Category Archives: Being me

Slumps

11954456471201480512johnny_automatic_baseball_at_bat.svg.hi

The Coach and I were driving to a party the other night, and as we listened to the sports talk station,  the topic of discussion turned to the fact that the University of Hawaii baseball team has started its season with a 1-12 record.

Ouch. We’ve been followers of UH baseball for years, decades even, and one of the guys on the team is the son of friends, so we feel for them. As they say in the islands: pua ting.

Naturally the speculation is all on whether and when those poor boys will be able to turn things around, and how much longer before people start asking about the coach and his contract. Before the season started they had been expected to do well, in their conference and overall, even given a challenging and competitive schedule. So far it hasn’t turned out that way, and it’s getting painful for fans to witness.

Like the proverbial train wreck: too awful to watch, but too fascinating to look away from.

The Coach commented: “You know, I’ve been through that before. We won the national championship my freshman year, but by my junior and senior seasons we were one of the worst teams in the country.

“And you know what you do when that happens?” he posed.

“Keep playing?” I ventured to guess.

“That’s it. There is nothing else. You just keep playing. What else can you do? What’s the alternative? Quitting? Walking away?”

I’ve been dwelling a bit on that rhetorical question — “What’s the alternative?” — myself lately, as well as finding myself in deep sympathy with those poor baseball players. And Rory McIlroy, who I feel a little less sorry for, because of all the, you know, wealth.

My own dilemma exists on a much smaller scale, of course, but it’s distressing nonetheless. I expected to have a different experience here with this blog: more productive, more consistent, more — I don’t know if this makes sense — helpful, somehow.

But I seem to be in a bit of a slump, and no end in sight. Yet I know there’s nothing for it except to … keep playing. So far, I am; I try my best to show up and at least practice most days, even if there hasn’t been much in the way of actual product to show for it.

And I offer my thanks for your patience, my dear readers (all four of you), as I travel through this dry spell. I’m thankful you’re not some virtual team owner who has the power to not renew my contract. Because that would probably be worse than any slump.

Advertisements

Back in the saddle again

This horse feels impossible to get back on, but it must be done sometime, I suppose.

The problem is, I seem to have forgotten how to ride. And a horse is not exactly a bicycle, so there’s that.

Some of it feels familiar. The laptop, the coffee, the desk, the dark room. The space in my head that’s empty except for the voice that whispers: “You’ve got nothing to say.”

I sort of don’t, actually. I suppose I could just fill the space with a riff on The Bachelor or Downton Abbey or something. But a lot of bloggers are doing that, so it’s probably better that I pass.

It’s not completely true, either, that I’ve got nothing to say. There are all kinds of things I could go on about. For one, the fact that our master bedroom is utterly demolished at the moment because we’re going to be getting a “new” one. I even have pictures I could post of the holes in the floors, and the one in the back wall where the builders have put up a bridge-like thing to go in and out of what used to be The Coach’s closet.

Or, I could start to talk about the big, albeit temporary, move to the mainland we’re planning to undertake in the fall. There’s an issue that’s been taking up space in my brain lately. I haven’t lived on the mainland for any length of time for the past 32 years, so this will be kind of major. For one thing, I’m going to need real shoes. I don’t even know what kind of shoes people wear on the mainland. I’m sure shoe styles have changed a bit in the past 32 years; that will have to be included in my research.

Do you know I have a contract to sit here and do this? I do. Not that you can tell by my output, which in the past 24 days is nil (I know; I counted) so I’m not exactly doing a very good job at it, but I’m trying. Sort of. Plus my contract is sort of expired; my “mentor” and I need to sign a new one.

Here’s an ironic thing: recently I’ve read two books that have the word “happiness” or “contentment” in their titles, and yet lately I feel farther away from, not closer to, happiness and contentment. But at least my coffee is hot — thanks to the little cup warmer I keep on the right corner of the desk — and rather delicious. It’s local coffee; 10% Kona, is what the label says. Did you know that Kona is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown? Back in 2008 when Obama was elected the Kona coffee growers all got a little, shall we say, assertive, and made it clear what a travesty it would be if Kona coffee — ahem, American coffee — were not exclusively served, all the time, in the White House. Good for them.

Another idea I’ve been struggling to put into actual words is the story of how exactly one year ago, I underwent an emergency appendectomy. Talk about a wild and unexpected ride. It turns out my experience of one’s appendix rupturing in one’s mid-50’s is fairly uncommon. Who knew? Yes, well, that whole episode did have an uncommon feel to it, I must say.

