“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Yo, Yo…”

write on

The new blog

Photo by La

I’ve brought to fruition a tiny seed that was planted in my brain approximately one year ago. How’s that for procrastination? “Well, what is it?” You may ask. 

I have a new blog.

“But, La, your blog is so, so, Rad!” you may say. “Don’t leave Rad!” No, no. That won’t happen. All four of you just settle down now.

I’ve started my writing blog.   For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been straddling two pathways in my, er,  blogging journey.  On the one hand, I love writing about my kids and their experiences and my experience as a mother.  On the other hand I just want to delve into more writing and discipline myself.  The problem was the possible exploitation of my home life and making my family vulnerable to strangers. This blog is for family and friends.  Anytime I joined writing prompts and essentially invited strangers to my world, I felt the shadow of a cringe in the back of my head. I need to leave my children, and their pictures, out of it.  Solution?  Two blogs.

   So, the blog, here, is “Us” represented by me.  The other blog, over there, is “Me” represented by me, and an opportunity to step into a new writing community. 

(How reliable the narration is on either blog is yet to be seen). 

For more Chunk shinanigans and Mamacheetah musings, stay tuned.  For a glimpse at some other writing, please go check out the new place:  “My Blue Bungalow”

And if neither interests you, well, then what are you doing here in the first place?


The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. ~Muhammad Ali

I just love the evolution of “Me”!


Am I full of myself today? Yes, but I’m not trying to say that I’m totally evolved, that I’ve reached my “evolutional masterpiece.” I’m just saying I love my changes and lessons and am so happy that I’m not 18 anymore (well, mentally anyway).

This weekend I saw some of my old friends from my childhood and adolescence.  What a great bunch of people.  And the beauty of it all is that though we are all planted in different locations and blooming in different ways, our roots run deep and our roots are maybe even holding  hands or give each other high-fives (assuming our roots have hands….bad analogy?  I don’t care, I like the image).  They knew the spaz I was.  But perhaps they can see the spaz I now suppress.  I’m still me but I’m a different me.  Same with them.  They are all the same but different and oh so wonderful.

Just like John Hughes teen movies educated me to do, I have looked for ways to define myself.  But this drama has carried on through my twenties and especially my thirties and it needs to stop.  The problem is, I can’t define myself.  I really can’t.  My “me” is not easily summed up in the word “Mother” or “Wife”.  And then there are other words.  I study herbs, but saying I’m an “Herbalist”, well that’s just too much.  I love writing, but dare I say I’m a “Writer”?  (Yes I dare, but it’s taking me so long). I am also a “Believer” in God, my religion, miracles – but do I always live up to it?  Oh, and I was once a “Teacher,” a word I clung to for so many years,  but it seems to be dissipating within me.  I most definitely am a “Blogger” but there are other notions that come with it that I can’t always subscribe to.

Words are so powerful.  Though they have definite meanings, the connotations change from person to person.  Maybe that’s my problem, I’m too aware of the connotations.  Instead of defining myself I need to connotate myself (whatever that means).

Anywho, this is on my mind.  That’s all.  And Free-write February is over today.  What will tomorrow bring?  I, too am wondering that.

In the mean time, along with my free-write ramblings, here is a list of places where I’ve “found myself”  or “defined myself” or “connotated myself” (yeah, I see it still doesn’t quite work):

1.  In a swimming pool on Harmon Ave and another one, many years later, at the YMCA.

2.  In the photo dark room at Chaparral High School.

3. Behind the lens of an old Nikon F model with a hand-held light meter.

4. In Argentina.  Specifically in the towns of Venado Tuerto, Cañada De Gomez, Rosario, and Victoria.

5. In the classrooms, hallways, computer labs, and the library (old and new) of BYU campus.

6.  In front of a classroom of students trying to positively influence tomorrow’s future.

7.  In a small apartment in Henderson with a brand new baby.

8.  In a little blue bungalow, downtown and continually evolving into something more and more beautiful.

This list could go on, but not today.

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Tell me, where have you found yourself?

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***Image credit:   I don’t know.  I came across this image a long time ago and downloaded it without the info.  I will gladly give credit when I figure out where I got it.

This is also a part of:


Blemish

A Magpie Tale…

Blemish

Five hundred and nine-nine
pieces
present.

One missing.

A gaping whole,
a mouth that swallows up the trees, sky, grass.
My eye is drawn.

And,
in spite of the
rows and rows of leaves that all looked the same
yet I pieced them together

(it took hours),

I just can’t overlook it.

Laura Archibald
February 2011

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This is part of Magpie Tales, a writing community.

This is also part of my own Free-write February.  Or Feel Free to Write February.  Or Just Write, dammit.  Whatever you want to call it.
Some of it is crappy, some of it is not.  I’m exercising my writing muscles in the vast caverns of the blogosphere.

