Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's in a cup of tea?

My memory of my childhood includes one that just passed.
So sad how the pages of life just keep turning. There is no time to catch your breath.

Joan, my girlfriends mother, was a gentle soul. Strong, quiet, smiling and welcoming.
I remember many a cup of tea upon any visit.

Joan had a unique knack for reading tea leaves, so having a cup of tea was an entirely new adventure. I had to contain myself from rushing thru my relaxing beverage.

There we all sat as she turned the mug over. Inspecting and scrutinizing with great care to discover what was there.

These were wonderful times. Warm, home style memories to hold dear to my heart.

Tea will never be the same..... Joan, you are missed!

I ask you, What’s in a cup of tea?
Tell me, is there something you see?

My dear friend Joan.
It’s you I am so happy to have known.

In better days, vibrant and bright,
these are the memories I keep thru the night.

You opened your heart,
with a mere kettle tea pot.

Multitudes would visit,
and still you’d find room to sit us.

We waited for the steamy whistle to blow,
our ready tea cups all lined in a row.

Why couldn’t we know how special the time?,
where we friends met and would so divinely pine.

We steeped our brew and aroma filled the air.
I, for one, am so happy I was there.

The cup’s are no longer full, our stories have been told.
They’re turned over in their saucers, and waiting to unfold.

I ask you again, What’s in a cup of tea?More than you’ll ever know... for me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The pending Attack... Me verses The Mat.

I think I am going to have a heart attack! Or a panic attack... or some kind of attack. I don’t know which attack it will be, but I know it’s coming.

I went to see Alex, my 12 year old no longer little baby, at his wrestling meet. I missed the first one due to overlapping schedules. Charlee is now in Theater Group and I was not able to leave her there alone. This day the schedule still overlapped, but leaving her was now an option.

I raced over to the OMS in the hopes of getting a glimpse of Alex in his meet. The parking lot was full, my first indicator that this might be a big thing. When I opened the school doors, a wave of noise streamed into my face. People were yelling, shouting, cheering.... Bells were ringing, hands were clapping, feet were stomping. My heart started to pound in unison. I ran to the noise, hoping it was not Alex’s turn I was missing.

In the middle of the large gymnasium were two bodies dressed in blue wrestling uniforms. Their suits were similar, other than white/yellow or red trim. They had helmets on to protect their ears, as well as mouth pieces. I am sure mouth pieces... lest these boys need serious orthodontic care.... I could not see if one of these boys was my son. I navigated around to try to get a better facial view... they were in the midst of wrestling ‘moves’ and duly struggling into the next position. The referee was close. At times he himself on the floor. All of a sudden the boys were now standing, still wrestling but standing. The crowd roared. My heart was racing. I still couldn’t tell if this was Alex? Looking at them wasn’t working. I couldn’t imaging my little cute son behaving like these boys were... I started looking into the stands. There was a sea of blue outfits to sort through. Deciphering by means of merely the opposing white, yellow, or red trim was impossible... and I never realized how many people had brown hair?! No Alex?!

Then the crowd sounds surged, I looked back to the entangled boys. One grabbed the other and twirled and twisted, up around over, and with a loud - painful - plunk, the other landed on his back. If there wasn’t so much screaming I am sure we could have heard the wind being knocked out of him. But he didn’t give up. My heart almost did.... but not him. He wriggled out of his compromising position to the delight of the audience. All I could think was ‘That BETTER NOT be my son!?!’ Here started my panic... I do not know how I am going to survive my son being on the mat!

Alex saw me from the stands. He ran to greet me. "Alex! I was looking for you. Did you go already?" I was relieved to see him and hoped, for my sake, he already fought. I did my motherly scan: he was still breathing... no blood, able to walk, nothing broken... This is good! Please say you went already, so I could listen to your story intently and not have to endure the agony of the slowing clock of a wrestling match.... waiting for a bell or a chest pain..... please....

‘No. I didn’t go.’ He was disappointed, I didn’t know what I was.

I asked, thru the lump in my throat, when his turn was? He didn’t know. Another boy was set to hit the mat. Yes, in the literal term! The coach met with him on the side for ‘the pep talk.’ Their heads were close to combat the noise level. A few ‘moves’ were gone over, a ‘get going’ slap, and the team member was in position. Now a second set of boys flailed around on the mat. Alex smiled at me knowingly. He knew I was a bit overwhelmed by what was happening.
I had no idea that this sport was so extreme. Stupid woman! And I pushed my son to join?!

