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make stuff

Your 1920’s Name is:

Rosalee Mercedes

tuckova said:

“’make a list of three to ten things that you could think about that make you happy, that are productive, that are worth pondering…. i PROMISE you that just because obsessing over something feels all torturey and Victorian and inflexible, arduous, racking, brutal, chastening, fatiguing, and hair-shirty doesn’t mean that you are living some dramatic passionate poetic life.’

claude le monde is the boss of me. therefore:”

and I add my own three to ten things. Not that I’m feeling particularly hair-shirty lately, but I do love a list:

1. That feeling I get sometimes in church, when I suddenly stop and pay attention and take a big breath and it feels like my little stone of a heart is being squeezed and twisted and pushed out to make room for more.

2. The way fall makes me feel more. I get all emotional. Some people dread fall, and winter coming, and I know what you mean. But summer just kind of knocks me out. Fall brings me back.

3. Houses. They make me happy. Walking around my neighborhood and admiring various architectural features and paint colors and gardens and windows. Happy! And being in various houses, and the way they feel. Some cluttered and lived in. Others just make me jealous. Family pictures on the walls. Mugs of tea. Poppy’s dishes on display. Couches that you can sink into. Candles burning. Curtains. Signs of the people who live there. Kitchen tables.

4. Seeing other people happy. Engagements. Babies. Rings in toothbrush drawers and Sunday Schoolers who announce impending siblings by praying that “the baby stays in my mom’s tummy until it’s time to come out.”

5. A recent shopping trip to Hanna Andersson and all the deliciously soft cotton and cheerful colors. A most splendid dress was purchased for a certain small someone, my mom bought some baby things for friends of my brother and sister who are expecting. (Those would be my younger brother and sister.) There was a particularly cute but spendy pajama set that my mom had her eye on, and she was heard to utter the words, “If it were my grandchild…” (Insert eyeroll.) We also found some candy cane striped long johns for Lulu, lucky duck. We’ll blind the family with our stripedness on Christmas morning.

6. Baking season. Where you roll up your sleeves, pour yourself a glass of wine, and tipsilly throw together some Cowboy Cookies (plus coconut). On my list (because I have a baking list): peanut butter cake (once Poppy gives me the recipe), gingerbread (anyone have a good recipe?), carrot cake, and lemon bars. I’m also open to suggestions.

7. Getting into bed when I’m really tired. Maybe a hot water bottle. A cool room and a warm bed and knowing I don’t have to do anything for several hours. I’m not supposed to do anything!

Edited to add credit where credit is due, because I was too lazy to follow Anne’s links the first time around…

Elijah, Toby & John run into the classrooom and promptly tackle each other. After I pull them apart, they spot the flock of geese out the classroom window and quickly become entranced.

“If I had my sling shot, I could hit one from here! Easy!”

“Hey Elijah, remember that dead bird we saw?”

“If I had my brother’s BB gun I could kill one of those geese!”

“Remember that dead mole we saw?”

“Yeah, and Tony pushed it into the pond?”



Life and death, timely lessons for any second grader…

How come my room is messier now than it was when I was in college?

How come my closet is too small for all my stuff?

What do I do with a CD/tape player/radio where the CD player doesn’t work but I still want it for the occasional book on tape? (Stick it in my too-small closet being the “for now” answer.)

What do I do with my circa 1999 computer that has a million and two college papers saved on it, and nothing much else worth mentioning? (Take up desk space, “for now.”)

WHY isn’t there just ONE more closet in the apartment?

I’ve just returned from a birthday dinner/charity fundraiser that not only involved my mom seeing people she’s known for 25 years but hasn’t seen much of in the past 10 (Mom: “Jess, you have to help me with names. You know I don’t remember names. So there’s Luke…and…um…” Me: “Susan.” I’m surprised she remembered whose birthday it was) but also involved the most painfully slow yet beautiful version of Mr. Bojangles. As played by a young guitarist and a very patient vocalist. “Mister…Bojangles…dance…” It was like open mike night in the church basement! There was even a poetry slam!

