Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mild with a tad of rue

The bathroom's favorite time of day

I wondered this morning how early is too early to whisk away the Christmas things, freshen things up, tidy things up, as my Dad still says. Yesterday, I averted my eyes whenever I passed through the living room and went out the front door -- both because I can't stand the mess but also because I didn't want to chastise anyone for it. I thought I'd hold the boys' dirty clothes as ransom for cleaning up -- I'm not going to do any washing until the place is tidied up, I thought I'd say. When I spooned egg into Sophie's mouth this morning and she jerked in what seemed like the millionth small seizure of the morning, I left the egg on the floor in what we call a small test of change in the quality improvement arena (one of the jobs I juggle in healthcare). Will it drive me crazy, unduly so? Will the dog pick it up? Will the tween and the teen bend down and pick it up when they walk into the kitchen after rolling out of bed at 11:00 am? My intent is not to sound or even feel bitter -- in fact, I feel mild. Mild with a tad of rue.

Here's a poem:

Nocturne of the Poet Who Loved the Moon

I have grown tired of the moon, tired of its look of astonish-
ment, the blue ice of its gaze, its arrivals and departures, of
the way it gathers lovers and loners under its invisible wings,
failing to distinguish between them. I have grown tired of
so much that used to entrance me, tired of watching cloud
shadows pass over sunlit grass, of seeing swans glide back and 
forth across the lake, of peering into the dark, hoping to find
an image of a self as yet unborn. Let plainness enter the eye,
plainness like the table on which nothing is set, like a table that
is not yet even a table.

-- Mark Strand, from Almost Invisible


  1. Hi! I would like to contact you. I just can't find a "Contact Me" tab... or anything... (probably sugar overload). I found you from Gretchen's lovely post about you. I'm at www.alittlesomethingforme.com and you can reach me at alittlesomethingforme@yahoo.com

    Once you visit my blog, you will probably realize why I wanted to contact you.... Kristen

  2. My bet is on the dog. I would be 100 to 1 odds on it.

  3. I'm just so impressed that your bathroom has a favorite time of day, that I can't stand it. My bathroom almost definitely does not. I hope the dog ate those eggs.

  4. I'm there too, itching to put away the Christmas tree, to sweep up the remainder of the year and start over.

  5. Yep, I'm with Bridie. I'm betting on the dog.

  6. it would be against all laws of nature for a teen or a tween to notice that egg on the floor and the planet would split open if upon actually noticing it, they went and got something with which to clean it up. breathe, dear elizabeth. this is a test whose outcome is so sure. you will clean it up. eventually. or you will command the teen or the tween to do so at whatever decibel it takes to get compliance. hopefully it will be in soft voice, with mild rue. if you're luckier than me. that said, i am impressed with your forbearance! i tidied up everything this morning. i was losing my already lost mind. i commanded certain tasks to be done but who am I kidding. I'm the only one who can truly make it the way I want. And i did. hugs.

  7. I'm sorry, but i've never understood the desire to put away the Christmas decorations... they stay up until Super Bowl Sunday around here....nevertheless your bathroom is beautiful, the towels (like your front door) the perfect color and the egg will hopefully not make the dog sick!(BTW I would've cleaned it up for my mother when I was your son't age but only because I was sure she would keel over from all the work of taking care of all seven of us...) so if your boys DON'T clean it up it's probably a sign that they are not worried about you
    doing the same!

  8. Brilliant, and the poem is just a perfect sauce to your bite of rue, that I feel too. I get ya, as we say around these parts.

  9. I hate my bathrooms all of the time. all the time. The yellow in yours ... beautiful.

    And your house, you know how I feel about it. Warm, inviting and comforting.Need to come back soon.

    I have been organizing and tossing and giving away and well, that has been my deal. Christmas will stay up until New Years day. And then, like most years, I will become slightly melancholy, wondering what the next year will bring.And I will say a little prayer and hope and wish for the best.

    Miss you. Let's catch up soon.

  10. I am so glad to have found this blog. You are such a wonderful person.

    By the way. . .I just took down my Christmas decorations. Every last trimming and trapping. And then I began to tidy up. The kids are in the tub singing songs and splashing all over during what is far more messy but what I think for sure is our bathroom's favorite time of day. And in between splashes, I am walking in and out continuing to tidy things up.

    I promised the kids that we'd make New Year's decorations so they approved. I continue to be a big fan of you, Elizabeth, which was why reading your friend's post made me clap and cheer.

  11. What a lovely poem, thanks for sharing that! And me? Chronic procrastinator (often seems to come hand in hand w/ ADD) so the 5 years I had a tree (marriage #1 to non-Jew) it was up until... early February. Ooops! Also? your bathroom is so lovely in that light.

  12. Your day and that poem speak straight to me. I so get that. Let plainness enter my eye.

  13. That's an amazing poem! Mark Strand is terrific. Do you have Mary Oliver and Mark Doty in your poetry collection? Also terrific.

    I'm having the same urges regarding the Christmas decorations -- and I just put up our tree about ten days ago! I want neatness and routine.

  14. My dogs would pick anything off the floor: dead, alive or fuzzy.

  15. I generally take the tree down on Dec. 26. What does that tell you?

  16. Also voting on dog. Definitely dog over teen or tween.

    Love this post.

  17. ohhh, yes. The mess, the mess the mess. My husband loves all the kitch or Christmas, this is fine, but things are only added, never subtracted. Now we look like the Christmas aisle in walgreen's. Monday morning I did my first sweep of non essential Christmas items and started making a pile out of sight in the dining room. Little does my hubby know that I am also making a pile to give away. He will never miss it. We didn't even have room for all the stuff. I don't want to be a grinch, but enough. I say everything is down by New Years. Debate will ensue, I'm sure. I'm glad it was good in your house

  18. Oh laws a mercy. Is it too early to declare I am in love with your blog? You are a fantastic writer. And thanks for sharing the poem. Lovely.

  19. Is Sophie having a tougher phase again?
    slightly off the topic - my younger sister has two kids 17 months apart, the oldest is now 28 months old, and she doesn't sweep the floor in the kitchen after feeding her tots - she lets the dog do it. I was at first appalled. Now I'm in awe.
    Hugs to you all.

  20. I got a tree for the first time in years this Christmas for the little Corn Tiger. He was here for a few days and just went back home. I'm leaving the tree and decorations up because they remind me of this first real Christmas with him, even though I know that sounds pretty smushy.

    Love that poem and the "bathroom's favorite time of day". x0 N2

  21. I love that caption:

    "The bathroom's favorite time of day."

    It made me smile.

    And that poem... for some reason it made me think about "He prepareth a table for me in the presence of my enemies." I would think it was a very very plain table...

  22. I love this poem. Has it been on Writer's Almanac? when I read it, I heard Garrison Keillor's voice.

  23. I hope the mild persisted and the touch of rue was just enough but not too much.

    I hope the dog was delighted to find a treat on the floor (mine loves eggs above all else).

    I hope that the boys spontaneously decided to straighten up a bit and cleared a path to the decorations that helped you appreciate them.



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