me

observing something extraordinary

YBW and I went to Woolly Mammoth yesterday. We saw BLKS a play written by Aziza Barnes.
It was powerful and profound.
It was hilarious and heartbreaking.
It was relatable and once-removed.

These characters used modern vernacular, the way people, well mostly young people, actually speak to each other. I heard pretty much every curse word I know, and one I didn’t (c**tbucket). The N word flew around like nobody’s business, always with an ‘a’ sound not a hard ‘er’ sound.

We sat in the theater for two hours watching a twenty-four hour period in the lives of these characters.
There were aspects of their life that rang true to me, medical issues, discovering a cheating significant other, the death of a parent, relying on one’s girlfriends for love and support, day drinking, and simply being a woman out in the world, and what that means regarding safety.
As a woman I’ve experienced many of these things.
But not in the way these characters experience the same things.

Aziza Barnes says,

“BLKS is a play by and for Black people, and that if you are not identifiable or identified as a Black person, you can still watch this play, of course, but you are bearing witness. You cannot claim it as yours, and you can’t commodify it as yours, but you can surely enjoy it. And you can sure experience it. Most things in life I’ve had to experience purely as an observer, purely as a witness, and it was fine, it was more than fine, it was a blessing.”

All our subscription tickets are for Talkback Sunday shows.
Sharing questions and thoughts with actors and audience members make these post show conversations an excellent way to learn more about the subject matter.
To stimulate thought.
To simply enjoy the show even more.
These actors discussing their thoughts and feelings regarding this play was every bit as powerful as the play itself.

Yesterday I was an observer, I bore witness to something extraordinary!
It was a blessing.

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conceptual interpretation or more what you’d call guidelines

Laurie at Meditations in Motion wrote a post in which she quoted this bible verse:

‘A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’ Luke 6:45 (NIV)

Now this got me thinking.
It reminded me of a post I wrote in November. I was examining the difference between what’s in my heart and what comes out of my mouth. I questioned the obvious disconnect between my intention and action.

Normally I’m not about the literal interpretation of scripture. For me it’s more conceptual.

Suddenly, I am reminded of something Barbossa said.

But I digress…

This verse kicked me square in the solar plexus. That kick feels more literal than conceptual. So today, the bible and I are going to get literal.
I find myself asking questions. (Who knew?)
What is in my heart?
Is it where I store good or evil?
Is my mouth speaking what’s in my heart?

I wrote this in that November post:
Here’s my truth.
I honestly have love and kindness and compassion in my heart.
When I say my intention is to do everything in love. It’s not bullshit. I’m as serious as I can possibly be.
I believe in the power of kindness. The power of compassion. The power of love.
They’re our super powers!

So why is that not reflected in what my mouth spews?

Luke tells us that Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Am I actually storing good in my heart?
Is my heart filled with kindness, compassion, and love just because I want it to be?

Not to be overly dramatic, but I’m seriously experiencing a crisis over this.
My words reveal my heart.
Not only to others, but also to me.

Here’s what’s up.
My words are not always kind.
I believe in the power of kindness, compassion, and love, yet I don’t always practice what I believe.
Does that mean I have evil stored up in my heart?
Am I just spewing what is in my heart?
The literal interpretation of that makes me queasy.

So let’s look at this conceptually.
Can it be that there is both good and evil stored up in my heart?
Can I create an environment in my heart in which good grows and just kind of kicks evil’s ass?
Is this a case of feelings follow actions? If I speak good words will good store up in my heart?

I must listen to my words. Not just the words I say to others, the words I say to myself. To God. I must determine if my words reflect what is in my heart.
This is a time for both literal and conceptual interpretation.
A time to ask and answer the hard questions.

I wrote this in that November post:
What I’m really understanding for the first time is that my intentions and my actions are at odds.
I have much work to do.
I want my intentions and actions to become much more cohesive.

I’m nowhere near finished with this.
I do have much work ahead of me.
I will journal about this.
I will keep asking questions and doing my damnedest to answer them.
I will be brutally honest with myself. With God.

