Saturday, March 31 … Crossing the finish line

Saturday, March 31 … Crossing the finish line … after all the days of anticipation, March 1st showed up in a large way on my calendar, my phone, my computer, everywhere I looked, reminding me that  the daunting challenge indeed had begun. Early on, lots of energy, lots of thinking, even a theme or so I thought. And then a few days went on, and in my usual fashion, I tired of my theme, was in a different mood, different mindset and felt a need for change.  And so I changed and tread down some different avenues, trying my hand at some different adventures until there were no more roads to travel, I felt like I reached the end, hit a wall, and just wanted to call it quits. But like a marathon runner, which I am not but can only imagine how it must feel, I pushed myself forward and coached myself to keep going along with a few friends, old and new, who also shouted out some encouragement (you know who you are … thank you!) and so here it is March 31 and I have finally reached the end, a new experience, something I didn’t know I had in me … and so today … time to say goodbye to those who perked up my days with their thoughtful ideas and wisdom … but as all good things can’t last forever … March 31st marks the end of a very long and memorable road … today I just crossed the finish line!!!  

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Friday, March 30 … Thinking too much and not enough

Friday, March 30 … Thinking too much and not enough … yesterday I began an online course about teaching children that live in poverty.  The statistics were not beyond shocking to me and the effects of poverty on children were actually what I expected. Sadly though, I admit that I’ve read statistics like these before, many times to be exact, so no, none of it’s a surprise.  The surprising part is this … to me these are all just black letters on white background pages on my computer screen. That’s really all they are. I can easily close my computer, put it aside and move on with my day and really not give these black letters another thought until I once again open my computer.  I think, down deep, I wait for the moment that the words might actually jump off the page, come to life right next me and command me what to do next. I read the words and know there are great problems in the world. I read the same words that I see on the street corners when I’m in the city, that I have witnessed when I have helped at soup kitchens, that I have experienced when I’m on trips to other places, but at the end of the day, I am back in my warm, safe comfortable home and the words all over again only exist on my computer screen or in the newspaper or on some documentary on tv.  My all too consuming life knows it’s out there, reads about it, then compartmentalizes it in my brain. I tell myself that these problems are way too big for me to fix and so I go on with my day feeling ok that I can’t fix it by myself and so I move on to my next activity, maybe it’s buying a latte for myself or walking around a mall wondering what I can spend some money on, all the while people just like me have no home, no food, really … have nothing. Today, I am consumed with these thoughts, there is no consoling me, it’s those out there that need more than consoling. I wish I were the answer.  I wish I had the answer. I really and truly wish I could instantly be blessed with the solution so I could spend the rest of my life making it better. Today is Good Friday. Today I need to think outside of me and reflect on what today is all about. Lots of suffering, Good Friday, in the local community, in Chicago, in the U.S. and the whole world at large … today I will be thinking too much but I know deep down and also on the surface that it really and truly never will be enough.

Thursday, March 29 … The unspoken law … which has never failed me

Thursday, March 29 … The unspoken law … which has never failed me, time and time again, and which needed to be reinstated yesterday, middle of the day, no one around but me and the dog, and the dog barely counts since he finds his comforts of sleeping way more important than me, who is usually not around during the day, so really it was just me, by myself.  I decided to do some cleaning, more specifically, wash the floors, ugh! My least favorite of all things on my cleaning list and so to throw in a little sweet with the sour, I got out all the ingredients to make some chocolate chip cookies. I tossed the butter and the sugars and the flour and vanilla, baking soda, salt and then eggs, yes, the raw eggs, into the bowl and began to mix.  I watched the gelatinous, semi spherical, deep golden, yolks start slightly change shape as an inflated balloon might when it’s gently pressed upon, but as the beaters of the electric mixer worked harder and harder at accomplishing their task, those golden rays of sunshine began to spread across the tawny blend of everything else until the last ounce of goldeness disappeared into the vast oneness of everything else in the bowl, gone.  It now all became one … which meant only one thing … and so like a torrential rainfall those chocolate chips beat down on the light brown oneness until the landscape was speckled with those delicious, semi-sweet, chocolate morsels. And then, without contemplation, without fear, without even a second of thought, I dipped my finger in and scooped up a very tiny (ok, busted … way bigger than tiny) taste of the nothing more than delicious raw cookie dough.  And it was delicious, and so delicious that over the course of trying to wash the floors I’d stop back for another small appeteaser and another. If you’re wondering, the floors did get cleaned, the cookies baked, and just like the laws of nature when it comes to eating raw eggs in cookie batter, I didn’t get sick, no one gets sick, because that unspoken law of cookie baking states somewhere, unwritten, that thou can eat raw cookie dough and never have to worry about salmonella.  It’s a funny thing, but there is truth to this unspoken law … which, by the way … has never failed me.

