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Weaving

Weaving.

I have two very different things to talk about today so I am going to try my best to weave them together.

The first thing I want to share with you is about a visit I made to a classroom yesterday that just was delightful. There is this amazing woman, Grace, aptly named, who has started a before school club for the boys and girls at her elementary school. The kids come in before school to knit and crochet. If they don’t know how, Grace teaches them. If they do, they work on their projects.

The second thing I have to talk about is poop. I could start off with the poop, but I’m pretty sure it is a law that it be number 2 since it is poop. So, I’ll come back to that.

So, back in August I think it was just as we were kicking off the school year, I got this email from a woman, Grace, saying something like, “I heard from a cashier at the store that you make scarves for the homeless.” Then she told me about the club she had started so that students at her school have a place to be and something to do before school starts each day. She invited me to come visit. I was finally able to go yesterday morning.

When I walked in, there was this group of probably 15 or so kids. Grace said it was a small group because it was also yoga day. She usually has around 20 students, sometimes more if the weather is cold. There was this great, comfortable buzz of conversation as students worked and talked to each other. The room contains cubbies full of color-coded yarn and all sorts of other things. Grace looks over the technology for the campus so there are things there for her ‘real’ job as well.

As I talked with Grace and the students, I just felt so happy and peaceful. What a lovely thing she has started. The kids are doing something they love, practicing the art of conversation, and getting some academic benefit. As Grace pointed out, you need math to count and measure. You can write about crocheting. Some teachers have even shared that they see an increase in focus from students who participate.

I asked one young lady what she liked most about her knitting and she said, “I just get to relax and be myself.”

That’s big.

We all know our kids live in a chaotic, uncertain world filled with noise, and screens and ever-changing demands. While we may remember being 8, or 10, or 12, we were never 8 or 10 or 12 in 2018. I believe in my heart that what Grace has started will benefit every single student who comes through her door and that for some, it will be life-changing.

I gave them a scarf that they added to their warm tree of items that will be donated this winter to those in need, and I left feeling happy. It would have been a bright spot in any day, but it turned out to be really the very best part of yesterday by far.

My next stop was the dentist.

I know, I know. I said poop was number 2. Hang on. I’ll get to it.

So, at the dentist my blood pressure was way up and it just didn’t go down all day. The dentist originally thought I had a big problem with one of my teeth. It turned out to be just an old filling that looked weird to her on the x-ray, but it was stressful for a while. I was already nervous. I hadn’t been to the dentist in a couple of years. (I know!) I have been trying to take better care of myself and so I made an appointment for the dentist, I got my yearly mammogram, I scheduled an eye exam and last week, I went to my doctor and had a physical.

Well, like I said, my BP was up, really very dangerously high even after I left the dentist and got to my meeting and my boss sent me home. I called my doctor’s office and went back on another medication to add to what I am taking, and finally got it back down.

I’m feeling much better.

So today, I pulled out my to do list I had made a few days ago. I figured I could get a few things crossed off. The first item was PPU. That means Porch Pick Up. It was an item I got off a Buy Sell Trade Board and I had to go pick it up today. Good. Check. The next item said prescrips. I had prescriptions to pick up today. Ironically, my BP refill. Awesome. On it. The third item…well it looked like it simply said ‘poop.’

I stared at the word.

Now I could not for the life of me figure out why I would have written poop on my to do list. That isn’t an item that I need to be reminded of. I figured it maybe just looked like the word poop in my scrawl and maybe it was something else…but I could not remember what. So, I posted it on social media and asked my friends if they had any ideas. I know I have clever friends and I enjoyed the responses. But then I remembered! Oh my God. It DID say poop!

Suddenly I wished I had not posted it, but too late. It’s out there and people want to know. So, brace yourselves.

You see friends, some of you know, and some of you don’t yet, that when you get to be a certain age, (oh how I hate that phrase…) there are things you have to think about that maybe you never thought of before.

Remember how I said I had my physical last week? Well. The doctor gave me this special little package to screen for any colon issues. The way they screen for that is to…erm…well…they check your poop. Now, believe it or not, there is a company that does this through the mail. So, you collect a …uh…a sample…following very specific instructions and then you MAIL IT IN-- I. Am. Not. Lying. To. You. --and in a few weeks your doctor gets your results.

Gives you a new appreciation for mail carriers doesn’t it?

Thankfully, it is a prepaid envelope so you don’t have to go to the post office and answer “Is there anything liquid, fragile, or perishable???” because I don’t know man. I don’t know how to answer that one.

Please be assured, it is very, VERY well sealed with multiple safeguards but still. Who knew. You can mail in your poop.