I want my concept of what’s in my heart to be my absolute truth. I want what comes out of my mouth to reflect that truth.
Do everything in love.
I believe that with every fiber of my being.
Surely there is good stored up in my heart.
Time to put my mouth where my heart is.

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the magic is in me

Monday I twice verbalized something I noticed recently. (Because I pay attention.)
I’m feeling different both physically and emotionally since the beginning of the year.
No, not just different, better.
Stronger, healthier, more aware.
Enthused.
Empowered.
Energetic.

What’s different physically is I’m practicing intermittent fasting. This has made a huge difference when it comes to my energy levels and cognitive function. It’s also provided me with better sleep.
Interestingly, my weight has remained the same, (within three pounds) but that’ll have to do because I’m all about this energy and alertness.
What’s different from the emotional point of view is that I’m actively focusing on me. Doing what I need for the betterment of me. I am paying attention to where I put my energy.
So with having more/better energy and cognitive function, and actively choosing where to utilize it, I’m not only accomplishing more, I’m feeling good in the process.

From where I was in December to where I am now is night and day.
Then I felt overwhelmed, at the moment I feel capable and inspired.
I’m going against my instinct to question it, the whys and wherefores, how long it’ll last.
I will not ask questions that stem from doubt.
I will accept where I am and how I feel about it. And I will to celebrate it!

My energy is being well spent. I’m doing not only what needs to be done, but also what I want to do.
I’m doing coursework like a boss.
I painted Thing G’s old room henceforth to be referred to as ‘the blue room’. Once I move guest room furniture in there I’ll get started on the pink room. My creative space. My nest in this house. (Teeny little squee!)
I’m able to read more.
I’ve even picked up book club books for the next two months.
(I cannot express how big this is. I haven’t read for months…not even magazines.)

I plan to keep this momentum.
And whatever comes at me, well, I’ll deal with it then.
I realize that by relentlessly questioning timelines and end dates my energy is wasted. I realize trying to plan for any possible scenario is wasting my energy.
My energy is precious.
So instead of wasting it on situations in which nothing I do will make a difference anyway, I’ll spend my energy paying attention. I’ll spend my energy focused on me.
That’s where I can make the biggest difference.

I cannot change others.
I cannot alter how and what others do.
I can pay attention to myself.
I can alter how and what I do.


The magic is in me.
The magic is all around me.

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Sunday snow

Woke to this beautiful winter wonderland!
Our precious neighbor has already brought his snowblower and cleared our driveway. (I’ll take him a delicious chicken pot pie as thanks.)

It’s snowing again and the forecast is for snow all day long.
Already received the best text today!

Hot damn!

YBW and I are talking about venturing out into our neighborhood with our cameras…stay tuned.

Here’s porch life at the moment.

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What *is* Mr Rogers responsible for?

Mr. Rogers: Responsible for the Entitlement Culture?
I saw this article when I was researching for a lesson plan I’m writing.
Initially the title gave me pause.
Then my hackles went up. And y’all I mean WAY up.
To even suggest this goes against everything Mr Rogers!

Of course I had to read it because I was getting bent over a title.

One of the things I learned from Mr Rogers is I’m special because I’m me. I have a responsibility to bring what’s unique about me into the world and hopefully make it a better place.
Mr Rogers was pretty clear that I owe myself to the world, not the other way around.


What are we doing with what we have?
Would Mr Rogers be proud of us?

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let’s go shoot today

Sunday dawned with sun for the first time in (what seemed) forever. Not only was it sunny, it was also pushing 60. YBW and I grabbed our cameras, huge bottle of water and headed out.

We went to Millwood to visit…well, a mill. The Burwell-Morgan Mill to be exact. Though sometimes referred to as the Millwood mill.
What do you want from me? It’s Virginia. And though my home state is the Mother of Presidents, the old-timey namers of things weren’t always super creative. I’m just sayin’.
(Actually, there are two mills in Millwood so do with that what you will.)

