Monday, August 8, 2022

The Single Woman's Staircase ~ Monday Mimisms

Once upon a time in a land faraway, I moved out of Bloggingham and into a tiny one-bedroom apartment on the second floor. Divorce. The dreary building was gray. With lots of concrete. I so hate concrete.  No elevators. Just creaky stairs and unlit corners.     At least the back deck looked out onto a patch of woods and sometimes I could pretend I was still home in the forest. And I didn't have to clean two stories and take care of dust mites in the dandelions. At least for awhile...
A beginning teacher's salary was not going to pay the bills. I was sad to discover through the years that any teacher's salary is not nearly enough. But that's another story for another day.   
After having some luck online selling WWII ephemera and postcards, I decided to try porcelain. My grandmother's beautiful table-setting ways ran through my blood. She adorned her simple table in that tiny tiny kitchen with love and beautiful dishes, even for mundane Monday lunches. She had no idea what she was teaching me. 

Or did she?

But back to the land of porcelain poverty...

I needed to make money. Inspired by my grandmother's pottery flair, I went to a huge china sale and bought several hundred pieces of antique and vintage china for $300.00. That was a big expense for me at the time. From the trunk of my car I carried boxes and boxes of tiny teacups and saucers  up the single woman's staircase and sorted them out on the floor. I researched comps and history and patterns. I took photographs with a small Kodak camera and learned to edit. That inventory investment netted several thousand dollars and kept me afloat while I transitioned to life as a single woman who would have to support herself. I hadn't been single since I was eighteen-years-old.
It also taught me that I could do what I had to do. 
That was twenty years ago.

not me...but close
Teaching by day and side-hustling china by night, kept me out of trouble but exhausted; jumping through academic hoops to earn tenure and writing endless lesson plans at night, grading papers (I had 249 students), then sitting on the floor wrapping reams of bubble-wrap around tiny little delicate dishes and shipping them all over the world. Rinse. Repeat.   Strangely enough, through the first few months of that leaving, I was remarkably happy way down on the inside, even though I remember crying myself to sleep at night too. Divorce will do that to a person - even if you are the one wanting to end the marriage. It's still grief. I had been married for a very long time.  I felt strong and weary at the same time, if that makes sense.
  It took me some time to get back to Bloggingham Forest (which wasn't even "Bloggingham" until 2006). Concrete became trees again and life finally settled down. I was back to mowing dandelions, serial dating, and dusting the dungeon.  One of my boyfriends at the time called it "Our Grotto"...oh, those were the days. 
But I digress.
I wonder what happened to him...

A couple of years ago, just before the pandemic rolled in, I started re-selling again. China, not boyfriends. I had leftover dinnerware that needed moving. The first day back online I sold an Aynsley England Rosedale teacup and saucer for $150.00 that I'd paid less than five dollars for. Eureka! might say I was inspired. 

Steubenville porcelain in my store
Mid-Century Modern

Aynsley Rosedale
During my recent COVID recuperation, I binge-watched EBAY resellers' videos and took notes. So much has changed in the world of retail and online business. There's Mercari and Poshmark too!  But I can do this. I know I can. It will take a giant sweep of organization and cleaning in the basement grotto, but I'm feeling better now and besides, I've been on this floor before. 
Life, indeed, is cyclical. 

Sitting here tonight looking at bubble wrap and boxes on the floor and Ebay in my tabs window, facing another stretch of exciting unpredictable singlehood, I feel a little bit like climbing those stairs again. Not the dismal ones that led a tired teacher to a lonely parking lot, but the ones that lead from my very own underground grotto - whose walls shall never speak a word -  to the woman who lives upstairs, still fighting dragons on her own and punching words in the air to see if they'll land in a place she can love. I'm remembering the feel of bubbles on my skin, pennies in my pocket, and the warmth of a strong and saucy man who loved to light candles and kiss me in the dark. him....swaying and on slippery stairs. Have you ever been carried in arms that would not let you fall? 

 That's the thing about words and porcelain - as surely as fine bone china is forged with fire, so are words formed with love. And if they are flung with the strongest of care, not a one of them will shatter into pieces weighty enough to break something valuable and true. 

And if, by chance, you see a cup marked "Aynsley England" 
I have just three words for you -

Photos: Mimi Lenox and Pixabay's bubblewrap woman

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Sunday, July 31, 2022

I Have Covid ~ Monday Mimisms


If you're keeping up on social media, by now you've read the Covid saga. I appreciate your prayers, emails, calls and concerns more than I can express. I feel surrounded with protection and love.  

