The More Things Change … The More I Have To Say!

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking about this afternoon — amid trips to school, loads of laundry and prepping dinner. (Insert a long pause while I try to remember just what it *was* that I sat down here to say.)  … Oh yes, changes! There are things in my life that have changed, in one way or another, for good or ill, over the years, and I thought it would be worthwhile to take a moment to think about a few of them. (You can decide whether you think it will be worth your while to read it.)

Cooking. It used to scare me. And I don’t mean just when I was five. When we got married, I was 34 years old, and I was intimidated by the whole business of preparing dinner. Around that time I remember Jeff suggesting that I make some french onion dip, instead of buying the Helluva dip that came already made (the name of which my family pronounced “hellOOva” — with the accented on the middle syllable). Well, I told him in no uncertain terms that *he* could make the dip if he felt so inclined, but that there was no way I was going to go to the trouble of making dip. (From scratch, no less! What was he thinking?) I’m pretty certain he even explained to me the simple process of pouring the onion soup mix into the sour cream and stirring, but I stuck to my guns! It wasn’t until I watched him do it that I realized what an idiot I had just made of myself. And now, ten years later, I can make stuff. And from scratch! It’s taken years, but I can actually cook — and make dip — without too much trepidation. My hope is that we’ll even live a little longer because of it.

Reading. Another thing that has changed throughout my lifetime is my willingness to read. I learned to read just like most every other kid in school, but I never had the desire to use that skill, except to read, perhaps, the back of the cereal box in the morning. That is, until I was in sixth grade. My most awesome teacher, Mr. Brewer, read to us every day after we returned from recess. He read to us books like Where the Red Fern Grows, Tom Sawyer, The Call of the Wild, and — what dramatically changed my life as a reader — Treasure Island! Suddenly, I became aware that there were books out there! I mean, books that I was going to love! 

After reading Treasure Island nine times within the year, I branched out and read something ELSE! I found Middle-Earth in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and the foggy streets of London in the pages of Sherlock Holmes — all by the time I was in junior high. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with that term, just substitute “middle school” — that’ll work.) The Sherlock short stories and the four novels kept me busy for some time, but I eventually moved on to other classics, by such authors as James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, C.S. Lewis, and H.G. Welles, to name a few.

And then I got married and had kids and this reading-business came, once again, to a screeching halt. I now had less time to sit down and read, and less ability to read anything longer than the blurb on the back of a book without falling asleep. But no less of a desire to read. So, now I read things like, Are You My Mother?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Boxcar Children, The Chronicles of Narnia, and even The Hobbit — aloud to my girls. I also read some magazine articles from time to time, and my Bible — for myself. But, gone, for now, are the days of reading for hours snuggled up on my bed and falling gently into a much-anticipated nap. Those days may return. But for now, I’m not begrudging the time I invest in other endeavors.

Writing. Let’s be clear about this. Writing in this day and age doesn’t really compare with writing when I was in school. And, though it’s only my opinion, I believe it’s because now when I write, what I’m actually doing is typing. And I don’t even need white-out or correction tape, for heaven sake. (Don’t ask. If you don’t get it, I don’t want to hear it. Just be quiet and keep reading.) I can just backspace and retype till I get it right. Imagine that! You see, when I turned in papers in school, for most of my school years I had actually to write. On notebook paper. And realizing I wanted to rephrase something meant … a lot more work. I found it extremely challenging to be at all creative in my writing. I probably used to just go with what I had, so as to avoid having to start the page all over again. Honestly, I think that, for the most part, what makes writing this blog so enjoyable for me is the ease with which I can go from the first to the final draft. I write, then rephrase, restructure, edit, and edit again, and again, till I’m happy with what I’ve written.

And, though it may be for that reason alone, I enjoy writing now infinitely more than I ever did before I started this blog.

Coffee. When I began drinking this beverage, it was because my boss at the bookstore where I worked told me it tasted like coffee ice cream, so I decided to try it. (I’m pretty sure my mom felt a little animosity about her 18 year-old getting hooked on the substance. But I know she realized it could have been worse.) But after several years I began to focus more of my energies on refining my diet coke addiction, and coffee fell by the wayside.

Years later I moved to Lancaster and had kids. And fell in with a new crowd, most of whom make good coffee. Therefore, nowadays, when I spend time with my friends (and even sometimes when I’m at home), I indulge once again in that wonderful beverage. This new group of friends has also introduced me to the exciting world of flavored creamers — and, yes, I realize there’s not even a smidgen of actual cream in them. But, boy do they make the coffee taste better! (You can tell, can’t you, that I’m not one to drink it black. One might as well chew on the grounds. Bleh.)

So, I can’t help but notice how things morph and progress, and I find it interesting to keep track in such a way as this. (Because I can.) These are just a few of the things that sprang to my mind today. I might revisit this topic one day soon, calling up more little parts of my life that aren’t the same as they were. These might include such topics as dating, my opinions on child rearing, and quite possibly a little something about my favorite movies and TV shows. But who knows, really. We’ll just have to see what happens.

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