Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obsessions, Compulsions, and General Craziness

I'm not really obsessive/compulsive. But, like most people I think, there are a few things that I really have to do.
1. Folding things: t-shirts, towels, sheets, pillow cases, underpants...all have to be folded into thirds.
2. Stacking things: all washcloths have to be stacked so that the nice fold is on the outer edge, and the edges of the washcloths are to the back or side. Same with sheets and pillow cases.
And towels.
3. When I fold socks in pairs, I alternate the folded edge, so that the stack stays even, not lop-sided.
4. I count things. Like steps. When I go up stairs, or down stairs, I count the steps. If I walk on stepping stones, I count them. If the ceiling tile has rows of dots, I count them. If we are at a football game, I count the number of players on the field, the number of girls in the drill team line, the number of kids in the band playing percussion.
5. When I eat M & Ms, I lay them out in rows, sorted by color. I eat only one at a time, starting with the color of which I have the fewest. I suck on each M & M (if it is only one, is it still M & Ms, or just M?) until it melts before I put another one in my mouth.
6. When I eat dip and chips, it has to come out even. If I have dip left, I need more chips. If I have chips left, I need more dip.
7. I sit on the back deck every morning and drink coffee with lots of cream and a spoon full of Splenda in it. If, for some reason, we have to leave early, and I don't have time to sit out there, my whole day seems off.
8. I don't check my e-mails every day, because when I check, I have to answer anything that needs an answer right then. I can't stand to leave one unanswered. So if I know I don't have time to answer, I don't read.
9. I like for my shoes to match my outfit. If I don't have a pair of shoes that match, that's okay, but if I do, I have to wear them. I can't just wear another pair. I have to wear the ones that match.
10. There are certain blogs I have to read, if I am on line. I don't necessarily comment often, but I do have to read them. It's a good thing there aren't too many of them, or I'd be on line all day.
Well, there you have it, the general nuttiness of my day to day life. Could be worse, I guess. At least none of it hurts anybody else.

Ten things Meme

Diane, at Diane's Place, posted a meme. Since I haven't been thinking of much to blog about, I thought I'd answer her questions.

1.] How come I can never find: my glasses. my scissors. my cell phone. my memory.

2.] I wish I'd never started: getting pedicures. I love them, and they used to be one of my "life's little luxuries", but now that Wick has to take me everywhere I go, I won't ask him to sit there for an hour while I get my toes painted and my feet massaged.

3.] I wonder why: sometimes I can't think of a thing to write about, and other times, I can't find time to write down all that occurs to me.

4.] Mama always told me: to always wear nice underthings, in case I ever had to go to the emergency room. Naturally, the night I got so sick last November, I had on my oldest, tattiest underthings.

5.] There's this one thing in my closet that I just can't seem to get rid of: shoes. I love shoes. I've worn the same size since I was fourteen. I keep buying them, but hardly ever et rid of any.

6.] My favorite guilty pleasure is: chocolate. Chocolate cake. Chocolate cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate ice cream. Mocha Java Chillers from Sonic. Mocha Moolattes from Dairy Queen. Chocolate Thunder from Down Under at Outback. Chocolate ice cream. Chocolate sundaes. Hot fudge sundaes. Chocolate. Did I mention Chocolate?

7.] I always forget to: get a bulb for the reading light in my bedroom. It's an odd size, and I need to take it with me to make sure I get the right one. I keep thinking I will get it as I walk out the door to go to town. But I haven't yet.

8.] I have never: been to Europe. Or the Orient. Or Australia. Or South America, central America, or Canada. I have, however, been to Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.

9.] I'm obsessed with:
oh, now see, if we are going to talk about my OCD tendencies, we need a whole post. Or maybe a series of posts. Because while I am pretty laid back and easy going about most things, there are a few things about which I am Obsessive. Compulsive. or maybe just Crazy.

10.] One of my favorite memories is: when our children were young, and we used to spend cold Sunday afternoons sitting on the rug in front of the fire playing board games and laughing like loons.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Traumatic, Life-Altering Events: Musing

I've been thinking about traumatic events in people's lives, and how it affects them, mostly because I recently experienced a traumatic, life-altering experience.

