Friday, April 17, 2015

changing times

She is 80 years old or close to it. She is now caring for her husband, who is going down the altzheimer's hole. He is still at home, not terribly lost yet, but she is becoming less able to leave him alone except for a very short period of time. She is trapped and becoming angry. She loves him and doesn't want to put him in a home, but she is trapped, and she is angry anyway.  It's just the two of them, in a good sized house and a good sized yard. It's all on her, now.

Tough decisions are in her future. At least there are family members to lend a hand, though the closest ones are maybe 15 miles away. They aren't young, either.

It's just tough. But nothing is forever, right? Not the good times, not the bad times.

Monday, April 13, 2015

a good weekend

We traveled to Cincinnati to hear the barbershop quartet and chorus competition. George's chorus out sang the others, Steve's quartet qualified for international competition later this year. There are stories within those facts, and perhaps one day I'll write about them.

This time the simple journey to Cincinnati became a more complex and interesting journey as I lingered a bit on other folks' paths.

The woman who has been caregiver for her quadriplegic husband for twenty years.
Another woman shared with me her story of finding the love of her life.
And another, a friend. A journey of deep sorrow and spunky attitude, one who fully embraces the "mother bear" who protects her cubs. Even when they're grown.
And, my artist friend. A new friend. I don't know his sorrows, but I do know his art.

It was a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

family time

We've been down this road twice before. We've cared for both mothers until their time ran out in this particular incarnation. Are there other incarnations? I don't know. Maybe I hope so, but that's not the point of this small bit of writing.

Aunt Florence is 93 years old. She has no children; never did; she sees us as her children. She lives in a senior facility in another city, and she senses her time is running out. At least, she's now starting to feel old. Ya think? age 93?

We've done the search, and found a good place for her in our town, 15 minutes away from our house. But can we talk her into coming down here? She didn't say yes; she didn't say no. She cried a bit when she came to understand more deeply our love and concern for her. I know change isn't easy at here age. Hell. It isn't easy for me at my age!

So after some deep conversation and a good lunch, we had to drive two and a half hours back to our own home, giving her time to think things over.

I left her with my most powerful shot: When your time is upon you, do you want to face it alone, or do you want to face it with loving family members holding your hands?

I really hope she chooses family. 

Monday, April 06, 2015


today is the first day of something
I'm not sure what
but surely it's somebody's day one of something
maybe it's mine
and I've already forgotten?

it's also day #572 of somebody else's something
or other
not mine
I don't normally try to count that high.

life is good, even when it doesn't make sense
even when I don't make sense
but you're the one who actually came here to read it.....

Friday, April 03, 2015


Perhaps now, at last, I can relax. Got my bike ordered, and then helped my friend find the bike she wanted.

Buying a bike is a lot harder now than it was 50 years ago. I remember walking into Central Hardware, where bikes were sold. Men's or women's. Racer or not. adult or child size. And that was it. I bought the one on the floor and walked out with it. Nobody made sure it would fit. It did. If it could have fit better? I have no idea. I rode it for about 15 years. Then put it away as work and raising kids just took all the energy I had.

Now? Lord have MERCY!! So many sizes, functions, constructions. So much to learn so I could make good choices. Actually, that's a good thing. I couldn't ride a normal adult bike these days. So I will be getting a 26" 21 speed Townie. When I can't ride that, I'll have to go to a recumbent, and I'm not gonna do that.

A couple of salesmen told me a Townie is made for 10-15 mile rides at most, and in my mind, I was thinking it was something about the construction that might not be good for longer rides. Finally I asked what they meant by that. They said because the rider sits upright and isn't aerodynamic. I had a lot of fun standing on my toes so I could look one of them in the eye and state: I'm 70 years old and I've ridden my 3 speed Townie 40 miles.
And their eyes got big.
So take THAT, you whippersnapper!

