Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Up For Sun

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
Carl G. Jung

In my late 20's, my husband and I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. For one year, two months and five days. Yes, it wasn't my favorite place to live. Beautiful, though. Recreational haven summer and winter and my oldest son was born there, but not quite my cup of tea for various reasons that are unimportant to this tale.

For Salt Lake's role in this post is to merely provide a metaphor utilizing their temperature inversion that occurs each winter. That time of year when the ban goes up on wood burning fireplaces and the fog moved in. For months one would awake not only to not see across the street, but no view past the front door as well.

I worked for an oil and gas company and had finally attained an office with a window. Excited at the prospect of having my own place and view, I had to wait months for the air to clear and the view of the Salt Palace across the street to come into focus. Living in this blur became normal, I suppose. Wasn't like you arose each day, noses pushed to the window in anticipation of some one's arrival or the first snowflakes of winter. For you knew out there was just the norm. Life in the fog.

On weekends, my husband and I would drive the 20 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon to ski at Alta or Snowbird. As we began our ascent up the mountain, the fog abated and above the black cloud cloaking our entire city, the sun shone intensely. I'd ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain and see all the way down to the hidden valley, as though a tent cover kept it isolated from the rest of the world. Like Truman's world in The Truman Show. (Probably some metaphor for my stint in Salt Lake in that as well, but another time.)

If we flew to Denver to visit family during the inversions, the return trip to Salt Lake took longer than scheduled. Often we circled above the city, waiting for a break in the clouds so the plane could dip into the abyss and land safely.

I doubt I need to tell you that happiness was Salt Lake City in my rear view mirror. Although 24 years have passed, seems I've returned to living in that fog most of this past year. Only this time the visual effects of Salt Lakes' inversion coveted my brain.

Time has offered a chance for the mist to begin its evaporation process. Lately, I often yearn for a schedule. Substitute teaching doesn't quite provide that as other than Thursdays and Fridays, I'm never certain what days I might work. Or when I may fall into a longer gig for a teacher with a sick child. Most of my sub work is based on request by the teachers, so simply saying I will work these three days and do such and such on the others is not a viable choice right now.

However, the work has provided an easy escape while biding this passage of time. There is no homework so my day is done when the school bell rings. With my youngest son gone, I don't have to keep my energy up to attend baseball games or school events. I can sink into my chair at home and watch Jeopardy and then decide what frozen entree we will eat for dinner.

I do feel that with the promise of spring, the haze is beginning to lessen. I feel certain things awakening in my brain that I haven't felt in some time -- a yearning to put my pen in hand and write something. Anything. My half finished novel has begun a slow chug in my thoughts. Poor Lily, my main character that has been stuck in a wheat field in South Dakota suffering a panic attack most certainly deserves a change of scenery.

For whatever reason, perhaps time is what it takes to find a clearing for oneself when the fogs of life brings a burdensome weight. As this fog dissipates, the heaviness seems to lessen also. I see a few rays of sun seeping through the clouds.

Provides hope in this search for new beginnings. I'm starting a list--a list of things I want to do in my life. Nothing too grand, at first.

1. Buy tomato plants
2. Sign up for a writing conference this summer
3. Make a list of all the places I want to visit in my lifetime
4. Go get a pedicure
5. Get excited about the vacation coming up with my husband. Our celebration of getting all three sons to 18 and college, without any pregnancies or jail time.

Seems a good start. A fairly easy step to fumble my way into the sunshine.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Speed, strength, and the inability to register pain immediately.
Reggie Williams, when asked his greatest strengths as a football player

A long awaited Sunday has arrived. The Green Bay Packers play in the Super Bowl today. Now I know that many of you could truly give a crap about that, but this is the big time at my house.

As many of you know, my parents moved to Green Bay 30 some years ago. I drove my kids up north every summer to stay for a few weeks and most often we hit the summer training camp for the Packers. We'd spend hours at Lambeau Field, watching the players.

During Packer Camp, the players walk with the kids, ride their bikes, and sign endless autographs. Bleachers are set up beside the outdoor practice field and rarely a seat opens. Lots of standing and through the years we watched the likes of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Reggie White, Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Gilbert Brown, James Lofton, Ty Detmer, William Henderson, and a mass of other men that took the time to thrill my young boys.

I remember many a moment where a very large player would reach over the crowd of adults or older kids to take up my young son's football to pen his name. I remember when Robert Brooks was engulfed in a sea of supporters shouting his name for an autograph. My oldest, Jacob, said, "Mr. Brooks, may I have your autograph?" The player stopped and reached back and signed Jacob's Wheaties box.

Perhaps one of the most memorable signings occured with a 5 year old Jordan, now 22. After Ty Detmer handed him back his autograph book, Jordan burst into tears. My mom and I gathered around him, worried as to the problem. "They're all writing in cursive," Jordan cried.

Downstairs at the lake house, youngest son Ian put together a collection of Packer memorabilia. Jerseys, newspaper clippings my mom sent him. The signed footballs and helmets. When he lived at home, each weekend he'd put the Packer banner next to the team they played that week. If it wasn't going well, he'd put the other team's banner into a closet and shut the door.

Today, we have a big pot of beer brats cooking.

Expecting a crowd of 10. Jacob's searching Austin for cheese curds. We've got potato chips and French Onion dip. Potato skins. Bob and I are deciding which jersey we'll pull off the wall to support the team.

Two things will be missing in this quest for Super Bowl greatness - Jordan and Ian. Jordan's up in Montana attending a job fair and that Ian boy, the creator of our basement decorum, is at the University of Alabama. Doesn't seem right that he can't be here with us today, but we plan to Skype him in for a little bit of time. Frequent calls to my mom in Green Bay and my brother, Jordan, in Sheboygan will have the phone lines rattling.

You are hereby welcomed to The Texas Green Bay Hall of Fame.
(We have no idea how that speed sign got there.)

To all you Steeler fans out there, Sorry. Just gotta believe about the Pack. Come join us in the Texas Packer Hall of Fame.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everybody.


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