“Wheeeee!” It’s a mouse. And it’s happy because spring is almost here, so it can forage through grass and dig in the softened mud for seeds. Yay spring!
When I was in grade school, my teachers sat the new kids next to me or encouraged me to befriend them. I remember Charlene in first grade. She was of Latin American descent and rather shy. We pal’d around for a few months until she found her place in class and friends that lived closer to her. In third grade it was Theresa from Canada. I really liked her. She had my mother’s Canadian accent (yes, there is a slight accent) and already knew how to write cursive. We played together on the playground until she finally moved away later that year. In fifth grade, my teacher hooked me up with Cheryl. By this time I was more mobile and could go to Cheryl’s house to hang out. But in the end she was more rebellious than me (Haha, like I was even close to being rebellious! NOT!) so I felt uncomfortable hanging with her.
Anyway, I tell this story to remind myself that there was a time when I was the friendly one, the first person people were attracted to because of something about me that allowed them to feel comfortable. Unfortunately, today, that isn’t the case. Somewhere along the journey of life I stopped being openly friendly. Somewhere along the journey of life I learned to hold my friendship back until I knew I could trust the person I was meeting or associating with to return the favor. Somehow, I set up walls and began to wait for the other person to make the first move, extend the first signs of friendship, or show any sort of interest in talking to me. I ended up waiting for friendships to happen to me.
This year I became aware that I have even extended this “waiting” to my own children. They don’t live with me, so I wait for them to contact me in order to initiate any kind of dialogue. Waiting has become so second nature to me that I don’t think much about it. But when my birthday came and went and no one remembered it, I started thinking about why that was so. That’s when I began to see that maybe it’s because I don’t reach out to them first at other times. Thanksgiving came and my son in Boston was the first to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. I realized that had he not, I may not have said anything to him! Then the Christmas season arrived and other people would initiate the “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” greetings. It wasn’t until Christmas morning when someone on Twitter, someone I hardly know, sent me a Christmas greeting that finally woke me up to how poorly I am at making/being friends. So I started thinking, if someone I hardly know can send me a Christmas tweet, why couldn’t I do the same to others?
That’s when I determined that I would stop waiting for others to make the first move. I would be the first to be kind. And so, my 2012 mantra was born.
BE FIRST TO BE KIND.
Be first to tell someone they inspire you or that they look good or that you like [fill in blank] about them. Be first to send out birthday cards (something I don’t do), send an email just because, send out holiday cards. Be first to wish someone a happy birthday, a happy Mother’s day, a happy [whatever holiday]. Just Be First. To Be Kind.
This is my goal for 2012.
You wouldn’t expect to find a Krishna temple in the midst of Mormon country, now, would you? But here it is and it is beautiful and peaceful. I have long since left my Mormon heritage and journeyed a bit through some of the Eastern religions/philosophies, and although I do not ascribe to any religion and have fashioned my own spiritual philosophies (play well with others, do not run with scissors), I love finding beautiful places of worship.
I first discovered Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple (link takes you to their photo gallery where you will find stunning photographs of this temple) when I visited my parents in 2004 for their 50th Wedding Anniversary. I entered the temple and was greeted by a very quiet, but helpful person who gave me a short tour. Upstairs they have a meeting room where I sat and meditated for a while. It is a beautiful place. The next time I visited my parents in 2009, I had to go again and that’s when I took this photo.
When I think of my upbringing in Mormonism, I think of being taught that Mormonism is the ONLY true religion and everyone else is deceived. I was discouraged to even look at any other religion, so to find the Krishna Temple in rural, Mormon-dominated territory with MY DAD speaking highly of it tells me that the religion I left has changed to some degree. And that makes me happy.
