Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Late meme

From Mimi, the queen:
1. Are you always on time or just a tad late?
2. Is there someone in your life that irritates you regularly about not being on time?
3. Can you think of a time when you were late for something and it was REALLY a big deal?
4. Do prompt perky people irritate you? (oh, that was a Freudian blog slip)
5. If you were on your way to work and had five minutes to get there, would you stop in the road to rescue a crossing turtle?
6. Have you ever had to actually punch a time clock?
7. What is your standard "excuse" when you are tardy?
 1.  I am usually early or late.  I can't seem to get "on-time."  Usually, I'm early, because I get nervous, and I like to have time to get settled.  I carry a book, and so the waiting for others time is a gift I give myself.  It seems that if I'm late, everyone else is on time, but if I'm early, everyone else is late.  Kathy Time Karma, I think.

2.  My son and daughter-in-law have three small children.  I know how hard it is for them to be on time, I used to have to make that kind of troop movement.  But maybe because I really don't remember how hard it is, or maybe because I'm a grumpy old woman, I often feel they are later than they have to be.  Start earlier!  I say.  But that is easier for me than for them.  And so, I tell them to be ready an hour before the real time, in the hopes they will be only 30 minutes late. 
     There are other people with fewer excuses who are always late.  With some of them, I think it is a time anorexia --- they can't control other things in their lives so they control their time.  And they are always late.  If I like them enough, I breath deeply and carry a bigger book.  If I don't like them enough, I leave.  No kidding.

3.   Big deal for others, not me.  As I said, we are almost always early, and we almost always wait.  And so, one Thanksgiving (or Christmas or one of those horrible days you have to spend with other people), we were late for dinner at my in-laws.  My in-laws are NEVER ready when they say they will be.  My brother & sisters-in-law are ALWAYS late, leaving us to sit and wait.  And I can't even read my book.  Well, this time, damned if they weren't on time.  And damned if they didn't sit down and start eating without us.  This pissed me off, because I've spent a boatload of time watching tennis and waiting for them.  But this is family, and so I breathed deeply, refused to apologize and ate dinner.  

4. Prompt perky people?  Well, that's not me.  I'm not perky.  I don't perk.  Prompt people only irritate me when I was really planning on finishing a chapter or two of a book.  Other than that, not a problem.  Perky people sometimes give me a headache.

5.  I've stopped to help a large turtle in the road.  I've picked up a couple of dogs.  I probably would stop for a turtle, unless I thought the morons on the road would as soon kill me as the turtle.  Then I'd just swerve and go on.

6.  I worked at Wendy's for a week, and I punched a time clock then.  I'd repressed forgotten that.

7.  I usually say that Bob and I had sex and it took longer than we'd expected.  I usually only have to say that once.

Wasn't that fun?  Now I'm late for work...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Procrastination meme... getting around to it

From Mimi the Queen of memes:
"Procrastination: The art of putting things off. I call it an "art" because it rears its ugly head in my life on a daily basis. Did you notice that I am writing this meme at 7:50 PM??? I rest my case."

And I, in the middle of tax season, am procrastinating searching for e-services on the IRS website, in order to answer these important questions.

1. Have you ever procrastinated about something that had life or death consequences?

Not yet.  Although the not getting the ulcers checked thing might have been important.  But probably not. 

2. What is the biggest area of procrastination in your life?

Cleaning my house... no, exercising... no, blogging... no... LIFE.

3. If you are not a procrastinator, can you give advice to the rest of us who are?

Not applicable.  Although, as a recovering procrastinator (and serious back-slider) I'll say: it doesn't get easier if you put it off, most of the time.  Sometimes it does.  So think: if I don't fix it now, will this disappear or will it turn to a putrefying pile of slime?

4. Can you think of a time when you wish you had procrastinated and NEVER done what you were waiting so long to do?

Oh yeah... the ulcer thing.  Maybe not never, but I specifically told the doctor not to cure me until I lost another 30 lbs. 

5. What are you procrastinating about right now?

A tax return that is going to turn into a putrefying pile of slime if I don't fix it soon... but there is tomorrow.  I'll start fresh, right after coffee and oatmeal!

