Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cheese Spread With Pimentos

Today is the 13th Anniversary of my mother's death. It's hard to believe it's been 13 years. I question my math. Was it really 13 years ago? It was 1998 when she died on August 22. It was a Saturday, the Feast of The Queenship of Mary.

Again, I ask myself, what does this have to do with my series Poor Journalist Gets To Business? Well, I don't know exactly. I feel like I don't know much about anything anymore to be honest with you. It's a journey. And part of the journey of being a former journalist is that my heart is so insistent upon writing.

It's almost as though I can't figure out a thing, can't even think a single thought, until it's on the page. It has always been this way. The journals I've kept since I was in my early twenties are so random. Many of them I've just thrown away. They don't often seem to have a rhyme or reason.

But nowadays I have my readers -- 126 fans of the Poor Journalist Gets To Business series and, I think 80 followers of The Refrigerator Door. It's nice. And people actually read these musings. I know because when I see people they bring up things that I've written about. People enjoy reading about my journey. That's sweet to me. And it helps me along, too.

When I started the Poor Journalist Gets To Business series, I fully expected it to be all about selling stuff in Michigan during the recession. I didn't know what I was going to sell but I knew I wanted to try to beat the recession as a journalistic endeavor. I tried really hard to become a good health insurance saleswoman and then realized my heart just wasn't into it. It wasn't where I was meant to be. Too much had gone wrong, too many instances of bad timing. And the fact is, I wasn't enjoying it very much, not at all. I was getting fat. I was feeling stressed. My room had fallen into a state of disorganization. I just wasn't where I was supposed to be.

Then we got fleas. My roommate and I got a flea infestation. In seventeen years of pet ownership I've never had a flea infestation. Fleas are a pain. But my roommate thinks God gave them to us as a sign to clean house, to put our priorities in line. I think this is true, actually. I really do.

God gave us fleas. They are mostly all gone now but I'm still cleaning in places that have not been looked at in two years. I'm putting my house in order.

My mother was a remarkable housekeeper. She washed our laundry and, this time of year, hung it out on the clothesline in our backyard to dry. It smelled glorious. The sheets of my childhood beds smelled so fresh and felt so crisp. It was remarkable the way my mother went about these little details of every day with such love and devotion. She was the first one up in our home every morning. She put the coffee to perk on the stove. It smelled so inviting. She walked out to the street to get the papers. She came inside and made breakfast. She called upstairs to us to get up and get ready for school.

Since I went away for college, my life has never been anything like my mother's life. I worked lots of jobs to get through college. It took me longer than most students. And since graduating in 1992 I've worked so hard to earn a living. I was married for eight years and always worked long hours made more money than my husband, never had time to keep a home the way my mother kept my childhood home. To be honest, though. Most people don't -- not even stay-at-home moms. The world is a busier place today, I suppose.

I'm nostalgic about the comfort of my childhood home today because I'm cleaning house on the anniversary of my mother's death. I'm reminded of the great value in simple things like well-folded laundry and swept floors. A childhood friend of mine has been advertising on Facebook that she's selling soups and pies at a Northern Michigan Farmer's Market. Her mother, like my mother, was an incredible cook. I envy her work. I envy women who spend their days ironing shirts and cooking dinners and reading to children.

What's any of this have to do with Poor Journalist Gets to Business? I suppose I'm just feeling reflective today. I wonder what sort of business I'll end up getting down to.

Because I decided to be open to dating, I wonder if maybe I will fall in love before Christmas so that I'll have someone to buy presents for this year? Honestly, the Poor Journalist has had a bit of a priority shift. At first I thought I needed to get completely back on my feet financially before falling in love. But now I think that was twisted thinking. As long as I am working and being responsible, it's fine to be open to falling in love. It's sort of frightening, though. It's a whole different world today than it was five years ago when I was dating.

I think love is better than money. So, I would feel happier if I fell in love than if I landed a great job or had a wonderful windfall. But of course I am open to love, a windfall and a great job. But in my heart I really want to write and paint from home, so I think something like Clean Water Action is just perfect for me. And I can share the canvassing stories with the Poor Journalist fans.

I think canvassing is quite interesting work, actually. I hope people will enjoy reading about it. And I hope people will not be too annoyed with my romantic fails and adventures. It all just seems to belong here together.

Who knows what's in the cards for me?

Today I'm just willing to keep my side of the street clean and to show up for life and do the best I can each day. Sometimes I sound so cheesy. But since I sincerely am cheesy, I think it isn't exactly a bad way for me to sound. I'm a bit more endearing than average cheese, I think -- maybe a little like cheese spread with pimentos or something. I'll keep writing about this journey between now and January 1. It has simply become a journey of openheartedness. I am certainly still open to becoming a fabulous saleswoman and earning lots of money. But so many things happened with my health insurance job to show me that it just wasn't where I belonged.

I don't know where I belong. But I am open to grace and opportunity.


  1. Oh, Patty, I liked this rememberance of your mom and window into your head. I'm praying for a great guy for you. Peace

  2. you keep writing and I'll keep reading. I'm loving the peacefulness that is coming through your latest posts.