22 February 2011

For Lack Of Anything Better...

As of late, I have been uninspired in more ways than one. My new job as a long-term sub starts next week - I've been bidding adieu to my extra leisure time. No better time for a change of pace...

I don't believe I've shared a ton of writing here before, but as it's a 'Random Thoughts' blog, I do believe I can, should, and will.

I attended my library's weekly writing group tonight, and we always start the session with a brief writing exercise in which we write a piece based on three slips of paper freshly chosen from a index card box. The slips contain words or phrases that must be worked into the piece...here was mine tonight...

***By the way, don't copy this without my permission or steal and try to pass it off as your own, because then I'll have to hunt you down and beat you with your own ripped off limbs.***

The small sleepy seaside village of Hampton was inhabited by good, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth folk. Most of the villagers rose with the sun, fed the chickens, milked the cows, swept the front stoop, stoked the fires, and generally prepared their households for the day ahead. The glint of the ships in the bay would bring the traffic of goods and trade business to Hampton, and the small burg would soon bustle happily with merchant activity and more.

Like clockwork, except more reliable, the entire village would close down at the noon hour, so that men toting pitchforks, bags of potatoes or gold could return home for a hearty luncheon with their families. Children were dismissed promptly at the school bell and they sprinted home, books or boxing gloves in hand, to the smell of bread baking or stew simmering on the hearth.

So it was like this every day. Dinnertime followed the same pattern: shops and vendors, public buildings and businesses would halt operations at five o'clock, and all townspeople, regardless of where they were or what they were engaged in, would wind their way home to their dinners.

As the sun burned a dull orange in the western sky, a few oil lamps would flicker in windows here and there, but not for long, because Hampton's residents were quite familiar with the old adage "a long day follows a short night". Thus, at the onset of complete night-darkness, every man, woman, and child in the village carried themselves to their beds.

To outsiders, this routine may have seemed monotonous, mundane...so inexcusably boring as to not ever be endured...to live every day like the one before and the one after.

But to the villagers, the days brought a life of comfort, of familiarity and they cherished it, in fact, they fiercely protected it. Because they knew that day would eventually come when their quiet, happy, contented lives would catapult into a violent, unexplainable chaos.

The solar eclipse would be occurring soon. A day and night of madness would then be upon them.

08 February 2011

Conversations Are Water For The Psyche

The title of today's blog comes from an epiphany I had yesterday.

The phenomenon itself is old hat - I've been experiencing it for years, but the subsequent 'ah-ha' and 'oh no' occurred very recently.

Monday morning, I awoke rather sloggishly (it being a Monday, following a Sunday when I'd stuffed myself with a ridiculous amount of high-carb, high-fat, high-sugar, high-evil foods). My digestive system wreaked havoc on my sleep pattern the entire night, and it stands to reason that I woke up feeling like monkey poo. This, in addition, is also on top of the general Monday morning manicness the Bangles sung about all those years ago.

In short, I was riding pretty low in the El Camino of Positivity. I got through my first class of the day at eight, and then bopped over to my other teaching job, where I become engaged in a great conversation with a fellow colleague. From there, I was skipping on air (eat that, Hallmark). I was positive, I was chipper, nothing could touch me then.

A 180 in my temperament? Just because of one ten-minute conversation?

I might have passed it off as a fluke, had it not been for the fact that it has happened to me before. I can recall times I've felt tired, down...then I go off to a committee meeting, work (sometimes), or tea with a friend - and suddenly, I feel rejuvenated. Positive. Alive.

It's a great thing - interacting with people. For me, it's a necessity, absolutely vital thing...that is what I've learned about myself. I suppose this is why my forays into stay-at-momdom have failed. Or why I seemed to change jobs or aspects of it about every five years.

So, when I talk about infusing more positivity into my life, part of that means engaging in more of those uplifting, meaningful conversations. Good stuff.

But...shortly after the 'ah-ha'...was the 'oh no'. Suppose there are people currently in my life that I do not have these uplifting, meaningful conversations with? Suppose that most of my interactions with them are downers and I usually end up irritated or worse...and at best, I feel exactly the same as I did when we first began talking?

But suppose I just can't cut out these people as easily as one might do with an acquaintance or slight friend? Suppose they are people terribly close to me and to cut them out would be to tear apart the strings that hold many, many others together?

It's a bit unbearable to think about, actually. But, now that I'm aware of the effect, I can't unknow it, and so just suffering it for the rest of my life is rather unbearable as well.

Now accepting: Tried-and-true strategies, readings, or advice to combat this particular concern: to restructure my negative interactions so that they become positive ones.

Tall order!

03 February 2011

A Wee Early For Valentine's Day

Most of the time, Streamers, this upcoming holiday of lovers tends to pass me by in an uneventful fashion.

After all...

1. Pink is my favorite color, no matter what day of the year.
2. I resent the overcommercialization of chocolate, as I can really no longer indulge in its sugary goodness like I used to.
3. While I love flowers (in their natural environment), I'm not much for receiving them on February 14th.
4. I don't really expect my husband to shell out two months' worth for diamonds, only for me to lose them down the kitchen drain (it doesn't matter where, the material point is that I would lose it at some point, as sure as the sun rises in the east).

In an act of self-preservation, I usually pooh-pooh the holiday and pretend it's not important. However, the few years my husband has been stupid enough to heed my declaration of "let's not do anything for Valentine's Day", I realize that in fact, I do care and I do, so very desperately, want to celebrate the Love Day...and I want to be treated like a Goddess....and smothered in chocolate and dipped in diamonds...or dipped in chocolate and smothered in diamonds...or both.

Anyway, I was reading this article on Yahoo! called "Six Mistakes to Avoid on Valentine's Day". I know, it's ridiculous, right? Just another mixed message - we can't afford to spend beacoup dollars on our loved ones, but don't even think about buying a damn stupid stuffed animal for him/her (Mistake #4). Or flowers (#5). Or a store-bought Hallmark card (#1).

All I know is this: it takes two to tango, to efficiently plant a tomato garden, to make a baby, etc...and thus, it takes two to properly celebrate Valentine's Day.

Hence, Exhibit A:

1. I have procured child care arrangements for Saturday, February 12 (from five to nine p.m. we will be free...FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY FREE AT LAST...)

2. I have a great idea for dinner that does not involve overpaying for breaded chicken breast.

3. My husband very surreptitiously, but excitedly, snuck something into the house today which he says is part of my Valentine's Day present...but I have reservations, as the last I knew, he was coming home from the gas station.

See what I mean? No false hopes, expectations, or lame letdowns...just pure joint awesomeness. And, if this Valentine's Day is totally lame, then who's to blame?

Both of us.

And that's love, friends.