There’s so much content running through my brain as well as content already contained. I’d like to invite you, dear reader, into my world of Busted Flip Flops. We’ll explore observations of life, musings about becoming Mom, Cherry Pearl the snorting pug, weird dreams, recipes, movies, ’80’s nostalgia, picking up strays (the furry and the non), and unfeigned poetry. Watch for weekly upcoming posts as these beach reads begin to build and form like, well, a castle in the sand...
I’ve always been a proponent of vacations. Every vacation I ever took left me with a newfound sense of zen, an inspiration to tweak things in my life, and an altered way of looking at my surroundings.
I just got back from a three week road trip (tour de South) with the boy, who is twelve years old- that splendid minute between childhood and adolescence. He still sleeps with his stuffed animal Snuggles yet he forgot I existed once on our trip when a fellow 21 Pilots fan with long dark hair and a braided choker necklace entered his world.
Besides my glorious trips overseas in my teens and twenties I have not been away from home for this length of time. I can be a cave-dweller. When not at work or grocery shopping at Walmart I stick to my minute radius, often ignoring the slight nag to interact with humanity on a physical level.
Vacations pluck you out of your comfort zone, plop you into the unknown, and enlighten your sense of self. I learned I can keep up with preteens on a floating obstacle course (although I could barely lift my arms the next day). I realized I am pretty good at being a chameleon when it comes to cohabitating with various families and groups of people (although I had to slink away at small intervals to get away from the tiresome chatter I’d rather replace with a good book or staring at the tops of the trees).
I urinated in several outdoor locations without soaking my feet. I got lost in the banjo-echoed boonies without becoming completely inconsolable. I drove through thunderstorms and along winding mountain roads and alongside Live Oaks draped in Spanish moss.
I sang aloud to Boz Scaggs and Jimmy Hendrix and Weezer. I sipped coffee with my brother. I read fairy tales to my nephew. I poured my grandmother a glass of milk. I floated down rivers with friends I hope I have forever.
And all this with my son.
When we pulled into our driveway I was a bit dejected. Reality. Chores. Bills. Work. Homework. But if I can tackle these things with the zen I felt on the mountain, the freedom I felt on the open road, the happiness I felt surrounded by friends and family, then maybe these mundane tasks won’t be so stressful.
“I feel strongly about Saturn” was written in marker on a wooden bed in a cabin in the north Florida woods. It made me think of all the travelers who came there before me. And the dreams of stellar travels to come.
This photograph encapsulates so much of what I remember-and miss- about the ’80s. This is a real photograph (as if you couldn’t tell from the faded color and
hideous retro wallpaper) of me, my bro, and some neighbor kids in the kitchen where I ate many of my meals from 1979 to 1995.
This kitchen went through several make-overs over the decades but this is what it looked like for many of my young childhood years. That damn telephone cord ticked me off more than a few times as it either coiled up in a way even Houdini would have a difficult time unraveling the thing or it choked me or my brother as my mom methodically raced around the kitchen prepping hobo dinners and fried apricot pies.
But there was always a surprise to who may be on the other end of the line when it loudly rang until you picked it up. And during phone conversations there was not really anywhere to go but stretch the cord beyond its limits into the dining room to have a “private” conversation.
And that Tupperware. I don’t know how but I have that olive-green bowl I’m eating from in the photograph resting on a shelf in my own kitchen now. Don’t know what happened to the others. I suppose they are in Tupperware heaven, reuniting with their lids. I take my Greek yogurt to school in mine and the kids look at it as if it’s a relic from an ancient civilization. God knows how many PBAs have mutated inside. But I love it because it reminds me of this time. The ’80s. A time I will forever be nostalgic about.
Look how happy we are eating our ice cream. At first glance I thought it might be cottage cheese because we did eat that with canned pineapple at times but what kids would be that excited about curdled cheese?
My brother was always goofy. I was the overachiever who loved him making me laugh. Though now he is 700 miles away from me I can hear a line from a movie or song from our childhood and burst out in laughter thinking how he would mimic it.
There are hundreds more nostalgic memories I have from those years but right now I’ll just leave it at this one photograph.
Even though most everything in that kitchen is now in a landfill (except the rustic fall scene painting- my Granny has it) that is how the kitchen always looks in my dreams.
What did your childhood kitchen look like? Is there anything you wish you still had from it?
Two weeks into summer break and I already can’t spell certain words. For a moment I almost forgot the word ‘selection’ starts with an ‘s’ not a ‘c’. I guess this is why they have my son doing summer homework.
“How often do you need me to do homework?” he asks.
Given that he has 30 days of math problems, two books to read and answer a series of questions about, and some writing exercises (fun!), I suggest EVERY DAY.
