Monday, January 26, 2009

10, 9, 8, 7, 6....

I have counted down for as long as I can remember. Count down to camp, vacation, school start dates (yes, I was one of those people), school END dates, sleepovers, family visiting from Texas, birthdays... all of it. Once it went on the calendar, the counting began.

The tradition is something that I never quite stopped. In college I would once again count down to vacations and trips, finals, papers, going home, going back to college, the cycle never quite ending. What I remember though is having a moment of panic as my four year stint was ending. WHAT was I going to do? WHERE was I going to go? WHO was I going to be? I was clueless. The countdown was no longer helpful or fun, but instead a reminder of what was NOT waiting for me.

I did at that moment what seemed to be reasonable- I called my mom. Some background: My mom is not a here sit down let me pity you for hours and days. She does not let me wail and mourn. She does, however, give me the kick in the pants that I generally need. She did the same on that day.

"Where are you now?"
"At school."
"Who are you now?
"A student."
"What should you be doing now?"
"Then that's what you do. You be where you are. You do what you have in front of you to do. Wherever you are- be there."

And it was true. Wherever I was at that time, that's where I needed to be. Where I was going, well, I would know what came next when I got there.

I remember that even now as I am making my lists and setting my calendar and planning my days out. It is easy to look ahead, but it is good to enjoy where you are, otherwise there are moments and times that you could miss. Sometimes it's the smallest things...

So, let's remember the past, look forward to the future, but live in today.

Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night's potato?
~From the television show Boston Common

Nothing is worth more than this day.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Never let the future disturb you.
You will meet it, if you have to,
with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
~Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Writer Within- And the Dork Girl that lives on!

In high school I took a creative writing class. It was really a test of my ability to write and think and imagine. I would go to bed at night with a pen and paper on the shelf beside me. There was always this possibility that I would wake up, struck by a thought or a phrase or story that I had to immediately jot down, lest I forget once I would go back to sleep.

I say all this because in my quest for organization I found my folder from my creative writing class. For fun, (really for myself) I decided to post one of these stories out here. As I'm reading it now, I find it completely hysterical. Keep in mind that I wrote this story some 14 years ago. This particular assignment was a story that we had to create from a child's fairy tale.

Little Pink Riding Garment
(My real story even has pictures!)

Many, many years ago in a small village far, far away there lived a little girl. She was a sweet child with blond, curly hair. The people of the town called her Little Pink Riding Garment.
"It's because I wear green dresses," she would explain.
One day Bullwinkle, (which was the little girl's nickname) was informed by her mother that her grandmother was sick.
"Now Bullwinkle," her mother explained, "I need you to take your grandmother this toolbox. She has an awful stomach ache and in the morning she's going to have the doctor pull off her little toe to make her feel better."
"Okay mother," she replied, and she was off. The little girl skipped along quietly until she got to the edge of the forest where a pretty little stream flowed along next to the path. The little girl sat down the toolbox and began to call for her friend.
"Here Wolfy, Wolfy. Her boy, don't be scared." A big lion jumped out from behind a tree.
"Oh there you are Wolfy!" Bullwinkle exclaimed. "I need to go to Grandmother's house, and since you can swim, I wondered if you would let me sit on your back while you swam to her house?"
The lion replied, "What a big nose you have!" (He was a little stupid.)
"Good, it's settled then," Bullwinkle replied and they were off.
When they arrived at Grandmother's house Bullwinkle knocked on the door.
"Come in," Grandmother replied.
"I brought the toolbox you needed, and I have a little time before I need to leave and so I was wondering if you would care for a game of Old Man?" Bullwinkle asked.
"Of course we can play a card game," Grandmother answered, "but only if you let Wolfy eat me first."
"It would be my pleasure," Wolfy said. Then he swallowed her in one gulp.
Well, after a while the neighbor woodcarver came over and turned Wolfy upside down to shake Grandmother out. He was just in time because immediately after Grandmother hit the floor, the timer went off.
"My doggie treats are done!" Grandmother said with glee. "We can eat them while we play the game!"
So they all sat down to play as a twister ripped through the town sending the four friends to the tropics of Alaska where they lived, happily ever after, scrapping ice off igloos and watching reruns of "Gilligan's Island."
The End
(I got an A)

Monday, January 12, 2009

In with the Old and out with the New, er, well....

Well, you know what I'm saying.
Obviously my retrospective perspective is running late seeing as it's now the 12th of January.
The new year has arrived bringing with it, all its new glory. For those internet surfers, blog readers, resolutions are all around and along with it, promises of a beautiful new year. For myself, I decided a few years ago to instead of making New Year's Resolutions, to instead make New Day's Resolutions. The concept is basically the same, but instead of WAITING until the next year (which would be several hundreds of days from now) when there is something that I want to change or do, I decide or resolve to change right then and there.

It's also evident that people decide that the end of a season is a great time to evaluate that season's past. Avid sports watchers/participators are among the thousands of those who review what happened, what should have happened, what should not have happened. A week ago at church, the pastor spoke about a tradition that his family has. Before the new year, as they are assembled in one location for the holidays, they each take time to reflect on the previous year and write out a list of 10 blessings that they experienced over the year. They then all come together and read through their lists.

That started me thinking. Of course, I'm excited about what is coming. Cindy will cringe at this but, you know as they say, "Life was great in '08, but life will be fine in '09." There is my birthday (15 days), and endless possibilities are stretching out in front of me. But this past year was not bad either. I started putting together a list of things that I would consider 2008 Highlights.

In no particular order here are some of my favorite memories, blessings from 2008!

  • Secrets, secrets, secrets. Christmas this year was very fun for me! I loved finding presents for my family and waiting for them to open them on Christmas morning!
  • Thanksgiving. I made a turkey, and my mom and aunt and I basically cooked and talked all weekend.
  • My mom's second sister came to Indiana to visit. We (my mom, dad, brother, aunt, other aunt and cousin) all sat huddled together in my parent's living room watching bad movies, just being together. Then of course, there was more cooking and pictures!
New Friends
  • Oh, Charlotte! What great adventures that city brought me this year. Of course most of my new friends that I made in Charlotte were actually from here in Chi land, but that's perfect because I got to bring my new buddies back with me! I could name them, but there are many, so I don't want to leave anyone out. However, cheers to eating out, walking, movies, malls, The Biltmore, Nakatos, Shirley Temples, long drives, beautiful weather, the Vic card, playgrounds, Jessica Fletcher, having a chauffeur just about every where I went, and sweet tea!
Old Friends and Best Friends
  • I saw my Melissa twice this year. That involved eating at Cheddars, shopping, and online harassment of people we once knew! There was also a sunburn, and some limping, but it was all worth it!
  • I met up with one of my friend's from high school. It was so nice catching up and remembering. Somehow a lot of things happened that my brain doesn't remember , but my old friends, I do!
  • To "the Gang"! This has been quite the year, and I'm sure this next year will be better! "Hip Hooray" (as my little friend Jessica says) for the beach, Kenosha and the theater, dance parties in parking lots and upstairs lofts, Cracker Barrel, folding clothes, watching movies, Chilis (and the chips and ranch)!
Lastly, Here are some quotes to help us bring in the new year:
  • There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting. - Buddha
  • The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
  • Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. - Meister Eckhart
  • Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be. - Marsha Petrie Sue
And finally:
  • You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip. - Jonathan Carroll
Here's to you 2009! Can't wait to see what you have for me!