Jun 29, 2013

Failed Lesson of The Cardboard Box

I was sitting here trying to think of something to say when toys and my mother popped into my head. I am not sure why, but it did so I thought I would write about it.

I grew up in a small, four room house in the country. In that tiny house there were five of us, my mom, dad, two sisters and myself. As you can imagine there wasn't a lot of room for excess. Everything had its place and my mother had some tough rules about what would happen if you left toys laying on the floor. 

Mama would warn us that if we didn't pick up our toys we would lose them. By losing them she meant she would place them in a cardboard box that would then be lifted to the top of a cabinet where it would remain until....well until she decided she would grant us mercy and let us have them again.

Whenever she took that box down from the cabinet it was like Christmas morning. We would eagerly search its contents to find dolls, toy cars, and games that looked brand new. Part of the time we would discover treasure we didn't even remember owning. For a few short days we basked in our new found wealth until our unlearned lesson condemned our stuff once again to reside in that cardboard box.

I really don't know how long that back and forth went with our toys, but I do know I finally learned to not leave my things lying in harm's way. As I sit here looking at my desk I cringe at the thought that my hard learned lessons are slipping into chaos. There are piles of books, magazines, a camera, paperclips, etc. surrounding me like failure. 

Every time I walk into my office I say to myself I will straighten things up, but more often than not I recite the procrastinator's pledge, "I will do it later." I feel like that little girl promising to pick up her toys only to find mama coming toward me with that dreaded cardboard box.

Jun 21, 2013

Oatmeal and Memory

I want to write something profound, but I can’t find it on my keyboard. My fingers type, delete,
stumble and go silent. Random phrases storm in with promises they have companions that will multiply into insight, but they just mingle with my grocery list and leave me empty.

Part of my problem is I am in a rush to remember everything. I know it is impossible, but I have seen the horror of forgetting. My mother had Alzheimer’s. It is a robber that sneaks up on you to take your husband’s face and replace it with a stranger’s. Today never comes again because you fade into yesterday where you search everywhere for your babies who are grown women.

I don’t live in fear I will succumb to the disease, but I have my moments. If I find myself trying to put my oatmeal in the cabinet to cook it instead of the microwave, there are a few seconds of panic before I shake it off with the realization I was maneuvering the mine field of my two cats with my eyes on the floor.

Fear crops up when I look at photos of my mother to find I have the same exact expression, that pissed off, arms crossed, get the camera out of my face look a few album pages later. Well, of course I do. I spent so many years seeing my mother with it that it crept into mine without any effort. My mother was always difficult to deal with. Our family couldn’t pinpoint an attitude change that might have signaled a problem. She would argue with a stone just because it managed to be under her foot.  So I can’t assume that the occasional flight on my broom when crossed doesn’t mean in later years I am destined to mix cracker crumbs in my socks because of disease.

Afraid to forget, I won’t have that tattooed on my psyche to the point I don’t embrace each moment that I am granted.  When the sun breaks over the horizon onto a sink full of dirty dishes, laundry in the hamper, and bills I need to pay, I will say thank you, mix my attitude with some music and dance my way into the new day.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Jun 13, 2013

Mike Zito ~ Gone To Texas

I have been a fan of Mike Zito for a long time. If anyone thinks he has peaked with his music, then you don’t know the man or his music. With Mike’s latest album Gone to Texas he has hit another home run. On this album he gathered stellar musicians Rob Lee, Jimmy Carpenter, Scott Sutherland, and Lewis Stephens to create blues at its best. Add the fabulous talent of guest contributors, Susan Cowsill, Delbert Mclinton, Sonny Landreth and Freddie King and this album soars even higher.

I am no musician, just a fan, but I know what I like and what will be priority plays on my ipod. I just got Gone to Texas yesterday, June 12th, and I can’t get enough of it. I find myself tapping my toes and nodding in agreement as Mike takes me on his musical Texas journey. His gravely vocals give you no doubt he knows what he is singing about. I give this album five stars! Now what are you waiting for? Go and get it!!

Mike Zito

Jun 11, 2013

A Beautiful Vacation

Recently my husband, Charlie, and I went on a vacation that took us from Puerto Rico to five islands in the Eastern Caribbean. It was so beautiful in all the islands with the blue water and all the sights we took in. It was something we needed.

We left from Puerto Rico on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Valor. On every other cruise we have ever been on we saw all the shows at night, mingled with all the other guests and rose before the sun was up to watch us arrive at port from the main decks. This year was the first year we had a room with a balcony. We thought it was actually something would didn't have any need for since we spent little time in our room. We discovered on this cruise it was a welcome and much needed sanctuary.

Unlike previous years we didn't spend a lot of time roaming the ship at night. We retired early to our room to sit on the deck to watch the stars and moon, listen to the water, and talk. Life had hit us hard the past several years with the loss of our parents, illness, and family discord. We desperately needed the time to unwind from all of it.

I think this was one of the first times I have ever traveled that I wasn't anxious to get back home. I wasn't ready to give up that balcony or the beauty of the Caribbean. With all the excitement of sightseeing there was still an incredible sense of peace. Even now I wish I could return, but life doesn't work that way. You have to unpack your suitcases to settle back into routine. It just seems much harder this time.