Monday, February 01, 2016

bits of happiness



The wedding gown is finished. It was a challenge, to convert the back to a corset back, to remove the bouffant skirt and replace it with a chiffon skirt. The bride was over two times: once to try on the dress with the bouffant skirt, another time to check the fit of the corset back. And that was it. I sent her a photo of the finished gown, and she's delighted. Therefore I am, too.

Not that it matters a whole lot, but Trump lost to Cruz in the Iowa caucuses. Good. I don't like Cruz, either, but Trump is scary.

Not that it will help, but Bernie did extremely well tonight in the Iowa caucuses. He's my man.

And so, for me, today was a good day. I celebrated with a beer. My beer. Because I brewed it.
Yup. What I said.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

the sunrise I didn't see



I have a set morning routine. Get up. Robe and slippers. Shuffle to the kitchen and look out the window. Will there be a sunrise worth waiting for? If so, get camera ready, pour a cup of coffee, and pay attention to the flow of time. If not, pour a cup of coffee and shuffle over to the computer to do my morning computer routine.

This time - pre dawn glow showed no clouds, thus no spectacular sunrise. As I sat at my computer, I glanced out the back window at some time after sunrise and saw beautiful pale peach clouds scattered across the sky. Pale peach. The remains of that glorious sunrise I thought didn't exist today. Hurrying over to my sunrise watching window, I saw a beautiful tapestry of feathery faint clouds painted across the sky. I wasn't able to discern them when I did my predawn assessment.

Two things I learn the hard way:
patience. just sit at the window and wait.
computer. what an incessant addictive obsession.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

completion



I don't have a lot of words these days. But I DO have a lot of work. Good work. Work of completion.

Completion.

I like bringing plans and dreams to completion.
As my own life is slowly coming to completion.
Maybe it'll take another 20 years, maybe I won't make it through the night.
But it's always been like that, eh?
We have an aunt who is in her mid 90s.
And I had a nephew who died at the age of 2.

That's all I've got for tonight, folks,
and I have now completed a blog post.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

a murder of crows



those rowdy and raucous crows
first thing in the morning
I'm sure some of our neighbors were still sleeping
but there the birds were
screeching and yelling in the trees behind our house
where it just so happens a pair of great horned owls nest
even a blue jay joined in the commotion!

and then
all of a sudden silence
and then
all of a sudden again
the cawing started up again

I'm sure the noise didn't dislodge the owls
it never does, really
it's just what crows do to the owls
ramping up their anger
because in the springtime the owls
will eat some baby crows

Friday, January 15, 2016

getting a leg up


standing in the shower
water flowing over you
down your body
and into the drain

you look down

floating in the water is a bug leg
about an inch long
just one leg

where are the other legs?
and how many are there?
5 more for an insect
7 more for a spider
a kajillion more for a centipede
are they attached?

suddenly the shower is not so serene...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

secret door



in my father's house
there are many mansions
many rooms
a room for strength
a room for tears
right beside each other
they share a secret door

me
1996

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ender's Game



I'm reading a fascinating series of books. The first is "Ender's Game." The second, "Speaker for the Dead" has to be right up there with Tolkien's Ring Trilogy, and that series was recommended to me by a Catholic priest, when I asked him once, long ago, if there were any other books worth reading that addressed the deep issues of the sacredness of human life.

The premise, so far, is this: in conflict, you win when you know how the enemy thinks. But when you understand the mind of the enemy, you end up loving him. That's a bit simplistic, but it touches on the foundation of forgiveness. It isn't mushy or preachy. It's set in the context of future space exploration and encounters with alien life forms.

My kind of book. I like a good science fiction, and I also like plots that explore the deep richness of human living. Wow. It's a good thing I didn't come across these books before Christmas; there would have been no Christmas cookies in this house! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

end of day chatter



Our first snow today. Amazing. Christmas was warm enough for shorts. We had to wait until the middle of January to see snow on the ground. I remember when I was a little girl there was a Thanksgiving blizzard. Ah well. Between natural climate variations and global warming, I guess we're in for a few more strange events.