I've posted faithfully and weekly now since June, easing back into blogging with Monday Mimisms. Today, I'm posting "weakly" as Covid hit the castle ten days ago. I am on day seven with mildish to moderate symptoms. 
 This will be short and sweet.

I had just started venturing out into the world again, feeling free and not so worried about lunches and meetings, doing some shopping... but always wearing my mask. Hardly anyone in this town wears a mask anymore.  Nonetheless, it marched right in the door. Covid is the virus that keeps on giving. One day I have fever and muscle aches, the next day I don't.  Then I'll start to feel stronger (like Friday) and today BAM! back to bed with low-grade fever and pain again. Thankfully, I've not had respiratory symptoms like others have described and I pray it stays that way.

I couldn't bear the thought of breaking my comeback blogging streak. I checked email, took my temperature, grabbed a Tylenol, wrote this blurb and now I'm going back to bed pronto. I will write more when I'm stronger.  Homer said I'm a pain in the patootie when I'm sick. Smart dog. 
This has to be over soon.

Please send chicken soup. 
I wish I could taste it!

It's still unsafe out there.
Be careful, please.

I love that dog....

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Sunday, July 24, 2022

Monday Mimisms ~ Fresh Hell

There came a moment this week when I should have wilted and broken. 
I had every right. Every reason. Enough enoughs. 
But I didn't.  Something made me stop. Something changed my path.

 Fully expecting to run a marathon of pity and in public no less (!) I took one step down that road...two steps...three. Anger. Fear washed over me. Disappointment. What fresh hell is this I thought.

 Every foul word I know started to fly out of my prissy mouth. 
 People are sick in my world right now. Some of my people may even be dying (by the world's medical assessment)..but that is not for me to say, now is it?  Some of my people might not be here next year at this time and some are dying in stages. I see it. 
Fresh hell

A curse word formed. And another. No one was around.
What would it hurt if I hurled a few out into the ether? Ether is flammable. It causes amnesia. It could catch the atmosphere on fire if I'm not careful. Or maybe it would make me forget. What is more healing in this situation? 
                                                                             Fire or anesthesia?

I could even throw something if I wanted. No one is going to hear or see.  What about crying one of those ugly ugly cries? Is it prudent to mourn when people are dying before they die? Is it alright if I fall apart and cuss something? My mother would have already done so in decibels loud enough for NASA to catch the reverb in the black hole of space. Pans would have flown across the room. Cupboards slammed. Then the legendary stomping. A hissy fit. Oh, she taught me how to throw a proper hissy fit. If you have ever seen me do this southern dance, then I'll just go ahead and apologize retroactively and proactively at the same time. I do like to get things out of my system (it's healthy sans flying objects, that is).  My aim is better than my mother's. No smashing dishes on the wall for me.
 Just a pen and a keyboard.

In writing and music and love, all restraint ceases. I bring conniptions to the page every day with a shattering smash. It's therapy on steroids. You can't destroy paper with words, now can you? Relationships, yes. Lyric phrases, no. 

And yet I destroy things in that realm all the time. We all do. Musicians and astronauts live for the crescendo. We smash barriers with sound. Beauty cuts through. Healing happens. Happiness happens. Joy happens. 
Resolutions in the key of d minor when all you really wanted was a solid C Major. 

I can break myself into little bitty pieces in a story or a song. I use a pen and a sledgehammer; then put myself together again without hurting a thing.
Tantrum adulting. Any beautiful creative process worth its salt calls for a hammer.
Dismantle. Analyze. Repair. Begin again.
When the light changes, it will feel like autumn in the middle of July.

Something made me cease the onslaught of self-harming verbiage and breathe. 
I looked around. Yep. Same problems. Nothing has changed. 

I literally stopped myself, turned around on the porch and walked in the opposite direction. I made myself say out loud, "I don't want to be angry anymore. 
I will not carry this hurt into one more minute of my life. All is well in me."  

That was the beginning of the great Bloggingham flood. Instead of crying in self-pity and worry for people I love, happy tears began to stream down my face. I couldn't believe it.  How can I be happy when everything looks so dire? But happy I was. How can you love life when people are dying? How dare you? 
But happy I was. A shift in my mind happened the moment I physically turned my body in the other direction and took control of my own happiness.  