Anyway, the website showed the mill was open from noon to five.
Lies.
Lies, lies and propaganda. (Y’all sang that in David Byrne’s voice too, right?)
We arrived at the mill between twelve thirty and one and it was closed up tight. (f**k you, internet)

It was fine, we wandered the property and the surrounding streets. One mill and three churches later we were headed to Linden Vineyards for wine and nibbles.

Burwell-Morgan (or Millwood) Mill

Locked up tight.

Shiloh Baptist Church

Christ Episcopal Church
Cunningham Chapel Parish

Millwood UMC

Brick house I loved on Bishop Meade Road.
Tin roof, rusted!

They have the most delicious claret at Linden Vineyards. And a damn fine chardonnay (not too oaky).

Not to mention the view.

It’s even nice to pull up to.

Sometimes you just have to put on your (monogrammed) rain boots and traipse around in the mud, streams, and leaves, climb stone walls and stand in ditches.
Then go have a glass (or two) of wine.

Camera Days with my Sweetheart are some of my most favorite days.

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back to normal but not on autopilot

YBW and I finished putting away Christmas stuff today.
Everything but the trees was packed up during the week and today I undecorated, debowed, and deribboned the upstairs trees while he sorted through ornaments. The tree downstairs is the only one not prelit so I quickly removed the lights while he carried the trees and box of ornaments down.
Then we began the loading of the closet.
Christmas in the very back, Autumn and Halloween next then the luggage all went back into the closet under the stairs.
Y’all is there anything more satisfying than a well packed storage closet? I think not.

Photos and art returned to the walls, photos and tchotchkes returned to the tops of furniture. And just like that, the house, and life gets ‘back to normal’.
I did leave one Baby Jesus out so I can acknowledge Epiphany tomorrow, but that’s easy because it doesn’t go with the Christmas stuff anyway.

Then YBW went to tidy his office and I patched all the holes on the walls of Thing G’s old room. I’m going to sand, wash down the walls and start painting. It’s time to get that checked off my list.

We’ve sorted out holiday things to ask our kids about, I have some old nativities and ornaments I want the girls to take a look at. YBW has ornaments for the boys to go through. Well, mostly Thing C, since Thing G is still at home.

We’ve got stuff set aside to take to Thing 1 and Husband N’s later this month.
A crib mattress from a friend who was happy it’s going to a home that needs it. Other random baby supplies, and some things I’ve bought because our granddaughter might need them. (mostly books)

I’m thriving on the planning and organization.
I’ve starting the building of my planning calendars. Yes, that’s plural. I have one I keep on my desk, and one that lives in my car. I have decided it’s the best course of action for me in the coming year.
January is slammed. I have an appointment every day next week but Friday. And one of those is me being brave and going all by myself to my very first yoga class. I’m going to try our three different studios to find the best fit, and commit from there. I’ve been saying I want to start yoga classes for over a year now. After a bit of research and advice I pulled the trigger and registered for a class. I even found a super cute robins egg blue yoga mat that’s got terry cloth on one side. We’ll see how that goes!

After taking a break from my coursework, I’m picking that back up in January. I’ll be writing lesson plans and observations and checking that off my list too.

I’m working out how to build a schedule that makes the most sense. That allows me a proper balance of work and open time. I have a stack of books in my TBR shelf that aren’t going to read themselves, you know. I have time in the mornings before school and in the afternoons with which I can use more wisely.
My goal is to create a plan that successfully allows me time to do what must be done without overwhelming me, as well as to do what I’d like without me wasting precious time.
Stay tuned…

Organizing my environment is so much simpler than organizing my time.
Do y’all find that or is it just me?
I don’t have little kids at home anymore, I feel like it should be easier. It doesn’t seem to be. Though perhaps then it was that I was planning for others so I didn’t have to be mindful about how I spent my time. I did what needed to be done for the girls, the house, etc.
Now I’m pretty much free as the breeze and I feel much more pressure regarding the way I spend my days.

