I have a dear friend who lives three hours away, but we keep in touch regularly. She often sends messages in Facebook that she's written as numbered lists. Oh, this is going to be good, I think each time I receive one, and then I dive into the message, appreciating how the list jumps randomly from one thought to another, just like a conversation would do.
I reply in the same fashion -- a disjointed, stream-of-conscious list that collides one idea into the next. I know I'll probably forget something, but I can always write again and pick up where I left off at number 12, or 25, or what-have-you.
Somehow, it feels fitting to write a blog post in this fashion today. I have a bunch of unrelated things on my mind, so let me invite you to get comfortable, kick up your feet, and join me for a numbered list in no particular order, which, I have found, often happens to be the best order of all.
1) It's sort of, but not quite, fall. Fall is my favorite season, except during the month when spring is my favorite season, of course. I love everything that fall entails -- crisp mornings, changing leaves, warm scents, pumpkin spice lattes, wearing cute layers and boots, taking the kids on a hayride on a Saturday afternoon, and finding that perfect balance of not being overly hot and not needing a heavy coat -- yet. We had a good summer, but I sense in my soul that I'm ready for this next season.
2) I've already finished three full weeks of the fall semester, which means that I'm past the tricky point of learning a hundred new names and remembering my Monday-Wednesday-Friday versus Tuesday-Thursday schedule, but I haven't yet hit the tricky point of having collected the first essays or speeches to grade. Week four is a sweet spot.
I love week four.
3) I've reached the end of my DIY hot streak. This summer, like all summers, I tackled a bunch of DIY projects around the house. It's all very cyclical: My teaching load decreases in summer, which buys me more time. Garage sales happen in summer, which entice me to buy random items at cheap prices. Random items then end up in my own garage, which sparks creative ideas. And creative ideas lead to the actual Do-It-Yourself-ing that I so dearly love.
My greatest fear about this cycle is that I'll eventually run out of room to showcase my DIY treasures; there is finite space in my house, after all, and I can't buy and refinish every cute end table I find at a garage sale for a couple of bucks. My husband's greatest fear about this cycle is that I'll become a professional junker.
Regardless, next week on the blog I'll be launching my annual DIY week. It will be full of transformations! Before and after pictures! Easy projects! Cost-saving decorating tips! Step-by-step tutorials! Explanations of why I needed to use a power-sander on a photo mat! I can't wait to share these projects with you, so let me give you a sneak peak of a few here:
Be sure to visit next week for the grand DIY unveiling!
4) What does "presidential" look like, really? When I was in middle school I joined an extracurricular activity called Academic Games, and -- for fun -- I studied random facts about the presidents. (Just soak in that sentence for a minute, and then let me reassure you that I did, indeed, have friends.) This election year has been particularly dismal, but I did find this article about the "presidential look" that caused me to laugh out loud at multiple points. My favorites include:
John Adams: "Do a bad job of describing Princess Leia’s hairstyle to your
hairdresser. Watch forlornly but uncomplainingly as he completely fails
to achieve it. Make the face of a sad cat that has just been turned into
a human being and doesn’t know what to make of the change."
James Buchanan: "This hair is the second-worst thing that James Buchanan just sat back and allowed to happen, after the Civil War."
Jimmy Carter: "As you get dressed each morning, repeat the mantra, 'It is important
that people who look at my pictures be able to tell from my hair and
clothes that it is the '70s.'"
5) It still helps to kick the bottom left corner of a locker. My oldest daughter started middle school this year, and when she struggled to open her locker during the back-to-school night, the older brother of one of her friends offered this advice: "Kick the bottom left corner when you pull up on the handle. That always works."
There I stood, watching my sixth grader take advice from an eighth grade boy, kick her locker, and nod in appreciation and gratitude when it opened wide.
Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I was transported back to a long-ago time when I, too, kicked the lower left corner of my locker and took the advice of eighth grade boys. How I've become the parent in this scenario is a mystery.
6) Stuff hanging over our heads. I enjoy life much more when I
don't have something hanging over my head (papers to grade, emails to respond to, lectures to plan), but I almost always do. Given this, I'm making a declaration: I must learn learn to fully enjoy life even when stuff hangs over my head because if I don't, well, I'll never really enjoy life.
7) I'm still in denial about the influx of papers that back-to-school generates. In the past two weeks our house has been inundated with dozens of papers, worksheets, and permission slips that have collected on our kitchen table and counters from their crumpled origins in my children's backpacks. I still don't have a good filing system in place. (Also, I still nurse secret thoughts about burning them all.)
8) It is infinitely harder to start exercising than to stop. Three weeks ago I had a small procedure that required stitches in my side and a recommendation of two weeks rest from hard physical activity. As someone who's normally active, I balked at the idea at first. And then I thought about the possibilities. Is vacuuming hard physical activity? What about cutting the grass? No running on the treadmill, for certain!
Now that the stitches are removed and I'm cleared for all activity, I have little motivation to move. Inertia is real, my friends.
9) I got my hair cut. This may not seem number-worthy, but considering that I make an appointment for a haircut every six months (and that I was beginning to resemble Mufasa whenever I entered a humid environment), this is noteworthy, indeed. The Circle of Life!
Also, with every haircut I have a renewed desire to learn how to properly use a round brush, versus how I actually use a round brush, which is to repeatedly tangle it in my hair while pretending to style with my hairdryer.
10) True conversation from earlier this week:
Child: "Hey Mom, can you help me find something?"
Me (in other room): "Sure, what are you looking for?"
Child: "A Lego. A clear one."
Me (upon entering the scene): "Oh."
11) Miracles happen. We found the Lego.
12) Never promise a child that you'll help them find something before you know what they're looking for. See number 10 above.
13) Share gratitude. Dear readers, I'm so grateful that you visit my blog and join me as I share life in this space. May your upcoming fall be filled with the very best things -- easily opened lockers, found Legos, enjoyable days even when "stuff" hangs over your heads, and the awareness of God's peace and presence through it all.