Thursday, April 28, 2016

Birthday Surprise

My husband is a pretty practical guy. 

Not the type to covet luxury items, his birthday wish lists usually lead off with Cabella jeans and plaid flannel shirts, followed by options for Starbucks gift cards and dark chocolate candy bars.

But this year, two weeks before his big day, my frugal spouse told me he wanted a $270 chess set.

It's historic, he explained. The pieces are modeled after the very first chess set and constructed from a valuable resin from some weird place. Honestly, I don't remember much of what he said because my brain was experiencing a full-on state of shock: 

Is. He. Even. Kidding. Me.

Precious days ticked by as I contemplated this uncharacteristic idea. Oh, the money wasn't my main concern. Dropping a few hundred bucks for a gift is definitely far beyond our normal birthday budget, but for a special request, we could manage the indulgence. 

What I genuinely and sincerely questioned was how my budget-balancing finance director of a partner would embrace this whim once he saw the outflow of cash in his bank transactions. 

He'll change his mind, I hypothesized. This is a passing fancy, and by the time his birthday rolls around, he'll forget all about this swanky Historic Chess Set and opt for an L.L. Bean online shopping spree instead.

Well. I was dead wrong.

* * * * *

On Monday afternoon, thirty-six hours before the Big Day, I checked in again. So what are you thinking about your gift? I casually probed.

"I sent you the link for the chess set two weeks ago," he stated.

Okay, I continued. So you're sure you still want that?

"I wouldn't have sent you the link if I wasn't sure." 

Alright. Point taken, Mr. Nothing-but-the-Facts. 

Fifteen minutes later, Amazon was processing the order and my fate had been cast. 

* * * * *

But now I faced the classic post-modern gift-giving dilemma: While the ordered-online-at-the-last-minute item is still in transit, what will the recipient unwrap on his actual birthday?

I'm a stickler for a timely birthday ceremony and it's essential to me and my nurturing instincts that family celebrations include an actual, physical gift to be unwrapped. Now, we're all adults these days, and have developed sufficient self-control for second-day shipping, but in my view of the universe, there simply MUST be some representation of the gift on the dinner table for the birthday boy [or girl] to unwrap.

I pondered this problem deeply, and while driving home from a student's house on the afternoon of my husband's birthday, the solution came to me in a vision.

A photograph of a pink prawn against a white background, cut to a three-inch square.

Effortlessly, the whole plan of what I would do fell right into place. 

^ As the birthday ceremony unfolded, I presented my husband with a wrapped gift box [not shown.] Inside, tucked among the handfuls of those crinkly bits of accordion-folded paper squiggles were sixteen small envelopes, sealed tightly shut, with one letter printed on each face. My husband fished them out and stared at me blankly.

First, I declared, you must arrange the envelopes to spell out a secret message. 

 ^ Well done. Now, open each envelope and take out what's inside. The order no longer matters, so you can mix them up.

Luckily, my husband always carries a Swiss Army Knife in his pocket for moments such as these. You never know when you might need to slash through some washi tape, darn it. Better safe than sorry.

 ^ Now, each photo you see is a clue. Figure out the pattern of the clues, and arrange the photos into the proper order. 

Folding his jackknife and tucking it back into his pocket as he scowled at the cards, the birthday boy muttered to himself for a few seconds until suddenly he smiled, and we all literally HEARD the light bulb click on in his head. With a few deft maneuverings, he positioned the cards just so.

 ^ Yep, he got it right. Each photo relates to a piece of a chess set:

Billie Jean KING
Freddie Mercury from QUEEN
Joey BISHOP
Bobby KNIGHT
Nathan Fillion from CASTLE
and eight perfect pink P(r)AWNS

The master strategist understood the need to place these unconventional game pieces in their proper location, as if readying them for a round of chess.

Now flip over the cards in their current positions and a new message will reveal your gift.

^ Ta daaa! We bought you that chess set! 

At this point in the treasure hunt, my husband was not particularly shocked by my final message. But as he pointed out, he does enjoy solving puzzles and did not mind working so hard to reveal the truth about his mysterious birthday surprise. 