LA at Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 wrote this post about her wintertime goals. I commented, to which she replied, “I have to make fun a goal almost. It’s so easy to get tied up in the day to day.”
That struck a chord in me.
Have to make fun a goal. (almost)
I totally get it.
It’s so easy to let life get in the way of active living. Functioning on autopilot in the day to day. I want to be actively engaged in myself and the world while doing the everyday things that must be done. Disengaging my autopilot and making more mindful choices about how I spend my time and energy.

Building a schedule will be a good jumping off point for me. I can adhere to or adapt as needed to ‘get stuff done’ and ‘make fun a goal’. Once I have a preliminary plan in place I can move from there. I can incorporate any and every thing my little heart desires. As long as I’m being mindful, I can’t really go wrong.
I mean, sure, there will be times I feel overwhelmed or lazy, times I’ve bit off more than I can safely chew, and times when I’m itching for a new project. But by simply paying attention, I’ll figure it out and continue moving forward.

I want to be completely finished with course work this summer. Once that monkey’s off my back, I’ll have more time to do new and different things.
And that’s important because Baby K will be here and I’ll want to oodgey goodgey over her every chance I get!

Have a plan.
Make a schedule.
Kick myself into gear.
I got this!

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not for comparison but for inclusion

I’ve been reading loads of end of- and beginning of- year posts. Some written after giving real thought to what 2018 looked like to the writer, some filled with new hopes, thoughts, or ideas for 2019. Some written to stimulate real thought from the readers.
I got a text from my friend Nora yesterday, it was her adorable bitmoji carrying to the curb, a leaking, stinking garbage bag labeled 2018.
I’m not sharing the pic because I’m making a point about using words. My initial response was to laugh. I even replied “Amen, sister!” But that’s because I reacted to the picture I saw.
When I started describing it just now, I realized I have mixed feelings regarding 2018. And not all of it belongs in that stank trash bag.

There was so much death in my world in 2018.
From Thing 1’s miscarriage to YBW’s precious mom, our beloved sister in law’s mother, friends at work lost parents, YBW even lost one of his colleagues, a man in his 50s. One of my oldest friends lost her mother, a woman who was dear, close friends with my own mother. And another part of childhood dies.
So much loss.
But in 2018 we celebrated anniversaries of birth for our collective children, we celebrated the graduation of our youngest. We celebrated at the news of a baby joining our family.
We experienced teeny little victories, and joys throughout the year. Some personal, some collective. Some meaningless to anyone other than me.

As I consider the close of one year and the start of another, my main take away is I must pay better attention.
Life is fragile and precious.

I spend so much time eyeballing everything from my own point of view.
Well, I guess we all do that.
Remember that show, Ally McBeal? Courtney Thorne Smith’s character asks Ally something to the effect of why her problems are more important than everyone else’s. To which Ally replies, They’re mine.

Looking at the world through your personal lens, your stuff is so much bigger, more important than everyone else’s. And that really does make sense.
I see the world through my point of view because it’s my life.
I’m not suggesting I’m as selfish as Ally McBeal.
Though I’m suggesting I can choose to look past the end of my own nose.

If I broaden my scope, I will see at least some things from a more inclusive point of view.
And in my heart of hearts, I believe that will benefit me.

Pay attention.
I do more than I give myself credit for. However, in general daily life living I spend a great deal of time on autopilot, and that surely narrows my point of view. I think so many of us live that way, just doing what needs to be done without really stopping to see. To engage.
By actively paying attention, we’re naturally more engaged. And being engaged in the world around us is the best way to foster connections with other humans. And even the most misanthropic among us longs for human connection.

YBW and I had a conversation the other day that went sideways af.
I got my nose out of joint and left the room.
I tried to step outside my own irritation and went back to him asking why I’m always the bad guy.
Turns out that the way I asked my question triggered something in him. He felt “backed into the corner” and that I was “wagging my finger at him”.
I asked if he’d expressed something specifically to Thing G. My intention was to talk with Thing G about it if he hadn’t so YBW wouldn’t feel disappointed later on.
So after a heated and somewhat defeated (on both sides) conversation we came around to questioning how to close the gap between intent and perception.
From my point of view, his perception is that my intent is to be purposefully hurtful.
So how can we communicate in such a way that perception and intent are reflective on one another?
We sorted to the best of our abilities the practical aspect and agreed to try different language on both sides.

