I  dropped in to the grocery store for an emergency sweet potato pie. Rushed past self-checkout Lanes 12 and 13, even though no one stood in line. If I were in to doing things myself, I would have baked that sweet potato pie. A single shopper occupied Lane 14. But darn, her groceries mounded a foot high on the conveyor belt, and her cart was still full. Lane 18 looked promising. An unshaven man in sweats leaned against an empty cart, three bags of charcoal on the belt, about to advance toward the register. I sidled up behind him and set my pie a polite distance from his stack.

Now let’s see… which celebrities were battling through billion-dollar divorces? Plenty of divorces on the magazine covers, but nobody I knew. How is it I didn’t recognize the stars anymore? What happened to Oprah? Where’s Julia Roberts?

Umm. Why hadn’t my line moved? My eyebrow arched ever so slightly as I analyzed the situation. A tiny woman in a headscarf was bending over the counter in front of Charcoal Guy. She and the teenaged clerk huddled over a piece of paper. Reward card application? He’d probably promised her it would only take a minute. Right. My minute.

All pinched up into tension, I needed a break. From myself. And the melodrama myself was producing. I twisted my expression into a smile. It was insincere, but it counted. The young man's hair hid his face and muffled his voice, but his tone was kind. His hands moved gently as he offered a pen to Grandmother Babushka. Her gnarled fingers hesitated, and he held the paper steady for her. My fake smile turned genuine. Hurry drained away, and for a minute, I was living in the spot where I was standing.

Earlier posts.
No Supervision
Light and Shadow
I parked in front of my 9:00 AM yoga class at 9:20, a leisurely ten minutes early. I'd have a few minutes to enjoy the quiet before anyone else arrived. I opened the door to the blissfully empty studio, and …. What the––? It was packed. Class in full swing.

I was disoriented. Was there a special event I hadn't heard about? No. Those were my classmates. A change from Daylight Savings Time? No, that happened a couple weeks ago. And the wall clock confirmed it was 9:20, just as I'd thought. This was definitely my 9:00 Saturday class.

Wait … 9:00 class? Oh. I'd left the house at nine. On purpose. Thinking that would put me here early? No wonder I was late.

Wait … Saturday class? Then yesterday was Friday? Uh oh. I'd forgotten to write my Friday blog. Forgotten something called Friday even existed.

I unfurled my mat and settled in, resigned that chunks of information had fallen out of my brain. Another sign of aging, only natural. And honestly, I don't mind getting old, but I don't want to be late for yoga. I'm okay with getting old, but I hate forgetting about my writing. No, really, I'm fine with getting old, but don't let it interfere with my life.
After class, Lynn and I stepped onto the driveway that separated her yoga studio from her house.

"Look at you," I said, "walking through the dirt in your socks. And they're white."

She grinned. "Yeah. My mom would yell at me, if she were here."

"That's the best part of becoming a responsible adult––getting to do all those things."

She nodded. "I eat ice cream out of the box, too."

"I drink from the carton."

"Milk," we said in unison.

She headed toward her house and glanced back over her shoulder. "Peanut butter out of the jar."

It was lunchtime when I arrived home. I gobbled forkfuls of leftover chicken salad
right out of a Pyrex dish, while standing in front of the refrigerator with its door wide open. Delicious.

Recent posts:
Pomona College Final Exam

As I was driving home down my tree-lined street, a tiny shadow streaked toward my rear wheels, faster than a blink. Before the realization dawned that I'd actually seen something, a sickening thump told me the speeding blur was … had been … a squirrel. I shouted out, “No! I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

To Whom should contrition be directed?

How often I’ve mumbled, "The light in me acknowledges the light in you." The light of God.

I father death beneath my tires and cause the anonymous demise of small helpless beings every day all day long across the planet. I drowned the toddler whose family was fleeing the bombs I was dropping on Syria.

I long to turn away from the light of God in me. The responsibility crushes my heart.

I planned a longer walk than usual for yesterday's cardio workout: a two-mile section of Missouri Riverfront Trail, from Riverside's police station to the Argosy Casino and then back. A four-mile stroll on a crisp fall morning could hardly be considered a challenge.

Commitment-wise, however, it was Everest, because I'm the queen of reneging. At a gallery, I promised to buy a painting, then emailed the artist two days later to say I couldn't. Told my husband I'd attend his meditation retreat. A week beforehand, I backed out. Assured a friend I'd attend her jewelry party. Actually drove halfway there, before pulling over to text her, "Sorry. Can't make it." I would have enjoyed those things; I reneged on myself.

Yesterday, sure enough, as the casino came into view, my mind veered off toward old habits. I'm bored. My knee hurts. This is far enough. Save the longer distance for tomorrow. Or the next day. But my tennies kept padding straight ahead. My lungs kept drinking in the autumn breeze, the scent of dried leaves rewarding my nose and their crunch delighting my feet. Maybe just a few yards more.

