Monday, January 21, 2013

Is Anyone Watching?

Today is a work holiday for me and I've spent all morning doing virtually nothing. I swept bathrooms, hallway and kitchen. I'll vacuum the rugs soon. I also cleaned toilets. But that's it.

No one noticed my efforts but Sarah, my 6 year old granddaughter. She's been with me for the weekend. She asked me why I was sweeping floors and cleaning the toilets. Sarah's a bit messy for a 6 year old so maybe she didn't understand the need... or health concerns.

I find it odd that she didn't notice the toilet was very dirty but she did notice last night that her dad left the sink dirty. I took a Clorox (c) wipe and quickly cleaned that up. She said, "You shouldn't be cleaning up after him." I just looked at her and thought carefully about my response. One side of my brain wanted to agree with her. Thankfully, the more intelligent side responded. "Well, he's paying rent and helps with other things. That's how people are supposed to do it. They work together." I know for a fact that this was a bone of contention before her parents' divorce in Sarah's home with her non-working Mom and working Dad. I've heard it more than once. Obviously, Sarah did, too.

Does anyone but me see the dirty toilet and sink? Did anyone but me notice the floors needed sweeping? Probably not since no one comes to my home but my family. My sons are blind to dirt. Really. Probably because they never saw it growing up. I was a stay at home mom for about 15 years. I noticed but the male contingent never saw a dirty house. Would I have noticed had it been someone else's home? Um... I'd have noticed that toilet, let me tell you, but it took me days before I noticed it last night. I think I would have noticed the sink, too. So, yes, I think, if a stranger had come to my home, they'd have noticed.

For me that's the problem. I'm overly sensitive to all this stuff. I see all the details of a messy house and it completely disrupts my ability to cope. I think everyone could see it. I know everyone would see it. So, it needs to be dealt with and disposed of quickly. Sometimes, though, I look past obvious things.

I didn't see what a six year old noticed. She didn't really see the dirt in the sink but she noticed a female household member cleaning up after a male household member. She immediately parroted a response with which I happen to disagree. It is a response based on twisted relationships. I have a problem with that kind of mentality. If there's a mess and you see it, you don't leave it for someone else, no matter who made the mess. Should people clean up their own mess? Yes. But in real life they often don't. I've had people clean up messes I made. If I see trash in the floor at my office, I simply bend down and pick it up. I didn't drop it. There are 12 other people there who could have but ignoring it won't make it go away. We work together. I am sure someone in that office has picked up my mess. In fact, I know it.

Is anyone watching? I think so. It is why I hate the house getting dirty. I'm tired a lot when I get home so cleaning lives up to the word "chore" for me. It is difficult for me to do more than 4 hours of housework. But I do it. Now there's two of us but actually, David is only mildly messy. His problem is in the follow up.

It is hard to live with someone else after years alone. I've talked to David about various things I'd like him to do, for himself and for me. He may or may not do them. I work to not get annoyed because the reality is, he hasn't got anywhere else to go. We discuss it and he tries a bit harder but he's not there yet. Surprising since he is pretty OCD and used to have the cleanest room in the house. What happened to him, I wonder? And then I listen to Sarah give orders to her father as if he were her servant rather than her parent. Where did she learn that behavior? What kind of relationship is it that demands all from one and none from the one demanding?

Sarah was playing with a couple dolls not too long ago and was heard to say, "My friends matter more and if you don't like it you can leave." Maybe when you become invisible, you don't notice the dirt.

I mean, is anyone really watching? Yes, they are.

A New Look

For the first time in a long time I like my blog's look! I've been messing with it ever since I left Multiply. I've had a blogger site long before I even went to Multiply and before that, Yahoo 360. I rarely did anything but use the theme that came with Blogger. This site was much harder back in 2005 to customize the background and overall appearance. I basically used this as a back up blog and spent all my time on Multiply. Over time, more and more, and just in time, it became easier. Now it is even easier than Multiply ever was to customize.

I actually changed it when Multiply first closed to look like my Multiply site. I think it made it easier for friends to adjust a bit. I changed the name shortly after that and have been trying to find something a bit more current.

In the past I have always used a full background but I've been looking for something that would reflect the name change. Do you know that photos of someone on a ledge are not common? And what I found was just not what I wanted to express. But this past week, during a Google I found exactly what I had in my mind. In fact, the creator could have been reading my thoughts. The photo is called Seeking Solace by James McKenzie and you will find a link on the right to his site at Deviant Art. When he gave me permission to use it I bout jumped for joy. And I don't get much of that lately. Please visit and check out his other work.

Thanks, James.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Onto the Pier

The pier stretched out, into a turquoise sea that stretched to the end of the world and disappeared into a matching sky. I squinted in the glare from the the reflection of the sun on the water and sighed. For a moment I closed my eyes, allowing myself to soak up the warmth of sun on my skin. I opened my eyes and walked onto the pier.

My  bare feet made no sound but the wood planks were rough from years of weathering and walking and it pricked at my feet. It crossed my mind that a splinter check would be required on my return. The radiant heat of the planks began to sting my soles but I kept walking, my sandals dangling from my left hand. I could put them on but I welcomed the heat. I'd been cold a long time.  © 2013 Cynthia Maddox

When it comes, I have to write it... and I've not been writing in a while. This is the whisper I've been hearing this week.I have no idea what it is; I just like it. 