It made me think though.
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts others?
Am I paying enough attention to how what others do impacts me?
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts me?

Focus on self while paying attention to the bigger picture.
How does what I do impact me and the world around me?
How does the way I look at the world around me impact me?

At first glance, these questions seem big, and perhaps tricky to answer. But if I break them down, they’re simple and I already a good portion of the answers.
Answering them feels simpler than executing the answers.

How can I pay a different kind of attention in the coming year?
How will paying that attention change my world?
Y’all, I’m setting out to answer these challenging questions because I know however lovely my life is, it can be even more so if I choose to see my life in this world from a broader point of view.

I think Ally’s response makes sense. Her problems were more important to her because they were hers.
I feel the same way. I suspect most of us do.
However, by simply shifting the way I look at things, I will remember to see how much bigger the world is than just me.
Doesn’t mean my stuff will stop being important to me, just means I’ll see it from a broader point of view.
By paying attention, and looking at things differently, I’ll begin to see the importance of other people’s stuff.
Not for comparison, but for inclusion.

Acknowledging the importance of others does nothing to negate my own, and does everything to create stronger relationships.
I’ll have moments of narrow view.
But that won’t stop me from trying.
I’ll have moments of paying attention.
I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to more of the latter.

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Baby K

Thing 1 called me late last week with some pretty spectacular news.
Her baby is a GIRL!
Y’all I will readily admit to squealing with joy!
And I mean squealing!


I’m over here like Kay Thompson, singing, ‘Think pink when you shop for summer clothes!’
But, I’m respectful of my daughter’s choice to not inundate her child with gender specific colors. Honestly, I don’t give a damn what color she decides to love.
However, I’ll see to it she has some baby-size pink Chucks for sure!

Interestingly enough, we had a conversation earlier that week in which she shared the girl name they settled upon.
I’m already working on her monogram.

Off the cuff, YBW referred to her as Baby K and I knew it would be her name here in my nest.

Baby K is at her halfway point as of Christmas Eve.
She’s expected the second week of May. Just in time for my birthday.
Now, I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am all about my birthday. But perhaps I could share that day with my first grandbaby…
My birthday is Mother’s Day this year. What a treat it would be for me to share a birthday with my first granddaughter, and for Thing 1 to become a mommy on Mother’s Day!
Stay tuned, y’all!

Thing 1 sent sono-pics of Baby K.
I think she looks a bit like baby Groot in this one.

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moderate f**k distribution

Sundance sent this to me via text message late last night.
My initial reaction was a giggle, followed by an Amen.
But as I considered it further, I began to realize it’s an extremely important skill, this moderate fuck distribution.
I mean, really. This is key!
Fuck-giving is a double edged sword. Too much or not enough can kill you.
It is truly all about that sweet spot of fuck-giving.

Giving too many fucks or giving no fucks is not sustainable in the long term.
Giving too many can cause you to lose your damn mind worrying unnecessarily. I mean, who has that kind of time and energy? Giving too many fucks will wear you slap out, nothing should require that much of your attention.
Giving none pretty much means you’ve just shut down. That you’re probably abstaining from interacting with others. And while that may sound good on paper, life doesn’t really work that way.
So the real trick is to decide your own personal fuck-giving threshold.

This is my hand.
In this hand is all the fucks I have to give for the rest of my life.
Because I plan to live another fifty years or so, I need to find my fuck-giving sweet spot. Don’t want to run out of fucks to give. Neither do I want to end my life with ungiven fucks.
Whatever I choose to give a fuck about has to really earn it.
Whatever I choose not to give a fuck about probably won’t miss it.

Moderation is pretty much just avoiding extremes and committing to a comfortable balance.
Moderation is supposed to be a super healthy way to live one’s life.
Therefore I shall attempt this middle ground in which I give the perfect amount of fucks.

Y’all, some days you just have to laugh at the thoughts that hatch!

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