The last time I went through this process, there was an actual box that I left on the porch for FedEx to pick up and all I could think was about our rash of porch package thefts, and how very disappointed a thief would be to steal that package. Talk about karma.

Anyway.

There you have it. It was a reminder to me that that special little package is waiting for me to deal with. Apparently, I wrote it down because I thought I would forget.

And I did.

Poop.

Some days are like that. Beauty and joyfulness and then, something reminds you that not everything is roses. In fact, some things are VERY DIFFERENT from roses.

And that’s okay.

Let’s end on a different note though alright? Back to Grace’s room.
Before I left, she pulled out a weaving that her class made. It was a Saori weaving and just gorgeous. Saori is a Japanese style of weaving that is sort of free form. It doesn’t follow a pattern. It follows, your heart. To some it may look imperfect, but that is the beauty to be embraced. As with kintsugi, a way to repair a broken dish or pot that makes it even more beautiful than it was before, you don’t try to hide the parts that are different. You celebrate them. You put it all in there. Thin strands, thick uneven strands, different colors… you get the idea. And you get this random, unique bit of gloriousness BECAUSE it isn’t all perfect.

I feel like I’m trying too hard here. I know you all get it. I just don’t want to stop talking about it.

So, I will leave you with this. All of us on the planet have to deal with poop sometimes- literally sure but especially metaphorically. There are some incredible people on the planet doing things to help prepare kids to deal with difficult times. One of those people is Grace. She is doing so much more than teaching kids to knit and crochet. She is helping them see opportunity and beauty in a world that is often hard.

So, go and enjoy your evening! And if you get the chance, be like Grace.

Happy Saturday!

Leftovers

I’ve been sick for two weeks.

Nothing serious. One of those nagging things that just hangs on. I’ve been to the Doc and I’m feeling somewhat better. I’m mostly able to do what needs to be done.

I did have to go to the pharmacy the day before Thanksgiving to get another prescription, and since my pharmacy is inside a grocery store- well it was crazy busy in the parking lot and inside the store.

The pharmacists and staff where I go are really great. They remember my name, ask about my family, and look out for issues with my prescriptions. This time here was an issue with getting one of the prescriptions covered- it is a really pricey one. I’m talking $300 bucks pricey. They knew better than to fill it before talking it over with me. I appreciated that so much. And as busy as they were, they did not act rushed or frustrated with me.
While we were waiting on a call back, one of the staff asked me about Thanksgiving plans. I said I was cooking for some people. He then asked, “What is your specialty? What’s your signature dish?”

I just replied that I make most of the traditional dishes- nothing unique.

His question stayed with me all day though.

Do I NEED a signature Thanksgiving dish? Am I missing an important piece of tradition to pass on to my kids? OMG! Am I failing at the holidays?? I DON’T HAVE A SIGNATURE THANKSGIVING DISH!!

It’s silly. Honestly, I didn’t really panic so much as I reflected on it. I just thought it was a nice question. Personal, but not too personal. It indicated a level of interest. It was a good customer service/ relationship building question.

We do sometimes panic about that kind of silly thing in my experience though. Especially over the holidays when some of us put crazy, unreal expectations on ourselves.

Then the next day, after our Thanksgiving dinner was eaten and most of the dishes were done, my daughter asked if I was making the Turkey soup with the leftovers. I told her yes, that I was ordering the ingredients for the turkey tortilla soup as well as turkey pot pie and that we would also have turkey paninis and turkey nachos this week.

She was delighted.

That’s when it hit me.

My signature dish is. the. leftovers.

The leftovers are where I shine.

The leftovers are where I get to be creative.

The leftovers are what my family looks forward to the most.

I absolutely love this because, honestly, right now I am sort of operating on a system of leftovers. I find that all the pursuits I have put so much effort to in recent years, are now sort of relegated to happening in leftover bits of time. Writing, painting, upcycling stuff, decorating, traveling, crocheting the scarves, reading.

These things that feed my soul, don’t get a lot of time these days.

For those who may not know, after I finish my full-time day job, I am care-giver to my 2-year-old granddaughter most days and weekends. She is my heart and my joy, but there is no taking care of her as a ‘leftover’ pursuit. She is the main dish y’all. She is at the age where she needs constant supervision and interaction. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I know it won’t last. There will come a time all too soon in her life, that time with her old Mia will happen in her leftover moments. And you know what? I will cherish those too.
Until then, the ‘other’ stuff I want to do is relegated to leftover status. And I’m beginning to think that there is no reason to think of leftovers as somehow less than.

