Forgetting

I had a sign on my icebox for a long while a long while back. I still keep the saying close at hand, though for some reason other things crowded it from the icebox front. 

 It reads:

What really important thing are you forgetting to do?

I ask that question on many different levels.  Did I pay the fuel card bills?  Did I ask him to check the propane tank level?  Did I ask the Lord forgiveness for my recent failures of character?  Did I put water in the dog’s bowl? Am I sure I checked all the supply levels for baking Christmas cookies?

From trivial to profound and back to trivial.

One question that haunts me was asked me on the day we buried Mother.  What are you going to do with the rest of your life?  At the time, all I could think of was raising the children.  At ages 10 (nearly 11) and 12, things were just taking off.  And my father was still living and needed assistance.  The Butler sale launched that year as well.  The question didn’t mean much for a long time. 

A few years later, the children were grown and Daddy and his mother and his father, too.  From September 2003 through April 2007, there was a lot of leaving for us.  We also lost a dear friend during that time.  And Hurricane Rita blew through.  We got down to just having our jobs and the cows for the most part.

Eventually, the children married and finally a couple of duchesses came along to add glitter sparkle to our lives. Figuratively and literally! 

Still, there are some long days of not much going on.  I have been retired just past a year. He is still working.  The duchesses are too far to come and go on a regular basis.  I have some hobbies I have dabbled in through the years. I am so accustomed to not having time to really dig deep on them, I still just dabble. 

I am forgetting to dig deep.

I love to plan things.  Have my tidy little lists of things.  I passed that trait on to our son.  I have notebooks of lists.  I have spent my idle hours for thirty years making lists.  What do I list?  I have a list of plants I want for the jungle garden.  I have lists of household supplies I use so I can try to make a more efficient shopping list.  I have lists of my favorite foods.  I have a list of songs I like.  I have a list of books to read and authors whose works I want to read.  I have a list of topics for essays to write.  I spend more time and energy on my lists instead of attending the things on the lists. 

I love to sort things.  An offshoot of listing or the listing is an offshoot of sorting.  I will sort and reorganize my closets and pantries several times through the year.  I haul off stuff to the Salvation Army or bag it up for some of the teen girls at church or a friend I know would love it. I pass through the thrift store and get some more things and then go through the sifting process again.  I thought for a while I was off my rocker. 

When I look around my house, I see the results of the process.  I have several areas that show my love of tropical things.  I have book cases full of a full range of topics.  I have lovely dishes to use every day.  The walls have several original pieces of amateur art.  Some is my even my own work.  I have a modest collection of evening bags of which I plan to start using for everyday as soon as I can get my load of things I think I need to haul around with me pared down to fit.  I hear several of my besties reading this and cackling with laughter over that remark.  And he just rolled his eyes.  One of the things I get called is bag lady.  I still consider it a lofty goal to achieve.  Maybe beyond my scope. Nevertheless…….. 

I am getting better though.  I have been taking the time to read.  And yesterday, I took time to watch one of the movies on my movies to watch list.  I put in a new flower bed this summer.  I have the photos on the table and have begun the sorting process to make a photo album. (This is from the days of film style cameras.)  I have a number of digital photos I want to print and put in the album eventually.  I make time to spend with my friends and my family.  I am terrible at calling to check on folks.  I hate talking on the phone.  I would rather see someone face to face. I text painfully slow.  (I did learn how to talk to text and my phone seems to understand my accent.)  I go with him to check the cows most times. 

Nothing profound.  Just ordinary living. Working on not forgetting the really important things.  Time with him, time with the offspring, time with friends, time with my own creative muse.   Mundane things in a quiet house on a dusty dead end lane in the boondocks of Southeast Texas. 

Happy Birthday To Me!!

I am 56 years old today.  My children called, of course, and asked me what I am doing today.  Cleaning house, naturally.  It is what I do.  For me cleaning house usually includes moving a piece of furniture or some pile of stuff I no longer want wherever it is piled. 

It’s a joke with my immediate family.  My older duchess fusses about my moving things around in the house.  Thoroughly encouraged by her Paw Paw.  She’s going to be fussing next time she comes even though I discussed some of my plans with her.  I moved our bed to another wall where I prefer it.  And in the green room I turned a bed a different direction and swapped two bookcases relocating the television that sits on top of one.

 I refer to the extra bedroom as the green room because it has a pretty moss green carpet.  I have two queen beds, a full-size iron bed and three large bookcases full of books situated around the room.  This is the room the girls and I sleep in when they come to visit.  We always watch television when we go to bed. The kitty cat movie was the only thing going for a long time.  That is Disney’s Aristocats. Recently, we’ve been watching the original Scooby Doo cartoons I have recorded.  This is why the moving of the television might be an issue.  She will likely make some comments about it and we will laugh at Granny always moving stuff.

Once upon a time, when I pulled the furniture out from the wall to clean behind it every few weeks, I would put the furniture back someplace different.  I would often just get up in the morning and without really planning, I would move things as I cleaned.  Large pieces of furniture. Like beds and dressers and sofas.  See the opening line of this post?  I don’t do that as often as I once did.  I guess that is one barometer of my aging body.  I am less likely to dig in to big projects.

Nevertheless, I did move a lot of furniture yesterday.  Pulling the books and “artifacts” as I call my collection of junk, was a big project.  I did get a chance to be reminded of some of the books I have accumulated and not taken the time to read. 

Another project I tackled over the past few weeks is relocating an old project.  I was in my twenties when I set some broken pieces of concrete from my great grandparent’s porch into an amateur patio.  I pulled out those pieces that were now in the middle of the cow lot and with his helpful tractor skills, we moved the blocks over here to the back of the porch.  I set in a new amateur patio as the first step toward a Houdash pond. Granny Sally always had a Houdash pond in her yard.  Wherever she lived, she put one in. Just a hole dug out and lined it with cement mixed in a wheelbarrow and spread by hand to make it hold water. That would then become the focal point for tropical plants and hold a few goldfish.  The goldfish did well if the pond was deep enough to discourage the fishing coons.  

I had one at our house at Camper’s Cove.  It was right outside the living room windows.  I dug it in August after dark one year.  There was a gutter that ran off the roof straight in to it and kept it flushed, filled and fresh.  Granny’s ponds were refilled with rainwater and a water hose, as needed.  My new one will be the same.

Why do I do all this?  Rearranging furniture, moving and situating my personal things, digging in the dirt, planting and tending things that grow.  Even sorting out and rearranging my clothes in the closet play a part.  Trying to satisfy the urge to create beauty and order from chaos.  To be simply creative. No matter how primitive my efforts.  I enjoy the process.  More times than not, I enjoy the product. 

He doesn’t seem to mind all my eccentricities.  He often offers to help with the big stuff and always helps when I ask for it.  I couldn’t do a lot of it without his support and wouldn’t without his approval.  I try to run things by him that will affect his movements.  Mostly, he just lets me go and do.  My projects are usually recycled materials and found objects.  If I can’t do 98% of the actual work myself, I skip it.  It’s the doing that counts and having what I’ve done my self. I don’t know any other woman that would be satisfied with my creations.  That’s okay.  I do it for me anyway. 

There is a new component to my work.  There are two duchesses who come to play here sometimes.  I recall how much I loved my grandmother’s tropical landscape.  I am trying to recreate one for myself and for them.  When they are older and see a banana tree or cannas blooming, they can recall summers playing in the shade of the bananas and ooing over the bright tropical blooms of the cannas.  And remember how much they are loved by a tolerant Paw Paw and an eccentric Granny.