Imagine six wild children running in and around this tiny brick house! I loved this house. I loved the porch where I sat and watched thunderstorms roll through and saw the rain pour down and yet I kept dry. I loved the living room chandelier and the fireplace and the high ceilings and the worn, wood floors; the living room where I watched my mother lay out fabric and pin crisp patterns to it and cut out a soon-to-be new dress. I loved the pantry just off the kitchen with plenty of cupboard space and its roll-out bins for flour—and for a child hiding in a game of hide-and-seek. I loved the bedroom where I sneaked mandarin oranges from the pantry and hid them on the windowsill behind the curtains only to have my mother, outside in the garden, discover me. I loved the tiny bedroom closet where I laid down pillows and blankets and turned out the light so that it was pitch black and slept curled up and happy.
Outside I loved the Catalpa tree on the right where we installed a swing for summer fun. I loved the lilac bushes in the back, with a hollowed out center where I hid when I wanted to get away from all the inside rambunctiousness. I loved the back yard with the lawn and garden and rocky, weedy expanse that opened up to every other neighbor’s back yard. We called it the short cut; the short cut to the park, to Bright Spot—the neighborhood hamburger stand—to Firestone Tires where we played on the old tire hill. I loved the old barn/garage that my dad dusted with saw wood to keep down the dirt we kids tracked into the house because we loved playing in it.
I loved the outside back bedroom that fulfilled multiple functions throughout our time there; my uncle’s bedroom as he went to college, my mother’s chinchilla room, storage, my first kiss (I was seven). I loved scampering up the tree in the back beside the house and climbing onto the roof and gently tiptoeing up to the very top (so my mother wouldn’t hear me on the roof) and feeling like I owned my neighborhood, the community, the world.
Childhood is a magical time where the world is new and everything is impressionable. I loved my childhood home. I hope my children loved theirs.
Patience. It took me a year to find the perfect piece. I wanted a pot rack so badly but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it and it had to be simple to assemble. I wanted it to look like it had been crafted professionally, which meant not any piece would do. It had to have substance to it and it had to fit my personality.
I hunted through my favorite Goodwill stores weekly, religiously. Initially, I had in mind a small, wooden ladder attached to the wall and the pots would hang from the steps. I thought that would be perfect; creative and funky. But it had to be the right ladder. I never found a ladder—ever. Not even close. Perhaps because a ladder isn’t my personality?
At times I almost found what I wanted. Almost. There were a number of almost-new wooden shelves that could work. But some had heart cutouts and I have an aversion to the heart shape (you won’t find any hearts in my house…except the one that keeps me alive), and others, well, they were just shelves. Nothing interesting.
I told myself, “You’ll know it when you see it, Dezra.” I would see an interesting metal piece, pick it up, and ask, “Are you the one?” And it would whisper back, “I don’t know, am I?” I would put it down and walk away. My philosophy is, if it is the one, it will continue to speak to me after I leave. Then I walked out the door and forgot all about it. “Nope, you aren’t the one,” I whispered to the air.
After a year of searching, I got desperate. I live in a small apartment and my pots and pans take up prime shelf real estate. I needed to make room and I had a bare wall just waiting for a pot rack.
So Friday while making my grocery list, I jotted down “Pot Rack.” On Saturday I went to a Goodwill store and within minutes I walked out.
Whoa! Wait a minute! I walked out—with a pot rack holder!
What? How did that happen? What happened to, “Are you the one?” What happened to, “I don’t know, am I?” What happened to if it is the one, it will continue to speak to me after I leave? I left, and there it was with me. A pot rack holder. And there was my receipt, $5.99. And there I stood, wondering how it happened. And a huge smile spread across my face. Because, yeah, it’s metal and it fits my personality.
Now, all I need are the S-hooks. I wanted to make my own so that I could have various lengths. I opted for copper wire because I can distress it to better fit in with my decor. I found it by-the-foot at Ace Hardware. I bought 10 feet.
Total cost of my pot rack (excluding hardware to fasten it to the wall since I already had that at home) was $11.89 plus tax.
Not a bad price for year-long patience.