The things we spend our hours on shift throughout our lives. They are what matter most.
But the things we spend our minutes on, they matter too. We don’t give them up because we only have a few minutes for them. We just cherish them and hold them in our hearts until the next bit of leftover time comes along.

And, I remember, that without that big old Thanksgiving turkey there ARE NO LEFTOVERS. It’s all connected.

Ain’t that great?

SO love your turkey AND your leftovers.

They all have a place.

And we are so lucky to have them both.

My heart is full.

Now time to stir the soup.

Happy Sunday.

The Willful Child

"When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always silent during the test."

I read this recently online and I thought, well that is bullcrap.

Have you ever been in a Texas classroom when the STAAR test is being administered?

The teacher is not silent. She has a line to say as many times as required. Over and over. All day long.

Teachers reading this know what it is.

For the rest of you I will share it now:

“I can’t help you with that. Do the best you can.”

It may be a slight variation of that, but in general that is the message.

But God doesn’t work that way! When He is silent it is because, in my experience anyway, either I am not listening, or I don’t want to hear the answer He is giving me so I just keep asking again. Like I am reaching for another fortune cookie hoping to get a better message.

God is not a cookie.

He is always right the first time.

This morning I drove into work talking to God about some things weighing heavy on my heart. The main issue I have is that I deal with a very willful child every single day.

Oh- I don’t mean Z.

Though she is most certainly willful.

But she has only had a couple of trips around the sun. It is to be expected. It is who she is.

Last night we had the following conversation:

Z-Mia! I have an idea!
(Yes. I do know where she heard that one. It’s funny when the kids in your life open their mouths and you hear yourself talking…)

Me- You do? What is it!?

Z- I’m going to look in the mirror!

Me- Okay!

Z- Where is it? Where is the mirror?

Me- Right there Z, where is always is.

Z- I DON’T SEE IT!

Me- (Leading her over) Here is the mirror, see?

Z- I CAN’T FIND IT!

She then flung herself to the ground kicking and screaming and flailing.

I don’t know man.

It seems like there should be a joke or a platitude or something inserted here…You can lead a two year old to the mirror but you can’t make her look or something.

Anyway.

The willful child I am speaking of is not Z. It is me.

See I have an idea too.

I have this idea of how my life should be and it isn’t really lining up that way.

I had this conversation with God this morning:

Me: God, I feel like I am failing.

God: Weird. Why?

Me: I can’t get it all done! Help me get it all done!

God: Look Sherry, I’m not gonna give you more hours in the day than I gave everyone. The day has the right amount of hours. I already gave you the ability to prioritize.

Me: But…God! ALL THE PLATES ARE IN THE AIR!

God: Some of those plates are plastic.

Me:

God: Let them fall??

Me: Yeah, yeah. I get it.

You ever argued with God?
Heh.
So I changed the subject.

Me: Okay on the plates. But hey, God?

God: Yes?

Me: You know that thing I have been worrying about?

God: Which thing? Ha! Just kidding. Yeah I know, I’m God remember??

Me: Well, please don’t make me have to go through that thing.

God: If you go through it, I will go with you.


Well.
Y’all.
I felt like I was a two year old standing in front of a mirror refusing to look in.

I don’t know how I am going to handle all life throws at me, but I do know I have to stop being so willful.

Here is what I am thankful for. Never once has God ever said to me, “I can’t help you with that. Do the best you can”

What he says is “Do not be afraid. I will never leave you or forsake you. You. Can. Count. On. Me. Always.”

I have no better words so I will leave you with the rest of our conversation.

Me: God, I love you.
God: I love you too Sherry.

And he loves you too. Even if you do not know Him. But if you want an introduction, just let me know.
Amen?
Amen.

Typos and All

At the end of last year, 2017, I wrote a post about how I felt it was important to not hate the outgoing year and simply hope the new one would be better. I wrote that if nothing changes but the calendar, then chances were the new year but be pretty much the same as the old one. I talked about the importance of attitude and taking responsibility for your own happiness.

Then we rang in 2018.

In January my mom had a stroke.

In February my daughter, at the beginning of a painful divorce, moved in bringing my darlin Z and her two dogs, bringing the total of dogs in our home to four.
Her divorce was final in July.

Also in the summer, my adult son went through a period of homelessness and other challenges and my husband and I talked about divorce.

In August, my younger son crashed badly on his motocross bike and had a concussion which came with shockingly high medical bills.

Also in August, Z’s dog, the Great Dane, Atlas, was diagnosed with cancer and we began, for lack of a better phrase, hospice care.

In September we got a slab leak and had to move to a hotel while our bedroom was dug up.