But seriously. We need more dancing in the world. I kept hoping someone would roll up the rug (figuratively speaking – pushing back the tables would be more like it) and bust out some dance tunes. I used to dance till my toes bled three days a week,* and now…now I daydream of tangos and waltzes and anything to get my feet moving and my heart rate up. A nice Austen-y country dance or a ceili or some salsa (although that, I’m no good at). Anyone? Anyone? I don’t want to be the only one on the dance floor.**

*I exaggerate. They didn’t bleed that much, but they felt like they were.
**And none of this modern crap, please. That’s not dancing, that’s wiggling your hips. I’m a traditional girl.

Claire doing an interpretation of a roast pig. Posted by Picasa

Claire & Stacey with some of Claire’s notes. Posted by Picasa

I’ve been trying to work last weekend into stories in my head. In fact, on Sunday night when I was knocked-out exhausted and finally in my own bed, I just stop running everything over in my head. Must’ve kept me awake for a good hour or so.

Toni asked me what the best part of my trip was. Now there’s a tough question. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Meeting Poppy and her daughter Clara Jane. One of the lessons I learned this weekend was that if someone brags about their children on the internet, believe them. They are not lying to you. Clara Jane loves to read, which immediately endears her to me. Plus, she wants me to read to her. I loved ALL of the kids at the gathering, but I probably ended up spending the most time with Clara because of our car trip (the non-puking leg) and staying at their house on Thursday.

2. Meeting Beege & Linnea. To my embarrassment, I didn’t recognize Beege at first. Things were a little crazy, granted, but suddenly I found some woman hugging me and saying, “hi Jess!” and oh, it was Beege! I think I’d always thought of her as an “adult” because she’s a preacher and a mom and all that, but sitting next to her on Cyn’s couch she was just, you know, Beege.

3. Cyn’s hospitality. Because even though she claimed to be freaking out and nervous, she was actually calm and totally fun to hang out with. Plus her whole family put up with us and her son has the most gorgeous eyes (see below).

4. Oh my God, this is going to go on forever, isn’t it? And either you have no idea who I’m talking about and you’re skimming over this whole thing thinking “boring!” or you were there and I’m not mentioning you and you are SO offended. Can you tell I just had a chocolate chip cookie and my energy level is going way up and I’m writing in run-on sentences and using exclamation points and gushing and…shut up already.

5. I felt taken care of the whole time. When things went wrong with my flights, everyone was ready to do whatever I needed. How many times can you say that about a bunch of people you met on the internet? That they’ll take you home with them?

6. Which brings me to Stacey Fish and her journalist/daughter Claire. All weekend Claire had been taking notes. (She doesn’t know how to read or write – shh…) When I rode with them to Sara’s for the hog roast, Claire asked for paper and a pen and began a list of her mom’s favorite books. When we were visiting Cyn’s consignment shop, Stacey wrote the word “butt” on a piece of paper. Not letting her lack of literacy stop her, Claire promptly read it off. At which point I took a picture of the proud mother and daughter (to follow).

Stacey & Claire volunteered to take me to the airport on their way out of town. If I didn’t get a seat on the flight to Dallas, they were going to take me home and put me on a plane in the morning. We drove through farmland in the greater Peoria area and I thought to myself, “self, if you don’t get on the plane, everything will be okay! Sure, you might miss work tomorrow but you’ll get to go home with Stacey and Claire.” So my mind was at ease. I said goodbye to them outside security, thinking, “well, I’ll probably see them again in a few minutes.” Sadly, it was not meant to be. I got a seat. I called Stacey to let her know.

Claire is sensitive to injustice in the universe. When she learned that I’d made it on the flight, she cried, “But WHHYYYYYYY did the plane have an extra seat for her, so she isn’t going to ride back to St. Louis with us, WHHYYYYYYYY?” (emphasis courtesy of Stacey).

I know Claire, I felt the same way.

to be continued…again…

It’s nearly midnight and I find myself googling scurvy. I’m not sure how I got to this point, but I know now that it’s past time for bed.

October 2005

Flickr Photos