I made a birthday cake for the boyfriend of a friend of mine. He's turning 40, so it was an "over the hill" sort of theme. I made a mountain - or the upper part of a big mountain - all brown with little bits of grass here and there and gray rocks around the base...and at the bottom of the cliff at the back of the mountain. Then I made little signs like you'd see while hiking a trail, and on them were numbers: 5, 10, 15 and so on up to 40. The top of the mountain had a white drape of snow, upon which I wrote the requisite "Happy Birthday" message. The signs - construction paper glued to toothpicks - the only inedible part of the project - began a the bottom and pointed the way up a winding, zig-zagging trail to the top of the mountain. The "40" sign was at the back, angled down, pointing at the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. Over the hill. I should have taken a picture.
This morning while doing my morning blog-check, I came across Sheila's post here, which linked to thesetwo posts, which I read and immediately thanked Sheila for linking to them in the first place. Go check them out - the topic - loosely - is body image...self image...what we see when we look at ourselves, and how we should look at ourselves and probably don't.
I know that when I think of my body, or look at myself in the mirror, I focus on the flaws, mostly. I have to be in a certain good frame of mind to like the face reflected back at me. I have to be in that certain good frame of mind, also, to see beyond the post-baby imperfections (3 years post-baby at that) and be proud of the body that grew those two babies in the first place. I see the parts that aren't perfect. I look past the good stuff to actually LOOK for these imperfections. There seems to be some odd sort of comfort in making sure each flaw - each dimple of cellulite or loose pinch of flab - is still there, right where it was last time. Yep. Hideous. That's me. Okay. Proceed.
Once when I was a self-conscious and shy teenager (because, of course, I was the ONLY one...) we went to the beach - my family - and despite the blazing sun, I intended to stay on my towel on the sand...in my shorts and tee shirt. It might have even been the hideous summer when I wore jeans - no shorts at all. But I digress.... No way was I going to parade across the sand and go into the water in my bathing suit - with all my uckiness exposed like that. My mother had no patience for my explanation - and she said - in what I remember as a rather irritated voice - "what makes you think everyone's looking at YOU?" - in other words - get over yourself and go cool off in the water - like you're supposed to at the beach! I went...but was still unconvinced that the entire beach-going population wasn't snickering behind their trashy novels and bottles of sunscreen.
I'm still a lot like that. Hypercritical to the point that I cripple myself. I keep trying to change, though.
I know someone whose daughter has an eating disorder. She was treated for it years ago, but it is back, and it is destroying her. She is married. Has small children. Works two jobs taking care of other people - but will not care for herself. She denies that there is a problem. Her body is suffering. Her mother, this woman I know, shakes her head and clenches her jaw and her eyes get red and glassy with tears. Why? What is that girl thinking? How to get her to stop?
What is it we're trying to get rid of? We seem to starve ourselves into invisibility...or eat so much we bury ourselves under layers of pain. We look away from the mirror, we work so hard to camouflage ourselves - and it's all in the futile attempt to hide ourselves from ourselves. And we can't. And, of course, it's not necessarily about the food. The food is just a tool. Or a weapon. There are so many weapons.
Where do we learn this from? This self-loathing? This dissatisfaction with our bodies? Certainly all the stick-thin supermodels and airbrushed magazine covers don't help things. I'm trying to remember how I got that way, though. I don't know. I don't know if I learned it from my mother or just absorbed it from my peers. I don't know.
But I don't want to teach that to my daughter. I watch her at this age, and she is so proud of her little body. So unconcerned about it. So happy with it. She plays, she runs, climbs, jumps, spins in circles, falls to the floor, rolls around wrestling with her brother, hugs, throws, draws, plays with play-doh, carries the cat around, rides her bike, splashes around in the water, whacks the neighbor's little boy on the head with a whiffle ball bat, and shakes her little booty, much to the panic and consternation of her father.
She loves herself. She enjoys her little body and all the wonderful things that that body allows her to do. She does not compare herself to anyone, unless it is to insist "No, I CAN DO IT MYSELTH!" (that's how she says "myself." I think it's very cute.) She is mighty in a tiny package. A little force to be reckoned with. And her body - and her perception of it - is perfect. As it should be.
I envy her.
