Mood

Apparently, I’m in a mood. That’s what I was told, anyway.

Never mind that I’m exhausted, both physically and mentally. Never mind that I’m looking ahead at our calendar and wondering how I’m going to make it through the next two months. (Never mind that I think the same thing every year. Never mind that the answer is always By the skin of our teeth.)

Because I’m in a mood, so the problem is clearly mine. No one else’s. There couldn’t possibly be any one of a number of reasons for why I’m quiet, why I’m tired, why I don’t feel like peopling.

Never mind all that. Just fix it. Suck it up, buttercup.

Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

This lady is going to bed. Because it’s far too peopley out there, and apparently, I’m in a mood.

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

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Traffic jams

Last night, I encountered a Midwestern traffic jam. I suppose the phenomenon is not particularly unique to the Midwest – I’m sure if you’re from a rural community, you’ll know what I mean. I try to be patient when I encounter farm equipment on the road because it’s not the farmer’s fault the tractor (or combine, in this case) only goes 20 miles an hour. They’re just doing their jobs, after all, and it’s a very important job. We need farmers.

Besides, it doesn’t do any good to get all worked up about it – it won’t make them go any faster.

But last night…

Tea

Tea and kluntje isn’t the same without milk, but it’s still pretty good.

We always drank tea with milk and kluntje growing up, usually at family get-togethers. Tea is comfort. Tea is family. Tea is home.

I’m drinking my tea with kluntje this afternoon and wishing I had some milk to go with it. It’s strong tea. German tea. It has a robust flavor when brewed properly, but I let mine steep too long today. It tastes almost…bitter.

Twenty-five years ago today, my mom passed away. I miss her every day. I wish that I could call her for advice. I wish that I could call her to ask about her day. I wish that I could remember her. I wish I had some milk for my tea.

It would be easy to become like my tea – dark and bitter. And for a while, I was. But as I sit here drinking my tea, wishing things were different, I’m reminded that even in the depths of darkness, there is still sweetness to be found. The cracked and broken shards of kluntje fill my mouth with sweetness. They’re strong, those remnants – they withstood the boiling tea.

The survived – and so did I.

I still miss my mom – I always will. But, like my tea, I am strong; I am robust. Like my tea, I can still bring comfort and joy. Like my kluntje, life has changed me – it has bent me, but it has not broken me. The hot water has worn me down, smoothed my rough edges, but it hasn’t melted me completely.

And I refuse to let it.

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

The one where she feels totally embarrassed…

…because holy cats, has it been a while since I’ve posted! Like, a ridiculously long while! If anyone’s still hanging around, what’s new with you?

For me, I FINALLY finished my BA in May. Woooo! It was an exciting semester for me for a variety of reasons, and I’ve got pictures to prove it. In March, my bestie and I road-tripped down to St. Louis so I could present a paper at the annual Sigma Tau Delta conference. It was so much fun! I wish we could have been there for all the opening ceremonies, but I had to work that day. :/ There were a ton of awesome panels, including mine, which was all about John Milton.  Some of the other amazing panels I attended were on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, VIrginia Woolf, and James Joyce. So! Many! Fun! Things!

I also attended a fascinating talk given by Nnedi Okorafor, and I’m now well into reading her Binti series. Sooo good.

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But after two years of hardcore writing and studying, I needed a little break. My brain hurt. My hands hurt. And then we moved, and EVERYTHING hurt. But things at Casa Kauffman seem to have settle down for now…just in time for school to start up again. :’) :’)

It’s been a long day, though, and I’m feeling a little run down, so I’m gonna spend a little time with the ones I love. After all, that’s what’s really important, right?

So here’s to new beginnings and new adventures! I’ll see you around!

(c) 2019. All rights reserved.

Deep Thoughts

What do you say when fear rules your thoughts? When you’re afraid to ask a question because you’re afraid you won’t like the answer, how do begin a dialogue?

Nothing. You say nothing.

