Poetry and the Helicopter

Have you ever had a really strange dream?  I had one last night. In the dream, there was a lone sheet of paper on a brown table. This poem was written in cursive on that paper.

dear madam,

 i am sorry for the trifling distraction

caused by your pending demise

yours truly,

death

My apartment faces a park. Yesterday, a helicopter crashed in the park. I saw and heard the crash. It was very loud and scary. I might at some point write about the crash. Today is not that day though.  I want to write about my dream. I have never in my entire life dreamed a poem. I am both bothered by the theme and a little intrigued by the idea that Death leaves notes on brown tables.

My dream made me reflect on the Emily Dickinson poem about Death stopping for you.   I love Dickinson. Her poems are as delicious as rice pudding. You just want to go back for a second helping.  I felt inspired to write my own little poem with lots of dashes in honor of a master poet. This is my humble attempt.

If I like Dickinson –

Can use a dash –

Perhaps my words –

Will be immortal –

In all seriousness, I was very upset yesterday. My heart goes out to the family of the pilot and the passenger in the crash. My heart hurts for the others on the scene. I’m praying for everyone involved.

cropped-photo-i-like.jpg

(I took this picture several years ago while vacationing in Florida. It was right before a summer storm. This image has stayed with me as an expression on how there is both light and darkness in this journey called life.)

 

Enough for Today

SedonaI struggle with anxiety. I’ve worked hard to learn coping strategies. The stress of COVID-19 has triggered me in many ways.  It’s forcing me practice all the skills I’ve learned.

I’ve felt strongly today that I need to share an experience I had this last week. I hope it helps someone feel less alone if they too have been triggered.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stirred up some old feelings about not having enough food. There was a time in my childhood when my parents greatly struggled financially.  The months leading up to my family moving in with my grandparents were very hard.

As the oldest child, I was keenly aware of the financial stress that hung in the air. I was especially worried that there wasn’t enough food. One night before we moved in with my grandparents, I woke up early, tiptoed into the kitchen with my journal and counted the contents of the cupboard and refrigerator. I wrote down my inventory along with my childhood assessment that we probably had enough food to last a few days. I vowed to eat less so my family could live.

As an adult, I realize that we were not really going to starve. We were blessed with a support system. My parents humbly reached out for help and accepted the generosity family and friends were willing to give them. It was a hard time for the entire family and impacted my view of life.

There was a day this week that I found myself in my kitchen with my journal doing an inventory. It’s a reasonable activity in a time of uncertainty to count what you have on hand. I was fine until the memory of younger me worrying about starving came crashing into my mind. I felt young again instead of being in my 40’s. What if there wasn’t enough food? What if I end up alone and living in a tent on the streets?

I knew my mind was going down an unhealthy path. I knew I needed a verbal affirmation to calm my thought patterns. I didn’t know what affirmation would help me though so I asked God to give me the words.

These are the words that came pouring into mind with great power and tender love.

“I have enough for today.”

I said it five or six times standing there in my apartment’s little kitchen. Each time I said it,  I felt stronger. I have enough for today. I have enough for today. That’s true. I do have enough for today. I can plan responsibly for tomorrow , but obsessively worrying will not help me feel peace right now. I have to believe that I really do have enough for today.

Dear Readers (the 20 or so people who actually read my blog),

I hope you are able to find peace in your own life. Let’s all work together to find a way to make sure everyone on our beautiful planet has enough for today. That’s my wish for this world. I want us all to be happy, healthy and whole.

With Love,

Amee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations in my head

It’s been a month since I last wrote on my blog.  I’ve been trying to feel my feelings and take a day-at-a-time. Most days I can do that.  Yesterday was not one of those days. I felt very overwhelmed with how quickly the COVID-19 virus has spread around the world. The nervous side of me and the logical side started a debate in my head.

I decided to write down the conversation happening between my ears. It was pretty funny when I reread it later. Hopefully, it will make you laugh as well.

Nervous: The world is falling apart. It’s time to get yourself a really big truck and run over to Costco as fast as you can.

Logical: You don’t have a Costco membership.

Nervous: You’ll get one. And then you’ll buy all the stuff you need for the next 15 years.

Logical:  Um. That’s a lot of stuff. Do you really need a 15 year supply of toilet paper?

Nervous: Yes. Yes, you do. Go right now before they stop all production of everything for the rest of eternity.  Buy some chocolate chips while you’re there too. You might get a boyfriend one of these days. You’ll want to make him some cookies.

Logical: Cookies would be tasty.  You should make some. I’m sure this dream boyfriend will be kind and intelligent.

Nervous:  (cuts off Logical Amee) Yes, he’s all of that and a great kisser. You won’t be getting any kisses though if you’re dead. So, you better go to Costco right now before the world ends.

At this point, I just started laughing.

It was kind of funny that both my logical and nervous sides think chocolate chip cookies are a good idea.  I may be stuck at home practicing the social distancing thing, but at least I can still entertain myself.

How are you holding up?

(By the way, I looked in my pantry. I do have some chocolate chips so if the boyfriend decides to shows up on my doorstep. . . . . . I’m ready.)

Cookie picture

 

 

 

 

 

Overachiever: Sick Day Version

I looked down at my to-do list. In between the muscle aches, pulsing head and coughing spells, I had still managed to craft a plan for my productive day.

I blew my nose for the 20th time and wrote item five on the list.  “Deep clean the upholstery in my car”.