But on a different level, this is pretty significant. It's been ten years since my cancer diagnosis, and when I see the oncologist in two months, he'll cut me loose. So this bike is a bit of an early "birthday" present. One evening I imagined that I have finally grown up and arrived. Healthy. With a 21 speed bike. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Junior high spring concert. The grandson was in three of the four choral groups. Two of the three groups were typical junior high conglomerations of kids; some still pre-adolescent, some had reached their adult height. A few were really out of control, most were pretty decent. I'm glad this is the last junior high spring vocal music concert I will ever have to attend.
Also: the sound system was terrible with the electronic piano way too loud, and the microphones were giving more feedback than the kids could possibly sing over.  On the other hand, I suspect an  overly loud piano and microphone feedback may have sounded better than junior high kids trying to sing harmonies.

Ok. Got that out of my system.

The grandson was superb. He comes from musical families on both sides, both vocal and instrumental. He's sung with adult men's champion choruses. Very very few other kids ever get that opportunity. And he knows it. His voice is deeper than his dad's, and he's 13 years old. He sings not only with his vocal chords, but with his eyes. He has presence. How could he not? Afterwards, people came up to him and said they imagine they'll eventually see him on Broadway.

He wants to be a music teacher. He'll be a good one. He shares his skills freely. He has the right blend of pride in doing something well, and the humility to recognize he's part of a group, and that teamwork matters.

I had goosebumps. I'm guessing I wasn't the only one.

spring's arrival

Spring arrives in my world. Lightning punches through my closed eyelids, thunder roars outside my bedroom window. The sound of rain is soothing, and would sing me back to sleep if the early morning wake up call didn't bring to my attention a full bladder. Damn.
My day begins.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


He finished the taxes.
I finished a wall hanging.
That's how we celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary.
It's all we need.
We still have each other.
Every day is special.
Every day is a celebration.
The only moment is this moment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


It takes him several days to do the income tax report on Turbotax. You know the drill...collecting all the forms, tallying things that need to be tallied, complaining to me about how I keep my business records.

And then. Tonight. Almost done. Every single damned number entry turned to zero. All the work lost.  About the only good thing about this? At least he isn't starting the taxes in the second week of April.


Monday, March 16, 2015

a good day

Some days are all-around good days. Our firstborn celebrated his birthday, today was the first warm day of the year, we took our first bike ride. Planet Earth provided us with a spectacular sunset show (to be shown at some later day).

And I forgot about a bridal appointment. I forgot to look on my calendar, and got back from the bike ride to a phone message that I wasn't home. Oops. But she had just called, and was willing to turn around and come back. She was ok with it, and she's just the kind of bride I most like working with. Practical. I read a report that the average wedding costs $30,000 these days. That is not practical. On the other hand, I'd want to know more about the population that was surveyed to compile this particular figure.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Journey to the cross.
That's what the sign in front of the church proclaimed.

I won't "journey to the cross."
Not when the cross stands for my sinfulness.
Not when the cross stands for a mythical god requiring a blood sacrifice
for what?
Saved from what?
My sinfulness?
Who said I was such a sinful sack of shit, that the creator of the universe had to magically appear as a human who would have to shed his own blood so that I wouldn't disappear into nothingness, or burn forever in hell?

I journey.
Along the way, I learn to fix what needs fixing, both inwardly and outwardly.
Along the way, I learn to be proud of who I am and what I can do.
Along the way, I learn to recognize my limitations.
Along the way, I learn to recognize both the glories and limitations of all of us.
Along the way, I learn to love.
That's more than good enough for me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

habitual gripe

The power of habits...

I've been blogging since 2005. Ten years. With precious few exceptions I've always included a photo, usually not even related to the post. And now I can't. My computer, thus my vast store of photo files, is not available until George is done doing something or other. Something about transferring all my files from one device to another. After 24 hours using one program that was running way too slowly, he quit it and is now using another program. It's been another 24 hours, and though most of the transfer is complete, it still looks like several more hours of waiting.

I'm so lonely for my photos, for Photoshop, Lightroom, and InDesign. Withdrawal sucks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

last person

The Last Man on Earth is a new humorous sitcom on television. I watch how this last man conducts his days and wonder what I would do if I were the last person on earth. Somehow this is very disconcerting, because the things I most enjoy doing feel like dust in my mouth if I were indeed that last person. Food for thought as I evaluate those things I enjoy and why I enjoy them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Try to imagine crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel at the time of our country's war for independence. Weeks of same old same old, broken up only by the occasional storm. A storm, of course, that could sink the ship. And then, finally, land is spotted. Just a couple more days...

