Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm Flash

The question isn't 'Who's going to let me?' it's "Who's going to stop me?" --Ayn Rand

Tonight I go to a flash mob rehearsal.  It's my very FIRST flash mob and I'm so ridiculously excited.  Like so many others (yes, people, there are OTHERS like me), I have vivid fantasies of spontaneously breaking into song and dance in the grocery store or the movie theater or even my kids' school with a giant stupid grin on my face.  Since it's my fantasy, I also include everyone AROUND me.  All of us, singing and dancing in perfectly choreographed rhythm down hallways, through streets and then back into real life as if nothing had ever happened.

For those of you who don't know what a flash mob is, the standard definition is "a sudden mass gathering, unanticipated except by participants who communicate electronically."  So, basically, it's a bunch of us nerdy types who email or FB each other and say "Hey, let's do THIS fun thing!" We're the folks who plan surprise parties for introverts who think that being surprised is actual torture.  We're the type of people who have to read the books before we go to see the movie.  We're those nutcases who make fools of ourselves in public and think absolutely nothing of it.

I am the PERFECT flash mob participant.

Some flash mobs are truly amazing and they will make you grin broadly, bring you to tears and make you believe that maybe (just maybe) humanity isn't going to hell in a handbasket, like this one...

Others are not so impressive (like, I fear, the one I'll be participating in).  But they all pull a group of strangers together to do something FUN and unexpected.  It's like opening a gift a friend brought for you EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY.

I showed the practice video to Things 1 and 2 and asked them if they'd like to participate in my upcoming flash mob event.  They watched in horrified silence for a moment or two before they said "Uhhh, no thanks, Mom."  "Yeah, I think I'll sit this one out, but YOU have fun." 

I'm OK if my kids think I'm an uber-nerd.  I'm OK with them watching me participate in weird activities or talk about dreams that may never come true.  I do know this:  my kids will someday look back upon their time with me and, after they've finished shuddering, they will probably have a deluge of memories of my wacky ideas, schemes and activities and they will smile.  And then they will probably do something wacky for their own kids.  And my gift of laughter and fun will live on.

Now, I'm off to practice my dance steps.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Forever Young

“I am convinced that most people do not grow up...We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”
― Maya Angelou

This morning, I puttered around my kitchen pretending, as I often do, to be a grown-up.  I fed my animals and I started a pot of strong coffee in the coffee machine that is barely limping along due to both overuse and neglect.  As the coffee brewed, MOST of me wanted to go ahead and sit down with a book while eating cereal but, sighing inwardly and embracing my pretend maturity, I unloaded the dishwasher instead.

I LOOK like a grown-up.  Those are READERS.And wrinkles.
I often act as a grown-up would.  I go to work most days.  I do my job to the best of my ability (most days).  I even sometimes create tangible things that go into magazines or that fly through the internet into e-mail inboxes. I write words that last. I pay my bills (usually on-time and SOMETIMES even ahead of time).  I behave responsibly as a parent, monitoring my kids' activity on the internet and (yes, still) even determining what movies are appropriate for their age and maturity level.  I even, within the past year or so, have started to go to bed in time to get a solid seven or even EIGHT hours of sleep every single night. 

I certainly do SOUND like a grown-up, don't I?  But the reality is that I FIGHT maturity every step of the way.

