One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Introverts Throw a Party

"Listen to that," my husband said after the door shut behind the last guest.


Then he retreated upstairs to his office and I went downstairs. Alone together at last. 

See, we like to have a good time with friends as much as the next person, but perhaps not as boisterous a time as the extroverts. And we need time to recuperate.  

As I just read in an article online about introverts, they like to have deep discussions one-on-one but struggle with chit chat and crowds. OK, maybe struggle isn't the right word: they simply prefer silence and thought more often than not. 

Close family and intimate friends can tell you that I can chatter away as if I'll never stop talking—though the greater world might have a tough time believing that. Talking has its place, but, quite honestly, Luke and I can take long walks together where we hardly say a word, each lost in deep thought and contemplation. (Such as the walk we just went on while I thought more about what I wanted to write in this blog entry). We can enjoy roaring good times, but in small doses.

So what in the world sparked the idea for these two introverts to have game night at their house twice a month? We like people, we do, and we like listening to people and sharing grand ideas with them. We also like games (I more than Luke) and having a good laugh. And we were trying to decide what to do for our next small group, which we had been doing through our church. Put it all together, though, and it explains why Sunday morning after game night feels so wonderful when we get to sleep in.

Here's a peek at the recent roaring good time.

Scene: I wake Luke from his Sabbath-afternoon nap and say that people will be arriving any moment. He pulls himself from the comfort of the covers and changes three times, deciding what to wear that will be comfortable but not say I-may-fall-asleep-at-any-moment-but-I'm-happy-you-have-invaded-my-house. After putting my book away, I check around again to make sure that things look "tidy" even though I know it won't stay tidy for long. Then we sit and wait, while trying not to look as if we are sitting and waiting. Luke pulls out his guitar and I sip water nonchalantly. No one shows up. The planned meeting time is slipping past when I start getting phone calls and text messages. Some people will be late, others have forgotten how to find our house. I return calls and texts and then wait again, acknowledging how tired I am and that I should have taken a nap as well. 

Then the guests start arriving and Luke and I must make chit chat. Fortunately, most of our guests are people we already know (and, yes, we like them), so that makes it a little easier. Not long into the evening, however, I realize that our guests are all chatting away with one another and Luke and I are sitting on the sidelines, nodding, smiling, listening in. I'm at ease until I remember with shock that I am the hostess and maybe people want to eat and drink, so I make a silly segue from conversations about pregnancy and eating to let everyone know that we do have snacks (most graciously provided by several of our guests) and Luke goes up to make popcorn. I feel stranded for a few minutes, wanting something to do as well so naturally I go melt butter. 

So people are snacking and talking in several areas of the house—good good—but what about games? Maybe nobody wants to play games, I think. Maybe we don't have the right sort of games for this sort of crowd? Do we make an announcement? Do we just start playing a game and see who joins in? The latter sort of happens, after failed attempts to get anyone but the kids to play Cranium. We settle on Uno, but on the floor, since there aren't enough spots at the table for all who do want to play. As I'm inwardly groaning about how uncomfortable I am, I imagine that others are too. But thankfully we have cheerful good sports who play the game with gusto. 

We finish the night with the favorite standby, Apples to Apples, that gets everyone playing or watching. (Thank you creators of this game as it has a little something for everyone!)

More conversation follows and then people make their way to the door and then out the door. Luke and I practically get hysterical laughing about our mental fatigue. Then I get hysterical looking at the kitchen. No worries, however. I save the cleaning for the following day. 

We look at the calendar: Whew! Three or four weeks will pass until we have game night again!

Friday, March 16, 2012

When's Breakfast?

Still too early to rise, 4:30 catches my eye anyway and wakens me. I stumble to the bathroom and return to bed, thankful for a couple more hours to sleep. My husband, however, leans over and says: "Are you hungry?"

No, I reply, to this unexpected use of his vocal cords at this perfect moment for relishing sleep. Then I settle in again. But wait, I have to ask: Are you?

"A little." Pause again. "Want to go to Elmer's?"

With patience, though partly wondering if he is merely talking in his sleep again, I say: No, I want to keep sleeping.

"Oh. But we could have hash browns and eggs!"