For me, I've spotted the end of my own adventure. June. The month of June, in which I make one last trip to the oncologist, who will proclaim me cured. Ten years of journey. Fact is, I haven't been much concerned about the "end" of this particular journey. I live each day in the present moment.

But it has a purpose, in any case. The book I've been writing and compiling of my thoughts, meanderings, complaints, visions, and random observations about my cancer journey now has an end point. June. This book, probably the only book I'll ever write, has been chugging along, and I haven't had a clear sense of how to end it. But now I do. June. 

Monday, March 09, 2015


be still and listen to the song of the town
love talk
gossip, snores, cries, sniffles, murmurs, singing, shouts
sounds written on the wind
a symphony

Sunday, March 08, 2015

summoned to write

The dream. I was a teacher again. I gave the students the assignment to spend the entire period writing about a book I knew they had just read. It felt good knowing they could write at length; there was so much to write about.

And then my muse whispered in my heart: write. Write about anything. Any object. Any and every object is connected to everything else in the universe. There are so many stories embedded in every object.

to be continued...(obviously)

Saturday, March 07, 2015


Fifty years ago Selma Alabama made national,  probably international news as they marched over the bridge. Bloody Sunday. I was 21 years old, and had no idea. Oh, I may have seen something about it in the newspaper headlines, but that was about it. I was in college, committed to my relationship with the man I would marry, and that was about it. Clueless. Besides, my parents thought MLK was a communist, and there wasn't much I could say, still living at home. Oh, I was such a good girl...

At least now, as I've grown up and learned a few things, I could watch our first black President give an inspiring speech at that bridge. At least I can learn the history. At least I can wipe a few tears from my eyes as I finally understand the importance of that day. And of this day.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

wedding thoughts

One of my mannequins is wearing a wedding dress so I can hem it. I've worked on a lot of wedding dresses over the years; vintage, expensive silk, forgettable fluff, Disney princess styles, even a backless number for a lady of the night. But this one is my favorite. Why? Partly because it's relatively simple, but mostly because the bride who will wear it has a mature head on her shoulders.
Bustle the train? No, she says. Cut off the train. I'm getting married in my parent's back yard. That's what started the conversation. Just a couple of bridesmaids, a simple ceremony in the backyard, a small gathering indoors afterwards. Why spend more? And I agree wholeheartedly. I'm glad to fuss over the fussy gowns being worn by fussy brides who want their Cinderella moment. They pay well, and they get good value from me. This bride, though, is a cut above. I like that. A lot. And yes, I've told her. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

chemo brain

I subscribe to, which is a huge collection of quality tutorials in all the Adobe products I have (and lots that I don't have). A little over a year ago I had to quit tutorials presented by one particular teacher because I couldn't keep up with her. I began to watch them again, and now she's not hard to follow.

Chemo brain. My oncologist said it might take ten years to clear my brain. I was diagnosed almost ten years ago. 

Monday, March 02, 2015


The internet can be so damned addictive, thus dangerous. For example; I was reading the latest weather report and projections for the next few days. Not that I was making plans to be anywhere in particular, but just because weather is interesting. Then, I thought I would have liked studying meteorology, maybe even becoming a meteorologist. But I've thought that of a lot of other things, too.
graphic design
any and all science fields
many kinds of art
on and on and on

Thus, I can spend all day learning these things, even if it's too late in life to become a professional in any one of those fields. Learning stuff is just a lot of, well, fun isn't quite the word. Satisfying, maybe. It scratches the curiosity itch.

And then another thought creeps in. I could spend all day absorbing the knowledge and beauty that others have shared without sharing any of my own. A kind of passivity. Well, that's not good. So I share what I have. My photos, my words, my visions, my thoughts. On my blog. Sometimes on Facebook. Maybe someday I'll actually finish the book I'm working on; a couple of pages a day.

Speaking of books. I've been in houses where there are no books to be seen. How sad. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

this and that

There is a direct correlation between the "color" of my dreams and whether or not I have taken the shackles off my creative muse.