  • When it rains, I STILL want to put on red rain boots and splash through the puddles.  Sometimes I still do.
  • I don't WANT to go to bed at night and get a good night's sleep (so I will be able to THINK the next day and not react emotionally when the check-out clerk at the grocery store asks me if I can take my change in ones).  What I WANT to do is stay up and look up at the stars or read my books into the wee hours of the morning.
  • I forget my vitamins ALMOST every single day.
  • I still get a surge of exhilaration when I get an answer right or when I win a game.  I swear here and now that if I EVER beat Thing 1 at chess I will do a happy dance IN HIS FACE (I am grown-up enough to realize that I will probably never beat him at chess even though I TAUGHT HIM THE DAMN GAME).
  • I laugh like crazy over puns and corny jokes.  And I tell them over and over and over and over. I still laugh. 
  • I sometimes have dessert for dinner.  And I let my kids do the same.  
  • I whine when I don't get my way.  Intentionally.
  • I cry a lot and over things that don't matter even a little bit.  
  • Sometimes I want to run away.  Sometimes, I get a strong urge to get into my grown-up car Stella and ride with her into the night and then abandon her at some airport while I buy my one-way ticket to somewhere warm where I don't have to think so much and where I can go to bed late and wake up late and NOT have a dishwasher to unload.
I keep thinking that someone is going to "out" me and I will get my grown-up card taken away.  Perhaps if I continue to BEHAVE like a grown-up on the outside then I can still eat my dessert for dinner and go to bed whenever I want to without anyone in authority being the wiser.

Or maybe, as I continue to mature, I'll decide that it's not so bad being a kid in a grown-up body.  And I'll make a permanent hopscotch game on my driveway.  

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dear Better Homes and Gardens

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Dear Better Homes and Gardens,

First of all, I have to tell you how much I love your publication.  Every month, for years, I've opened my mailbox to find you there.  In the summer, your covers are splashed with fun colors and airy spaces and in the winter you never fail me with pictures of inviting spaces in warm hues. 

I look GOOD this morning.  G-O-O-D.
I opened up the November issue this morning with my breakfast.  I always read you cover to cover (You like hearing that, don't you?  I even read the ADS, BH&G.  Even the ads.  I'll bet your advertisers are thrilled to hear it.).  This morning, I was immediately disheartened by the "Age Perfect" ad on the inside cover.  You know your readers, don't you, you sly dog?  You know that our wrinkles are showing up and maybe you even know that some of us read you while we eat our breakfast.  Morning time is an especially vulnerable time for me, you see.  Mornings are when my face looks like a very heavy truck has parked on it overnight.  So, thanks for reminding me that maybe I need a product to iron out the rough spots.  You are a trusted friend, after all.

The next thing I read was the Editor in Chief's introduction.  It's called "Between Friends" and I really like to think of your editor (Gayle...Gayle, can I just CALL you Gayle?  Is that OK?) as a friend.  She's always so upbeat and positive.  And she's always letting me know how wonderful and easy all the ideas contained in your pages are to implement.  I wonder if SHE implements them all.  Do you, Gayle?  Do you run home to check YOUR mailbox just waiting to see what you can change about your house this season?  I'll bet you do, Gayle.  You're just THAT happy.  And capable.  Let's not forget capable.

I set my bowl of Cheerios aside as I pondered the ad on the next page:  Kellogg's to GO.  WTH?  Do you cram cereal in a bottle?  I have to admit I was impressed with the 10g of protein.  Cheerios ain't got NOTHIN' on you, right?  10g of protein.  In a convenient bottle.  I was intrigued.  Oh, yes.  You had me at hello.  But what does it TASTE like?  I just can't fathom the TASTE of Kellogg's in a bottle.

Next you told me about how I could win $10,000 for the holidays.  TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  I don't know what you INTENDED me to use it for, BH&G, but I was thinkin' that I could TOTALLY paint my house and maybe buy two new windows for $10,000.   I'm in.  Where do I enter?  Pffft.  THAT looks like a lot of work.  The ten grand would've been nice, though.  

I then found what I always expect in your November issue: the Thanksgiving table setting.  YOUR readers don't just pull out the same ol' tired and chipped china they've had since before little Davie was in diapers.  No, no, no.  They don't use the same faded napkins and the bent tableware.  YOUR readers do clever things like "Say so-long to same old:  Sub fun wood rounds for ordinary place mats or chargers."  Because what I am worried about on Thanksgiving day are the chargers under my plates.  Let me think...do I OWN chargers?  No.  No, I don't.  I've always wanted to be the kind of girl who IS concerned about chargers, though.  Once again, BH&G, you're helping me to see ALL the ways I'm inadequate.  