Seriously? But what I say is: Why are you awake?

"If I could answer that . . . ."

A little more silence and I think, Surely he's ready to stop joking around. I start to drift into my happy place.

"OK, " he says, breaking into my fog. "We can stay home—" long pause— "and make hash browns and eggs!"

I laugh, but not too much because I don't want him to think I'm awake and there's a chance he can convince me to go out for breakfast.

It's sleeping time, I say. It's a work day.

"But we have hours before work. We could go to Elmer's, have some hash browns and eggs, then go to work from there. . . ."

I'm just going to roll out of bed and go to a restaurant?

"But you're awake!"

No, I'm not. It's still night time.

"OK, I'll let you go back to sleep."


"I guess no hash browns and eggs this morning."


Later, after precious little more sleep, the music comes on and I inwardly groan—can't stay in bed any longer.

So, do you want some hash browns and eggs for breakfast? I ask my husband, who hasn't stirred.

"It's too late now," he says, and rolls over under the blankets.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Word Hoarder

Collecting used to be a major hobby of mine. The main categories were rock, shell, and everything cat. The rocks and shells usually found their way into my room after wandering in fields or on beaches and then deciding to live with me. Family members, aware of my catlove, would give me stuffed animals and glass figurines of comic or realistic felines as presents. As a budding archaeologist/paleontologist, I also dug up bones and pottery pieces from the far-away-ancient dig sites right in my backyard and placed these around my bedroom/museum. If you walked into my room you would have found a fine display of feathers next to mouse, chicken, and deer bones not far from shards of the oh-so-prehistoric Corelle dinnerware. Over time, however, my sentimental heart lost a battle with my urgency to "de-clutter," and many treasures found themselves suddenly homeless.

The one collection I can't seem to keep from growing is my word collection.

Yes, I am a word hoarder. Single words, phrases, entire sentences, short stories, poems, plays, novels, and some textbooks live here beside the few remaining cat articles, rocks, shells, and feathers—I think the bones are all gone, nestled into the wild once again. Some boxes and drawers contain a good portion of cards and letters written to me over time. Getting rid of e-mails is painful. The really special conversations have either been printed out as hard copy or stored on my computer and external hard drive as backup. I used to save messages on my answering machine for months. 

Part of this hoarding does indeed have to do with the writers/speakers of the words and how much those people mean to me. Keeping their words is having a tangible part of them. The non-personal word collections have to do with the way the words come together as works of art. The words literally look beautiful, often sound beautiful, and usually paint a vivid picture that touches me deeply—whether in a humorous or dramatic way. 

This is book fair week at school, a dangerous time for me when I think I should be spring cleaning and instead I keep adding to the piles overfilling my hoard. Reading a great borrowed book is cool, but owning that book is even better. Then I can go back to my favorite words/sentences any time that I want. Plus I can bend down corners and write in the margins, should I so desire. (Though I often don't desire). Past book fairs have supplied me with many new word-museum works of art. I rarely go wrong by buying a book I've never even heard about, especially if it's a Newbery winner. 8-10, 10-12, 12-17—these age categories really mean nothing to me. Great books often transcend age. 

I won't be surprised if my word collection grows this week, but I have found a pretty cool way to catalogue some of my favorite word art even without buying more books. Among the piles of journals I have, I maintain a newer one reserved for quotations. Most of my journals have favorite quotes scattered throughout my own mental meanderings, but this journal is not allowed to have any of my own stuff in it. I copy down passages and cite them so that I can easily refer to the original if I want. (OK, truth be told, my words and the random utterings of 6-year-olds could very well find their way into this journal. One area that I do not seem to stay organized in is managing my word files.)

Tonight I copied in some words from a new favorite book: My Name is Mina, by David Almond. Here's a little something that sent shivers up my spine:

"Words should wander and meander. They should fly like owls and flicker like bats and slip like cats. They should murmur and scream and dance and sing" (11).

"I sit in my tree 
I sing like the birds
My beak is my pen
My songs are my poems" (181). 

I hope Mr. Almond is OK with me sharing some of my favorite words/sentences from his book. You really ought to go read the whole book, though. It has so many more wonderful collections of words.