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Cheers July 17, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

The alarm clock went off extra early this morning, as my art director husband has a photo shoot, and you know how art directors and photographers feel about light and where the sun needs to be in the sky for a particular shot.

I wondered who had been hired for this shoot, and I thought probably Kevin, who’s local, and my silly brain began to recall the cheer of the Lady of the Lake’s Laker Girls in Spamalot!, when Arthur was recruiting he who would be Gallahad. “Who is next to enlist? Kevin! Kevin!” No, that’s not right, I thought. But it’s something that sounds like Kevin . . . Dennis.

I couldn’t believe that this was what was going through my brain at 5 a.m. Seriously.

But that got me to thinking about cheerleaders and how Mali, in her recent post, “Things about America Kiwis don’t understand,” included them in her bulleted list, a list filled with many things that I, as an American, don’t understand either, cheerleaders in fact being one of those things.

In high school, I couldn’t imagine being a cheerleader. I’m an introvert, and the type of introvert I am could not possibly draw attention to herself in this look-at-me manner. This is compounded by the fact that I can’t imagine myself yelling stupid rhymes at the top of my voice. Ooops, did I say stupid? My bad.

I’m sure cheerleading is great exercise.

In high school I was aware of the social implications of being a cheerleader (popular!), and no doubt I had preconceived ideas about who they were, the way all of us had and still do have a lot of preconceived ideas about who other people are. I’ve been surprised, in my adulthood, to discover how nice some—well, most, actually—of these women are. They probably were in high school too, but systems weren’t really in place to figure that out, and an introvert really isn’t putting herself out there to discover these things.

(On the flip side, the quiet of introverts is often perceived as snobbery, when it is primarily a complete inability to initiate conversation.)

Now, when I see who’s good friends with whom back in my hometown, it warms my heart. Deep friendships have formed that cross social lines never crossed in high school.

But I digress.

When I was younger and more idealistic and living near/in our nation’s capital, I attended my share of rallies to support causes. It felt good to help swell the ranks, to make a statement in numbers even if no actual difference could be made by such gatherings. But what eventually wore me down, what eventually made me think, “I can’t do this anymore,” was all the rhyme screaming, all the call and response, all the chants. To me—and no offense meant to those of you who actually still participate in this—this behavior makes intelligent people with perfectly reasonable ideas look like idiots. “Can you hear yourselves?” I want to yell, and might, if I weren’t afraid they’d just yell back in unison, possibly finding a quick rhyme for yourselves.

So here I am, alone, quietly occupying my office.

Church, obviously, is out, too. I don’t like being told to say this, while everyone else says this too, all at the same time. I am immediately rebellious.

Our high school French teacher once assigned us to write a cheer in French and then to read/perform this cheer in front of the class. You can just imagine my enthusiasm for this exercise. The Sunday before it was due—during church, in fact—another cynical friend and I wrote this, because the teacher never said we had to cheer for sports:

M  A  N  G  E  R!

C’est mon passe-temps favori!

Je mange tous le jour!

Je mange tous la nuit!

Quand je veux la nourriture

Je la veux tout de suite!*

To this day, I’m all about the food and drink. Cheers!

*Please forgive grammatical errors. And stop me if you’ve heard this.

Evelyn July 13, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Evelyn is two weeks old today, which is ten days older than expected.

I first saw her at the yard sale, sleeping snugly slung to her mother. The next day, I saw her asleep in her crib. She awoke, but her eyes didn’t open.

She joins the ease of little girls who surround me here: Emily, Edith, and Eugenia. Evelyn.

They light up the summer like fireflies.

But their emphatic, exquisite, energetic charm must be ephemeral, like mayflies. Mustn’t it?

Drink deeply.

Yard Sale July 11, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Last weekend I participated in my first-ever yard sale. Months ago, Lynda and Laura and Martha and Deb and I had decided that we would set up shop on the day of the annual townwide sale, figuring that together we would have enough stuff. Lynda, who had the most stuff and was the most motivated, also has the best yard: flat with two trees to provide shade.

Because I’d had to go through the process of emptying the basement and first floor of my barn in the spring, I’d already done the bulk of the work in preparing for this event. As time passed, I realized I was not going to be able to go through my attic too, but I figured that if this sale went well, I could get through the attic in time for next year’s sale.

There were a couple of competing philosophies going into this. Some participants were of the make-money camp. Others were of the get-rid-of-this-now camp. The longer I spent sorting and trying to price stuff, the more I fell into the latter camp.

Clearly, unless one has some amazing in-demand stuff, one is not going to make, say, even close to minimum wage when considering the work involved. In my case, nowhere near. It’s best to think of any cash coming in as very slightly offsetting work that needed to be done anyway. And if someone else takes an object away, I don’t have to deal with it anymore.

Laura, Deb, and I set up at Lynda’s, and Martha was directly across the street.

We were prepared for the early birds to sweep in and then for things to get slow. In fact, the opposite happened.

I sold things I thought would never go. I didn’t sell things that I thought would go right away. I was perfectly willing to haggle and did.

I only purchased three items.

It rained, a little, but the trees protected us.

After the sale, Martha, who works for the food cupboard, decided what could be donated. We left a pile of things marked “free” on the sidewalk. The majority of that stuff went.

Before the sale, I had given some things away to neighborhood kids. And an artist. And my sister.

Right after the sale, I was able to barter some unsold items for a small painting at an art party.

On Monday I found an artist who paints on furniture who was willing to take my old wooden ironing board.

And now I have to figure out what to do with stuff that didn’t sell. Gag gifts? Serious gifts? Donate? Consign? Take to the dump? Quietly abandon in others’ homes like so many holiday ornaments? Keep for the next yard sale?

Of course, according to Lynda, there will be no next yard sale.

In this classic Fat Red Ant photo, father and son purchase Laura’s never-used breakfast sandwich maker, which toasts English muffins, poaches an egg, and warms Canadian bacon, all at the same time! A steal at $5! (Within hours, its first use was documented photojournalistically on Facebook.)