Becca Wilhite Blog

July 25, 2017

Moseying

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 7:01 am

When I take a walk in the summer mornings, I bust my way up the mountain for a couple of miles, then I hustle down it again. 10,000 steps, bam. It’s beautiful. It’s quick. It’s virtuous, don’t you know.

When my guy comes with me? We mosey. 10,000 steps together takes much longer. We linger. We look around more. We don’t breathe hard. Those summer (and spring and fall) evening walks are not about the destination, or about counting steps, or about achieving things.

I seek opportunity to mosey these days. In the kitchen. With the kids. On the phone. It’s good to be on the journey.

July 18, 2017

A Thing About Discouragement

Filed under: anxiety,emotion,food,losing it,Uncategorized — becca @ 9:34 pm

Germans probably have a word for that feeling where everything is going pretty well, and all the people you love are healthy and fine, and one small unpleasant thing in your otherwise glad life totally throws you over the edge.

Hey, Germans, what’s the word for that?

Because I had it this week. And it’s making me weepy and mopey and generally incapable of productivity and adulthood.

And I feel the need to put on my happy face and buck the hell up (sorry, Dad). And putting on the happy face isn’t usually this hard.

The thing is, once this over-the-edging happens, everything looks darker and gloomier and there’s no actual reason for trying to get out of bed in the morning and it’s probably a good idea to watch three hours of Riverdale with the 13-year-old and probably also 4-5 episodes of Criminal Minds while I’m at it and probably eat all the food that comes in cellophane packages and definitely ignore all the phone calls and texts and for sure abdicate all the responsibilities and for also sure never write again.

Like that.

This tipping of the scales (remember — for unreasonable reasons) gives me opportunities to try on darker versions of myself. I put them on like exotic silken robes or fancy hats or even jeans with on-purpose rips in them. Here’s a fun fact: Darker isn’t so good on me.

So I am doing the one thing I feel like I can do. I am taking a little control of my physical self. I am resting. I am eating green things — lots of them. (Also beets.) I am staying away from the Emotional Foods that are generally made of hot, white, buttered starch. I am walking many miles every day. I am yoga-ing both in the privacy of my room and with my lovely yogi friend who practices Wednesday mornings for an hour in a darkened church because she is made of generosity and goodness.

And I guess there’s a little more: I am reading. I am working on school things so as not to get nightmare-y in the 3:00 am hour. I am calling a friend who will tell me that it’s okay to try on the darkness for a while as long as I shuck it back off again. I am asking my man to make dinner because he is willing and good and capable. I am sitting outside on a birdsoaked night watching the sun settle over the western mountains and turn the hills flat and blue.

I am convalescing from discouragement so that I can once again be me, filled with couragement. (Germans, that’s a word, right?)

 

May 3, 2017

More Found, Rather Nonsensical

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 7:09 am

If you’re looking for deeper meaning, look elsewhere. This is a moment in my (former) life – the life when all four of my kids lived in my house and I was better at writing moments down.

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How to vacuum perfect lines in my living room carpet: First you have to move out all the furniture. Not all the furniture, because if you try to move my piano, the front legs will snap off. So leave it. Besides, it’s parallel to the wall, so… straight lines. But move out the bench. Move out the couch. Move out the huge ottoman. Move out the two wood-and-leather chairs. Take them to the front room or to the kitchen or just scoot them into the other half of the living room if you want, and then you can scoot them back when it’s time to do that half.

Now the extras: take Katie’s violin stand and her scads of loose music sheets and shove them in the closet. Pick up Ellie’s piano books (which are always right next to the piano so they’re easy to find) and toss them into her piano bag, which also sits right next to the piano, but rarely with any books inside. Pick up blankets, which we always need in the mornings, because in summer we sleep with the windows open and the living room is so, so cold after all night with open windows. Fold and stack the blankets on the kitchen table if it’s clean and a kitchen chair if the table is foody. Pick up the books from the floor. Matthew’s reading Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” right now, but only in daylight (because it’s a pretty good scare), so it’s sitting on the floor by the big living room window. Move the plants and the three-foot-tall yellow vase into the kitchen.

Now look. You have a nearly-empty living room. Now, starting with the wall the piano’s on, plug in the vacuum cleaner. From the corner where the fireplace wall meets the piano wall, move straight along the wall from north to south, slowly. You’ll see a line forming in the carpet where the vacuum makes all the carpet fibers stand up at attention. When you hit the bookshelf (but don’t hit the bookshelf, really, because it leaves a black mark on the bottom where the vacuum tries to kiss it), turn the vacuum cleaner 180 degrees and move it so the edge matches up with the edge of the line you’ve just created. Then travel along that straight line from south to north until you reach the fireplace wall. Turn 180 degrees again, and shove the vacuum over so you can match up the edge with the previous edge. Repeat until you’ve arrived at the far (west) wall. Step back to take a look at your amazing work and see how nice it looks when all the lines line up.

September 12, 2016

Dr. PimplePopper

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 1:12 pm

This is a thing. I wish it were a thing I made up myself, because DR. PIMPLEPOPPER. But, in fact, my Kid 3 showed it to me last night.

Let us go back.

There is a truth universally believed but partially unacknowledged that there are few more satisfying feelings than getting rid of a zit. Am I right? The grossness factor adds to the overall satisfaction, I’m pretty sure. This is a thing that my kids and I have discussed.