But I’ll have to fill you in on that later. It’s 7:30 a.m. and I can hear that the builders just got here and let themselves into the house through the big hole in the back wall where the closet used to be, so I’m just going to leave us all hanging here, with me more or less on the horse, sort of walking, maybe?

I’ll try to work up to a trot tomorrow. Or next week. Whatever.

The invisible (wo)man

Honolulu is a big city, nearly a million people live on my little island, but really it’s just a largish small town.

Put in terms of degrees of separation: if you’ve lived here for any amount of time, especially if you were born and raised here, we’re talking more like one or two, certainly not six.

A month ago The Coach achieved a bit of a milestone with respect to his coaching career. Let’s just say it was a very, very good night for The Coach and his team.

That night he received over 20 congratulatory text messages, and nearly as many emails.

The following night, a Saturday, we had been invited to go out to dinner with our best friends, and upon entering the restaurant — which is a pretty small restaurant, by the way; maybe two dozen tables — we saw three couples we knew, who all made a point of coming over to our table to shake The Coach’s hand and congratulate him on his achievement of the night before.

Sunday morning, The Coach and I went out for breakfast at our favorite little (yes, also tiny; what is it with us and small eateries?) neighborhood coffee shop, and two more people recognized him and offered congratulations.

So I’m married to something of a local celebrity. Which is kind of a challenge for me, on a couple levels. For one, I don’t possess even close to the same kind of face or name recognition that my husband does. In fact, apparently I have an ordinary, sort of forgettable face, because it’s rare for people to remember me, even after being introduced to me multiple times. This happens all the time.

On the other hand, no one ever forgets The Coach. So therefore, in these sorts of public situations, we’re kind of having the opposite experience.

I’ve gotten used to it. I admit it’s still irksome to have to re-introduce myself to people I already know, but because I no longer expect people to remember me, I’m mostly done being overly bothered by it. I’ve accepted my invisibility.

And being invisible is not so bad. In a way it’s a good fit for my personality type, which is introverted. (INFJ, for you Myers-Briggs folks.) Being invisible allows me to do a certain amount of observation, while I’m going mostly unobserved. Meaning that, while you’re engaged in conversation with The Coach and ignoring and/or forgetting me, I, on the other hand, am mentally salting away all sorts of information about you.

I’m not saying I missed my calling or anything, but I might have made a good spy. Hmm, I wonder if the CIA has any openings for middle-aged, nondescript matrons. Because I think I can do invisible like a pro.

Another random list, post-Thanksgiving edition

Here we go again with some things that are bouncing around in the old cranium:

  1. This might seem off, but this week I’m making resolutions. But they’re not exactly New Year’s resolutions. More like The Next Two Weeks’ resolutions. And they include but are not limited to losing a few pounds …
  2. …which may seem totally lame considering we just got all revved up with Thanksgiving and are transitioning into Christmas. And I noticed on my shopping trip yesterday that the store shelves are stocked to overflowing with flour, sugar, cake mixes and the like, which are anathema to me because …
  3. … yesterday I started a “diet” — no carbs and/or sugar of any kind for two weeks (see #1 above). This might seem like an odd (stupid, insane, impossible) thing to do at this particular point on the calendar, but I don’t care. I’m the one who got on the scale Saturday morning (couldn’t bring myself to do it Friday because, well, you know), and my decision was pretty much made right there. But I waited to start til yesterday because, duh, leftovers.
  4. My attic de-cluttering project has been on hiatus lately, but I’m determined to stick with it, no matter how long it takes. Which could potentially be kind of a long time. The project is starting to almost take on an Augean Stables sort of feel, but I refuse to be outdone by it.
  5. I was going to post a photo of my attic and all the mess, but I took one and looked at it, and thought, “I might be the only one who has a problem with this. Someone else might look at it and think, So what?” So, never mind. Trust me when I say it really needs to be dealt with, but can’t be just by redirecting a couple of nearby rivers.
  6. And you know, when I stop to think about it, I’ve had this weird energy lately — although to be completely honest, it kind of comes and goes — that feels sort of like nesting. Which I last remember experiencing 25 years ago. (Maybe it’s the HRT hormones I’m on.) For example, yesterday I spent about an hour cleaning out the refrigerator, and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t the most wonderful feeling.
  7. I think that’s because cleaning stuff out and getting rid of stuff you don’t need or want anymore almost feels itself like losing weight. You instantly feel cleaner and lighter, personally, not just refrigerator-wise.
  8. And even better: Sunday I went to the newest Tupperware party-type event — am I dating myself when I say Tupperware party? — which is where the hostess invites a bunch of friends over and brings in a professional precious metals buyer, who looks at all your old gold jewelry and stuff, and then he GIVES YOU CASH for it, right there on the spot! I made over $500 for a fairly small amount of gold jewelry I knew I’d never wear again. It was amazing. Not to mention profitable.
  9. So now I have a little extra cash in my pocket for Christmas shopping. Which I’m mostly not looking forward to, but at the same time, I kinda sorta am. I just have mixed feelings about the whole retail frenzy Christmas shopping season that we have to slog through get to enjoy over the next four weeks.
  10. Which reminds me of this cartoon; you may have seen it on Facebook:

