See if I Care

I lost something recently that I cherished. No, there’s been no death in my family. I like to use big words and have a tendency to exaggerate. I lost pictures I’d taken on my holidays, pictures I’d admired and played with and hoped to share on Instagram, probably 500 of them. I went on a hike to a lake this summer and impulsively took my phone, the keeper of my precious pictures, on a swim and, nope, I didn’t have them backed up. My phone is dead, blank, unyielding, even though I smothered it in quinoa, rice, and silica crystals, took it in to have it checked out by people who know more about phones than I, stroked it and prayed over it. I’m still praying, but to date, sadly, there’s been no resurrection.

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I should have taken better care. When we care about something, we value it. We commit ourselves, our time and our resources, to its preservation. We’re careful with it. When we don’t care about something, we ignore it and, often, disdain it. “I couldn’t care less” is a contemptuous phrase we fling out to show our utter disregard for something. “Who cares about that!” we say, as if everyone in the world is firmly on our side concerning the matter. When we use the words, “I don’t care”, in a situation of loss, we usually do care and are trying to talk ourselves out of the discomfort we feel.

We all have moments in life when we’re careless. A chore, defined as an unpleasant, but necessary task, may receive a hasty, half-hearted response from us, because we want to cut the unpleasantness short. We may not have time to be as careful as we should be. A deadline is looming and we’ve procrastinated or there were unforeseen difficulties and we’re forced to cobble something together. Or, our carelessness may be a matter of flagging resources. My little girl wasn’t a year old and needed to be supervised and, yet, I recall snoozing on the couch while she played quietly nearby. Had something happened, I never would have forgiven myself, but I was used up and couldn’t keep my eyes open. This is an instance where I or others may have suffered for my carelessness, not unlike those who don’t heed danger signs or follow traffic laws.  Or, we’re simply not thinking when we should be caring, which was the case with my phone debacle. When I entered the water, my mind was in the moment on the immense beauty surrounding me and the fact that my friend had already taken the plunge, not on the phone I just stuck in my pocket.

We can’t blame our minds for being elsewhere. In a society as complex as ours, we have to be discerning about when and where we decide to care. We can’t care about everything. We’d go mad. I read a book about the brain and habits once. Our brains are careeye-766166__480set up to enable us to do the things we do frequently without thinking. Supposedly, we have to save our limited brain power for important moments and crisis situations. Breathing, walking, eating, brushing our teeth, even driving, anything habitual, is accomplished with very little care on our part. Certain things, like surgery, require the utmost care and we expect those who practice such specialized manoeuvres to be prepared, alert, and attentive, to care greatly, and to perform accordingly. We want our healthcare professionals, dentists, lawyers, accountants, nannies, etc. the people we rely on for assistance in matters we care about to care about what they’re doing.

We don’t all care about the same things and we don’t want anyone judging us for what we care about. Generally, here in this culture, we care about our health, well-being, and comfort, friends, family, and pets, education, meaningful work, financial success, the acquisition of things we desire, and our leisure activities; sports, literature, music, and the arts. Some go so far as to care about those most don’t care about like stray animals, homeless folks, the elderly, and the sick. They go door to door urging others to care about them, too, by asking for donations or volunteer hours.

I can’t tell you what to care about, but I’ll tell you what I’d like to stop caring about. I’d like to stop caring about what other people say about me. Allowing ourselves to be shaped by the opinions of others can leave us confused, downhearted, and insecure. It’s my desire as a Christian to be rooted in the love of God, the one who made me and knows me more intimately than any other. His love is limitless, unchanging, and eternal, a solid rock on which to build my life. People are fickle and even family and true friends

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will let us down. I also believe that caring about what others around us achieve or have in an envious way is a recipe for discontent. Of course, we always need to care enough to celebrate others, but why waste time wishing we could do what others do and have what others have. Why not rather go out and get what we want!

In truth, I struggle to care. I don’t share this often with people, but I have Attention Deficit Disorder. Caring, for me, takes focus and I have to work to maintain focus, which is why I’ve quit so many things and that’s a whole other post! I run out of focus and I stop caring. I look back on my childhood, on how carefree it was (there’s that care word again) and I wish I’d known how good I had it. As children in this society, we eat, sleep, and play and responsibility is added in measured doses, more and more as we age. ADDers are known to run from responsibility. We’re always looking for fun, on the hunt for the next high. We want to do things that excite us only. The boring and mundane, we tend to shirk, because focus is required. I wish I cared more, but I have to push myself constantly, assure myself that this task will only take a few minutes and it’s not going to hurt me to do it, convince myself of the value of things that other people say I should value, like housecleaning, when I’d rather be editing pictures for Instagram or walking in the coulees or watching an exciting movie. I even struggle with self-care and you can read about that here. Anything that falls into the chore category is a challenge for me.

