Monday, November 12, 2012

Thumb Times I’m in a Zone

 If I circle my right wrist with my left thumb and middle finger, they don’t quite meet.

If I circle my left wrist with right thumb and middle finger, they meet without any problem. And if my thumb joint would allow me to straighten it, it looks like they could even overlap.

Does this mean my right wrist is bigger than my left? Weird.

Well, that’s not the case. But the real case is still weird. Turns out my left thumb is about ¼ inch shorter than my right thumb. My mom used to tease me that I stunted its growth by sucking it but then she’d say I sucked my right thumb and made it stretch. LOL! Wikipedia gives several labels for it: clubbed thumb, murderer’s thumb (further investigation needs to be done as I think it would be interesting to know the origins of that!), potter’s thumb, toe thumb, and finally brachydactyly type D of the congenital musculoskeletal abnormalities, which just means I was born with one thumb small enough to be Thumbelina. I’ve never attempted to hitch hike but I’m wondering which thumb would be more successful.

I know there are more Thumbelina people out there, some of them even have two brachydactyly (why do I keep picturing a dinosaur when I type that word?) thumbs. But double clubbed thumbs would not help me make my point today.

That is, before coming to a conclusion about something we need to get all the facts. If a person describing me only saw the first two photos, they could say, “Anita’s wrists aren’t the same size.” Or they could look closer and get out the measuring tape and realize it’s all about the thumbs.

There is something else about me with a tendency to get misconstrued. It’s even less evident to the naked eye than my thumbs. I’m an introvert. Doesn’t mean I’m shy or timid or that I don’t like people. It does mean that my energy level depletes quickly when I’m with people. I re-stock my energy by getting into my own head. So I love being with people but in shorter time frames. And while I prefer smaller groups, larger groups are doable if I can take breaks.

Sometimes when I’m in a large group of people and everyone’s talking at once—you know what I mean, girlfriends, we’ve all got something important to say and we just can’t wait to say it—I start to feel overwhelmed.

You ever see a little kid start crying in a room full of people and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it? That was me. First day of VBS with my grandma’s church. Mom dropped me off and went home. Grandma, being one of the Cookie Ladies, wasn’t involved in registration. I felt so proud, not quite six years old and I was going to do this all by myself. Gave my name and answered the questions of the lady filling out the little card. Allowed my name tag to be pinned on my shirt. Followed directions to stand in that line. Looked at the crayons another little girl showed me.

And then suddenly I became aware that the room was bursting with kids, boisterous kids, happy kids, not a single one being mean or anything, but what could I do but inexplicably burst into tears! I couldn’t explain what I was experiencing to any of the adults who came running. I just knew I needed to “g-g-g-go h-h-h-h-home. My mommy needs me to h-h-h-help take care of my ba-a-a-by sister!” Eventually they located Grandma who took me with her to the kitchen where I helped her set out the cookies for snack time. When I’d calmed down she asked me if I’d like to see what the other children were doing—she’d come with me and be with me the whole time. Once I’d seen how they were all gathered in small groups around tables doing crafts (Oh, boy! Crafts! I’m there!), it was a piece of cake for me to stay with them, instead of with Grandma.

Retrospectively I’ve identified what that was all about. Changing the labels of “Crybaby” and “Scaredy-Cat” to “Excited Little Introverted Girl on Sensory Overload” is very healing.

Although on occasion I still cry when I’m with people (now for entirely different reasons—I mean, when hearts are being shared some discussions are just going to be five-Kleenex rated), I’ve learned to take a break without even leaving the room. I call it “zoning out”. It might mean that I close my eyes. Or my eyes will stay open while I retreat into my thoughts. I block out what is going on around me.

The awkward thing about this is that I’m not always aware that I’ve zoned out and my face may have an expression that could be interpreted as incongruent to my environment. I might even make a “huh” sound as I follow my own thoughts. But those around me could assume I’ve indicated an opinion about what’s being discussed. Oops!

Hopefully if you’re with me, or maybe with someone else you know is an introvert, you’ll ask clarifying questions. If you do, you’ll always get a thumbs up—little brachiosaurus and the other one—from me.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Joy in the Birthday Present

This week I told my son Nicholas (in the very first of what I hope will be a series of Skype conversations) that I would soon be entering the last year of my fifth decade. Not surprisingly within just a few seconds, Dr. Nick, PhD, said, “Mom, you’re almost at the end of your SIXTH decade!” Oh, my! Now I really feel old! LOL!

Before getting myself all bogged down in muddy old age laments, I had a little visit with King Solomon (via Day 5 of my Bible study lesson).

“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, The Message)

Thanks, Wise Solly! Opening up to the joy God gives in the present—I like that. Skype conversations with family are definitely some of those joys!

I was also happy to open the present—I mean, the box marked Priority Mail—that arrived on my door step a couple weeks ago. Doesn’t take fancy gift paper and ribbons to make my heart go pitty pat. I knew it was coming. My sister told me so. She and Mom shopped together for my birthday presents and put them in the mail early. And there was no way I was going to wait until November third to open it!

The box revealed a scarf from Mom, a pashmina from my sister, and THE HAT! I’d seen pictures of the hat, my sister modeled it for me in one of our Skype sessions, making me drool, and now it has come home to mama.

My mom included a Starbucks card with the scarf. 
Hubby and I love old town Orange; a perfect spot for a birthday date a few weeks early. It is totally fitting that my birthday coincides with the season of pumpkin spice lattes! Iced, for a very warm southern California October day—yum and a-a-a-a-a-ah. Such a pleasure to share the treat with my best friend (he likes to give his caramel frap bunny ears) at our favorite Starbucks located in the Wells Fargo Bank   building.
This beautiful fountain has been around the block a few times. It’s moved almost as many times as I have. Installed initially in the Orange Plaza in 1887, relocation followed in 1940 to Hart Park (known as Orange City Park then) but without the graceful birds. At some point and for some reason it was delegated to storage for awhile. (How exactly does one store a fountain of this size?) The city restored it in 1981, reuniting it with its birds, and placed it at the Civic Center in front of the Council Chambers. When this new rendition of the library was finished (2007?), the fountain was chosen to grace the northwest corner. I hope it gets to stay awhile.

The scrumptious sherbet-y scarf is from my mom. The day’s temp was in the 80s but the scarf matches this top so well and when it comes to my love of scarves, I do not let climate dictate my fashion preference; besides scarves also come in handy when in air-conditioning. 

Hubby has a new shirt too. His mom sent it to him earlier this year. Yay for our moms!

              Last, but absolutely not least, from my adorable and adoring sister Robyn:

Thank you ever so much, daahling. I feel like royalty.

Also wearing the luxurious pashmina she chose for me. My sister dresses me up so fine! And every time I wear it I feel like I’m getting a hug from her.

   I like the sparkle found inside the package. 

Now, to find a fancy holiday tea party…