Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Word

I'm sort of "famous" for my foul mouth, and realized recently that it's too late to save my son from my bad habit. The other day he suggested that his dad (a priest) could be "Father", he could be "Son", and I could be "Holy..." - well, have fun figuring out what the missing word is! There are several options.

Years ago I worked the Swing Shift at a public utility in Denver, Colorado. I'd been a Keypunch Operator for many years, and then transferred into the Computer Operations Department. A young co-worker named Sheila was my work partner. It was my job to "train' her...

Sheila was quite naive. She loved cars, and lived at home so she could afford to pay for her sporty, fast convertible. When she got excited, her mouth sort of foamed, and when she laughed, she always ended up spitting. These were all endearing qualities. We were friends, and we had lots of fun.

However, Sheila wasn't so anxious to be "trained" in my skill of foul language. I'd say a word that made her uncomfortable and she'd give me that head down, eyes looking up, "don't say that word" kind of look. You know the one I mean? One day, she was working and dropped something. I heard her say, "THE WORD!" Stopping in my tracks, I stared at her. "What did you say?" I asked. "THE WORD!" she replied, her mouth beginning to foam. I started to laugh. She started to laugh. There was spit everywhere. We couldn't stop.

From then on, when I was with Sheila, the term "THE WORD" became my foul language. We'd say it loud; we'd say it in our heads; we'd write it on a piece of paper. It worked.

So, I think I'm going to start utilizing "THE WORD" again. It's a bad habit to break, that of foul language. I'm way too free in using it, and it's gotten me in trouble a time or two.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is bright, and it's supposed to get up to 40 degrees! Spring is just around the corner, or so they say. It will be a great day to take a walk and smile and be pleasant, using non-foul language. I'll take my son with me and tell him about Sheila and how much fun she was to be around. I wonder where she is today. I wonder if she still spits when she laughs! I wonder if she still drives a convertible.

I wonder if she still says, "THE WORD!"

The Word, indeed. Works for me!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to "Normal"

The wreaths, trees, greenery, creche, lights and candles are all down. Everything is back to normal...yea, right!

Earlier this year, I went to a women's conference. the speaker remarked about her time spent saying, "This is it!" over, and over, and over, and over...until she "got" it. I think that's my definition of "normal" - "THIS is IT!" This moment is normal. If I wasn't doing this, I'd be doing something else normal.

Very often, I catch myself asking, "Why is this my life?" or "Why do I miss them so much?" It's disturbing to me when I do ask these questions, because they never really get answered. Recently, however, someone answered the second question for me. "Because they're yours," was the reply. Bingo. The answer to the first question is probably the same: because it's yours. It's almost become a mantra for me. Because it's yours. Because you're normal!

It may not always feel comfortable, but normal is just life. All the joy and hurt and excitement and disappointment and laughter and crying...Normal.

The church feels bare, being back to normal. Lots of people won't even notice. This afternoon, we're taking down our own tree and decorations...getting the house back to normal. I'll miss the tree; I'll miss sitting and looking at the ornaments and remembering the occasions they represent. But they'll be back, like normal, in mid-December.

In the meantime, this is it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Saturday

Years ago, my family began a tradition of getting together every First Saturday of the month. It was was a time when we all really began to enjoy each other as adults. And, as the nieces and nephews came along, it became 'the more the merrier.' My parents' house was where we met - everyone knew where it was, and how to get there. The little ones felt comfortable there. Mom would fix her special egg casserole, and the rest of us would bring "something." It was always a feast, always loud, and I'm pretty sure my mom grew to dreat the occasion, but she and dad loved nothing more than having their family together. It is still a tradition now, and my older brother Paul and his wife, Becky, tend to be the hosts since mom has died and my dad is in an apartment.

Before First Saturday began, we would all gather "impromptu" at my parents' house on Friday afternoons. That proved to be a difficult time for all of us to get together, so we switched it to Thursday. We called it "Friday Afternoon Thursday" - or FAT, for short. FAT was very popular, and sometimes very wild. Whoever could come would show up bearing some sort of appetizer. My dad would provide the rot-gut, if Julie didn't come bearing Stoly. We were a wild brood, but we had fun and we laughed and we cried and we laughed some more. And we all left happy - happy to have family we could enjoy one evening a week with. How many people can say that? I loved FAT. I don't remember when it stopped...maybe when there were grandkids and Saturdays seemed easier to get together without bedtimes and deadlines and having to get up the next morning for work. So, FAT became First Saturday.

Today, I realized, is the first Saturday of 2010. I wonder if my family in Denver got together? Something tells me, "NO!" They've been together at least three nights since Christmas Eve. Who want to see those people again so soon?! But I thought about them, and wished I could be there - even if they weren't.

It's a new year. I want it to be a better year. Better how? Good question. I'm not going to make resolutions; I'm going to make thoughtful reminders. I'm not going to make a "To Do" list. I'm just going to make a new list every day and limit it to five things that need doing. Things will get done. Some things will stay on the list for a week or two. Some things will change. Hopefully, some things will get easier - like missing my family on First Saturday.

Right now, I'm just going to hold them all in my heart and remind myself that "they are mine, and that's why I miss them so much"...even when events have me wondering, "WHY is it again that I miss them so much?" Oh, that's right, because they're mine.

Happy New Year to my family and friends. May 2010 be a year filled with happy times...and maybe a few happy surprises.