Another major snow storm is bearing down on us tonight. Tomorrow morning will be both beautiful and treacherous. We will obviously stay indoors. I look forward to seeing the male cardinal sitting at the tip of a branch on the spruce, looking almost as though he were auditioning to be a Christmas tree ornament. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday night meanderings

I am a happy hermit. Happy? Pretty much all the time. Hermit? Well, most of the time. But it's time, now, to make some manner of change.

I had three close friends. Very close. One died. She was 75, and her passage was very easy for her.
Another kinda went off the deep end. Personal troubles branched out to family troubles. She needed professional help, and I could not step in as a substitute for professional help. It was causing me much stress, and twice, now, I was diagnosed with cancer during times of high stress.

Now I'm down to one friend, and I will not burden her with all of my non-hermit needs, though "all" is actually very little.

On a totally different thread, my son introduced me to the UU church. He knows I'm allergic to Sunday morning rituals of any color; he's the same. And yet...
So I looked into it. Maybe not a bad idea, even if only for the sake of community and touching base with other thoughtful human beings. We'll see. Every weekend, lately, there's a new snowstorm system that keeps us hunkered down in the house.

Speaking of human beings, RIP Leonard Nimoy. I loved you as Spock; I loved your wide ranging unscripted creativity, too. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015


A friend asked me about my recent (and ongoing) creative surge. My answer? Fear, for starters. I'm running out of time, considering all the ideas still awaiting birth from inside the womb of my heart/brain. These things don't materialize quickly. And one day I will breathe my last breath, and I don't want, with that breath, to be pissed that I played a game of internet solitaire instead of tending the birth of one of my creations.

Another friend has wild turkeys at her bird feeder. Why can't I have wild turkeys instead of starling mobsters? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

another cold day

The subzero cold rages outside; another record will be set, at least for this date. I don't remember how many records have been set so far this year.

And, my personal cold rages on. Oh well. At least at this stage of my life I can nap when I need to, which is fairly frequently. No, not complaining. There are a hell of a lot worse things than colds, some of which I've experienced.

The starling saga continues. The flock has pretty much disappeared, but one lone starling remains. I've been watching him. He has learned to perch vertically as woodpeckers do, and thus he, too, can get to the peanut butter. None of the others ever figured that out. Also, it takes a lot more effort on my part to scare him away. I'm not so quick to do that, now. He also sits and eats seeds in a more gentlemanly manner, much as the other birds do. So starlings can learn! He's big and hungry, but his lone presence doesn't scare away the other birds. As long as he doesn't revert to the herd behavior and simply trash the feeding stations, I'll let him stay. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015


The biggest snowfall of the season visited us today. It was beautiful. Still is. I looked out the window and there, on the ground by the bird feeders, was a hawk, munching on his lunch. Probably the red tail that hangs out in our neighborhood.

I read on Facebook from my "friends" who are complaining about this snow, perhaps all snow and cold. But you know what? My friends have warm clothes and warm houses. Some people don't have either. Can we keep some perspective here? SO WHAT if we have to change plans! At least we have plans; places to go and the means to get there, even if not on a snow day.

And that's enough snark from me tonight. I have a bad cold (as opposed to a good cold), and it has drained my patience. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

morning musing

Sometimes I think about the DNA pool that includes all human beings.
As I see the seemingly growing cancer of maliciousness and willful ignorance, I'm embarrassed to be recognizedf as part of this DNA pool.

On the other hand, if I weren't in it, the collective IQ of the pool would be lower...

Intelligence. A necessary burden.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

morning song


It's a lot of fun being a human being for a spell. I get to be so many different things, and sometimes all at the same time.

Today sister, wife, and mother take center stage. In all three "states" I'm feeling a bit of joy.
My brother still has his business.
My husband doesn't have cancer.
My sons are now all employed and have significant "others" in their lives.

Thanks be to the universe. Thanks be to them. Thanks be to me.
It's all one big giant thing, this manifestation of life and love. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

the visit

I dreamed my brother came for a visit...
in his own personal flying saucer...
battery operated.

I wonder how many centuries will pass before personal flying saucers will become a reality.
On the other hand, I suspect homo sapiens will be extinct long before that, given our current practices.

But I can dream.