Where is this place? Why is she there? Where is she going? Where did she come from? What is she doing there? What is at the end of the pier? Who is she? 

Might want start a blog of this stuff. Seems easier to keep up with. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Purple Passions, Dark Days, & Frozen Time

The new year did not get off to an auspicious start. My mother died and I spent the second day of it on the road, the third day at a funeral, and the fourth day on the road. My weekend sucked. I went back to work on Monday to be greeted by two weeks backup. It has taken two weeks see any progress at all. We've had snow, cold, rain, warmth, rain, and more cold. Most days are gloomy, at least it seems so to me. Today is no exception.

I looked for some profoundly moving topic to write about or perhaps, hysterically amusing. I have neither. I have a rather boring life that doesn't require I do much but get up and cope with the most recent disasters, which usually entail my keeping a grip on my anger, frustration, annoyance, depression, or elation. I usually end up holding an empty bag. I suppose if you look closely I'm a bit manic at times.

I went back and read some old posts. Really old. Like 2006. I sounded so young. Life sounded much simpler in some way that I can't pin down. The foolish stuff I blogged about so trivial and foolish I wonder if anyone ever even read beyond the first paragraph and I almost hope they didn't.

Then, I read posts from 2009 and realized that my life can't ever be simple again. I can't jump back to the years before January 29, 2009 and instead choosing to live here, pick another city so things will turn out differently for all of us. That it will all have been a nightmare.

I absolutely despise the month of January. As my mother always said, "I hate it with a purple passion." January 11, last Friday, was my wedding anniversary. It was a painful day. And I know at the 29th grows closer every day will become heavier and darker. On that day, Jerry will have been gone four years. It seems as if it were only yesterday that I watched him die and had to bury him in the snow and ice. Some things are just frozen in time.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New What?

Is it really a new year? Or did someone just wash and rinse this the old one and hang it out to dry? Seriously. I didn't even bother with profound or pithy post for the shifting year. No one seemed to notice. I could point folks back to an old one, written when my mind was working and life was actually better.

The truth is that I haven't noticed a different in 2012 and 2013 at this point. Admittedly, it is still early days yet. Today is only the 12th.

I have lunch today with an old friend... well, she isn't old, probably a bit younger than me but still it will be nice to sit and chat about nothing for a hour and get reacquainted with and old friend.

Earlier this week I signed up for Forward Motion Two Year Novel writing course. No, I don't know if I'll complete it or if this will be another unfinished work. But it won't be anything if I don't do it. So, I signed up. We'll see.

On the 29th I'm meeting with a group of NaNoWriMos who are interested in forming writing groups. Maybe the FM thing would be a good platform to do this on. A monthly check in to see how we're progressing? Not everyone will want to do it but I think a few are going to so we'll see.

Monday night I have my meeting with the Writers' Asylum Online. Always fun and this meeting is supposed to be about 10 people... we think. I have homework to do this weekend in in prep. I've been a little distracted and have not had time to really research like I wanted.

Now I'm going to wash my hair and get dressed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fading Flames

Mama, Aunt Phillis, Alice (my mother), and Daddy.
Mama and Daddy were my aunt and mother's parents.
I keep coming back to these old photos and studying them careful. This was taken the year I was born and what you see in this photo is what I always saw. Oh, there were terrible times and things I'd like to forget. Like everyone else, they did stupid things. They cried and got angry and depressed but if there are any good memories of my life, this photo reflects them. They always seemed to be laughing.

This image also reflects any gatherings of my family. We usually end up laughing at something and often it involves a story from the lives of one of these people or something one of us has done. We are a family of natural humorist. We are funny without trying to be funny. And we laugh most at ourselves.

This morning it occurred to me that this photo also depicts the three women who most profoundly affected my life and directed its  course. These women determined my outlook, my character and my goals. They made me most of who I am today, good and bad. I can't imagine what my life would have become without them. They gave me the strength to survive trials and turmoil and grief and continue laughing, even through tears. They gave me a desire to become more. I love them, each in a slightly different way but far more than any of them could guess.

Mama would say, "My Cindy can do anything." My aunt always says, "You are so smart." My mother always said, "I'm proud of you." I had no idea who they were talking about. I wanted to be like all of them to one degree or another. I wanted to love the way Mama loved. I wanted to be the kind of Godly women Mama and my aunt were. I wanted to be as beautiful as my mother, to have that presence that made heads turn when you enter a room. She drew people like moths to a flame. I always thought if I could have inherited the best qualities of these three women I could shake the world. I do not think I've ever approached that goal.

I can't say my mother and I were close. Her parents raised me but I still loved her, with bitterness and then, with resignation. I loved her humor, her laughter, and her singing. She had a beautiful voice and I loved riding in the car with her and listening to her and Mama sing gospel songs. They'd let us kids sing with them but those two voices were about as close to a heavenly choir that I've ever gotten. I loved her ability to go out job hunting at 8 and come back with a job at 10.

Put her in a crowded room with boring people and where she was standing would be a party. When she was a waitress her customers were the happiest in the room. It was not unusual for her to carry home $200 in tips for an evening's work and that was in the 70's. People just flocked to her and she reveled in that. When I was a little girl and she came home from time to time, I loved the moments when I was the focus of that dazzling smile and I felt the warmth of that flame. I was special for a little while and when she left, I always missed her.

Thursday I will see her one last time. The flame of my mother's life is extinguished. She's left me again.