Hidden Things

What are the hidden things in my mind and heart? What drives me to do things I do? What prevents me from doing things I want or need to do?

I often seek occupation with a hobby. I have tried to get involved in several different types of arts or crafts. I don’t get much further than buying some supplies. Sometimes, I do a project or two. But, then something will come up and I will have to put the supplies in a box and clear the work area. Nothing more happens. Things stay boxed up until I get rid of them. I seem to associate pursuit of artistic things as with my father’s mental illness. He would often reach for the arts when he became manic. Perhaps that is why I won’t let myself like arts and crafts enough to keep going with something. Perhaps there is some other totally different hidden thing that gets in the way.

I make lists. I have written of this before. I make lists and remake lists. I have lists of things I need to do. Lists of things I like. Lists of chores I need to do regularly. I recently noted in my journal that I feel if I could ever get the list right, or get the right list, my life would be all worked out. Life would not feel so hollow. Not sure if that is the right word. There seems to be something missing in my every day moments.  This compulsive behavior has both good and bad properties. In a sense, I rely on the lists too much. I spend too much time working on them. On the other hand, the lists keep me on course to get chores completed, to keep my nine-to-five job duties prioritized, to keep my home supplied with essentials like milk, eggs and toilet tissue. I don’t know why I list. Fear of forgetting. Struggling to put order to my scattered thoughts. I don’t know why I do this either.

I refuse to ask for help. Not in a stiff-necked way, but in an “I don’t want to trouble anyone with my incompetence” way. If I ever do ask for help, I am usually so far gone I don’t know what to have someone do for me. So, I just don’t ask and give up until I can go again. I let myself go with unmet needs because of this.

I did not learn this from my mother. She was a five-star general at getting people to help her get things done. She did it with love and honesty and great home cooking. “I want to do project X. Y’all come Saturday and I will cook a roast and some beans and make a cake.” She would get everything to do her project and to prepare the meal. Extra hands would help in the kitchen and on the project. We made grand memories in the process.

Why won’t I even ask him for help with simple things that I struggle with? Little chores around the house that I may be behind on or just need to get ahead on. I don’t know about this one. I have realized I never asked my childhood friends about anything either. They were putting on makeup and I was too embarrassed to ask how they managed to apply eyeliner. That sort of thing. I don’t know where they learned things. I just figured I wasn’t clever enough to figure it out and they were.

He gave me a generous gift card for our anniversary. I spent almost all of it on shoes. What I needed was pants. Shoes and purses don’t depend on my size. Most blouses and tops will go from one size to another without much problem. My top half doesn’t change sizes that much when I am thinner. But, my pants size will change if I ever get my diet and exercise going in the right direction. My crazy mind thinks if I buy pants now, I won’t have money to buy smaller pants. Or that it means I am giving up getting fit. Or what? What is the hidden issue here? Why won’t I buy clothes that I really like and want to wear that fit me now?

I wonder at my quirks. I don’t mind having the more harmless ones. I want to know why I do what I do. Why I behave and respond the way I do. What makes me withdraw into myself and not allow others too close. I want to know why so I can undo the more harmful ones. Even knowing why may not help me change things. But, it is a start.  I want to do better for myself so I will have a better starting place to do for others.

I don’t know why I love the full moon so much. I love her rising over the lake. Is it because my grandmother would come to visit when the moon was going to be full just so she could take us down to the lake to see her rise over the water? Did she really time her visits that way or did it just work out that way very often? My mother’s mother is the reason for many of my favorites. Full moons over the water, jungle print fabrics, canna lilies, pampas grass, cemeteries, red “tennie” shoes to name a few.

I went down to see her the other night. I had almost given up when she appeared from behind the low clouds. I still feel excited anticipating her appearance and restless when her light shimmers around me. Restless to walk along quiet, white sand roads, listening to the voices of the past echo through the stories Granny always told me. Laughing and playing. Yes. I do know one certain reason I love the moon. My granny who loved me and understood me so deeply bound me to the full moon rising over the lake by loving me in the beams of light shed from the evening sky. Here is our August moon, Granny.

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This Past Week

This past week, I took a “quasi-vacation”. I worked five and a half hours or so and left at noon each day.  The afternoons off were used to take care of some trivial things.  I spent time reorganizing the kitchen cabinets.  I moved some furniture around.  I did some reading and some napping. Why did I take that kind of time off?  I am saving my hours for a trip to Maui.  And, I don’t seem to have the time or energy to manage some things during the evenings and on the weekends.  I accomplished much of what I wanted to achieve.

The weekend found him bow hunting Saturday morning. I don’t bow hunt, yet.  So, I went to visit with my aunt and uncle.  It was good to see them for a short visit.

I had planned to see my nieces. Then, decided it would be too much for them to rearrange plans to meet up with me for an hour.  However, it worked out that I did get to see two of them.  The baby girl gave up some sugars for me.  It was a brief moment.  But, I am glad I got to have it.

I had left my aunt’s and headed for Humble enroute to see my nieces. Shopping on Saturday in Humble is not the kind of thing this old country girl should try to do.  I pulled into the parking lot of the craft store and could not believe the number of cars.  I went into the store and found a couple of on sale items that were still over priced in my opinion.  I looked back over at the lines to the registers and thought about the baby girl I was on the way to see.  Sorry, craft store.  Ladybug moments are far more important!