Somewhere inside me there must be a little girl with a confident strut and an absence of negative self-image. She peeked out the times I was pregnant, when I felt invincible and earth-motherish, and maybe a few other times in my life. But for the most part, she is hidden away beneath layers of my successively older and more critical selves.
And it's not just the body image that has been affected. Other aspects of that little girl have been covered by layers of doubt and derision. She is smart. She is creative. She is strong. And she wants out.
So I'm trying to peel away the tanglement of many years and just not care what the people on the beach think of me. Because really, even if they're thinking mean things - so what? Why should I care? Who are they, anyway? Why have I allowed them to have such a hold over me?
And the sad thing is, they don't exist anywhere but on the beach in my mind. They are my voices. My mean thoughts. Fed and nurtured til they grew big and strong and powerful.
Such a waste of time and space and energy.
Time to peel their fingers off me. I have too much to do. Too much I want to do. I can't be dragged down by them any more. I need all this mental energy for other things. Time to be rid of my own straightjacket.
When a door seems to be opening...a door you've been wishing would open but never expected it to...shouldn't you take that step? Wouldn't it be foolish to ignore it? How much would you kick yourself later if you don't? If not now, when? And what if, besides that door, other doors...and windows, show signs of movement...and it's all lining up the way you have wished it would...and still you hold back...unsure...because what if? What if it's not what it seems? Or what if - what if you fail? What then? Especially when you are not just "you" but also an important part of other peoples' lives too...people to whom you are responsible...people you must consider when deciding anything momentous (sp?)...because you can't be completely selfish when there are mouths to feed and a mortgage...and yet...what is the cost of regret?
It's apple-picking time. Last weekend we took the kids and my sister's kids on our nearly-annual apple-picking journey. All the kids look forward to it, and every year it's over so quickly - so many ripe apples to pluck and only so much space in the bags they give you.
This year we went (again) to Jaswell's Farm in Smithfield, RI. Not only were there apples to pick, but they also had a huge field of pumpkins to pick and choose from, not to mention a wide variety of produce and baked goods in their little store.
Besides a ton of apples, we got a dozen ears of super-fresh corn, and - it's practically required - some apple cider.
The cider was gone by the next morning - we should have picked up more while we were there. Ah well - we can go back.
And - the other important part of this nearly-annual field trip (we didn't make it last year for some reason) is the group shot of the cousins. Here's one of them - I shot around 20 and still haven't decided which one(s) to polish up and print. But I like this one - it's fun.
I've got a busy weekend ahead - unfortunately not a ton of computer time available either until Sunday afternoon. Hope you have a great weekend wherever you are, with whatever it is you're doing!
I only planned to get a large wall calendar to put up in the kitchen so I can keep track of the kids' (well, Alex's) school deadlines and events, and Bill's gigs, and my own whatever I have.
But I stepped into the store, got a whiff of paper products and ink, and I was gone.
I don't know what it is about office supplies, but I would rather browse around an office supply store than any other, with the exceptions of bookstore and grocery store. It all depends on what I need. And I don't mean - need eggs because we are almost out of them. No, it's something different. I think it's a sort of creative need, maybe. And right now, in September, at my favorite time of the year, I am all about the need for organizing. I wish this would hit me in August, BEFORE the school year starts, so I am not scrabbling around two weeks into it wishing I'd started things sooner. But the weather's wrong in August. And that's all there is to it.
So yesterday - I needed things. I needed a big calendar. Printer paper. I definitely needed Sharpies. In lots of colors. And I needed post-it notes. Because, you know...they're colorful. I stood there and stared at all the colors and sizes of post-it notes for who knows how long, trying to decide. I'm pathetic.
I also needed pens. Many pens. And glue sticks. You know, for the kids. I forgot construction paper and regular drawing paper. Hmmm...maybe I should go back today.
I got all the stuff I needed - along with some things I only "needed" but at the time I needed them, so they still count. In my anything's-justifiable world. haha.
And I got to the checkout line and the girl behind the counter asked "Would you like to donate a dollar for sick children?" And I stared at her for minute and asked "Which ones?" And we both burst out laughing. It was for a hospital in Massachusetts. I donated. I was feeling generous and happy by then.
