Friday, February 19, 2010

The Joy of Joblessness

I'm finding there are certain joys to being aimless, feckless, and jobless. I have time to take our grandsons, Taylor and Adam, and their first cousin, Jacob, during school vacation. Taylor is ten, Jacob is nine, and Adam has just turned seven.

The other grandmother, "Nanny" a/k/a Marie and I took the kids on an extended "field trip day" yesterday that began with bowling. We talked smack to the kids all the way there, saying that two old women were going to "kick their tiny hineys all the way up between their shoulder blades." It was hysterical listening to the retorts from the back seat. We told the boys that when they lost, and they would, we'd buy them nice frilly pink and yellow Easter dresses at Wal-Mart to go to lunch in as a penalty for being LOSERS!!! This got them going big time and they shouted back they'd rather go naked, they were going to win because we were girls and they were men, etc. and giggling up a storm.

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way there because Marie and I needed coffee to brace ourselves up with. Has anyone else ever seen a boy child with a head no larger than, say, an oversized cantaloupe shove more than half of a Boston creme doughnut into their mouth? And still be able to chew? Well, I It was something like watching a boa constrictor eat a baby gazelle in one gulp. Little kids are so weird.

So we start bowling - - the big balls. Adam, the littlest one, picks out a 12 pounder because he likes the color. The guy running the front desk very kindly and surreptitiously places a 7 pounder onto the ball return with a wink at me. Adam quickly discovered he liked this ball a whole lot more than the other one due in great part to the fact he can actually carry and throw it. I don't believe Adam weighs much more than 60 pounds soaking wet. The kids are having a pretty good time. Jacob is the best bowler with his long arms and legs. He's also much more deliberate and patient. Marie and I are jumping around and whooping it up at every little victory. We're embarrassing the kids as much as possible until they beg for the quarters we brought for them so they could play the arcade games and get as far away from us as possible.

After bowling, and kicking some tiny hineys - hey it was three against two - we had lunch and then off to check out a buffalo farm out in West Bath that I'd passed going to my tax guy on Monday. That was an event for sure. The boys were all bravado and talking about manure and how gross the buffalo were, hooting and clanging around on the fence at them. That is, until the leader of the pack whom I'll call "Gargantua" showed up from down pasture. This fella weighed in at a ton plus manure weight on his fur. He started snorting loudly and eyeballing us, sidling around, wanting to know why we were looking at his harem. The kids were standing right up against the fence when this began and asked, all happy like, if the buffalo was farting. I said no, that he was snorting at them. Then to their great delight, he started licking his tongue up into his nose and that started off a whole volley of disgusting little boy comments.

Suddenly Gargantua snorted really loudly and charged about five feet toward the fence. I have never in my life seen three little boys move so fast. I turned to look and Taylor was all the way up next to the road, Adam had dashed behind Marie, and Jacob was nearly back to the car some 25 yards away. Long legs win out every time. That ended our buffalo viewing for the day. On the way back to the car, we did pat some nice beef creatures and have running commentary from Taylor on manure. It's amazing the fresh perspective children can give something as simple as cow poop.

On the ride back, "someone," it might have been me, started trouble by winding a big squishy green ball into the back seat at three little heads. Hey, they taunted me by saying I wouldn't do it. Poor Jacob, was right in the middle and got most of action square in the forehead. We had to stop once the ball got lodged onto the back deck of the car out of reach. You never heard so much delighted giggling and shouting, but the car stayed completely under control, all you concerned parents. I can throw a ball and drive, just don't ask me to change a CD and drive. And, they started it.....

It was such a great day. A reminder of what it's like to be a kid and just laugh and have fun, act silly and smile until your face hurts. Or bowl until you can't lift your arm over head the next day. What I'm happiest about was the kids asking their father if they could come back again the next day even before they'd left yesterday afternoon.

I think this is the greatest job I've ever had.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haiku! Gesundheit.

Once again my hearing is not up to par. While driving back from Brunswick the other day, I thought my beloved husband said:

"That c--ksucker must have some kind of death wish."
I abruptly turned in the drivers seat and said "What the hell did you just say! Who has a death wish?" I'm thinking someone's flipped us off or whatever. He said, "Toni, I said, that hawk sitting up there must see a fish." I busted my chitterlings, people, and was unable to tell him for a few minutes what I was laughing about. He hates this with a passion and gets very grumpy. He says I'll laugh at anything, which may or may not be true, but this was funny with a capital FUH.

