So Long, Farewell

Family Vacation
(back row) Brenda, Miles, Charlie; (middle row) Dad, Friskey, Mom, Debbie; (front row) Laura
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Miles and I pulled out of Meadowlark Resort last night, just before seven. I had my old and well-loved “Surfacing” album from Sarah McLachlan providing a soundtrack to a sudden and unforeseen upsurge of melancholy. I wept my way through the first hour, tossed my cookies in a gas station bathroom near Wausau, and then practiced a little emotional stability. I know, I know…me and my glamorous life. I don’t mean to make you all feel so uninteresting in your own lives, but ah! Such is the price of greatness!

Middle Gresham Lake in the Morning
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I thoroughly enjoyed my morning routine there. The bed was slightly less than comfortable, so I wasn’t good for sleep much beyond four. I’d pad out to the living room in my unitard and complete an hour of yoga before jumping in the shower. With the coffee brewing and my banana bread oatmeal bubbling in the microwave, I would open my laptop and just write. It was a quiet, reflective time that I cherished. I watched every sunrise over the lake and felt a keen connection to the life and breath of Mother Earth. Words seemed to flow from me ungoverned by daily complication, and I caught a glimpse of Heaven.

There is a genius to be found in the simple. There is a wisdom to be found when the thinking stops. After nine months of feeling unsure of where to call “home”, I found it in myself   this week. I only wish my “hello” wasn’t so blurry in the backdrop of “goodbye”.

Habit Forming

Laura: the dark side.

I retrieved the pack from my pocket and tapped it forcefully against my opposite palm. Two emerged and I grabbed both, admitting that I would need the second in no time at all. My mother looked on, disapprovingly.

“You’re hitting those kind of hard today, aren’t you Sweetie?” I was the only in the vehicle who had this particular craving, so it was only natural that it should make them uneasy…or, so I told myself.

“I’ve cut back a little,” I soothed. My habits, though none of her business, ought not to cause such concern. “I’m down to a pack and a half a day.” It was apparent almost immediately that this information soothed most inadequately.

“I just don’t know where you picked that up!” she huffed. “It’s such a disgusting habit…people just throw the ends wherever they happen to be at the time, with no regard for the rest of the population!”

“I always take care with my disposal.”

“OH? You never throw it out of the car window while you’re on the highway?” Busted. She’s seen me do that.

“Just once in a blue moon…settle down.”

“No, I’m concerned. And do you know that there is nothing more offensive than hearing somebody do it over the phone? I HATE that! It makes me want to smack the person until it falls right out of their mouth!”

“I’m not much of a phone person.”

“Don’t get smart with me—I just don’t understand how you developed such an addiction! Your father doesn’t do it! I only do it socially!”

“Oh, Mother, please. Enough, already. I have no plans on quitting. Besides, it helps me keep my weight in check.”

“Laura, Laura, Laura…” she sighed, defeated. She cringed outwardly and expelled her exasperation just loud enough for me to hear. “GUM!”

The Honey Bee

Toward the close of a beautiful day, my family sat beside the charcoal grill as hunger-inducing aromas billowed from beneath the reflective black dome. I sat with them, enjoying the last of the evening’s sun, when a frisky bee took interest in my reposed form. He flew close to my ears with a miscreant’s zeal, trash-talking his game in an immature buzz of speech.

I ignored him for the most part as he zoomed my head in patience-wearing constancy…but then he got personal. Really, really personal. His attention turned elsewhere on the map of my body while my legs clamped together in response, and if you can’t guess where his attention was newly focused then I guess you’re just not thinking hard enough.

I bit my lower lip and whimpered. Debbie looked over and laughed at the bee’s rapt attention. No good. I looked at Mom, my eyes darting between her and the now fiendishly cackling bee. “You must be sweet,” she surmised on a grin. I blinked rapidly and smartly declared to my audience, my audience who clearly did not understand the severity of my plight, that I did NOT desire a bee sting, much less a bee sting THERE. They all giggled and and made merriment of my situation. The difficult part to accept in this story of seeming cruelty, is that I think they were all perfectly sober at the time.