Somewhere in the middle of the year Gav’s birth mom surfaced bringing stress and drama.

Those are some of the hard things this year brought.

Today is the first day back at home. We moved out of the hotel about 6:30 this morning while I was hacking up a lung because, oh yeah, forgot to mention, I am sick.

So the insurance adjuster called a bit ago. He commented on my froggy sounding voice and cough as we talked saying, “This has been a difficult week for you hasn’t it?”

I just had to laugh. He has no idea.

I told him yes, that this whole year had presented many opportunities to find happiness when it wasn’t always easy to spot.

He didn’t answer that right away.

I realize it wasn’t probably what he expected me to say. I realize also that sometimes I talk a little…weirdly. I’m okay with that.

When he did answer he said:

Well, 2018 only has a few more months and maybe next year will be better.

There it is again. That idea that some years are just bad. That a calendar change will make a difference. That I should—I guess—hold no expectations at all for the rest of September, and all of October, November and December and hang my hope for happiness on January 2019.

Bless his heart. He meant well.

Silly.

See, I think 2018 has been an absolutely amazing year!

I saw my mom recover from her stroke and got to spend some special time with her during her rehab. We have a complicated relationship and I will always treasure that time.
Gav has recovered from his crash.

My daughter Kelly became engaged to her wonderful boyfriend.

I released THREE books in 2018, my second novel and two Motocross books that Gav and I wrote. I was also published in an anthology of teacher stories and next month one of my stories will be published in one of those Chicken Soup books. Even better than the excitement of that, is getting to share it all with great friends.

My little free scarf project got some really fun publicity and great things are happening because of that.

I got to watch Z’s face the first time she saw the ocean.

And every day- Every. Single. Day. – I got to live knowing that I am saved by grace, that I have the gift of joy, love and friendship in my life, and that I can be grateful for every day I am given.

As I write this I am coughing. I am looking out my back door that is covered in smudges. My bed is in the living room because our bedroom floor is not finished. And I am listening to the TV in the next room talk about Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas. My husband has been put on standby by FEMA to deploy in response to the storm. I have nothing planned for dinner and I have not showered today.

I’m telling you, I feel grateful and joyful.

I also feel sad about some things. That’s okay too.

And now I have to go. Zoe is reaching for the keyboard with a smashed banana in her hands so I'm gonna post this typos and all--hey--that's a good title!

Grateful I say.
Happy Thursday.

Unbalanced.

Unbalanced.

You always hear about how you need to lead a balanced life. Work life balance. Eat a balanced meal. On and on. Possibly you feel like you are failing at this. I know I have felt that way. Well I am here to tell you how to avoid feeling that way.

Stop trying for balance.

No I mean it. And this isn’t my new idea. I did just read it again a couple of weeks ago though and it resonated again with my soul.

Balance is what keeps us right in the middle of the beam. Balance is the concept is what makes us feel guilty if we enjoy, live, experience, create, eat, whatever…too much of anything. It is an unattainable and an unworthy goal.

Sometimes the ‘too much’ is where the beauty is. I would rather live a great big, messy, rich, joyful, UNBALANCED life with a little bit of madness, than I would keep score of everything.

That means that sometimes I sit and make one scarf after another and don’t make dinner or read or sleep.

Sometimes I nap all day.

Sometimes I cook and bake and mess up every dish in the house.

Sometimes I read and don’t write.

Sometimes I write and don’t read.

And all of these are glorious.

If I start thinking, I need to finish one scarf, write one chapter, read to page 89, make a cherry tart, and be asleep by ten…well that becomes, to me, a boring list of chores. I would much rather lose myself in one meaningful activity than throw minutes at a lot things in the name of balance.

Need to work at home sometimes? No problem!

Have a sick kiddo and need to miss work? It’s okay!

Maybe I am just getting old, but I am determined to really LIVE each and every day I have left of my life. I do not mean to sound as if I have everything figured out. But people do ask me all the time how I do all the things that I do- work, write, the scarves (which are currently taking over my life in an adorable way) paint, travel, and whatever else. The answer is pretty simple: Do one of those things at a time. I may do more than one in a day. And, truthfully I am always writing- or thinking about writing- but really that is my answer. If I get ‘into’ something and I can’t let it go, I don’t worry about that. I just enjoy it.

I go to bed EXHAUSTED Every. Single. Night…and that is just fine with me.

I would rather be exhausted from things that add something good to the world than to know I got my baseboards scrubbed.

And that’s just me. If you get joy from clean baseboards, then DO THAT. Do not compare yourself with anyone else on the planet because that’s surefire way to kill your joy.

