Finely

My Fellow Bloggers:

It has been tactfully brought to my attention that I have confused finely (fahyn-lee) with finally (phi nel lee).  Until this was brought to my attention, I think I never knew that I was misusing and mispelling finally.

Finely shaped, not finally shaped.  Finely dressed, not finally dressed.  Finely detailed, not finally detailed.

I was shocked to say the least.  For years I have prided myself on proper grammar and spelling.  So much so, that I take extra time when writing or blogging, to find another word to use when I cannot get that pesky red line to go away.  Now that I am thinking about it, finely has always had that red line, but I thought it was because I had one too many l’s, or maybe did not need the e.  Never did it occur to me that finely was being used out of context.

To this day I repeat the “i before e, except after c” when I spell receipt or mention my niece.  Had I not been the executor of my grandfathers will and had to write “personal representative” on a bzillion (more than a million) documents, I would still bypass “representative”.  I know how to spell “equipment” only because I had an extra couple of letters for the first month I worked at Equipment Manufacturing and sent out mail with those extra letters included.  And, in that last sentence I wanted to use correspondence instead of mail, but did not want to figure out if it was correspondence with an e or an a.    I could never commit to “commit”. One m and two t’s or two m’s and one t?  I will put it on my calend….er or calend….ar.  License. Exercise. Excited.  All words that I have cemented in to memory for one reason or another.

And now, finally, one more word that I can type with confidence (or is it confidance) Who needs a dictionary when you have these types of situations finely etched in to your memory.

Square peg.

For as long as I can remember I have been more comfortable under the radar.  As a kid, I was shy and timid.  If ever I was asked to read out loud in class, or lead the pledge of allegiance, or work with a group of kids I did not know?  My insides would flutter, I swallowed back  tears and the anxiety would build to the point that I thought I would burst.  “You need to get over that” was what I heard from teachers and my parents.

In grade school, the stress of finding new friends each year and the creative ways I used to make people like me, was quite the process.  I pretended to like things I really didn’t.  I wore clothes that I was not comfortable in.  I looked past friends I had known for years, just to fit in with better friends.  Once I felt like I was accepted, I had to continue being someone I thought my new friends liked, rather than who I really was.  This cycle carried on year after year.  I managed to blend,—but never fit.

After years going along to get along, I can honestly say that orbiting around the outside  is not a bad thing.  There is no rule that states you need to settle.   I have given lectures to my kids about how being friendly with everybody is sometimes better than being friends with a handful of people.  Or how if you take your own path, eventually you will run in to others going in the same direction.   These words are based on what I know to be true.

After 50 plus years of trying to make myself the best fit for a new job, mixing in with the soccer moms, the Parent Teacher Groups or the Church committees, I think I have finely given myself the pass I have always been looking for.  It’s okay to march to the beat of your own drum.  Not everybody can smooth out their rough edges enough to fit perfectly.  To some people, a round hole is much to confining.  To some people, fitting in, means stuck.

That is the great thing about getting older.  The ability to make room for things that really matter, by letting go of the things that don’t,  comes much easier.   You can gradually figure out who you are and replace who you think you should be?   At some point you know without uncertainty that you were meant to be a square peg all along.

A Mindful Journey

I see a young barefooted man wandering through a catacomb, having to be careful which direction he took.  The minute he entered, he knew that there were several paths he could take, and that if he was not careful, he could, very easily fall in to the self-destructive side of things, which would make his journey take that much longer.  But, he knew that by taking his time, he would be able to make the right choices and eventually end up on the positive side.

As he shined his lantern to the left, he noticed a slippery slope.  The closer he got to the edge, he recognized that slope as impulsive.  He seemed to remember sliding down this embankment on several occasions.  Each time he did, his journey seemed to be over before it started.   Cautiously he moved past that portion and on to the next.

To the right he saw a bubbling green pool.  It looked very inviting.  He was just about to test the waters and realized that this pool was probably very deep and might be hard to escape, even if he were to just dip his toe in.  Just a little exposure to jealously and envy can suck you in without even knowing it.  No.  He needed to move on.

