Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts

When Ms. SpoolTeacher was a  just a little latchkey kid young girl, she and her sisters and all of their friends had the pleasure of no such thing as electronic gadgets and would just roam the neighborhood on their bikes or bare feet.
(There was that one Christmas when they got tape recorders, but that only kept its fascination until the newness wore off; then back to bikes and bare feet.)

(Oh, yes, and the year they got pocket "transistor" radios. Now those they used to death, listening to the Beatles on their sleep-outs in the yard.)

Christmas gift babydoll nighties

An all too frequent thing they'd do was go up to the nearby U-Tote'Em and get a nickel's worth of high fructose corn syrup candy, (it was probably real sugar then).

Her first lesson in economics came at a fairly young age and it stands out to her even yet as one of her first reality checks.

Bubble gum was an essential item and for the most part one piece was enough for her. She liked Pixy Stix or SweeTarts. (Ooh, makes her pucker just thinkin' about it.)

They would have had to have collected soda bottles from wherever they could find them and turned them in for the deposit because her mother didn't have money to waste on candy. (Although it does seem that she would give them each a nickel here and there. The rich girl up the street, whose parents owned the only furniture store in town, always got a quarter).

None-the-less, they felt pretty powerful and consumer-ish leaving with a little brown paper bag filled with penny candies.

One day, something seemed a little Bazooka with the bubble gum. What was it?
For all she knew, this is the way it had been for some time and she had just become cognizant enough in age and reality to take notice of it. What was it that was different all of a sudden...hmm, hmmmmm...

It was smaller. Sure enough, that's what it was, it was smaller.
But it was still a penny. What! ...What! "Should be half that much", she thought, "It's half as big as it used to be."
What a ripoff! (that was the word of the day)

She became inflamed. Just who did they think they were, changing her Bazooka Bubble Gum without her approval. "I didn't agree to that!" she thought.

Inflation. She was starting to understand that already, knowing prices were always going up and poor Mom having an ever harder time to make ends meet; but to cut something in half and charge the same price..Ripoff!

Still inflation. She had just never seen it like that and this time it really made sense. (She's a highly visual learner)
"...inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy. "
"Well, that's the last time I'm gonna buy Bazooka bubble gum again, ever."
She thought that would really get 'em.

Funny, the things that make an impression, even teach life's lessons. A silly piece of bubble gum got the message to her loud and clear.

She's never understood though, why things have to keep going up. It has never quite made sense. It's just a vicious circle.

Today when she took a check to the bank, they informed her that starting July they will have to add a service charge to her account. You know, things are tough for the banks and all...

"Well", she thought and actually said out loud, "I'll just have to open an account with the credit union." (there take that).
"Well", the bank attendant replied, "I'm afraid it won't be long before the credit unions will have to do the same."

"Well then", Ms. SpoolTeacher said, "I will just have to insist my clients pay in cash or charge them an extra fee."

Vicious circle. It doesn't make sense.

On top of which, the penny is going extinct because it costs two cents to make one.

What a crazy world. 

A tomato is still a tomato though. That's one thing we still have...
And Little Red-Haired Girls to keep us in perspective and remind us of what really matters.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Every Now And Then

Sunday morning, first thing church.
Good news about not holding on and letting go. Transformation. And then a wonderful time of fellowship during Pot Blessed.

Oh, that Ms. SpoolTeacher was any good at cooking and maybe not a vegetarian?.

She'd better stick with baby shoes, those she knows.

Sunday is usually sanctioned for rest; but since so many of the weeks days had altered her intentions, she felt compelled to do a little catch up. It's kind of mindless, sitting with a board on her lap, pinning patterns to flannel, cutting and pinning and cutting and pinning.
She could still meditate and be grateful for her overflowing cup.

The total eclipse of the sun was happening this day, and she was remembering being a little girl and her mother saying, "Now, you can not look at the sun! It will ruin your eyes. Do you think you can keep from looking?"

"Mommy, I'm afraid I won't be able to keep from looking."

"Okay, you'd better stay inside."

Her curiosity hasn't subsided. She was wondering if she could keep from looking this time...

So as the day unfolded and the eclipse started getting closer, she put away her laptop cutting board and put a collection of paper pots on her kitchen cutting board and started planning the approach to transferring her little seedling experiment into bigger pots. That way she could spend some time outside not watching the transformation of the setting eclipsing sun.

Gardening for food security is a new, steep learning curve and she isn't very good at having others tell her what to do, she wants to learn on the fly so she just tries things that seem on the side of intuitive..."Hmm, what would I want if I were a plant?"

Her clean towels were flappin' in the wind in the eclipsing sun while she continued to try not to look; even though everywhere she turned the sun was taunting her in her face...
"Look at me, look at me, I'm so big and beautiful, you know you want to look at me, LOoK!"

She thought about calling her sister and reminding her also, not to look because she had had to stay in when they were young too, the mother not believing they wouldn't.

She busied herself making potting mix with all the composted material that had overflowed her raised wired beds .

Little Red Haired Girl was having no trouble not looking at the sun and she thought she wanted to help Mom until she realized it looked a little to much like work...

"I think I'll go lay down."

So Ms. SpoolTeacher made a batch and tried several ways of re-potting the baby plants...

