Sunday, July 26, 2009

Random Acts of Rudeness

So, I'm walking my dog this morning, in my neighborhood, where I always do. I have my plastic bag in hand. I'm one of the good ones, who cleans up after my dog.

O'Neill does his business in the yard next door. I'm standing there, bag in hand, waiting for him to finish, when some man I've never seen before comes out on the porch and yells, "You better pick that up!" I'm thinking the next door neighbor got a boyfriend and he's a rude old fart, but I'm nice, I wave my bag and say, "I always do."

Now, what I also always do is bag up the poop, then leave it curbside and pick it up on my way home. I don't see the sense in carrying the stinky bag with me for the rest of the walk. The guy comes running out again and yells, "And take the bag with you!" I felt ridiculous having a yelling conversation across a yard, but I didn't want him yelling up the street after me, so I yelled back, "I'll pick it up on the way home." I ended up having to scream it three times because he must also be deaf. Then he finally waved me off and I finished walking my dog.

So, after I got back home, I couldn't quite just let it go. So, I left O'Neill at home and walked over and rang the doorbell. Turns out the guy is house-sitting and that my neighbor had been upset at some point because someone left a bag of poop in her yard and didn't pick it up. I wish I had been able to keep my cool more and get through. I did tell him that his behavior was rude and unnecessary and clarify that I always clean up after my dog. He didn't quite apologize, other than being worried that I would tell the house-owner that he had offended me. What I couldn't get across, though, was that yelling at random strangers in the street is no way to deal with a problem.

I'm wondering what makes a person think that storming out on your porch and yelling at people is the solution to anything. I wasn't even guilty of what I was accused of and my dander was up enough to want to enact violence on his person (I said "want to"--I've never actually enacted violence on anyone). He was behaving like that stereotypical grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. He didn't know me. It wasn't even his lawn. It was just a knee-jerk, rude reaction that will not solve the problem.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought you were supposed to *talk* to people when you have issues: directly and calmly. I thought we were grownups.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Berry Picking: Small Pleasures

I took my husband, my daughters and a friend berry picking today. It was a perfect morning of small pleasures. The bigger daughter and her friend picked like mad. They're such little capitalists. Within minutes of beginning, they had plans to make jam and smoothies and muffins to sell. They set goals for how quickly they would fill their bucket.

My husband could reach the tall branches and gathered by the handfuls and slipped his blueberries into the girls' bucket, to help them reach their goal all the faster.

The littlest one (age 2), stretched to reach the lowest branches. We'd pull them down and hold them for her and she'd pinch her tiny fingers and tug so carefully and drop her treasure in the bucket (or maybe in her mouth, with a wicked grin to follow). She was so proud when she found a big one and so quickly learned which ones were blue enough.

And me? I picked a little. I watched a lot.

It was a morning of images that will stay etched in the sunnier patches of my mind to revisit on cloudier days.

(For any locals who wants to check it out: It's called Cedar Grove Blueberry Farm, on N86, about 15 miles north of Hillsoborough. They had a swingset for distractions when little ones got bored, lots of shade, buckets you could use if you didn't bring one and free ice water. It really was great.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wakes and Reunions

The oddest thing about all this has been how much time I've spent laughing with people I don't normally even see.

In the past few days, we've attended a visitation, a funeral, a funeral reception, a family-only vistitation, and two high school reunion events.

Funeral events and reunion events are a lot alike. You talk to a lot of people that you haven't seen for a long time, some that you don't remember that well. The conversations are all about memories. Your spouse wants to be there to support you, but is probably half-nervous and half-bored all the time. Your children run around wild, not really knowing or understanding what is going on or just giving in to their childish escapist abilities. You laugh more than you expect to and cry at odd moments.

This must be what they mean when they talk about an emotional roller coaster because I think I'm fine then my stomach drops out again. I'm distracted by the view, then remember why I'm up there just before I fall.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Goodbye, Fred

I've been working on how to say this for a few days now and I still don't know.

My father-in-law died Wednesday morning.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Green Eyed Monster

I'm very jealous right now. A friend of mine in my writing group has gotten her novel published. Really published. By a publisher. Like, where they paid her, and she'll do readings in book stores.


Really, you should check it out. I haven't read this yet, but I am reading what she's writing now and I can tell you that she is fabulous. I'll be buying it at one of her first readings.

So, I am happy for her. Really and sincerely.

And, also, really and sincerely I am jealous. I want to be a writer. I've *always* wanted to be a writer, like since I was 6 and realized that people do that as a job. But I know that wanting to "be a writer" as in make your living from your writing is kind of like wanting to be a rock star or a professional baseball player. It does happen. For a very few, very talented people who are also very lucky.

Maybe someday that will be me, too.

But for now: color me green.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm not good at relaxing

My husband was at gaming. My older daughter was visiting the bio-Dad. My younger daughter was napping. Even the dog was just mellowly hanging out in the window leaving nose prints.

So, did I sit down, put my feet up and eat bonbons? Did I read a book, play a videogame?


I worked out. I cleaned off the top of the piano and reorganized it. I continued my reorganization of the livingroom shelves. I made strawberry muffins. I did laundry. I worked on my novel (for all the good it did me: no luck, still stuck, just like the duck in the muck).

What makes me such a compulsive do-er? Why can't I just sit down until I'm exhausted?