Number Story

   Today, I start a math class. I haven’t taken math since high school ( which was a long time ago, considering that I have a college aged child now). I haven’t enjoyed math for some time, either. I did, once. I can remember being a small child and taking pleasure in the order of the numbers. I whizzed so easily through the full year of math work in the first few months of school, that it was decided I should skip the next grade and go straight into sixth grade in the fall (instead of fifth).
   Once this was decided, I was placed in a fifth grade reading and math class to prepare me. The reading was no problem, but in the math class they were reviewing what they had learned all year…what I had NOT yet learned. I did poorly…for me, anyway. I struggled to get a C. I was mortified and miserable, and no help was offered- either at school or at home.
   This was when math ceased to be enjoyable for me. Those orderly numbers became a foreign language, and I decided that math was hard, and I hated it. Several poor math teachers in high school confirmed my suspicions.
   I am only just recently putting together the story of my high school geometry teacher. My sister had him a couple years before me, and on the first day of class he confirmed that he remembered her. I didn’t find out until years later that she had tried to convert him to Christianity during her time as his student. At the time, I couldn’t understand why he seemed to have a grudge against me. He would take me desk and put it outside for such crimes as having finished my math homework and be working on another subject, or sitting sideways in my seat. I have now pit two and two together, and thanked my sister for being the cause of such a prejudice against me. Years after I graduated high school, I was working at a theme park in the wardrobe department. I went to help an employee one day, and it was the self same geometry teacher who had tortured me so. My knees literally buckled, and I stammered out his surname. He simply smiled and said we were on a first name basis there.
   I never quite forgave him for the way that he treated me, but I was able to finally realize that numbers were not the enemy. I have come full circle to once again enjoying their order and organization.


Nesting Instincts

   I used to think it odd when friends of mine would stress clean. Now, I can see the cathartic feeling that comes from a good scrub and the satisfaction that a clean home brings. The regular routine of sterilizing my environment gives a pattern to my days, and a sense of satisfaction to my soul.
   I have always liked the filling up and arranging of a room. It was something that was meaningful and came naturally to me, even as a young child. I would take my mothers old kitchen curtains, combine them with a discarded bedspread, move the furniture, and display coordinating accessories. My bedroom was transformed into a farmyard theme, simply by using what we already had.
   Nowadays, I am finding that the nesting instinct is very important to creating my own functional space. Luckily, I am creative. I paint furniture, I sew, I have gathered odds and ends that now can be used in unexpected ways. A bit of lace picked up at a flea market for $1 can soften the edges of a bare window. A family heirloom can dress the corner of an old painting. I am surrounding myself not only with objects, but with the idea that I can make my space both beautiful and functional….without spending a lot of money.
   This is an important idea to me, because beauty is important to me; and I don’t have a lot of money. I need my space to be one in which I enjoy just being there.

Yes and No

People keep asking me, goodheartedly, if  I am ‘settling in’ to my new place, and I don’t know what to say. Yes…I am mostly unpacked, and no….I still have a lot to do. It wasn’t a typical move, where you just pack up the contents of your home and move it into another. I had to leave half of the household goods for my ex, and pack  what didn’t fit into my bedroom at the roomie’s place into my parents garage, or a storage unit filled with the remnants of my antique business. So I’m still harvesting my possessions from my parents house, and trying to fix all the project pieces that I kept from my business so that I wouldn’t have to buy all new. We are set up ok for day to day life (well, except not having a working fridge), but not yet ready for visitors.
   Part of me feels very proud of the fact that I have made it to where I am. Yes, it’s a small apartment in a bad part of town, but it’s mine. I did it on my own, and it is already functional and homey. And part of me is ashamed that this is all I could do.
   I don’t know where I’ll be in a year, but I’m here now- and I’m trying to make the best of it. Some days are easy, and others are very difficult indeed. I doubt that I am much different from anyone else in that. We all have our ups and downs.
   I’m sure that it can’t be easy for my happily married friends to watch my life changing, either. I’m not sure what I would do if the shoe were on the other foot. I guess the best thing that anyone can do in these situations is to just remain a friend, by whatever means you always did.