Wednesday, September 22, 2010

At the Top of the Stairs

Usually, as I drift off to sleep and as I wake up, I think about things to write here. The main problem now, other than energy, which is getting better and will improve a great deal more next Thursday when the MBA class ends, is that there are so many things I shouldn’t write about: I shouldn’t write about my students and I shouldn’t write about the project that’s on the verge of being announced. Those are my two major preoccupations at the moment, and as I’m not good at dissembling under the best of circumstances, the consequence has been the radio silence here. I’m hoping that will end soon, as I’ve enjoyed the interactions this forum has provided. The beautiful weather hasn’t helped much, as it’s been alluring to go sit outside in the sun in the odd snatches of time here and there that aren’t consumed trying to crank this project and these two classes through right now. Today, it’s the start of the autumn thunder season, one of my favorite parts of the year, and we have thunder, lightning and rain. It’s cosy, being inside with Michael, and I’ve been thinking about something lately that’s not on the “shouldn’t” list; oddly enough, it’s focused on a perfume bottle.

Every time I go up our stairs, I see the decorative perfume bottle my mother had on her dresser as long as I can remember. It’s long since empty, and my sense is that she kept it on her dresser for a while in that state, though of course it was long enough ago that I cannot really tell you anything with certainty. It’s a pretty thing, and seeing it never fails to transport me back to where it stood, on the corner of her dresser, on a lacy dresser cloth, against the textured, neutral bamboo-y wallpaper.

It’s nice to have a tangible reminder, though of course I’d think about her even without it. Though my mother died when I was 12, I have echoes in my head regularly of things she said, or did, or wanted to see happen for me. She’s always present with me at the major events of my life, and when I succeed at something, and when I fail. When I write, I think of my mother, remembering the first “research paper” I had to write in fourth or fifth grade, and her coaching at the kitchen counter while I struggled to produce my TWO WHOLE PAGES of essay. I still fall back on her advice when I’m stuck.

The weather and thinking about writing a paper at that kitchen counter makes me think of school lunches in this kind of weather: we walked home for lunch every day back then, even in the rain, and the standard lunch I recall was Ritz crackers with peanut butter and vegetable beef soup. The counter was white, and my lunch plate and bowl were plastic with sailboats on them. Strange, the things that memory provides.

Anyway, I’m still here. I am still working to improve my balance and manage the available energy, and trying to remember to do the exercises to keep my shoulder loose and functioning. So far, I’m making some progress on the weight thing, though I’m going to hold off on saying much about it until the first ten pounds are gone. That will be a good day, and at that point, I’m hoping it will feel like both a successful effort and something that can be sustained for a while. Back to work for me, now.

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