Memory Burn

Posted by Kathy on November 18th, 2014

Mo and BabsMany of you know my husband Dave and I took a vacation to England in September. It was our second trip there in a 16-month period, lucky ducks we are.

Whenever I get back from a whirlwind vacation, I think of blogging about it, but it just feels like too much work. Too much to document and I always wonder if I’ll remember everything or bore everyone, or both. So I decide not to write about it at all.

But today I wanted to talk about the little moments of this vacation that pop into my head when my life is spinning, when people are getting on my last nerve, when I need to fling myself back there. Back there to those moments when I was completely content. Back there when I wasn’t thinking of the hundreds of emails that were invading my Inbox. Back there where time stood still. Where the memory is savored and burned. Burned into my memory so I can pull it out whenever I need to save myself from whatever crisis is whirling around me.

I escape to a few moments, a few simple moments.

The first happened the morning I woke up after our friends’ wedding. Mo and Babs (pictured above) were married on September 20th and we celebrated with them at Babs’ brother’s house in the countryside. They graciously hosted us for the night in their home and when I awoke to pure silence, I glanced out the bedroom window and saw a weather vane turning slowly in a gentle breeze.

I watched it turn for perhaps ten minutes, thinking “I’m so unbelievably relaxed and happy. I want to stay here forever. I want to pull up stakes and move over here. I want this life.”

After Dave and I rustled ourselves awake and headed downstairs for breakfast, our hosts made me a cup of coffee and I went outside to enjoy some fresh morning air. The last time we’d been to England, it was classically cold, rainy and miserable. But not this time.

It was sunny and dry and warm and lovely. And my view was stunning. It was still and quiet, save for a few crows screaming through the sky.

Me and my English coffee, in the sun on a rock wall. A few minutes of escape. Burn it in, Kathy. Burn it in.

English coffee

The other moment I still relish is from a visit we made to Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield, where Babs’ brother and wife live.

It’s a small park packed with miniature estates, shops, docks and bridges. The Queen used to go there as a child, don’t ya know. Cutest little place, perfect for strolling with old friends and new. We spent a couple hours here.

At one point, I stopped on a bridge to watch tiny boats full of tiny people pass under me. The sun felt so warm. So enriching. So filling. Drink it up, Kathy. Drink it up.

Village

My husband came over and asked “What’cha thinkin’ about?” I told him “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” I was in some kind of happy bubble that enveloped me, where no bad thoughts could enter. No stress. No worries. Just sun and warmth and glee.

“I don’t want this to end,” I said. “I need this for later when we go back. For when we work again, pay bills again, clean cat litter boxes again and I can’t stand it.”

And so I use it whenever I need to. Every other day now. I tap into my memory burn and recall how happy that trip made me, the trip with our good friends, where everything went right this time.

Stress pounds rudely on the door these days, sure. But I don’t answer. Get out, you fool! You don’t belong here! And I think of the weather vane, turning slow slow slow while I crept out of sleep. The coffee I sipped in the morning sun with an impossibly perfect view. And the little village that got me to let it go. Let it all go, if only for a moment.

Yes, we saw all the touristy things in London, ate well, played well, vacationed well. But it wasn’t what we saw that remains with us. It’s what we felt. We packed it all up in our suitcase brains and unpack it whenever the need for it calls.

Kathy, remember? Do you remember the little things?

Yes, yes I do.

So what’s in your memory burn?

We Have Cats Because They’re Not Dogs. And Yet…

Posted by Kathy on October 25th, 2014

So I’ve never been a dog person. First, because I was attacked by a German shepherd as a child. That’ll turn you off dogs for good, lemme tell ya.

Second, because dogs eat stuff they shouldn’t, break stuff and need to be taken out for walks. I’m a very easily annoyed and lazy person, so there you go.

And yet, I appear to have a dog anyway. A new cat named Chloe, renamed Chewy.

Why renamed Chewy?

Because of this:

chewed HDMI cable

This is the HDMI cable from our upstairs TV that suddenly wouldn’t work. Took 45 minutes on the phone with a perplexed RCN tech support guy before I realized the cable had been chewed. Swapped out for another and bingo! TV works. Thanks, Chewy.

And this:

chewed bass cable

This is my husband Dave’s bass cable. He made the mistake of leaving it out of the case. It still works. For now.

And this:

broom

No, she didn’t do all this damage, but she does have a weird habit during her morning feeding routine.

When I grab food out of the pantry, where the broom is stored, she’ll squeal a bit and then start gnawing on the bristles until I have the food plopped down on a plate.

Every morning. Pantry, squeal, gnaw, plop. Pantry, squeal, gnaw, plop.

And now she’s turned to breaking things. This morning when I was trying to sleep in late, which for me is 6AM, Chewy would have none of it.

When I didn’t get up at 4:45AM as she demanded, she pushed this large-ish lamp right off the bedside table.

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Really? We’re deliberately shoving lamps off tables now? Who does that?

When the lamp landed, I heard some metal breakage and now it won’t turn on again. Well, it did for a moment, long enough to get a flash of light and then darkness.

Jerk.

She broke the lamp that we bought 22 years ago with our bedroom furniture. I know a lamp really can’t have sentimental value, but, dammit, we really liked it.

Well, I’m up now. So let’s go get you fed, jerk dog in cat’s clothing.

I suppose I owe you a picture of Chewy.  We have so few clear pictures of her because she’s such a spaz and won’t sit still for long. She’s hilarious, playful and weird and we love her to bits.

