Weather Weary, Weather Wary


Arkadelphia, Arkansas (March 1, 1997)
National Weather Service:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/?n=tor030197.htm

I am not one of those people who will stand at a window and marvel at the majesty of God or the power of nature during a thunderstorm. Oh, no… not me. Au contraire. I hate the things. No, “hate” is not too strong a word for how I feel. I really, truly loathe them… and I fear them. Greatly. Then again, growing up they were not much of an issue.

Oh, everyone has seen footage of storm front rolling over the Serengeti. We had some pretty impressive storms but tornadoes were never a threat. Hurricanes were never a threat. Earthquakes? Sure. My high school sat on the edge of a massive fault line and within sight of two volcanoes. Truthfully, I never gave that reality much thought. “It is what it is.” was my feeling on the matter. I know. My attitude was all very Kenyan… Hakuna Matata. (Yes, it’s a real phrase. It was not coined by The Lion King writers. Disney gets no royalties for that one.)

The storms that ravage this part of the USA, especially in the spring months, are bloody insane.

One week ago, on April 19, 2011, it began to storm. Violently. There has been a little calm here and there… mornings of eerie quiet warmth as the humidity climbed higher and higher eventually reaching a breaking point amid ideal storm conditions. Tornado warnings have been prevalent. We have been forced to seek shelter more than once. Over and over again I have piled myself, a teenager, an 11-year old and a dog into a closet (a sizeable one) and we have waited.

We have been safe. For this, we are truly grateful. Others (Prayers, this eve, for the small town of Vilonia, AR.) have not been so lucky.

I am weary.

I am also wary… with good reason. I remember.

Most people laugh or chuckle when I tell them I live in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The name amuses them. I get it. There was a day, however… when most of the country (USA) heard of Arkadelphia. On March 1, 1997 Arkadelphia was almost obliterated by an immense F4 tornado. I was here. Well, I lived here at the time. That particular day my then husband and then 2 year old child where visiting my parents in Little Rock, Arkansas at a home they were living in for just a couple months between retiring from missionary service in Kenya and going to work at the corporate headquarters, International Mission Board, in Richmond, VA. We were away from Arkadelphia but we weren’t exactly safe. Word that Arkadelphia took a direct hit reached us just as the sirens began to blare. That other F4 tornado on the map? The one in Little Rock? It hit mere blocks from our location… taking out homes and businesses. What was supposed to be an afternoon visit with my parents turned into a three day stay. Arkadelphia was cut off. Only emergency personnel were allowed into the area. The town was on every major news channel in the country.

We were safe. Family was safe. For that we were truly grateful. Again, others were not so lucky.

It is predicted that tonight will bring a “significant threat” for developing tornados. Storm number one developed on top of us around 3:30pm. It has been eerily calm since. I now hear thunder.The closet has been stocked with water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, etc.

We are as prepared as we can be. For this home we are grateful. We hope we are lucky… again.

“After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul's indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.” ~William R. Alger

Triple D


The Sea King’s Wooing, William Bell Scott, 1858

It ain’t your average bra size. In fact, it has nothing to do with bra size… gutter brain.

The three Ds are the once unconscious way I used to, as a newly single woman in her 30s, rate the various men that crossed my path… Do-able. Date-able. Don’t.

Yeah.

My cognizant awareness of this method took place after a friend, knowing that I found a certain mutual acquaintance attractive, asked why I simply didn’t ask him out. My answer was simple: “Oh, he’s do-able but he’s not date-able.” It shocked her. It definitely surprised me.

It goes a little something like this…

Do-able
Yeah, you’re hot. (You don’t have to be “traditionally” hot either… just hot to me.) I’ll admire. I might admire a lot. I could even possibly consider hopping in the sack with you. But something about you makes dating an impossibility. Maybe you hate kids. Maybe you can’t get your act together. Maybe I’m fully aware of your recreational drug habit. It could be a myriad of traits that make you ineligible for relationship status… but your still do-able, hot stuff.

Date-able
You have the potential to be the right guy. I can’t even begin to explain how rare it is that this occurs. Even when it does… staying here is difficult. Hey! I’m picky. A lot of guys transition from Date-able to Do-able as I get to know them. And, more rarely, from Date-able to Don’t. Most common is the transference from Date-able to the newly adopted Dude.

