Thursday, June 30, 2005

From the Palace

"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." Proverbs 30:24-28

I've been reading a chapter from the book of Proverbs every morning for several years now. I don't remember when or why I started doing it; it's another of those routines I fell into: a chapter of Proverbs, a Psalm or two, a few passages from the Old Testament, and an epistle or at least a portion of one. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, which means I read two chapters on the last day of months that have only thirty days. The above verses are the words of Agur the son of Jakeh, according to my Bible, and it seems fairly obvious that Agur was an observer of nature (including human nature, judging from some of the other things he wrote). There is much to be learned from observation, discussion, reflection, and the recording of all of those. The noise and the ridiculously fast pace of our culture draw us away from the best. Someone should write a book about this. But who'd take the time to read it?

Last night we took the girls to see Herbie Fully Loaded, stopping first at the dollar store for movie snacks. I hadn't eaten a Chunky in years; it was as good as I remembered. Lizzie enjoyed the show, but had a harder time staying focused than when we saw The Polar Express. It was her first time in a movie theater, and she was so filled with wonder the whole time, her little face beaming with pleasure, that I told Tim when we left just to drop me off at the police station so I could turn myself in for neglect.

My IQ score was a liitle better today; if it weren't for visual perception I'd be a genius. If I wanted to, I could probably buy a book of visual perception exercises and get in a little practice. If I wanted to.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Maiden Voyage

"On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king." Esther 6:1

Last night was my first good night of sleep for quite some time. First there was the Denver trip--I never sleep without Tim--then there was the full moon and after that it just seemed I was in the habit of not sleeping, of staying awake wondering about things or reliving events and conversations of the day. I have found that during the times of my life that I journal, my mind does not get as clogged with thoughts. If I write something down, it seems to free up space in my mind and I can think more clearly. Much like making lists, I guess. If you write down things you need to do or things you need to buy at the grocery store, you don't have to hold those things in your mind; you've found another way to store them.

Anyway, this morning I was reading in Esther and I was thinking of chronicling and how the incident with Mordecai was no longer stored in the forefront of the king's mind but was stored in another form--the palace chronicles--and coming from a family of writers I know how important it is that thoughts, feelings, and events be chronicled. That was when it came to me that my mind is just way too full right now and I started a shopping list with "notebooks" at the top of it. I used to fill yellow legal pads full and now I buy spiral-bound college ruled notebooks. But the thing is, I've grown accustomed in the last few years to composing on a computer and it just seemed to make sense to start a weblog of my own. Having not journaled for some time or even posted at discussion boards, I've pretty much let my writing skills get rusty and I'm lousy at organization of thoughts and ideas. Therefore this first post--or maiden voyage--is just a listing of sorts-- thoughts I had yesterday and themes I may want to revisit and flesh out later.

I just finished a book about bees that sparked some thoughts and ideas that I'd really like to return to and delve into more deeply, but I didn't write them down and now I can't remember all of them. There is much to be learned from studying a beehive: principles of communication, of community, of work. Now I'm reading Tim Russert's book about his relationship with his dad, making notes as I read. He writes some good things about community, family, respect, work ethic.

I was talking to Angela earlier today, telling her that we still haven't fallen into a summer routine, even though June is mostly over. Probably because we went to Florida for a week, then we had family reunions, then I went to Denver for a week, Hannah was at cheerleader camp, then we had houseguests. So I'm looking forward to what July has in store for us in the way of routine. Try as I might--so I've quit trying--I am never able to establish a summer routine and I've realized it's not even something I want to do. Summer is about being carefree, visits to the farmer's market, shorts and swimsuits and flip-flops. Some summers, our routine is going to Sonic three nights a week, some years renting movies in Collins, other years swimming three or four times a day. This may just turn out to be the summer of the IQ test, though. I've started taking an online IQ test every day or so. I'm forty now, and I have to do things to stay mentally sharp, I guess. Detsie always said that's why she did word puzzles--that when you get older you have to work hard at exercising your brain or you'll lose it. The IQ tests are mostly fun, but I'm not sure how reliable they are.

I have started doing my shopping in Seminary as often as I can when we have school vacations. I've grown fond of taking my time in the dollar store and grocery store. I have a journal entry about it somewhere that I'll post here if I can find it. I like to go in Bryant's and listen to the people in the deli line. Yesterday I went in at 12:30 and the store was empty except for employees, a toy vendor, and me. I asked the checkout lady what the deal was and she told me everyone was at home watching the stories--soap operas. She said the crowd starts to form at the deli as early as 9:30 so they can get back home and get settled before the stories come on.

Yesterday I picked up a couple of newspapers outside of Bryant's. I seldom ever read the paper, but there was a headline about blueberry farming in Mississippi and I thought Tim might be interested. There was also a story about the Killen trial and sentencing. The Killen case came up Sunday night at a family gathering at Angela's. Pat and Lacie were here visiting and Daddy brought up the time we had our Klan encounter. I may write about it here sometime because I don't know that I've ever written in detail about that, yet it is a major event of my childhood. A strong memory. Strong. In discussing it, we found that we don't quite agree on all the details. Angela thinks we first saw them at the Baptist bridge; I am certain they turned off Hwy. 80 when we were between Mr. Gilbert's and Mrs. Leach's houses. The more we discussed, the less we could agree on where they'd burned the cross, etc. Then Angela decided to get really funny and take a whole lot of poetic license in her retelling (since we couldn't agree on details anyway). In her version, she cast herself as the heroine of the piece and recited a rousing (fictitious) speech she'd given to the white-sheeted men and in her fantasy they all repented, slinking away back home with their tails between their legs. I took my own turn then, recalling my own speech which began, "We hold these truths to be self-evident. . ." But the real truth is that we ran screaming down the road with the sounds of their laughter in our ears. I was four years old, I think, or maybe five, but I've never forgotten it. What is self-evident is that they were despicable.

We did finally get some rain here last night. A real gully washer it was, too. I'd been walking around the yard every day, dragging water hoses around to the parched shrubs and flowers. The grass was getting crunchy and I was getting pretty upset because this year Tim bought me a push mower--we'd hired a lawn service the last few years--which, on top of being great exercise, takes me back to all those years I cut grass at home and at Detsie's. Cutting grass with a push mower is just something everybody needs to do.