I'm Working on It

There's a new stack of books on my dining room table.  I'm leaving them there.  As a reminder to take them in my hands and smell the pages and read the words.  Because quite frankly, I see a reflection of where I'm at in life in that stack of books.   

It's been going on for awhile now.  Without my remembrance of a specific start or reason, so I'll go with awhile as the time frame.  I can't read.  I still very obviously know how to read; what I mean is I haven't been able to concentrate long enough or allow myself to be still for the amount of time needed to read more than a few words.  At first, I chalked it up to being too busy at the end of the school year and then I chalked it up to it's summer and I want to be outside and doing doing doing.  Now, I chalk it up to losing a small fraction of who I am.     

Because words.  Words are my thing.  Always have been.  So the fact that I have been struggling with delving into a book is disturbing to me.  I'm not proud that I haven't actually finished a book in at least half a year.  In fact, it freaks me right out.  I start them.  I try.  With the best of intentions every time.  And I can't do it.  The underbelly of the positive aspects of the whole I can get a lot done because I can think of sixty-two things at one time can be harsh.     

So I'm working on it.  Relearning how to settle my mind of life thoughts and let them wander into the book and get lost there instead.  Relearning how to be still without jumping up to do this or run to get that right quick.  Relearning to stay on one task for more than three minutes.  Relearning how to be with a book taking in the words for what they are meant to do.  To weave a story or a cautionary tale or be a how-to of sorts or teach.  Letting the words serve their purpose; instead of reading the words to my own ping ponging thoughts, only to read them again and possibly even one more time because I can't get them to stick.   

I have been at it for a few weeks now, working on getting it back.  I almost finished our book club book before the book club meeting.  Mind you, a year ago, this would have been a lose for me.  Not a win.  But after not even starting the last five or six books, it's a total win.

And this week I've been taking some time.  Making it really.  I went to the bookstore and perused around until finding a few to be mine.  It felt amazing.  My old philosophy of picking books shined right on through and I was wearing a flowy skirt and it was stifling hot outside but I was in the cool of the bookstore leafing through pages and turning over covers and feeling like some of that small fraction of who I am is falling back into the place it belongs. 

When I arrived back home after the bookstore, I choose one book from the stack and gingerly carried it along with a patio chair to my backyard.  Nervous almost, wondering if I'd make it more than a page or more than a chapter.  In my nervousness, I found the part of the yard where the sun was still doing its thing.  Because I believe in the sun.   

There I sat.  Reading.  Actually reading.  Into the story right away.  Noticing passages which tugged at me, taking the words in, and doing something with them.  And that something not being rereading.  Unless they were that dang good they needed a second time.  

After about three chapters, I jumped up.  To do two things.  Number one being I texted my friend with a, "Three chapters!  Three whole chapters!  I did it."  Because I wanted to celebrate a small victory with someone who knows how important it is to me.  Number two being running into my house to grab my camera because I knew it was a moment I wanted to remember.  I was a happy little lark being still in that chair reading my book and I wanted it captured.   

Here's where I admit a different fraction of who I am took over then.  The one that is called there must be a way to GET this feeling with a picture.  That one came rolling right on through and stomped out the reading.  

But you know what?  I'm totally alright with that.  Because that's who I am.  Small fractions of loves and passions and quirks and misgivings.  

That's who I am.  I flutter.  And I get distracted.  But it's who I am and it allows me to notice the small things and I never want to lose that part of me because then I might not notice the sun absolutely reflecting off my way too many bracelets.  

Or I might not notice the fluffy things floating in my yard.  Fluffy things are pretty and are worth taking the time to hold up to the sun.  Worth being distracted by.  But I just want to make sure my constant state of distractability isn't taking away the other fractions, the other parts of what makes me...well, me.  One of them being reading words.  So I'm working on it.  Me and books.  We're getting back our relationship.  


Totally Counts for Cheese Cake

Before book club on Friday night, I used a sharpie to do some writing on a white card and grabbed a glitter clothespin along with a few candles and festive napkins from my party cupboard.  And then put some ice in a cooler with three different kinds of cheese and red grapes.  Next up was figuring out how to fit the checkerboard cheese cutting board in the one bag along with the two boxes of crackers and toothpicks and olives.  Because you can't be having cheese without the checkerboard.  It just isn't right.  Then I grabbed my newly sewn (via Momma Debi) kindle case and set off to find which brown leather chair I'd sit in this time to join the midst of high heels and best friends.
You see we had a birthday among us.  So a "cheese" cake we had and some celebrating of life we did. 
Complete with too much wine and laughing until our faces hurt and talking about topics that usually would be considered off the table but never are with our group which, in my opinion, is precisely the way it should be.
I love birthdays.  I love channeling my inner Mary Poppins to see just how many goodies I can pack into one bag.  I love throwing candles in cheese, calling it a cake because why not, and singing for someone who deserves to be sung for.  I love being in a book club with a group of strong and fiesty women who I admire.  I love this life with every reason it provides for celebrating.