Those of you who receive my posts via email have been experiencing my carelessness first hand, as I haven’t put out a post in the last few weeks. I haven’t been true to the schedule I set up for myself. I’ve never been one for schedules, preferring spontaneity to structure, another ADD trait. The fact that I put out a post almost weekly for the past year is commendable, as I live very haphazardly otherwise. It’s not that I don’t have anything to post. I still have plenty of material, I just have no desire to write or share. Sometimes carebrain-951845__4802there’s nothing of merit up there, no deep thoughts exploding, no quips rippling, no prose begging to be born. I think it’s because I haven’t done enough to feed and grow my soul. I used to read voraciously and as a writer, I think it’s an important discipline to follow, but somewhere along the line, I allowed Instagram to take over my life and too much Instagram makes Polly a dull girl. I tried to limit my Instagram use by deleting my first account which had grown to 3000+ followers, but I failed to even contain my second account and I’ve had to downsize again. (If you were following me on Instagram and would like to continue, request a follow @penelopepantaloons. Please message me indicating that you’re a reader. Thanks.)

When I first set up this blog, I took the advice of a successful blogger as to when and how much to post. I’m ready to decide for myself what’s needed and, right now, I need some space. I want to thank all of you who regularly read my posts. I’m humbled that you would give me your time and attention. I don’t know when I’ll post again, because I’m granting myself the freedom to post when I’m inspired to do so. But, at the core of my being, I’m a writer. Writing is something I’ve chosen to care about and I dedicate myself to it anew. I don’t intend to quit, so I’ll be around. You can count on it. In the mean time, take care of yourselves. 🙂

Photo of the Canadian Rockies graciously provided by Keith Traber, Instagram, @trabs_thesecretlifeof.

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: @penelopepantaloons. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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A Poem For Starters

It’s never too late to start over

No matter the day or the hour

To change one’s mind is not a crime

If something isn’t working

Then

It begs that one begin again

Barreling head long toward some lofty plan

Can mean the end of one’s self

rather than the end one intended to pursue

Start anew

Pause and ponder

Gain some fresh perspective at an intermediate juncture

Recognize and titter at your blunders

Take a new tact or commit to stay the course

For more effective progress can be realized in repose

And a thoughtful journey does a better outcome make

So

Stop

Take your time

Take a breath

Take a good, hard look

Take a break

It’s never too late to start over

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Sleep Becomes Her

We play a game in our house called “What’s Your Favourite”? We ask each other, “What’s your favourite color or animal or whatever?” Once my son asked me, “Mommy, what’s your favourite thing to do?” “Sleep”, I said.

I enjoy it immensely. It’s a treat to crawl under the covers, delicious! I recall being told to take a nap as a kid and then wandering around my room for an hour. I look back on that sleepphoto-1471336199076-1bea7bdb30ba2and it confounds me. If someone told me to take a nap now, I’d say, “Why, Yes, thank you. I’d love to. What a splendid idea!” I’m particularly good at it. Sort of a hobby, you might say. I can lie down and be otherworldly in a breath.

For example, I visited Cameroon, Africa, as a college student. We, the missionary and my singing team, were travelling in dense fog at night on a notorious stretch of road called Rum Hill. The road clung to cliffs, was carpeted with boulders, and was more the width of a lane and a half than two. It had taken the lives of many Cameroonians. One of our guys had to hang out of the vehicle using his flashlight to follow the edge of the cliff so our driver didn’t make a wrong turn and kill us all. I was sitting in the back of the land rover, where there were some benches. I decided, if I was going to die, I’d rather do it in my sleepphoto-1495234347927-15da3bd48ee62sleep. I arrived back at the guesthouse surprisingly refreshed.

Another time, my husband was startled awake, when he smacked his head on what felt like a brick wall. It turns out, he had smacked his head on mine and I didn’t wake up, probably because I was unconscious.

