The Eye of the Storm & The Blanket A


Last week, in the midst of the hurricane that is my life, I received one of the best gifts ever from my youngest sister MCV.  (My middle sister, Mood Ring Momma, has also given me cherished gifts just when I needed them).  It was a big, black wool blanket with a bright orange A emblazoned on it.  Now, to you, the reader, this probably seems like a crazy gift.  Why would the EPP rejoice in  a rather ugly blanket stinking up her delightfully appointed family room? Why indeed?   This is what it looks like:

The Blanket A

The Blanket A

The accompanying note read:  “Dear EPP, You always deserved the Blanket A!  As it is wool, we cannot really use it [think allergies].  Put it out for Halloween/Fall and enjoy!  Kon Mari it if you’d like.  Do not send it back.  Love,  MCV”.

The “Blanket A” was a prize my high school bestowed on the most outstanding male and female of each class.  In order to be considered for the award, each candidate had to have an athletic letter, a scholastic letter, and an activity letter.  The “A” stood for the name of our town.   Strangely, I did not know about this award until the fall of my senior year when my friendly rival, Rose of Sharon, tried out for the cross country team.  Until this point, Rose of Sharon had both the scholastic letter (an excellent student, she was/is smarter than me) and an activity letter (she was/is an accomplished musician and songbird, among lots of things).   Rose of Sharon was the third of four sisters so she knew the drill.  Back in the day, if you were still standing at the end of the cross country season, you got your athletic letter. No one got cut.   I had run for 3 years and was elected Women’s Captain of the Cross Country team, not because I was the best, mind you, but mainly because I am/was a good cheerleader).  Rose of Sharon and I both had a good season, together and separately. 

I think you know where this story is going. MCV won the sought after prize the year she graduated and I was runner up, eight years earlier.  I used to lament my “runner-up status” for years because it was, frankly, a theme.  Homecoming Queen runner-up, Environmental Law Review editor-in-chief runner-up.  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  So many near misses! 


So last week, when I was getting buffeted by the high winds and torrential downpours of life, seeing the unexpected, silly gift, sitting in its box made me LAUGH HARD.  This is how I know that the sky is not falling – I can still laugh.  

But let me back up and return to MCV’s note.  The Kon Mari Method is an organizational  method dreamed up by Marie Kondo,  detailed in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  I received this book  from my mother (regift?) at Christmas because I had already decided what my words for the year were going to be – “quiet” and “purge” [to read my blog post on this subject, go here].  Kon Mari changes lives, which is why I was the recipient of the Blanket A in the mail.  The first and foremost rule of purging your house of clutter is to ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”    YES!  There is no way I am going to Kon Mari that blanket’s A** because IT SPARKS JOY .  You would have thought I actually had won it when I opened the box.*    But joy sparked only, apparently, in me.  MCV was able to let go of her Blanket A and somehow, I doubt Rose of Sharon has hers on display.  The question is:  Has she Kon Mari’d it????

So why did I need a little pick me up?   Because my life is approaching a Category 3 storm and I needed a security blanket.   Amidst the noise, I am seeking the eye of the hurricane, where “the weather is calm, the sky is clear, and the winds are just light breezes”, getting “stronger and more organized,”  per Wikipedia.    The still point is where I want to be.  Thing 1, it turns out, has had a little complication with her recently reconfigured eye.  Having larger than average pupils, her new artificial eye lens got sucked into the pupil as it was dilating down.  (The pupil is the black hole in the middle of the iris, through which light strikes the retina.)  The lens will need to be popped off  and re-placed.  How the surgeons are going to prevent this from happening again, I know not.  An Uber driver called Thing 1 a warrior last week as she traveled home from work and that is exactly what she is.  

This week Stephen Hawking hypothesized that rather than being destroyed by the black holes of the universe, whatever gets sucked in remains there, in some form or fashion.  This is good news, if you can understand quantum astrophysics, which I cannot.  But as the storm churns over us , I will be there for the post-op, to swab Thing 1‘s forehead, and get the Coke for the impending migraine swirling.   We will  move on to the second eye at some point, wiser and hopefully only slightly worse for the wear.   Because there are no runner ups in Infinity and Beyond.  Everyone gets a prize, sighted or blind, short or tall, black or white, smart or dumb, organized or a mess.  Everyone.  

*In a recent blog post, Glennon Doyle Melton writes about Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong and how it shaped the way she now views her own failed cheerleader try outs.  Am guessing the book has something to say about runner ups. 

N.B.  Did you notice the three photos at the top of the post?  The Creator is not disorganized.



Filed under Life

14 responses to “The Eye of the Storm & The Blanket A

  1. Winnie

    Hurricane images? How timely! Looks like you can head southeast to 4 Pel if you really want to find the eye of the storm. ‘Course you got to get through both not-so-calm sides of it at some point. And as for never the bride, I seem to remember you being the most wonderful bride there ever was! Athletics and related rewards not being my strongpoints, I can’t say I was ever an also-ran and therefore undeserving of any sort of blanket, but I have to say if you ever do Kon Mari yours – I’ll take it! (Even tho purge is my word for the year too).

  2. Thanks, Winnie! There is always a storm somewhere, right? Although I hope to be cremated, maybe my family will drape it over the fake bier? I was a fun bride, true dat!

  3. Love love love! So glad you are writing again. P.s. – I was never a contender for the coveted blanket, so runner up sounds impressive to me!

  4. sallycalligan

    I saw that this post was tagged with Brene Brown. I have not started reading RISING STRONG, but it is a good book for our family, I think. This was an excellent post. I happened to have been on the other side of the Blanket A gig. We were laughing ourselves silly. Mary-Katherine, you are an old soul, and when you get past this bump in life, you will for the most part forget it, and become our leader, cheerleader once again to all of our great delight and maybe even yours. I am praying for you.

  5. MCV was Here

    GREAT post! Loved that you are writing again and LOVE that the blanket will see the light of day after years and years of moving it from dorm room to sorority house to apartment to house after house. So happy the blanket SPARKS JOY for you and that in getting rid of it, I am free of the obligation of keeping it.

  6. Kristin Downs

    I so enjoy your creative spin on life! I’m glad you have sisters to give you just what you need when your shoulders feel heavily burdened. I admire you in so many ways! Praying for your daughter and some peaceful days ahead for you! Hugs, Kristin

    Sent from my iPad


    • Dear Mother of the Rodeo Queen, I am laughing hard at “creative spin”! Thank God for Sisters is right! I know you cherish yours. As you were/are a Friend of Rose of Sharon, do you think she’d think this was funny?

  7. Flaky Friend

    Wow — another great piece of writing. Hang in there — also, love to Thing 1.

  8. raftbuddy

    This is one of my most favorite expatprincess posts ever! You deserve that A blanket- enjoy it! Big hug to you during the hurricane.

  9. MCV was Here

    Well the storm continues AND you get to go cuddle with that Blanket A on Sunday! ❤

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