I did see on that table setting a glass hurricane with a "sprinkling of pinecones, nuts, greenery or cranberries."  Now THAT'S something that I might can do.  I hear they sell glass hurricanes at the dollar store.  Or at the local bar.  If I head THAT way, I probably won't care about my table, BH&G.  You know what I'm sayin'?  

I stopped on the next page where you told me I could "cast a warm holiday glow" by replacing my tired old flatware with BRUSHED-GOLD FLATWARE for the holidays.  Because what I need in my life is TWO sets of flatware cluttering up my already cluttered drawers.  

I figured the next few pages would contain the latest trends in paint and easy ways to re-slipcover furniture.  Honestly, those things just make me tired.  I mean, don't get me wrong, BH&G...I DO love change.  I really do.  But then I start thinking about how I'll have to take everything down from the walls and move the furniture out of the way and clean up about half a dozen paint spills (because, let's be honest, I'm not the NEATEST home-improver on the market). And then I think about having to go to my local home improvement warehouse and PURCHASE all the stuff:  the paint, new roller covers, drop cloths, etc.  It all just makes me tired.  And broke.  Let's not forget broke.  (Speaking of which...where DO your readers come up with the cash for all these fabulous remodels?  I want to have THEIR careers.  Or their husbands.  Or, let's be honest, their husband's MONEY.)

I have a confession, BH&G.  I USE YOU.  I open your pages and I dream of a different life.  I see the smiling women in your magazine and know that THEY'RE smiling because their homes are uncluttered.  They make fabulous "design decisions" instead of just throwing together whatever they've found on sale at TJ Maxx.  I want to be one of those women.  I do.  But I'm JUST NOT MADE THAT WAY.  I balk at spending more than $20 for any one home item.  And crafty?  I have big aspirations but usually the stuff I put together looks like a "what not to do" ad from Elmer's Glue. But I WANT to be a REAL Better Homes & Gardens reader.  I want to be perfectly coiffed while sipping a cup of hot tea (so much healthier than my muddy coffee) in my "outdoor living space" with lovely rattan furniture and snazzy cushions I've sewn myself.  I WANT TO BE THAT GIRL.

So, BH&G, if you ever have a "home and life makeover" sweepstakes for your readers, pick me.  I've been a good girl.  


An Avid Reader (Not Do-Er)

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Living through my AT hike (part 2)

"Always pack your sense of humor!" (Appalachian Trail quotation. Anonymous.  Probably because someone knifed him.)

McAfee Knob.  We were on our way.  Full packs.  High spirits.  And hiking poles (thank goodness for hiking poles).

The trail was beautiful and, far more than other trails I've hiked, heavily traveled.  I think every student from Virginia Tech goes to McAfee Knob on the weekends.  Every. Single. One.  I was thrilled to see the iconic AT mark on the trees as we moved up.  About 1/4 mile up, we found a kiosk with a trail log next to it.  Thru-hikers will leave messages for one another in these logs or a simple "We're still on the trail" message.  We eagerly looked through it but found mostly entries from dayhikers like us. 

I was still feeling terrific.  We continued on to search for the John's Spring Shelter, which looks like this:

Photo Courtesy http://blog.twoknobbytires.com/2010/11/22/mcafee-knob/
On the AT, wooden shelters are scattered along the way to give thru-hikers and some overnight hikers a place to sleep, especially in case of bad weather.  There are always firepits and they often have picnic tables and (the real luxury) outhouses.

As we hiked, small groups of college students giggled past us, some of them hand-in-hand as they scooted along the path toward the Knob.  Apparently, watching the sunset from McAfee Knob is a dating rite of passage at Virginia Tech.  My sense of humor still intact, I joked with them as they passed and explained that Sparky is a labradoodle and Mr. McDougal is a Scottie to each cooing twentysomething.

