Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy All Hallows Eve

It's Halloween. How did that happen all of a sudden. Weren't we just experiencing lovely summer weather a couple weeks ago? Now we're socked in with clouds that can't seem to stop dripping (although we really can't complain in comparison to the mess in the East! Blessings on those poor folks...)

For some reason I have a poem I wrote in college stuck in my head. Okay, the reason is pretty obvious, seeing as you it was all about Halloween. I was in this creative writing class, where most of the students seemed to think that their writing was so far beyond the understanding of mere mortals that any interpretation or critique was clearly nothing but foolishness.

No doubt, it was arrogance that provoked me to write a poem in a standard rhyming format, littered with innuendo regarding the world of masks we live in, and how only on this classically darkest of days can my real self be revealed. I wanted them to sweat through interpretations:

It's Halloween, Oh Halloween,
A night by ghouls and goblins seen,
Oh what a dream, a perfect dream,
To dance with death on Halloween.

It's getting dark, I see a spark,
I wonder, could it be a lark,
Or could it be, a breath so free,
That only darkness lets me see.

A mask comes out, a scream a shout,
Now freedom, true, can come about,
etc, etc.

I can't remember the whole thing verbatim, but you get the gist. Seems to me, my classmates weren't quite so savvy.

Anyhow, I'm dressed in black today, in silent witness to the bygone era of trick or treating in the past. I left my eyeliner stitch marks by the wayside this year, figuring they wouldn't fly so well for postal customers :) All the same, I'm full of memories of years gone by. Mark and I did get a little pumpkin to carve and stick outside our door, although it'll be after 7 by the time I'm home, so we're not likely to have any trick or treaters this time around, but at least a couple cuties have come through the shop today, so I'll enjoy it all I can.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pretty Sure I'll End Up Dehydrated

I have a thing for drinking. It's one of life's essentials. Not many people could just give up drinking and make a go of it for very long.

The problem is, I don't just enjoy drinking, I'm also rather picky about it. When I moved in the 8th grade I gave up water all together. The sulfury nastiness that passed for water in our new home just couldn't compare to the sweet well water that I grew up on. So for all of high school I didn't drink water. Period.

Unfortunately, that only meant that my thirst was generally quenched by something sugary. And, thus, I developed a craving for sweet liquids to carry me through the days. In college, I fed my need with Gatorade Frost, and cheap Shasta Kiwi Strawberry soda. In Hong Kong, I became increasingly fixated on the plethora of fabulous Fanta flavors that the wider world affords. In recent years, I've settled more on things that also include caffeine. Dr. Pepper, Cola, or sweet coffee drinks cry out to me from every direction.

In the Czech Republic, beer is cheaper than water. They consider it bread. Something essential as both food and drink. When you're sick, the instant prescription is to consume copious amounts of hot tea. I didn't get into either of those, and actually managed to drink a lot of water while I was teaching. We had a big bottle, regularly changed, out in the hall, and that worked for me. I even managed to convince myself, on occasion, to leave my sugary sweetness addiction for meals out, rather than stocking up on it daily. (Although, I must confess to a Pavlovian urge to salivate every time I hear a can of soda cracked open. Makes me weak in the knees I tell you.)

The hear and now has further complicated my need to consume liquids. I'm in my store all day, with no chance to go anywhere, so I have to haul in whatever I'm going to drink. We have no fridge to keep things cold. I bought a big gallon of water once, but it's awkward to pour cups all day. Instead, I've fallen into the trap of getting a soda on my way to work. Here's the real bad part, the cheapest drink I can buy is a 44 oz refill for 79 cents at Circle K. It's a real budgetary blessing, but do I really need to consume 44 oz of soda on a daily basis? Um, not if I'd like to continue having a semi decent waist line. But it's so cheap, and so tasty, and diet soda is nasty, no two ways about it. I sometimes blend a sugar/diet caffeine loaded cup, but it's just not as good, so on tired days, I let myself indulge.

The heart of this post, however, is in today. Today, I decided to be good. A customer gave me a tea bag months ago, and I decided to put it to use. It was my only beverage for the day. I boiled the water, I poured the cup and warmed my hands. I enjoyed the beauty of my Sally Nightmare Before Christmas mug, and even persuaded myself that the tea smelled good. But then I had to drink it. Alas, even the perfect cup could not make it tasty, and the fact that it was caffeine free only added to the failure.

All that to say, it's 6. Time to close up shop and head home for the day. And I'm thirsty!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where I Live...

I've lived in a lot of places. Three countries. Five states. Nine cities. I've lived in houses, apartments, dormitories, a colonial mansion (converted into an orphanage), a panelak, and rebuilt flat in an ancient city center, and a few basements.

Right now, I'm living in the home where my grandparents lived all my life. At this very moment I'm curled up on their old rocking couch where I watched cartoons as a child while petting the original Mitzi the poodle. I have a couple throw pillows from Hong Kong tucked in around me, and the blanket my friend Julie crocheted for my wedding wrapped around me.

This is a place filled with old memories, and is the first home my husband and I have shared on our own. Across the street, the Browns have been living for countless years. Mr. Brown is a few months younger than my Grandpa would be if he was still alive. Some nights, when I am cleaning the kitchen after a late dinner, I can see him framed in the window, keeping an eye on the neighborhood. In the morning, if he is outside when I am leaving, we wave and greet one another. But we aren't home often. The daily drive to Portland takes a lot out of me, leaving little time or energy for spending time with the neighbors.

It's the fourth of October, but miraculously, the rains have not begun to fall. Tonight, on my drive home, the horizon was the color of a fresh peach. The winds have started to blow, and a chill is in the air.

I don't know what the future holds. Will our little shop blossom, or fade? Will we continue to live an hour away from work, or one day find ourselves in the city? Will I suck up enough courage to publish my book (and those yet to come), or continue to let the fear of failure keep me unmotivated?

All I can know for certain is that this is where I live right now, so my primary goal is to make the most of it.