Backpacks

As many of you know, I work as a graphic designer for a manufacturing company.  Like many companies in Corporate America, we – when there are no visitors coming in – are allowed to wear blue jeans on Fridays.  We make a donation for each casual item we wear:  a minimum of $1 each for jeans, tennis shoes, and casual shirt.  Of course, more is always welcomed, and several folks just hand us a $5 bill and say, “keep the change.” We then take that money, turn it in to our Administration office, and wait for them to cut a check to the charity we’ve picked for the month.

This Friday, however, was just a bit different.  While we normally donate an entire month’s worth of our “blue jean money” to a specific cause, we found out a bit too late that the United Way was doing their “Stuff the Bus” campaign at our local Wal-Mart stores on August 1.  However, we DID get a chance to use this last Friday’s funds to help out.  And, because of the timing of everything, instead of Administration cutting a check and mailing it, I was given the entire envelope of cash and was told I could take it to the bus myself if I wished.

What happened still makes me smile.

My husband and I trekked out to our local Wal-Mart on Saturday, which hosted three buses, one each from three local school districts. Instead of just handing them an envelope of cash, we wanted to donate actual items.

When we approached the first bus, I told the volunteer where we were from, and that we wanted to help.  She almost cried when I asked her what was needed, and with very little hesitation, she said, “BACKPACKS!” Although most folks could only spare a few dollars, several people still made donations of smaller items such as paper, pencils and glue.  Unfortunately, the “large ticket items” – such as backpacks – were really hard to come by.

So, armed with my co-workers’ donations, we went into the store and purchased TWENTY BACKPACKS in various sizes and styles.  It took care of little kids, middle kids, and maybe even some of the bigger kids.

When we returned with all those backpacks, you should have heard the volunteers’ response!  They were overjoyed and amazed to see so many packs purchased and donated to the cause. And when I told everyone that this was from the individual employees of my company, they applauded and cheered. It’s like they were bolstered to know that someone else actually cared for the cause and wanted to help out too.  You’d have thought we’d handed them each a thousand bucks! Sure, this donation isn’t very much on the overall scale, but it IS a drop in the bucket, and those drops add up.  I wish people would understand that.

Please know that I’m not posting this to brag or for any accolades.  I’m posting it to let people know that even adding a little part does to make a difference. Times are financially rough on everyone, but maybe if we all pull together, we can make it through it all.

I only wish my cohorts could see what I got to:  very grateful workers who will be able to help the kids in our community.

Time for Change

Well, I have been planning this for about a week now.  I’ve been psyching myself up for it, envisioning it, even dreaming about it.  Today it happened.

And I must say, I am very proud that it did!

I told nobody what my plans were until yesterday…until I was sure my heart was in it.  I guess I didn’t want to wind up with the inevitable announce-fail-shame cycle that usually happens when I declare that I am finally going to do something for myself.

Today, I regained a bit of dignity and self-empowerment.  I went running.

Now before anyone signs me up for the Boston Marathon, please do not mistake my little triumph as anything more than just that:  my LITTLE triumph.  I only ran for a little under a mile, didn’t actually RUN the whole way, and pretty much sounded like The Little Engine that Shouldn’t.  pant wheeze WHEEZE cough pant pant… You get the point.  A 38-and-a-half-year-old, grossly overweight, potential heart-attack victim is NOT a pretty sight at 6 a.m.  BUT, there had to be a start somewhere.

Not sure where this is going to lead, if anywhere.  But for ONCE in a very long time, I did something that I told myself I was going to do.  I hauled my roundy self OUT OF BED.  EARLY. ON A MONDAY before work, and went out and EXERCISED.  ME? Wow.  Congratulations and happy dance, Self.  That’s the first tiny step on a very long journey!

Will I post about this again?  Yep.  Do I plan on making a habit of it?  Gonna try.  Will there be whining and disappointment?  You betcha!  But as long as I get back on there and try when I fail, that’s the important thing, right?

Slow Dancing In a Burning Room

So I love John Mayer. And Andi loves John Mayer. And the majority of my friends over 30 do NOT love John Mayer. But that’s okay, because it’s one of those things that Andi and I bond over.  It’s kind of one of the things that she and her college friends have a “thing” for, and they were kind enough to invite me in to their club. It makes me feel honored.

But, there’s a song that John has done that really always just lets me escape for just a few minutes.  So, here we go, the lyrics to one of my favorite JM songs.

Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

It's not a silly little moment
It's not the storm before the calm
This is the deep and dyin breath of
this love we've been workin on
Can't seem to hold you like I want to
so I can feel you in my arms
Nobody's gonna come and save you
we pulled to many false alarms

We're goin down
and you can see it too
We're goin down
and you know that we're doomed
my dear
we're slow dancing in a burnin room

I was the one you always dreamed of
you were the one i tried to draw
how dare you say it's nothin to me
baby, you're the only light I ever saw

I made the most of all the sadness
you'd be a bitch because you can
you try to hit me just hurt me
so you leave me feelin dirty cuz you can't understand

We're goin down
and you can see it too
We're goin down
and you know that we're doomed
my dear
we're slow dancing in a burnin room

Go cry about it why don't you
Go cry about it why don't you
Go cry about it why don't you
my dear, we're slow dancin in a burnin room
burnin room, burnin room
don't you think we oughta know by now
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we oughta know by now
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we oughta know by now
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow
don't you think we shoulda learned somehow

Why?

What the heck happened to the four of us?  When did lies, deception, untruths, and giving up enter our friendship? You guys were like BROTHERS, man.  The three of you and me – the four of us were a team.  We could take on the world, and we knew the others had our back.

Now, one of you won’t talk to me at all, and blames me for the failure of your friendship with one of the others; one of you vacillates between treating me like I’m the greatest thing ever and completely avoiding me; and one of you lives with me, you poor pitiful soul.

Where did I go wrong?  Where did it all go to pieces, and why the heck didn’t I stop it?  I loved the three of you more than my own life…

Why am I posting this NOW, after all these years?  I’m tired.  Tired of fighting the ghosts and raking the memories over the coals.  I miss who we were.  And I’m not saying I want to go back there.  I just wish that as we grew and evolved, that we could have done it together.

Now, it’s all shattered.  And why is it that nobody’s looking back but me?

EDIT:  And no, this is not posted because anybody said or did anything.  Nothing was posted on Facebook or Twitter or any blog that made me go all memory-laney. I just so happened to be by myself, driving down Johnson Avenue on a sunny day, when Blues Traveler came on the radio.  And it reminded me of one summer when we absolutely played the “FOUR” CD all the time, when you guys lived in Apartment City.  And then one thing led to another, and in true Fossie fashion, I realized that somehow, some way, a huge hole in my heart was still there.

Thank God the song that came on was “Runaround”….if it had been “Hook,” I’d have cried my eyes out for sure.

In and Out of Time

This is where my head is at right now.  Care to guess why?

In and Out of Time
by Maya Angelou

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance…
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids…
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there….
God…how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens….loudly screamed….
Trying to change our nightmares to dreams…
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.