Saturday, September 18, 2010

mowing the lawn

I mowed the lawn this morning. It has been a really long time since I mowed a lawn, and it took me way back. I was sneaking up on teenhood. My father had just had a heart attack and was in the hospital. His condition was stable, but to a kid, stable was just another word for “not very well.” My dad owned a landscaping/mowing business. Well, to be precise, he had a job with the Union Pacific Railroad, and on the side, he ran a one-man landscaping business. So when he landed in the hospital for weeks, that left his business unattended. It just wouldn’t do to have those people take their business elsewhere so my mother and I attended to mowing lawns. Day after day, I threw all my strength into that work, pushing that lawnmower up and down, up and down. See, in my little head, I somehow felt like I was making an unspoken deal with God, a plea really. I figured if I worked really hard, then God would make my dad well. I worked so hard that one day my mom suddenly made me stop and rest. Apparently, my flushed cheeks and rapid breathing scared her. It was in vain to try to keep me down, though, and I was soon back at it, making that lawnmower save my dad. Well, he did survive that heart attack and was soon convalescing at home.

I hadn’t really thought much about this until this morning. And there I was pushing a lawn mower up and down, up and down again. My dad has been gone a long time now, twenty-four years. As I pushed that lawn mower around today I thought about him, the kind of man he was, how hard he worked, how much he loved, how life treated him. Then my mind drifted to my life, how hard I work, how much I love, how life treats me. I’m a planner, and I had such plans and goals, such vision of how life would proceed. Then Life took over and didn’t stick to the plan, didn’t follow the outline I had so carefully crafted.

After I finished mowing and put the lawnmower away, I grabbed some trimming shears and trimmed away the dead roses from the rosebush. Then I carefully picked a nice open rose, which seemed to be my life to this point; and I picked a barely blooming rose, perhaps my life ahead. I stood looking at that nicely mown lawn, the nice straight lines, and I breathed in the scent of freshly mown lawn. And I felt like I had really accomplished something, and it was more than just mowing the lawn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

out of my mind

So I had another day like this one today. I haven’t had many days like this recently. In fact, it has been more than a month since my last migraine, since my life found a new calm and peace that has significantly decreased the incidence of this brain disorder of mine. Unfortunately and inconsiderately, this migraine started just as I was on my way out to my first class of the day. That really didn’t fit into my plan for the day, but I popped my drugs and took my body to class anyway. If the teacher would have called roll, I think I would have needed to say, “body present, mind absent.” After that class, I went to the library and finished some homework before another class.

Then I took my body to the student center where I found a couch in an inconspicuous place to lie down on. My daughter called while I was there, and she said, “What are you doing?” “Well, actually I’m lying on a couch in the student center.” “You’re what?” “Hey! I have a migraine, and I’m lying on a couch in the student center.” “Oh, that’s awesome, Mom. That’s exactly what I used to do.” Hmmm. Seems that behavior fits in.

Then I went to my other class, and my professor was wearing a shirt with this slogan on it: “Out of my mind. Be back in five minutes.” Seemed extremely apropos in the moment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

this is a test

So my favorite class this semester is Elements of Grammar. As you read this, you may be cringing, or even worse, you're thinking that I'm crazy. The phrase English geek may even have passed through your lips. In class we were instructed to get in groups and create a paragraph using homophones incorrectly. For an example of homophones, see above picture. Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Our paragraph contains fifteen homophones. Can you find them?

Last weak in class wee got a pour grade on a group assignment. We couldn't except that the grade was fare. Won of us said she wanted too dye! How could she go on living when she was grated forth in her class? She threatened two leaf school forever. We finally convinced her not to quit college over this one coarse. After awl, how hard can grammar bee?

This was entirely too much fun. I sent this to my editor daughter, and I got back a simple email: "MUST FIX! MUST FIX!" I think it put her editor mind into a tailspin, realizing that this assignment was correct as it was, and yet it was so incorrect! School just shouldn't be so much fun.

So how did you do? Did you find all the homophones? If you did, pat yourself on the back. You must be an English geek too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

series of events

I was just thinking about how a series of events happens, how you don't have any idea that one thing is preceding another. How it doesn't even occur to you that one simple thing could even be important. You see a couple of months ago, Roodle found a baby sparrow in her apartment parking lot. Being that she has a really soft heart for birds, she rescued the thing, and then seeing that she works all day quite frequently, she brought the little runt to me to take care of, along with a medicine dropper which we used to feed the little squirt multiple times a day until one day it happily flew away. After it flew the coop, I cleaned the cage and the medicine dropper, put them upstairs in the storeroom, and it was all but forgotten.

So Saturday, when I fed the dogs, Chamine's pill package fell out of her mouth and right next to Miley's bowl. Miley lunged for it, and I screamed, but it was too late. She ate Chamine's phenobarbital AGAIN! This may not seem terribly serious, but the medicine is intended for a dog three times her size, and it is a lethal dose when she ingests it. I swooped her up and yanked her mouth open to try to get it, but it was long gone. I prepared her cocktail of orange juice and hydrogen peroxide, but she wouldn't drink it! The little brat! Did she remember this from last time? So I ran upstairs and retrieved the medicine dropper. I came back and secured her in a football hold, and forced the medicine down her. She was crying and yelping, and yes, I was crying too. I felt so bad. She couldn't understand that I was saving her life. All she could understand was that I was acting irrationally and forcing orange juice down her throat. The hydrogen peroxide did its job faithfully, and she immediately threw up a nice little package of lethal drugs.

When Roodle found that baby sparrow, she asked me if I wanted to take care of it. I remember my response: "Not exactly." So she didn't bring it over . . . until early the next morning. Then with the skill of a practiced thief, she slunk into the house and surreptitiously abandoned it on the kitchen counter. I woke up to a chirping, hungry baby bird that morning. And it began. We started feeding it every few minutes for several days, and then one day, it took flight. That little medicine dropper then innocently waited upstairs in the vacant cage until I summoned it frantically. Had Roodle not brought me that baby bird, I wouldn't have had the medicine dropper, Miley wouldn't have taken the hydrogen peroxide, and . . . well . . . thanks for bringing me a baby bird one early summer morning, Roodle. You saved my puppy's life.