6. Is it really ever too late to turn back now?

Not really.  Except maybe on a roller coaster. 

This actually reminds me of a story not related to procrastination.  When I got married, I insisted on a pretty big wedding (by my mother's standards) and as we got further and further into it, I became more and more stressed.  Dad said, "If you and Bob just elope, I'll give you $2000."  I said, "We can't!  It's too late to turn back now!"  And Dad said, "It was thinking like that that kept us in Vietnam so damn long."
 7. What is the cure for your wicked lazy ways?

At some point the putrefying piles of slime will become more unpleasant than taking action.  But that day is not today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daylight Savings Time: Keeping the crops from burning up in the field

Back in the 70s, I think, when the US Congress was discussing having Daylight Savings Time all year round, my Congressman, Floyd Spence, got up and said that if we did that, all that extra sunlight would make the crops burn up in the field.  I am not making this up.

Over the years, DLS time has become like the weather: everyone complains about it but no one does anything about it.  As I sit here, in the dark at what should be 6:15 am but is 7:15 am, I am once again wishing they'd just decide.  Either way.  I don't care. 

I wake up before dawn most days.  I have no problem sleeping in the daylight.  I live in SC so even in the dead of winter or center of summer, the days and nights are pretty close to the same length.  Extra light, extra dark: who cares when you can sun bathe on Christmas Day as often as not.

This October, like the one before it and the one before that, my oldest son complained about the dark.  Mom, why does it have to get so cold and dark?  Although flattered that at 25, he still thought I controlled the weather, I felt compelled to say, "I thought you were the smart one.  We call it 'Winter.'"  Of course, I was wrong this year.  It got darker, but not really colder.

This is what DLS does to people.  More heart attacks.  More arguments.  More rambling meaningless posts by sleep deprived bloggers.

Isn't it time to do something?  Let me know when you have a plan.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A meditation on rocks

God came to a woman and said, I have a job for you. 

She said, "Of course, I'll do anything." 

 God pointed to a wagon with some rocks in it... not a lot, but enough.  God said, Carry those to the top of the mountain.

She pulled the wagon and said, "This isn't really hard, are you sure this is what you want me to do?"

God nodded.

As she pulled the wagon, she passed many people.  When they heard what she was doing, they said, "Hey, I have some rocks I need to have taken, but I don't have time.  Will you just add mine?"

She thought about how God wanted her to help others, and so she said, of course.  Some added big rocks, some added small rocks, some added just a handful of sand.  But soon the wagon was overflowing and was very very hard to pull.

Finally she sat down and cried.  "God, what have you done?  How can you expect me to do ALL of this?"

God said to her, what are you doing?  What is all of this?

She said, "Rocks.  You asked me to take them.  And you asked me to help others."

God reached in and began removing the extra rocks, pebbles, and sand.  Yes, help others, but don't take on their burdens when they aren't willing to carry them themselves.  These aren't your rocks.

The woman looked at the wagon with the original rocks.  "Is that all you want me to do?"

God nodded.

The woman looked at God.  "Are you sure?"

I have been thinking about my rocks recently.  I think I've taken on too many. 

Some were my rocks but aren't any more... it's time to move on.  That is really hard for me to do.  Am I quitting?  No, I'm finished.  But it feels like quitting.  But I'm not helping as much, it doesn't feel right, I still love the rock, but it's time to put it down.

Some looked like my rocks, but I think I misunderstood.  Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it.  And contrary to popular opinion (mine), I'm not always right.  I'm not always the go-to girl.  Sometimes I need to let that rock go.  Lose control. 

Some are rocks others gave me because they thought I'd be good at carrying them.  They were wrong.

Some are my rocks right now, but will not be forever.

Some have been my rocks for a long time and will always be my rocks.  But now they are different (I'd do a metamorphic analogy, but that seems too hard.)  Mostly they are their own rocks.  I just have to love and admire them, I don't have to carry them anymore.

And some are my pebbles on Saturday night, but not all the time.  And those, I just love and hug and raise up with joy.

