Because I’m thinking about blogging again after an 18plus month hiatus, so I need to check things.
As I type this in my office, which is Clientless because I can’t see people between 9 and 11 on Wednesday morning, I can clearly hear the lady across the hall screaming at the assembled congregation. This is why I can’t see anyone on Wednesdays between 9 and 11. First there is the music, which is good, but also loud enough to vibrate the floor under my feet. Then there is the
I mean, I am all about some exhortation, but I have never enjoyed being screamed at myself, so I much prefer to love people into submission. Generally, I find it easier to exercise authority over those who willingly allow me to lead. Not from fear, you see, but because they believe my vision has value and trust my judgement. But that’s just me. The higher the stakes, the lower and slower I speak. If it’s really important, I may not talk much at all–just roll up my sleeves and get to work.
I find this Wednesday morning church ironic. The pastor who runs this clinic has one of the gentlest, most thoughtful voices I have ever heard. I can no more imagine him yelling at people than I can imagine …I don’t know. Of course, I have never heard him preach. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t preach– he does so every Monday from 11 to 1. During which time I can see clients. Just sayin’.
But Wednesday mornings? They are a wash here, except for admin tasks. Luckily(??), I have plenty of those. Discharges, treatment planning, scheduling, supervision, concurrent reviews, missing intake paperwork, playing GO. All good Wednesday morning tasks. Actual counseling? Not so much.
Note to self: this would be a great time for headphones and classical music.
I won’t write in my paper and ink journal because it’s too much effort, even though I carry it everywhere I go except the bathroom, but I will journal at the computer where all my friends and family and seven billion strangers have access to it. Nonetheless, I noticed the other day that I haven’t posted since the fourth day of February, and this blog needs to earn it’s keep, so here we are.
I read not long ago that if you devote an hour a day to reading about a certain topic, you’ll be an expert in that field within seven years. And I wondered what fields I would explore if I decided to do that. I haven’t, you know. Decided, I mean. I just wondered. But I’d like to be an expert in social work. And I would like to be able to render a picture in my mind into recognizable form. Not using words, that is–just lines, color, shading. And I would like to be able to differentiate one classical composer from another without needing to look at the cd label. I need to choose wisely. At forty-eight, I have time to become an expert in only five areas assuming I do them one at a time (and die at the expected time with my mind intact–a pretty rash assumption). I won’t do it singularly, if I do it at all, because that’s how I roll, but still. That’s the maximum amount of time I have.
Then, I read that if you write three hundred words per day, you’ll have a book at the end of the year. Just three hundred. Man, that’s kinder and gentler than the one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven that NaNoWriMo requires, isn’t it? I think I could do three hundred. You’ll notice that all the numbers are spelled out here, and THIS is the three hundred and twelfth word. So I am there. Not that this is novel material, but it took less than fifteen minutes from deciding to blog to get to three hundred and twelve words.
I’m once again confronted with the difference between what I say I want and what I actually do.
I’ve been presented recently with the opportunity to pursue a thirty-five year old dream, with minor alterations in details. And by minor I mean less than 500 miles. It’s a thing I can’t not do. Because thirty-five years. Offered at a time I am financially, mentally, emotionally prepared to do it. To not do the thing would be stupid. Even if I am terrified.
People ask folks with back tats what the point is. Why would you get a tattoo where you can never see it? I do see it. I can look in the mirror. Or at photos. But more importantly than being able to SEE it, is knowing it’s there. Every day. This is a useful thing for me. Every time I have an opportunity that scares me, I remind myself I am fearless. I am so fearless that I paid good money to have it painfully etched into my skin.
Do you remember when I got it? I do. Three years ago. One year away from my BSW. After four years of single parenting. After putting more demons to rest than I care to re-visit today. I’m fearless. And so I’m moving.
Eight days ago, I found myself inside a hands-on children’s museum in Gettysburg. By the way, I need to confess that the first time I went to Gettysburg (which was the 27th of December), I had to rewrite a lot of Civil War history in my head. For some reason, it never occurred to me that THE GETTYSBURG was in Pennsylvania. I sorta thought it was vaguely in Virginia-ish. Because my textbooks never said Gettysburg, PA. Only Gettysburg. Anyway, I digress.
Here is my youngest child looking somewhat bored inside the giant bubble contraption. I know there exists a picture of me in the thing, but I don’t have it.
And here is a picture of some paint I finally smeared on paper. Not that I have opened my own year-old paints yet. But the first step has been made. I can put cheap children’s acrylic on butcher block, and if I mean to make a tree, it comes out sorta tree-like. Good enough. I’m still somewhat intimidated, but not as intimidated as I was. Progress.
And then there was this. It’s a simple contraption, just some wooden leaf things around a wooden pole. But in the tray on the bottom are wooden balls in different sizes. If you put the balls at the top, they roll down and make a noise of the musical type. Like scales. And if you drop the three different size balls rapidly one after the other, you get scaled scales. And for some reason, this just fascinated me. I did it over and over. And I want one of these for my very own, so I can do this every day. Bopbopbopbopboopboopboopboopbooopbooopbooop. I want it. Every day.
Behold my tarnished teapot, and then scroll down for the rest of the story.
