Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward, Standing in the Middle

The theme of my senior English capstone was "Remaking the Past". From that experience, I discovered the importance of keeping one foot in the ever shifting river of the past, one foot in the muddy pond-like present, and two eyes on the oceanic future which rolls toward the shore in crashing waves or sloshing ripples. Inspired by Emmy Mom's Ten Things To Smile About, I've decided to spend some time thinking about the past while standing on the threshold of a new month and the summer season.

Warm weather is a blessing, especially for a person who grew up in Michigan. Perhaps that's why I don't complain about my life in North Carolina and the humid, oppressive summers. Yet it's not easy to live so far from my family. After nine years here, I'm painfully beginning to feel the absence of family gatherings like weddings, baby showers, funerals and holiday parties. It's not very fun spending Sunday afternoons folding laundry instead of cleaning up one of my mother's famous chicken dinners. But I live with my choice to stay and rebuild my life here in the south, and mostly I am incredibly happy and blessed beyond measure. I would have missed meeting the love of my life, would have missed having our son, had I moved back home.

The month of May brought the blessed warm weather, and also a huge slump in sales. There were a total of two. Plush accessories are a seasonal item, a fact I accept. In the absence of processing sales and making custom orders, I've done other things. I kicked off the month on a high note with the celebration of my birthday with new friends. We enjoyed a wonderful bonfire, cookout, and sleep over. My friends call our home "Camp Happy Hoppins". It's a name I'm proud to have, especially because it has the word "happy" in it. We live just outside the city limits so we are allowed to burn. This is a big hit with our friends who live in busy areas under city regulations.

I started and finished two really great books, the first, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Asar Nafisi, and the second, Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert. The first was a very intimate and detailed look at women living in Iran under the regime of its Islamic State. I think this book would be a good introduction to A Thousand Splendid Suns. For a long time, I've avoided learning about the middle east because I was sensitive to the violent images in the news. Somehow I understand so much more because I related to the stories about women. It's hard to connect to the images of war made by men. Committed, on the other hand, was a deep look into the history and concept of western marraige and all the pitfalls one might find there. I couldn't put it down.

I also had a yard sale. It was pretty much a flop despite having customers all througout the morning. I was dissapointed and a little ashamed to sit there while people browsed through my humble offerings.

I started running at the Y instead of on the sidewalks outside. I actually improved my time and strength this way. I followed my runs with a dip in the pool and learned that I can swim easily. After two years of being an ex smoker, the laps came easy. This was a triumph.

I became more involved in blogging. I am thrilled to have met some really wonderful people here.

I planted a small garden. Due to blogging, it is now full of weeds.

I met a new friend at a local resale shop; I intend to develop that connection as much as I can.

Last, I packed all of my food for a 5 day hike on the AT. This is my next big adventure out in the world. I hope to be able to swim in rivers and under waterfalls after long hikes in the highlands. More to come on that...

And if you're still with me after reading all of that, I am going into the month of June with three exciting things to look forward to: a hiking trip in the Shenandoah, the return of my teen, and the process of writing the official patent for Knees and Paws. Needless to say, with all of those things on the horizon I am stopping production of the product to focus on those events. I will still take custom orders, but so far, no takers. Perhaps this is the most foolish thing I've ever done in my life, but I'm tired of having jobs that are so safe and secure that they make me brain dead!

For now, I'll stand in the middle, waiting, enjoying life as it comes.

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