Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Essay: How The Squirrel Ate My Homework

Hi All,

I will try my hand at pig drawing tonight...but I figure I better introduce myself soon or I‘ll have to wait for the next group to form.

My name is Susan Stechschulte. Annie’s email about The Artist’s Way sounded like just the thing to help me get started on that New Year’s resolution that had already been put on a shelf or drawer to be taken out next January and reexamined once again only to think...maybe 2012.

I’m an Annie groupie! We are in the same book group and I always wait for Annie’s email, sometimes her emails are as entertaining as our book discussions. Then she always finds the perfect quotes to add in soft gray tones at the bottom of her emails. When Annie was at Liggett, she helped me bring tutors to my school and the Liggett ladies were an enthusiastic and well-loved group.

I know Annie said we can post or not post ...but as a good little Catholic school girl I need to be a part of the exchange. So first bear with me. I must tell the tale of why I’m a week behind the group. As befits a teacher, I’m going to begin with a “Dog Ate My Homework!” story. Actually, if my dog Bailey hadn’t gone to the world beyond, I wouldn’t be in this fix. But that’s Part 2.

First, let me preface my tale with why I’m behind in the first place. Blame that on Obama, everybody else does. Last year after the election my group of Eastside Obama ladies needed a new project. We had the sweet (but brief) taste of victory and lots of energy. So on MLK Day last year, we collected food as a service project called “Food for Change.” We provided meals for over 600 families. This year we decided to collect “Books for Change.” Last Monday, instead of finding the book, The Artist’s Way and doing “Morning Pages,” I was collecting books for Cleveland school kids. I figured Tuesday would be a good day to begin and only one day late!

This is where the pathetic homework story comes in. It’s Tuesday morn and I have my day all planned out with a trip to the local bookstore. Another book group friend who also happens to be named Anne called. While talking on the phone, I looked out the window and watched as 4 squirrels besieged my bird feeders. I knocked furiously on the window--their beady little eyes barely flinched. If only my faithful friend, Bailey was still alive, he would have eagerly done my bidding. Well, I use to be a fairly fast runner, that is, prior to double knee replacements but I was ready to give chase. Can you see where this is headed?

Phone in hand and mouth running, I rushed out the door ---one step, two st...

Black ice! I fly into the air, the squirrels momentarily disperse to regroup. I do some very impressive aerial maneuvers that I can guarantee were not designed for fake knees, for that matter, any knees. I let out a small scream on impact and several “OH MY GODS!” Interspersed with several invectives.

Meanwhile, I hear Anne’s voice on the phone inquiring as to my current state of health. As I lie on my back on the pavement, I assure her I’m fine and tell her I’ll call once I’m back in the house. The squirrels are now perched safely in the locust tree enjoying the spectacle of this middle aged women flat on her back. They actually had the audacity to scold me.

Now to the problem at hand: how to get up? I scoot on my bottom to the door and try to pull myself up. What is my problem? I use to be a downhill skier. My brothers and I regularly jumped off the garage roof and now I keep slipping and sliding back to the ground like a Charlie Chaplin figure.

I’m finally able to grab the door handle and push myself up one step into the house. Luckily, the back steps provided a way for me to be “homo erectus” again. I grabbed the cane from the closet and ice from the freezer. I hobbled to the couch. As I passed the kitchen window, I glanced out...my squirrely friends were back happily eating their morning meal.

I no longer cared about the damn squirrels and the birds would just have to fend for themselves. I assessed my injuries. Hmm, better wait and see. I assured Anne that I was fine. I lied. My knee was throbbing and 3 times its normal size and there was this slight ache in my leg...

After a trip to the docs--yup, a broken fibula! The fake knee was my real concern. God bless the prosthesis---the cement and metal held, I have a little added s-t-r-e-t-c-h to my ligaments.

Not bad, it provided a reason for my “Why I Haven’t Posted Tale.”

Yes, this story will finally come to an end---all good and bad stories eventually do. A friend dropped The Artist’s Way off to me over the weekend. I actually had time to read and I printed all of your postings. You all have me inspired and energized to begin! I promise not to blather on and on again, but it was an acceptable excuse, wasn’t it?

With nowhere to go, I should be able to read and write...the Artist date that will require some thinking.

Squirrelly Susan

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