Those of you who follow my Facebook know that I woke up grumpy on Tuesday, but decided I would have an amazing day, and then was practically given this tea set:
I asked the guy if the 6.99 cup and the 6.99 saucer meant the 2 pieces together were 6.99 and he said yes. I told him I wanted one and he walked over to the “precious” cabinet to get it for me. He looked at the shelf and he looked at me. And he said, “This is a whole set. I can’t break it. It’s 49.99.” “For all of it?” I squeaked. “Yes.” “I’ll take it.” And then I might have jumped up and down a few times. It’s Johnson Brothers Strawberry Fair, and the server alone was marked 49.99. The charger 24.99, and each little piece 6.99. All told, that’s about 250 bucks worth of Salvation Army-priced merchandise. I’ll let you go to eBay like I did to determine the real market value. P.S. No, I am not going to pay 400+ dollars for the matching tea pot.
Oh, and I had looked at this set when I went with all the kids last Thursday, but did a rapid calculation and didn’t even ask about it. Clearly, this set was meant to be mine. Amazing, no?
Then, we went on the Goodwill as planned. We found a lovely china teapot and checked out. As I was paying, I looked across the store and saw some breakable things on a set of shelves hidden behind a rack of clothes. I told Jasmine to finish up and walked over to look. One of the things on that shelf was the set you see to the left in the picture above. No maker’s mark, just Made in Japan, but it’s fine enough that if you look through the cup from the inside, you can see the painting on the outside. Twelve cups, twelve saucers, marked 12 bucks for the lot.
So then, I have been thinking that I need a pot that vaguely matches these two tea sets. But then, I was thinking “but I haven’t paid full price for anything so far, why start now?” And then I decided to get off the internet and clean the living room. And as I was clearing the candy wrappers off the end table where Mother’s Silver Tea Service was sitting, I said, “Oh.” And then I took it into the kitchen to wash it up. This set belonged to my once-Mother-in-Law. When she and Dad downsized to an apartment, I was asked if there was anything I wanted from her house. I asked for a ceramic kewpie doll, and this tea service. I’ve had it for….many years. More than 15, maybe as long as 20.
And you know, I know it has a patina. It had one when it was given to me, and it is beautiful to me just like it is. I could polish it up and it would be shiny. But that verdigris has character. That oxidation has taken this teapot from something I have to take care of to something I can use to bring me, my children, and my guests joy. And it is worthy to be used with my best tea things.
Now, I need a china cabinet. They had those at Goodwill, too, and really cheap, but I currently lack the man-power to get one up the stairs. Currently.
I’m officially taking a break from Project 365. I’ve done it for several years, and I have enjoyed it. But. I think less is more can also apply to digital noise. And though I sometimes have great stories to tell, I don’t have great stories to tell every day. As you well know. This particularly applies to work days. I *cannot* take pictures at work. And no matter how great a story I have about what happened at work, it has to stay at work. So. Moving on.
I have a Facebook friend who frequently posts pictures of her afternoon tea. I found myself getting envious. I mean, to take time out of the day and prepare delectable edibles, steep an actual pot of tea, and reconnect with family? And serve it on pretty dishes? Who does that??? SHE does that. And I wanted to do it, too. So I did. Here we are having tea. At 6:30 pm. But we had tea yesterday.
“Cass! You know tea is served in the afternoon, not in the evening! What ails you?” Well, it happened like this. Jasmine came out of her room yesterday and said, “Since we are all home can we do a thing?” Now, I had a list of errands to run and really did not feel like dragging the kids with me to do them. But she was right, we are rarely all home for an entire day. I decided to take them on the errands and go get some lunch. One of the errands was to drop off things at the thrift store. And I started thinking. About tea things.
Now, I decided many years ago that I didn’t want anything in our home that I would yell at a kid for accidentally damaging. I don’t mean willful destruction. I mean fair wear and tear, and that includes dropping dishes now and again. Hell, I dropped a plate myself last weekend and broke it into four pieces. Anyway, with the exception of Grandmother’s rocking chair, which I keep in my room, I’ve held to that. I wanted pretty tea things to have elegant tea, but I knew I couldn’t go buy a tea set because I’d be mad if a piece were damaged.
But there we were. At the thrift store. Where they sell things. So, I looked at the children and said, “okay, we’re going in. We are going straight to the back. Don’t get distracted. We’re only going in that one section.” So we did. We decided we weren’t going to go with sets, necessarily. It just had to be pretty, and actual china. That first store had quite a few things. And then we went to a second thrift store where we picked up a few more. And then a third.
Tea was served at 6:30 pm, because we got home at 4:30, and it took me a bit of time to get it all washed, dried, and put away, even with Jasmine helping. We ended up with 20 cups, and I didn’t count the saucers and such. I ended up putting about half of it in the cabinet instead of on the shelf as you see it above. I discovered when I went to get the pieces I wanted to use that it was packed too tightly to be accessible. So now I have pretty tea things, and if a piece gets broken it’s no big deal because it won’t mess up my “set.” I’ll just pull a replacement down from the cabinet. When I run out of replacements, I will just go back to the thrift store.
Someone thought piling up more snow on top of the preexisting snow behind my van was an ok thing to do. You don’t even know how tempted I was to take a picture of his license plate and post that with this. I’m not the only one with this issue, either. Throughout the complex, folks have dug themselves out leaving snow mountains to block other cars in, often as tall as the hood of the blocked vehicle.
So, don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Walk the extra five feet to put your snow on the grass. Because when you don’t my 14 yo is moving my snow AND yours. I guess that makes him the better man.