Look at that shopping cart: I’d love to get my hands on that and just start throwing stuff out. That would be such a rush.

Random thoughts for Friday

It feels like I’ve been drifting about this morning without a coherent thought in my head.

Unfortunately, this is the norm for me.

And I would love to post something that tells an interesting story or makes a certain point — a point! what a concept! — but at the moment I’m afraid the best I can come up with is sort of a random list.

We’ll get back to the whole point thing on another occasion. She said, hopefully.

1. I have to go to the store today to buy milk, which reminds me of a weird postcard that came in the mail yesterday. It was a legal notice, regarding a class action related to organic milk. I know, right? — Huh? Apparently there’s a suit claiming that a certain organic milk dairy, which supplies to Costco, Safeway and other retailers, “violated state consumer fraud and deceptive business practices acts,” and as a purchaser of their milk products I may be entitled to compensation.

Which gives new meaning to the term: “milk money.”

Anyway, I’m trying to figure out what this all means, and more importantly: What did they do to my milk??

2. I also got a call yesterday from my financial advisor that we have, over the years, earned “rewards points” from a certain debit card, and if we don’t use them by December 31st, we lose them. I don’t know about you, but I hate having this kind of pressure hanging over me. Or pressing down on me. Whatever. On the other hand, I think — well, more like I’m crossing my fingers — that we might have enough points for a flight to the mainland, so I’d better get on it.

3. That rewards points thing is a bit frustrating because it falls into the category of Things That I Have Time To Do And The Coach Doesn’t, Because He’s Teaching Children All Day Long And I’m Not, So It’s Easier For Me To Do It, But I Can’t Because The Account Is In His Name.

I need to figure out a shorter name for that category.

4. So Thanksgiving is looming ominously right around the corner, which I may have mentioned once or eighteen times, and I’m making progress on my grocery list but still have quite a ways to go. Like the bird, for one thing. (If I were smart, I’d pick up a few things when I am at the store later getting the hopefully-not-tainted organic milk, but that may or may not happen. Which may or may not be a reflection on my, um, smartness.)

You know what I have the hardest time with, with Thanksgiving? Not the cooking; the cleaning. It just seems endless.

And I hate to admit this kind of first world problem, but I have two refrigerators and at the moment they are both full. So I’m not sure where the Thanksgiving stuff is going to go unless I get busy clearing out the fridges. Sigh; one more thing.

5. Lately I’ve been having more what I’ve come to think of as old lady moments. Like the other morning when I woke up, creaked and groaned, and thought, “I may have overdone it a bit yesterday with the exercise.” And I hadn’t even done all that much. And you know that book of Nora Ephron’s called, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”? Let’s just say I’m getting to that point myself, neck-wise.

6. A number of years ago I “had my colors done,” you know, where they do this analysis on you and tell you what colors you should and shouldn’t wear. Turns out I should never, ever wear black. Which most of the time I’m fine with, because I don’t care much for black anyway. But there’s this one holiday party that The Coach and I attend every year that’s a little dressy, and I found this darling Little Black Dress online that I really want to buy for it, but … I’m not supposed to wear black.

Sorry; another first world dilemma there.

And side note to The Coach: I’m thinking it’s time to change your look up. The black suit? Maybe not this year.

7. I’m super excited that our girl is coming home for Thanksgiving, except for one thing: the four of us will be sharing a bathroom. Ever since the Great Master Bath Shower Disaster of three or four months ago (story for another time), The Coach and I have been using the kids’ bathroom down the hall. Then our boy moved back in, which made three of us sharing, and by next week it will be four. Four full grown adults. And all their products.

