Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guest Post: A Woman in Her Seventies

Today my wonderful Mom turns the big 7-0. After much twisting of arms and pulling of teeth, I finally got her to sit down and write this post:
(notice that she wrote her notes in short hand before writing out long hand... I guess a woman in her seventies appreciates the lost art of the hand-written composition)


What I am most grateful for on my
70th Birthday
than ever before is a renewed appreciation
for the majesty of and serenity of an early morning walk,
as captured through the eyes of an innocent little Child-
my precious Anna M:
Thank you, L.Shanna and L, for the most special Birthday gift of your Anna M. in my life today!
I love you all Three eternally!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties is Captured

Dear Chunkerson,

Well hello there, seven-month-old babygirlofmine:What a month we have had. In terms of milestones, you've rolled over both ways, are almost almost almost sitting up on your own, and are getting your first teeth. You will be happy to hear that I have not read a single book on baby development this month (okay, maybe a quick peek at the feeding section of The Baby Book, but that's it), which means that I've been a little less psycho this month worrying about nothing. Yay for less-crazy Momma!

There are so many things I could talk about. The hair-pulling. The obsession with your feet:The way you have suddenly become ticklish under your arms (shh, don't tell Ye Ye), but the thing that strikes me most about you right now is this:
and this:The photos in this post were taken by the amazing Kim P at Mimsydotes, and I cannot get over how beautifully she captured you. Sure, I'm talking about those chubby cheeks and that oh-so-crazy hair, but it is more that that. Someday, when you turn to me and ask me what you were like as a baby, I will refer you to these photos. I will say, 'You were a pensive little baby,' and 'Nothing ever got past you,' and these pictures will be proof that I was right.

Just in time for Father's Day, you're repeating your favorite sound. All morning, every afternoon walk with Dan, all evening at the dinner table. 'Da Da dadadada.' You'd think, considering the amount of time we spend together, that I might have made the first-word cut. But no. Don't worry, I'm not bitter. You can make it up to me by getting a full-ride scholarship to the college of your choice.

It's summer now, and a woman in her thirties with a seven month old takes full advantage. More on your swim lessons, walks around the lake, and cuddle time with Grandma(s) later. In the meantime, know that even though a woman in her thirties might have dreams of being a writer, sometimes words will fail her. Sometimes she will only have a caputured moment such as this:

To show you just how much you are loved.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Takes Advantage

I firmly believe that a woman in her thirties should take advantage of every break life has to offer her. One look at the amount of Groupons I've purchased in the last year is an example of that belief. Life is hard, people. Take the good deals when they come.

Yesterday offered me such an opportunity. If you'll remember way back, I shared a story about my Grandfather who died of skin cancer, and the nudie pictures I took as a result. Since then, I've been pretty good about seeing the dermatologist regularly. My most recent appointment was scheduled because, along with eye babies and peeing my pants, pregnancy did a number on my skin. And by 'number', I mean this very weird red spot appeared on my leg, just above my ankle. I figured it would go away, and when it didn't, to the dermo I went.

One look at the mark in question, and my doctor was convinced he knew what it was. 'It's a blah blah blah tumor,' he said in the same tone he might use to tell me I have brown hair and brown eyes.

I blinked at him. 'Um. TUMOR?' I said. I don't know about you, but where I come from, there are no positive associations with that word.

He laughed at me and said it's totally harmless, that he could remove it in five minutes with only a couple stitches and minimal scarring. So that's what I did-- I hopped up on the table, watched him cut the skin out (awesome!), and left the office with a little piece of paper that said, 'Care After Surgery', which had me cracking up. I couldn't help but send L, who has been in Arizona all week and didn't know I even had the appointment, a text message that said, 'Surgery went fine. Stitches out next week. It's good to be alive.'

I woke up today with no appointments to get to, but a to-do list a mile long. My first instinct was to get moving on it, but then I remembered the band-aid on my leg. 'I has surgery yesterday,' I said, bringing Anna in bed with me. 'Maybe we should hang out here for awhile and sing some Bruno Mars.'

So we did. And then, instead of going to the grocery store, we hung out on the grass at Lake H:
And tonight, instead of getting started on the laundry that has yet to do itself, I made these:
Because my to-do list will still be there tomorrow. I am recovering from surgery, after all. A woman in her thirties deserves some cookies for all her pain and suffering.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Woman in her Thirties Packs Up

One of the nice things about moving all over creation and back is that I know how to consolidate. I'm excellent at sorting, stacking, and packing up. For most teachers I know, it would take several weeks to pack up their classroom if they were taking a leave from their profession for an indefinite period of time. For me, it only took a couple of hours this afternoon.

Then I got home, ready with an industrial-sized plastic bin to hold my books et al, thinking I would just do what I always do. Label. Organize. Snap shut. But it was so much more than that, because this book fell to the top of the stack, cluttered among my Cliff's notes (yes, teachers use them on occasion):
Of Mice and Men-- the very first book I ever taught. I still had all my cryptic first-year teacher notes in it, long green lines down the page that said simply 'setting' or 'characterization'. I have taught that book at least nine times in the last seven years, and I still cry at the end. George and Lennie maintain a special place in my heart to this day.

And then I moved on to this stack:A haphazard assortment of the hardest book I ever taught (The Inferno), my favorite book in the whole wide world to teach (Romeo and Juliet), and my go-to guide for modern poetry by Frances Mayes. Not to mention the book I used the most when it came to grammar and punctuation (The Elements of Style), and the copy of Hamlet I read over and over on the beach in Vietnam before going back to China to teach it. It still had water marks on the corners.

Then there were the movies:And these were just the ones with cases. My History Channel documentary I use before teaching Greek mythology. My Lord of the Flies movie from the early nineties that I use purely for comedy's sake. To Kill a Mockingbird, dubbed in Chinese. DVDs of class plays of Macbeth and Twelve Angry Men.

Which was topped off with this:
My teaching portfolio. Seven years of pastiches (thank you, Sylvia Plath and Wilfred Owen), creative writing samples, IB Oral Commentary sample prompts, and AP-style essays on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is covered on both sides by cards from students, words about my impact on their lives that cannot be given a dollar sign. And this:The sticker that was outside my classroom door for three years in China, one I can't quite explain why I had there, but remains a fantastic conversation piece to this day.

All these things, all packed up, snapped and clicked shut in between other plastic boxes of Christmas ornaments and wedding cards:Because this is where it needs to be, for now. But a woman in her thirties can still take pause amid the transition. She might even find herself wishing her friends a good rest, until it's time to come out and play again.