She's not sure how it will all turn out. Somethings didn't look all that happy..
Time will tell.. In the mean time, the eclipse was occurring so she rushed in and tried to devise a looking tool...
and it was working just as it should...
...there it was the crescent sun...but she still kept wanting to look...
So, she compromised and let her camera see.
It was making everything look pretty. So much for being trusted. She just couldn't stay inside this time.

"Sorry Mom, but it made me think of you all day. I don't think I ruined my eyes."

Every now and then, a total eclipse of the heart.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Going To The Big House

For about twenty years, Ms. SpoolTeacher lived in a little tiny apartment that was about twenty by twenty feet.

She was very active at the time working, of course, at a real job.

She spent a lot of time out with friends too and lots of time out helping her mother, about fifteen miles from where her little tiny nest was.

Right before she left home at nineteen, her mother started a fall into a clinical depression that lasted for five long, torturous years.

People who have never suffered from real depression, do not understand it. Most people think it is just a sad feeling that the person should be able to pull themselves out of.

Unfortunately, it is way deeper than that. Ms. SpoolTeacher knows because it runs in her family and she herself has had bouts here and there with fighting it off and out of her life. For some reason, so far, she has always been able to see the flicker of light at the end of the long, long, dark and oppressive tunnel; she would just focus on that and march, as best she could, toward the light.
She has, even now though, to keep vigilant watch over signs that indicate it could be cropping up.

She has pretty much come to the conclusion that it is directly tied to the stress one feels at being controlled by forces undesirable. She knows that stress is a motivator too, but has found the difference between good and bad stressors.

For many years in the little nest, she socked away all her extra money, dreaming of the day she could invest in a home of her own. It took years and years and for many of those years she knew that the timing was wrong. She would just have to wait.

She loved her little apartment. It was cozy and functional. The worst thing was not to have gardening space and be able to house pets. However; Pinky wandered into her apartment one day when she was sitting on the floor working on a bridesmaid dress for a friend. She didn't have any cat food, so she opened a can of bean and bacon soup and fed Pinky. Pinky would forever after be waiting at the foot of the stairs each night and meow her whole way up the stairs to Ms. SpoolTeacher's apartment all the while Ms. SpoolTeacher would be shushing her and telling her the landlord didn't allow cats, she'd better be quiet. Pinky would come in, get fed, spend the night and go out the next morning. That went on for years and the landlord, Johnny, turned a blind eye. Pinky was black as night but her little pink tongue was always showing because of a barely noticeable deformity with her mouth.

Outside the apartment was a nice deep walkway were, for many years, Ms. SpoolTeacher would plant anything she could in pots and attach a hose to the kitchen sink faucet and drag the hose through her living room to water those plants. She would also plant flowers and more flowers around the yard of her mother's home.
It wasn't until after her mother died that Ms. SpoolTeacher believed she had the focus and ambition to deal with the responsibility of a home of her own.

The difference between good and bad stress is hidden in the factor of choice, she has decided. If it is a stress of one's own design, it is tolerable and even growth provoking. If it is a stress imposed over which there is no perceived or actual control, it is debilitating.

Ms. SpoolTeacher only had to change real estate agents once to get the agent to follow her lead and not try to force her into something she didn't want.
"You're gonna have to give up the idea of that house", he said.
She said, "Bet me!" (But that's a whole nother story!)
So from four hundred square feet to one thousand nine hundred and seventy five square feet, she felt like a princess. And she would spend the next six years, three cats, two dogs, three boyfriends and countless hours digging dirt, painting walls, moving furniture, and hauling rocks, plants and amendments home in her beat up old purple truck.
She dragged Pinkie over in a harness kicking and screaming and eventually Pinkie got out and by that time Peter Rabbit and Stevie Weevie had arrived and Pinkie wasn't too fond of a baby cat and dog; so she just hung around the periphery, making her way around as she always had but never coming in to stay.
Ms. SpoolTeacher would make the house her own, but would never quite get finished with all the dreams she had before feeling like her next move was to let it go and find her way to more freedom and control of personal stress by downsizing and moving to a small rural community where the neighbors didn't want front lawns and landscapers and didn't mind if she parked her beat up old purple truck out in front of the house.

It was terribly, terribly hard to leave that dream. She had invested lots of herself and tons of money into discovering her right livelihood. But, it became clear that her right livelihood was more likely in Southeastern Arizona.
The new owners would let the ball grow back into a stump with two small arms and would dig up all the water-wise plantings, cut down the big umbrella fig tree in the back as well as take out all the years and years and work and work of grooming twenty year old hedges and remove the avocado tree, the purple Jacaranda tree, the lemon tree, and everything else that required love and understanding.

The neighbors must have been delighted. Another one of them to utilize the lawn man on the same day making for a steady stream of screaming, buzzing, booming lawn and garden tools and another green lawn that could consume more of the precious California water.

The pavers she had spent hours and hours of hauling and laying next to the drive would be removed too and more lawn laid.

She just can't understand why people do what they do. The drive with two cars in it is too narrow to get out of the vehicle without stepping into wet grass on a rainy day.

Why do people do what they do?

I guess it is none of her business.

The most important thing, she has decided, is to keep whatever little measure of control she can have over the choices she can make for how she wants her life to be. That is the best hope of stressors being controllable and not to lead to depression.

So, for now, she is happy to be sewing and gardening and making whatever she can to live, with the wits of her own mind and hands.

Now if she can just find some beautiful blue velvet or maybe lime green to make one of these old-fashioned smocked pillows.
What she is, is what she is, are you what you are or what?