For Now


Last week, I bought a set of coasters for my family room.

They were nice coasters. From the moment I saw them, I loved their

round shapes
wooden tones
and dip-dyed shades of turquoise and coral.

For a reasonable price, I snapped them up, brought them home, spread them around my coffee table, and felt perfect peace. 



Oh, what's that you say? You don't see any shades of blue or red in these photos?

Yes. That's because I have a serious problem with leaving well enough alone.


Somewhere along the recent way, I've tossed my lifelong obsession with bold color aside and decided that shades of black, white and grey are my new thing. 

And within just a few hours of bringing these unsuspecting angels into my home and momentarily enjoying their bright coastal hues, I couldn't handle myself anymore. 

Craving some delicious Scandinavian black and white minimalism, I dragged these innocent discs out into my rainy backyard where I attacked them with masking tape, various cans of paint and a passion for reforming them in my new image. 



Now we are all living together in monochromatic heaven and I couldn't be any happier. 

At least for now. 

acacia wood coasters | target
side table | target 
jade plant | home depot

Monday, April 25, 2016

Glass Half Full

Did I predict that there would be some new holes forthcoming in my walls?

Yes, I did.

Allow me to make good on my promise.

^ Holes be damned; there's a hockey game that needs watching and this guy 
will not be deterred from his goal. 

^ Those two black pipes lead down from the shower drain, and were centered at the worst of the leak. I don't need the Property Brothers to tell me what that means. 

Pretty, right? This is the situation in my family room, where moisture had compromised the wall board and insulation. 

I discovered this mess when - in preparation for painting - I took down some art and saw a strangely saggy spot on the wall. Using just a few fingers, I pressed lightly on the wall board which gave way under my fingertips like wet tissue paper. 

Oops. 

Immediately, I diagnosed the underlying problem. The shower stall, directly above this spot, was constructed way back when the builders roughed it in with regular sheet rock rather than waterproof backer board. The whole neighborhood suffered this same plight, and our showers have all gone down like a row of moldy dominoes. 

^ Here's the guilty party, stripped down in shame.

^The toilet area is just an innocent bystander but he's been drawn into the fracas. 

Obviously, we still have some work to do to put these holes right again. 

But in classic glass-half-full style, I am rejoicing that my moisture problems have been properly mitigated. All surfaces are dry and antimicrobial-ed; both rooms smell like clean-chemical heaven. We're ready for the construction guys to come in and build us something beautiful.

 And then my glass will be overflowing indeed. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Life Of A Math Teacher: Sharing Life

Friends, today is a great reminder for us to be mindful and appreciative of this beautiful planet we live in. This world was meant to be enjoyed and explored. Let us not be wasteful of our resources. Take time to reflect on how you can make the world a better, safer, and cleaner place to live in. What you do matters. ‪#‎happyearthday‬ ‪#‎whatawonderfulworld‬

* * * * *

Today I found in one of my feeds this beautiful image and thoughtful message.

Though I would have found them meaningful under any circumstances, I was especially touched when I saw that they were posted by my former student, Tori.

I've known Tori since she was a sweet little ninth-grader, just back in the United States after living abroad with her family for five years, and definitely acclimating to the American high school culture.

Soon after, she became my student and we studied algebra together for several years. Because of the unique path I walk with homeschooled students, our connection has grown and deepened over the years. I've continued to work with her younger siblings as she headed off to college; we keep up with one another's news and see each other from time to time. From my special vantage point, I've enjoyed the privilege of watching her grow into her life as a sensitive, responsible, interesting young adult.

So thank you, Tori, for reminding me of the gifts of our planet on this Earth Day. And thank you too, for reminding me of how lucky I am to share life with all my wonderful students, including you!

Perfect



Ranger and I see eye-to-eye on the ideal conditions for our daily walk. 

A cool fifty-five degrees with a light mist falling. 

Not only do we feel invigorated and refreshed in the brisk air, but the rain keeps most everyone else inside. 

We love having the streets to ourselves. 

And though Ranger and I definitely enjoy our outing in very different ways, we can both agree that today's walk was perfect. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Uncontrollable


Some years, spring comes wandering in like a dawdling child.

