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I finally downloaded what pictures I have left (meaning what pictures my phone didn’t erase) from our last trip. So you’re in for some peaceful treats (at least I think they’re treats) over the next few days.

Sentinal Sea Oats

Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “In the end, it’s only the moments that we have, the kiss on the palm, the joint wonder at the furrowed texture of a fir trunk or at the infinitude of grains of sand in a dune.  Only the moments.” — Susan Vreeland

Daily gratitudes:
Discovering a new destination
Playing fashion police
How Mr. Man likes belly rubs
Falling asleep on MKL’s shoulder
Storm clouds over the mountains

I love the way the sea paints endless pictures in the sand.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Sensuality does not wear a watch but she always gets to the essential places on time.  She is adventurous and not particularly quiet.  She was reprimanded in grade school because she couldn’t sit still all day long.  She needs to move.  She thinks with her body. ” — J. Ruth Gendler

Daily gratitudes:
Hugs and kisses when I am teary
Trying to help Kelsea find a metaphor for herself
That when Mr. Man sits in my lap, he covers my entire torso
Pigeons when they are flirting
Throw-together spicy dinners

I’ve been absent, and I’m sorry. Working too much. But then I’ve been doing that since high school. Hope this lovely image sends you off to an even lovlier dreamland.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “And he knew, also, what the old man was thinking as his tears flowed, and he, Rieux, thought it too: that a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one’s work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, the warmth and wonder of a loving heart.” — Albert Camus

Daily gratitudes:
Mr. Man
My bed
Coffee with my daughter
Finding common ground
Writing
MKL

I love having a child. Granted, she is not a child anymore – she is almost 17. Wow.

I guess I need to stop saying that I’m trying to lose the baby weight.

Here are some of the wonderful things about being a mother:

1. Getting to know the amazing person who is my daughter. I’m so glad her little soul chose me.
2. The idea that I made this person out of a seed is remarkable. She’s the best thing I ever made. Even better than my eggplant parmesan.
3. She has taught me more about what’s important in this world than almost anyone I have ever met.
4. Through her, I have remembered what it is like to be a child.

There are lots more things I could say, but it’s that last one that I want to focus on. When I was on a walk yesterday, I passed a playground. A little girl, about four years old, was pushing an empty swing. She had estimated her distance from the arc of the swing so that it would just hit her fingers enough for her to push it gently to keep the momentum going.

I saw her, and I remembered doing that exact thing when I was little-little.

That reminded me of how my daughter caused me to recapture my own childhood. She did so in a thousand different ways. When I started reading to her (when she was three weeks old), I started remembering the books that I had loved as a child. Our trips to the library when she was small were like opening a door into a forgotten and beloved room for me. I introduced her to The Moon Jumpers, Dr. Seuss, Dorie the Little Witch, Harry the Dirty Dog – all these beloved stories I had set aside like I set aside my stuffed animals as I grew up. (She helped me recapture my love of those, too – I have a few around the house now.)

She re-taught me, when she was small, that treasures came from the most unlikely places. Because she was so close to the ground, she spent a lot of time looking down. Every place we went, she seemed to find something unusual and special. Maybe it was a fallen blossom from a geranium. Many it was a penny. Maybe it was a pretty rock. Or a lost earring never to be returned to its owner, but now a treasured jewel for a little girl. Even now that she is grown up, I am more aware of what’s beneath my feet and before my eyes. I notice so much more, and my life is richer for it.

With her, I remembered how to imagine. I played a hundred characters and invented a host of voices and storylines to suit the imagination games we played. We created restaurants, food banks, wizarding schools, sports teams, and outrageous sophisticates.

I remembered how to have inside jokes, and how to laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe. I remembered how to have uncontrollable giggle fits that could last for ages, about nothing.

I remembered what it was like to see things for the first time. I remembered what it was like to have a rat’s nest in my long hair, and how much I hated having my mother brush it, and it made me compassionate for her fussing when I had to brush hers.

I suppose, in summary, I learned how to be a child again, as I was learning how to be a grown-up, and how to be a mother. I know that a lot of grown-ups scorn childlike feelings and behaviors, and they are missing a huge joy by doing so. I am all of those things, now. And my spirit is lighter and closer to heaven for it.

Thank you, my daughter.

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I caught a walk under the thunder today, which is a little nerve-wracking when you’re in the field, but it does make you go faster.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a painting o a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” — Ray Badbury

Daily gratitudes:
A puppy on a leash carrying the leashof  an older dog
MKL
How snuggly Mr. Man is
Walking
Lima beans

I have actually envisioned taking a pistol to my computer from time to time, but so far, I haven’t gone through with it. So far.

It’s been a week of technical frustration here at El Bungalow de Sweetie. Even though a lawnmower is not technically technology, after yesterday’s fiasco, I’m including it under the leaky umbrella of awfulness.  As I mentioned in last night’s rant, my phone is a pisser these days as well.

I am a late adopter, marrying an early adopter, and so MKL thought it would be great for me to get a SmartPhone about a year ago. Which I did. And I have regrets. I am now one of those people who no longer look out the window of the bus. I’m one of those people who can’t leave home without my phone. I’ve become one of those people I always snarked about.