Like everyone, I sleep in a specific way and require a few things to accumulate maximum Z’s, though I can sleep under almost any conditions:

  • I sleep on my back, like a corpse, with my hands folded across my chest (just practicing, I guess).
  • My mouth hangs open. I don’t know how to stop this, short of tying a scarf underneath my chin and I’m not the Jackie O type. I drool, too. I wake up drowning, do a flip turn that would make an Olympic swimmer jealous, and get right back at ‘er.
  • I have to have at least one foot out. When I was a child, I kept a foot out that I might sleepphoto-1527602481536-72cd1fda3e5e2arrive at the TV at exactly 6 am for Saturday morning cartoons. As an adult, I keep a foot out, because I’d like to be free to thrash if the urge presents itself. As I stated earlier in a post about my, ahem, love of spiders, the whole cocoon thing creeps me out.
  • I need a skinny pillow. I’m perplexed by pillow manufacturers. A queen-sized pillow looks like a hay bale to me. Even my huge, muppet head won’t put a dent in one of those stale marshmallows. Who in this world likes to sleep for 8 hours with her head at a 90-degree angle to her spine? Do queen-sized pillows have a purpose? Hmm. They are more absorbent than standard pillows (see bullet point 2). They might be good for people with hemorrhoids.

It seems I never get enough sleep and, if I had the freedom, I’d like to figure out what “enough sleep” means for me. Like too much of anything, I may eventually tire of sleep, but at 7 am, I think I could stay in bed forever. Sleep is magical! It can take away a headache and quash a bad mood. It can give you a new perspective and energy to face the day. It’s a warm, gentle hug and we all need more of those. Sleep grows us, heals us, and revives us. I’m smitten with it. I recommend it to everyone. What was that? What if you have trouble sleeping? Oh. Try smacking your head against a brick wall. 😀

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Out of the Blind Side

Those of you who’ve been following my blog know that I’ve been running to improve my fitness level. The city I live in has two sides divided by a river and coulees or, if you’re not familiar with that term, ravines. I live a few blocks from the trails on top of the lightroad-815297_12802coulees, a pleasant place to exercise with a beautiful view of the river valley. Yesterday, I awoke at 5 am to get my run in, because I had to be somewhere to volunteer at 6:45. I know, an ungodly hour, but I work in healthcare. A 5 am start to the day isn’t unusual for me. What was unusual about this particular run is it was in the dark. I still opted to go out on top of the coulees, because running on trails is gentler on the body than smacking the pavement, but I didn’t consider how challenging it would be to run without being able to see. Continue reading “Out of the Blind Side”

Hit the Suds, Kids!

I recently experienced the death of a loved one. My dishwasher bit the suds. I knew it was coming. It started to hesitate, buzzing and stalling. For awhile, I was able to coax it to continue on. Then, one sad day, there was no response. I was devastated. She was so disheswashing-machine-1772579_12802dependable, always willing to take on whatever messes I stacked in her. A real wash horse, that one. She was quiet. She kept to herself while she worked. She was even willing to store that food-encrusted stink until she had a full load. No complaints, no rank belching. I loved her. I was thankful for her everyday. I was thankful when I loaded her and thankful when I unloaded her. You’d think all the thankfulness I lavished on her would have had a life-giving effect. I know plenty of people who take their dishwashers for granted. They don’t give them a thought until they break down and then they pelt them with verbal abuse. I was good to my dishwasher. Why me?
Continue reading “Hit the Suds, Kids!”

There’s a World out There

There’s a kid picking through a garbage can

While I sit down to breakfastworldpoor-2382641__4802

There’s tired man in an unemployment line

While I head off to work

There’s an invalid struggling to use his limbs

While I climb on my bicycle

And there’s a world out there trying

While I’m watching my TV

 

There’s a girl, she’s been living in a cardboard box

worldchildren-of-war-1172016_12802While I’m warm and sheltered

There’s a child lying broken on a kitchen floor

While I have been embraced

There’s a boy dodging bullets in a civil war

While I take peace for granted

There’s a world out there crying

While I’m watching my TV

 

I live in a world where I can choose to stay

Will I venture out, will I look and really seeworldboy-529067_12802

That life is happening all around me?

I’ve been living in a fairytale

Some are living in a tragedy

What can I do?

Will I do anything?