Friday, February 13, 2015

this 'n that

I guess I shouldn't be surprised...
As I engage my creative side, committing to bringing to light (and completion) some projects I've put on hold until "a rainy day", my dream life also improves. Stronger, more joyful...
a doll,
a wall hanging
several items of clothing
a pink teddy bear
and that's just for starters.

In addition, we're busy evaluating senior living for the last elderly lady in the family. After she's gone, and she's 93 now, I'll be the last remaining elderly lady in the family.

All is well in my world.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Did I ever mention how much I despise starlings? 
I hate them.
The only thing they're good for is murmurating.
And they'd better not be doing that over my yard, thankyouverymuch!

Sunday, February 08, 2015


The starlings are gone. They've thrown all the seeds onto the ground and disappeared.
I hate starlings.
I'm glad most of the songbirds will eat the seeds, even on the ground.
But I hate starlings. 

Friday, February 06, 2015


That measles thing? Seems like a lot of people don't understand that each of us is part of a larger population. In nature, the continuation of the "herd" or "swarm" takes priority over the continuation of the individual. So. Once in a great while an inoculation goes bad. That's tough, especially when it's your own kid. Nevertheless, it's a risk we all have to take for the greater good.

You anti-vaxxers? We're animals. We're part of the herd. Get over it. Hold your elected officials to the highest standards science and compassion can provide, but in the end, life has risk.

So now I wonder. Which maintains better population health - measles vaccine or no measles vaccine. I'm wondering about the population itself, not the individual members. Again. We are animals. Some event, asteroid, volcanic eruption at Yellowstone, or some other unknown, is probably going to take us all out. But if that were not to happen, how best to maintain a healthy population of homo sapiens. (Assuming we are a healthy population at this point, and maybe we're not.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

birds of a feather

Starlings and politicians

first the starlings...
Birds in general are fine. Important. Necessary. Beautiful. Amusing. Sometimes even tasty.
But not starlings. Bully birds. It's not just that they're ugly. Sparrows aren't particularly lovely, but they don't totally trash my feeders, scaring away all the other birds. Starlings do, and because they're so trashy, and in such numbers, I hate them.

I have no quarrel with governance, with public service, with decision making I don't necessarily agree with. But politicians are just a bigger version of starlings. Trashy. Bullies. Fearmongers. Opportunists. Greedy bastards.

I'm purely disgusted with assholes, feathered or otherwise.

Sunday, February 01, 2015


watching the squirrels dig through the snow for the bird seed that fell from the feeders...
fat, healthy squirrels
and thinking about the great horned owls that nest behind our house...
maybe that's why the owls chose those trees
a food supply close by!
squirrels, mice, even an occasional skunk

and then my mind wanders...
maybe our planet is a giant "bird" feeder
and we're the "birds"

but we never see anything pluck us off the planet
maybe they're plucking souls
angels and demons
feeding our souls
waiting to see how our souls will mature

one for you
one for me
to each his own

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

time traveler

She sat quietly in the church pew
dressed in her Sunday best
pretty skirt and blouse
stockings held up by a garter belt
clip-on earrings that hurt like the dickens after an hour
sometimes even white gloves
she daydreamed
of becoming an adult
leaving home
making her own decisions

such delicious dreams...

time moved so slowly back then

and then, time sped by
I traveled back to sit with her today
reassuring her that she would indeed grow up
and leave home
and her adventures would be worthy of a book

in that space between then and now
lies sweetness
and sadness
and pain

who sits with me now
as I contemplate the next few years?

Monday, January 26, 2015

bird talk

Another snow storm, another snow day for the schools.

Today is beautiful (no, not with tulips); five inches of heavy snow stuck on the tree branches, partly cloudy blue sky dotted with puffy clouds....
...and the birds at the feeders.

While we were eating lunch, we saw
house finches
blue jays
tufted titmice
downy woodpeckers

and this morning the great horned owl flew briefly out from the trees and returned within a few seconds...and I was at the window to see it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

elderly me

It seems to me that, as we age and don't bend as well as we used to, there should be a way to make toenails stop growing. Seriously. Is that such a hard thing to figure out? 