Don’t
Oh, hell no. Don’t even try and don’t make me list the reasons why.

And… for the purposes of friendship, added for this post, a fourth:

Dude
I have a lot of dude friends. Always have. Hello? Tomboy. Dudes tend to be less melodramatic. I like that.

“It is the woman who chooses the man who will choose her.”
Paul Géraldy, French Poet

Gilderoy Lockhart and the Dancing Bows


Photo by David Standridge via Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

“God comes to us in theater in the way we communicate with each other, whether it be a symphony orchestra, or a wonderful ballet, or a beautiful painting, or a play. It's a way of expressing our humanity.” ~Julie Harris

I went to the symphony for the first time on Saturday.

In a word: Mesmerizing.

Despite my penchant for all things rock-and-roll, I have always enjoyed (sometimes secretly) classical music; however, my education on the subject was limited to Looney Tunes and movie soundtracks. I will never forget hearing Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” for the first time in the movie ‘Platoon’. Haunting. Beautiful. The summer I turned thirteen, I remember my father’s insistence that we visit the home of Mozart while on a stopover in Vienna, Austria. It confused me. I had never known my father to be interested in classical music; but, I was taking piano lessons at the time. It makes sense now. Later in my life I would be glad we had made this stop, he claimed. He was right. Of course he was right. My upbringing in Kenya allowed for much exposure to culture… just not classical culture.

After high school I attended a fairly small, Christian, liberal arts university… with an amazing music program. I was an English major. So, while I attended a few on campus performances here and there, that particular part of university life wasn’t exactly my scene. My cousin, on the other hand, who attended the symphony with me, is an amazing flautist… and vocalist. She attended the same university. Her major? Yep. Music. I know she enjoyed the performance, but I think she really enjoyed watching my reaction.

I loved the music. Then again, I knew I would… despite never hearing any of the pieces previously:

Menuet Antique by RAVEL
Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 (aka: Linz Symphony) by MOZART
Pictures at an Exhibition by MUSSORGSKY (orchestrated by RAVEL)

You should look them up, especially “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and give them a listen. There were, however, two things I found as fascinating, if not slightly more so, than the music:

(1) Watching the rise and fall and sweep of the bows as they glided across the strings was hypnotizing. Despite each being wielded by a different ridiculously talented human hand, the seemingly choreographed movements were nothing short of spectacular. Dancing bows… performing the most elegant ballet. Hypnotic.

(2) The conductor for Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, is amazing. A-m-a-z-i-n-g! He didn’t merely conduct. He educated the audience about the history of each piece and teased us with snippets from each… pointing out intriguing bits for which we should be listening. But, when he did conduct… DAMN! He was animated and spellbinding and clearly passionate about the music and his musicians. My cousin wants to play for him. I can’t blame her. Plus, and I had to point this out to my cousin post-symphony for fear of her (God bless you, luv.) Snow White high on crack laugh… He looks like Gilderoy Lockhart. He even has a wand and most excellent hair.

I know. I brought Harry Potter into my symphony experience. Considering the masterful John Williams brilliantly brought the symphony into my Harry Potter experience… Are you surprised?


P.S. We both greeted the younger couple that sat to my right… perhaps because, age wise, we were in a stark minority together. During the intermission my cousin, who is more than a little geeky like me, pointed out that one of them was wearing a Paramore shirt and she was carrying a Spiderman tote bag… yet, they were still at the symphony. “I know!” I exclaimed. “They’re our people!”

Feet


Oh mercy, I just posted my little piggy toes on the internet.

“Come, and trip it as ye go,
On the light fantastick toe.”
~John Milton, L’Allegro


I have small feet. No, really. I have ridiculously small feet compared to my height. At 5’6” I should have a larger foot. I don’t. I wear a woman’s size 7 (American). There are times, courtesy of the foot spreading phenomenon born out of pregnancy, where I push into a size 8. It’s rare. It all depends on the shoe. Or… I wear a solid boy’s size 6... 6 ½. Boy’s flip-flops are cheaper. So are the snow boots. I know.