"Alex, honey this is intense! I didn’t realize how involved it was. I don’t know how I am going to sit here and watch you do that?!" Directing my gaze to the boy now thudding to the mat, after just flying threw the air... Alex nodded his head seeing my dilemma. He smile that of a man. You know the smile, the confident, smirky, he will survive against the odds smile. I smiled back. Behold... my son was stepping into manhood before my eyes.

"I guess I can’t go out on the mat, huh?" He laughed and rolled his eyes. Then in all seriousness looked me in the face "NO! You can’t!" My son’s warning was noted. I can’t make a scene. No going on the mat for any ‘You touched my son? I am going to kick your ass!’ moments.... Apparently I am going to have to live through it.

Good Lord!

The bell sounded and the exhausted boys shook hands. Alex ran off to see when he was up. I stood there duly kicking myself for suggesting wrestling...

Another ‘pep talk,’ and another set of boys scuffled... the audience cheered and gasped. All I could think was there was not enough ‘talk’ or ‘pep’ from any man, to get my being out on that mat!! Well maybe a fearful tear from my son.... but that doesn’t seem to be happening....

I gasped again when Alex returned and told me ‘I won’t be wrestling today. I do not have a weight match.’ Only this gasp was that of utter relief!! He was disappointed!

Thank you God! Now maybe my senses can calm down. Maybe we can even move to Tonga before the next meet! Apparently I’ve got till Thursday... hmmmm.... surely enough time? With the amount of adrenaline racing through my veins, I see no problem making it happen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nancy's mental gymnastics

Words, thoughts, scattered oughts...
All tornadoing in my mind.

Those fleeting momentary expressions ...dared forever lost,
or possibly of those that cement and bind?

I have to get them out.
Lest they continue and whirl about.

My brain burns with activity...
as my fingers, on the keyboard, struggle to keep up.

Sort, organize, rid, forget, let go...
to right myself, I must write.

I’m real,
not to be ignored

Here lies the stored me, for all to see.
Do you need to read between the lines?!

I see clearer, the pattern is down...
The emotion is no longer in me, but on the paper I am holding.

Here my words have settled,
and so, too, the corners of my brain.

For now I close this chapter, that is... till the next presents...
The words keep coming... is this all in vain?

Or could this be the way it 'just is'...
The way to ‘me?’ Is this My Write of Passage?

Mom's mental gymnastics... she started it!

Every day at this darn computer I sit,
trying to put together words that fit.

Words that create a picture or a story true,
not only enjoyed by me, but also by others too.

Until my bleary eyes and fogged mind become a part
of the many written words I struggle to with clarity impart.

So if between a comma or period or a written word
you see a little figure trying to scream to rightly be heard.

It is just me, the author, in her script so engrossed
that life outside those pages is lost almost.

Until some little child or human comes with life's gentle knock,
bringing me out of my word maze with a reality shock.

So I have to reluctantly cut the creative word-mind cord,
knowing other parts of my life should not be ignored.

But how I love my time with each large or small word I finally write,
able a picture to draw, a story to share or to give or gain insight.

written by my Mom a.k.a Janice Adele Bowers

Monday, March 2, 2009

Get ready to consume the coffee... then the day.

It is 3:34 a.m. I am jolted awake by a smell. It seemed so real... a smell of gasoline. I shook my head violently to get away from it, even in my sleep. Of course, now I was no longer asleep. I lifted my head to get a better smell. Wasn’t sure if I needed to get up and wake the sleeping household... but the smell went away.

My father immediately came to mind. Was this you? Did you come for a visit in my dreams? The stink of gas, or any other car fluids, was synonymous with my Dad. I made a lame attempt at going back to sleep.

As I laid there, I realized it snowed. Not because of the message the school left on our machine last night... the one telling us that school will be closed due to the weather. I didn’t have much faith in any forecasts, since they have all been wrong so far.

I could tell it snowed by the quiet. The stillness. The brightness. My window shades were closed, and yet they glowed with whiteness. The reflection of the snow was too much for them to contend with. They gave heed to the radiance laid upon our neighborhood and glowed.

The roof, the windows, the porch... I could feel the weight enveloping the house. Like a giant hug, as though being swaddled in a frosty cloak. The boiler kicked on, combating the outside world. A hum replaced the silence.

Soon the snow plow joined the hum. The scraping on the asphalt cut the quiet, as did the beeping alarm... signaling the plow was now going in reverse. I listened to the scrape, then the beep, then more scraping, and yes, more beeping....

I laid in bed for an hour trying to go back to sleep. It was so peaceful... was....

