Saturday, October 31, 2009

"The Hag" (A Halloween Poem)

A Poem by Robert Herrick (1648)

The Hag is astride,
This night for to ride;
The Devill and shee together:
Through thick, and through thin,
Now out, and then in,
Though ne’r so foule be the weather.

A Thorn or a Burr
She takes for a Spurre:
With a lash of a Bramble she rides now,
Through Brakes and through Bryars,
O’re Ditches, and Mires,
She followes the Spirit that guides now.

No Beast, for his food,
Dares now range the wood;
But husht in his laire he lies lurking:
While mischiefs, by these,
 On Land and on Seas,
At noone of Night are working,

The storme will arise,
And trouble the skies;
This night, and more for the wonder,
The ghost from the Tomb
Affrighted shall come,
Cal’d out by the clap of the Thunder


Your favorite zombie hag,

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Kreativ!

I'm still getting used to the whole concept of blog awards.  There's quite a nice community here and while some are genuine reviews, many awards also seem to be a way to say, "I'm thinking of you today.  I like you."  All good. 

The Kreativ Blogger Award is one for which I've been tagged a few times now.  Most recently by the very kind and always supportive La Jenno. My apologies that I've been putting off actually accepting it for deep psychological reasons.

I really hope nobody takes offense to this and in no way should it diminish the Award's positive intentions.

Really -- it's not you.  It's me.

You may not know that I have a few anxiety triggers.  Down escalators, coffee mugs with dark interiors, any food left in the fridge even a moment past it's expiration date.  None of these things are life altering.  They just make me pause and take a few deep breaths before I can move on.  (This is a no judgment zone, remember?)

So, I also suffer palpitations when I see words spelled incorrectly on purpose.  No joke.  I have never stepped foot into a Krispy Kreme or a Kwik Kopy. 

My friend Eddie can attest to this quirk of mine since it's been a fertile topic of therapy conversation throughout the decades that we've known each other.

In part, I blame one incredibly stressful year of working in a tiny Fotomat booth.  For those not familiar, this is a photo pick-up store about the size of your shower.  Mine was in a parking lot where trucks liked to play, "Scare the Crap Out of Fotomat Girl." 

There were also the sickos who called to see if their pictures "came out alright."  It didn't take long to figure out that the only people who want a clerk to look at their pictures are the ones who shouldn't be seen naked on film.   My 68 year-old co-worker Evelyn loved it though.  She had a special envelope in the file drawer with all her favorite Playgirl wannabe's.  Ew. Ew. Ew

I know "foto" (and more liberal nudity) may be acceptable in some countries.  However, for a 17 year-old girl in Suburbia, USA... it was all just horribly wrong.

The rules for the Kreativ Blogger award are as follows:
        1. Post the award on your site
        2. Link to the person from whom you received the award
        3. Disclose seven things readers may not know about you
        4. Pass it on (* I believe the original rules call for giving it to seven people and posting comments on each of their sites.)

Reading the above, I count five things you may not have known about me.  To fulfill my obligations:
               # 6 is that I carry a list of my favorite 60+ songs to sing thanks to prior karaoke bar trauma of being pressured to sing whilst flipping through sticky spiral bound pages of songs, drawing a complete blank.
              # 7 is that I'm allergic to mozzarella cheese.  This is news to me too.  I just found out yesterday.

Since I believe that all of my readers are both Kreativ and well-liked,  I humbly bestow this award to all of you as well.   It's a cop-out I know, but one can only experience so much personal growth in one day.

Konsider yourself awarded.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Rise and Shine

At least once or twice each week, I try to get to work around 7am.  Since I live 50 miles away from the office, this means leaving the house at 6am.  It's preferable to starting my commute later when rush hour traffic could easily double the drive time.

I usually get the "you crazy girl" look when I tell people I wake up before 5:30am on workout days.  Waking up that early for my job only slightly more acceptable.

Still, I have to say I don't mind starting my work day before most people get out of bed.  In fact, I love it.  Okay - maybe "love" is too strong. Let's not go crazy here.  But there's some really positive driving force which makes me happy to do it.  It's weird, I know.  I've had a hard time putting my finger on it exactly.

Until this morning.

It was still dark when I went through the house kissing each member of my family goodbye and telling them, "Bye, I'm leaving for work now. I love you." 

Miss M. was sound asleep in her mermaid bed.  As I kissed her forehead, she stirred slightly and made her little groaning calf sound. 

Rob was awake enough to open his eyes into tiny slits and say, "Love you."    He had a sweet smile on his face too but I'm pretty sure that was leftover from his dream about the really nice nurse. (I'll save that for another post.... maybe.)

Spiderman came running to me, a full snuggle attack which almost knocked me off my Bandalinos. When it was really time for me to go, he tried to block the front door.  He finally let me exit after an extra tickle.  And I'm sure, the realization that he was being left semi-unsupervised with a full sheet of Halloween stickers from Grandma.  (When I got home I was relieved that Spidey had found a stray piece of copy paper.  No little pumpkins and ghosts all over my windows this time.)

As I was pulling out of the dark driveway, I suddenly got this vivid childhood memory of my Dad leaving for work in the pre-dawn hours, even on Saturdays. 

I remember telling my playmates, "My Daddy gets up for work at FOUR O'CLOCK in the morning."  

It might not have actually been that early but my youthful mind just knew it was dark and early.  So, it became 4am in my mind.

Yup, I was bragging.  Somewhere along the line I came to understand that a strong work ethic was to be admired.  My Dad has just about the best work ethic of anyone I have ever known and not just because he starts his day early.  In boasting to my friends, I guess I thought being his daughter made me cool by proxy.