I walked and walked and walked and walked. I talked it out with my God and myself. I told Him how weary I was. How tired. I admitted that blaming other people for my emotional state is letting them orchestrate my life for me. That's not who I am.  I told Him I was tired of feeling resentful all the time and that I needed guidance to morph these situations into something more positive. I surrendered all of it. Every last drop.
 And all I got....was happier.

I heard nothing and everything all at once.
 "I will sit with you," He whispered to me.
 "You don't need to do anything. Just sit with Me."

    And so the best part of me sat with the best part of Him. Two became one. 
No pans flew. No cringy words. No stomping. 

And that's when I remembered my little Bree. When my granddaughter is angry, she lets everyone know about it. She flings her little body around as toddlers do. Just the other day, as I watched her have a tantrum, she looked so much like my  mother....and then I noticed the direction of her gaze. It was UP.  The target of her tantrum, her anger, was the sky.
Flinging her curls back and shaking her head, her words flew UP into the clouds as if she knew they were listening to her. 

  She was fierce and brave and said what she wanted to say. It was obvious to me that the Sky heard and understood.
"I'll tell you a thing or two, Sky!!" 
And then it was over and she went on to other things.
What a beautiful ritual to watch. 

But mostly, she does this...

"I have a boo-boo, Mimi." She holds up her foot.
There is no boo-boo.
I kiss her heel.
All better.
"Thank you, Mimi."

And this is why she can hold a cat
And tend to paws
who really don't need anything from her
except her tender healing touch 

I think that's all anyone needs.

I hope she never sees me throw a hissy fit.
I hope she always talks to clouds.

Photos: Mimi Lenox and Pixabay
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Monday, July 18, 2022

Monday Mimisms ~ Chasing the Days in 3/4 Waltz Time

Sometimes life throws you into a whirlwind dance of change. 
I'm currently in the waltzing stage. 

Stealing my reading

I've been blessed to have my granddaughter here during the marvelous age of two-years-old. Her parents moved, changed jobs and are house-hunting in this crazy market. It's taking awhile. Houses that were $250K last year are 400K this year. Not a great time to invest, I'd say. So temporary has become more of an extended stay until the right circumstances arise for them. That should be soon.  
Alone much, Mimi? 
That's a big NO.  But it's not about me at the moment. 

When I am tempted to throw my hands in the air and complain about the noisy busy busy busy buzzzz in the house at this time in my life, I try to remember that I will one day soon be thankful for the days of witnessing her learn letters and draw pictures. I will enjoy seeing her in her new room in their new home. And we will plant flowers in her own yard. 

 Conversations with her are fascinating!  She sees the world through simple and glorious eyes. Everything is exciting to her. Everything! The sun. The clouds. The trees. A bug on the ground. Rocks (she collects) and even weeds. Everything is beautiful to her.
and she sits in the sun
Snickers the Cat observes it all in lounging style. 
I want to be more like a worries, no cares, just peacefully sitting in the sun. When I'm interrupted a million times a day because someone needs something ("Do we have any chocolate milk?" asked Beans at least a hundred times a day. "We're out of paper towels!" "What do you want for dinner tonight?" etc etc) or there's a boo-boo AGAIN, I want to be less irritated and more thankful for Bandaids and such.  I'm working on that. My name has been called at least 300 times since I started this blog post (reminds me of teaching middle school) and reminds me, also, how much I treasure my alone time and look forward to enjoying my own single life again.. I truly have a need for solitude and space. With one complete family downstairs and a myriad of new animals too (that story coming soon) days are mismatched with drama and joy. 
No, this is not Snickers. 
Bree carrying her "baby" cat. She's such a good mommy.

"Do we have strawberry syrup, Mimi?"
Beans! I'm trying to write a blog post here!

Photo credit: Mimi Lenox
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Monday, July 11, 2022

The Best Wrong Decision I Ever Made ~ Monday Mimisms

I grew up Methodist. 

Then with great dramatic flair, defected and migrated to Baptist in my teenage years, much to the dismay of my mother.  I thought the Methodists were too calm about Jesus, you see....didn't He deserve more enthusiasm? Hellfire preaching reigned down on my pencil head for awhile (which kept a sassy teenager on the straight and narrow) but I couldn't reconcile fear and control with a loving God, so I left for a tamer more sophisticated sanctuary down the street. I was wrong.  Pretty soon I got the left foot of fellowship from the rule-oriented Southern Baptists ("You ask too many questions, Little Lady," said the Preacher) which sent me sprawling into the Charismatic emotionalism I thought I craved - something to finally legitimize the happiness of Jesus in my heart. But all things charismatic aren't good for you (in sooo many respects) so, I took a wild and rebellious non-denominational turn. 
You know I had to. 