I have known for at least all my adult life that people experience traumatic events, and are forever changed afterward. I myself have had a few of those experiences. But never before have I felt as fundamentally changed, different, no longer my own self.

I can't explain in what ways I have changed, other than that my writing is not as funny as it used to be. I only know that I'm not me any more. I don't know who I am. I don't react the same way as I used to.

I cry more easily, and more often.

I spend a great deal more time alone.

I have a strange reluctance to be where there will be large numbers of people, and when I am with a lot of people, even people I love, I feel uneasy, and find it very stressful, to the point of needing a two-hour nap afterward.

I often have a sense of dread, as if something really bad is about to happen, and I don't know what it is or how to stop it.

Anxious. I feel anxious.

Tomorrow is my birthday. My darlin asked what I want. I told him I don't want anything; I am just thankful to be alive.

But there is something I want, and I don't think I will ever have it again: I want my life back.

I want me back.

But I think that me is gone forever.

I'm stuck with the new me, and I don't know who I am.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Child-speak, part 4

When Katoushka was two years old, she did not talk baby talk. She talked in complete sentences, in a very melodic voice, quite clearly, and not only seemed to remember everything she heard, but also to be able to use new words appropriately.

Her parents had a discipline plan, which I had not totally grasped yet, but it seemed to be working very well, and I had a great deal of respect for it, and for them.

So when they left Katoushka with us, I tried to do as I thought they would do. But one day Katoushka did something that she knew she wasn't supposed to do. I told her I was not sure how Mommy and Daddy would handle it, and we were going to wait until they got home and find out what they wanted to do.
She sat in the little red rocker quietly for a few minutes. Then she said, "Mimi, Mommy and Daddy say that those who love me chastize me."

I knew that chastizement meant some kind of punishment, so I called her to me, and gave her a couple of little swats on her thickly diapered bottom, saying, "Precious, I would not want you to think that your Mimi doesn't love you." She returned to the little red rocker, rocked vigorously for a few minutes, and wiped her tears.

I could hardly stand it. My precious little grandbaby was hurt.

But before I could say anything, she came back to my side, spread her arms wide, and said, "Mimi, can we reconcile now."

My heart twisted in my chest. I gathered her into my lap, hugged her, and we rocked until Mommy and Daddy came home.

Note: For clarification, I am adding Jeana's response: " We told her that we chastise her because we love her. I think the difference is important. We certainly do not expect everyone who loves our children to chastise them, nor would we be happy at all if they did."

Jeana wants to be sure there is a distinction between what they actually said, and what Katoushka and I thought she said.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Child-speak, part 3

Our first grandchild, Pie, wanted to talk, but frequently ran out of words. She was between 18 months and two years old, and her total repertoire included a number of isolated words, mostly names, please, thank you, no, and me (meaning roughly I will do it myself, thank you very much), and a few short phrases.

She often sat in my lap, and when I talked to her, she would respond with one of her words or phrases, whether it fit my comment or not--a steady stream of non sequiters.

When she had run the gamut of her vocabulary, she would stare at me intensely. If I said nothing, she would put her little hands on my cheeks and squeeze them together until my lips opened, and say, "Talk. Mimi. Talk."

I finally figured out that we were having a conversation, and I was falling down on my end of it. She had contributed all she could, and I was supposed to keep the conversation going, while she tried to come up with something else to say.

She is seventeen now. She still sits in my lap occasionally. But now I am the one who feels like saying, "Talk. Pie. Talk."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Child-speak, part 2

Speaking of children, have I ever told you about our son Scott? He was the most energetic, active, challenging child I have ever known.

When he was two years old, he decided that he needed to explore the larger world, outside the chain link fence surrounding our back yard.

Now this yard was the perfect yard for little children. Dozens of shade trees, lots of toys, stuff to climb on and ride on. But he longed to expand his horizons.

So he climbed the fence.