Talking While Ironing

I've been ironing.  On an ironing spree really.  I grab a few items from my closet and get to smoothing with the steam rising.  Thinking if I keep ironing in the evenings then my mornings will be a little less "whoa!" and a lot more "ahhhh."  I also believe at some point I will be all ironed, as in have my whole closet ready to roll.  But then I realize I have to wear clothing every day so that logic goes right out the window.

So I iron.  In the evenings.      

And when I iron, I like to talk on the phone.  It feels right.  Like stepping back in time a bit before texting and emailing and all other non-verbal forms of communication (enter the high five and the head bob).  When we used to talk to people.  With our voices.  So they could hear our excitement or our fear or our general disdain or our ridiculous happiness.  It's much easier to fake emotions in written words than in our spoken thoughts.  Therefore, I am making a conscious effort to talk.  With my voice.  To my people.  While I iron.  

It connects me to a simpler time.  As I become older, I am realizing I crave the simple and uncomplicated.  A time of sitting with my legs curled in a chair while some crocheting rests in my hands in the evening like my grandma used to do.  Please know when I say simple, I don't mean easy.

Anyways, moving back along to the topic at hand.

The other evening, my ironing phone call was to my little sister who happens to be navigating her first week in college.  Her first week living five hours away from home in a new city with new people.  I ironed while she rolled about her classes and her roommate and dining room shenanigans and rock climbing classes and the excitement about the unchartered.

"You're really feeling alright about everything?  Because you know if you are upset or sad or worried or nervous, it's okay to talk about that stuff too."

"No really.  I'm fine.  Like it's good Amy."

My sister.  Ever the wordy girl.  I must have taken all the wordiness of the family because I can sure use them.  Over use them often.  But Sister Pister has a way of cutting to the chase.  And I knew by the way she said that it's good, she meant it.  Because we were talking with our voices after all.  While I ironed.  

Last week I made it a point to be at her last jackpot barrel racing of the summer.  It felt necessary for me to be there as she started her transition to the next phase.  Started the saying of goodbye.
I find my favorite part of being there is to watch her warm up; it's like the rest of the world falls away until it's just her and her horse.  Doing their thing.  The bond they share gives me the heart squeeze feeling.
The running ahead at full speed gets me too.  Here's where I could go with a corny tie in about going full speed ahead into her future too.  But I won't.  I'll spare you this time.
I think she should still be little.  She'll always in some way, be little.  I think that's the way it works with the baby of the family.  Dad-o never called Em by her name when she was a baby, he called her "Dad's Little" which turned into just "Little" as she grew up.  It will be a change for all of us; not having the Little around all of the time.       
Yes, a shift of time is happening.  Knowing she has reached the point of entering adulthood.  Well at least the in-between grown up land of college where sometimes you can still call Dad-o when you need some money for Easy Mac from Sam's Club.  Anyways, there's a shift going on.  And it makes me hyper aware of my own sense of growing older too.  Which makes me want to freeze the right now and keep that little sister of mine at home.  But I realize she won't want to live in her basement bedroom at the farm forever so it's time to let her spread her wings.  It's not easy though.   
All leg holding aside, I know my sister is more than ready for this next stage in her life.  She will go at it with the same confidence and smarts and wits and determination and level head-ness as she has pulled from her entire life. 

And I'll be the older sister who she can call when it gets punchy.  I'll be the older sister who stands in her dining room with the cool hardwood under my feet with the warm steam from the iron rising in the air to meet my face.  I'll be the older sister who listens.  Listens and reminds her she is the world. 


Crowns, Dresses, and Some Concrete Work

Here's some fun news.

I have been officially working since Monday.  Yes, you heard that.  Back at my real job.  And I must admit, it feels uplifting.   Calming to have routine again and exciting to be taking on yet another different daily existence.  I changed paths again.  I'm still working for the same district but am at one school instead of two; doing a similar, yet somewhat not similar job than last year.  My official title is Instructional Coach.  So there you have it.

Amy is working.

This summer was really something.  Full of life.  Full of happenings.      

If I had to describe one lovely summer day, the first thing on the agenda would be an early morning run.  The next thing would be coffee time with friends.  Both happened on this particular Friday morning.  When I arrived, this is the scene I was greeted by.  All of the kids lined up in a row with a snack doing a little visiting.  The mom's were lined up as well doing their own visiting.   

 Harper can rock the leg lift.  Oh yes she can.  

Here's why there was a line-up.  Action was happening.  And it needed to be observed.  Yes, we drank coffee and visited and watched these men pour concrete for the driveway.  They really loved our shouts of encouragement I'm sure.   

The kids didn't even blink an eye at the notion of concrete being poured as entertainment.  On a side note, I'm totally going to start wearing a crown or a lady bug dress or a plaid dress or a sparkly butterfly headband to coffee time.  These girls are no fools; they know what's right. 

I will, however, avoid the band-aid on the knees fashion statement.  The one little boy can rock that look the best.  So I won't steal his thunder.   

Those little poptarts are learning the art of ridiculousness from some of the best around.  Lining up the patio chairs, grabbing fruit snacks, and coffee to watch concrete being poured.  Never a dull moment around here. 

Especially when Harper is involved.  I love how that little one gives her mama a run for her money.  Yes I do.  And here's where I say the official ta-ta to summer time freedom and bring on the cheer for my love of fall.