Slowly
Cautiously
Taking her own sweet time

And no matter how excited you are to see her, or impatient you might be to have her bloom into her full glory, you just have to let spring happen when she is good and ready.


Then there are other years, when the opposite is true.

When you are still comfortable with grey skies, tumbling clouds, sweater weather and only a tiny hint of change in the air, she rushes in, all posies and tree buds and pink-cheeked toddlers playing outside after their naps.

And BAM.

Whether you are ready or not, spring arrives. She can be quite bossy like that.


This spring, for me, has been the pushy kind. I would be happy to wear my boots and cable knits for a few more weeks, but oh no. Today, I had no choice but to break out my sandals, throw open all the windows, and take a nap on the grass in my backyard

I can't control Sirius either. But he is not putting up much of a fight on this warm spring afternoon.

Spring, I can't control you. And that's just as well

Because you are a very good reminder that this life is not meant to be controlled at all.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Twenty Years




Twenty years ago, we DIYed these little shelves into an alcove in our master bathroom.

And for the next nineteen and a half years, they drove me insane.

Well. That's not fair. I can only blame myself for the ongoing tides of flotsam and jetsam that drifted across their unsuspecting pine planks. 

Too easily did I just stash ordinary things here, neglecting to bring beauty to this space. 
Too long did I make other areas of the house a priority  and ignored this private corner of the house rarely seen by anyone outside the immediate family. 
Too many times did I use the excuse of money to deny myself some much-needed change.

A few months back, I finally snapped. 

My inner stylist demanded that we stop the madness and do this space up right. 
My inner therapist insisted that I should do this for myself, even if no one else saw it.
My inner financier siphoned a hundred bucks out of the grocery account and felt no shame.

Then we all got busy and here's what we came up with.




Towels

I used to jam bath towels onto these slim shelves, but I finally realized that hand towels were a much better fit. I spoiled myself with two new sets.

Candles

Every busy woman on the planet fantasizes about ending the day with a long, leisurely bubble bath surrounded by glowing candles. Well. I am not a fan of soaking myself but I love me a candlelit shower. And on the nights when I forget to light a candle, I just enjoy seeing them sitting their on their shelf, all white and clean and fresh.

Plants

Let's be honest. My little philodendron hates his life in this shadowy corner, and much prefers when I take him on holiday to a sunnier room. He comes back now and then to visit his friends on the shelf, but we've all come to accept that his time here is limited.


Trays

I used to tell myself that trays are essential organizers and I need them for functional purposes. That, however, is a bald faced lie. I will now proudly admit that I buy trays because I like the way they look, even though I could just as easily set my bottle and jars directly on the shelf. 

Geometric Thingy

I'm obsessed with metal geometric sculptures and they pop up all over my house. I'm also obsessed with spray painting them on a whim, and this one's recent reincarnation in white makes me happy.

Polka Dot Dish

It's  white. And square. And just the right amount of little. And covered with gold polka dots, too? When my eyes fell on this gem, I knew I had to buy it and was forced to invent a use for it on the spot. Hair bands and bobby pins deserve a home of their own and I feel no remorse whatsoever,

A Word About Labels

Call me neurotic, but after purifying my soul with these newly styled shelves, I was not about to pollute my creation with brightly colored, text-saturated plastic bottles and jars. But my inner realist scoffed at the idea of repackaging my toiletries into generic containers; I may wish I had the discipline to squirt my new bottles of lotion into a silvery dispenser, but I know perfectly well that I do not. So I've come up with a compromise: I buy products in white or clear packaging, and peel off the labels, leaving me with satisfactorily neutral containers to live on my shelves. 

* * * * *

It's been five months since my shelves transformed and I'm happier than ever with how the project turned out.

I love this little corner of calming white.

I smile to myself every morning as I stumble into the bathroom to start my day.

And I'm pretty sure that no one even noticed the budget meals I slid onto the table during the pay period of my purchases.