Saturday, January 17, 2015


just one mouse
but I didn't know it at the time
Christmas baking
kitchen in need of a serious clean-up

and so, one morning
evidence of a mouse
burn the house down?

overdue Christmas clean-up begins
trap is set
mouse caught

next day, more cleaning
more traps set
four traps
banana flavored laffy taffy
nasty tasting stuff
but the mice like it

time for bed
what awaits me in the morning?

no evidence of mice
no mice in the traps
just one mouse?

well, hmmmm....
clean the kitchen anyway
keep the traps set anyway
someday there will be another mouse
or not

Thursday, January 15, 2015

owl time

In the middle of the winter, we get the first sense of new life. The great horned owls are calling to each other in the trees behind our house. It is their time. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

John Adams

David McCullough's John Adams; an excellent book.
I have a better sense of the history of the founding of our country, of the men and women instrumental in bringing it about, and, of course, John Adams. I almost feel like I knew him back in his day, and I even grieved a bit reading of the end of his life. The author showed Adam's humanity in the context of the big things happening at the time. He became a real person in my mind.
I certainly recommend this book.

And on another note, the smoke alarms were silent last night. I nevertheless woke up around 3 am, feeling the painful discomfort one more time, but this time as a memory.

And on another nother note, we are currently being quietly bombarded with ice. It looks like maybe another bad weather day for the schools tomorrow. Hopefully a good day for some camera work, though.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


The smoke alarm screamed again last night...this morning...3:30 am.
Screaming white hot swords piercing my brain.
It wasn't the batteries, they were all new.
In fact, when the old batteries were tested the day before, they all tested good.
Looks like its time to purchase new smoke alarms.

He thinks they may be responding to dust in the sensors. Maybe he's right. But he's not going to sweep them out and put them back up tonight. Because maybe that's not the problem, and I'm not going to put up with this three nights in a row.

Because if he did...and if they would perchance go off again, I would outscream the damned alarms. Beware the 71 year old cranky crone in the middle of the night.

Friday, January 09, 2015

no snooze alarm needed

Smoke alarms.
A reminder to change the batteries once a year.
And if you forget, the smoke alarm will chirp a bit to get your attention.
And probably in the middle of the night, yes?

We forgot to check the alarms.
They did not chirp to remind us.
They went into full blown screaming alarms.
Five of them.
Upstairs and downstairs.
At four in the morning.

Fortunately we had new batteries.
But big George climbing ladders
at four in the morning
is not a good thing.
After half an hour of head splitting
migraine inducing
high pitched
that would wake the dead
(which is why they're a good thing if there's actually an alarming event)
We got the job done.

Back to bed.
It probably took another half hour
to relax my head and neck muscles.
Good night.

And good morning!

Monday, January 05, 2015

cold symptoms

brilliant, even blinding, early morning sunshine
little birds fluffed up so much that they look like feather balls
furnace constantly running
piles of blankets on the bed
windows outlined in condensation and frost

So what does that have to do with the photo? Not a damned thing.  

Friday, January 02, 2015

surviving the holidays

I have run the gauntlet and survived!
Thanksgiving with the home invasion of screaming toddlers.
Christmas with the extra work of shopping, cooking, and decorating.
Trip to North Lima to attend to a very old and lonely relative.
New Years. Oh wait. That was easy. I went to bed at 11 o'clock.
OSU party which at the last minute was cancelled because the host got the flu.

No, I really didn't want to go to the party, but said I would for George's sake. When it was cancelled I was relieved, except the host who got the flu can ill afford the flu risk, so...we'll see what happens.

And now I'm ready for a blizzard that keeps me indoors for weeks at a time! Ah, the solitude! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

no vampires in my yard

We put the garden to bed yesterday by planting 100 cloves of garlic. That's it until April or so. It's always interesting when we work together on the garden. My style is basically just get 'er done, and his is more about perfect execution. Precise rows. Precise holes. So we compromised. I suggested we just get 'er done as quickly as his precise mind could do it. Since it wasn't the warmth he prefers for garden work, he got his analytical brain working quickly. He got 'er done in a hurry so he could get back indoors. Works for me!!!!! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

happy Santa

This Santa ornament must have sneaked past the family friendly filter at JoAnn's Fabrics. That's where we bought him!