But here's what's cool. We had a long FaceTime chat with Dave and Isami. Unimaginable not so many years ago. It sure makes it less painful to have sons living so far away. That's something my dear friend Jo never understood. "How can you let your sons live so far away?" "But Jo, I can't keep them here. Nor do I want to. I want them to pursue their own visions and dreams, wherever it may take them."

And it certainly has taken them on interesting adventures. On the other hand, I've been on some interesting adventures right here close to home.

Live is good. So is the wine I'm drinking. Peach. Made by moi. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

T.J. Evans trail


feeling the breeze
feeling both warmth and coolness caressing my bare arms
the rustling sigh of the trees
feeling strength in my legs
knowing there's a great lunch waiting at the far end of the trail
knowing my friends are somewhere ahead or behind
anticipating the bench located at the high point
where I can gaze on miles and miles of Ohio countryside

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

adventure


The days are slowly getting longer.
My bike is sitting patiently in the garage.
I see it every time I go to the car, and I'm starting to dream.
I wonder what new trails will become my instant favorites.
I wonder how far we'll be able to drive, and then, how far we'll be able to ride.
I wonder how much stronger I'll be this year, or will this be the year when I become incrementally weaker due to age...
Nah. Gonna be stronger.

Adventure! 

Monday, January 04, 2016

the mouse



Sentience. My "sense" of it is a little new-agey. I admit it. The earth is alive. Trees and other plants communicate with each other. I have made contact with other animals, perhaps. None of this is definite, it's just a sense of how I suspect things might be. I tip my hat to science, but hope there's more to know than we can observe yet.

So you can imagine why it took a week for me to talk about the mouse. We get an occasional mouse in the house; maybe 2 or 3 a year. Not a problem, but I keep traps set upstairs and down. A mouse got caught in the downstairs trap. I opened the door to the small area where I always lay the trap, and this day it had moved. Where? Oh, there. With a mouse in it. The mouse was still alive and had managed to move itself and the trap a foot or so until it got stuck against a wall. The trap had apparently closed on the mouse's shoulder area rather than on it's head or neck. What to do? I had to dispose of it, alive or not. I didn't really know how to kill it. That was supposed to be the trap's job. So I did the only thing I knew to do - drop it in a grocery bag and toss it in the trash. It's what I do whenever I catch a mouse. Except this time the mouse was alive. And now it's dying in a plastic bag in the bottom of my trash container out in the garage. At least the cold would shorten it's time of suffering.

I sure hope mice aren't sentient. 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

doing what we gotta do



Sometimes the human race just pisses me off.

Today my target is people who use the homeowners' associations to just be obnoxious petty dictators. Of course, they get those positions because nobody else gives a shit about the homeowners' association and just pretty much ignores them.

My neighbor inherited an aging Airstream trailer from his grandfather. He brought it home and parked it in his driveway to do the repairs prior to probably selling it. Lo and behold an association member told my neighbor he can't park it there. Neighbor had already asked us if we minded, and of course we don't. But that wasn't good enough. So he had to move it, which makes it much more difficult to work on it after his day job. The association president can't even see it from his house!

When we first moved here, I got on the initial homeowners' association as secretary, and had to fight some really obnoxious people. One wanted to outlaw sunflowers. He also wanted to make sure nobody parked their boat in their own driveway for a couple of days.

It's like they think they're caretakers of a public park and we can live in these houses but we damn well better make sure that our surroundings always look like a park.

Yes, it's in the "rules" about trailers and boats in driveways. In my opinion it shouldn't be in the rules in the first place! But the only way that'll change is if more of us go to the meetings and make some noise.

Seems to me our whole country is like that. We gotta get up off our asses and make our voices heard. Not as much fun as sitting on our asses watching football, but we gotta do what we gotta do. 

Friday, January 01, 2016

just another day



I know, I know, it's happy new year and all that...
but for me it's just another day
a good day
but if I were on any other planet it wouldn't be
happy new year, most likely.

I don't do well with calendar initiated days of celebration.
Yes, I understand the need for organization by certain institutions
like the IRS, etc.
but for me in this house?
it's another day.
a good day, though.