I skipped the purchase. I am glad I did.  My local dollar store had a few cute items I had seen previously.  Checked back today and got them.  A few more Hallowe’en decorations are out.  I always wanted to do a big scene in the front yard.  Pumpkins, lights, hay bales, mums, scarecrows, black cats, bats and owls.  Like something from the pages of Martha Stewart.  I live at the end of a dead end street with no traffic, no trick or treaters. Only him and myself to see and enjoy.  I seriously doubt he would take much notice.  I will not attempt to do that this year.

This past week I made a lot of choices. What to keep, what to be rid of.  What to spend time doing, what to spend money acquiring.  Who to make time for.  I think I did a pretty fair job of choosing wisely.

So, I will enjoy my simple table decorations and laugh at the cat surrounded by eight giant goldfish. And remember what a certain baby girl feels like snuggled in my arms.  And know in my heart that he appreciates my not going overboard with decorations this year.  And speculate on what my coming week might bring.  More orchids, no doubt.

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Fashionista….not me…

 I am not one. My mother was one and was always sewing. She wore out three or four sewing machines in my lifetime. It was her passion, along with cooking. She usually made outfits for everyday wear, but could certainly sew anything on which she decided. She loved to sew pant suits to wear. She made them for both of us. She would make dresses for the two of us out of the same fabric. She taught me how to sew. When I got to be a teen, all I wanted was jeans and tee shirts, so she let me wear that. But, whenever she could, she would sew up a dress and put me in it!
She loved to dress up. She always wore her beautiful brown hair short and curled. She didn’t wear makeup, except lipstick. Her olive complexion allowed her to wear an outrageously bright shade of orange lipstick. So she did! Orange was her favorite color anyway.
I asked her why orange one time and she just said she didn’t know why, it just was. In May, after we buried her in April, I found one pair of orange sneakers at the store. Just the cheap lace ups I always used to wear. Only one pair in orange and they were my size. I bought them and wore them all summer. I know why orange was her favorite color now.
I always take off work on my birthday. A few years ago, I was off and prowling around resale shops. I found a McCall’s magazine with Natalie Wood on the cover. She was wearing orange with an orange backdrop. The issue was July 1965. The month and year I was born. Needless to say, the magazine now hangs in a frame on the wall. It was a “birthday card” from my mother. Yes, I call it supernatural and not coincidence. It was her reaching out to touch me.
But, about fashion, she may be why I struggle so with what to wear. My friends may not think so. They always love my outfits. They get tickled at me because most of my clothes come from Goodwill or a cheap consignment store or a church resale shop near my home. I avoid having to pay full price for anything. I do buy all my shoes and undies new and spend good money for them. I try to have a coupon or find something on sale.
When I was little, double knit was the wonder fabric. My mother loved it. No ironing, easy to sew, easy to fit. Every color, pattern, texture. If I could find it in any real selection of colors and textures, I would probably buy up a big pile and try to sew my own clothes, too.
But, the reasons my mother caused me problems clothes shopping are these: she often shopped from the catalogs. You remember when three certain stores sent two inch thick catalogs in the mail twice a year and a few smaller ones seasonally? She could find something she liked for each one of us and buy one in every color. We only went to the store to shop when I needed a new coat or some shoes. I didn’t have any experience shopping for clothes off the rack. I had to make myself learn some skills. I prefer the resale type shops, though. If I find something there, it is one of a kind on the rack. If I find myself at a retail store looking at things, I want to buy one of every color! In fact, I did that a couple of years ago buying tee shirts. I bought a half dozen at once. Thank goodness they were only five bucks each!
Another obstacle she inadvertently created was by the following comment: “We can make this cheaper than that price.” And she could. She could get a pattern and fabric and notions and in two or three hours have a new outfit of better quality and fit at half the cost or less. I cannot do that. I can sew. I can sew well. But, it creates anxiety for me. I don’t get the outfit completed. These days, the pattern, fabric and notions far exceed the price of most ready made things anyway. If I am not going to enjoy the process, why should I try to do it? One of those “should want tos” I have had to overcome.
But, I do love to dress up, too. My work place has limitations on what I can wear. I don’t have to wear a uniform, but there is a very strict dress code. That leaves the evenings and weekends. My activities require rugged outdoor wear for fishing, hunting, cattle handling and such. Not much room for glamour. I have a closet full of clothes that I don’t get to wear very often. I kept trying to make myself get rid of them. I don’t think I will, though. Rather, I will wear them anyway. Who says I can’t slip into a favorite dress to sit on the porch and write or go to the kitchen to stir up supper? The one I am wearing now walked me along Waikiki and the streets of Honolulu.
Mother implied through example and dressing me that one should complement ones fellow man by looking as well turned out as possible. There have been many times I failed on this task. I intend to keep trying. I passed some of this on to my daughter. We have a common thought about a commercial on television. The young woman is upset because the wind blows up her skirt on wash day or something and she isn’t wearing cute undies. Pam and I said to each other: if you always own and wear only cute undies, there is never an issue! So Mother, I guess I did okay with her. Even though she wouldn’t wear the little pile of summer dresses you made for her second birthday, she wears the cutest outfits all the time now and she loves to sew! I would rather you had been here all these years helping me raise her and her brother. But, I know you reach out to me often and show me things I need to know. Even when I don’t know it is you showing me.

From the back porch, where every day is Mother’s Day,

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