Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's on the tip of your nose?

Recently a friend of mine recounted the story of a job interview that was -almost- perfect. She had the perfect black jacket with just the right accessories, the perfect upbeat can-do professional attitude, the perfect answers to all of the tough questions. Except apparently she had dandruff all over said perfect black jacket. After assuring her that this minor fashion infraction would not put her out of the running for the job, I proceeded to laugh my a** off.

Until yesterday, when we got a knock at the door. My neighbors from across the street were there, glossy pamphlet in hand, selling gift items as a fundraiser for their kids' school. When I was a kid we got some little 8-page little handout with either candies, or wrapping paper, or magazines, or jewelry, or... or.... or.... Yeah, not these days. Yesterday they handed me a 30-page glossy catalog selling candy AND wrapping paper AND magazines AND jewelry.

It was going to take me a while to get through this catalog to find the perfect item that was both useful to me and affordable (i.e., less than $10). "Come on in," I say. I lead them to my living room and make the usual apologies for the "big mess." Except today I'm especially proud because the mess is actually very minor, so the apology really presents us as far neater and more organized than we really are. (If one were to go more than one room back into our house, they would see exactly what a "big mess" really is.)

So we sat and had nice conversation while I flipped through the catalog. Liv played the perfect hostess and asked the kids to play with her. She handed out stickers and asked if the kids wanted any snacks. I spoke with the mother about school choice, the standard topic of converstion among parents of children in our age bracket in our school system. (Private schools? Public schools? If public, are you going to use the magnet schools or the neighborhood school? Homeschool? Charter school? It's all a very big complicated mess....)

I ended up with a cute roll of wrapping paper. Expensive by my standards, but under my $10 limit. After I walked them to the door and we said our goodbyes, I was just complimenting myself on presenting such a pulled together image to my neighbors, which is so far from our chaotic reality.

And then I felt a little itch on my nose. Cause, you see, I've had this sinus drainage/infection thing going for about a month now, and I'm constantly having to blow my nose. And getting really yucky stuff out in the kleenex. And it was just that yucky stuff that was dried, caked on to the tip of my nose. The perfect neighbor in the perfect house who placed the perfect order from the fundraising catalog and had the perfect conversation about what perfect school would be appropriate for my perfect child. All while having snot caked to the top of my nose.

Last night I called my friend - the one who had the interview - and told her all about it. We laughed our a**es off.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just... can't... get it together....

I've been trying for the last week or so to get it together enough to either post pictures of our San Fran trip or actually post about something crafty. And yet, I still can't seem to get it all together.

I think it must be a post-stress let down or something, but I've frankly been stupid and lazy. Seriously. Like, today was the first day of classes (I teach online), and I had to upload all my files and update the syllabus and all that jazz. So I'm looking at my computer screen thinking to myself that I needed to open the syllabus file. And then I realize that I'm actually clueless as to how to do it. Finally, like a stroke of genius, I remember that one would use Dreamweaver to edit an HTML file. I'm not joking. This thought process took, like, 5 minutes to complete. I feel kinda sorry for my students this semester. Apparently their instructor is a little slow on the uptake.

On a fun note, I have a quick little weekend trip planned. I'm driving up to Fort Smith to visit my friend Scarlett. From there, we're going to go to Eureka Springs for a writer's workshop. I really have no idea what to expect, but it should be really interesting. Here's hoping that I can recover a few brain cells between now and then!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sad news...

This morning Denise called me with the news that one of the most spirited, most supportive, most gentle souls in our Aretsy street team passed away yesterday. I'm still having a hard time taking it all in.

See Denise's blog post for more info. She has written an explanation and a tribute more eloquently than I ever could.

Goodbye, sweet Julie Anne.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back in town & getting caught up...

Have you noticed that there are some weeks that just seem longer than others? Not in a long, drawn out, will-this-week-ever-end kind of way, but in the way that a bunch of really big stuff happens one day after the next? There's just so much to do, so much to take in, that it really seems like it would take longer than just the week for it all to happen.

Yeah, I had one of those weeks. It started out sad with the news that my grandfather had passed, then moved into busy while we took care of the funeral arrangements, writing the obituary, and then preparing to go out of town. My mother, sister, and grandmother traveled to Alabama for the funeral, but my immediate family went the other direction instead to attend a wedding in San Francisco. (Just the act of packing required that we run 6 loads of laundry and that I go out and purchase a cold weather dressy outfit, a rare find in a town that was still seeing 100+ temps last week.) I felt a bit bad going to do a fun thing while everyone else was doing a somber thing, but our trip had been planned for months, and we'd had plenty of time to say all the goodbyes we needed.

Anyway, I'm back from out of town and trying now to get caught up. (Got a jillion blog posts to read!) We had an absolutely glorious time in San Francisco. I'll post some pics as soon as we get them pulled off the camera.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saying goodbye to papa

Way back a long time ago when I was a kid (in the dark ages of the 1980s), I took swimming lessons. By the end of the course, we had covered all the important stuff and the only thing left was the master the high dive. Now, I was a naturally wussy child, I was scared of heights, and terrified of falling. So it was no surprise that when I got to the top of the high dive, I just stood there - frozen. The water below seemed so far down. I knew that the water would catch me, and I knew that I could swim up to the surface and over to the side. It was just the act of getting to the water that had me immobilized.

I think that must be where my grandfather has been, standing on the edge of this life and the next, knowing that rest awaits but unable to let go in order to get there.

He entered hospice care with heart failure at the end of April. At that time, his heart was working at 10% capacity. His health had been declining from that point for the last 3 months. He clung to life, even when others thought it was impossible for him to continue. By the end, his mind had deteriorated to the point that reality and imagination often got mixed together, he was mostly unable to communicate as his mouth could no longer form words, and he had forgotten how to use a straw to drink liquids. His sleep was wrought with agitation, possibly nightmares. Three times we gathered family together to be by his bedside, and three times he surprised us all by being here the following morning.

He finally let go on Tuesday morning. Later that morning, as we cleaned out his room at hospice, I could see him in his bed resting peacefully at last. I was so proud of him. He had finally made it off the high dive and into the water.