In the shadows of the darkness, he could hear whispers.  The words were not clear, but he was curious to know where these voices were coming from.  He walked quietly towards the conversation and stopped in his tracks when he heard the tone.  He had seen what gossip could do to all involved and was terrified to get caught up in anything that had to do with being critical or judgmental.  He was relieved that he was able to sneak past that cavern and was one step closer to what he was hoping to find.

After a small detour around self-doubt, almost immediately he was faced with a series of obstacles from the past.  As he prepared for a fight, he realized that these obstacles were no more than his imagination getting the best of him.    He told himself that these obstacles were things that had already been dealt with long ago.  Right or wrong, none of them should still exist.  He closed his eyes and pushed through to the other side.  He looked behind,  once he was on solid ground again, just to make sure that had let each thing go and nothing else would hinder him from moving forward.

Still shaken from the first part of his trek, he was contemplating finding a safe place to rest.  He was weary from what he had faced already and not sure he could go on much further.  But then he saw it.  A light.  Not just a light, but a bright light that changed colors as he got closer.  He picked up his pace and knew that all of his efforts to this point had not been wasted.  He knew that he was within reach of finding what he had been searching for, for so long.  As he reached the amazing light, he touched the small particles in the air and splashed them on his face.  The light instantly filled his soul and he knew that he had finely found what had been buried under years of guilt and self -sabotage.  He knew for sure that he would never have to make this difficult journey again.

He exited the catacomb of his mind a changed person.  Leaving all of the negative, self-destructive, bad behavior behind and making the choice to hold on to what was good.  He felt alive.  No longer would he stifle patience, responsibility, strength and self-confidence.  He chose to build on the foundation that he had been laying his entire life.  Nothing was going to stop him from being the person he knew he could be.  He made the choice to deal with things as they came and to never ignore those ugly thoughts and ideas to the point where they overtook what was right and real.

 

The boy was so happy that he did not give up.  That he trusted what he knew was inside him and was strong enough to move aside what was preventing it from shining through.   From now on he would be patient and kind, responsible and dependable.  He would take one day, one thing and one-act at a time. He would never wander off the path he knew he should be on, no matter how tempting it was.  He was no longer afraid.

Wait your turn.

The second my eyes open in the morning, my head feels like Walmart on Black Friday!  If my brain even senses that I am waking up, it starts sending thoughts, ideas and random “to do” lists for the day.  It is so annoying.  I wish there were some way to control the chaos.

I am sure if I were to install surveillance cameras behind my eyes, or at the base of my skull, I would be shocked at how disorderly things are.  You would think, since I am such a control freak, that I would have some sort of organized system for what is happening before I am fully awake.  “Things that need to be done today?  Line up over here.  Thoughts about things that don’t concern you?  Single file to the left.”

At the very least I would implement some sort of barrier system.  Kind of like they have at the movie theatre or banks on the first of the month.    I would probably need some sort of VIP line for those thoughts that really need to be dealt with in a hurry.  I would also like some sort of crowd control for those pesky ideas that think they deserve to be acknowledged before anything else and won’t take no for an answer.

Oh what would it be like to have a mind full of Customer Service Reps filtering calls and sending them to the correct department.  “Hold please” or “I’m sorry, we are not taking any new thoughts at the moment.  Can we put you on a call back list?”  A Personal Assistant?  Someone that could deal with questions that don’t require any action.  You know, the “I wonder what would happen if…”  or “Someday I would like to….”

I could hold mock lock down drills where it was required to be still and quiet for at least 15 minutes.  Or, even better, an evacuation drill. “Get out!”  With any luck,  most of the petty things would just wander off before it was time to convene back in my mind.

If I could have hours of service to go by?  That might help.  That may eliminate those random stragglers from showing up at dinner time, or right before I am ready to go to bed.  I feel so bad for those new thoughts that patiently wait their turn only to get run over when there is a change of plans or a last-minute addition.  Sometimes they are waiting for days, getting shoved to the back of the line when they are two thoughts away from getting the attention they need.

