Do you have a favorite idiom? I have many, and if I can’t think of one, I am very comfortable making one up. Of course, this skill is more often due to my inability to remember real idioms during my time of need, but whatever. I think my new favorite was the time I was irritated while driving. (As an aside, the older I get, the crankier I get while driving. Oldest wagers that by the time I’m 80, I’ll get out at traffic lights and harangue other drivers and then whack their cars with my cane. He may be on to something.) I was trying to clean up my notoriously potty-mouth and instead of shouting to the imbecile with car keys the error of his ways, I instead hollered “crap on a cracker!” (I grew up hearing ‘Christ on a cross’ often…so I suppose the alliteration stayed with me?)
“Crap on a cracker!” has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? You’re welcome to try it out the next time you are feeling crabby. I promise, all those hard “c” sounds will feel great as you holler them. Just don’t holler them at me.
I have a long-held love for the author Julia Alvarez. I was living in Minnesota when I decided I needed to finally read some of the new classics I was feeling guilty over having never read. Each week I would drive to my local library and see if Isabel Allende‘s House of the Spirits was in. I would start at the aisle and walk towards the other end, trailing my fingers across the book spines.
That is a wonderful thing to do in case you are not familiar with that sensation. I fully believe that books talk to you, even before you ever open their covers. Seriously, go try it. Visit a library or book store, hell even someone’s bookshelf. (But get permission first, otherwise it’s breaking and entering and that leads to jail time. Trust me on this.)
Let your fingers slide across those spines and you will feel their lives as sure as if they had knobby backbones just like yourself.
Every week I did this; sliding my fingers along the books, feeling the differences in paper, cloth, protective covers. I’d breathe in deeply all that glorious book smell and be happy.
And every week, when I got to where Allende should be, she wasn’t. And then I’d be a wee bit less happy. I needed to expand my reading list! Help me out here, book universe!
It was the time before computerized holds and such things. Today I would have put it on hold and then realized that I was something akin to being the 863rd person in line for the book. But things were different back in 1996. Instead, I walked between the stacks with hope. And my finger held out, meeting my old friends…the fiction writers with last names starting with the letter A.
Every week my finger would eventually land not on Allende, but on Alvarez, who luck would have it was shelved immediately after Allende. Week after week I pulled off the shelf not House of the Spirits but In the Time of the Butterflies. Sigh. Back to the card catalogue I’d go.
Finally, one week I checked it out and fell in love with Alvarez, her sisters, and her voice which all come together so beautifully in In the Time of the Butterflies, seriously, read this book folks. (When I finally got a copy of House of the Spirits I found I loved it too. Love me some magical realism, I do.)
A few years later I was teaching 10th grade English and at that time it was a survey course. Imagine my thrill when I came across Alvarez’ short story “Daughter of Invention”. It is a fabulous story of Alvarez, her struggle to find her voice, and her mother’s challenge to master our idioms.
It is our use of idioms that sets us apart. It makes us colorful and illustrates how closely we stay within the lines. And it is a lovely residue of where we came from…and the people we knew there.
I figure when my children grow up and go far from this corner of the world or galaxy, they will surprise someone by shouting something odd and unexpected. It might be “crap on a cracker” or it could be by calling someone an “apple”, but in either case they will prove that not only did I mother them well in my mother tongue, but that I imprinted upon the poor things a need to speak their minds, even if it doesn’t always make sense to anyone else.
Go out and be colorful. And for crap’s sake, color outside the lines if that’s what you want to do!
Today, they are pouring concrete at my house. After living here for nearly five months, I am finally getting the rest of my driveway poured. No, the builder didn’t forget me. This is what happens when you own a “flag” lot – you have to wait for the house next to you to finally get finished before the rest of the driveway is poured. When you see all the heavy equipment that is brought on site to build a house, this makes complete sense. It’s also a pain in the butt.
I am so excited by the thought of a no more gravel being tracked in the house. I realize this might be a fantasy and that the gravel will simply turn to bark dust or dirt or plain ole dust bunnies, but I do like to think that the future will be a bit easier, even if only in how much upkeep is required. Read more…
Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the United States. It marked my 15th Mother’s Day and I have to say, that is a weird thing to type. Well, the 15th part is weird. Fifteen times I’ve “celebrated” Mother’s Day as a mother? No way. And, yet, it is true.
I have a few crystalline Mother’s Day memories. The first was when Mister Soandso was my handsome boyfriend and showed me a book he was mailing home to his mom for Mother’s Day. It was Robert Munsch’s I’ll Love You Forever. If you are wondering how many pages I got through before I was crying, I think the number was something close to none. If you don’t know the story behind the book, please read here.
The beauty of that book, besides all the freaking beautiful parts of it, is that every person who has ever read the book makes up their own song to sing while reading it and that’s exactly how Mr. Munsch thinks it should be. That’s a universal story, right there folks. Read more…
I rarely remember my dreams, but the other day I woke up remembering my dream – that I had gone to the hospital to deliver a surprise baby and then was running for safety with said infant from a bear chasing us. Now, those of you who know me may know that I am terrified of bears. Like I have an irrational fear of bears. So me waking from a dream about bear danger is not that surprising to me. But the mysterious baby? One that needed protection from a rampaging bear? Now, that was a new one.
The thing is, I know that dreaming about bears can be interpreted as a personal struggle with a personal challenge. And most women who dream about babies may be wishing for a baby in their lives. I certainly did back before Mister Soandso and I had kids. But these days, I very much do not want any more babies. Also, I most certainly have some more challenging “challenges” going on in my life these days. Read more…
I moved into my new house on December 23rd. Today, a mere two weeks and three days later, I stood in my brand new shower and scrubbed at the spots already setting up house on my glass shower doors.
Two weeks and I already have soap scum/water spots? WTH universe. I thought I had a little more time before the evidence of use took hold.
That’s what I get for thinking. Read more…
I opened up Facebook this morning and within 3 stories I was giggling. Well, maybe not giggling as that gives the connotation of light-heartedness. I suppose I was snorting in a sort of mildly irritated, derisive way but that sounds so not-so-attractive that I want to purport to having giggled instead.
Oh dear, I had a moment there. Forgive me.
The fact is, story 1 was extolling the virtues of the 52-Week Money Challenge. Story 2 was a birthday wish on a friend’s page. And story 3 was telling me to not do the 52-Week Money Challenge. Whaaaa? I feel so confused. Read more…
My Oldest was born in early May and we had summer together before I went back to work that fall, teaching high schoolers how to write. I’d been vetting daycares since hitting my second trimester and felt very comfortable sending him to daycare, inasmuch as a new mom is ever comfortable letting her baby leave her side.
The plan was to fully immerse myself in mothering from May until August 28th when I’d report for duty at work. Oldest and I “practiced” being apart for a few days the week before so it was all to be easy-peasy by the time the real deal rolled around.
Let the snickering begin by all the folks who’ve parented and worked full time. I was as much of an emotional wreck as you can imagine. Read more…