That’s when it hit me. I was sick. Really sick. I had not gone to work, because I had a fever.  I started laughing. It was funny that I thought deep cleaning my car was the best way to heal. The laughing made me cough which didn’t feel so funny.

Even when I’m ill,  I guess I’m a little bit of an overachiever. I did the hard thing and threw my list away. I then wrote a new list. It only had four items on it.

1. Throw yourself down on the couch and watch movies.

2. Don’t put your makeup on or do your hair.

3. Drink a bunch of water.

4. Call Mom for sympathy.

Sick Day Amee

The picture is the proof. I really did just plop down on a coach and relax  without any makeup or fancy hairdo all day. My mother was great at the sympathy.

 

 

A Royal Wedding: The dollar store version

My Aunt and I went to the royal wedding this morning. You might have heard about this wedding. It’s been on the news for months. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle  forgot to send us an invite, we did our best to enjoy the festivities on a teacher’s and an artist’s salary. (In case you didn’t know, I’m the teacher and the Aunt is the artist.)

We watched the ceremony on the TV while sitting on my hand-me-down couch. We wore  plastic tiaras that I bought from the dollar store. We ate pastries on my thrift store china and toasted the new couple with sparkling apple juice that was purchased with a coupon.

We both oohed over the wedding dress. It was simple and beautiful.  The news said the dress is estimated to cost 100,000 pounds which is around $135,000 US dollars. Given that the average American worker has an income in the $40,000’s, you would have to be pretty rich to afford a dress like that. The social justice side of me started calculating how many school lunches you could buy for disadvantaged children with that kind of money. The “Happily Ever After” side of me started imagining that it was my wedding day with a beautiful dress, adoring groom and enough money to never have to worry about paying the bills ever again. The last part about having enough money to never have to worry about bills sounds very nice.

It was a lovely wedding. The couple seems to really like and love each other. I enjoyed watching the little glances between them. There’s something sweet about watching a couple in love. You feel hopeful for the world. The real star of the show was the Episcopalian minister. He was delightful. Reverend Michael Curry gave an amazing sermon. I said Amen a couple of times when he was talking. I completely agree with him. God is love and we can make the world a better place by treating each other like brothers and sisters. He was also just plain fun to watch. He was so animated and passionate about the word of God. It was like I was sitting in a revival meeting and not a wedding.

This is what the Esteemed Duchess of the Dollar Store looks like at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. I’ve got frizzled hair, bags under my eyes but I’m still smiling.

1 am photo

Her Royal Highness Princess Aunt Marla declined to have her 3:00 a.m. photo taken for this blog. There are some benefits to being an average American at times. Privacy is one of them.

food for the party

It was a memorable royal wedding even though it was dollar-store style. I’m a little tired. I think I will go back to bed now for a much deserved nap.

 

 

 

What I learned the Day I Marched

I don’t like confrontation. I’m usually the one at the social event who finds a way to change the subject once a controversial topic comes up. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on whatever issue you are discussing. I do. I’ve just lived long enough to see good people stop being friends with other good people just because they voted differently than them. I don’t want lose my friends so I bite my tongue.

The last few months my  state has been in a huge debate about public education. I felt strongly about the topic of educational funding and I wanted to participate.

Picture of teacher walk out

So, I marched. I participated in some of the events at the AZ State Capitol and the Stand Out to Stand Up event on Baseline Road.

I felt a change when I went to the Capitol. Yes, the rally was fun. The crowds had energy but the change inside of me was more than the change in the state budget.  As I stood there with my sign and red shirt, I decided it was okay to talk about the hard topics.

Changing the subject may not always be the best idea. Especially if it is something you believe in.

You may have a different opinion than me on the Red For Ed movement. That’s okay. We can have an open and honest dialogue with each other and still be friends. That’s what I learned the day I marched.

 

 

 

A poem about a busted water pipe

Pipe pictureThis is the girl who was peacefully sleeping

Unaware that disaster was silently brewing.

This is the pipe that leaked in a wall

Where water was collecting  for who knows how long.

This is moment the girl walked in the room

And felt a river of water and saw a gushing typhoon.

This is the valve in the front of the yard

That the girl pulled and then sat by to cry really hard.

This is the husband who was out of state at the time

Who got the phone call that the house was now slime.

These are the fans and the bills and  demolition holes

This  whole experience is vexing to one’s soul.

(A Note for my family and friends:  Nate and I were able to file an insurance claim. We  will be able to fix the damage. I am always happy to accept homemade dinners though.  Just kidding about dinner. You are not obligated to cook me dinner. I know how to order pizza.  Life is never boring around here. I hope I never see water again. It’s a mess to clean up.)

 

 

 

Help Wanted: Peacemakers

Help Wanted: Peacemakers

The world is seeking kind, loving souls to be peacemakers. No prior experience needed. Just a willing heart and a desire to see others as people will get you this job. Apply today and start working tomorrow. Actually, start working today. We have a staffing shortage and could really use all the help we can get. Salary: A better world for all of us.

I am deeply troubled by the events in Charlottesville and the other acts of violence and hate that I have observed in the news the last few months. The world needs peacemakers. We need people to walk across the party lines, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious and cultural differences and all the other divides. We need to  love and support each other. We’re going to have differences, but killing each other and hating each other is never the solution. At the end of the day, aren’t we are all just travelers on this little spinning planet?

Jesus said it best in the Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”.