of different reasons. We are influenced by our Faith, by our families, by what we want at the moment, by what we want down the road a piece. We make choices based on our relationships and friendships and what we want those to be. We choose for security, for happiness, for money, for health. But make no mistake, I am where I am because of the choices Iíve made, and only by making other choices can that change.
I hate my job. I despise it. It keeps my brain active but my body stagnant. I am surrounded by hate and discontent and a management that seems to thrive at making snap decisions, snap judgments and snap criticisms. But I canít leave my job. I am trapped, right?
Many years ago I read a foreword to a book in which an old Ozark woman explains Free Will. She said that if you give each of 50 quilters in a room the same material, you will have 50 different quilts in the end.
Lloyd Alexander explained it in his book Taran Wanderer like a piece on a loom : If you are not happy with the design, you are the only one who can choose whether to continue with the design youíve chosen and wear a cloak you hate, or whether to unravel it and start again.
And Mary Stewartís heroine, in the book, Touch Not the Cat says : ďWe forge our own chains.Ē
So am I trapped?
Of course not. I can leave my job any day. I make good money and chose to use that money to help pay for my husbandís medical bills. To make up that kind of money in this area I would need two or three jobs. The job I have has generous vacation and sick time, and a not over-burdensome health care offering. That is not the case of most employers in the area.
I choose to stay. I stay because I feel that the need to get these medical bills under control is important. I choose to stay because I would have been fired from many other jobs having to take off the kind of time Iíve needed to care for my husband, mother, uncle, brother.
That doesnít mean I canít work on pursuing my dreams still. Not enough time? Pooey. You choose to watch TV. You choose to hang on FaceBook.
And I hear the buts. I say the buts often enough myself. In the end, when I take apart every one of those buts, I see the choice within. There are sometimes great challenges and certainly walls within which we must make our choices, and I am not trying to belittle that. We all live within our own gardens and our choices are made within our own set of circumstances. (or microclimates to continue the gardening metaphor)
But make no mistake, the things that make me unhappy are often situations that Iíve chosen, or chosen to accept.
Knowing this, understanding this has been liberating. Right this minute, I choose not to leave this job. I have begun taking steps to move my life in a new direction. I need to continue to make the choices that will see me into my new life, rather than just wringing my hands and saying how much I hate how my life is.
I have forged my chains, and I am the only one who can break them.
Saturday, September 07, 2013
My garden has been amazing this year! We had a cool first half of the summer, and of course our lovely (NOT!) flood. The heavy rain did in most of the watermelons,
but the winter squash are coming on gangbusters!
I have pickled cucumbers, wax/banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers. I made one batch of Sriracha, which I shared with a friend who demanded more, so batch two will begin this afternoon.
I have harvested a few dried beans, and it looks like Iíll get a few more. They were an experiment this year and they worked out very well. Next year weíll be putting beans in where weíve had tomatoes the past few years to help build the soil.
Fall is just over the horizon, so itís nearly time to dig up the potatoes and sweet potatoes.
We have new plantings of collards and lettuce coming in,
and more basil than I know what to do with! Well, not really. I will be cutting it back next weekend, I suppose. I already have one and a half pints of pesto. I will make some more for friends, and then just freeze some of the remaining pesto, maybe freeze some straight-up basil puree, and dry some of the leaves as well.
So much to do before that first frost! Then I have to re-do some of the garden. We experimented a bit this year and for the most part our feed-bag weed suppressors worked, but here and there the weeds poked through where the bags came together, so there will be trim work & Iíll be putting more bags down for the winter.
I know this is a ramble, and mostly just to say how much I love growing my own food, and spending time outdoors, and I have enjoyed sharing this with you.
Sunday, September 01, 2013
And so it begins. The march into Fall.
The black walnuts begin the parade as always, dropping their leaves as quickly as they gained them in the Spring. How odd, though, to see the ground littered with brown bodies when the temperature is as hot as it got all season. The air cries ďSUMMER!Ē But nature whispers ďfallĒ.
Friday night I heard the ďgabble ratchetĒ of wild geese. They were there again last night and this morning, so I am thinking they are gathering in the field by the river, waiting for their friends to join them before they go further. The birdsongs have started to slip from their summer tunes to their travelling tunes. The poison ivy and poison sumac are beginning to blaze red, and Orion is tracking his prey to the south.
Iíve always loved fall, but this year not so much. This year it feels more like Iíve ticked off one more year without accomplishing anything worthwhile.
The geese are gathering, the songbird tunes shifting, the leaves changing and dropping and I sit in a trap of my own building and watch the teardrops fall.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Iím 55. Nearly 56. As you know, I lost 110 pounds through SparkPeople. I hit my goal weight in May 2012, and have managed to sit below or at that weight since.
This has been a bad year for me, emotionally. The past seven months have been a struggle to keep my weight at goal. I had actually beaten it and had five Ďplay-withí pounds. They are gone now and Iím back at that goal. I want to get those five pounds back off, but it has been a struggle. Itís harder than when I weighed 250 because when your body is close to where it should be, the pounds donít just drop off like they do when youíre obese.
Two years ago I started running, mostly because walking bored me. My daughter Rose invited me to run a 5K with her for the local humane society, and the rest is history.
Last Saturday morning Rose and I ran the Girls Just Wanna Run 5K in Springfield, Mo., that evening, we ran the Wine to Water 5K in St. James, Mo. It was our first double header ever!
The Wine to Water run (given by Meramac Vinyards of St. James to benefit Engineers Without Borders) was the inaugural run. There werenít very many people there, which is a shame. The race was through the hills and valleys of St. Jamesís wine country, and was a nice course. My thighs, well, quads were not real happy about running a second race, especially going uphill, but I told myself to keep running, and we managed to climb them all.
Any road, being such a small field, I was fortunate enough to come in first in my age group, an accomplishment my daughter posted on her Facebook page.
The next day my friend Sam told me I was such an inspiration to her and she wanted to start running again. Another friend, Paul, has asked me about my running and where and when and how, as he is recovering from surgery and needs to get healthy and Iíve been such an inspiration to him.
I like inspiring people. I like people asking me how did you? How can I? and being able to point them to some of the ideas and tools (like SparkPeople) that have helped me.
Iíve been thinking, though. People do not realize how much the little words can mean. In fact, it was Paulís comment, on seeing a picture of me from high school that was the final push I needed to start on this new life. One word at just the right time, and, like a Jenga tower, the old me started to sway, to topple.
There have been many days this year that I have struggled with what Iím eating, with how much Iím working out, with a lot of other, personal things. One of the things that keeps me going, keeps me eating better, keeps me tying on those running shoes is having been told Iím inspiring someone else to work towards a better them.
We all have to be willing to make these changes for ourselves, but sometimes, taking a second to grab someone elseís hand makes it much, much easier to keep climbing.
So if someone inspires you, tell them. Give them that boost from behind as they reach back to lend you a hand, and that way everyone gets to the top of the hill.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SOXYINMO Posts