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Procrastination …

I am the queen of procrastination.

I do not buy wrapping paper from the school for the whole years’ worth of holidays. I do not buy holiday paper plates in bulk for every occasion. I can’t buy Halloween costumes in August or winter boots in September. Now I do acknowledge that I live in Connecticut and it might be wise to have winter boots by October but I do have a fourteen year old son and buying high tickets items like boots too far in advance may not be prudent. Though that doesn’t matter since he has stolen mine. He calls them the weasel stomping boots.

I only look for Thanksgiving plates the week or two before Thanksgiving when I should have been a good consumer and bought them in August when they were displayed. Usually at that time when I have exhausted all avenues that are open to me, I call my Mom. She usually has bought extra Thanksgiving plates. I think she knows that I am a procrastinator in a society that just can’t handle this much poor planning.

This year though I have succumbed to the society clamor of buying a month or two ahead. I have purchased the Thanksgiving plates and napkins. I have carefully stored them in my pantry. I should probably inform my mother of where they are because I will call her the week before Thanksgiving and instead of saying, Mom I need dessert plates and I can’t find them anywhere! I will be saying, Mom I bought plates and napkins in September and have no idea where I have put them.

It is creeping towards winter and I am thinking that at some point I will need to get my car back into the garage. Shucks …

I had my children bring the summer lawn chairs back to the shed for winter storage and then I will also have to get the bicycles and grill out at some point.

Soon the screen will have to come off the kitchen window and I will have to add the storm window. Then I will also have to find the window plastic at the hardware store and encapsulate my home to keep the drafts out. Doesn’t it sound like fun? This is when you wonder just how many days you have before we are surrounded by white. Some years it has happened all ready … some years it waits for a very long time.

We have wood on the front porch and wood on the screened in porch. If I actually get around to taking the plastic table off of the screened in porch I might consider adding another small pallet of wood to that porch … you know extra wood in case of a blizzard when we can’t get out to the pile in the back yard and use up the wood in the basement, front porch and everywhere else we store it. Hmm, can you tell I take after my parents who were raised by people who grew up in the depression? You HAVE to be prepared. As you can tell by my previous posts about my fixation of food in the pantry?

So what do you do in preparation for winter? Do you have set lists of thing to do or do you just continue with life as usual…

Oh the dreaded school picture day has arrived – that day that will be shot by a professional and forever proclaimed on family mantle. The decisions that need to be made: colored back drop? touch up? pose? Do you need an 8X10 or an 11X14? Really, who needs an 11X14 of their child? That is MORE than life-size! Do the grandparents have a house the size of a museum gallery? Do you need 16 wallet shots? Who knows 16 people who carry pictures in wallets? I certainly don’t! All I really need is two 5X7’s but I guess I will buy a few more just to make sure I have enough, despite the fact that I have enough of years gone by to wallpaper a small room in the evolution of my children to date.

I know that this is some kind of fund-raiser for the school because no matter how skilled the photographer, is any picture plan of 8 pictures really worth $50? I figure it has to be a fund-raiser. You can get a mug or mouse pad (does anyone use a mouse pad anymore?) or magnets or … you can do all your holiday shopping for the next nth years from school fundraisers and even wrap the gifts too!

But really, it was such a hideous chore … school picture day. Do you wear the eye-glasses or not? Do you wear something special and new? Do you want a striking color to stand out in the class picture. Is your class picture one in which you actually stand together or do they just assemble all the solitary pictures on the same page?

My son is looking forward to class picture day this year. It seems like it will be the only day all year that he gets to wear anything other than his uniform shirt. He will wear a suit jacket and tie. I emailed the guy in charge and all he said was that he had to wear a button down shirt with collar. I tried to convince my son that his Hawaiian shirts fit that description. But he is set on jacket and tie … what a very good boy I have!

I am not certain what my daughter thinks about school picture day this year. She has recently been trying to determine her best hair-do. She is trying to teach herself how to french braid her own hair. I just pray that she lets me help with hair detail on picture day for that could be embarrassing to keep for posterity!

Can you compare trauma?

As women, or maybe I should say as a person, we tend to compare ourselves with others. Are we more beautiful, thinner, fatter, smarter, more fashionable? This is how we lived our lives in school and with any luck we have matured past that as we aged or, to be kind, gained experience. Over the years, I would like to think that I have gained enough confidence in my being that I don’t need to be thinner and more beautiful than my peers. My hope is that I can see beyond the mask of my friends and companions and see the beauty that is inside and with luck and providence I am choosing companions that do the same for me. I am SO thankful I survived past middle school!

I heard a speaker yesterday that had many different things to say and yet one statement that stood out in my mind. Trauma is trauma and we cannot compare it. How often do we do just that?

A person’s cat died. Someone who has never had a pet will say they are sorry, but oh well life goes on. But what if a person has had that cat for seventeen years and that cat helped their person get through a nasty divorce or the loss of a child or the death of a parent. That cat was a constant companion through moves and life challenges, a support for their person which is no longer there. The foundation has been compromised. For some people — loosing a cat will be more traumatic than loosing a family member.