Another side note to The Coach: this bathroom remodeling project? Is it ever going to happen?

8. Now for a little weather update: Today is the first day that it kind of feels like fall here. It’s a bit overcast, but not raining, there’s a nice cool breeze — just a tiny indication that we might be in for something other than sweltering, for a change.

9. Have you ever noticed that the people who go on and on about how we all must be more tolerant, and not stand for intolerance wherever it rears its ugly head — are really kind of like, um, bullies about it? Just sayin’.

10. It bothers me a little that I haven’t posted anything with a picture since I finished the 31 Days thing a couple weeks ago. I don’t necessarily have anything I can think of to show you, though, so I’m just going to throw up this random shot from my photo library, of a sunrise in Fiji:

Doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but it’s pretty, no?

Have a great weekend!

I am a stranger in a strange arts and crafts land

Many of my fellow empty nesters, upon making the transition from stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to SAHM with no kids at home, wrestle with the dreaded question: “Now what?”

I am no different. I just have not come up with the same answer as many of them.

Some go back to work, or start businesses from home, some find volunteer work to do, some get into new exercise programs like training for the marathon.

A lot launch into hobbies like making jewelry or home decor, which they can sell on Etsy or at local craft fairs. I know a whole bunch of ladies who are doing this now, and one of my very good friends has even somehow persuaded me to get on board with her plan to make and sell hand-painted throw pillows.

Oh, no. No, no, no.

First of all, I have no idea why she thought I would want to do such a thing in the first place. Neither directly nor indirectly have I ever shown any interest in crafty or homemade stuff. It’s just not something I do. Mostly because I’m not any good at any of it (translation: really, really bad).

Certainly I admire those women who like to construct their own home decor, but that’s just not an area where my own gifts lie. Not to mention my interest.

Not only am I not Martha Stewart, I am at the complete opposite end of the Martha Stewart spectrum. In fact my position on the Martha thing could best be described as: “Profound Indifference.”

Also, I lack appreciation for the things of that world. I do not have an “eye” for what’s cute, and the fact that I don’t bothers me not one little bit. I am perfectly content not to pin things on Pinterest, or to put up seasonal decorations in my house — well, with the exception of Christmas, of course, but everybody does that. And my Christmas decorations are exactly the same, year in and year out: again, creativity in the range of zero.

Because of this, I do not go to craft fairs. I just don’t get them. In fact, I find them painful. For one thing, they are overwhelming: it’s nigh impossible for me to process all that visual overload. Ninety-nine percent of what is sold at craft fairs, I look at it and think: “What would I want with that? It’s just another thing to dust.” In fact, on the rare occasion when I’ve bought something at a craft fair, 9 times out of 10 it has ended up in drawer or up on a shelf somewhere, of no use whatsoever to me or anyone else. Then, after the thing has sat in its drawer or on its shelf for a dozen or 15 years, I toss it out. And for me that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

(At this point you may be thinking: This woman is practically a dude. To which all I can say is: Guilty.)

So part of the equation is that I am someone who has no admiration whatsoever for artsy-craftsy things, and the other part is that I am not someone who cares to engage in them. So when my friend Carol invited me to join her in her hand-painted pillows venture, on the outside I was saying, “I’ll tell you up front I’m not going to be any good at this but you’re my friend and you’re being a pretty good salesman here, so okay, I’ll play along,” and on the inside I was saying something that was either, “Yawn,” or “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye.”

I did one pillow painting session with Carol at her house about a year and a half ago — naturally I didn’t even get but halfway through one pathetic-looking pillow, in four or five hours’ time — and that was that. At least as far as I was concerned, it was.

Carol called me back this weekend. Texted, actually. From a craft fair. (Which, by the way, she had earlier called me to tell me about and make me promise to go to. As if.) Her message was that we need to get together soon because she was inspired with new ideas for things we could paint besides pillows. Like trucker caps.

Oh Lord, I prayed, kill me now.

Or at least, somehow spare me from having to tell Carol: not me. Please, I’m begging you, count me out. Hey, you know what would be great? If I had the ability to do a Jedi mind trick. You know, like, instead of saying, “These are not the droids you are looking for,” I could wave my hand and say: “Plum is not the crafter you are looking for.”

Then she would just move along. That would be awesome.