What do you say when the conversation’s over? When all the laughing stops, how do you get it started once again?

Nothing. You say nothing. Because sometimes, you can’t.

What do you say when you fear to know the truth? When you’re afraid that the lies your brain tells are true, how do you separate reality from falsehood?

Nothing. You say nothing.

How do you put fear in its place when it looms so large beside you, behind you, before you?

I really, really, really wish I knew.

I live in fear. I think I always have. There’s so much in this world to fear, after all – rejection, failure, acceptance, success. I fear to know the truth; I fear to know the lie. I fear the lie is true and truth a lie.

I fear. I fear. I fear.

I dream, I hope, I long for things I know I’ll never have, and all in an attempt to subvert the fear, to free my heart and mind. Living in fear is exhausting and wreaks havoc on your mind and body. I no longer want to live in fear, but I have no idea how to put it all behind me.

Fake it till you make it has not always worked well for me.

I try to be positive, so I want to end this on a high note, but I don’t know that there is one. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is rather a cliché at this point, but perhaps that’s what I need to do. Just keep on trying.

Just keep on swimming.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Brain dump

They move in the mist,
Creatures of old-time myths.

***

She clung to the cup.
Her frigid fingers curled round the paper,
Desperate to draw
The last ounce of warmth
From the lukewarm liquid sloshing inside
As she scurried from building to building
In the bitter fall rain.

***

I want to be the next Great American Novelist.
I want to write great litrashure.
“You’re a great writer. You just have to find your story.”

***

I’ve been writing in fits and starts for three months now. In a burst of inspiration, I jot down the brilliance (because let’s face it – when you’re a writer and the spirit moves you, it (whatever it may be) is always brilliant) that comes into my head like medieval grace. But then, hours or days or sometimes weeks later, when I return to it, the grace is gone, and I can no longer remember where I was going with what I had written.

Not having finished anything is starting to really irritate me. The only things I’ve managed to finish writing have been for class assignments, and those were only finished with much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the deadline approached (and occasionally, as it whooshed by).

I imagine it’s going to get worse before it gets better, what with taking more classes next semester than I did this semester, and I suppose I’m going to have to accept that fact. I wish I hadn’t been so dumb the first time I did college. I wish I hadn’t let fear of failure rule my life. I was afraid I’d never make new friends, I was afraid my relationship would wither and die and I’d be all alone in the great big world, a little girl playing at being a grown-up. I think I was also afraid of success and sabotaged myself before I had the chance to succeed.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and they’re definitely right, but I wish I hadn’t always had to do things the hard way. Hopefully I won’t continue to always do things the hard way.

College in your thirties is definitely hard, especially when there are so many things you want to do that you can’t because you have a family and a job and so many things that require your attention. College in my twenties would have been so much simpler. Even if I still couldn’t have done all the things I wanted to do, at least the demands on my time were fewer.

Thank goodness, I guess, that I’m a self-directed learner.

Also, thank goodness for caffeine. Because without it, there is no way I’d have made it through this semester and no way I could make it through the upcoming ones.

All glory to caffeine! 😀

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

You can’t sleep through life if you wants to live it. -Alice Walker

Well, here it is – the end of the first weekend in November. How the heck did that happen?!

It’s been a good month since my last post, and all I can think is, “Well, so much for blogging every day this year.”

Sure, I could whip out a bunch of posts and backdate them all, but I don’t have the time. Or the mental energy.

School is kicking my butt. And while I’m happy to be back in a classroom and happy to be reading and learning so many wonderful things, I am exhausted, and rather frustrated with myself for not doing this years ago. I should have done it right away, instead of waiting.

But hindsight is 20/20, and that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I ought to be nigh unbreakable by the time I finish this degree.

Despite my best intentions, I expect I will not be posting much the rest of the year, though I will post when I can. Midterms are behind me, thank goodness, but the end of the semester is rapidly approaching, and I have some big projects ahead of me. Between school and work and family, something’s gotta give, and that something is this.