We hiked.  And hiked some more.  Our packs were heavy but manageable and we were looking forward to spending the evening outside.

About an hour or so into the hike, we came to John's Spring Shelter where a fairly large group was setting up tents for the evening.  I stayed at the top of the trail with Sparky while my guy and Mr. McDougal ambled down to the shelter to assess if there was room.  He spoke with them for a few minutes while the women oohed and aahed over Mr. McDougal and then he came back to the top of the trail.  The next shelter was about 1.4 miles away and did have a water source so we could get some more water.

OK.  I was game.  We moved on.

The light dimmed and we moved as quickly as we could.  My knees were started to ache a bit but I was still in pretty good spirits.  We were down to a bottle and a half of water but figured we'd be OK since the spring was about an hour's hike away.

We rounded a corner and found the spring...bone dry.  No water.  We assessed the map.  No water available until PAST McAfee Knob which was still about 2 miles away.  Night was falling.  We figured we could make do with the water we had until morning but it would mean no coffee.  (WHAT?) We came to a junction a few minutes later which pointed to a shelter in one direction (which sounded pretty noisy already) and uphill to some campsites.  We chose the latter option and hiked up to the campsites which were....full. 


We had not much water.  The sky was darkening quickly.  And we were all getting pretty tired.  But, hey, what's another couple of miles?

In a gym on a treadmill, I can walk 2 miles in 30 minutes.  Out on the Trail with a full pack after having hiked four miles already (mostly uphill), 2 miles sounded like a trip to the moon.  At that point, I was moving at maybe 1.5 miles per hour when the trail flattened out.  During the steep uphills, I was lucky to get 0.5 miles per hour.   My companion was super supportive and, even though he can move about twice as fast as I can (if not faster), he paused to wait for me and to offer up a joke or two to keep my sense of humor from deflating.

We moved on.  Up, up, up.  My thighs were burning, my glutes were on fire.  We finally came to a junction of the fire road and the McAfee Knob final trail.  The sign indicated 1.3 miles to the Knob.  Which meant we were over 2 miles away from the next campsites.  We faced a decision at that point that neither of us considered:  we could take the fire road OUT of the area and just give up for the evening OR we could continue on and find the campsites and do what we came to do.

We moved on.  Up, up, up.  I found this chart to show the final ascent to the McAfee Knob.  This is what we were doing from 7:30 to about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night:

Courtesy http://blog.twoknobbytires.com/2010/11/22/mcafee-knob/
See all that up?  That's the last 1.3 miles to McAfee Knob.  HOLY mother of pearl.

Up, up, up.  At one point, I felt like I'd been afflicted with some sort of palsy.  My legs would simply wobble when I tried to move them.  I shuffled upward, using my hiking poles to support much of my weight as I swung my legs up, up, up.  I began giggling.  "Yeah, it's a good thing we didn't stay at that campsite at Apple Orchard Falls earlier today.  That would have SUCKED to have set up camp, taken a NAP, had some wine...this is WAY more fun that THAT."  He apologized much of the way up, taking all of the blame for our predicament.  I protested that I am an adult, too, and that we made the decision together but, honestly, all of us KNOW that I'm no grown-up.  :)

My muscles no longer cooperating, I WILLED myself to keep going, marveling at the very IDEA that AT thru-hikers (the successful ones, anyway) often hike 20 miles EVERY DAY.  Those people must be made of solid steel.

We came to a crest.  A CREST.  FINALLY.  He said, "THIS IS IT.  This is McAfee Knob!"  We leashed the dogs (because it was pitch black by this time and we didn't want one of them to accidentally step over the edge into oblivion) and we saw this:
OK.  NO, this is not my pic.  But this is the view.  And it WAS a full moon.  And we DID NOT sit on the edge.  Photo courtesy jon_beard.