For me I guess I can sum it up in this quote from Charles Bukowski-
“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

Go crazy for the things that bring you joy friends. And don’t feel guilty if it isn’t balanced. Not one bit of guilt. There is not time for that.

Happy Thursday.

Jellyfish and Yarn Scraps

Two things on my mind today- yarn scraps and jelly fish.

A week or so ago I posted on a mom group I am a member of that I was looking for leftover yarn to make scarves. I crochet all year and then when the weather is cold, my son and I distribute them in the city.

The response was overwhelming. I think I have enough yarn now for several winter's worth of scarves. I had to take down the post even.

Yarn is one of those things that gets held on to for a project, or it belonged to a special family member who has passed on...it can be hard to get rid of. So, I felt very honored when several people messaged me that they wanted to give me the yarn that a special person had left behind. I am tryng to share pictures as I complete scarves with their yarn so they can see- and know that someone will be warmer this winter because of them.

I never, ever expected to get the amount of yarn I got. Yesterday there was a knock on the door and a lady and her husband were dropping off four large boxes! I just gave her a hug and then told her I hoped that was okay. I used the word overwhelmed and that is how I felt. Each bit of yarn is a reminder of the goodness in people.


This morning as I rummaged around in one of the boxes for some color combinations, I found several small balls of yarn in various colors- maybe 20 or so. I used them all in the same scarf. Had to keep tying on another length because they were short little bits. It is literally an entire scarf made of scraps.

And it is beautiful.

The scrap scarves are actually my favorite ones to make. There is no pattern and sometimes you think a color is not going to work, but then it gets crocheted in and looks gorgeous.


Like life. Sometimes there are all of these little pieces that don't seem to fit and maybe seem like scraps, but really they are the perfect addition to the fabric of the life we are living.

When I got up today, my last week of vacation, my grandbaby was screaming about getting a bath. Her mom was doing just what needed to be done, but Zoe wasn't happy about it. I got my coffee fixed and sat down. After her bath, my daughter fixed Z some food and a drink and handed her to me for a minute. There we both were on the couch. My daughter looked at us and laughed and said, "You both have the same expression on your face."

Z was saying, "I need cereal! I need cuppy!" and I was thinkng, "Dear Heavenly Father I need coffee..." and the funny thing was, Z's cereal and cup were right there waiting for her. And my coffee was in my hand. We already had just what we needed.

Also, so often, just like life.

So we had our cereal and coffee and I made a pretty scarf.

Then Z looked at me and said, "I need jellyfish."

She saw a jelly fish for the first time last week when we visited the ocean. I do not have a jellyfish in the house. That I know of anyway. So her memory of jellyfish for now will just have to do.

Again. Like life.

Friends, today I wish you coffee, jellyfish, cereal...what ever it is you are needing. I pray you will see the beauty in what looks like scraps and that you will find those blessing hiding right in front of you. I am making more scarves, with the hope that my son will be with me to distribute them this winter.

But first. I think. A nap.

Happy Monday.

Ancient Astronaut Theorists

Ancient Astronaut Theorists
There is a show on tv every friday on the ScyFy channel about aliens. Why it isn't spelled SciFi , no one will ever know. But anyway. The narrator is amazing. It isn't his fault- I know he is just reading the script...but when I hear his voice I think "Incoming! Faulty logic." Because y'all. Every week it is the same thing. There is a ridiculous premise in the form of a question, then the answer that 'ancient astronaut theorists think yes,' and then the rest of the show is built on the belief that the premise in question is true. For example (from my imagination/memory): The city of New Orleans is built below sea level. Could that be because it was built by...dun dun duh...dramatic pause...ALIENS??? (It makes me think of Dana Carvey's church lady I swear...could it be...SATAN?) And then for the rest of the show they assume NOLA was in fact built by aliens.

Now. I have been to Mardi Gras, but still, those are 100% all American human people. No more aliens than the average big city. And I understand that if we didn't go with the faulty logic, well, the show would be over in like 3 minutes. Really .Like so:  Is it POSSIBLE that J.M. Barrie actually wrote about the Neverland Mermaids because he was an alien? Ancient Astronaut Theorists say... nah. That's silly. So...commercial break for the next 28 minutes!

And by the way, we NEVER hear from the young astronaut theorists, or the middle aged astronaut theorists. Just the ancient ones. That's a grammar joke. You can read over it again later if you didn't get it and you care.

All this nonsense is just me procrastinating anyway.

You see, this is just about the hardest blog I have ever written.

I have a really wonderful life. I have dear friends and a comfortable home and work I am passionate about- but I spent much of today crying.

