Thursday Evening

I hear the garage door.
He's home.

The children are loud and happy. They almost drown out the kitchen faucet on full as I'm finishing up the dishes. There are a few half-eaten, forgotten plates of food still on the dinner table.

 I can see him get out of the car through the window in the back door. He's fresh from a late evening on the job and a post-work grocery store run. I see those renegade plates and cross the way he'll come to gather the un-eaten broccoli, piling it atop a child's abandoned remains of dinner. I carry one small plate in each hand.

He meets me on my way back to the sink, just past the doorway, his hands full of strained grocery bags.

Our eyes meet.
He stares intently as I move toward him.
I smile.
He puts the groceries on the floor.

"These can wait. But this can't."

I'm hungrily kissed.
Both of his hands guide my face and body towards him. My hands try not to forget those broccoli-topped plates as I rise to participate in the kiss.

"I missed you."
"I love you."
"Welcome home."


"Why Are You... The Way You Are?"

Yesterday while Ellen was napping, Eddie and I happened upon a rerun of "My So-Called Life." Angela was talking to Jordan when he turns suddenly, putting one of his arms out, his hand above one of her shoulders and corners her into a near kiss against a fence. Then he asks her, "Why are you.... you know.... the way you are?" Then he leaves. HE LEAVES. She catches her breath and tries to ask him, "How am I?" He doesn't hear her (or can't/won't answer her in front of his buddies). As he walks away, she's even more desperate to know his answer so she takes a few steps forward and says a bit louder, "How am I?" She's left with no answer.

I'm totally guilty of looking to others to find out How I Am. I just... you know... need to stop it.

I also look to family, home, hobbies and duties for a quick definition of me. I need to stop that too. Maybe it's not the How or the What that we are, but the Why.


A Collector's Item

Many months ago, I was with the family at Babies-R-Us to purchase a last-minute shower gift. (I don't think there is any other kind of gift, other than the last minute one. Have you SEEN Babies-R-Us on a pre-shower Saturday morning? It's filled with women dressed to go to a shower, stopping by to get their gift. I digress.) Along with our gift, we purchased one of the featured diaper bundles. If I can recall, the bundle included a lot of diapers, some wipes, and some type of unnecessary wipes case - all in a large, branded, plastic tub. After all of the diapers and wipes were used and the unnecessary case was discarded we were left with the tub. It has served many uses.

1. Hamper
2. Toy box
3. Shoe box
4. Catch all
5. Car
6. "Box"

It is currently called "Ellen's Box." She calls it that. She likes to get in it and sit. And then stand. And then sit again. In between the sitting and the standing are many, many trips outside of the box to retrieve items to put in the box with her. Then they go out of the box (so she can then get out of the box, pit it up, and start the process again). It's all great fun. Today she brought colors into her box, one by one, and decorated it.

When you have a kid in daycare they are sent home with their little art projects, the pieces they've painted, glittered, stamped and smeared. In the beginning, Eddie and I saved every. single. one. One and a half years in, we keep the really pretty ones. Just today I pulled a piece of art from his car and held it up to him in a gesture that said, "What are we going to do with this?" He responded, "I wouldn't mind if we didn't keep that." But we're keeping the box. It's performance art.


"We Are Now Composters."

Earlier this summer, Eddie, Ellen and I visited a friend in Alabama. She put us up in her beautiful house in the country. The house sits on a hill and from the kitchen we could see the deck, that overlooked the pool, that was next to the garden, that was next to the horse pasture. In her kitchen we cooked meals together, gossiped like old times, and watched Ellen chase her dogs around the house.

During the course of one of our conversations while preparing a meal, I spied a beautiful, chrome bucket sitting on her counter. I asked her what it was for. "Compost," she said. "We have a compost pile behind the fence." I remembered that her father maintained a compost pile in her old back yard, here in Baton Rouge. When I was 16, I remember thinking it odd that when I was over for dinner or to spend the night, her family treated the vegetable scraps differently than my family. MY family just tossed 'em. HER family cleaned the kitchen after dinner, all of the dishes and counters and table and everything except the purposeful pile of vegetation. After all was done, her father would gather the scraps and head outside. To the compost pile. HER father had a rose bed in the front yard, and I assumed he used it for that. MY father cut the grass and trimmed the edges, that was about it.

When we returned home from our Alabama vacation, I had big dreams of gardening and building and painting and rearranging and COMPOSTING!!! But to make any of these things happen with a full-time job, a very nearly two year old and dishes and clothes and cooking... pesky little things like "needing to get some sleep" sometimes get in the way. So I set my bar really low.

I mean, who can't compost, right? It's just putting this part of the trash over here, instead of over there. Right? No. Turns out you need a bin. And a place to put the bin, a place with "good drainage." Once you get the bin, you find out that you need some chicken wire or netting as a barrier to the soil you need to till before you put the chicken wire down and the bin on top of it. Keep me honest if I'm not doing my math right, but THAT'S A WHOLE 'NOTHER TRIP TO THE HARDWARE STORE, PEOPLE. So, once received, the bin may or may not have sat in our garage for a few weeks.

Today Ellen went to her grandparent's house for a hefty portion of the day.
Today Eddie had the day off from work.
Today I got a text at 2:24 pm with the picture below attached. It read, "We are now composters."

I still lack the fancy, chrome compost bucket. But I'm on my way. I wonder when I'll get the text, "We now have a pool." That'll be a good picture.


Family Portrait, A Still Life

Between the couch and the hallway, there is a little piece of house. The shoes go there. Nobody decided, they just do. They pile up and up until they're worn again or someone accidentally puts them away. Yesterday evening there we were, our little family, perfectly captured in the first cast-off pieces of the mid-week day.


Where Oh Where Did My Youth Go?

After two full days of being down for the count (so sick I couldn't move), I finally have some energy and seem to be on the mend. What is my first priority?



Mining the Journals #2

In class assignment, Leadership, Providence, RI. September 19, 2000

Why I chose "Brave."

When asked to choose only one word that describes me and to decide that in only three minutes, there's really not a lot of time for soul-searching. I know that if I were given more time to think on it, I probably would have discarded my choice as presumptuous. Brave does not equal fearless. In fact, the mere definition of brave implies that some amount of fear must come first. Brave is being afraid but getting on a plane anyway. Brave is closing your eyes and jumping out from the platform and into the water. Brave is getting in the car after the accidents.

I am scared.
I am brave.
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