June 29, 2013

Here we are holy smokin’ smack dab at the middle of this year already, and to celebrate we (that would be the royal we) in Doodleville like to let our minds (yes, the royal we has more than one mind) go into a summerish daze enjoying what we (mostly I) like to call “Random Thoughts”. This should explain the title, for those of you who need an explanation.

Let’s discuss the Summer Bucket List right off the bat (notice the summerish baseball idiom). Has anyone joined me on this quest for accomplishment and fun? So far I have met my goal of writing at least three more poems by the end of June. Seven was my grand total for the current poetry contest, which is a respectable amount considering I generally spend only eight to ten actual writing days wringing words out of my head and mopping them up with paper. So I’m happy with that. I’m also beginning the process of preparing a poetry collection for publication, so that goal is in the works. Someday I will walk into the public library to donate my very own book to sit on a shelf there, and then I will go back in soon after and check it out. That will fulfill one of my lifetime Bucket List goals as well!

I have begun practicing piano again a bit, but that “bit” needs to be much larger if it is to do any good. Learning to play an instrument at my age requires more brain cells than might be available, but I still want to try. I know more about music than I did 5 years ago when my youngest daughter began teaching me, so that’s something. If only I had kept up my practicing when she left for college two years ago. But as they say, when the cat’s away the mice play, or in my case, the mouse doesn’t play. Anyway I am slowly working my way through Book 1 again, so I’m counting that as “getting back into learning piano.”

As for the fun side of the Summer Bucket List, I have already participated in three spontaneous activities with the family–going to the local farmer’s market one evening, playing bocce ball and Trivial Pursuit one weekend night, and putting on a swimsuit to get into a pool. Oh my, those were sacrifices for my planning obsessed soul, but good for me.

Today I accomplished one other fun item on the list. I painted my very first painting with a Bob Ross “Joy of Painting” kit! My middle daughter had to help me figure out the instructions and show me what they meant, but when I was finished I had a not too bad facsimile of a mountain with lake and trees picture. And I learned that the joy of painting comes with a lot of work and mess. Writing is easier, but I may try another painting someday.

Here’s something I didn’t put on my list, but I’m working on it anyway: learning to sleep. Various forms of chronic insomnia have plagued me for decades, for too many reasons to bother listing. I was told at my last doctor’s visit that my good friend Benadryl could cause me problems as I age, so I was given a prescription for Lunesta. Ugh. That stuff made me groggy, depressed and just plain weird. I gave it a whole month and then quit. That’s when my middle daughter found a free hypnosis sleep app for my iPad. A very nice man with a soothing voice tells me to relax and stare at a wall and close my eyes and count backwards and walk down steps while counting backwards and assures me that if I wonder if I’m really hypnotized it’s okay and if my eyes blink or don’t blink it’s okay and all I really want when I go to bed at night is “a deep restful sleep for the entire night” don’t I? WELL, YES, I DO! How did he know that? So far he hasn’t convinced my unconscious mind to cooperate with the entire night part, but I have been sleeping okay without drugs of any kind for nearly a month. I’m not anywhere near as calm and relaxed as a cucumber like my husband yet, but I’m not quite as hyper as a squirrel on fruitcake as I was. Progress is progress.

On another front, I had an interesting “Amelia Bedelia” day in the nanny kitchen this past week. I was supposed to be making some broiled chicken for supper. There was a cookbook on the counter open to “Broiled Garlic Chicken” so I read through that as soon as I arrived at work in order to plan how to get that made between running children around. I noticed in my notes for the day that I was to “broil like the garlic chicken and marinate like my dad’s chicken.” I mulled that over as I went about my other chores, wondering if the lady I work for was just being nostalgic and thought this recipe was similar to how her dad made chicken, or if I was to somehow know how he marinated his chicken to make it turn out really yummy. I read over that note several more times during the day, considering whether I should call and ask just exactly how her dad marinated his chicken, but I felt stupid interrupting her at work for such a thing, so I didn’t. As I was preparing to make the marinade later that afternoon, I suddenly noticed that the page out of a magazine that had been on top of the cookbook when I arrived and that I had kept moving out of the way while reading my notes had a couple of recipes on it, one of which was entitled “My Dad’s Chicken.” The marinade for that was quite a bit different and I had nearly missed it!

The whole day had been full of little goofy annoyances so I was already tired when I started the chicken, which almost immediately began smoking because broiling is not my gift. So I had to move the oven rack down a notch. Then after I got that somewhat under control, I decided to put away the eight bottles of snow cone syrup the little girl had gotten down earlier, and as I hurriedly lifted the bottles above my head to reach the shelf, I was suddenly showered with grape rain from a not fully closed bottle. Great Grapes of Wrath! Once I cleaned that up and served up the supper to starving children, I was ready to sit down and try to breathe a little, but no, I heard this instead, “Ms. Debbie will you play Barbies with me? Please, Ms. Debbie, please!” So Ms. Debbie sat down on the floor of no return and played Barbies. But let me tell you, those Barbies were in very bad moods. They grumped and carried on at each other, until one sweet little Barbie appeared on my lap. She had a hole in one hand that was for holding a bouquet of flowers that were no longer anywhere to be seen. Suddenly that Barbie lifted her holy hand in praise to the Lord, for Mom was coming up the drive!

And now you may lift your holy hand in gratitude that this Doodle is done!