I could go on, but I think maybe I need to meditate and pray on this one.  What are my rocks?  And what aren't?  And how do I know the difference?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A dream

Last night I dreamed that I visited a new friend at her house.  The house was by the ocean, which surprised me, since we live in Columbia, SC.  But this is a dream, and in my dreams, all houses are by the ocean.

While I was visiting other people came.  They were her other friends and they were bringing food and drink for a party.  It looked wonderful --- focaccia studded with chunks of yellow, red, and orange peppers; bread with chunky vegetable and cheese spreads; wines and of course, sweet tea.  At first I didn't eat because I was trying to find my son and make sure he was OK.  Then I sort of felt uncomfortable eating.  Maybe a little hurt that no one asked me to come in and eat.  Everyone was having such a good time, but I didn't know them.

When I finally decided to eat, the food had been packed up.  I got a little piece of bread and cheese, and felt very sad that I hadn't gone in earlier for more.

When everyone was gone, I saw my friend crying.  I said, "I'm sorry I didn't eat your food.  I didn't know if I was invited."

And she said, "You were here.  You didn't have to ask."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


It is tax season, the time when all of my other busyness gets pushed aside for my business-busyness.  I always say (as I complain that I am tired, stretched, stressed) that I can't complain, because this is how I make money.  If I don't make it now, it doesn't get made.

Tax season is not the time to think about the wisdom of that decision.

I enjoy preparing taxes, researching interesting tax issues, solving problems.  For short periods of time, my mild Introvert can enjoy talking to people, learning what has changed in their lives in the past year, celebrating and commiserating with my once-a-year friends.  I don't like telling people that, for instance, taking all of your money out of your 401(k) to buy a Corvette may have seemed like a good idea in June, but right now you owe several thousand dollars in taxes.  I hate it when people cry. 

But that's not really what I'm thinking about right now. 

In a class I'm taking... introduction to spiritual autobiography... I came upon a truth I've had hidden in my closet under a pile of clothes I don't wear anymore, beside a box of books I've read and meant to donate, on top of a basket of yarn I'm going to make into scarves and sweaters and baby blankets for babies on their way to college.  I remembered that I am a hoarder.  I have lots and lots of stuff that I might need some day, but can't find when I want it.  I recently found three staple removers in a drawer.  I can't find any when I want them... note the fingernails.

But that's not new, we've talked about that.  The assignment was to list and describe things you cherish.  From childhood, youth, yesterday.  What do you have that sits in the shrine in your soul?

And I realized that I have nothing.  I have things that are important to me, and as I think about it, I remember more.  But very often I think, well yeah, that's important, but where is it?  It's covered with all of that stuff that isn't important... the stuff that protects me from... from what?

I have thought (on and off) for a while that I need to winnow my space if I want to order my soul, but I am very very afraid to do it.

And so, my intention for this week and month, in the middle of tax season, in the middle of a mild mild winter, is to winnow.  Just a little.  Just a small patch at a time.  Just to see if I can survive.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

26 years ago yesterday, my water broke in the check out line at Family Mart.  This was the old days, so the clerk had already had about 10 price checks (when the price tag isn't on it --- no bar code!) and was going for a world record.

It wasn't a big flood, just a trickle, and since I was wearing a dress and blue furry knee socks, it wasn't really noticeable.  I stepped aside and kind of contemplated... did my water break or did I pee myself?  Definitely water broke...

Bob wrote a check, glancing at me nervously.  I was 9 days over due, it was bound to happen sometime...

"I need to see two forms of ID," the clerk smacked through Bubblicious.  Bob searched, found them, gave them to her.

Finally, we are loading the car.

"My water broke."

"Let's go directly to the hospital."

"No, let's go home and put up these groceries while I call the doctor."

The next day, Robert was born.  He was beautiful.

He still is, of course.  Over the years, I have held him and talked to him or mostly listened to him.  I am constantly amazed at his insight, his loving heart, his strength. 

He is a father himself, now, and the insight, love, and strength serve him well.  I hope he finds his place soon, because I know it will be a great place.  It's hell being a late bloomer... I still don't know what my place is... but wherever Robert goes and whatever Robert does, he is a well-loved and blessed child.