I'm glad winter is finally feeling like winter,
though some folks in other states are in serious trouble with flooding.
climate warming, don't you know?

so I'll call it quits on the writing
before I get depressed
about all the depressing things
going on in this world

because for me, it's just another day
a good day, though. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

a letter to a friend


Because we share our hearts with each other...

Christmas happened yesterday evening.
I spent the day doing the usual Christmasy things; decorating the tree, finishing the cookie baking marathon, wrapping gifts. George was in the background, doing his own preparations; pizzelles, helping with the tree, working on Nick’s gift. It was quiet, in fact, silent. I usually work best that way. But this time I asked George to put on some Christmas music, which he did. A mix. In amongst the carols were some operatic pieces, sung by high sopranos or perhaps children. It was magical. The more I sank into the magic, the “sadder” I felt. I don’t ascribe to the Christmas “magic” anymore, yet the music touched me. I sat there quietly, touching the sadness. What was it? The thought occurred to me that this might be my last Christmas, the last time I decorate the tree, bake cookies, anticipate the arrival on my sons and their families. And yet that wasn’t quite it. I live in the reality that the day I’m in might be my last day. 

And so. I had opened my heart to what brings me joy; the music, the preparations and anticipation, the quiet love of the two of us. Yep, sometimes it’s even quiet! 

But many years ago, 20 years ago, in fact, I had a session with Azaria, my therapist. As I was exploring happy/sad, she sat quietly across from me, with eyes as deep as the universe, and spoke words of deep wisdom. Perhaps deep magic. “When you open your heart to joy, you can’t tell your heart to only feel the joy. Your open heart will also feel other things.”

An open heart. 

It wasn’t sadness I was feeling, though sadness was part of it. It was the magic that I don’t understand that touched the part of my soul that lives bigger than the current life I embrace. That bigger life that I’m always trying to understand but don’t yet have a heart and brain big enough for the enormity of the universe. Mystery. Who am I? Who are you? What about all those stories inside all the old folks I sat with at the Christmas dinner? What is it all about? Are we really as big as the universe? Or are we each just writing our stories in little books in the universal library, never to be seen? I don’t know. 

i don’t know. With that bit of ignorance intact, I go about my day, giving it my best. 
Knowing that’s all it may be.
Or maybe not.
But I don’t get to know.
So I submit to the mystery.
The magic.

My heart had opened, and a tendril of mysterious magic wafted in. 

I had been given a Christmas gift.
I opened it.
Actually I opened myself.

You know how it rained last night? And now the sun’s out? I opened the blinds and gazed at the tree by the window. The branches were holding a multitude of raindrops, and the sun was shining through them. How beautiful are those magical tears, shed in the dark, and now illuminated by the sun.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

the wedding gown



She called me in October. She has her sister's wedding dress, and she wants me to redesign it. Her sister is a Disney princess kind of person, and the gown has a big fluffy skirt. Could I take it off and put a simpler chiffon skirt on instead?

Yes, I can do that. When is the wedding?

Well, that's the problem. The wedding isn't until May, but it will be in Florida, where I live. I can only come for a fitting during the Christmas holidays.

So why isn't somebody in Florida doing the conversion?

Because I don't know anybody I can trust, and my mom says you do good work.

(nice!)

So she comes in, we look it over, I give an estimate, and said we'll work something out. The big picture is...it's not difficult. But the big picture is made of a multitude of frames, and each one of them is it's own puzzle and involves decisions based on only one fitting. Normally there would be at least two. Maybe three.

Today was the day. The dress was on the mannequin, waiting until they walked into the room. I knew it was going well when I heard the "ooooo's" and "ahhhhh's".  As I left the room so she could dress, I overheard her mother say "See? I told you she could do it!". Those were magical words for me.

The dress fits her well, we agreed on how to move forward, and, instead of guessing the hem, I told her I'd have the dress ready for her mother to deliver to her in March. She could find somebody in Florida to hem it, which is really not that big a deal.