I don’t have a question for you today since the theme of the above poem is about imperfections and I don’t want to focus on those.  Or maybe I should.  It always makes for interesting writing.  All right, I’ll ask it.  What imperfections are blemishing your perfect world today?


i saw sunday

Yesterday I saw myself cry over a piece of furniture. I had to say goodbye to the crib that both my children slept in. I would keep it for more kids but it’s just too big. There are smaller things around that can perform the same function.

But it was a lovely piece of furniture. Old. Painted white with blue trim. Wooden. It had drawers on one side and drawers underneath. And I’m sure it’s not approved by whatever organization approves baby cribs.  But it was safe.  And cozy.  And I’m pretty sure it loved my children.Yes, you read that right.  It loved my children and they loved it. It was from one of my kind coworkers back when I posed as an English Teacher.

I drove it to Deseret Industries for a donation.  They wouldn’t take it. They don’t take cribs.  I drove it to Savers.  They almost took it because of it’s durability and there is no way it was on any recall list as it was built before recall lists.  But no.  They offered their 20% off coupon as a consolation.  I drove it to Goodwill.

The guy looked at it and said: “What’s this?”

Me: “A crib. Do you take cribs?”

Goodwil Guy: “Well, we’ll take it for you but we won’t sell it here. I’ll put it in ‘The Bin.'” He started to unload it.

My mind decoded “The Bin” as “The Outgoing Trash”: “Really, you can’t sell it? I have the all the screws right here.” I didn’t realized how badly I wanted a nice home for this crib until just then.

Goodwill Guy: “Oh they’ll put it together, just not here.”

Me: Relief.

More Me: “Oh, ok.”

Goodwill Guy: “If they can’t put it together they’ll just throw it away.

Me inside: “Please don’t throw it away.”

I wondered how they would put it together as he threw the all the crib parts at random into the bin. There was no method to his madness. He took the drawer box and started shoving it on top like a milk carton taking up too much space in the trash. I stared. Then caught myself as the other workers inside looked at me funny. Maybe they saw the judging, panicky, sad look on my face. All I could do was compose myself and get in the car.

Goodwill Guy: “Do you want a receipt?”

Me: “No, that’s ok.”

I shut the door and willed my eyes to stop tearing up. It was a crib. Nothing more.

But it held my children.  They snuggled up in it.  They played fort in it.  The drawers held brand new onesies.  It held tiny socks that grew and grew.  It held cloth diapers and first underwear.  It held pieces from their first haircuts.  It went from boy clothes to girl clothes. It went from 3mo pajamas to 2T shirts and pants.

I pulled up to the Blue Bungalow and my hubby was there to greet me.

All he had to ask was “How’d it go?”

And then I cried.

It’s just a piece of furniture, and I cried.

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This is a free-write for “I saw Sunday”.

So tell me, what have you seen lately?


A Favorite Poem: #4

A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
~Walt Whitman

Good ol’ Walt. I live in a city that glows 24/7 and has a pyramid with thirty-nine 7,000 watt bulbs shooting a beam of light into outer space. My nights are not quite like Walt ever knew. I’m not complaining. I could just use a night like this every now and then.

How are the stars in your neck of the woods?

*****Photo Credit: http://www.juzaphoto.com


Salt

A Magpie Tale…

Salt

Sixteen minerals.
In you, I am linked to the earth.

Ancient.
From vanished volcanic ashes
and departed seas
you spring up in the earth like
a well.
Unliquid
Unsolid

I am composed of your savor.
I am ancient, too.

Yet,
one drop of water
disintegrates
all your smack.
Your architecture,
damaged,
dissolved,
flows with the laws of disorder.

Who protected you
on your journey through
soil and crusts?

Your character,
both weak and strong,
garnishes my table.

© Laura Archibald
February 2011

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Photo credit: http://www.magpietales.blogspot.com
This poem is part of Magpie Tales, a weekly prompt for writers of all kinds.


Shadows of Valentines Past

I loved Valentine’s Day as a child. Then I got older and started to dislike it – greatly. Then I was luke warm towards it. Now, I love it. I adore it.

Today I have Valentine memories floating around in my head and as I stop to take a look,  I realize I no longer cringe at them. They make me laugh, mostly.  Here, come have chuckle at my expense.

2nd grade: I had the coolest package of Valentine cards where you could assemble them so that parts moved. For example, I had one where a boy was giving a girl flowers, and you could move the flowers back and forth. This one was the best one. This one I saved for my biggest Crush. I sat in my bedroom, at my desk imagining how I would give it to him. The next day, with my boy-crazy friend, Shannon, giggling at my side, we walked up to the Crush, handed him the card and walked away. He said nothing. By afternoon recess I was so over him. He didn’t say anything!  No reciprocation.  Unbelievable.   I remember walking up to him, again, with Shannon at my side, and I don’t know what I said but I held my head high, let him know I had moved on. He still said nothing. What a waste of an awesome card.

