I know you must be thinking that I am a paragon of physical fitness. Well, it will no doubt shock you to learn that I have all but given up any form of exercise, and am rather ashamed of it. I was never an athletic person. Oh, I enjoyed riding my bicycle as a teen or going on long walks or the occasional easy hike while on vacation. I’ve even been known to swim a lap or two or three. But for the past couple of years, I have almost completely fallen off the wagon, so to speak.
Then today I confirmed what I’ve longed suspected: I do not despise all forms of exercise, only the ones that seem pointless. Getting on a treadmill like a rat on, well, a treadmill seems like a type of punishment. But give me the chance to lace up my sneakers and walk somewhere for a reason, and it becomes an adventure. It becomes purposeful! Today, I caught myself about to get into the car to run an errand down the road to the high school when it suddenly hit me: why not walk there and back instead? It’s awesome how my mind works, right? Sure it was cold, sure it took longer, but it was useful and productive and invigorating! Plus, I saw nice people while I was there and got to exchange a few minor pleasantries. What a nice way to break up the day.
By the way, the word “purpose,” is one of those words that just looks stranger and stranger the longer you look at it. This reminds me of one of the most memorable teachers I have ever had. It was during my first semester of college that I encountered Professor Nora Magid. Little did I realize at the time what a colorful and revered figure she was (or perhaps would become in the years that followed). I clearly remember her writing a sentence on the board and saying that the longer you look at the word “put,” the weirder it looks. Anyway, she really was something, and if you don’t believe me, I will tell you that they even named a prize after her when she died all too soon, at the age of 65.
And if I hadn’t gone for that purpose-driven walk today, I would never have written this post and been reminded of that wonderful and inspiring woman!
Yes, I’m still here! Apparently I have been overwhelmed with the minutiae of daily life. At least too overwhelmed to think of anything to write about. A few changes have been in the works chez moi over the past year, and even bigger changes loom in the not-to-distant future, what with empty-nesterhood on the horizon and all. So I’m making myself take this first step of posting something, anything, here in the hopes that it will get the creative juices flowing. Onward!
One of the links on the sidebar is to a silly Tumblr blog that I recently started. I started it mostly because I was snowbound one day and bored, and my son–who is an excellent amateur photographer–had recently started a Tumblr blog. I’ve only posted to it a few times so far, but what I’m finding is that I am gravitating towards posting photos of “joy” along with a couple of other random thoughts.
The name of the blog is Not Enough Words . (Get it?? So Many Words, Not Enough Words…Oh, the cleverness!)
I am finally coming out with a big secret, one that only those closest to me know: I love buttons. I don’t mean that I enjoy the way they fasten a shirt or a coat. I mean that I have an insane, visceral, tactile LOVE of buttons, lots and lots of buttons! And I know whence this appreciation for buttons arose.
My mother was quite an accomplished seamstress. She was also quite an accomplished pack rat. So, as the natural result of these two proclivities, she always had a cookie tin full of assorted buttons left over from her many sewing projects.
Oh, the delight of running one’s fingers through the dozens upon dozens of discarded buttons! At one point, when I was attending college not too far from home, my mother would babysit often for the toddler daughter of one of our neighbors. She would bring out the tin of buttons for her to play with. (Choking hazards and other basic safety concerns never crossed my mother’s mind, but that is a story for another day.) The little girl loved to look at the buttons one by one, then take them out and line them up. Invariably, she would end up losing all control and start flinging handfuls of buttons around the living room, and my mother–who had the patience of a saint–would laughingly and good-naturedly pick them all up and put them back in the tin for another day.
Although I’ve never been what anyone would call a seamstress, I have done enough sewing in my day to have accumulated a little button collection of my own. Many of them were added as those “extra” buttons you sometimes get when you buy a new shirt or sweater. I never keep those in the little envelopes; I immediately dump them out into my own little button box. Over the years, I have amassed quite a few. It’s just a drop in the bucket compared to my mom’s collection, but it’s a start.
It’s a bit of a trip down Memory Lane, looking at the buttons and remembering the clothes they once belonged to–a dress I used to wear to work in my New York City days, a sun dress I made for my infant daughter (who is now in college). And every once in a while, ever so quietly, I open my closet, take out my little box, and run my fingers through my buttons with reckless abandon! I haven’t started flinging them around the room yet, but you never know.
I ran across a fun Friday meme which involves creating a limerick with a particular starting line, in this case “A man who was terribly vain.” I’ve never written a limerick before, so please bear that in mind!
A man who was terribly vain
Refused to go out in the rain.
His hair would go “pouf!”
He could not stay aloof.
So he phoned work and illness did feign!
Why don’t you give it a try?
Two days ago was the sixth anniversary of my mother’s death. These anniversaries are always hard and I’m not sure they ever get much better. My mother lived to the ripe old age of 87–almost 88–and she died less than a year after my father’s passing. Those were some very sad years. Dementia robbed both of my parents of much of their memories, relationships, and even their personalities in their final years. It’s hard to think back PAST those very bad times and try to remember them only when they were really themselves.
I don’t have too many photos of my mother and me together, but I chose this one because in this photo, she looks so genuinely happy. She had her share of hardships before I was born, but I think she was truly happy to be a mom, and I hope that most of her memories of me, at least until her final years, were happy ones.
I often wondered near the end of her life, when exactly was the last time I saw my mother. Sure, I saw her on the day she passed away, somewhat unexpectedly. But the real last time–the last time that she was truly herself? I’m not sure I’ll ever figure that out.
So yesterday, I listed the things I would rather be doing than being snowed in yet again during this dreary, snowy winter. After another 12+ inches of snowfall last night, I’m looking today at the bright side of all this unscheduled “free” time.
1. Sleeping in. That is, if I’m able to get back to sleep after determining that school has indeed been canceled. (Why must we always wait till dawn when it is readily apparent the night before? But I digress.)
2. Not having to go in to the office. Hee! No Merritt Parkway traffic for me!
3. Indulging in comfort food: French toast, soups, lots of tea.
4. Catching up on all those missed seasons of Mad Men. I’m saving those for when hubby is home. But when we have a snow day on the weekend, that’s a home run!
5. Spending time working on a jigsaw puzzle, straightening out my piles of paperwork, or reading that book that has been lying around untouched way too long. Things have to get pretty boring before this happens, but we passed “pretty boring” a few weeks ago.
6. Soaking up some time with my two teens. This is the best part of all! Even if we’re all staring at our separate laptops, just being in the same room together for extended periods of time is a rare and precious treat.
OK, so sometimes they’re a little camera-shy, but you can feel the love in this room, right??