Friday, January 16, 2009

In memorium

One of my favorite artists passed away today. I was cooking dinner when Jim told me he had read about it online, and I couldn't help thinking in the middle of pan-frying chicken in my cast-iron skillet, how I had fallen in love with Andrew Wyeth's art when I was in sixth grade after reading a book (which I still have) about his painting technique. In sixth grade when death and life were so improbably mixed up in my mind and I was searching for beauty in both.

I will miss the bright light, the clear light behind all those stunning paintings... which remain, even after the light has gone out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Burning down the house

Last Thursday we almost had an electrical fire. The Big Red House is right around 100 years old and is in major need of rewiring, but it was still our fault for plugging in two too many space heaters on an already questionable circuit. At 2:30 a.m. Jim started shaking me awake (because I sleep the sleep of the dead) and I realized I wasn't just dreaming about the strange smell... which was in actuality coming from the outlet next to my side of the bed.

Needless to say, neither of us slept very well for the rest of the night, even after everything was unplugged and turned off. We called our landlord first (well, maybe second) thing in the morning and then I began a feverish bout of cleaning so the house would be semi-presentable when he came to look at things. Things, as in more than one. See, we also had an ongoing drip from our bathtub faucet, a leaky pipe we hadn't been able to locate that constantly trickled across the utility room floor in the basement, and a broken cadet heater in our upstairs bathroom. All of these have been problems for months now, but we've been putting off calling the landlord until we got the house pulled together, including all those places no one usually went but us.

What surprised me was that when I broke down what needed to be done into chunks of an hour or so, and took breaks to play with the kids or do homeschool or check email, it didn't take me as long as I thought it would to do the tasks that are my least favorite (scrubbing toilets and sweeping up unnaturally large spider carcasses in the basement, anyone?) Over the past few days, as I've been enjoying my clean house, I've also been thinking about my tendency to live reactively, to get the most done when I'm (pardon the pun) "putting out fires".

Ever since October, when I joined OA, I've been understanding on increasingly deeper levels how this is the way I've always lived, in every last aspect my life: I don't make necessary changes until something going wrong forces the issue. One of the greatest blessings of recovery through the 12 Steps is I'm finally learning to scrutinize myself searchingly and honestly, yet without judgement. And while I joined OA in yet another "putting out a fire" moment, I'm glad I did it. Because now I can stop putting out fires and start intentionally burning away the chaff of those parts of myself and the way I do things that don't work for me. I so very much appreciate the ongoing inspiration and insights I'm receiving about what and how to change to create the peace and joy in my life I've always wanted.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions anymore because I don't believe in waiting until some arbitrary temporal landmark like the beginning of a new year before making a change. At the same time, it's a good feeling to know that the changes I've already set in motion make this a truly new year in my life, one that already is and will continue to be better than any before it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Guess what's for dinner?

Oh, and whole wheat blender pancakes, too... but c'mon, we all know what the main course of the meal is, right? And yes, this is a photo of the actual bacon I cooked (no stunt bacon was used for this evening's post).

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bacon: an ode

A single slice still
on the serving plate too late I realize
I failed to savor what I already ate

and now am carried away by visions
of delectable crispy flesh
slowly melting on my tongue
guilty ecstasy of clogged arteries
nevertheless keeping me young
alive with sublimely smoky succulence
every tomato more exquisitely tangy
every avocado more silken smooth
even alone you are more than enough for me

alas it was not to be too late
white flash of empty plate rouses me
from unrequited reverie

for while I dreamed, he schemed.

I haven't written any poetry for a long, long time. But I was inspired by my friend No Cool Story, who has heretofore been my supplier of virtual bacony goodness, and who recently announced her retirement from said virtual bacon. Thanks for the memories, NCS. (Don't worry, I still love you; you brought back my muse!)