And I have given myself homework as well. Such as reading (I finished a young adult novel in 3 days) and writing (here I am). Of course I will also help him with his homework as long as it’s not algebra.
Brain gets stagnant and dumb if you don’t use it. Or if you watch too much TV.
Everyone deserves a break though. I think everyone should have two weeks off each season to fully enjoy all that nature and other passions have to offer. Alas other types of learning during those times.
But this is America and unfortunately I don’t see this happening. Only in my little dream world where ice cream has no calories and unicorns prance around the streets.
But thank god for summer break. And I am truly sorry for those of you who don’t get one. If it makes you feel any better this school year I had to wipe poo off toilet seats, smell about 35 stinky sneakers every day, observe at least 10 bloody teeth being extracted, act as counselor/therapist/nurse in countless situations, and cried to myself on a few occasions while feeling all the feelings that erupt embarrassing stifled bouts of snot-bubble sobbery at work. And that was just the first three months.
So we’ll both enjoy this break and learn a little something along the way. And for the record I do know how to spell
We bought a new float yesterday. It’s a blow-up surf board with a tiki image in aqua blue, coral, sunshine yellow, and grass green. It smells like fresh plastic-coated fun. It smells like summer vacation.
There’s a slight tug at my stomach, a nagging to make sure to fit everything one can possibly fit in this time off. My boy is 12. Is this his last childhood summer before he starts getting all teen-agy?
I want to relish in every freckled smile. Every swish of a hand in pool water. Every lazy snuggle. Every moment spent lingering over breakfast when during the school year it’s rush rush rush.
I took an assistant teaching job for many reasons, number one being so I could be on my son’s schedule and enjoy some of his days off with him just like my mother and father did with me.
This time is more precious than gold. More fleeting than the speed of a hummingbird’s wing.
I hear the snap of Nerf guns coming from his bedroom and the goofy chatter between him and his good friend. We will take the new float out again today. The five bucks spent on it will more than pay for itself in laughter and memories.
I like looking around the house and seeing the float, the beach towels, the pizza box from last night’s sleepover feast. A myriad of colors representing all that summer has and should stand for.
What do your summer colors look like? If you could accomplish one thing this summer, what would it be?
To the brink of tears over this devilish concept time
yet it is as concrete as mathematical equations
(perhaps a parallel universe where time actually does stand still exists)
Live in the moment we say to our ADD brains
and sometimes we do
These days it does not compute
The clock is spinning and there is a lump in my throat,
heaviness in my heart
from all these sunrises and sunsets seemingly happening within seconds of each other
And I am not getting younger
and neither are you
I don’t like it like this
I need space and freedom and time
time to just sit with you
and watch the tops of the trees
time to breathe
to just be.
image courtesy of pretzellogic.org
For years I’ve had a recurring dream starring Keanu Reeves.
In the dream I am trying to get to him, trying to get his attention. We are usually surrounded by people at some event. They crowd around him like a Kool blockade I can’t quite permeate.
Who are these seemingly so important people keeping him engaged in their uppity conversation when all I want to do is have him glance in my direction so he can be lured by my humble eyes and kind smile?
I wake up feeling failed and lost. Once again, he doesn’t come to me. Doesn’t even look my way. There are no engaging exchange of words between us. No hand on shoulder. No walking off into the sunset.
Until last night. And the one a few months ago.
He finally looked away from his entourage long enough to see me among the bloodsuckers. He smiled at me. We danced like goofy kids underneath a string of glowing white party lights.
Last night we actually talked. We laughed like old friends catching up after too many years apart. And we embraced just the same.
I woke up with a happy, peaceful smile underneath the crisp bed sheets.
Dreams are the brain’s way of disecting our waking problems, make sense of them and problem solve. Although sometimes in their wake we are left feeling more confused.
Maybe Keanu represents my self-confidence. And now I am finally gaining ownership of it. Maybe he represents my fears and how I’ve begun to face and live with/overcome many of them. Or maybe Keanu just represents himself because I’ve had a celebrity crush on him since 1988.
Either way it was so refreshing to wake up feeling the happy ending to a too-long unresolved story. And being hugged by Keanu Reeves was pretty freakin excellent.
Do you have any recurring dreams? What are your interpretations? I’d love to hear your story…
In the quiet
the quiet of the solitary evening
my ears are laid to rest
I do not have the usual music playing
to remind me
to inspire me
Instead there is stillness
a slight hum from the motherboard
a distant helicopter buzzing east
I cup my left ear to hear the sounds in the proposed silence
and they are magnified
almost sound as if a hundred crickets are singing me to sleep
This absence of noise is welcome
my ears need a break
my mind needs space
my heart needs to feel, ache, mend, hope.