I really wish Julia slept. I mean, she sleeps, but she doesn't zonk out for a solid 10 hours like her brother does. Of course, he didn't always sleep like this either, so I'm hoping this is just a phase. A long, endless, coffee-necessitating phase.
Two nights ago around 2:30 in the morning, Julia started calling "Mommmmmmyyyyy....Mommmmyyyyy...." She, like the birds and other wild creatures, has different tones that indicate different things. In this instance, it's kind of a blend of Moan and Whine with a bit of Crabby Girl stirred in. I go into her room and see what I expect to see when I hear that sound: she is in her bed, eyes shut, on her side, blanket on the floor, and her legs and arms swim in arcs across the surface of her purple Dora sheets. She is in constant motion, 3/4 asleep, and in need of something. She doesn't know what it is.
I try. "Do you need your blanket back on?" I ask, tucking it around her swishing legs.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooo" she Moans/Whines in sleepy irritation.
"Do you need to go potty?"
An insult, apparently. "NOOOOOoooooooooooooo, I don't need to go pottttttyyyyyyyy!" She sort of sounds like a ghost too. She keeps writhing slowly, like a willow tree in a brewing storm.
"Are you thirsty?" This is it - it's usually one of these three things.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" She thrashes around now, and somehow works herself sideways across her toddler mattress, jamming herself temporarily between the back of the former-crib-now-big-girl-bed and the safety rail in front.
I try sense. (Apparently I lack any myself.) "Okay, Julia, if you aren't going to tell me what the problem is, I'm going back to bed."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" More thrashing and flailing. The storm's picking up. "I DON'T WANT YOU TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"
"Julia, you need to be quiet, you're going to wake up Alex and Daddy." (Like she cares.) "Now what's the matter?"
I try the three main questions again, all of which anger her more, and she becomes louder and more thrashy. She turns a complete circle, lying on one side - sort of like Donald O'Connor did on his arm in the "Make 'Em Laugh" scene of Singin in the Rain. But there's no laughing here.
I start to leave. I'm tired. She screams "NO MOMMMMYYYYYYYY" and, obedient puppet that I am, I swoop back to the crib and hiss at her to be quiet.
She just gets louder, and I'm tired of standing bent over the bed, so I say "Okay, we're going downstairs." Which is something she normally would love to do in the middle of the night, but since it wasn't her idea, then no, it is not a good idea. She shrieks. "I DON'T WANNA GO DOWNSTAIRS!" I pick her up and she is heavy with sleep and her eyes are still mostly shut and she starts writhing and flailing and I don't even know how to describe the sound of her voice except by saying things like "banshee" and "angry bird" and "Janis Joplin." Alex, at this point, sits bolt upright in his bed and starts to cry, terrified, no doubt, by the demon in his room. I tell him kindly to go back to sleep as I carry the wild animal out the door. She is still shrieking "NO! NO! I DON'T WANNA GO DOWNSTAIRS!" and trying to escape, which makes going down two flights of stairs a bit challenging, but we make it to the basement and I put her on the floor and go sit on the couch to wait it out.
She is a tiny monster, her dark blond hair seems to wave around her head like Medusa's snakes, and she glares at me from beneath her bangs. If she had fangs, she would bare them. Instead, she continues to shriek at me and tremble with sleepy rage.
I just watch. Because I want to laugh and that wouldn't be good. But it's hard to be frightened of a banshee in pajamas that have oversized pink and purple flowers all over them.
Perhaps feeling hampered by these benign garments, my little fireball suddenly - still glaring at me, swiftly REMOVES HER PAJAMA BOTTOMS AND HURLS THEM ACROSS THE ROOM! SO THERE! She waits to see if I react. I don't, because I really have to fight to keep from laughing at that little display. So she looks around and finds a yellow plastic bowl from her play kitchen set, and throws that. Interestingly, she sees a plastic play knife but does not throw that. I guess this is all just for show and she has no real interest in bloodshed tonight.
Since the throwing isn't having any effect on me, she shouts "I'M GOING BACK TO MY BED!" at me and heads for the stairs. I cut her off, and plant myself a few steps up and say, calmly "You need to calm down."