"See? I told you she could do it." Those words have been singing in my heart all day. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

peace to your day


I suppose I should check in and let those who care know I'm still here.
Here, but without meaningful words.
Christmas is a time of high emotion for me, whether or not I ascribe to the traditional beliefs,
which I don't.
Our "Christmas" was two days ago, accommodating the travel plans of scattered family members.
Today I simply get to work on a wedding gown for a client stopping in tomorrow.

It was probably the finest, most moving family "Christmas" family gathering in my entire adult life.
I just don't have words to share at the moment.

Peace to your day, if at all possible.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

about that cookie



Christmas cookies
mixed
rolled
baked
frosted
sprinkled
given as gifts

light golden brown
perfectly shaped

one cookie is a bit scorched
and is also a bit misshapen
a reject
I put it aside
and go on to dress the next perfect cookie

that cookie looked at me with sad eyes
it was the best cookie it could possibly be
and yet wasn't good enough

rejection sucks
whether a cookie
or a child
or a dream
so I picked up that cookie
and frosted and sprinkled it
and put it in the gift pile

one of my friends will get a cookie
that smiles

Sunday, December 13, 2015

this happened...



Yesterday evening  there was a knock on the door. It was one of my neighbors - a 13 year old boy with his friend. Could they borrow some toilet paper? They’d run out. I gave them two rolls. Occasionally they do come over for a similar request…a couple of eggs, a stick of butter…

This morning I looked out my back window and saw another neighbor’s trees had been toilet papered. I guess I knew what had happened. I waited until I knew they were up (messaged on Facebook to their father). Could I speak with them? Yes. I went over. The parents suspected why I was there, having seen the toilet paper in the trees. We’re good friendly neighbors, they know I like their kids, so I asked permission to confront the boys. I had their full cooperation. The two boys (their son and their son’s friend) were still sleeping. 

Could you get them up so I can talk with them? 

Yes. They went downstairs and told them to come up, Pat wants to talk to you.

After a bit of time, they haven’t appeared. The parents went back downstairs, found out the boys were NOT going to come upstairs. They were ordered to come upstairs.

And now there are two sleepy boys standing in the kitchen….

I see one of our neighbor’s trees have been toilet papered. I think I know, but I’ll ask you. Did you do it?

Yes.

Do you know this neighbor?

No.

Then you probably don’t know that she is an old lady living alone and she just recently broke her arm.

No, we didn’t know that.

Because she has a broken arm, she can’t clean up her tree. Do you suppose you could clean it up for her?

Yes. We’ll go over and do that.

Wait, boys. If you go over now without asking her permission, she might see you and call the police because you’d be trespassing. After all, she’s helpless, and that’s about the only thing she can do is pick up her phone and call the police. In fact, if I saw strange boys messing in somebody else’s yard, I’d call the police myself. I think you’d better go knock on her door and ask permission. 

Ok.

And when you do clean it up, be very careful you don’t break any branches. She makes sure her yard always looks nice.

And so they clean it up. They have to use a ladder and one of those long stick things people use to hang Christmas lights on trees. They said they knocked on her door but she didn’t answer, probably still asleep. 

And then, finally, I thanked the boys for correcting this problem in a mature manner. And by the way, I expect you’ll bring me two rolls of toilet paper, because I don’t want to be an accomplice to this crime.
And one other thing. I’m an old lady, too. You do that in my yard and I’m going to kick your ass. Have a good day!

(Yes, his parents were glad I came over and stared down the boys and got this taken care of.) I told Aimee, the mom, to sort of get used to this. It’s gonna be like this for a few years. We hugged and all is well.

Follow up...
The two boys just now came over and gave me three rolls of toilet paper. I told them they only borrowed two. They said the third one was for interest. 