In fact, my only regret about styling up my bathroom shelves is that it took me two decades to get round to making it happen.


plant | home depot
plant container | ikea
chevron towels | cost plus world market
plain towels | target
candles | target
marble tray | bed, bath & beyond
geometric sculpture | hobby lobby, painted white
polka dot dish (similar) | hobby lobby

Coincidence

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." - Albert Einstein


This week, I stumbled upon a book left lying around the house by my second-born, and soon fell fast and deep into the story. 

During a time of frustration and pain in her own life, a teenage girl loses her dearly beloved uncle. As she grieves, she must come to terms with the new knowledge that her uncle was gay, and died from AIDS. Making peace with his lover is a critical step as she rebuilds relationships with her family.

[Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt]


Last night, my husband scrolled through a list of movie ideas, and randomly chose one for us to watch. I was riveted.

During a season of stalled growth in his own life, a thirty-something man loses his dearly beloved father. As he grieves, he must come to terms with the fact that four years before his death, at age 75, his father came out as a life-long gay, and died with his new lover at his side. Making peace with his father's partner is a critical step as he works to establish a relationship with a new woman in his life. 

[Beginners written and directed by Mike Mills]


* * * * *

Well. Cue the thunder bolts, electrical jolts and epic floods.

Because I can see that these plot lines share more than a passing similarity.

And the emotions that I felt as each story unwound

my fondness for the main characters,
my sympathetic pain and confusion for their struggles,
my shifty discomfort that the endings left things far from truly resolved,

were spot-on the same. I feel as if I'd strapped into two seemingly unrelated roller coasters and ended up taking the exact same ride

God often lays for me a trail of bread crumbs like this one. I know without a doubt that I'm supposed to pay attention and learn something from this pair of matching stories, this highly specific coincidence.

But I haven't figured out yet what that might be.

I have no severely ill or recently deceased male relatives.
I'm seriously lacking in father figures altogether.
No recently outed gays in my life.
Ditto that on any loved ones' partners whom I might be challenged to love and accept.

So, without any obvious parallels in my life, I have a bit of a mystery on my hands.

In the next few days, I'll be mulling over this puzzle.

I'll go back to each story, rereading passages and rewatching key scenes.
I'll daydream about each story makes me feel and what buttons each one pushes within me.
And I'll probably end up asking God to make his point a bit more clear. Sometimes I need extra help to catch on.

But one thing I know for sure: whenever I experience a coincidence like this one, the real truth is that it is no coincidence at all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Baby Blue Baseball Skies

Play ball!

I caught a couple games of the Seattle Mariners' series with the Texas Rangers this week.

I know. It's only April, a bit early for a civilized outing to the ball park, especially up here in the soggy Pacific Northwest. But when my daughter's favorite team comes to town, we go, no matter what.

And anyway, t's a well-documented fact that I love me some major league baseball.

The long-standing rivalries between the clubs
The slow, lyrical pacing of a leisurely game. 
The sudden bursts of adrenaline from a home run or a double play
The sustained rally of an inning full of solid base hits and strong base running.
The always-present suspense of knowing that with each pitch of the ball, anything might happen.

I'm also a huge fan of the baseball culture:

Honoring our country before the first pitch.
Filling in my score card.
Listening to the vendors hawk their wares
Singing my heart out during the seventh inning stretch
And oh my gosh, the smell of those garlic fries is pure heaven.

But I must confess that on top of all those sports-specific pleasantries, I may most appreciate the simple joy of spending a few hours sitting outside under a baby blue summer sky.

Or in the case of this week, a sunny but shockingly chilly mid-spring sky.

Monday night's game was rough - despite my hat, mittens, boots, and layers of sweaters, I shivered through the game.

Tuesday was even colder. At forty-eight degrees, the air hung heavy and cold, damp from the day's rain. Luckily, I was prepared. Wrapping myself up like a burrito in a fleecy blanket, I managed to stayed warm as toast for all nine innings. 

And best of all, on both nights, after the game had ended and I was home tucked in bed, I slept with the wonderful weariness that only comes from spending hours in the fresh air.

Magical things happen under those baby blue ballpark skies and my summer baseball mojo is off to a great start. 