Now came the noise that I could not ignore... those of the words twirling around in my head. I had to get up to write. To enjoy the tranquility. Soon it would be over. The kids will wake and see the blanket Mother Earth has laid down. I see lots of wet clothes, snow boots and hot chocolate in my future.
Toots should find this an interesting event as well. It's going to be hard to keep up with her. I can make the kids take their boots off at the door... they only have two feet. Toots doesn’t take boots off, she eats them. And its not two feet, it’s four... four furry, wet, over excitable feet to wipe... and fur! Soak up every possible wetness fur - everywhere - after each potty break.... each I want to go out to frolic break.... I am not looking forward to that part of the day. Bah Humbug.

What if I don’t give her much to drink? What if I close all the shades and not let anyone look outside? Scratch that! I am losing it. Still stuck in my ‘does it ever get any easier?’ mode... looking for the break. You know, the one where I don’t have to clean the same area over and over and over... The one where someone cooks for me, does my laundry, helps me with my ‘home’ work. I’ll snap out of it as soon as I have my coffee, which by the smell of it is almost ready.

I confirmed what I already knew by looking outside. There it was. Snow. Lots of it. The trees and bushes are all hanging low from the weight on their limbs. The wind whistled thru them, evident by the streaking dust trails left in its wake. Edges and angles of roofs only offer another artistic medium for the gusting wind. Only these trails were more like mini, glistening, frosty-white tornados. Cars lining the streets no longer had identities. No distinguishable colors or shapes, all just mounds of whiteness. Each a bit taller, transformed by the accumulation.

My coffee, now in hand, is perfectly hot and begging for me to consume. So too is this morning... I’m signing off to enjoy.

Contemplating a perfect belly button

I for the life of me do not get how my mind works. Am I suppose to?

I know I have to have a trigger. By trigger I mean something that prompts a thought or an idea... and then the story in my mind.

With all my mental gymnastics lately (my personal turmoil), my mother was prompted to send me her documented mental gymnastics from years ago. The parallels - on so many levels - were daunting.

From this trigger moment a lighter connection theme struck me. This, as I looked into my 7 year old daughters twinkling eyes.

Every day I make sure I ask each of my children "What was good about your day, and what was bad? Did you learn anything new to teach me?" They have learned to ask me the same.

Here we sat, my daughter and I, pondering our day. We talked about what was good... and what was not so good. About the nice people... and the not so nice.

She stroked the skin on my hands, tracing the protruding veins. Our conversation shifted. ‘How come I can see all your veins and see none on me?’ She turned her hands over and over looking for some sign of blue vessels. Neither age nor gravity has taken its toll. Her skin is still the porcelain we all strive - through creams, pills, even knives - to get back to. She is also blessed with Daddy’s skin. Olive, perfectly tan year round. Not me. I am WHITE.... actually not totally. Mostly I am freckled. Everywhere! ‘Mommy?!’ She was now holding my face and looking me square in the eyes. ‘I really like ALL of your freckles.’

This is a good thing... especially since there are a lot and I can’t do anything about them.

As a child I hated my freckles. I remember crying when a stranger held my face to inspect, much like my daughter was doing right now. He thought I had a cut on my nose. "Honey, you tell your mother to put a band-aid on that thing! Look at you... you cute little Irish girl..." He was concerned that I was not being properly cared for... albeit a bit gruff in approach, but concerned. I ran home and told my Mom. "Mom, this man called me Irish?!! ...and said I needed a band-aid on my nose?!" I didn’t know what ‘Irish’ meant. All I knew is I was just called a name. My mom just laughed. "Your not Irish, your German. And you don’t need a band-aid on a freckle, he just didn’t realize what it was." I can look back now and laugh. Today I embrace my freckles. But then was a different story.

It wasn’t till I went to a Care Facility to sing Christmas Carols with my youth group, that I made peace with my freckles. There was a young girl living amongst the elderly. She was sorely out of place. Her age screamed that she did not belong, although her body betrayed. She had a disorder that rapidly aged her. Though she was probably only 19, she looked like 90. Her skin sagged without mercy. She lived in the Care Facility not by choice. I watched her try to fit in. How to simply ‘be’ when outsiders stare is unthinkable. I was guilty as well. I could not take my eyes off of her. I wish I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, and talk to her... be a friend. But we don’t get those options in life. There are no do-overs. What we do get is the opportunity to make the days going forward, and our choices, better. On this day I decided I could live in peace with my freckles.

Today I cherish them. They are merely one of the many blessed oddities of me. Both my parents have freckles. Mine are proof I am of them. And now I get to look at my children and their increasingly freckling noses.

My daughter warmed my face with her hands, and my heart with her words. I am glad she likes my freckles.