I am sure somewhere out there , there is a solution that will help alleviate the clutter and mismanaged tangle of concepts, all fighting for attention. Something that does not require meditation or medication.  Something that does not involve putting your legs over your head while you chant something spiritual.  If I don’t get a handle on this issue in the near future, I fear there may be some sort of hostile takeover.

“Wait your turn.  I will get to you in the order in which you were recieved.”

 

Can I have a hug?

I come from a long line of huggers.  My mom’s side of the family is famous for the huge bear hugs that take your breath away they squeeze so tight.  They hug hello.  They kiss on the lips and they double the hugs good-bye.  So how did I miss that part of my gene pool?

I do not dislike hugs.  I am just not good at hugging.  I do not ever initiate it.  Even with my kids.  They hug me.  And, if you ask our oldest daughter, she will say how awkward I am when I hug.  She says I don’t squeeze, and I often do this tapping thing that is a little abnormal.  I also have a friend who tells me she is going to hug me and that I just need to sit still while it happens.

 

To me it is sort of like dancing. (something else I am not good at).  I am always either on the wrong side, or my arms are up when the recipients are down.   I have sent glasses all katty wompus.  I have bumped noses.  I have even stepped on toes.  To me, it is just not natural.

I realize this is a strange thing to blog about, but it bothers me.  I am envious of those who can make a hug look effortless.  There are those rare occasions where I surprise myself by taking the lead and giving a genuine squeeze, but those times are few and far between.  It actually shocks me when I can pull it off.

Those who know me, know that I am better at a slug on the arm, or even a handshake with a little squish on the wrist.   And those group of Master Huggers who don’t know my “condition” and hug me anyway, always walk away with a look of confusion.

I thought about making up a sign to have on hand when I am going to be in a potential hugging situation.  “Please hug at your own risk.” I don’t think hugging is something that can be taught.  If it was, then the years of rib crushing hugs from my Nana should have been all the lessons I would have needed.  If it could be taught, then I would need maybe a tee-shirt printed “Hugger in training”.

There are times when a hug is essential.  I always attempt to hug a friend when they are down.  I will often muster up a hug  when it has been too long in between visits with family.  Weddings.  Funerals.  Of course, my kids. when it is proven necessary, and of course all of my Aunts, who are all that is left of the family of huggers.

I’m sad that I don’t have that ability to know how to do a good hug justice. Give me a day and I will write the most heartfelt thank you note you ever received.  I will pump you up to everybody I know.  I’ll rustle your hair, high-five or even shoulder bump.  I have a million other ways to show gratitude, acceptance and excitement, that does not involve any choreography.  Awkward huggers unite!!!  Who’s with me?

 

 

 

Enjoy the little things

I am constantly reminded of how simple it is to enjoy the smallest things.  It is our youngest daughter who normally brings that to my attention.  She is the poster child for all things simple. She is forever pointing out the bright side of a situation and always finds a way around negativity.

At the beginning of the school year, she brought home this lima bean that she had been soaking in a paper towel. It had opened up and was forming a sprout.  She kept it in the bag and kept it watered and it was getting bigger and bigger.  One day, while she was at school, I planted it and put it in the window.  Somehow, this bean plant became a part of our family.  Even my husband was talking to it inadvertently.  We named “her” Little Bean, and for months this plant was thriving.

Our daughter was telling her teacher about her plant and how big it was getting.  Her teacher was curious as to how big it actually was, and asked if she would bring it for sharing one day.  So, we packaged up Little Bean and sent her to school for the day.  Our daughter was elated.  She could not wait to talk about her plant.

Well, shortly after the trip to school, Winter hit us hard.  Little Bean’s spot in the window was no longer sunny, and, looking back probably too cold by the glass.  She started to wilt. We plucked a few of her dead leaves.  My husband gave her some of our outdoor plant fertilizer, but Little Bean just kept turning brown and losing leaves.  We had to make a decision   I know it is crazy, but I was actually sad.