* * * * *

For more stories about baseball, check out:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Where I Belong

"Coincidences are God's way of getting our attention." - Frederick Buechner

Peace out, Edmonds. We on a boat now and we're headed for adventure!

I grew up on Ore Lake - a medium-sized freshwater lake in southeast Michigan. As a dreamy adolescent, when I wanted to enjoy a sunny summer day, I would often row out to the middle of the lake, drop anchor on the sandbar out there, lay back in my little aluminum craft, and think about life. 

Always, my eyes drank in the scenery that encircled me:

deep blue water surrounding my boat, 
stretching out to endless weeping willows along the shore 
to whipsy white clouds at the horizon 
topped by a perfect powder blue dome.

And when my imagination was fully fired up - which was often - I would stare at the clouds and imagine snow-covered mountain ranges hiding within them. I could almost convince myself that the peaks were there, and as much as I lived my lake life, I yearned for those mountains too.

At first, the varying waves and intricate patterns of the rolling deep captivated my attention, until I noticed a solid white bulge in the clouds to the left.  That, my friends, is our beloved Mount Rainier, and any day when the clouds part and she presents her pretty face is a good day indeed.

Now I live near Puget Sound - a protected inlet of the Pacific Ocean on which Seattle is located. On a gorgeous summer-like day this week, two of my daughters and I decided to take a pleasure cruise across the Sound on a Washington State Ferry. As we strolled around the windswept upper deck, I found myself drawn to a sunny railing on the lee side of the ship where I fell deep into thought. 

My eyes drank in the scene: 

deep blue water around my boat,
stretching out to the triangle-y tree tops along the shore
to whispy white clouds at the horizon
topped by a perfect powder blue dome.

But this time, I didn't need my imagination to conjure up snow-capped mountains playing peek-a-boo within those clouds. There they were, as real as can be, in all their majestic glory - Mount Baker to the northeast, Mount Rainier to the southeast, and the Olympic Range spilling along the horizon to the west. 

And my soul was sweetly, deeply, profoundly satisfied. 

The Mountain, as the locals call her, dwarfs the city skyline as she appears to float above the horizon. 

As I stood there in the snapping winds, my mind turned over and over the remarkably similar circumstances, the almost-prophetic adventures of my youth. 

Lying back in my rowboat, decades ago, did I somehow know what my future would hold?

Were my imaginings some sort of vision or just a lucky coincidence of how my life would eventually unfold?

Did it matter that I dreamed of mountains? Did my yearnings somehow influence my life's decisions, even though my conscious mind would insist they did not?

Baker looms on the northern horizon, close to the Canadian border, and her subtle presence among the low-lying clouds is exactly the vision of my youth.

Ultimately, I decided, it doesn't matter.

Premonition or no premonition, 
Coincidence or not,

I am here

floating in a sea of blue
surrounded by endless trees,
tufted with white clouds
hiding snowy-peaked mountains
under a dazzling blue sky.

And this is exactly where I belong. 

The ridge of the Olympic Mountains appears blue in the afternoon sun, but their jagged snow-covered peaks definitely make me feel at home. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dear Mormon Mom

This is where I was working when your son spied me 
and confidently strolled over to greet me. 

Dear Mormon mom,

Your son stopped by my house the other day.

I know he's been out on mission for a while so let me fill you in.

He looked good.

Shiny shoes,
neat hair cut,
brushed teeth.

I was wrestling with a unwieldy rose bush as he and his partner approached. Excitedly, they asked if they could help with my project. If I had let them, I'm sure they would have laid aside their bibles, loosened their ties, and worked until they sweated through their crisp white dress shirts. But I turned down their offer, laid aside my clippers and launched at them a barrage of questions about their work as missionaries and how their adventure was unfolding.

Your son stood up straight, looked me in the eye, and smiled as we talked.

As your son stood and talked, this bounty of wood hyacinth prepared to bloom on his right.

We had a great conversation. They've been away from home for a few months now, still getting into their routine, growing accustomed to ongoing changes as they move from place to place, working with different partners, meeting new people. Though I assured them that I've already got plenty of Jesus in my life, they walked me through their approach to sharing the good news, offering me a booklet and asking me what I thought about the picture on the cover.