"I DON'T WANNA CALM DOWN!" she shrieks and falls to the floor and flails and wriths and screeches and then it starts...the shrieking begins to change, and the face crumples some, and she starts crying now, and finally the end is in sight, and she is no longer the scary banshee...she is just a tired little girl who was in some strange half and half state of wakeful and sleepy and now she just wants to be one place or the other...so she cries, and I pick her up and hold her for a while...and we just hang out there in the middle of the darkened living room until we are no longer wild animal and observer, but child and mommy.
She goes back to bed pretty soon after that, and the rest of the night is fine.
Now, last night right around 2:30 again, I was awakened by a loud and sad "MOMMY! MOMMMMYYYY!" - a different sound from the moaning/whining one. I went into the room and "Mommy, I fell out of my beddddd!" she wails from the floor. She is tangled in her Dora blanket and not hurt, but not all that thrilled either. I get her untangled and back to bed pretty quickly.
And then about 5:00 or so this morning it comes again: "MOMMY! MOMMMYYYY!!!!!!!!!!" And I go in again, expecting to see the same purple and blond lump on the floor, but no, she is in her bed, and crying.
"Julia! What's wrong???" I ask.
"Daddy ate my cheeseburger!" She wails.
I bring her into our bed, show her that no, Daddy is sleeping and didn't eat her cheeseburger, and she falls back to sleep, snug between us. Peace.
I was up til after eleven last night trying to catch up on things, computery things, and then I was awake for maybe another hour just thinking of more things to do. And I was tempted to get up and get the laptop back out and just work on projects until my eyes closed, but no, there's the whole "get up and bring the kids to daycare/school and get myself to work" thing in the mornings I have to keep in mind. I'll just get up early, I said to myself, and I'll write a post then.
Now I can't really remember what I wanted to write about. Probably because I don't have a lot more time and I'm feeling rushed and I still have to have the kids get dressed and I need to iron my own stuff for work.
So this is what I've come up with. Scintillating, isn't it.
Okay, then. Since this post is going nowhere, I'll leave you with a picture from the weekend, and then just focus on the practical matters of the morning.
For your viewing pleasure:
Morning Glories climbing across the sun at my sister's house.
I've been wretchedly ill for the last several days - today is the first day I've felt like looking at the computer at all. I'll be back hopefully at some point this weekend. Hope all's well in your world.
Last weekend the onslaught began. The tomatoes are coming in. We were getting some here and there for a while, but last week they began to ripen in earnest, and so for the next few weeks, our house will be smelling like warm tomatoes and chopped herbs on a regular basis.
I've got 4 baking dishes of tomatoes in the oven right this moment - with more tomatoes in the wings that will be ready in a few days. And plenty more ripening outside.
And then they're packed up and stashed away in the freezer.
I've also harvested a ton of basil and made a sort of pre-pesto mixture - just the basil and some olive oil, and a clove or two of garlic to get the fun started.
From the garden...to the food processor...
to the freezer. I top each container off with a bit more olive oil, cover them, and they're done.
I pack them into fairly small containers, since a little pesto will go a long way. I'm set for the next two years, I think.
And I also thought I'd see what would happen if I did the same thing with other herbs. So last Sunday:
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
At some point today or tomorrow I'll do a few more batches...we still have tarragon, oregano, thai basil, and another variety of thyme (the above is creeping thyme...we also have summer thyme, which has a stronger flavor. We had lemon thyme for a while, but it hasn't come back in the past couple of years...something to think about for next year. I love it with fish.). We have chives, too, but they tolerate the cooler weather, so we'll probably just use them up as we head into winter. And we have mint - but much of it has been depleted by several recent rounds of mojitos.
Anyway, that's the update from the garden and the kitchen for today. Time to go check the tomatoes again. The aroma is intoxicating....
More specifically, he hates going there first in the morning. It's been...challenging...to drop him off without a long, dragged-out drama. He just doesn't want to be there. He says he doesn't like some of the kids, some of them tease him, there are too many kids...and that's all true. In the mornings, before the kids are carted away to the local elementary schools, it's loud and chaotic and stressful. There are "older" elementary school kids there too - just waiting for the ride to their school - but still, they're bigger, they seem tougher, and they are - not always intentionally - intimidating.
And this is no different from how it was at Alex's original daycare. The difference, I believe, is because Alex started going to that first place when he was three months old and left shortly after he turned five. Sure it was chaotic, but he had his place there. He was part of the fabric. He was family.