 I forgot about my quivering muscles.  I didn't think about my thirst.  I looked at that view and thanked God for everything I could think of but, most especially, that view in that moment and the fact that I was still alive...mostly.  It was worth it.

Our spirits rejuvenated, we still had to find a campsite.  It was late.  We were tired.  (OK, my hiking companion was tired...I was EXHAUSTED.) We started going down.  Down, down, down.  My knees were screaming with every step.  Down, down, down, down.

At one point, Mr. McDougal walked over the edge of a long downhill slope.  We coaxed and called.  He was so tired we were worried one of us was going to have to go down the steep slope to retrieve him.   We called and begged.  He moved up. Up, up, up.  My hiking companion extended a hiking pole when Mr. McDougal was almost to the top, "Just grab on, Dougal!"  That tiny trail dog propelled himself up and he finally made it back to the trail.  We gave him some of our precious water as a reward.  We still don't know HOW or why he went over that edge but we were so relieved to have our little guy back in action...and without one of us having to break our necks to retrieve him.

After about another hour of downhill in the dark, after over FOUR HOURS on the trail, he called out "This is it!  We're here!"  Water.  And a campsite.  Totally open.  With a picnic table.  I wanted to sob with relief but I was too tired.  We set up the tent quickly and then he hiked out to gather some water.  He came back with three full bottles of water.  The dogs lapped up about half a bottle quickly.  We both drank greedily. 

And then he cooked ribeyes over an open fire, steamed okra and boiled rice.  It was incredible.  Delicious.  And worthy of any four-star restaurant.

And we woke up to this:

And the campsite we set up in the dark turned out OK after all: 

And in the morning, we took the fire road out with its gentle slopes and fairly even terrain.  We hiked out in less than two hours. 

It was beautiful.  But that guy in the guide who said you could do it all in four hours?  No.  No, I don't think so.  At least not with a full pack and one knee-hobbled hiker.  And when I find the guy who wrote it I will....say not very nice things.

I am sore.  I am still bone weary.  But I'm already planning my next Great Hiking Adventure.  Who's with me?

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why, yes, I DID hike the AT

"Getting to the top of the mountain is optional. Getting down is mandatory." - Ed Viesturs (Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker famous quotes)

On Saturday, I hit the road with a trusted companion, my two faithful canines, a pack full of equipment, food and wine, and high spirits.  We were on our way out of town for an overnight hiking adventure and I was terribly optimistic and not all concerned that I'm a slightly overweight, still somewhat out-of-shape (in spite of various halfhearted efforts), forty-something with badly arthritic knees.

I figured all of that would work out on the trail.

We headed first off to Apple Orchard Falls just north of Roanoke, VA.  Our (initial) plan was to hike the trail and camp there overnight before heading out in the morning to a day hike of the McAfee Knob, the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail (AT).  We ended up doing a quick-and-back 1.4 mile hike UP to the mostly overrated Apple Orchard Falls and then a brief maybe half mile down the trail to check out potential campsites.  Because we could STILL SEE our vehicle from the campsites, my companion thought maybe we should go ahead and drive to the McAfee Knob trail, hike a 1.3 mile hike to the first AT shelter and camp there.

I was totally game.  I'm always up for adventure.  And we'd done less that 2 miles (without packs) at that point so I was feelin' fresh and froggy.  And Sparky and Mr. McDougal were ready for anything we wanted to do.  They are dogs, after all, and don't have a say.

If you don't know about the AT, then you probably either a) don't live in one of the 14 states it crosses or b) don't give a flying flip about hiking.  The Appalachian Trail is kind of a not-to-be-realized dream of mine (see first paragraph of this blog for the reasons why).  I have read books about it and follow the tails of thru-hikers with absolute fascination.  To lose oneself somewhere on the AT only to find an improved version of you at the end is probably only one of the myriad of reasons people attempt the journey each year. I SO WANT to be one of those people.