Next semester promises to be even more hectic, as I’m adding a class to my already heavy load. If you’re the praying type, keep me in yours – I’ll need all the prayers I can get to keep me awake and engaged. Pulling all-nighters was so much easier when I was twenty!

But this, too, shall pass, and hopefully something wonderful awaits me on the other side.

What’s new with you? Are you excited for the impending winter holiday season? Do you have big plans for the coming year?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Burial

I bury things.

When I was little, I was obsessed with finding buried treasure. Even though I live in a landlocked state and grew up a good forty minutes by car from the nearest large river, I was certain that a trove of pirate treasure lay buried beneath the sidewalk mere blocks from home. After all, there were bootprints in the concrete. What better way to mark the spot than with bootprints that ordinary passersby would take for some construction worker’s careless mistake?

I loved time capsules back then, too. They were my own variation of buried pirate’s treasure. I’m fairly certain that, somewhere in my old backyard, maybe a foot or so down (because I’d have been too tired to dig any further), there lies a tin or ten of memories. And if my dad still lived in the house I grew up in, it would be a lot of fun to go digging things up back there, just to see what I could find. To see what I’ve forgotten.

But he doesn’t.

I buried him, too. Because along with things, I bury people.

I remember when I was five and my grandfather died. My parents drove the two hours (give or take) to my dad’s hometown to attend the funeral, but left my sister and me at home because we were so little. I was furious. We hadn’t known the man – he and my dad were not close – but in my five-year-old mind, that didn’t matter. I should have been there.

There once existed a picture of my grandfather pushing me in a stroller, though. Or maybe that was my uncle, and the picture exists only in my mind because I loved it when my dad would tell me the story about my uncle pushing me in the stroller.

I buried a niece, too. I was seven then. I cried and cried and cried when she slipped softly into a better realm. I buried a schoolmate, a great-grandmother, a friend’s little brother. I buried friendships and relationships and my mother.

I buried them with resignation and heartache and immense, unfathomable grief. I buried them with soil and flowers and kind words, the sort that reassure those who hear them. Because I bury words and feelings, too.

I bury words, way down deep, till they come surging forth, angry waves upon the shore. I shove them down, bottle them up, try to keep them contained. I bury feelings deeper still, till they come seeping out, magma leaking through my cracks. I bury words unsaid next to the words I’ve said, but they tend to bubble up within me. Their memory burns me, so I bury them deeper, so far down that I forget their existence.

That is, until I can’t. Because eventually, those words and those feelings that I thought were buried come shooting back to the surface, fireworks in a dark sky, lighting the way to a different place. A better place. A place of new beginnings.

You see, I also bury seeds. I bury them without looking, sometimes without knowing. The things I bury in pain or in anger sometimes become seeds of hope with a little time and patience. Hope is a powerful thing; it cannot be contained. No matter how dark the night, the sun always rises, and hope with it.

What things do you bury?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Scenes from Casa Kauffman

Me, after a trip to the dentist: It’s been a rough day. I have a cavity.

Seymour: *sadface* Do you need a hug?

Me: As a matter of fact, yes. I’ve never had a cavity before.

Seymour: It’ll be okay.

Me: But I was very proud of my no-cavity streak.

Seymour: Look at it this way – after having a cesarean, getting a filling will be child’s play.

Miss Tadpole: Dad, that pun is a bit childish, don’t you think?

Me: I love my family.

Have you ever had a cavity? What’s the lobgest you’ve gone without one?

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.

Be still my heart

While I was hunting for that video of Thumper reading Little Blue Truck, I found another gem. It’s from the same summer, but before his birthday, and oh, my stars, is it adorable:

I miss those chubby baby cheeks and the innocence in his voice. It’s crazy how much things change, but you don’t really  notice till you see something old like this.

Also, it can’t be possible that he’ll be six in a couple of months. This was just yesterday, I swear.

(c) 2017. All rights reserved.