He went over a chain link fence, the kind with wire "spikes" on the top. He was two years old, so he received a series of bleeding scratches on his little tummy, but that didn't slow him down.

He then walked past our nearest neighbor's house, and found his way into the parking lot of the nearby convenience store, where he spent some time investigating the sucker someone threw down, the ice cream cone someone dropped, the chewing gum someone spit out. How do I know he did this? The evidence was all over his face.

He then decided to direct traffic as cars and trucks pulled into and out of the parking lot. That is what occupied his attention when we, his hysterical parents, found him.

And this was just the first time he "ran away."

No wonder my hair started to turn gray.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Child-Speak, part 1

When Jeana was small, she had a little trouble with certain words, such as mayonnaise. She pronounced it "bandaids."
She also had a little trouble with the word moustache. Her daddy has had a moustache most of his adult life, and all of her life.

One day we were looking at old pictures; we had looked at pictures of her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, talking about who they are, and how related. We came to one of her daddy, pre-moustache.

I said, who is that? She hesitated, then said firmly, Uncle Tommy (daddy's brother). I said, no, that's Daddy.

She looked at the picture, and at me, and then back at the picture, insisting that it was Uncle Tommy. When I held firm that it was indeed Daddy, she said, No! It not!

That not Daddy! He don't have no mattress on his lip!

It's a story we still tell, whenever one of the grandbabies has difficulty with a word.

Precious memories.

Where's My Sense of Humor?

I spent a couple of hours yesterday rereading some of my oldest posts. The thing that struck me was how many of them were funny, compared to my most recent posts.

I have a strong sense of the ridiculous, especially in my own behavior and attitudes. I used to relate the silly, aggravating, foolish things I said, did, or observed.

What happened to my sense of humor?

Will it come back?

Or is it gone, never to return?

I love to laugh, especially at myself.

Will I never again crack myself up, describing the events of my life?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I LoveYou More

"I Love You More" is a game we used to play with our children. Here's how it is played:

Press forehead to child's forehead. Whisper, I love you more.

Child responds by holding thumb and forefinger about a millimeter apart, and says I love you more than this.

Parent responds similarly, with thumb and forefinger slightly further apart.

The game continues until both are saying, I love you more than this, with arms outstretched as far as possible. Both then dissolve in laughter and hugs.

Antique Mommy brought up the subject of games we play(ed) with our children, and got me to thinking about precious moments with our children and grandchildren, and I may just do a whole series of these memories.

Right after I wipe away the tears.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Respite From the Heat

I thought I would write more this summer, since I have more access to the on-line world now, but I haven't. Much of my time has been spent sitting on the back deck, watching the wildlife and the lake and how it changes as the light changes.

But then it started getting hot. I mean, HOT, as in summer in Texas hot. Upper nineties, near 100 or a little above 100 degrees every day. Even in the evenings, the temps lingered in the upper 80s, and with such humidity that sitting outside was not comfortable for long.

So I retreated to the air-conditioned in-doors, and continued my watching under the cooling breeze of the window unit, and an almost unobstructed view, thanks to the twenty five feet of windows across the back of the cabin.

Then...suddenly...a cool front came through, bringing with it wind and rain. It's hard to believe, I know, for anyone who has lived in Texas in the summer, but I actually needed a lap quilt this morning.

It rained almost all morning. Huge lightening strikes and rumbling, growling thunder, as well as sudden thunderclaps that made me jump and made Frankie the Pom bark like a mad thing.

The lake was covered with whitecaps, and the branches of the trees bent and swayed as if they were dancing.

It's mid-afternoon now, and still in the 70s. Unbelievable. Precious time to enjoy being outside again, before the dog days of August arrive. Precious time to be at peace with nature and myself.

Time to ponder a question inspired by Antique Mommy's question: what would your autobiography be titled, if you were going to write one? I came up with one I consider appropriate, given all that has happened in the past seven months: "I Should Have Left a Trail of Bread Crumbs: Where Did My Life Go, and How Do I Get It Back?"