 

There’s a lonely one pining in an empty room

worldalone-2666433_1280While I’m loved and wanted

There’s sickly soul looking for a lasting cure

While I’m whole and strong

There’s a muddled mind searching for the simple truth

While I’m clear and rested

There’s a world out there dying

While I’m watching my TV

 

I live in a world that I must choose to leave

I must venture out, I must look and really see

That life is happening all around meworlddrink-3021521_12802

Lord, I wanna be a living spring

Welling up to eternity

Where everyone can come and drink

There’s a world out there

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

 

What are we Waiting For?

I have a confession to make. I was a Ferberizer. If you aren’t familiar with this term, a Ferberizer is a person who prescribes to Dr. Ferber’s approach for training an infant to sleep. When I think back on those early years with my children, the newborn stage was, by far, the most difficult for me. You see, I adore sleep and have generally been very good at it, sleeping on average seven to nine hours a night. Going from a healthy, luxurious eight hours of sleep, to sleeping three hours before being awoken by a cute, tight-fisted, red-faced, screaming narcissist was a nightmare. Within a month’s time, I was transformed from a relatively fashionable, semi-capable human being, to an unkempt, waitingbaby-2387661__4802smelly, baggy-eyed, babbling zombie, which is why I was a Ferberizer. It was imperative that I find the quickest way back to my cozy bed and the sweetest of dreams. You can read all about Ferber and his methods here, but essentially, when it was time for your babe’s beddy-bye, you placed your little one in the crib awake. The premise was that the child needed to learn to fall asleep on his own and self soothe, if need be, without any cuddling, rocking, or excessive bum patting on the part of the parent. Inevitably, the crying would begin. The parent was to wait an increment of time and then go in and give their offspring a few gentle pats of reassurance and exit the room once more and continue doing this until the child went to sleep. Eventually, the kid, squawking, waiting for his mother’s return would think, “Aw, nuts, she’s not coming back and this is exhausting” and he’d peter out into a restful slumber. Sometimes, this worked perfectly and sometimes it was an agonizing waiting game, but whatever you think of this method, I believe it taught my children a valuable lesson: sometimes, in life, one has to wait.
Continue reading “What are we Waiting For?”

Polly Does Dopey : A Chronological List of the Dopey Things I’ve Done that Amuse Me

  1. When I was 16, my youth group held a wet n’ wild event where I proceeded to get wildly wet. At the close of the evening, I climbed into the back seat of my friend’s dopeyrefreshment-438399_12802car, my shorts drenched, and I was immediately sitting in a puddle. I did have a semi-dry towel which I used as a screen to remove my Sham Wows. I wrapped the towel around my waist covering my near nakedness. We stopped at a light and my most supportive friend yelled, “Chinese Fire Drill”. Do I have to continue?
  2. Continue reading “Polly Does Dopey : A Chronological List of the Dopey Things I’ve Done that Amuse Me”

Bite My Muffin Top

I read an article the other day written by a personal trainer. I don’t have my own personal trainer ( I kinda feel like I’m talking about a pet) and I don’t believe I’ll ever have the need for one. Why did I read the article then? Because I’m obsessed with my weight and how I look, like countless others on the continent. I’ve read the diet books, the workout books, the anti-diet and anti-workout books. I’ve swallowed the latest exercisecrossfit-534615_12802infomercial’s hype and bought videos that make me feel foolish, look stupid, and want to stop. I purchased one plastic contraption where the only exercise I got out of it was kicking it to the curb on garbage day. I’ve done the dusty stationary bike, those monotonous aerobics, the funny breathing exercises,the tedious weight lifting routines and the lie down and trim down Pilates. (I’ll admit I enjoyed the lying down part.) I wanted to see if he had anything new to say, any wisdom to impart that would inspire and motivate me to take better care of my body. What was I thinking? He’s a personal trainer. It’s in his best interest to tell us that there is no mind game, no pill that eats up fat cells like Pac-Man, no food that will release the stores of chub we’ve been self-consciously hugging. The success of his business depends on the premise that extreme physical exercise supervised by a glowing Adonis who eats hamburgers wrapped in lettuce (a travesty) is our only hope of becoming the Jennifer Aniston we were meant to be.
Continue reading “Bite My Muffin Top”

The Aging Game

Wrinkles are life’s measurable outcome.

I would say my face started visibly aging when I turned 40. (My soul’s age is skipping in a groove somewhere in adolescence.) People were always telling me how young I looked. I’ll throw out a few examples:
Continue reading “The Aging Game”