 I consider that bumpy ride to be the best wrong decision I ever made. 

 It was just the right stirring of freewheeling open-minded spirit filled services I needed; but soon even the non-religion became too controlling. I didn't like spoon-fed congregations and admittedly, conformity was stifling. I decided to untether myself from the box of denomination and follow my own knowing of God - the one that led me away from hellfire and into the Presence so many years ago.

I consider that disobedient ride to be the best right decision I ever made.  

Do you see the Trinity Tree?
   It was the early nineties. 

I sang on Christian TV,  enjoying music ministry travel in  different denominations and venues, honing my craft. It ended when a Southern Baptist preacher told me to sit down ("Little Lady") because women aren't supposed to speak in the church and made a racial slur in my presence. Read Mimi and The Baptist Men if you want the dirty details.  
I took a step yet another direction.

The nineties were spent going deep into myself on a spiritual level, reading controversial books (probably now banned!) and studying. Seeking. On a secular level, I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance.  I became secure and happy in the knowledge that while none of the past experimental detours served me -
all of them served me.
There was truth and beauty in all. Even hellfire purifies.
 I learned to find my own path
my own voice
my own peace

You can argue all day with a person's theology, but never with their experience. 
And I've always wanted the experience, the Presence, the Peace, above all.
Which brings me to this man, symbolically standing under the shelter of a tree.
My brother on his baptism night 2013

The phone rang this week.
"Prayers are love for one another," he said. 
My brother's words succinctly encapsulated the simple truth I'd been trying to articulate in my long-winded way all these years. He called to tell me that our younger brother has liver cancer and would soon need surgery. He wanted to make sure we were committed to praying for him. We made a pact to cover him together with healing prayers. I would let him take care of the physical support and I promised to lift him up so that he can lift him up, like a prayer ninja in the background. What else can I do? I asked. 

"Prayers are love for one another," he repeated.
Here I sit today on my porch in the trees, wearing all the scars of the great wars fought in the churches of my past. I can see a Trinity Tree (one root, three trunks) to my left just behind a set of wooden chimes as I listen to The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) recorded by the late and highly revered Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and having a little talk with Jesus about my brother's healing. 

Scripture refers to wisdom as a tree. As a Christian I might describe a 3-pronged tree as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I find strength and meaning in that symbolism. You might see something else entirely, but when I pair the healing properties of sound from the ancient Vietnamese chant with the wooden chimes ringing on my porch in the mornings, it's perfect harmony.  I am reminded that they were carved from a tree. They reverberate the earth's wisdom by design.   

A walk with God teaches me to hold onto the True Vine (John 15:1) where my Father is the gardener.  Master Thay teaches me to go home to myself.  It is the same difference, as my dad used to say. 

Both are Peace. Both are Love. Both are God. 

Be a chaser of peace.
Listen to the bell

Photo credit: Mimi Lenox
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Monday, July 4, 2022

Trouble With the Trouble ~ Monday Mimisms

     I don't know where the "cracked flag" idea came from (and claim no allegiance to whatever that may be) but the image does seem apropros in these times. I supposed we've lived through similar political turmoil before (ie: Watergate comes to mind) but none of it, to date, seemed as volatile or dire. Our country is more than just divided red and blue factions. I think we might be on the verge of breaking - hence, cracks are definitely showing.

My trouble with the whole trouble is that one side wants to dictate MY words MY beliefs MY choices MY philosophy MY religion. For example: If you are a Christian and want prayer in public schools, then be ready for Muslim, Buddhist, and Satanic prayers. You asked for it. I don't want to hear any complaints. I am a Christian. I can believe in prayer and the separation of church and state at the same time.  **stepping off soapbox...for now**

Here's the bottom line: Whatever beliefs you hold concerning abortion, women's reproductive rights, gun laws, funding wars, the price of oil, the banning of books, Black Lives Matter or even the federal legalization of marijuana - GET OUT AND VOTE your conscience. That's how we do it in America. 
Write your representatives. Peacefully protest. Run for office. Speak UP.
But please....put down your guns in the streets. You're making it really hard for people who believe in the 2nd Amendment (and I do) to defend responsible gun ownership when you're being flagrantly irresponsible! **stepping off soapbox...again**

Good trouble. Said John Lewis. Let's get into some good trouble.
John Lewis 4th from left 1963 March on Washington

Good trouble...

Marching on

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