Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Order

It is 6:18 on a Tuesday night. My two year old son is down for the count, at least for a little while. I think about what to do next. There is that puddle of water on the bathroom floor that I wish I did not know existed. There are the dirty supper dishes on the counter. I can't remember what is in the dryer, but I can remember that Little Mister has a therapist coming in the morning, so I have to mop the floor. You see, the therapists work with him right at his level, on the floor. It is bad enough that these women get down on my hard floor, never mind that they are used to it. The least I can do is make it clean for them.

It is the end of January, and I am blue. I wonder if this will be another night where I don't have the motivation to write letters, open mail, do just a little something to reconnect. 
The instigator of optimism has been arriving in the mailbox, its shiny cover alive with warmth and enhanced color. I squirrel it away and wait for that quiet moment when I can quietly make my wish list, a list of ambitious goals served a la mode with plenty of pie in the sky. It's a list that will be written in ink, sent off to the far away greenhouse where magic beans are created and shipped to us hopefuls. It is the seed catalog.

But here is how I really want the catalog to read...

Tractor for sale.

A hearty stalk of Relaxation: A very rewarding crop. Requires supports. Harvest when you least expect it. Successive plantings of rest maximize the yield.
Completed Project of Your Choice: Requires frequent watering and weed management. Can be applied to sewing, cleaning, or household organization. Best sown when there is peace and quiet. For Completed Creative Projects see page 35.

One Completed Creative Project: Choice of colors: Scrapbook, Quilting, Writing, Decorating. For the accomplished home gardener. Blooms when you least expect it, requires cold or damp weather.

Family Time: A resilient ground cover. Able to fill in cracks and endure through the winter. An important feature for all landscapes. Drastically reduces erosion. An heirloom variety.

Delightful Surprises: A hearty wildflower mix. Perfect for mixed bouquets of blessings. Previous growers have reported blooms that include happy reunions, new acquaintances, unexpected windfalls, and sudden smiles. A must-have to fill in those places where you don't know what to plant.

One Quiet Cup of Coffee without Interruption: Choose from iced or hot varieties. A rare but brilliant annual.

One Fruit of the Spirit tree: Our bestseller. Guaranteed to bloom with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Prune branches that bear no fruit for best results. Comes with a thick instruction book. 
It strikes me that like the month of January, hoping and sowing is not for those who give up easily, but as I watch the snow gently falling outside my window in the night, I retreat back into hibernation. A warm fire, some catalogs, and a lively hope for a new season will cultivate this ground for now.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Returning to Normal

A housekeeping note: Yes, after nearly a year of deliberation I'm changing the name of my blog to something I feel is a better expression of the things I share here. I love seeing a pie cooling on my kitchen windowsill on a clear day. I enjoy watching swarms of blackbirds out of my picture window, and I adore the massive blue sky that frames my house from all sides. I won't declare in detail how poorly the "brarian" part of my former moniker fits my current life. But you can still call me the Mennobrarian if that makes you feel comfortable. I will always answer. Also, no need to update any bookmarks. Visitors are automatically redirected to my new address: www.blueskiesandshooflypies.com
 Speaking of new addresses, I've been trying to relocate.

It was just a few days before Christmas that I caught my first glimpse of the journey.

Maybe it was when I was emptying the dishwasher and not only noticed, but cared, that the dishes in the cabinet weren't exactly how I usually stacked them. Perhaps it was that moment when, with firm resolve, I decided I was going to wear a dress and not a pair of pajama pants again. Somewhere between those two moments I began to rediscover the town of Normal.

For six weeks I had been off my feet, getting around with the help of a walker. Hauling my painful, swollen and badly fractured ankle along for the ride as I shouted out for the hundredth time, "Don't put fabric softener in the bath towels!" to whoever was standing by the washing machine. Nothing was normal.

Then, Normal was coming closer and I eagerly anticipated that moment when I would hobble with such confidence that the walker would be in the way and  pushed away so I could begin to reclaim my old life. I wanted to walk Normal's streets, stop in at the general store, and feel like it was my town again. I wanted to move back to Normal so bad. I wanted to somehow fly there, although it has no airport. 

I'm still not in the heart of Normal. Maybe I'm residing in a suburb of it at this point. When I try to pry a shoe onto my misshapen foot attached to the ankle disfigured by surgery, the sign still reads: Normal: 12 miles.

But I'm in the neighborhood. I'm on my way back home, reclaiming my favorite places, Routine, Convenience, and Productivity.

Here are a few things I missed about Normal:

Making my own coffee. Not having to ask for more sweetener.
Walking my dogs.
Granola. Baked oatmeal. Everything I cook.
Getting into the shower without an audience
Going to a store.
Seeing a cloud of dust on the floor and being able to sweep it up and not having to look at it for a week because no one else sees it, until finally, you look like a maniac when you tell someone how the dust tumbleweed has been wearing you down.

Lord, I wondered, did it really take a broken ankle to be thankful for a list of basic amenities? Did I have to move so far away from Normal in order to appreciate its clean streets, many conveniences, and sunny skies? It's amazing what you notice when you're out of town. One can never retain enough gratitude to knowingly appreciate home comforts. We are truly leaky vessels.

My luggage is packed with thankfulness to be heading home to Normal. I want to arrive safely, without a limp, so I'm taking my time. I have a map and oh so many plans. I'll call you when I arrive.


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