Now that I'm writing this, it makes me wonder about which came first.  Did I think my Dad was great because he worked so hard?  Or, did I think a strong work ethic was such a great characteristic because my Dad (my hero) had it? 

In any case, I think it's pride I feel when I'm already halfway to work just as the sun is rising. Now I know pride is a sin or whatever.  I get a "pass" since it is really energized by that "Dad memory" which has been hiding in my subconscious.  My morning fuel. 

In most discussions of life balance, the primary complaint is "no time."   Well, waking up earlier is one of the easiest ways to increase the time budget.

Furthermore, there is a proven connection between waking up early and both personal and professional success. 

You can blame Ben Franklin with his whole, "early to rise... healthy, wealthy, wise" bit (though I'm pretty sure he got it from Aristotle).

What's your morning fuel? What feeling, memory or motivation can you tap into in order to make an earlier start time more enjoyable?

For those of you whom I lost at "wake up earlier", here are two more posts I wrote about my Dad which you may enjoy instead...

Ten Things I Learned From My Dad

The Consistent Parent


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Potty Talk

Warning: This post may not be suitable for those who have never taken care of small children and/or those with a strong sensory gag reflex.

Recently, I’ve regained the privilege of cleaning the soiled underpants of my four-year old son (aka “Spiderman”).  This task includes wiping his similarly smeared derriere of course.

Lovely, right?  My life is so glamorous.

Oh, Spiderman was fully trained on the correct use of the facilities. In fact, he’d been displaying complete competency for more than a year including proper disposal of outputs #1 and #2.   I can hardly remember the days of sticker charts and Cheerios "targets."

However, we seem to have entered the Land of Regression.  Quite unwillingly, I may add... on my part anyway.

Desperate, I’ve taken to conducting complex Google searches such as “was potty trained, now not so much.”

It seems I am not alone. Whew. Who knew normal was such a big place? That, along with the "sanitary" setting on my new LG steam washer, is quite a relief.

Still, I have this ridiculous habit of asking my preschooler “Why?" even though I know the question will be answered honestly and yet yield only further frustration.  Here are some (unrelated) examples:

       Me: “Why did you take that toy from your sister?”

                     Spiderman: “Because I wanted it.”

       Me: “Why did you hide all these candy wrappers under the couch?”

                     Spiderman: “Because I didn’t want you to know I ate the candy.”

The current situation is no exception to this insanity.  I've asked the same question many times over the past couple of weeks and of course I keep getting the same answer.

           “Why did you do poop in your pants?” I plead.

           “Because I didn’t want to stop playing,” comes Spidey’s consistent reply.

I'm actually not at all sure how to handle this new stage.  For now, I am just keeping in mind my own mantra, “This too shall pass.” We'll get through it.  It's a good bet he won't be wearing a Pull-Up to the prom.

In the meantime, I’m determined to find a bigger life lesson in it all.  

So here it is: No matter how much fun you’re having, sometimes you have to take time to deal with the crap.

Makes sense, right?

Personally, I'm thinking about all the times I've had specific tasks or situations which I just didn't want to tackle.  The "big turds" as my friend MES calls them.  Yet, I've learned that (much like Spidey's contaminated underoos) procrastination just makes these things messier. 

Tomorrow being Monday, you're likely thinking about your "to do" list for the week.    My advice is to start with the stinky stuff first.  Get the big turds out of the way and the rest of the week will feel like a clean, fresh breeze.


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Friday, October 2, 2009

If You Don't Like the Weather Here, Just Wait a Minute

There's something magical about growing up in New England.  I can't imagine living in a place where I couldn't experience distinct seasons in full grandeur. 

Okay, I'm lying. Put me on a Caribbean beach where it's just the right kind of hot everyday and the pina coladas are just the right kind of cold. And the cabana boys are just the right kind of...  Ahem!  Nevermind.

Since I actually do live in this *insert sarcastic tone* magical land, I might as well be appreciative. As far as these things go, our current season of autumn is pretty special.  Bring on the "leaf peepers" (aka tourists).

Having a lake in my backyard is especially rewarding as the water reflects the colors in painted perfection. (We also get a ton of hot air balloons like the one in the picture here.)  In the morning, we are graced with a silvery mist which gradually recedes, revealing a masterpiece of vibrant greens, reds and golds.  Beautiful.

Each season has it's own beauty I guess.  And yet, there are some flukes.  Snow in May.  Indian summer in November.  Ice storms in March which teach a person that lake water is not only pretty to look at but can also be used for flushing toilets when the power goes out for a week straight.

Yep, Mother Nature sure has a sense of humor.  And boy oh boy, do we like to talk about it. 

Playing off my last post, if Facebook put a ban on weather-related status updates, I know several folks who would have nothing at all to say.

Last June, it was all about the rain.  This week it's all about the cold.

"Charlene is bbbbrrrrrrrrrr."
  46 hours ago.  Comment.  Like. 
 You and 134 others like this.

As I was getting ready to leave for work the other day, I noticed frost on my car windshield.  Begrudgingly, I went on the hunt for my winter jacket. I opened the storage closet where I (in my sunshine haze only three months earlier) had buried it. 

First, I found the hats, scarves and mittens.  They stared out at me from their cozy, vacuum-sealed SpaceSaver bag.  It was as if they had no greater desire to be unpacked from their nest than I had to release them.  I stuffed them back onto the corner shelf.  It's only October for goodness sake.

And then, there it was. Seasonal practicality, nestled between my daughter's wombat costume and my circa-Heathers black sequin mermaid gown.  Wool.  Warm and functional.  Perfect for cold weather.

Ugh. I couldn't do it.  I hastily closed the door of the storage closet without removing any of the contents.

In my car, shivering and driving with as little skin to steering wheel contact as possible, I was smug and rebellious. 

Kiss my grits, Mother Nature!


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