And, so anyhow, not only is my hearing shot, but I cannot remember what the hell I'm doing from one minute to the next. I put some garlic bread in the oven at 400 degrees. Remember this temperature as it is vital to the story, okay? My darling is late getting home from shrimp dragging; it's after 7 p.m. so I'm a little frazzled. He comes in and I dish up a very nice dinner, we dine, wash the dishes and chat awhile before trundling off to bed. The whole while I can smell something burning like toast, and I realize I haven't turned off the oven. Simple enough.

I awaken the next morning at 4 a.m. with a start, realizing that I never took the garlic bread out of the oven for dinner the night before. I leap from bed - why I don't know - and dash into the kitchen. What I find are two extremely large croutons at this point, drier than a old maid's...tears.

The next night, I left the lovely and highly coveted bread stuffing from the lovely roast chicken in the microwave overnight and had to toss that out the next day around 2 p.m. when I finally discovered it. That was a bummer. My bread stuffing is phenomenal. I nearly cried.

Menopause brain? Ennui? I think I'm off in my own little world much of the time, staring and absorbing my surroundings, "writing them," as it were. I've turned into quite the little geeker of late, giant purse that can hold my new read, Elizabeth Berg's "Escaping Into the Open," my notebook and pen, along with all my "girl" stuff. Pretty quick I'm going to have to have the voice recorder to record all my jaunty little thoughts as they pop up 'cause I'm too damned important/lazy/artistically fartzy to use a pen.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

...again at the beginning.

My mind is like a rogue toddler on a mission to destroy the entire household by whatever means necessary. I used to be a champ meditator. Nothing could break my concentration and now I can't focus for two seconds, much less sit with my legs crossed for five minutes without pain. I've lost my mental edge along with my physical flexibility.

My favorite focusing technique is Caroline Myss's mantra from her book, Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. The point is to focus on the chakras, or the body's energy centers, from first to seventh, imagining them "light up," with their requisite colors and repeat for each one in order:

All is One
(Red, Base of Spine)

Honor One Another
(Orange, Reproductive)

Honor Oneself
(Yellow, Solar Plexus)

Love is Divine Power
(Green, Heart)

Surrender Personal Will to Divine Will
(Royal Blue, Throat)

Seek Only the Truth
(Indigo, Third Eye)

Live in the Present Moment
(Violet, Crown)

This is my preferred method because it doesn't require complete stillness of my body. Combined with the physical exertion of walking, it allows my mind to come to great conclusions unhindered by the day's stresses. Not being the "omming type," I can barely commit to sitting down and watching a DVD all the way through without wandering away to find something else to do. My doctor describes me as a "Type A-," an accurate description.

I loved meditation for the "afterward" and the portals of creativity it opened for me. My level of awareness became profound and my dreams prophetic. The Minions of Morpheus and I were on actual speaking terms. I began this practice during the time I worked in law, seeing pictures of dead people intermingled with pictures of fellas lying on picnic tables sporting the glory of their erections. Meditation was the outlet that offered me peace along with the clarity I used to write my earlier poems and work.

Lately my dreams have been about day-to-day things. I particularly recall a dream where I was tearfully telling my husband that no one would hire me, that I'd tried to get all these jobs, it wasn't my fault - - as I pulled moldy hotdogs, chickens and cabbage out of the cupboard. Then I dreamed that I was really taking my aggressions out on someone I couldn't name or know. There lurks a part of me that feels remiss in not being a viable wage earner and also some anger or disappointment in my Self for being talented and qualified for so many things yet unable to get hired. Yeah, I've joined the 10% National Unemployment Club.

Those dreams stick with me, along with the feelings they produce, and halt my creative flow big time. It has even stymied my colorful, hyphenated swearing capabilities of which I am legend. Now, that's hitting below the belt!

So we start again at the beginning. All is one.

"Healing requires far more of us than just the participation of our intellectual and even our emotional resources. And it certainly demands that we do more than look backwards at the dead-end archives of our past. Healing is, by definition, taking a process of disintegration of life and transforming into a process of return to life." Caroline Myss