The total length of the trail is approximately 2,200 miles.  The majority of the trail is wilderness and begins in Spring Mountain, Georgia and meanders through North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and ends at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  The trail is marked along the way with white marks on trees like this:

Storied heroes attempt to hike the entire length of the trail in one season.   They are known as thru-hikers.  Thru-hikers typically spend about five to seven months hiking the trail in its entirety, often risking life and limb to do so. 


So, we landed at the parking area for McAfee Knob parking lot at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.  I was SUPER excited because I've never hiked even a small piece of the AT and I was eager to say "Yes, I DID hike the AT" just like I can tell people in TRUTH that I "went to Harvard" because I did, in fact, walk on that campus one day.

Let me set the scene a little bit more:
  • We had already hiked a little more than 2 miles that day, with no packs but with dogs.
  • My pack weighs approximately 35-40 pounds with all gear, food, and wine needed.  My guy's pack weighed probably 10 pounds more than mine because he is, first and foremost, a true Southern gentleman and carries ALL of the heavy stuff like the tent and all the cooking equipment.
  • We had two and half bottles of water with a water filter ready to filter more water at our campsite.  Our bottles were each 32 ounces.  So we had about 70 ounces of water for the two of us and the two dogs to make it the 1.3 miles to the first AT shelter (because you can ONLY camp at designated campsites on the AT). 
  • We needed to hike 1.3 miles to the first shelter.  If that didn't work out, there was another shelter another 1.4 miles away.  So, at WORST, we were looking at 2.7 miles with full packs.  Uphill.
  • We had about four hours of daylight to go.  Our guidebook told us that the ENTIRE hike to McAfee Knob was approximately four miles and estimated that you can hike to the Knob and BACK in four hours.  For a bit of foreshadowing here, I am going to FIND the author of that guidebook.  I will find him.  
And tomorrow, I will tell you why. For now, I've got to rest.  Damn.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Still on the Outside Looking In

“The past,' he thought, 'is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.' And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered.”
― Anton Chekhov

I am often surprised by the profound sense of loneliness I feel when I am surrounded by people.  During my much anticipated high school reunion in early October, I was flooded by the realization that I felt disconnected and disjointed in the midst of all the frivolity.

I realized, standing in the middle of a room with the pounding swell of dance beats and laughing former classmates, that I still, after all this time, do not belong.  I didn't know the great majority of the people who were at the reunion with me during high school.  Oh, I could recognize some names and faces but, I'll be honest, as a teenager I probably only had had an honest-to-goodness CONVERSATION with a very small handful of the people at the event.  And even THOSE conversations were, at best, perfunctory.  In high school, I wasn't interested in getting to know people and I never really truly "fit"...I never had a place...in the grand scheme.

And now, even in my forties with all my enlightened perspective and my improved sense of self, I am still very much an outsider.

So what did I do?  I fled to my comfort zone. 

I sought out the friends I have made over the last several years and I settled into them.  My discomfort vanished and I enjoyed talking to them.  I had FUN with them.  They know me.  But I did not venture out into the crowd.  I smiled shyly if I absolutely HAD to go inside but I ducked my head down and avoided eye contact if at all possible.  None of them, I feel assured, knew who I was.  And I certainly didn't know them.

I realized something that Saturday:  there are times in our lives when, no matter HOW well-prepared we are and no matter how eager we are to prove to ourselves that we are dramatically different, we simply ease back into the roles that we were programmed to long ago.

I was programmed to blend in.