“Must be that damn honey mask…” I muttered in jest, and more to myself than anyone. Laughter halted and the small voice of my aunt Debbie asked why I would apply a honey mask THERE. I looked at her like she was mad, had grown a second head, and was doing cartwheels in harlequin dress. “I wouldn’t!” I cried with indignation. I could feel the blush burning across my face, even though I was joking about the honey in the first place. Seriously, though! Honey…THERE! Why, it’s terribly absurd!

Then, my embarrassed haze thinned and my thoughts rang true, on course. These poor sober fools have no idea the discord of my mind, the inequity between a thought pattern and its verbal mate. “I would have applied it to to my face,” I clarified. From the perplexed looks, I could tell this was strike two.

Obviously needing the dots connected, and who wouldn’t, I finished, “…and I practice Yoga?”

Brenda barked her laughter to the tree tops, trying to cloak a snort, as she rocked hyper-actively in her chair. My mother made to hide a smirk of her own and forced decorum as she snickered, “Too much information.” And yet, for it being stated as such, the topic did not drop all evening, and certainly not by her hand.

Oh, and for those that care, I managed to survive the evening unscathed, leastwise by bee.

Marketting Gold

I sat at the table this morning, enjoying the steam rising from the gulf of my coffee cup. I leaned forward to let its tendrils curl about my face and heard the menacing growl emanating from my stomach. Dubiously, I looked to my oatmeal and knew the coffee would have to wait.

While I spooned the nourishing porridge between my lips, I had a brilliant idea—SPECTACULARLY BRILLIANT! They should make a coffee oatmeal! Coffee and oatmeal together! Get it? It’s like having coffee and oatmeal…IN THE SAME BOWL. Talk about magnificence manifested! I eagerly shared my idea with Brenda, the words jumping one over another as they vaulted from my mouth, fresh ideas forming on the spot.

“…AND WE COULD CALL IT COFF-MEAL!” I nearly screamed.

Brenda, who had indulged my enthusiasm until that point, made a V with her eyebrows. “Eh…”

Ok…so the name needs a little work.

Creative Storage Solutions

Miles has always taken issue with my storing of the baking stone in the cold oven…or the leftover cake in the microwave. I think it creative, and not a little efficient, myself. Where else would a baking stone fit in a sea of right angled bake-ware, after all? And cake…where else are you going to put it? On the cupboard where it will attract an insect audience? In the refrigerator where it will dry out? Or, in the out-of-the-way airtight microwave where it will stay moist and insect free? Besides, we rarely used the microwave.

He berated me from the get-go for these practices. In our very first home together, aside from the bizarre need of mine to scrub the kitchen clean every night, I had to go and store things in the microwave and the oven…what other atrocities would I inflict upon his home life!? In short?—many, but we’ll save those nuances for another post.

I was firm on this subject, though. While his mind saw no logic in using the oven, the oven when not in use mind you, as a storage facility, mine saw nothing but. Being that I was in charge of the domesticity of our life, he’s managed to live with his discontent for years.

In these years, I’ve learned that Miles can pick up a programming language just from reading a book. He can supply a fully functional finished product without the slightest inclination of how to start. His intelligence is well noted, even mind boggling. However, his common sense could use a primer…for it is in these years that Miles has never thought to remove the baking stone from the oven before preheating. Never. Not once. His argument begins anew.

And he is frustrated here in Wisconsin, here near my family, because he now sees how it is that I picked up this habit. In my aunts’ kitchen, he desires the reheating of his forgotten coffee in the morning, but must set his mug down to pull the cookies or pie from the microwave first. In my mother’s kitchen, he sees me lift the stack of cast iron skillets from the top rack before I insert my casserole to heat. He believes it to be madness…he is outnumbered. He is ignored.

I’ll never change, being common sensical enough to realize that the day I take organizational advice from the messiest man alive is the day I need to find myself a comfy insane asylum to live out the rest of my days. What he probably doesn’t realize, is that his children will grow up thinking that microwaves and ovens are everywhere-accepted as storage facilities in their spare time. He will always be outnumbered and he will never bend. It will be a very long marriage for my very stubborn husband.