When you upgrade to more sophisticated technology, you quickly integrate it into your daily life so that you feel dependent on it. And when it fails you – like my phone SO does often – you feel frustrated and betrayed. My phone deleted every picture I had taken since June. All by itself.  Just for some bitchy spiteful reason that it doesn’t want to talk about. That includes pictures from trips to Monument Valley and to Topsail. I hadn’t backed the pictures up on my computer because those two systems refused to speak to each other over the USB cable. (I think my phone has some personal problems.) While I mediated THAT communication breakdown last night, after downloading two separate programs that claimed they would recover the missing images, I am still bereft of said images. (Those programs lied. They were no help at all.)

When we were at Topsail, I got to talking with a lady slightly older than I. We were commiserating about the intrusion of technology in a place that feels like a throwback to an earlier era, as Topsail does. I remember when I was a kid at Topsail, my Dad would walk to the newspaper boxes in front of Mr. Godwin’s Market every morning to pick up copies of the Pender Chronicle, the Wilmington Star, and the Raleigh News & Observer (my Dad loved newspapers). That’s how we got our news. There was no TV. He had a radio that he brought with him that he set on the big table. That’s how we got our weather. Everyone at his work knew that he was out of town and unreachable. He had capable staff covering for him, and besides, nothing is as urgent as we think it is. We had no phone. He would walk down to the old glass pay-phone booth on Saturday nights to make his weekly calls to my grandmother. If my friends wanted to be in touch with me while we were gone, they would write me letters addressed to c/o General Delivery. Which they did.

We were not out of touch. We were in touch with each other, with the rhythm of the sea, with cooking and cleaning up after ourselves, with board games and books. We were simply at our ease.

I miss that. I can sometimes find that feeling on Anegada, when my internet doesn’t work. I could find it more often if I were disciplined enough just to disconnect. But there’s something different about disconnecting, as opposed to not having the connection in the first place. I can’t quite put my finger on it – it’s subtle and it’s infiltrating our concept of what we think we need (as opposed to what we actually need.)

All the noise of technology is drowning out the silence, the stillness, the mindfulness, and the care we took with things and with each other. Of course, I say this as I’m typing on a computer (as opposed to a typewriter) to an audience of hundreds who I would never have reached were it not for technology.

Ah, the irony of it.

And as for my phone, it was self-centered enough to save its own selfies, even though it wouldn’t save my pictures. I was going to post one of those pictures to accompany this blog entry, but guess what? I can’t find any of the pictures I did download from my phone last night anywhere on my computer.

And so, I bid you a disgusted good night.  May your dreams be techno-free.

 

 

 

Today, I tried to start my lawn mower. It’s about a year old. MKL got it for me. A Toro – a nice lawn mower. Nicer than my lawn.

I don’t have what you could call a lawn – I have dirt with weeds that grow thigh high in no time.  And grow they do if I don’t attend to them.  Which I haven’t been, what with work and playing and, well, not liking mowing dirt.

The lawn mower (which I think needs a name) has a BIG seal emblazoned on the top that says “Guaranteed to Start”.

It lies.

It didn’t.

I checked the oil. I added gas. I looked for a primer thingy (nope). I yanked on that starter cord like…well, I can’t even provide an analogy that isn’t unseemly. I even read the manual – and I was amazed that I had the manual.

I called MKL.

Now, I ask you, why did I call MKL?  He’s a car guy, and in my head, I thought car = (approximately) lawn mower. They both have motors. They both take oil and gas. You can run things over with both of them.

Poor guy.  He’s 45 miles away and doesn’t have a manual, but he does have a computer with Windows 8 which frustrates the hell out of him. He was trying to help by looking the model up online.

Of course, the manual offers you four different model numbers. Sooooo not helpful. And all they show you online is the same manual.

I don’t lose my temper often anymore. I used to have a terrible temper, which everyone says I inheirited from my father. He rarely lost his temper either – he’d learned how to control it over the years, just as I have.

But not today. Today, I lost my temper with a machine.

My former (and now late) neighbor, Charlene, was a ranchwoman. She was a soft-spoken woman except when she was trying to herd recalcitrant cattle. Then, the air above the ranch was blue with her curses.

That was me. And I was loud. I’m surprised the neighbors here didn’t call the police. Unfortunately, I still had MKL on the phone, since he was trying to help. I had to reassure him that I wasn’t swearing at him, but I know how angry I sounded. He said that he’d take a look at it when he came home tomorrow. And that just set me off.

I am a smart woman. I know this about myself. And I HATE when I need a man to fix something for me. I don’t believe that I should EVER need a man to help me fix something.  I knew when I left my marriage that one of the things I needed to prove to myself was that I COULD DO ANYTHING, because I had been told in many ways for many years that I was basically incapable and illogical. That’s why I get extremely frustrated when I find something that stumps me. Like the lawn mower.

I said goodbye to MKL as nicely as I could. And kept adding gas and yanking on the starter and guess what?

It started.

And the weeds are now about as high as a tennis sock.

I had to apologize to MKL and be sure he still wanted to marry me.

Thankfully, he does.

But I have no faith in anything that offers me a guarantee.

Especially that now my phone has decided that it has erased my SD card with all my vacation photos on it.  And tech support for T-Mobile won’t let me log in.

Can anyone spare a Valium?

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I’m in my happy place – well, one of them – with the people I love. 🙂

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day:  “Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daily gratitudes:
Family
Pool
The sea
The sun
Good books
Night noises

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