So, now that we're past the reunion, here's what I want those people to know:

  • I didn't know how to be a part of you back then.  And I still don't.  I have trouble fitting in to groups.  I work so much better in a one-on-one situation.  I am INTERESTED in you.  I want to learn how you like your coffee and I want to know what you wanted to be when you grew up and how that all turned out.  But I don't know how to be a part of your groups.  I am not great at small talk and I don't know what to do when I'm faced with a big giant wave of you.
  • I am not a bitch.  Well, OK, SOMETIMES I am.  But when I seem like I'm standoffish, it's really because I don't know how to connect with you.  I don't know what you want from me but what I want from YOU is to feel your vibe.  That sounds really hippie-like, I know.  But I desire strong connections from people.  If I think I can't get that or if I simply don't know how to approach it, I shut down.  And I appear standoffish.  But it's just that I don't know how to reach you.
  • I can be clique-ish.  I'm not talking about the Mean Girls kind of clique.  But I retreat into who I know...BEHIND who I know...because I know them.  Because I feel accepted there.  And I can be MYSELF there.  And I don't want to put on some charade for you because, above all else, I HAVE to be myself.  And I have to be accepted for that.  It makes me tired to think about putting myself on the line only to face the possibility of being rejected.  It hurts my feelings when people don't like me...but it's SO HARD for me to truly get to know people because I have to take down ALL my protective barriers.  (And, quite honestly, those barriers are incredibly well-built and time-tested.)
  • I'm not great at small talk.  I want to deeply connect with people.  So, sitting around talking about the weather makes me very, very uncomfortable.  I CAN do it but when I'm making small talk there is only a very small piece of me that's present...almost like a Kelly Veneer. Unfortunately, small talk is how people tend to make friends.  So, that's probably why I have like (what?) maybe four friends??
  • I vow to do better.  And that's all ANY of us can do anyway, right?  
 I look forward to our post-reunion committee meeting...because I'm starting to KNOW some of those people.  And I LIKE them.  And, maybe, someday, somehow, I will feel like a part of them.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.


Hello World

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
― John Steinbeck

I woke up this morning at 2:48 a.m.  It felt like one of those nights where I wouldn't be returning easily to the Land of Nod, so I came downstairs and let the dogs out.  I opened my back door and saw this floating over the trees:

OK, I am NOT a photographer.  And this is from my iPhone...but you get the gist, right?  It's a full moon.

When I saw it....that bright light reflected off that big cold spinning rock in the sky...my breath caught and I exclaimed (into the dark, to no one at all except maybe Sparky and Mr. McDougal), "Oh!"

And life, for me, began again.

I've been absent for the last half of a month from my own little Blog World because I've been...sad.

There are a myriad of reasons for my sadness and I won't go into them here and now because, quite frankly, I've already WRITTEN about them...I'm just not going to share them.  I WILL say that I have really struggled with the idea that people, as a group and sometimes individually, are often just...CRAPPY.  And I won't claim that I'm "depressed" because I KNOW people who have been/are clinically depressed and they really have a hard time getting out of bed.  I respect them too much to equate my little pity party with their true suffering.  So I won't over-dramatize it (I KNOW...so unlike me) but I will say that life has been bringing me down.  And I've been a Debbie Downer.  I've been a bitter old lady.

When I'm sad, I become introverted.  I retreat far into myself...only truly communicating with a few select people and pretty much ignoring everyone else because I simply cannot give time to anyone else while I'm muddling through my sadness.  It's like having the flu...I don't want to INFECT anyone else by spreading my sad mucky-muck germs.

Until I saw that moon this morning.

And, like an engine that's been sitting too long with bad gas, I felt a little hiccup and a sputter and then I felt the smile come back into my heart.  That, my friends, is a very good feeling.

I'm going back to the land this weekend.  Back to the earth.  I'm putting on my backpack and hitting the trail for some hardcore primitive camping (I mean, OK, I will include wine but it will be in a box and, therefore, primitive).  That will only make my smile broader...to breathe in mountain air in the fall and to sleep on the earth for a night or so with someone I love.  And piece by piece, things will fall back into place and I'll forget about how crappy people are and my rose-colored glasses will once again rest firmly on the bridge of my nose. 

But for now, I'm going to sit here and write a little more and drink my coffee.  And ponder what the chances are of me getting back to sleep tonight.

Welcome back, me.  :)

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