In the midst of trying to decide what to do, our daughter discovered a pod  that had been struggling to make it through this dying off process.  Inside the pod was another lima bean.  Our daughter pulled it off, broke it open and put the one lonely bean in a wet paper towel and put it in a plastic bag.  She started over.

It was this entire scenario that made me wonder why I can’t see the simple things for what they are.  This was a plant.  But to me it represented a responsibility.  I wanted so bad for this plant to thrive and survive beyond all odds.  When it started to look peaked, I felt as though I had failed.  I put it too close to the window.  I was the one who over watered it.  I was the one who could not save it.  It was only a silly plant, but to me, it represented my failure.

To my daughter?  She enjoyed the life cycle of this bean.  She watched it sprout, grow and then start to die.  She was not upset when I told her we may have to say goodbye to Little Bean, she simply started over again. She is anticipating the next generation will be stronger, greener and healthier, while I am holding on to a brown stick in a cup of water, hoping for color to come back and spit out just one more leaf.

I envy my youngest daughter with her ability to see things for how they are.  She accepts the things she cannot change.  She is not afraid to let go of the things she can’t.  She has hope for what is to come.  She enjoys every minute of every day.  Slow and methodical. Compassionate and understanding.  Kind. Giving.  Simple.

It’s just a park.

I love my neighborhood.  I have lived here my entire life.  I love that my oldest daughter was raised in this house on this block and now our youngest children.  Most of my neighbors have been here since I can remember.  If one should pass away or move, their homes are filled with their kids or grandchildren, or bought by someone who wants to live in a safe, quiet neighborhood.

The City was built around a big Paper mill back in the 1940’s.  In the center of town is a huge park with a wading pool, tennis courts and plenty of places for a picnic or a pick up baseball game.  The main road that goes through town if filled with Historic buildings and quaint shops.  Once the weather is nice enough, there is usually an event going on somewhere in town.

Recently one of my neighbors knocked on my door asking if I had heard about the park that was going in down the block from our house.  I was confused.  There are homes on every lot.  He then told me that the City had purchased two parcels of land from the lady two doors down, whose husband had passed away a few years ago. She could not pay the property taxes on these two parcels of land so the City purchased them.   There was never a “for sale” sign posted.  There was no notice of what the City intended to do with this land.

Since this news has gotten out, the City Counsel meetings have been standing room only.  Even people from the other side of the River have stepped up, telling stories of what is happening in their neighborhoods along the River once they added a Public Access. There are letters of opposition being sent.  There is a social media page going. Our daughter in Middle School has been asked if she would like to be on a kids counsel to speak on behalf of the kids in our neighborhood.  It is a big deal and the biggest part of it, is that our City has not recognized the concerns of its citizens.  They say they are looking for other ideas for this land, but it sure sounds like they are going ahead with their plans for building bathrooms, setting up a canoe and kayak rental and looking in to parking along our street.

Our block is filled with joggers, walkers and bikers in every season.  It is popular route because of how little traffic that goes down our road.  I learned how to ride my bike on this road.  My kids all learned how to ride bikes on this road.   We don’t want the extra traffic.  We don’t want the kinds of activity that a public park would invite.  With no plan for lifeguards or patrol in the area, the neighbors all up in arms about what is going to happen to our quiet little neighborhood.

I am sad beyond belief.  I love my neighborhood.  If they do go ahead with this proposed plan, and we end up with a public park down the street, I fear the days of sleeping with our windows open on a hot summer night and leaving our cars unlocked will be no longer.  The extra traffic, the noise and the fear of someone falling down the rocky bank will be things we will need to worry about.

My house.  My neighborhood.  My town, were the things I could always count on.  My safe place.  Places that did not change.  With people who knew me, my parents, and my grandparents.  Slowly these things are going by the wayside and there is not much I can do to stop it.  I know it is just a park, but if it goes in, it will be a constant reminder of things I know starting to fade away.