Your boy was confident, caring and calm.

Stepping stones.

During our chat, I let on about you. I mentioned that I have several friends who are Mormon moms with sons out on mission and that sometimes, my friends worry about their son's well-being. Both boys smiled understandingly and said, "Tell your friends not to worry. We take pretty good care of ourselves." They told me about a pair of local doctors who provide free medical care and one boy said to the other, "If you don't stop hiccuping so much, I think you better call them."

These guys look out for each another.

Another topic of conversation: how fortunate your son was to be placed for his mission in this naturally beautiful corner of the country.

We talked for maybe fifteen minutes. As we began to say our goodbyes, I reached for my clippers and the boys took one more shot. "Are you sure we can't help you with this yard work?" they politely asked.

"Thanks but no," I explained. "This is my therapy."

"Oh, it's our therapy too," your son said.

I thought that was adorable.

But in the end, they strode off together, that pair of eighteen-year-old Elders, sincere ambassadors for the Latter-Day Saints and all-around good men.

This heap of thorny trimmings is less than half of what I cut away from that troublesome rose bush, and I've got the scars to prove it. I'm happy to report that your son escaped unscathed. 

Mom, I know it's hard to be so far away from your son, with the lines of communication cut to a bare minimum. There are plenty of things for a mother's mind to worry about and good reasons for concern.

But trust me. Your son is doing just fine.

And he totally made my day.

Sincerely, Diane

* * * * *

P.S. Wait. Young women can be LDS missionaries too? Then all my sentiments apply also to them and the mothers who love them. Don't worry, Mormom moms: I'll keep an eye out for your girl!

Heart-Shaped Happiness


I have always been a sucker for heart-shaped things.

Ever since they were tiny, my girls clued into this love of mine and during their childhood, were forever bringing me heart-shaped things.

Heart-shaped rocks.
Heart-shaped cookies.
Heart-shaped art.
Heart-shaped shells.
Heart-shaped flowers.

Yesterday, my second-born rushed into the kitchen with a sparkle in her eye. "Look what I found in your bathroom." And with ceremony, she handed me over this perfect heart-shaped leaf, left over from a retired eucalyptus bouquet.

Though they have long since grow up, my daughters still know exactly what makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Holes

Lately I've been arranging for men to put holes in my walls, and then other men to come and patch those holes up.


The hole maker is my long-time friend, Darrin, father of my favorite boys and electrician extraordinaire. He graciously moved my ceiling fixture so it now hangs properly centered over my table, and scooted up the light switch by a few inches to allow for my new marble back splashes.

I paid him not in cash but in a bottomless pit of grilled cheese sandwiches, apple slices and cookies for his six growing boys, who came along to supervise the work.That's what I call a win-win.


The hole patcher is my new painter, Marty, who came to me recommended by one of my math families. Small world - he's a pastor at a local church and we discovered a surprising number of friends and acquaintances in common. He tells me that he has six kids and ten grandchildren, though I served grilled cheese sandwiches to none of them. Maybe next time.

Now with the help of these two fine gentlemen, the necessary holes in my walls have been both made and repaired. And you'd think I would be ready to leave well enough alone.

But now we have discovered water damage behind the family room wall, and I've begun the process of taking bids for new men to come and make new holes in my walls...these men are called moisture mediators and they will undoubtedly make a mess of things. So I'm also looking for construction guys to eventually come and put my walls right again.

Looks like my game of Holes isn't over just yet.



You've got to gooo and dig those holes.
Dig it uh uh oh. Dig it.

Monday, April 4, 2016

On Writers and Talkers

"Writing is really very easy. Tap a vein and bleed onto the page. 
Everything else is just technical." - Derrick Jensen

Some people are natural-born talkers.

Fluidly and fluently, they express their thoughts out loud, reaching for words only to find them waiting on the the tips of their tongues, setting them free on a spoken breeze.

These types generally find the process of writing things down to be a bit cumbersome. Too slow. Too unwieldy. The words stick to the page - physical or digital - in a weighted-down way that loses their shimmering qualities and takes the fun out of discourse.