4th grade: Another crush. These were the days where you checked your cards to make sure you didn’t give any boys the wrong idea (you know, the Lisa Simpson debacle when she gave Ralph Wiggum the “I choo choo choose you” valentine – those fiascos need to be avoided). And, I’m sure boys felt the same way. However, I did save the best card for my Crush. And it turned out, this crush went out of his way to give me some Big Red gum. None of the other girls in the class got any Big Red gum…in a special envelope…..with a special note. However, after school, I discovered that my friend, Teri, also received the same kind of package from the same boy. Perhaps this is where the seeds of Valentine resentment were planted.

6th grade:  A boy named Robert spent all year flirting with me.  I didn’t like him like “that” although he always made me laugh.  On Valentine’s, in homeroom, he kept giving me conversation hearts with special messages.  I turned him down.  I don’t remember how, I don’t know what I said. I was probably snotty and mean.  If I could go back in time and punch myself in the face for that one, I would, because before the bell rang, Robert was no longer sitting at his desk.  He was under it.

Jr High: Every year the Jr. National Honor Society or the Jr. Key Club or one of those respectable clubs would sell carnations. You could buy one for, I don’t know, $.50 or $1.00, with a message, and it would be delivered to the recipient’s classroom on Valentine’s Day. I was happy to receive five. I was elated to receive 10 (I don’t know how many I got). But, once you entered the hallway with your bundle of flowers, the popularity contest was in full swing. The girl with the most carnations walked those corridors with her garden of love and messages and the crowd would part like the Red Sea, gawking at her spoils. Were these all from boys? How many were from just her girl pals? You wondered and you envied as she floated by (and even got her picture taken for the year book). Aaah, Jr. High, you are such a strange place.

High school: I honestly cannot remember my high school Valentine Days and this could be either because they were just plain boring, or, they were terrible and need to be blocked. I have no idea. Actually, I do have one memory. I got a card from another Crush that said “Cupid is Stupid”. It also had candy and some cherry chapstick attached. I loved that Cherry Chapstick. The card made me giggle. That was enough for me. I’m pretty sure that the same Crush handed out similar valentines to other girls who he knew liked him. You see this motif popping up again and again.

Freshman year of college: I painted black hearts and hung them up outside our dorm room the week before Valentine’s. I don’t know if my roommates appreciated this. A girl, who lived in the basement came up to visit us. As I sat on the brownish linoleum, she watched me paint the black hearts and then said “you are so cool” whilst something like “The Smiths” played in the background. She creeped me out and then I questioned my actions for a little bit, but I continued in my tongue-in-cheek display of being a jilted Valentine. On the actual day there was a knock on the door by a boy, dressed as a big pink bunny rabbit, who came to see why this apartment was so anti-valentine. I laughed, hard.

Sophomore year of college: I had a date with a boy who gave me a puzzle Valentine for a dance earlier in the week. He was cute, funny, and charming. We were about to go out when the phone rang. It was my old boyfriend.  For some strange reason I allowed for a conversation.  He said things like “Just called to see how you’re doing.” No “Happy Valentines” or anything to indicate that day of celebration because that just wasn’t his style. I wanted to be petty and say “I’m on a date.”  But then I didn’t want to be petty.  But then I wanted to be petty (back and forth, back and forth)…  I was uncomfortable listening to him while looking at my date.  Again, if I could go back in time to fix my behavior, I would.  Except instead of punches, they would be quick slaps, back and forth across the face. (Hang up the phone!)

Senior year of college:   I had grown up a bit.  I’d even lived and served abroad for a year and a half.  I wasn’t quite so self absorbed (or I’d like to think so anyway). I had learned to not care about Valentines…..until…..a boy.  I had been crushing on him for a while.  He left me a big Gerber Daisy with a note on our doorstep.  It said, “Thanks for being such a great friend, Love (I seriously am unsure of the name)”.  How great!  I got a daisy from my crush!  But wait, “such a great friend”?  What did that mean?  I realized, later that he had sent similar flowers to other girls.  You see this theme, right? There really was no escaping it.   That same night my now husband, then friend, found out about the daisy and made fun of it.  He also made me a Valentine that looked like a booty-crack over some jeans, but when you opened it, it was a heart.  Funny.  (I discovered, after our marriage, that he had made the exact same valentine for another girl while in high school….sheesh, I can NOT get a break, can I?)

Today:  I sent my children off to school with treats for a party, and valentine cards and lollipops with lips and mustaches attached for their friends.  They had no expectations of crushes, romance, or feeling special by someone else (as far as I can tell, anyway). Tonight we will go to a friend’s house for Crepes (french things are always appropriate today, no?).  Yesterday we had a pink and red dinner.  And sometime soon, the Valentine Lady will visit.  I love these moments oh so much more. And for the record, Cupid is not Stupid.

When and if they need it, I can’t wait to share my ridiculous Valentine shenanigans with my Chunks. But, perhaps they will be better at this stuff than I was.

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*photo credit:by Daniela Arrais on flickr.com

So, what are your favorite/least favorite Valentine memories?