Years ago our family had an ugly ornament contest. Simple rules: must be cheap and must actually be purchased at a store. But after a few years family members scattered to different states, and the "contest" came to an end.

Enter a 13 year old grandson and the internet! We were sitting around talking about those ugly ornaments, and I dragged out the box of uglies so Nick could see them. He was highly amused, and when I told him I'd tagged this one as "happy Santa", he laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes. Grandma actually says that?!? Yep. Grandma can say whatever she damn well pleases!

And so the contest is back on again. This time we'll meet at Flickr or some other online site, sending pictures.

Teenage boys are so much fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Christmas 2014.
It was a good day, but I'm still glad it's done. Expectations never quite seem to match up with reality. Part of that I blame on the media. Even though I'm a hermit now, I still cut my teeth on "the perfect Christmas" when I was a kid. That just never seems to go away.

But what is "a perfect Christmas" anyway? Everybody getting their fondest wishes met with the perfect presents under the tree? The perfectly designed tree in the perfectly decorated house, with the perfect meal that everybody enjoys? Nah.

Family. We get together and give each other gifts...because that's what's everybody (or at least almost everybody)...because this is the day the calendar demands we do it.  When I think of it that way, it makes no sense. We give to each other throughout the year, don't we? We just don't do it in the presence of an artificial tree with a myriad of ornaments hanging on the branches.

So somebody might think I'm missing the "real meaning" of Christmas. I don't think so. The whole Christmas narrative is a myth. Not that myths are a bad thing; I have my own.

I remember my own working days. As a teacher, Christmas vacation was never a vacation from work. It was just different work. I was always tired. Always. Shopping. Wrapping gifts late at night. Cooking. Decorating. Road trips to family in another city. Yes, it was great seeing the glee in the eyes of three little boys. But those days are now long gone, as the little boys are approaching middle age.

You know what I would give as a gift to my working sons, if I could? The gift of no expectation or assumption that they would have to give up a vacation day going through the motions of "Christmas". Unless they wanted to, of course.

No, I'm not the grinch. Family was over. We had food, presents, laughter. It was a good day. I'm just glad it's over so I can return to normal programming. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

saying goodbye to what once was

Four years of therapy in the early 1990s. Twenty years ago, more or less. She told me to get a notebook and start writing. And I did. Four years of daily writing. When I knew therapy was drawing to a close, I wondered what to do with all those pages. Folders full of pages; pages full of grief, sorrow, anger, and then the birth of contentment, even joy. She said I'd know what to do when the time was right. So those pages moved to this house with us, and lived in a box. Now, as I enter the decade that might be my last, I think about those pages. They'll probably be thrown out when I die, but what if somebody wanted to read them? I know I'd want to read my own mother's writings if she had indeed done any. But these pages aren't for anybody else's eyes, except for the occasional poetry that I've decided to add to my book.

Therefore: every morning I read a page, remembering what it was like back then. And then I tear it up and throw it away. One page at a time. It is a gentle time. I sit with the struggling person I once was as she struggled to uncage the little girl who never had a chance to learn her own voice. I am...we are...three generations of the same person. It was worth the pain and struggle to be who I am now.

Thursday, December 18, 2014



Sunday, December 14, 2014

perilous journey

75 years old
53 years of marriage
and they're getting a divorce


both of us are friends with both of them
how to navigate this perilous journey...
at least as their friends?

like this
we will listen without judgment
but we will not take sides
we stand as witnesses that
may prevail at the end
whatever that end may be

so that both of us
may remain friends
with both of you

Friday, December 12, 2014


If I were a cat I'd be purring. I brought a bottle of my beer to the local shop where I buy my supplies and asked the owner to taste it and give his critique. He didn't have to compliment me...I already know I like it, as does everybody else who tried it. Plus, he had said he's not fond of the particular beer I made in the first place.
So....he poured, he sniffed, he practically buried his face in the glass to take it in, then tasted it. Hey! That's goooood!!!! He said that. Then we discussed the hint of citrus, which he thought came from the particular hops used in the kit.  He even offered a taste to another customer, telling them it was my first attempt.
Ya know what? That felt good.