Here - he's the new kid. He started going here in mid-July - and only three days a week, if that - and other friendships (and gangs of pint-sized thugs) had already been formed. He was the odd kid out.
And he can be shy in certain situations. Like chaotic mornings at a new daycare.
And - to add to the fun - Julia is picking up on his misery (oh yes, that's an accurate word) and now SHE says she doesn't like daycare.
Yesterday morning - both kids were in TEARS in my care before we even pulled into the daycare parking lot. I've had to peel my little boa constrictors off of me and hand them off to teachers and leave the buildings listening to the sobbing and the "Mommeeeeeeeeee" that chases me out the door. It sucks.
And yeah, I've read the articles. I know - I'm supposed to be brisk and upbeat and cheerful and quick about it. They may cry, but I'm not supposed to acknowledge that really, at least not with hugs or kisses. No, I'm supposed to, I don't know, pat them on the head and shake their hands and march off. Somehow this will teach them not to be upset.
I'm not good at that whole thing. Very not good. I try. I have really tried. But yesterday - yesterday just about did me in. I was carrying Julia out of the building Alex is in (the pre-K and K kids are in one brick building; the pre-school and toddler and infant kids are in the other brick building) and he was clinging to me and sobbing and rubbing his runny-nosed, drooly, tearful face all over my shirt. Thank goodness it was a "casual day" at work and I didn't really need to look perfect. And the snot blended well with my gray tee.
The worst of it was when I got on the other side of the little gate and gave him another hug and let him rub more mucus on my shirt - all the while lugging Julia in one arm - and I started to walk to the door - and he did a "STELLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" kind of thing behind me - so loudly and so raw and tormented that other kids paused and stared and teachers stared and Alex's face was red and wet and miserable, and as he verged on agonized hysteria I just wanted to wake up and look at the clock and realize it was all just a hideous dream.
But no. In the next moment, as Alex burst through the gate, the assistant director awoke from her trance and hustled over and took him back into the room and said firmly "No, we're not going to do this every day."
And - I fled. I felt entirely rotten. I felt sick. I hated the whole episode on so many levels and for so many reasons. I don't even WANT to have to bring them to daycare. I don't WANT to be brisk and upbeat and cheerful when I'm NOT feeling that way. It's fake. I don't see that it's beneficial - my kids aren't stupid. And let's face it, I'm really not a good actress anyway.
I carried Julia - who had started to whine - to the other building and tried to make a smooth transition there, but no, she was already primed and ready - tears, sobbing, the hand-off to the teacher - and I dragged myself out of that building and across the parking lot and into my car. I wanted to cry. And quit my job. And yell at people. And go home and curl up in a ball and pull a blanket over my head.
But no, I went to work instead. Joy joy joy.
And I stewed about it for a good chunk of the day. And I thought - dammit - I don't see how a stressful, tear-filled morning is good for ANY of the three of us. I need to do this differently.
And I was figuring that after a while Alex is going to make friends. I'm not as worried about Julia - I think she's following his example, and if I can figure out to ease this a bit for him, she'll chill out too. I just feel this in my gut. And I'm trusting that gut - imperfect though it may look - more and more over time.
So I told my boss about the hell of that morning, and told her I wanted to come in to work later for a while. I'm going to bring Alex to kindergarten and the van can bring him to daycare for the afternoon. And in doing this, I'll also be bringing Julia in later, and odds are more of her little classmates will arrive and she'll have more kids to play with. And also, if he's happy, she's less likely to decide to be unhappy. My boss - who is also a friend - said to go ahead and not worry about the hours. And so that's what I did.
This morning I got the kids ready to go by their normal leave-the-house time - about seven o'clock. Bill leaves before that, so if I get them just about ready by the time he leaves, things fall into place pretty well. Anyway, I got them ready, they waved out the window to Bill as he drove away, and then...
I told them the new game plan. I told Alex I was bringing him to kindergarten - not to daycare - and that he'd go to daycare in the afternoon. He brightened up at that. Score one for Mommy. And I told Julia I would bring her in later, so there'd be more of her friends to play with. She still didn't sound enthused, but she didn't get upset either.
BUT, I informed them - if you're going to go in later, then you can do some things around the house. You can't just sit around and watch a movie or annoy each other. You need to WORK!
