Bless you, Mom.

July 26, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Posted in I'm related to these people., Salt of the Earth, We Have a Bear on our State Quarter | 2 Comments
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I love my Mom.  She’s the best because she hasn’t killed any of us yet. 

Perhaps I should explain.  Here is the latest family episode where my mother, in a miracle of self-control and good humor, did not murder anyone:

Yesterday, my mom woke up to rainwater streaming down on her from my dad’s rain gear as he peered down on her and demanded to know where the net was.  Please recall that my father is a commercial fisherman.  His rain gear is way fishy.  The rain gear wake-up call is not one to be savored.  However, my mom heroically put rain gear over her pajamas and went sloshing around in the yard to find the net.  Please recall, again, that my father is a commercial fisherman.  We have lots of nets in the yard.  Like, there are more miles of net out there than calories in a Wendy’s Toffee Coffee Twisted Frosty, which if you haven’t had, you need to.  Because you are slowly dying inside without one.  Go right now.  I will still be here when you get back.  You may thank me then.

And give a shout out to my mother.  Because I still have a dad.

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Anything not tied down…

June 23, 2009 at 10:10 PM | Posted in Adventures in S-Land, Intentions | Leave a comment
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We’re undergoing a massive purge here at Chateau Stephanie.  It started with a simple bookcase dusting, and now has spread to an every room in the house attack plan.  This is what happens when I don’t have a job (which is glorious, by the way).

When I first moved into this house, I had a cat, a cell phone, two houseplants, two bookshelves with my college books, a bed, table, and clothes.  That was it.  The grand sum of my domestic assets which wasn’t bad, but not enough to furnish a house.   I have more assets now.   As people I knew moved and redecorated, I ended up with a houseful of their castoffs (for which I am truly grateful).   And I did a little time at my local Value Village and Salvation Army thrift stores (I’m most thankful for those establishments).

However, gratuity is not a good reason to hang onto six bookcases.  Nor is it a good reason to keep clothes I’m not wearing, books I’m not reading, and pictures that I’m not looking at.  So, the war is on.

Currently, I’m purging my office.  I love having an office.  It makes me sound important.  Office.  As if I do big brainy things in there like draft novels and revise doctorates instead of shopping on eBay and wrapping presents.  And here’s the office problem: my brother’s castoff computer desk.  The thing weighs as much as The Black Thing, even without a full tank of gas.  And it has that hole where a computer monitor is supposed to go which would be fabulous if I had a computer with a monitor.  What the heck do you do with a desk that has a monitor hole? 

I know what I do with it.  Disassemble and send to the Salvation Army.  Woo-hoo! 

Soon, I will have breathing room.  Soon, Precious, soon.

I’m beginning to think that Santa is a jerk.

February 3, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Posted in Another Day Another Dollar | Leave a comment
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When I was a kid, a family friend told me that Christmas came faster for her than it did for me since time goes faster for adults.  I remember standing next to the dishwasher in my Wonder Woman pajamas, looking at her with a mixture of awe and envy.  She had conquered time travel!  She got to open presents sooner than I did!

Like so many things older people have told me, it’s totally true.  These days, time rolls on while I frantically start flailing faster to try and get it all done.   It’s already after 7 this evening.  And all I’ve  accomplished is dinner. 

Seems like sort of a raw deal, St. Nick.  Christmas (and everything else) comes sooner, but there seems to be less and less time to take care of the everyday: the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the mail, the papers to grade, the papers to grade, the papers to grade. 

Of course, there are some tradeoffs.  Adults get to eat spaghetti for breakfast if they feel like it.  They can stay up late and finish a good book without having to hide a flashlight under the covers.  And they get to lord over kids who are desperate for Christmas to come.  So I guess it’s not so bad.

Still, I wish I could hang a stocking and find a few more hours inside.  Just enough to help me become the superhero that my life wants me to be.

This would be much easier if I still had those Wonder Woman pajamas.

I remember that walk.

January 24, 2009 at 9:22 PM | Posted in Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment
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It’s not often that I get choked up in the Post Office.  Normally, I zip in and out to pick up my mail, or stare blandly out the window with everyone else as we wait in line to buy stamps or pick up our latest eBay purchase.  But today, my godmother’s walk was there.

I heard it before I saw it–a rhythmic limp with each foot hitting the floor heavily and sort of rolling forward.  The woman walking up past the Post Office line looked nothing like my godmother–no twisted knot of dark hair wisped back from her face, her nose wasn’t delicate and pointy, and there was no amethyst ring glittering on her hand.  And I bet she didn’t know how to spin sugar into icing roses either.

It was awfully prosaic to mail packages after my moment in reverie.  I mean, how do you just jump back into your daily errands after a part of a loved one goes by?  Shouldn’t there be some harp music or some floaty clouds or something?

Then again, my godmother was from Boston.  She’d prefer that I stop mooning around and get something done today.

Keeping it Virtual

January 16, 2009 at 6:10 AM | Posted in Salt of the Earth | Leave a comment
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A little less than a year ago, I got an email telling me that my grandfather’s barn is “a burning pile of rubble.”  I know that progress is important, and I realize that to keep the farm my grandfather loved and worked going, some changes will need to be made.  I know that working environments are neither museums nor amusement parks and that when something wears out, it needs to be replaced so that work can continue.  I know that visiting my grandparents for a few weeks in the summer doesn’t give me any authority to judge the way things operate.  But I really hate the image of that barn as burning trash.

The barn didn’t just seem like something out of another time–it really was.  It was built over a hundred years ago, which didn’t make it anything special for Iowa where everything seems to be well-settled and deep-rooted, but to me it was like a sea tortoise–old, rare, and worthy of protection.  Instead of being bleached grey by wind and water, the barn remained red (of course) despite the fact that no one ever seemed to paint it.  It had changeable rules too, as any building being governed by wild cats is likely to have.  Sometimes it was full of hay, and sometimes it wasn’t.  Sometimes there would be a mound of corn that shifted underfoot and filled shoes, and sometimes there wouldn’t be.  Sometimes it housed cattle, sometimes pigs, recently horses, and sometimes the only living things that I could see were mice and swallows.  Always there were massive boards that had survived lightning strikes and rope swings and a huge loft that seemed to have its own dark expanse of sky wide enough for the swallows to do speed drills.

I’ll refrain from romanticizing further since the decision is a work-related one, and my grandfather was a big fan of hard work.  I have just one last comment:

My grandfather’s barn did not end in rubble.  I’m keeping it here.

I ran, I ran so far away.

January 14, 2009 at 5:58 AM | Posted in Run Run Run | Leave a comment
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Winter is my favorite time to run.  Partly because the air is carrot-crispy and fresh, partly because there are fewer people on the trails, partly because snow cushions each footfall, but mostly because I get to wear fleece headbands.

Fleece headbands are the greatest not for their 1982 fashion sensibilities, but for their virtue in keeping my iPod earbuds/phones/whatever in my ears.  I think there’s something wrong with my ears.  I cannot keep earbuds/phones/whatever in them.  It’s like the earbuds/phones/whatever have opposite polarity to my ear canal and, inevitably, the ear-whatevers fall out just as Tone Loc is really getting funky.  

I find this annoying.

So, viva fleece headbands.  Now where are my slouchy socks and legwarmers?

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