Friday, March 25, 2011

That’s Another Thing I’m Never Going to Do

What movie/TV show was that from? Two guys making all these elaborate plans, and then they start laughing: “That’s another d___ thing I’m never going to do!” The line makes me laugh but I don’t know what it was from. Anyone?

I’ve gotten to a point where I realize there are some things I’m
just never going to do. I’m never going to walk the Appalachian Trail. I’m never going to finish that quilt. I’m never going to fit into my skinny jeans.

Some things are just not meant to happen.

I’ve decided to embrace this time in my life. Okay, I haven’t completely given up on the quilt. I still hope to finish it before the fabric disintegrates. It probably would go faster if I ever actually worked on it.

But organize the photos into albums? Live in a big city? Buy a small farm to grow my own food and raise my own meat?

Honestly, did anyone ever see me as Farmer Valerie? I dig in the dirt about as much as the Queen of England does. And I kind of hate animals. (Don’t judge me. I have very good reasons. They stink and you have to clean up their poop.) But I’ve always had this image of me with a big braid of thick gray hair down my back, dressed in long skirts and shawls. “Little House on the Prairie”—but with central heat and good plumbing. And I’m finally, officially, letting that go.

Anything you’re jettisoning from your life-plans? Some wishful-thinking kinds of things that you finally accept that you're never going to accomplish or experience? Add it to the comments below and free yourself. Say it with me; "That's another d___ thing I'm never going to do!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

World Enough and Time

I never thought I would say this, but there’s too freakin’ much out there to read! And not nearly enough time.

For Christmas, I was the thrilled recipient of a Kindle e-reader, and promptly loaded it up with books. I also received several bookstore gift certificates, and a 26-volume set of Time-Life “The Old West” books, which I love, and am on the second volume. I can’t read just one book at a time, so I’m reading a nonfiction book on writing and a novel set in Georgia in the 1960s, too. When I’m walking (okay, I’ll get back to it soon, I promise), cooking, or sewing, I listen to a novel or memoir on an MP3 player from the library—currently, Ape House, by the author of Water for Elephants.

I am on a lot of email lists: cooking, writing, health, church committees, and several people’s “forward” lists. (Gotta admit, one person’s mass forwards get almost automatically deleted. Bless her heart.) Occasionally, I get an actual personal email. For my writing’s sake, I follow many agents on Twitter, and when they’re not tweeting about the weather/kids/pets/sushi, they’re linking to articles on writing and publishing. Which I feel compelled to read.

And somewhere in all that reading, I’m supposed to write, volunteer, do laundry, clean house, shop for groceries, cook, be a good wife, mom, and grandmother, floss my teeth, and, oh yeah, search for a part time job.

I know of some people who actually look for things to do. Things seem to find me. Okay, I admit, I volunteer for some. But others appear on my doorstep like orphans, with arms reaching out and “Please help me!” scrawled across their little buntings. And I love to help—I am kind of a do-bee. I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t factor in down time, time to write, read, plan, and ponder, I will turn into someone else, someone I don’t like. The not-happy Valerie.

I’ve never yet found the perfect balance. How do you balance your life? Do you leave enough time for you to be you? Are you in a phase of your life that simply doesn’t allow much time for that? What can you do about it?

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Cutting Edge

I cut myself on the face while shaving.

And no, smart-alecks, I wasn’t shaving my face.

I was shaving the hair on the back of my neck—sometimes it gets a little scruffy between haircuts and I have to clean it up. I do it while in the shower so the hairs don’t stick to my neck and itch. Got it?

So, as I was transferring the razor from my left hand to my right, somehow my chin got in the way (?), and slash! Splashes of blood hit the shower floor and spattered like a horror movie. I rushed, worried that I might run out of blood and faint, naked. in the shower, and EMS would be called. That’s my idea of a horror story. Probably the EMS squad’s, too.

I stuck toilet paper to the cut and tried to get dressed, but one wad of toilet paper didn’t begin to staunch the flow. I had to press toilet paper against my chin for, oh, fifteen minutes before the flow slowed to a trickle. 

I've had other bad experiences with sharp objects. Last year when the whole family gathered, I dressed the three granddaughters in pillowcase dresses (handmade by yours truly, thank you very much) and took pictures out front on the wicker rockers. I’d cut my hand with a paring knife just prior to the photo session and stuck several bandages over the cut. A few minutes into the photo session I guided one of the girls into position and a bright red stain showed up on the dress’ shoulder. Oops. Son-in-law Jeremy did some quick first aid, taping and binding my hand into immobility, and I lived.

On Thanksgiving Day I was chopping up turkey thighs to roast (makes a gravy to die for—literally) and wham, another slip of the knife. John wanted to take me to Emergency for stitches but I refused—the work-intensive gravy would never get done, and I didn’t have a Plan B. He cleaned and bound the nasty cut, making dire predictions about poultry diseases, and took over the gravy preparations. The following Tuesday at the dermatologist’s I was told, “Your husband was right. You needed stitches. Too late now.” It hurt until February.

So when I cut my chin recently, five-year-old granddaughter Ella asked, “What did you do to your face?” 

“I accidentally cut it. I have a little trouble with sharp things.”

“Yeah, because you always cut yourself with them!”

The next time she saw me she greeted me with, “So, did you cut yourself again?”

What about you? Are you known for something as stupid as impaired knife-handling? And if you ever want a blood-brother (or sister), I always stand ready.