My mother is 5’4”. She wears the same size shoe.
My cousin is shorter than my mom. Her foot is bigger than mine.
I’m the tallest woman in my office. I have the smallest foot.
You get the idea.

I also have nubby little pinky toes.
They amuse my children greatly.

Sidebar: I have a former sister-in-law who shares the same afflictions of small feet and nubby toes. In truth, her foot size is likely a teeny tiny bit smaller than mine. It’s good to not be alone.

As the mother of boys, my foot became the first “Look! My feet are the same size as mom’s!” growth measuring device. It was the summer of 2009 when I realized that, when buying new shoes for Big K (age 14 at the time), I could try the pair on my feet and be assured that they would fit him. He’s always been a little on the smaller side than most of his classmates so it was a milestone for him. Now, almost two years later, his foot is substantially larger and he is, quite literally, centimeters from finally passing me in height. The distance can no longer be measured in inches. Trust me when I say that he slides up next to me to compare… Every. Single. Day.

Little K, however, is one of the biggest kids in his class. He and Big K are five years apart in age but it was only one year later, in the summer of 2010, that Little K’s feet equaled mine in size. Woo. There was much rejoicing… on his behalf. I rolled my eyes. I then sent a Facebook message to the aforementioned former sister-in-law to warn her. Comparisons would be made when she was next visited. Mocking was inevitable.

Little K now comes up to my chin. He will be eleven this month. Big K is preparing himself for the day when his little brother becomes his bigger little brother. It’ll happen.

Until that time comes, they continue to mock my small feet and my nubby toes. The latest game? Shoving a bare foot in my face and wiggling that pinky toe independently from the rest of the toes on that foot. They can both do it. I can’t. My nubby toe doesn’t have that freedom. It’s useless. Boo.

They laugh at it.
Feet… they are worthy of mirth.

Related:
I abhor socks.
Boots are sexy.
Slippers are evil.
I always need more flip-flops.
Shoes are worn due to societal expectation…
… and sometimes thorns.


Deep End


I jumped.
No life preserver.
No safety line.
Head first.
Two feet forward.
Whatever.
You get it.

Certain things can only be held at arms length… or 10 foot pole length… or across the country length… for so long. I’m in uncharted deep water; but, the initial flailing has waned. The panic is gone. I’m treading in calm waters… riding the ripple effects of my plunge.

Relieved.

Curious.

Peaceful.

“Sometimes you find your destiny on the road you took to avoid it.” ~The International, Film (2009)

Day Ten: TERRIFIED



ONE CONFESSION
I want to make it through the lonely to the other side.
I’m terrified that will never happen. I’m equally terrified it will.

Confession & title drawn from the song 'Terrified' by Katharine McPhee with Zachary Levi.

“Who knows what true loneliness is—not the conventional word, but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. Now and then a fatal conjunction of events may lift the veil for an instant. For an instant only. No human being could bear a steady view of moral solitude without going mad.” ~Joseph Conrad

Find days one through nine at the following:



I now bid adieu to the 10-Day Meme. And, I thank you for stopping round for a quick read.


Day Nine: Images

“In their splendor, images effect a very simple communion of souls.” ~Gaston Bachelard

Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.
Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)Day Seven: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two images that describe your life right now, and why.
Day Ten: One confession.

TWO IMAGES THAT DESCRIBE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW

TWO:























Mom,
… how come this is this?
… why is that that?
… is black still your favorite color?
… why do people only care about Mario?
… am I the only one who gets Luigi?
… can I have such and such.
… will you rub my back?
… are you playing Angry Birds again?
… can I use that porta-potty over there?
... what is for dinner?
… are you listening to me?
… how come high school is all drama?
… why do you like Cyclops (X-Men) so much?
… can we keep it?
… will you DVR the Kids’ Choice Awards?
… how come you don’t like yellow?
… is it supposed to rain?
… why do you think Peter Parker is a tool?
… what is a “tool”?
… will you make your cookies?
… do you play the Wii when we are gone?
… who’s texting you?
… would you date “Chuck”?
… can we have Chinese?
… what would your life be like without me?
… do I have to?
… why are farts so funny?
… how come you are laughing?

ONE:




















It’s Spring! I bask in the sun. I bide my time in its warmth. Someday the wind will come and blow me away from this stagnation.


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