My son Tyler is homeless. He is right now-this minute- trying to find somewhere to sleep in his car. I am scared, and worried and sad- and I feel like a failure as a mom. It doesn't matter if he is voluntarily homeless, or that he is an adult, or that I did the best I could as his mother. Some of the reasons are not mine to share. And I am not looking for assurance or platitudes. And I really, really do not need to be reminded of everything I did wrong raising him. Trust me. I am acutely aware. Also, things I do not need to hear at this moment include the following: What someone else would have done, what happened to your second cousin's best friend who lived in their car, or what Dr. Phil would think. The reasons he is homeless are many and complicated. Yeah. I have a couch. But I am not writing this blog to go into why he is not on it. I'm not here to exonerate myself or explain our present state. I am only here to say, life is so damn hard that sometimes it takes your breath away.

--The hardest thing I ever did in my life was when I let him walk out my door earlier today instead of begging him to stay here. But for all of those reasons I am not going into, I had to let him go.

Then I went to my mom's house with my daughter and Zoe to swim. I put on my suit and went out to the pool a few minutes before they joined me. There alone in the water, I sobbed, letting my tears roll off my cheeks and join the chlorinated water in the pool.

There is this one spot in my mom's pool where you can just touch the bottom without having to work at it, and just your head is above water so you can kind of hang there pretty much weightless and you can just breath. I stood there and cried and then I prayed. And then I looked down and- yall- there were rainbows everywhere I looked.

If that is not God's promise that it is going to be okay I don't know what it is.

The thing is, I look like a good mother. I don't feel like one though. Not today.

Ancient Astronaut Theorists would say yes, I am an awesome parent. But they don't know crap y'all. Not about my life anyway.

All I have to hang onto are God's promises. I am thinking just of the rainbows and my son. Please say a prayer if you are so inclined. And judge me if you want to. But keep quiet about it okay? It's been a tough day.

Friend, if you are having a tough day, hang in there okay? God's promises are real and new each day. The rainbows are for you too. And that is why I am sharing. Even in the middle of it, when the pain is raw and I don't understand it and I know I am not making a lot of sense- God is real and He loves us. We can still have hope.

Love you. Mean it.

Pottygate

I had half a blog written from earlier this week about statistics and people leaving at the end of the year. It was only a little bit entertaining except for the parts about my friend Joanna, who is leaving to another district this year. I had this funny story about a trip we took together a long time ago…but really, words can’t describe Joanna well enough anyway. She is just one of those rare human beings that some of us are lucky enough to know every once in a while.

So I just let that sit and then, as it does, other stuff happened.

Boy did it.

So yesterday, I was in the bathroom at a work location. I am not going to give any specific details about the place or the person involved in this story. There may be a time for that, but this blog is not it…

A bunch of my friends know because they also experienced a part of this…event. And I am sooo glad I could share it with them. Because now it is a source of endless jokes and smart a..erm…clever remarks.

Because they are a bunch of clever people.

Gosh, I don’t really know how to begin relating this story so I’ll just plunge right in.

Haha. That will make sense in a minute.

Alright. So I was in the bathroom in a stall um..you know..doing what one does in a stall and suddenly I hear this lady screaming- y’all I mean SHRIEKING about water and floods and it sounds pretty Biblical. I look behind me and everything seems fine in my area…the toilet flushed ok? It FLUSHED. SO I decide, this does not pertain to me and I exit my stall and proceed to wash my hands. I’m finishing washing my hands and the woman comes around the corner, fixes me with an angry stare and says, “DID YOU DO THAT!? Did YOU flood my stall???”

“Uh…no..oo ma’am I don’t think so…”

“YES YOU DID. IT WAS YOU!”

“I  don’t, uh, I was in here..” (I stepped back toward the stalls and indicated where I was.

“NO! YOU WERENT! YOU WERE IN HERE!” She points to the stall next to mine. It was overflowing in fact. (Just water and TP if you must know- and although that is gross enough, let’s face it, it could have been worse.)

I just stood there a second I think.

I mean---who does that!? Was she trying to shame me? I get she just had a rather unpleasant experience but woo…it was really elevated.

Then she says “I SAW you come out of there!”

Really? Because, and I didn’t think of this until later, and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because she was not in a space for reasoning to occur…but I was already around the corner washing my hands when she came out and asked if I was THE one.
Ha. So there.

Now. I realize the more you protest any sort of bathroom clog, the guiltier you look, but, man, even if I was the clogger, she didn’t have to be so mean and call me out in the bathroom.