And you know what? We got SO MUCH DONE! I emptied the dishwasher and re-loaded it and washed the other stuff and they picked up toys and books and put stray articles of clothing in the hamper in the bathroom and put their shoes in their shoe bins, and we went up to the bedroom they share and I put a load of their laundry away while they picked up stuffed animals and dolls and books and put them where they belonged.
And - even more thrilling - they were cooperative - not only with me, but with each other! It was kind of fun, even! Tomorrow morning we'll attack the basement (the family room area - with more dinosaurs roaming the carpet than ever walked the earth) and after that - who knows? Maybe I can teach them to iron...
And the drop off? We brought Julia in first - and she cried a bit, but not...not with anguish, if that makes any sense - and I handed her over and left quickly - hurrying Alex along in front of me. One down. Then we zipped over to the elementary school, and I brought Alex into the gym where the other kids in his class were - all sitting along one wall, one girl eating a banana. The teacher and assistant teacher or whatever she is were there, checking kids off as they arrived. Alex wanted me to walk him all the way over to THAT side of the gym before saying goodbye - fair enough. I did, the teachers greeted him happily, and Alex and I did the hug and kiss and high five routine - and he gave me a little smile - he didn't look perfectly relaxed, but he didn't look tearful, either. Works for me. We said see you later - and that was it - I was out the door! Walking to my car! Waiting in my car for the other parents dropping off their older elementary school kids to move by so I could pull away from the curb! And on my way to get coffee! And an egg and cheese sandwich on an english muffin! And the newspaper!
I was kind of amazed at how well it went.
I know that's no guarantee that it will always go well, but there are no guarantees, really, in life, anyway. So I'm not going to stress about it. I'm giving it a shot. I'll see how it goes, and eventually if I can or need to make another change, I'll do it.
At the very least, the house will get a good cleaning.
Just spent a couple hours adding and removing stuff from this blog, took a lot longer than I anticipated, probably because I seem to lack direction and organization. Mentally, anyway.
So - this is it for the post for tonight. I am too tired to do more. But up at the top right corner there, I've added a search widget. Just because I always wanted one. You know, so I can be like the other fancy bloggers. (?? I don't know. I'm sleepy and when I get sleepy, I babble. Must be sleepy all the time....)
Anyway, feel free to look around. I'm not done yet, but these things take time, you know.
(taken with the first very cheap digital camera we had, so please excuse the poor quality)
And that same creature...first day of Kindergarten:
I did more traditional standing-at-the-front-door shots, but on the way back into the house, they wanted to run. Fortunately no knees were skinned during the photo shoot, and Alex was neat and tidy for his first day at elementary school.
Alex and I drove Julia to daycare and then drove back to the house. Alex wanted to walk to school. So we did - me with my keys, he with his enormous backpack. Holding hands. Looking both ways before crossing the street. Avoiding the dog poop on the sidewalk when we were almost there. Watching all the other families walking with their kids on this first day of another school year.
And no, he wasn't excited at all - I only had to run (in heels), practically, to keep up with him. I brought him into the gym, as instructed when we went to orientation the week before. There were a few other little backpack-bearing kids sitting cross-legged on the floor along the wall, and a very cheery blond woman took Alex's name and checked him off the list. The teacher arrived a moment later, greeted Alex and the other kids...more new kids arrived...and there was nothing left for me to do but hug and kiss Alex, exchange stinging high fives with him, flash him a big smile (he smiled back) - and...leave.
I've left him before - he's been going to daycare since he was three months old...but still...Kindergarten.
This is the official start of big kid school.
It's the next milestone. So many gone by already...so many to go.
I'm excited for him. So much to learn, to explore...he will eat it up.
I wished I could go with him into his kindergarten class.
Just to watch. He doesn't need me there, however.
He doesn't need me every moment.
I guess we're doing our jobs right...preparing him to give us high fives and hugs and go out there on his own. Without us hovering over him, ready to catch him or wipe his nose or clean up his scrapes and tears. It feels, at times, like he was born, we got to hold him for a while, but in the blink of an eye, we're letting him go...helping him to stand...walk...run...ride a bike...go to school...go out into the world...go his own way.
I walked home alone.
I held my house keys in one hand.
In the other, I held the residual warmth of a stinging high-five. Tightly.