I did walk a few yards more. And a few after that. Until I reached the casino driveway, where I
spun and leaped and hooted right there in front of God and all His gamblers. The two miles back was shorter than the two miles out. Possibly because I was skipping.

Recent posts:
Take Me for Granted
Where's Anthony?
Lost Friends Are Worse Than Lost Luggage
I woke up at 3:30 this morning when my husband got out of bed. I was planning things I had to do today and what comes first and what can wait and why hadn't I done them yesterday. I was off to Fayetteville and Manhattan (Kansas) and Des Moines and Santa Barbara, rehearsing what I would say to Annette and Kate three weeks from today and Susanne in November and Auntie Ruth in January and Michelle in the spring of 2016. And rehearsing what I should have said in the presentation last Sunday, instead of the joke that an entire audience did not laugh at. 

My husband came back to bed and did that spooning thing.

In a heartbeat, my world shrank down to the few square inches where his bathrobe––all soft and warm––brushed against my back, and where his arm was flung across my shoulder. Everything went quiet. Like the middle of winter when there's six inches of snow on the ground, and it's still coming down in wet fat flakes, and you cannot believe how quiet the city is.

Wouldn't it be outstanding to transport myself to this tiny silent universe at the flip of a switch? I can't. However, when I find myself there, I can say thank you.

My eyes glazed over as I studied an article about marketing. Through my fog, these words strolled across the screen: Extraverts are energized by the company of people; introverts are energized by being alone. My immediate response was physical, something akin to a blast of air conditioning on a hot day. Oh yeah, I’m definitely an extravert.

Impossible. I was an introvert. Shy around people. I hid in the corner at parties. That’s always been my story.

But I wasn’t expecting psychology to pop up in an article about marketing books, and without my preconceived notions in place, images sprang to mind spontaneously. In yoga I’m the class clown. I have a lot to say in my book group. I’m chatty in my writing group. Even going to the dentist makes me happy. On the other hand, when I’m at home alone, slogginess sets in. I wander from room to room, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.

It turns out I’m a different person than the label I’d assigned myself.

This is going to ruin my brooding author image.

Recent posts:
How to Plan a Book Launch
Take Me For Granted
Pomona College Final Exam

Whew … the books are here! It's time to celebrate.

Sorry to say, I've changed another date since the last time we talked.
Planning a party is a lot harder than writing a book.

Revised schedule for this fall:

Saturday, October 10, 4:00  Kate Miller's home  (this date has changed)
7600 West 90th Ter.
Overland Park KS 66212

Friday, October 30, 7:00  Unity of Fayetteville
4880 West Wedington Dr.
Fayetteville AR 72704

More book launch parties are in the works, so please check my website (DawnDowney.com) for the latest. After all this electronic communication, I'm looking forward to having a face-to-face conversation with you. See you soon.

Thanks for your patience!

Give in to spontaneity. Schedule three parties.

At 3:00 a.m. two weeks before Party #1 ask yourself if you ordered books. Click around the printer’s website. Find no definitive proof the order went through, but also no proof there’s a problem. Go back to bed.

Postpone Party #1, because you have no books.

Having relieved the pressure of Party #1, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Create Facebook event for Party #2. What fun! Share, like, post, comment, message, text, email.
Check the website again. Assume that what you do know (they’ve charged your credit card for 100 books) explains what you do not know (why does the order read “pending” instead of “shipped?”). Decide the books are on a UPS truck heading toward your house.

Friday, write a blog post about Parties #2 and #3.

Saturday, postpone Party #2, because you have no books.

Decide to call the printer's customer service on Monday. Spend the weekend consumed by the fear of getting chewed out. Ignore the voice in your head that says, why on earth would customer service be mad at you?

Monday morning, sigh in deep gratitude when your call goes immediately to a recording. After ten minutes, feel disappointment rather than relief when a man says, “Good morning. Can I help you?” Talk slowly so he can’t tell your voice is shaking. When he says, “I’ll put a rush on this, it wasn’t your fault,” stifle your laugh. If he looked into the case, he’d discover it is indeed your fault. Thank the nice man. Resolve to stop picking on yourself.

Arrange a book order from alternate printer for September 28 delivery. Plenty of time for Party #3. Right?

Having relieved the pressure of Parties #1 and #2, feel a renewed enthusiasm for marketing. Take a nap.

After a year of solitary writing in which I became enmeshed with my laptop, I'm going to take a shower and put on my party clothes. Join me for celebrations of my new book, From Dawn to Daylight. I'll read to you, sell you a book, and autograph it, too. See you soon.

Saturday, September 19, 7:00  Sunshine Yoga
706 West Pennway
Kansas City MO 64108

Saturday, October 3, 4:00  Kate Miller's home
7600 West 90th Ter.
Overland Park KS 66212

Friday, October 30, 7:00  Unity of Fayetteville
4880 West Wedington Dr.
Fayetteville AR

Only forty-seven states left and then on to the rest of the world! Check my website for additional appearances.