Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Summer Lessons

My summer has come to a close. Time flew by quicker than I could have imagined. I am glad I didn't have a job this summer and I had the opportunity to work on our house, reignite my writing career, and spend time with my family. I walked my dog twice a day, did a little painting, and tried a few new restaurants too. During the school year, teacher life occupies most of my time. I know you often hear about how teachers don't make enough money to work the ridiculous hours they work and how teachers are under appreciated and how teachers get so mad when people say things like, "It must be nice to have summer off." Well, it is all true. The school year was exhausting so a "relaxing" summer was just what the doctored.

That said, teachers never stop learning, even when they are on vacation. Here are some of the things I learned over summer break:

1. Breathe Right strips do not work for everyone.
2. Buffalo sauce is not necessarily the best thing for your dog to consume. You should be prepared to let said dog out into the yard fairly soon after you have shared your buffalo chicken sandwich with the pup.
3. Reading is fundamental.
4. Sleep comes quicker when you ban electronics from your bedroom. Unless, of course, you keep getting up and going out to the kitchen to check your phone. Then you might be up all night.
5. Feelings are feelings. Nobody can say they aren't real. (Well, they CAN say it but they might be complete assholes too.)
6. Surprising me might be the worst idea EVER. I will ruin it every time.
7. Everything is not Mike Matheny's fault. Everything is John Mozeliak's fault. (Ok, this might not be a cold, hard fact but... it's what I believe.)
8. Writers must write every day. It doesn't matter if it is a grocery list, you must create. You also must know how to use commas and how to make sure your subjects and verbs agree.
9. Xanax can easily be replaced by long walks with your dog, if you have the time to make that happen.
10. The beard gang is serious about their beards. But they make me hot just looking at their hairy faces in July.
11. Carjackers are either brave or crazy. But if you come by to take my car, I am going to give you the keys AFTER I practically talk you to death.
12. 100 degrees is just too hot to do anything. If you need me on a 100 degree day, you can find me on the couch.
13. Sometimes you have to mute the people by whom you are completely entranced. That kind of one-sided fondness is dangerous because it delays your possibilities.
14. My number one goal from here on out is to become independently wealthy. I want to have so much money that I can spend it anytime on anything I want. I might still teach though. Working while rich has got to be a blast.
15. Washing your car is a sacrifice to the rain gods.
16. Maybe we are all not meant to be friends. Maybe I am working too hard toward a unity we will never see. But I will not stop being who I am no matter who you are.
17. Cheese is life. Sometimes.
18. Inspiration is all around you.
19. I would do anything for puppies and babies. OMG.
20. I am looking forward to hanging out with 10th graders this year. I used to hate teenagers. Now, I can't imagine my life without them.

That's probably just the tip of the iceberg but I think it has been an educational break. Now... back to the books!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

In the Garden

"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes." -Unknown

When I was a little girl, the piece of yard beside our garage was a little garden tended by my father. Small, round watermelons sprung up there along with big, juicy tomatoes and radishes and green onions. There were cucumbers and peppers and tall stalks of corn. Dad cultivated the land and guided the food to fruition. Sometimes, when everything was ripe, he would take us through his masterpiece and allow us to harvest parts of our dinner.

Early this Spring, I decided I wanted to try to carry on the gardening tradition. I had some rose bushes removed, tilled some soil, and started with seeds in the house that I transplanted after the last frost. It was a slow and steady process but now I have real plants in the garden. I am awaiting my first harvest. 

There is something so satisfying about growing things. Seeing it burst forth from the ground and reach slowly toward the sky. Watering, feeding, weeding... It's hard work.

I can't wait to taste that first tomato.

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity." -Lindley Karstens


It's Not That Deep

And then he said, "If it's not important, I just don't archive it."

Stunned, I sat quietly. Just 24 hours prior, I had spilled my guts, my innermost thoughts, and one of the most precious untold stories of my life to him and he failed to "archive" it. He neglected to commit it all to memory because, I suppose, it was not important.

Desperation and loneliness opens us to vulnerabilities we might have better avoided when feeling more secure. It causes us to reach out to people who might not have our best interests in mind or who honestly just don't care. And I was desperate and feeling lonely, missing my dearest friends who weren't around. I was desperate for my friendship with him to be more than just seeing each other quarterly and joking over texts and phone calls once every other month when we talked as if we were besties but... it really wasn't that deep.

Our relationship lived on the surface. After pondering for a while, I realized I didn't know what his favorite food was or if he ever had a dog or where he would travel if he could go anywhere in the world. I didn't know if he preferred Target or Walmart or how often he went grocery shopping. I didn't know if he could cook or why he really broke up with his last girlfriend because the stories were vague and full of his made up cliches that I, quite frankly, didn't even really understand.

There was a time when we were seemingly close, hanging out all of the time, and I thought, maybe we would be friends. Maybe we would eventually be more. Maybe not. But it was fun and stress free and no strings attached. Oh my God... It was fun and stress free and no strings attached.

We must be aware of what others have to offer and we have to decide if that is enough before we spill out the serious and stressful details of our life only to discover that it's not important enough to archive. Because if we don't, we might set the bar of expectations for everyone as high as we do for our best friend or our lover or even ourselves. And that leads to disappointment which is the last thing you need to pile onto a desperate, lonely day.