Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Picture taken just after cleaning up where the dog threw up a chicken bone....

This is my dining room of course.

I post a lot of pictures on facebook.  I think of it as my replacement for the picture albums of yesteryear.  I could print them some day, I can look back at them at any time from anywhere.   But I take 100 photos, and I sort out all the frowns, shut eyes, blurred focus (lots of those in my haste), too dark, too bright, too shadowy.  And these days I have to usually make sure one of my offspring won't be upset if I post a pic. A highly complicated process, to make it through that filter for reasons you could never tell looking at the photos.  But they'll all laugh 'I can't believe you think that one is good??!' shaking their heads in despair at my gaucheness.  The few that make the cut, I fix the colors and crop them on my phone in about 17 seconds (I remember the old days, when it took me half an hour to do that.)

Facebook or similar photographs, which I enjoy, are not my real life. Not mine.  Not yours. Not that friend who was a cheerleader in high school who still looks good in yoga pants.  I've heard "I can't stand to be on facebook and see how great everyone else's life is compared to mine."  I don't suffer from this very common and understandable malady, because I know how the slices of life I (me. Toni) post on facebook are the grain of sand moments grasped among mostly long, boring, tough, argumentative, tiring, humdrum, routine, vanilla regular old sandbox-of-life.  I know that when others post pics, they aren't showing me (usually) the overflowing toilet, the lost cell phone, the toothepaste cap that rolls out of reach, the front door that won't stay shut when it drops below 40, the letter from the mammography center.  They aren't showing me the 47 unmatched socks in their laundry basket, or how they felt after a bad phone conversation with the bank, or a depressing visit to their parent's nursing home.  Do not judge me, or anyone else we meet on facebook or instagram or twitter by the short witty sayings and sunset-background couples shots that we all love to share.

Facebook photograph sharing is not real life.  That is why today, I shared the picture above.  It really was taken just after we cleaned up from the dog, Molly.  Molly got into the garbage when our back was turned (OK, my husband's back was turned, I wasn't home.) and rooted out some old fried chicken, bone and all. After she threw it up the first time, while we were running to grab something to clean it up with, she managed to eat that same deliciously-regurgitated chicken bone again.  The next time it came up we found it on the dining room rug.  Happened to be just before I took a bunch of shots of my crazy Thanksgiving dining room and kitchen.  Shots that were only for me, until now.

This is a dining room you ask?  Isn't everyone's dining room covered in miscellaneous flip house leftovers and the entire contents of their kitchen pantry?

Doesn't everyone's kitchen ceiling open up to the plumbing runs above it for repairs?

No?  No plastic sheets hanging everywhere to keep the drywall dust down?  

Am I getting new counter tops for Christmas?   No, but I did get a patched ceiling, for which I'm very grateful.  It was opened to fix the pipes that froze once upon a time and have kept our second bathroom out of commission for many long months, because, really, when is it a good time to cook under cover of 120 year old falling insulation?

But I digress.  My point is, that you (and I, definitely I) may not post pictures like this, and I am A-ok with that.  I like pictures of snow falling and babies crawling and sons playing amazing bass guitar.  The photos we all share online represent the brief breath of life we want to hold onto, remember, keep.  Sometimes we want to brag or make one of our children or our aunt or our dog groomer feel special.  Sometimes we just want to reach out and say 'hey, I'm here' or laugh along with Jimmy.  Nitty-gritty life is not frozen in time, but messy, grassy, muddy, windy, old, new, broken, stained, taupe, scotch-taped and hot-glued.  Don't compare your well-worn Target version of Keds to someone else's satin-pink-ribboned toe shoes.  They really aren't comparable.

Monday, December 07, 2015

If I could get everything done on my day off that I want to get done on my day off

If I could get everything done on my day off that I want to get done on my day off I would clean my house and decorate from the random bins and then tidy the bins away and set up my wrapping station and sort the Amazon and Eddie Bauer boxes that have been delivered in recent weeks and use tissue paper to cozy each item into a box and organize the hats and scarves and glove bins and finish moving my half empty under construction pantry contents into my pantry and do all the dishes and find Christmas cards and write them with hot cider by my side.  I would unpack from my recent trip and find sparkly sweaters wherever they are hidden and I would finally get that de-shedding brush for dear Molly and fix her up and clip her toenails and put a new collar on her and take her for a walk.  I would pay the bills (ok, no I WOULD NOT PAY BILLS), I'd haltingly plunk out Christmas hymns on my silent piano, once unburdened from its piles of mail, while the house was empty.  I would decorate the dining room table using the gingerbread house the girls made that has been languishing behind the sheets of plastic hanging everywhere while my kitchen ceiling has been open and under repair this last month or so.  My real tree is already a bit dryish with 18 days until Christmas, so I would google out how to rejuvenate it.  I would play a Christmas movie (probably Little Women with Wynona Ryder) while wrapping gifts slowly, (with no back pain) and a candle already purchased in advance for this purpose burning, visible from the corner of my eye and smelling of cinnamon and sugar.  I would empty the back coat closet and re-organize it so we can actually find our cold-weather items we already own and probably get a bag for Goodwill of coats that no one has worn for six years.  I would read a really bad Christmas novel with my slippers on and my favorite chocolate brown and baby blue afghan on my lap.  I would write for a few hours looking out the window at the fog and enjoying my old/new writing desk.  I would read my bible and an advent devotional and spend some time in prayer and then mediation.  I would take a walk (I already did<3 Thanks Sue!) and feel awake even before my third cup of coffee.  I would wash my sheets and try to find some flannel ones to put on and add extra blankets to the bed which I never seem to find time to do until about February.  I would listen to Bing crooning White Christmas while I put out the chipped nativity I gave my parents when I was in junior high.  I would bake some cut-out cookies, cool them and decorate them with Julia when she came in from the school bus at 3:10.  (I would like this part much more than she would). I would meet a friend for lunch and talk about how hard it is to find gifts for men in general and how much easier it would be if all our shopping was for 50-something-aged women.  I would write a thank you note to my hostess from this past weekend and it would come out sounding as perfect as it does in my head, but never does once keyed onto the paper.  I would drive slowly through the neighborhoods oohing and ahhing at Christmas lights with my husband and daughter without them rolling their eyes.  I would hang our seven stockings (yes the dog has always had one, I'm that mom), the only decoration I personally need up besides the tree, imagining my stocking from my childhood that was always hung at the corners of our pinch-pleated draperies due to a lack of fireplace mantles, and how it looked lumpy and jammed with delights.  I would imagine the most beautiful hair barrettes from that stocking one year, that were too pretty to wear, but then later broke when put in an actual head of hair.  I would imagine the Chrissy doll, as it looked on Christmas morning, so perfect, and as it looked a few months later when my baby sister had taken the scissors to its head of hair.  Would I even remember that doll if it hadn't been close-shaven? And then I would imagine the stack of Christmas albums in our what seemed to me, enormous dark maple television and stereo console, dropping down one at a time to the turntable, and the mystery of wondering which song, which song would be next?    When Perry's “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” came on I would recall caroling with my girl scout troop, and the fun of riding bundled into the back of a pick-up truck before it was illegal, going from one house in town to another singing my lungs out on a starry night and feeling, that there is surely nothing better in this world, than Christmas-time.