Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lost in time

Watch out, people. I'm about to get all "Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" on you. Or, if you prefer a less poetry-nerd example, I'm about to get all "Seasons of Love" on you. Confused? Sorry. Just read.

Sometimes, life is measured in minutes
, counting down until the bell rings, the timer goes off, the alarm sounds, the phone vibrates.

Other times, life ticks by in hours, anticipating time to accomplish a task, what I will do the second half of the afternoon, when I will meet someone for coffee--always how I will get this done now so I can do that then.

Then, it can fly by in whole days, planner filled, calendar marked up, sometimes-busy, sometimes bursting-at-the-seams-wonderfully-full days that blur if I'm not careful, if I don't slow.

Or be doled out in weeks, gulps of time that "fly" even though we've lived every second of them.

Sometimes, I see life in months: months 'til school starts, 'til the babe comes, 'til we go on that trip, 'til Christmas!

And once in a while, life looks like years, experiences bracketed off by milestones, age, growing-up. Experiences only bracketed after enough time has passed to see the markers, to see years of life piled up into recognizable seasons.

I even imagine life as a lifetime, a whole living, breathing, individual-but-communal experience full of every stage of life as we know it. Can you imagine? Living through every stage? It's glorious! And scary. And overwhelming. To think of a lifetime of experience wrapped up in one person, a person whose unique print on the planet is so easily forgotten.

Which is why I also know life to be eternal, a life longed for that weds all that is beautiful and good in this world with the perfection of the next. It's not locked by time. It's unimaginable, mysterious, frightening, tremendous, exciting, Divine, and what makes my moments & minutes matter (they're eternal)...and not matter (they're temporal) all at the same time.

Does time's slipperiness ever baffle you, flying and slowing all at once? 


I recently took time to label my blog posts, mostly for my own convenience since I tend to post things like recipes here and forget to print them out. Maybe you noticed the new labels along the right side of the landing page?

Anyway, I was surprised by how many (or few) posts fit into certain categories and am wondering what it says about me.

For example: the vast majority of my posts fit into the "deep thoughts" or "funsies" categories, which either says that I'm confused about whether to share deep or silly things on here, or that I like them both and am both. I'm going with the latter. (Of course, those who know me know that I'm way more on the "deep" side than the "funsy" side, but I'm workin' on that).

Another example: Second runners-up: books and food/recipes. No surprise there. Two of my favorite things. My labels have got me pegged.

My husband ranks around third, but at least he's in the top three, right?

Surprisingly low number of labels? Music, adoption, travel, & teaching--some of my greatest loves. Well, truth be told, music isn't one of my greatest loves. I'm more of a I-love-to-sing-and-play-instruments kind of music lover more than a band-groupie-concert-going music lover. But the rest of them are  LOVES of my life, so why am I not writing about them more often? Lots of reasons, but mostly, I think it's sometimes most difficult to wrap what you love into the confines of words. It's also probably why there are a lot of "funsy" posts because "funsies" are easy to write about.

Now it's your turn. What do my labels say about me that I've missed? So much unplowed territory. Knock yourself out.

And the burning question: how do I label this post???

Monday, July 18, 2011

Midnight snack

I have grand plans to write something of a little more substance on here soon, but for now, the world needs to know about the greatest midnight snack (possibly in the history of midnight snacks):

dipped in 
dipped in

People, the salty-sweet combo is perfection in your mouth. I'm warning you, though: ration the ingredients. A full box of wheat thins plus a full tub of cream cheese plus an endless supply of cinnamon sugar = the inability to stop eating all that savory goodness! Not that I've tried it, of course. 

Go ahead. Try it. And let me know what you think. Do you have any delicious snacky food combos? I'm almost out of cream cheese and need a new idea for tomorrow night's indulgence...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer reading

Summer reading is so much more enjoyable as an adult, isn't it? Here's what I've been reading:

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
A fellow English teacher recommended this nonfiction work to me, and it isn't a book I'd normally pick up because at first glance, it's a story about college basketball. But it's not just a sports book, which is what I found out, so don't discount it too quickly. Prior to reading this book I knew of Pat Conroy in name only. What I discovered was that he was a self-proclaimed mediocre basketball player for the Citadel back in the 1960s, although his life and his game are anything but mediocre. It was at the Citadel that he realized his ability to write, recognized the damage his abusive father had done, and learned revolutionary lessons that clung to him into the present. While there is, admittedly, a lot of basketball in the book, basketball is really just an avenue for him to write, and the story--basketball details and all--is absolutely riveting. In fact, I'll share a few longer quotes from the book in a different post because they're just that good. The actual mechanics of his writing are tight and have a down home feeling, but the concepts communicated in conjunction with those mechanics are the mark of a true artist. I highly recommend taking a chance on this book. I'm looking forward to reading his novel, Lords of Discipline, next, which is a fictional account that mirrors more of his experience at the Citadel.

The Mine and the Well by Gin Phillips
Another gem of Southern literature! I read this for a summer book club and had never heard of Birmingham native Gin Phillips before. Bottom line: It's a must read. Like Conroy, Phillips' story as well as her language is beautiful and compelling. The novel begins with a mysterious woman tossing a baby into the family well, and the rest of the book explores the ramifications of that incident and builds suspense as you join the characters in trying to figure out who did it and, what we really want to know: why. The story is told by five narrators with unique perspectives--all members of the same Alabama family in the 30s--so the story never has a lull. The father is a coal miner (where the "mine" part of the title comes in) and it's beautiful the way Phillips expresses the mine and the well as symbols of both life and death simultaneously. At less than 300 pages and exploring ideas about poverty, racism, family, and small towns, the book is a quick read and one that will leave you wanting more of Gin Phillips' writing.

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher
No, that's not a typo in the title; it's the kind of title you see in adolescent literature, which is what this book is. I try to read at least one adolescent novel every summer and another fellow English teacher recommended this one, which I enjoyed. Compared to the other books I've read recently, this was definitely "brain candy"--much more plot and character driven with less focus on language. That being said, the story was well-crafted, interesting, and had me turning pages so fast I finished in days. The novel tells the story of a girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves tapes for 13 individuals who in some way contributed to her desire to end her life.  The narrator is one of those 13 people, and he was in love with Hannah, so it makes her reason for including him in the tapes even more mysterious. My only critique is that with 13 different people whose lives intersected, it was sometimes hard to remember who was who and I found myself having to look back at previous chapters. That being said, it was an easy book to read and tackled difficult issues like suicide, rape, and bullying without being remotely cheesy. The message, that you never know how your decisions affect the lives of those around you, is certainly one that's relevant to teenagers today. Because of the content, however, I'd recommend this book to older teenagers and adults only.

Next up:
The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
The World According to Garp by John Irving