You know, when she’s not wrecking the place.

Chewy

Back to School Crazy

Posted by Kathy on August 8th, 2014

crayonsI’d like to start off by saying I tip my hat to all you parents out there. I’m constantly amazed at how you pull off the hardest job in the world, all with a myriad other stresses in your life. I don’t know where you get the time or energy for it.

Pat yourselves on the back. Go ahead. Do it.

Those of you with kids returning to school in the fall are probably running around right now trying to get all your ducks in a row. I’ve heard of schools sending parents a list of things their children will need before school starts, especially grade school-aged children. Very specific lists that include a backpack, notebooks, scissors, erasers, construction paper and a host of other things.

I was chatting with a friend about the list he and his wife received from their children’s school. The list is long and painfully precise. Stray from the list under penalty of death. Among the things they need to buy is a 48-count box of crayons.

Here comes the crazy….

Parents are supposed to write or affix their child’s name to all of their belongings so they always get returned to the child.

Including the crayons.

No, they aren’t supposed to write the child’s name on the box itself. They are instructed to write the name on each and every crayon.

My jaw dropped and I argued with my friend for five minutes that he must be playing a joke on me. He insisted this was true and got his wife on the phone to let me hear just how true this is and how much fun they have with this chore.

Still in disbelief, I Googled it and sure enough, it’s a thing. A dreadful, time-wasting, ridiculous thing.

I’m sorry. But when I was in grade school, I’m pretty sure I took a zippered bag full of crayons to school and if I lost them or some bratty classmate stole them, my mother probably just bought me a whole new box.

I’m pretty sure if I was a parent and got those instructions, I’d pay someone to do the task for me. Kathy ain’t got no time for labeling crayons.

So how are all you parents coping with school checklists? Did you get everything yet? Are your kids ready for back to school?

If Grammar is So Hard, What Hope Do We Have for World Peace, Really?

Posted by Kathy on July 12th, 2014

Amazon just yelled at me in an email to get off my ass and blog more. Apparently, they like it if the people who subscribe to Junk Drawer on Kindle actually get something they pay for.

Since I haven’t written in a month, I got flagged for being a slacker. Sorry Kindle people! I promise to do better and stop writing exclusively for The Facebook.

Starting with two grammar failures I found on TV graphics within 12 hours of each other.

Signs the world is going to hell in a hand basket: unnecessary apostrophes and misspellings.

First, this one had me confused because the TV was muted and I thought by the graphic it meant there was a $25k lawsuit involving champagne. Makes no sense, right? So I unmuted to discover they’re referring to a three-story, $25,000 per night NYC suite, if you’re so inclined to spend your riches that way.

Suite. With an “e.” Not suit. Got it?

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And then there’s this thing. God, I hate when people don’t get its correctly. This one bothered me more because, although the above picture came from a local news station with tighter deadlines, this one comes from an ABC program called What Would You Do? Presumably, the show is in production for weeks or even months and surely they would have plenty of time to review and edit for grammar. No?

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This concludes my one month absence from blogging.

I promise to try and write more for Junk Drawer, especially since in two weeks it’ll be 7 years old. It deserves more. You deserve more. At least the three readers I have left.

Have a splendid weekend, folks!

Maybe Poke It With a Stick?

Posted by Kathy on June 1st, 2014

lying on grassI had no intention of walking ten miles today, I really didn’t. In fact, when I went to bed last night, it was with such a creaky body I figured I would spend all of today on the couch. Instead, I woke up feeling like my whole body had been replaced with one that actually works.

When that happens, you take every advantage of it, especially since I’ve suffered from some recurring, frustrating knee pain lately. Pain that’s kept me from doing any kind of meaningful exercise. Since I had zero pain today, I set out to do one or two miles. Which turned into four, which turned into six and then eight and then a glorious ten!

Now I’m not gonna lie. It wasn’t without its pains. While I was delighted the knees felt amazing for all ten miles, I can’t say as much for my hips. I took breaks along the way, stopping back home twice to hydrate, stretch and sit a bit.

Back out on the circuit, during mile eight, I needed to stretch and relax some more. I sat under a tree for five minutes with a shit-eating grin on my face. I just couldn’t believe I was doing this. Ten miles ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at and I was feeling kind of awesome.

But the last two miles had something to say about that. Around mile 9, I had to park my butt on a curb and engage in a total body stretch, which is really something that ought to take place in the privacy of your own home. I decided to ignore how this probably looked to people driving by.

After I was done contorting myself on the curb, I decided to take a rare opportunity to lay back on some cool, luxurious grass and simply watch the clouds roll by. Suddenly, I was five years old again and enjoyed the blissful downtime, stopping to think, to daydream and just chill, all with a welcome breeze passing over me.

Lying there, with a relaxed body and mind, I shut my eyes and listened to my jams on my iPod. I got into a nice little zen state and I didn’t move a muscle. I probably could have fallen asleep there.

Until.

Until my zoned out space was abruptly interrupted by a neighbor woman calling out to me over and over “Ma’am? Ma’am? Are you OK?” I hadn’t heard her at first because of the music in my ears. But when I did, I opened my eyes to a worried-looking woman a few feet away.

“You weren’t moving. I thought maybe something was wrong,” she said. And by “wrong,” I think she meant “dead.”

So, word of advice. If you’re going to be a weekend warrior and need to park yourself in the middle of someone’s lawn, move a body part every now and then because you kind of look like a corpse otherwise.

Death tends to frighten people.