Monday, July 25, 2011

measuring time

I do not remember how old I was when I began measuring time in the refrigerator.

It was summer, I'm sure. It was hot in Iowa, always hot in the summer, always hot, even in the morning. There was cereal for breakfast every day. It was cool, always so cool in the refrigerator, and the milk carton had an expiration date to be trusted.

I noticed the milk would expire on my birthday.

I noticed the milk would expire on Christmas Eve.

I noticed the milk would expire the day after the last day of school.

Three days before my graduation, the day of our wedding, one day after her due date the milk would expire.

Now, it seems, everything in the refrigerator has an expiration date. Bottles, jars, jugs and cans expire and I've grown skeptical of their authority.

But the little girl in me? She still believes the almighty carton.

This morning after my run I craved orange juice. It's hot, so hot this summer, and I ran early today and I desperately wanted to stick my whole entire self in the refrigerator. Instead I settled for as much cooling as I could absorb with the reach for orange juice. I grabbed the carton from the back of the fridge and wondered when I bought it and if it was still good.

I noticed the expiration date.

Is it August already? No. Still July.

But by the time the orange juice expires, Mo will have been at college for exactly one day less than one week.

**Thanks Madeleine, for the title, for the phrase - measuring time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

delooming things

I'm a procrastinator. I love to get things done, yet there is a hitch in my getthingsdone that prevents me from getting around to the getting done of things. The hitch is me.

I'm the problem. Yep, it's definitely me.

I admit it.

One of the scariest things I've learned as a parent is that my kids do or say or think the same actions or words or ideas as me.


Sometimes that's good, but sometimes it's decidedly disappointing.

I'm a procrastinator and I have passed on my procrastinatorly ways.

Mo has a lot of post-graduation and post-Kenya trip 'thank you' notes to write. This morning we were talking about them and she, or maybe it was Steve, used the word 'looming' to describe them.


Looming things.

Things loom.

I have a lot of things to deloom. The procrastinator in me detests the to-do lists but the artist in me is intrigued by the possibilites of delooming.


Negative space.


These things await those who master the art of delooming.

Today is my Delooming Day. I'll delight in every little thing that gets undone.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the card

I walked into the church kitchen just as one woman handed it to the woman beside her. It's easy to tell when the card isn't intended for you. The transition is smooth, the pen is taken up and the writing gets written, and the card moves through sets of hands until you take your turn. When you're the card's intended though, conspiracy is immediate. Unspoken. A turned shoulder shields it from view. It's placed behind her back on the countertop. Maybe it's forgotten in the last gulps of coffee as the children arrive for another day of VBS.

This card was.


The shoulders and the backs walked away with their now empty hands and their thoughtful hearts and remembered not the card on the countertop in the church kitchen, on my birthday.

Later I went back to the kitchen for some something needed by the crafty kids in the craft room, and there it was. Intended for me, this card. I considered peeking.


Later the card would be put into my hands by the ones who took the time to write, those who were glad I was born.

But later never came and the card ended up who knows where and my feelings were just the teensiest bit hurt that day. And the next. I decided sometime that week that being upset over a card wasn't worth the trouble.

I adored those women. Something got forgotten, but I wasn't forgotten. I didn't get to read their words, but I got to read their eyes, their actions, their spoken words. That was good enough. Still, there was a bit of a sting that eventually faded.

And I too, even I, forgot the card.

I hadn't thought about it for years. It happened two moves ago, three churches ago, but the other day I was talking with someone about how no matter where we live VBS seems to always coincide with my birthday. Somewhere in that thought process I remembered the card.

Later a question hit me.

Who found the card?

That day, the next day, someday someone found the card that was intended for me and never delivered to me.

But maybe they thought I carelessly, thoughtlessly left it behind.

Walked away.