Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Smile, work, ants, parents, ACTS, writing, SMILE

This morning I stopped at Starbucks on the way to work (I know, I know, you're shocked), and when I hopped out of the car I saw some new green plants popping up in the parking lot landscaped berm. I am so happy to see green showing up everywhere, and buds on trees, that it makes me smile.

And then I realized that what I was seeing was a smile.

I snapped a photo and hurried inside to get my decaf grande non-fat no-whip extra-hot mocha, then went off to work. At work I did various things like meet with my boss and tell him all the ways I think we can fix some major problems (he asked, mind you...this isn't something I typically just unload about), register a monk's book with Bowker to get an ISBN, finish layout of said book and send to printer for quote, photograph the junior school egg drop competition, code invoices for billing, respond to some emails while willfully ignoring others, and edit about 450 photos from the junior ring mass last Friday.

After work I picked up Zozo (remembering to finally drop off the after care check; bad mommy! no cookie!) and came home, thinking all I had to do was cook dinner. I was having my folks over and had planned my yummy chicken and apples recipe, which is a top favorite for both M and Zozo. Only once I got here I realized the sink still had dirty dishes because the dishwasher still needed to be emptied. In the midst of handling those duties: ants. ANTS! I hate ants. I abhor ants. They freak me out, because once you see one you know you'll find their gajillion little friends marching all over your house. I went on a killing spree before finally realizing that I needed to stop and track one of the little bastards so I could tell where they were coming in. I did so, then googled how to get rid of ants and found a non-toxic remedy: flour. There is now a tidy little pile of flour near the corner of the patio door. It has stopped them from coming in, but now all the ones inside can't get back out, so my killing spree continues. I vacuumed the great room because it made me feel better that I was possibly sending the ants to oblivion. I also removed every single item from my kitchen counter, cleaned and disinfected, then replaced everything before I dared to start cooking. Insert shudder here.

(Shout out to my FIL who took my panicked call, ran to Sam's to get bug spray, and then sprayed the perimeter of my house. Thank you!)

Dinner prep went fine. I was able to visit with my parents and Zoe played the piano and showed her homework and finished reading her book report book. Dinner itself was a little trying. I think more of my mother's food wound up on the floor than in her mouth. The first drop I let her handle. The second drop involved a huge lettuce leaf drenched in ranch dressing, which she then stepped in while attempting to get out of her chair to pick it up. I cleaned her shoe and the floor, and later went back for the rest of her food and blobs of ranch dressing. It was reminiscent of cleaning up under Zoe's high chair.

She repeated herself countless times, reminding me of my grandmother more and more. She went out to the car to put a bag away and retrieve something she left, only to come back still carrying the empty bag and without the item for which she had gone out.

It was all okay. She ate a good meal and spent time with her granddaughter and, I think, generally enjoyed herself.

She does not understand what Alzheimer's means.

Tonight, as I ushered my parents out the door, while waiting for my superhero father-in-law to handle my bug problem, with the prep work for tomorrow's Girl Scout meeting lingering in the back of my mind, my cell phone rang. It was a friend from church, asking me to serve on the next women's ACTS team.

My heart soared. Serving on ACTS is not another thing to do in my already-crowded life. It is a necessary touchstone that keeps me grounded in my faith and connected to other women. I have felt a hole since my last team ended, and I was so hoping I would be called again. This is wonderful, wonderful news.

The book I am reading now, "The Artist's Way," is fantastic and I'm not even that far into it. I can tell this will help me get back to my writing. I had to laugh, though, last night when I was trying to read it and barely keeping my eyes open because I was so tired. The first requirement for this "spiritual path to higher creativity" is to sit down every morning and hand write three pages. It doesn't even matter if I have nothing to write; I'm to write "I have nothing to write" for three pages if necessary. It's the whole idea of putting pen to paper and training yourself to write regularly.

Hmmmm. I'm already starting to figure out ways I can cheat. "Well, if I write something on the blog every day, that counts, right?" And this whole handwriting thing? Yeah, that's not going to happen with me. I'm a typist. Typer? (Shut up those of you who would respond "typo!") Fingers on keyboard is the only way I can keep up with my brain. Plus my handwriting has gone to shit over the last decade.

So I pulled up the blog tonight and thought about what I'd write, and then realized that I needed my daily photo. The only one I could remember taking today is of some beautiful fuchsia buds framing the bell tower on the Abbey church. That doesn't really count, I think, because I shoot it so often that it's like mailing in my photo of the day. Oh well, at least it's an image that I made today and it'll have to do.

Only when I went into my photos on my iPhone, I found the smile from this morning. I had completely forgotten about it, so it made me happy all over again to discover it.

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