She removed her hands to fix her shirt. It was twisted due to our snuggling entanglement. As she adjusted it, she stopped to look at her belly button.

She has an innie... in my opinion, a very cute perfect innie. Her little fingers poked and pinched the skin.

As she inspected she spoke.... ‘Mommy, this kid squeezed his belly button out soooo hard. He had an outie and it was super out! It was really gross...’ ‘Who was this?’ I asked. She was momentarily distracted from her belly button and looked at me quizzically. ‘I don’t know?! Am I going to have to remember EVERY BODIES name throughout my entire life???!’ I laughed acknowledging that the kids’ name really had no relevance... my funny daughter made her point and refocused on her belly button. ‘Is my belly button weird? Or is everybody else’s weird?’ I laughed again, explaining that ‘No ones belly button is ‘weird’ it just is...’ ‘Belly Buttons are really cool. Your belly button is where you were connected to me. It’s how you got your food.’


‘Through a big vessel... kinda like the veins in my hands and your wrists...’

‘So, I don’t get it? When I come out of your belly, am I still connected? Do I have this big vein from me to you?’
We went thru an anatomy lesson about umbilical cords. She listened as I unveiled for her one of life’s mystical moments. I love the human body! It is truly amazing. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. It is monumentally important to me that my children know how they operate and how amazing they themselves are.

Being that we were on the topic of belly buttons, I told a little story from her early, early years.

The year is 2001. The month July. Alex, my darling 5 year old son, just got his wish.... or so he thought. He wanted a sibling something bad. Now that he had one, he changed his mind. Okay... maybe not totally.

There he sat on the living room floor, trying to watch a cartoon. It was 3 o’clock... How do I remember? Because everyday at 3 o’clock my cute little daughter, Alex’s new baby sister, turned into a relentless sound machine. She screamed and carried on for hours! Alex was sure I picked the wrong baby from the hospital. Time after time he would tell me ‘This one can’t be ours, it is much too noisy.... take it back and get a quieter baby!’ He never accepted my ‘It doesn’t work like that.’ reply....

Everyday at 3, like clockwork, my cute little daughter up heaved our peaceful home. We walked, and rocked, and bounced, and fed, and sang to, and entertained... It was all in vain, the screaming continued. After a while you have no choice but to learn to live with it. Poor Alex.....

One day, as I was changing her diaper, her big brother had a revelation. This thing coming out of her belly is not normal! What the heck is that?... and why doesn’t my mother see it as the problem it surely is?.... all this screaming is surely due to ‘it.’ Hmmmm.....

Alex stood by my side watching his new baby sister get cleaned up. There she wriggled - and duly screamed - in all her glory. I held her thigh as I looked for a clean baby wipe to my right.

In that moment it happened. Alex took it upon himself to ‘fix’ the problem. He grabbed hold of her umbilical cord and pulled. It ripped half off... As all you parents know, ‘things’ happen so quick! My senses jolted. 'ALEX! What are you doing?!!!’ I startled him from his task. ‘Mommy, I am getting the worm out of her belly so she’ll stop crying all the time....’

Off to the doctors office we went... they had to cauterize her belly button from the assault. I had visions of her insides making their un-welcomed appearance on the outside... but that would never really happen. It was just my overactive, overworked mind playing tricks.

We all survived that day. Now it’s just a belly button story to add to my archives. Charlee laughed and continued to inspect... now looking for evidence of this event.

My finger now joined hers as she explored. ‘This is proof that you were connect to me.... and mine to Grandma.... and hers to GG..... and GG......’ She finished my sentence ‘and GG’s to her mommy, and on, and on.....’ ‘You got it!’ We giggled at the belly button chain.

In my head I see a pearl necklace. A beautiful necklace, only the pearls are belly buttons and the strand is that of a time line.

This moment with my daughter, contemplating our belly buttons, reminded me of our connections. The parallels of being human... and being descendants.... Are any of us totally unique? Bits of us are passed thru the generations.

Now that I have contemplated my belly button... and Charlee’s... I can start my day.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The first Blog Entry... my baby step.

Today I am making an attempt at blogging. Are you ready? Am I? Is my computer?

This archaic machine is slowing my creative progress... I sit and wait for each screen to change. I think - I hope - I finally have the blog set up correctly. We'll see as soon as I hit the enter button. I have been writing my thoughts for years. The diminishing memory space on my computer is only evidence of my ever increasing personal memories. Writing makes me happy. Content. Fulfilled. I love to share my words. The joy I feel when someone smiles because of them is penetrating. This is my happiness project.