My husband died. He was not in the armed forces and shot by the enemy. He was not killed in a terrorist attack. I was not following him and watched while he died in a car accident. He died of a heart attack. Heart disease, the silent killer. No one knew he had issues until it was too late. Yet it was sudden and tragic and painful and no one’s fault.

Trauma – a sudden wound to body or spirit.

It will affect each person differently and somehow we need to reach out for help – sometimes we can get by with help from friends and family and sometimes we will need help from professionals. Knowing the difference is the hard part. Sometimes over time things need to be revisited. Especially at life’s milestones, and yet a bittersweet memory makes us tear up as we smile. I would never say that the loss goes away, but there are days with many more smiles.

when one is newly married all dreams revolve around the partner in some way … either the partner helps create time in the schedule for each to reach their goals or maybe the dream is a combined goal. When children are added to the mix, the big goal is to raise the children to become great individuals for that is the contract with Spirit that we are going to do our best with these gifts … and the other goals get shifted into pockets of time and parents take turns with child care and working on goals.

when one becomes a single parent — the time for dreams shifts … when they are young and still nap and go to sleep early that is fine. However, I have discovered that the time when the nap goes and they stay up later eeks away at the dream time. Until now when they have dreams of their own that they want to work on and so can understand better when I say, I can’t do this with you now … I need to do…

the dreams need to shift, when one has few commitments one has all kinds of times that they can devote to a project. When one has more commitments the steps are smaller and farther apart … but for the sake of the soul, the steps must be made. The soul needs to know that even though the steps are glacier-like they ARE being made. Without that knowledge the soul will slowly fade and the real question will be what is this all for?

small steps … a class here, a class there. An outline for a story here. A scene there. A character here. A setting there. Baby steps are where we all start and slowly, so slowly … we are off and running

this morning was beautiful …

I made a pot of coffee and went out to my porch. I have a lovely screened in porch and I have different tables and chairs on it … as well as two different cat gym things and the litter box. The cats can decide … to I enter through the door and leave through the window or vice versa? Do I sit on the cat bed on the big green plastic table? Or do I sit in the cat bed on the small metal table? My cats have such difficult decisions to make. It is SO exhausting that they often just sit on one of the chairs on a blanket!

But every morning I chose a card to think about through out the day: today was Ocean (ebb & flow). I thought this was particularly fitting since yesterday was the first time I had actually gotten to the ocean all summer. Yes indeed I had gotten to one of the Great Lakes for the first time in my life, but not to the ocean. Life has been busy lately. But I went to see a friend and the kids played and I chatted with a friend that I hadn’t seen in years, well if exclude the short visit at her mother’s funeral and let’s not count that!

How friendships change.

We used to spend all kinds of time together. We would just drink coffee and chat and let the boys play for hours and let them fall asleep where they lay and keep talking. Then work and studies and life got in the way and we met less and less and then ultimately I moved and now visits have to be orchestrated via Facebook, texts, and email. It seems horribly complicated when at one time the most difficult thing was pediatrician appointments and the dreaded grocery shopping trip. But finally our effort paid off and we were able to spend a few hours catching up and trying to find ways to encourage each other. In the midst of hectic lives as mothers and employees … where did our dreams go? Are they on hold until our children are in college? Which is much sooner than we might ever have expected. In the general scheme of a life time, what is six years? Can we make small steps towards the dreams until we have time for big steps?

That is the wonderful thing about long-term friendships … they have seen the evolution of our dreams.

I have an amazing porch. A great place to sit and drink coffee and dream.

275 years from now…

I just helped my town celebrate its 275 birthday. Well a few days early, technically the birthday isn’t until October 2 or possibly December 6 … depending on when Hartford decreed it or when the first founders held their first selectmen’s meeting. But really what person in their right mind moved to Goshen in October? Or were they already here and just petitioned the governor in October, because that was the first moment they had available after building houses, cutting hay, preparing firewood and storing everything in their root cellars?

A parade was organized of town groups – from housing trust to Hospice to library and the Boy Scouts and fire department in full regalia. The veterans led the parade and raised the flag. The national anthem was beautifully sung. It was a ceremony full of nostalgia. A remembrance of a time long ago. Yet this is what I like best about small towns, we hold on to that nostalgia and do not want to lose it. We want the veterans to be important keepers of the fire. We want the flag to mean something. We want community to be remembered.

Walking around the fairgrounds and looking out over the pretty foliage covered hills, I know why I moved here. It is gorgeous. Today it is warm and almost too hot — but this is autumn in New England. It is indeed the last throes of heat before next spring. Sometimes these throes last for weeks and sometimes a day or two, before the ice storm strikes.

But this did make me start thinking deep thoughts of what will people be thinking 275 years from now. Will my name be out there at all? Will the town of Goshen be celebrating its 550 birthday? Will humanity have knocked itself out of the loop and squirrels and ticks be taking over the Litchfield Hills more than they already do?

We all want to be remembered for something that we have done. At this moment I cannot think what will be thought of me 275 years from now. More than likely it will be because of something my children have done than for what I have done and you know, that is fine with me. My name doesn’t need to be in lights anywhere, but it would be darn cool to be in someone’s footnotes or dedications.

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