Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slice 18 - Keeping Busy

       The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at their blog, Two Writing Teachers.

          In the Newbery medal winning book Moon Over Manifest Clare Vanderpool writes:  “Memories were like sunshine.  They warmed you up and left a pleasant glow, but you couldn’t hold them.”  I want to hold the last week’s memories, but know they will fade, like the sunshine no longer warms us when the clouds arrive and the temperature drops.

Vacuum- check
Duster - check
paper towels – check
spray cleaner – check
powdered cleanser – check

       And from the musical, Flower Drum Song, the words by Rodgers and Hammerstein flow:

Sunday, sweet Sunday,
With nothing to do,
Lazy and lovely,
My one day with you.

      Obviously, from the list above, you know that the song doesn’t quite work for me today.  My son, daughter-in-law and grandson, who moved to another state last year, have been here for a week, grandson Carter’s spring break.  We lived close to them for many years before this move and still miss them.  They left early this morning, and so, despite the song, I’m still not sure I can have a lazy Sunday.  I need to keep busy so I won’t miss them so much. 
     When I’m sad, I find exercise helps.  Later today in this warm weather undoubtedly we will go for a walk, but cleaning helps, too.  There is something good and distracting when tackling a task and then finishing it. 

     And as I clean I take the opportunity of singing old songs that lighten my mood.  Pack up all your cares and woes, here I go singing low, lyrics by Rickie Lee Jones is the beginning of a song titled Bye Bye Blackbird.  You can find the rest of the lyrics here.

        sheets off the bed and into washer – check           
        clean one bathroom – put bath rugs downstairs by washer to be washed - check
        clean second bathroom – leave those towels for Monday - check

     Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you/sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you are some of the lyrics of another favorite of mine, Dream A Little Dream of Me, made famous here by Mama Cass of the Mama’s and Papa’s and written by Wilbur Schwandt, Gus Kahn, and Fabian Andre.  It just makes me happy, light-hearted, and I love thinking back to those days when Mama Cass would just start singing and everyone would fall in love.  I sometimes sing it to the grandchildren as a lullaby.

       Sweep porch – check
       Clean back door window – check
       Wipe kitchen counters - check
       Do a quick check of the refrigerator - check

At the end of the day I have a clean house, I’ve almost become used to a quieter one, today’s chores are complete, and I have had fun singing the favorite songs above, among others.  I will still miss my son and family, but am ready to start another week. 


  1. I enjoyed your post today. I'm sad for you to be missing your loved ones but I can relate to staying busy. It helps me too during sad or stressful times. I love your connections to songs.

  2. Love how your to do list was interspersed through your slice. I can't imagine how hard it is to have your family not live close. I hope my boys end up settling near me but I know the odds are probably against it. Glad you got to spend a week together.

  3. Linda, you always have the right words for any situation, be it a song or a quote from a book. How you can retain it all, amazes me! I know what it's like having your child far away with only one or two visits a year. You have a great plan to stay busy, humming away the missing you feeling and getting a clean house.

  4. Linda, I think this is one of my favorite things you have written. It's amazing to me that you have all these words in your head--and, always,it seems, the right ones. I love how this traveled between your to do list, thoughts about the songs and the lyrics themselves.

    Have a good week and pull out those memories when you need them.

  5. My mother and I call this "the empty tea cups effect" - your loved ones have left, but their voices hang in the air, snips of their conversations float about in your thoughts, and you hold on to them...savor them. As you have done, as you are doing.

  6. Want to come to my house?
    Half done laundry-check.
    Dog hair on floor--still-check
    Clutter all over the place-check.
    Hand prints on back door-check.
    Children's soap drippings and toothpaste in sink-check.
    Sheets unchanged-check.
    Maybe I need to listen to your music, so I dance through housework, cleaning and checking. Moon over Manifest sounds awesome--love the imagery of memories fading.

  7. I read Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick this week and the main character is a photographer. He talks about memories and about how we can't really save memories but a photographer can help capture those in a tiny way for us. I love picture. Hopefully you got a lot of pictures with your family while they were here! I'm holding off on all my cleaning until spring break next week. We've been trying to weed out old toys this weekend. Fun, fun, fun!

  8. I agree with Deb. This slice is one of my all-time favourites. I picture you in a lemony clean house, moving throughout the day, singing little bits of this and that. I feel the sadness, and the will to be relieved of it a little. Maybe it's because I know all these songs so well (the Mama Cass was a favourite), maybe it's because I, too, have children who have moved far away, and definitely it's because you are so very good at writing and expressing, but I'm there with you.

  9. The need to keep busy with mundane chores and yet to be carried away by songs, missing your son - reading this squeezed my heart.

  10. I first wondered what the vacuum, duster, etc. meant to your memories. Nothing like the mundane and music to clear one's head. I often wondered is something "bad" happened when I was teaching if I could continue teaching, I found that teaching is what kept my head above water. Glad you have some new memories now and time to make/plan more tomorrow.

  11. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" the lyrics come immediately to my mind and I smile. Just think while you are dreaming of your family, they will be dreaming about you. It make me think of a saying I have, "There are two gifts we give our children, one is roots and the other is wings." You have given those to your son and his family.

  12. I love how you have interspersed your to do list with songs and memories. It reminds me of your poem where you added the lines to Ring Around the Rosy. It sounds like you answered my question on yesterday's post on whether you get used to your children living far away. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

  13. Ah, dancing and singing through the day while checking off your to do list! I love how you intermixed bits of song with your checked off chores. Clever! I too could just imagine you happily moving from room to room.

  14. A beautiful line "I want to hold the last week’s memories, but know they will fade, like the sunshine no longer warms us when the clouds arrive and the temperature drops."

  15. I love the sunshine image for memories -- so neat! Your love for your family is so evident through this whole post. I like how you shared the songs you sang to cheer yourself up. I always sing to myself while doing chores too!

  16. Glad you had some wonderful time with your family. I love your seesaw structure of your memories mixed in with the check list. My heart be filled with special moments to carry you through.

  17. I like the way you wove lists into the prose. It added an interesting rhythm to your writing, Linda.

  18. You certainly managed to capture that bit of time after a good bye and how cleaning and singing help manage it. Laundry is always my favorite for instant gratification when I'm feeling blue :-) And we have a new favorite song to add to the list at our house:

  19. Dream a Little Dream of Me by the Mamas and the Papas is one of my favorites! I belt that one out in the car all the time!

    I love the way you interspersed the chores with the rest of your words, the way that work is mixed into the rest of living.

  20. Linda,
    Reading your words, I can feel the emptiness in your heart and hear the quietness filling back up with the music. I know this after-family-leaves feeling. We look forward to these times and when they are over it leaves a lump of longing for more. I agree the return to routine helps too. Thanks for visiting and leaving kindness at my blog. ~ Theresa

  21. The play between your thoughts and your chores pulls us along as I am sure it pulled you through the day. I hope it was a great visit.

  22. I really like the interplay between prose, list, and lyrics. This is getting me to brainstorm up some kind of writing exercise for my kids that gets them to experiment with such mixtures. Sweet slice! :)

  23. Like all the comments shared here, you are more than welcome in my house too, Linda as my husband and I hardly have any time to clean our messy place. It is well-loved yes, still presentable to guests, but it could use a 'spring-cleaning' and some scrubbin'-lovin'. Maybe one day soon. :)


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