Now it gets awkward. (I know right?) The thing is, I felt myself starting to laugh and I thought, “Oh God! If I laugh I will really make her mad!” and I didn’t want to do that, but y’all it was just bizarre. Thankfully I was able to squelch the impulse to chuckle and I finally said ,”Well if I DID do it, it wasn’t ON PURPOSE.” And I left and returned to my meeting.

Now, you might think that was the end of the story.

You would be wrong.

Some of my friends got involved after I left. Oh. It takes all of us to tell it. It needs to be like one of those Law and Order Episodes or something…where you see the same scene from all different points of view with time stamps and a musical score. Well the more we told the story to people who had not been there, the funnier it got. I laughed until I cried. One of my friends, (Whitten) actually SANG to her.

Even better, it was the first day for our wonderful new team member. What a welcome.

So we get through it. I have to draw some diagrams and we give it a hash tag (#pottygate- although now I think of it the original #watergate would also have worked…) and get back to work.

So to present day, today. I am back at the same location for another meeting. As I get out of the car, one of my colleagues who was almost in the building ahead of me doubles back and says, “The woman from yesterday is sitting on a bench by the door!” What!? We walk past as R tries to shield me and we enter the building without incident.

Whew.

Here I was thinking I would never have to see her again and then there she was. Well. It wasn’t too long before I had to visit the restroom again and would you believe it…she.was.in.there. I sh..erm..I kid you not. What are the chances of that!? And guess what? The toilet was overflowing AGAIN and she was telling people about what happened yesterday!! Well. She was telling them her version. Holy Cr…I mean erm...dang.

Fortunately for me, she was really into the story and I was able to put my head down and make it to a stall where I stayed longer than I needed to in order to ensure she was gone when I came out.

And that is pretty much the end of the story. We recounted it for our friend Pordashian who had missed it the day before and it became a part of our shared history as these things do.

Then. With totally the opposite type of emotion, we heard the sad news of Kate Spade’s passing. How very tragic. I have shared rather openly at times about my own battles with depression. Fame, money, beauty, talent etc. doesn’t protect a person from the sometimes relentless attacks of depression. Besides my condolences for her loved ones, and my encouragement for anyone going through depression to reach out- to me if you would like- I will not comment further on this. I did not know this woman. But her passing saddens me.

So. Why bring it up?

Because, I guess, to share that a seemingly ridiculous story, or a bad experience as some may have seen it, can be a blessing. It was a gift y’all. First of all I got a story out of it that I feel certain is going in a book one of these days. You can’t make stuff that good up…and second…I was able to share laughter over it with friends I love. I have no anger in my heart for that woman. I feel sorry for her bad experience. And I feel sorry that she didn’t have another way to deal with it. And I hope it hasn’t ruined her whole week. I hope- I really hope- that she has found her way to laughter about it as well. Maybe she has. We all have bad days and let’s face it, those days are usually when something like a toilet flooding your stall happens to top everything off.

Life is messy and hard and heartbreaking. Clearly. But it is worth it.

I hope that my sharing of the pottygate saga does not seem mean spirited. I realized earlier that some of my ‘humor’ with my daughter, who is going through her own challenges right now, were causing her some pain. Not my intent at all. I apologized and have stopped.

We mess up sometimes and then we have to fix it.

SO that’s it. Be as kind as you possibly can whenever you can because you just never know what people are going though.

And take responsibility when you need to.

But as far as pottygate is concerned I AM INNOCENT DAMMIT.

I swear.

Happy Tuesday.

Let the jokes commence.

The Middle

It is May. For teachers the end of the year is nearing again and it is such a crazy time. Earlier this week – or maybe it was last week… who knows anymore-some of my co-workers passed my office on their way to the lunch room. Pordash stopped and asked if I was joining them and I told her I had not even brought lunch. I didn’t tell her I haven’t even been to the store in so long that the night before for dinner I had eaten Nutella off of an orange plastic scoop from a pumpkin carving kit with a glass of nice tempranillo.

Sigh.

Well anyway, you know what she did? She took food out of her OWN LUNCH and shared it with me. It was damn good too.
She is amazing. And it was good to sit there and share a meal with colleagues who are also friends.

Also this past week, a smart co-worker (Dingler!) and I were talking about the craziness that is May and she told me that every year in August when she sets up her calendar for the new year, she flips over to May and writes a note to herself that says, “Yes, it is always like this.” I thought that was great and I shared it online and in person with several educators. Let me tell you, it resonated!! It is like, as another brilliant co-worker described (Amy C!) ‘baby amnesia.’ We forget how it is and so we come back to do it all again.

And I am so glad of that.