Happy Birthday Robert, I love you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Copernicus Called

... he said to tell you you're not the center of the universe.

Copernicus has to call a lot of people these days.  Brides to be, new parents, the Kardasians.  He's had me on speed-dial this holiday season, but it's not just me... see, I'm learning.

My son and his wife are lovely people, but they will not be on time.  If Bob and I were Noah and wife, our population would be down by a third.  Three hours later, knee deep in the big muddy, my son and his adorable family would be at the dock.

In my family, there are only three or four occasions a year that require precise timing.  Christmas is one of them.  This year, they finally showed up three hours late, after we were packing up and getting ready for the next stop on our Christmas tour.  It was great to have the babies there at all.

Yesterday, New Year's day, they were making the collards.  My son was two and a half hours late, and my husband had already gone to prepare for the Taize service at the church.  Everyone who was eating had already eaten.  There is a pot of collards going to waste somewhere.  Bob is angry.  I am angry.

But, we are also not without blame.  We have allowed our son and his wife to treat us like this for the last four years.  "They have to get the babies together.  They are sick.  They are under a lot of pressure." 

Let's think about this.  If I had "friends" who did this to me, would I continue to invite them to things?  Would I continue to count on them?  Of course not. 

The fact that this is my son and his wife; people I love and cherish, parents of my darling grandchildren --- that means that I'll put up with a little more.  It also means I need to take some responsibility here.

Retroactive parenting is a dangerous thing, especially if you are trying to parent other people's children as well as your own.  If you blew it the first time, you don't get a do-over.  However, teaching expectations in regard to yourself is essential for a responsible and maybe happy life.

And so, this is what Bob and I have to do.

  1. We have to tell our son and his wife we are angry.
  2. We have to tell them that if they don't want to do something with us to tell us, but don't back out at the last minute or be several hours late.
  3. We have to follow through & the next time they are that late, they will find an empty table with nothing but dishes to wash.
I'm sure this will make me miserable for a while.  Oh well, I can't feel too much worse than I do now.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I welcomed in the New Year on Icelandic Time and possible Greenland's time, but was well asleep before Eastern Standard Time's stroke of midnight.  The fireworks didn't wake me up then, although a barrage at about 1 am got me out of bed.

Happy New Year!

Amazingly, it is still the new year, even though I didn't see its birth.  It's a little chilly out there, but will be in the 70s today.

And then there is today.  Pretty much my last day of rest before tax seasons... at least the last day that doesn't involve unpleasant medical procedures. 

Today I will go to church and be with a small group of my St Michael & All Angels family.  Most will not be rising and shining, but they will be there in spirit.  Bob is in charge of the music today and he's very excited.  And since we're Episcopalians, we're still singing Christmas songs.  The recessional will be Go Tell it on the Mountain.  Is that a great song or what?

This afternoon, I'll cook a pork loin, collards, and hoppin' john at my sister's house.  These are the ingredients for luck, health, and wealth in the new year.  I'm not dead and I have a house, so I guess it works.

I'm doing something slightly different with the pork and hoppin' john this year.  I'm using a good bit of rosemary.  It's for remembrance and good taste, both of which we need.  I have white field peas and black eyed peas.  I'm using a mix of brown, basmati, and wild rice. 

The collards are sauteed... not as little as spinach but not cooked half past death.  Collards are hefty leaves... they do need some cooking, but if you cook them too much they look like what happens when the cat eats a lizard.

Perversely, even though I cook the pork, the collards and hoppin' john are vegan.  I use olive oil instead of pork fat.  I know it's sacrilege but I don't care.  I'll be eating this hoppin' john all week.

Tonight we will go to the Taize service at St. Michael's.  It is a contemplative service with quiet readings and quiet repetitive music, all in candle light.  I usually start crying a little, but it helps me work things out.

Tomorrow is a bowl game (go Cocks), work in the morning until my boss gets antsy and wants to go prepare for the game, and house cleaning.  Then the doors open on Tuesday to W-2s, e-verify, and soon... tax returns.