Wednesday, March 28 … Nothing, with lots of thoughts

Wednesday, March 28 … Nothing, with lots of thoughts … that’s my mind this morning as I write this post.  I have lots of thoughts but none that have even an ounce of writing inspiration. My thoughts about yesterday, last night and this morning, just aren’t doing it.  It’s a little like Jerry and George from Seinfeld, writing a sitcom about nothing. If you’ve watched much Seinfeld, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They take pretty typical days in their lives and write episodes about them.  Nothing spectacular and nothing out of the ordinary happens, it’s just about the routines of their most unspectacular days and that’s pretty much where I am today, nothing. Perhaps it’s the fact that today marks the 28th day of doing this.  I’ll be honest, I was very nervous at the get go and continued that way for the first 4 or 5 days, putting pressure on myself to find something inspiring, knowing there were people out there, some strangers and some not, reading my writing, so, like all of us, working hard at it, but me, foolishly thinking I could sound like some writer whose works you might find inside some book of inspiration at Barnes and Noble … ha ha ha … that’s pretty funny, where did those early-on juvenile thoughts even come from?  And now, here I am at the close of the fourth week and I’m feeling completely drained of inspiration and my mind, of course has lots of thoughts, but my writing energy is screaming nothing. So, for today, that’s what I’m sticking to, nothing. At least I have Jerry and George in my camp which might be my closest brush with fame, so maybe I should feel good about that. So, yah, for today, I have lots to do, my mind has lots of thoughts but as for writing, I have nothing.

Tuesday, March 27 … it’s kind of like a kid eating broccoli

Tuesday, March 27 … it’s kind of like a kid eating broccoli … and then you can have dessert … and I don’t mean all kids because there are kids that do actually like eating broccoli, but those kids weren’t my kids, at least when my kids were younger, and I’m sure this is true for some adults too, especially when it comes to working out.  I’m not a fan! Yes, I’ll do it, but in a style not too differently from my own kids when I would tell them to eat their broccoli b e c a u s e i t ‘ s g o o d f o r y o u ! ! ! You know how you can slow down the words and say them in a voice slightly different from your normal speaking voice, carefully emphasizing each word? Well that’s what I did to them and sadly, that’s what I still have to do to myself, inside of my head, each time I begin thinking about going to the health club. And Monday nights are one of those nights, the 7:00 workout.  The super cold wintery nights, I have an excuse. The Monday nights that fall on holidays like Presidents Day, I have an excuse and legit too! But a Monday night of a day off when I have the whole entire week off, no excuse. And there were the words in my head repeating over and over again. And so I ate my broccoli, the workout was done, I felt good after my workout which in my opinion was even better than having dessert!

Monday, March 26 … this time around it’s ok

Monday, March 26 … this time around it’s ok … last year’s spring break was hands down the most boring spring break ever!  It rained, and not just a soft, spring rain, but hard, cold, downpours for almost the entire week. The skies were a dark gray just about every day and it made for a long, non eventful week.  My college aged boys’ spring break was a week earlier and they each got to go away to places, saw warmer parts of the country, hiked and saw scenery where they didn’t get dumped on as soon as they stepped outside.  Me, I was home having a pity party for myself because the house was too quiet and cleaning and doing house stuff just wasn’t what I had in mind for a week long break. So here I am a year later, no rain, but funny thing, I was hoping for rain. I have been following the weather forecast on my phone, and it has been predicting rain for Monday and Tuesday and I have been really hopeful for it.  My problem is this, I’m kind of outdoorsy, and when the sun is out, the only place I want to be is outside. But, I have set some goals for myself for this week, and that is to complete some online coursework. I am most efficient when it is gray and rainy because it’s the perfect excuse to stay inside, not be distracted by what’s outside the windows and just settle in to some sedentary hours of online course work.  So the backdrop through my windows isn’t exactly what I had in mind for today and possibly even tomorrow, but … spring break 2018 … this time around it’s really ok 🙂  

Sunday, March 25 … The water is calm

Sunday, March 25 … The water is calm … after days and days of choppy water, waves crashing on the shoreline, rocks tumbling over and over, helplessly waiting to find a resting place at the bottom of the ocean, finally touching the bottom only to be pushed and tossed and tumbled all over again.  The water begins to calm, the waves do get smaller, the tossing and turning does slow down until finally, the rocks do find a place to lay quietly for a while, enjoying the gentle waves and soothing sounds. They nestle in to a place that is quiet and still.. Sunday morning, it takes a day to unwind, so Sunday morning, the calm has set in.  No ocean waves, no choppy water, a free and carefree mind, no schedules, no routines, no planning, no crashing waves, but a place to sit and relax quietly, enjoying the sounds of nothingness. For a while, until I again yearn for some waves, for some tossing and tumbling, and even welcoming the choppy waters, but for now and for today and for the coming week, the water is calm.