So Kid 3 climbs into my bed last night and says, “I know you’ve had a bad day. This should help.” And she hands me her phone. Pulled up to Instagram. And I proceed to watch video after video after video (after video) of this dermatologist … wait for it … popping zits. Apparently she’s gotten past the HIPA laws because she wears a camera on her head and FILMS THE POPPING OF THE GOOEYS.

It’s horrifying.

And I can’t look away.

It’s so awesome. My life is forever changed.

July 5, 2016

Morning Mantras

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 8:26 am

It’s not meditation, not really – because I’m not sitting still. I understand the value of that part, and I’m all for it. I’m just saying, it’s not how it happened today.

Today it happened for 2.5 miles up the mountain and then 2.5 miles back down. And here is what I told me, over and over:

Time is abundant.
You are strong.
Your words bring beauty to the world.
All-powerful God knows your needs and desires every good thing for you.

And now I believe it. I trust it. I feel it.

May 12, 2015

Songs of Themselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 10:01 pm

So we did a little Whitman in Junior English. I had them read the first eight sections of “Song of Myself” and respond to it. Many of them liked it, and lots of them hated it. (In their defense, there is a great deal of arrogance there.) When they got to class, we read a bit of it together and then I took them outside. They had to leave all electronics in the classroom. They took a pen and a piece of paper. That’s it. And they sat on the grass and stared. They loafed and gazed at the lawn. They pondered their identity. I made them sit there like that for 15 minutes. If you don’t think that’s a long time, try it. Their bodies fell asleep. They twitched. They hated it, mostly.

And then I had them write a little about their thoughts and identities and all the grasses. They talked about stuff. About how we can step on grass and flatten it, but then we move our feet and it springs back up. How we don’t even notice the dead and dormant grasses even though they’re all around, and maybe that’s like how we don’t see all the groups of people in high school who are unlike us. About how the lawn gets stronger when it’s mowed, kind of like we get stronger when we’re “cut down” by life and the world. About how much grass grows down into the ground at the same time that it grows up toward the sun. About how much hidden life must be inside people if there’s THIS MUCH hidden life inside a cubic inch of lawn.

Then we went back inside and they each wrote the Song of Yourself. They’re lovely, thoughtful people, these juniors. They think thinky thoughts. They even get brave enough to share them out loud in front of each other.

I’m proud of them for sitting still for fifteen minutes and writing with pen on paper. I’m proud of them for pondering identity and Self-ness. I’m getting nostalgic because I may possibly be hitting the home stretch of the school year. But they’re pretty awesome.

March 19, 2015

In Just-

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 2:14 pm

It’s feeling Just Spring to me today. So I revel in e.e. cummings’ poetry and all the weirdness thereof. I don’t think I can convince the high schoolers in general that cummings is the way to go, but there are a couple, a weird, bizarre, artistic couple, who seem to get it. The magic of Just Spring, the playing with spacing and tabs and returns and spelling and all of it. The increasing creepiness of the balloonman. Mud-lusciousness. The word “piracies,” for the love of English.

It all makes me a little giddy today, as I peek into the beginning of what might be a perfect spring.

March 12, 2015

The Turtle Part

Filed under: books,school,Uncategorized — becca @ 1:59 pm

My 11th grade students are reading THE GRAPES OF WRATH. Okay, that’s a lie. They’re studying it, though. Because I have this goal – I want them to finish high school LIKING Steinbeck. I love Steinbeck. And so, instead of requiring them to read a book that they won’t likely finish and can’t hurry through and still understand, I chose to go about teaching this book a little differently.

I showed them the movie.

(That was different.)

And now we’re studying some chapters. Today we read the Turtle chapter (it’s chapter 3, if you’re playing along at home). In this chapter, we see a turtle struggle across some landscape and cross a highway. A car swerves to miss it. Then a truck swerves to hit it. It survives, and life goes on*. It’s three pages. Not painful. But so many good things are in there, and I want these kids to know it. So we talked about it. We talked about how it’s all a big metaphor and junk. About how it’s not about turtles at all, and about humanity and evil and kindness and victimization and everything important. And then I made them write about it. I made them write for just 10 minutes – when have you metaphorically swerved to hit? When have you swerved to miss? When have you been the turtle?

Oh, they’re clever kids around here. They wrote amazing, open-heart things about being a Hitter (and almost universally regretting it, minus the kid who confessed that he crumbled [and then stirred] saltine crackers into his little sister’s giant birthday jar of Nutella; he doesn’t regret his choice – Yet). They wrote tender, humble things about being a Misser and how they wish they could more often be a Stopper who gets out of the metaphorical car and makes sure the turtle is okay. And they wrote self-aware things about being the Turtle. About how those people speeding past don’t know anything of their struggles to get to the road, let alone across it. About how sometimes life is hard. About how sometimes people are awesome.

Listen: “Maybe to get to the stage of being the woman who swerves to miss the turtle, you have to have been the turtle before.”

“I see those turtles in the road and I have sympathy for them. I want to make up for my crappy former self that was the one trying to hit all those turtles.”

Maybe none of these kids will ever try to read GRAPES OF WRATH. Maybe none of them will ever like Steinbeck (but not because I wasn’t trying). But for at least ten minutes today, they thought about their actions, and how those actions look to others, and how they will affect the world. That’s why reading.

___

* We talked about the weed-seed part, too – and about how Life Goes On, sometimes in spite of our trials, and sometimes because of them.

I love Steinbeck. Have I mentioned that lately?

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