And, even though we are almost at the end, it is still sort of the middle in a way. School ends next week. Teachers are here a bit longer. My fellow specialists and I have two more weeks after that. Our coordinators work all summer.

I realized this morning as I was painting a project for Z’s room that the middle is always kind of hard for me. Especially the ‘end’ of the middle.

It is when you are tired and you still can’t quite see the finish line. As I was painting this morning, I didn’t like how it was looking. Then, finally almost at the end I could see it- yes! Cute! I thought, I have never written anything when I didn’t think, this is crap just delete it, at some point. I have never painted anything without thinking that either. And sometimes I do hit delete. I looked at the pic I took of the project I painted this morning and I can see in the background three other projects that I finished and did not like. Delete. But, I guess, my point is, if I do not finish, I NEVER get that one that works. The one I love. I can’t quit in the middle when I want to. I can’t call the game for rain when I see a little cloud in the distance.

It is frustrating sometimes though. Especially when you do something you have done before and this time it doesn’t work. A few days ago I was putting some pages in clear sheet protectors. They were cardstock pages. (If you educator types want to know, I was building an adapted text remnant book for a PD session in August.) Well, I was putting these pages in the sheet protectors. I had a stack of maybe 30 or so pages. As I worked, I could not see the stack getting smaller with each page, but of course it was. Some pages slid in easy as pie. Others, even though I thought I was doing everything exactly the same- even holding my tongue the same as my grandad used to say- they just wouldn’t go in without a bunch of trouble. When the pages slid right in, I didn’t give the size of the stack left to do a thought. When they didn’t go in easily, I sighed and glared at the never ending stack of paper. Finally of course they were all done and I thought, “Well that was fast!”

Aren’t our brains amazing?

We drag though some days in the year and slide through others and then one day, the never ending school year is over and we think, “Well that was fast.”

Hang on educators! Summer is coming.

Enjoy every minute!

Don’t hit delete in the middle.

Happy Saturday.

Tuesday.

Two weeks ago all of my work slacks wore out at the same time. Like, ALL of them. I stopped in a little store near my house and picked up one pair of black slacks until I could shop for some more. I wore them ONE time, they went into the laundry and NEVER CAME BACK. They are gone y’all. All the laundry actually got done and they did not come back. I looked in everyone’s closet – which was depressing by the way- even the entry closet that is full of things like a baby stroller, a folder of my 24 year old’s kindergarten work and the ashes of at least one beloved family pet.

No pants.

Where the hell did they go? Did they slip into an alternate pants universe? Did someone carefully break in and steal nothing but an almost new, freshly laundered pair of black pants? This is not a sock we are talking about- It is a full size pair of long black pants!!  My family is tired of hearing about them and have started to act as if they never existed in the first place. My husband has assured me that he has folded at least 12 pair of black pants, and he has…but those were pajama pants, and leggings. These are actual slacks with a ZIPPER and a BUTTON!!! And they fit just perfectly and I didn’t even try them on at the store!! That’s like the unicorn of pants!!!  I know they sound too good to be true…and I know it sounds crazy—(especially the part about ALL the laundry being done. It happened ok!? Like this is the one time in 10 years it has happened so let me have this ok??…) but I AM NOT IMAGINING THOSE PANTS!!!

Then last week I was sitting at my desk in my office and I reached up to scratch my ear. My finger met with a foreign object. A small ball of makeup from one of those pots of mineral powder…you know the ones with all the different shades of powder in little balls??—you swipe the makeup brush across them and it picks up a variety of colors I guess that get blended on your face when you apply. It’s science. Just look it up if you want to. I don’t have time to explain how it works. Anyway, I guess one of those little balls stuck in the brush and then jumped off near my ear and landed inside where it sat for at least TWO HOURS before I noticed it. If you saw it last week, rest assured it was not an intentional fashion statement or anything. Just an indicator of my current situation.

And this morning I tried to put on one of my shoes – I know they fit mind you, I have worn them before---but today I tried to cram my foot in there without unbuckling it because I was in a hurry and guess what? Yep. Even though they fit me just right, I could not get the shoe on that way.

So this is life right now. Rushing too fast to get it all in and not being able to make it fit….losing things and…well…I can’t think of a good metaphor to go with the makeup ball in my ear…but you get the idea.

Also, today is Tuesday, not Wednesday like I thought it was when I woke up.

Ok Tuesday, let’s do this.

By the way, as a last ditch, desperate effort to find the lost black pants, I went out yesterday and purchased a NEW pair of black pants. Usually replacing something makes it show back up so we will see. I will keep you posted.

If I don’t forget.

Happy Tuesday.