I think this is a lovely way to be.

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public." - Paulo Coelho

But different are the gifts of the writers. We - for I dare to count myself among them - come at communicating from a divergent angle. We find our words not at the tips of our tongues but from a place much deeper inside, and we need time to let those thoughts slowly bubble up from within. Kind of like a good burp.

Putting our ideas down on paper is a vital step in the process of communication. We need to look them over, rearrange this bit and that, make sure that the pieces fit together just so. To blurt them out prematurely is to lose control over our meaning - there's no way to take back a spoken word and reshape it properly. Our writer's hearts feel a strong responsibility to get the word, the sentence, the whole paragraph right the first time.

This, too, is  a perfectly nice way to be.

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about but the inner music that 
words make." - Truman Capote

Now, certainly there are some ambidextrous types are clever enough to do both well. They find writing and talking to feel equally agreeable, and my hat is off to them.

And perhaps there are some interesting ways in which talkers feel misunderstood by writers. I'm open to that idea.

But what's on my mind today is the notion, often held by talkers, that writers should be able to talk in the same way that they write, if only they would put down their pencils long enough to do so.

Mmm. I see the logic in that idea. But we just don't work like that.

(And it's not that all writers are introverts, and all talkers are extroverts. The spectrum of social engagement preferences is a whole nother kettle of fish which I will not attempt to fry today.)

The simple truth is that writers talk differently than they write.

"Write a wise saying and your name will live forever." - Anonymous

We can't help it. Oh sure, we can carry on our fair share of chit-chat and conduct business just fine. But if you really want to pry under our hoods and get our thoughts about the deeper, more intricate aspects of life, we might not offer up a spectacular conversation. It's not that we aren't interested; we're just built for something different than the fire hose of oral speech.

So talkers, please don't take it personally when the writers in your life clam up a bit in face-to-face conversation. We're just wired that way.

And if you really want to know what a writer is thinking, you can always drop us a line.

Spring Break


Fresh.
Sweet.
Juicy.
Unexpectedly delicious. 

If there is a day that tastes just like a bowl of red, ripe strawberries, then it must be the first morning of spring break.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Definition Of Resting


^Welcome to my freshly pressure-washed front porch. 


^ Yes, it's still damp in places, and there are plenty of errant leaves and wandering clumps of dirt. But you can now clearly make out the stones in the paving - whereas before you saw only shades of grey - and that is dramatic improvement.



^ This whole messy project owes its timing to this green sculpture. I caught sight of it while wandering around a store over a week ago, and resisted at first its siren call. Using one of my tried-and-true anti-impulse shopping techniques, I went home empty handed and tried to forget about this forbidden love. When Monday morning came, and I was still obsessed, I knew I was ready to commit to the purchase. 

I have no regrets. 


^ Someone who hates loud machines and spraying water suffered through a long afternoon. Of course, he was duly rewarded with a nice long walk, though he had to cool his heels through this photo session to boot. 

* * * * *

Saturday morning:

10 a.m. Wake up feeling like crap. The cold I've been fighting off all week has taken hold and my head feels full of concrete. I need more sleep. 

1 p.m. Still feel terrible but I'm missing out on Saturday. I need to get up but I'll be sure to take it easy. 

2 p.m. So far, so good. I'm dressed and fed, and I cleaned the bathrooms. As long as I'm up and moving, I might as well do something productive. 

Pressure washes the driveway and sidewalk for five hours. 

7 p.m.  Wait. I'm muddy, soaked to the skin, and pretty sure these chills I'm getting are not a good sign. Even though I haven't finished the job, maybe I should call it a day. 

8 p.m. Showered and wrapped in a blanket, drooping on the couch. Someone please bring me dinner. 

Hamburgers, movies, intermittent naps and rib-rattling coughs ensue. 

1 a.m. Awake again and feeling fresh. Hey, I think I'll finish that pressure washing job tomorrow.  

* * * * *

P.S. Sunday evening:

This cold is still getting the best of me. But I managed complete my soggy task and that sweet success makes me feel on top of the world.

I didn't get much rest over the weekend. But I have absolutely no regrets.