I had some final words. 
Thanks you again for solving this problem in a mature manner. 
It took courage to stand there and face me in the kitchen and deal with this. (I saw the look of “yes” in their eyes.)
So learn to use this courage in a good way. There are people who deserve to be the recipient of your orneriness. Learn to tell the difference.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

reincarnation



calm at the end of the day
a cup of green tea
quiet
time to breathe
bedtime is beginning to sing its siren song
soon I'll follow the silent music
that entices me to die to this day,
to dream of mysterious worlds
and be reborn in the morning

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

what goes with what



Pumpkin pie and rhubarb wine...not a bad combination. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

meaning



I wish I had something meaningful to write
but I don't

I made ginger cookies
I learned how to make a corset back for a wedding gown
and another Christmas wall hanging is giving birth on my worktable

isn't that meaningful enough?

with all the sorrow in this world
at least in this house
there are no guns
there is no divorce
because we know how to love
each other and all others

I guess it just doesn't get more meaningful than that.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

blood on our hands



another shooting
this year?
daily

thoughts and prayers?

worthless
thoughts and prayers don't do anything
except excuse the
thinker and prayer
from action

thoughts solve nothing
unless you think about yourself
and think about what you may have done
or not done
to perpetuate the situation you are
"thinking and praying" about
and if nothing shows up in your brain
then DO SOMETHING to make the world better

prayer isn't much better
prayer implies that only God can fix things
as you sit idly on your hands
twiddling your thumbs
or texting on your damn phone
or inserting your head up your ass



Saturday, November 28, 2015

speaking of the river of life...




sometimes you're up...
sometimes you're down...
I guess that's what staying in the flow means sometimes
it gets you where you're going, in any case

Thursday, November 26, 2015

thank you for the day



thanksgiving
giving thanks
I'm not big on holidays, which you probably know if you've been reading my blog

but today was a good day
when I got up, the full moon was setting in the west
looking lovely low on the horizon
the sun was rising in the east
painting the sky with reds and golds
the day was warm
we planted our garlic

yes, today was a good day for giving thanks
for simple pleasures

tomorrow, though, we have the turkey meal
it will also be a good day tomorrow
for that matter, yesterday was also a good day for giving thanks

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

here come the holidays


stress
the holidays
Christmas, in particular
soooo loaded with expectations

where does that come from?
advertising?
childhood dreams?

when I'm rational, I know that nobody is wildly anticipating to see what I've made for them
or what I've bought for them
or what I've cooked for them
yet it seems like I must do all these things

and drag up the tree from the basement
make myself crazy stringing lights
hanging ornaments
and then too soon doing it all in reverse
for next year
sigh

make the perfect holiday celebration

but what would be my own perfect celebration?
oh, maybe have a gentle meal with loved ones
relish the moment with peaceful conversation
and a glass of wine
no presents to unwrap
no exhaustion

Monday, November 23, 2015

grump



8:30 on a Saturday morning is too effing early to get a junk phone call. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

the spider


My evil twin lives only in my imagination, and that's almost too close for comfort.

A spider, a well fed, brave (or maybe stupid) wolf spider walked out onto the living room floor. George noticed it and mentioned it to me. Yes, I see the spider. As he stayed reclined in his chair, giving absolutely no indication of wanting to get up, he suggested that the spider needed to be squashed. That may have been what he wanted to happen, in a passive kind of way, but that's not the way I deal with spiders.

I got my special spider trap, a tall plastic container with a large enough base to catch even the fastest moving spider. And this one, once it became aware of the rapidly descending trap, tried to make a getaway. But I got 'em. Next I slipped a piece of stiff paper under the spider and flipped the whole thing upright with the critter now at the bottom. Yes, he was actually almost chubby!

George stayed in his recliner, watching me very carefully as I was looking at the spider, slowly walking to the front door, where the spider would be invited (tossed) outdoors. You ever notice the big eyes of a bulldog? George had those bulldog eyes. I asked if he wanted to look at the spider. He said he didn't even want to see it, but he said it with those big bulging bulldog eyes, watching every move.

I get it. You don't want to look at it, but you don't dare take your eyes off of it. Right? That's when I should have tripped, flipping the spider trap into the air with the spider going...somewhere. Right by George still in his recliner. It would have been a circus, I'm telling you. It would have been hilarious, but only briefly. I know the fear of spiders, I've lived with it for many decades. George might have had a heart attack. That wouldn't be funny at all.

But just for a moment, in my imagination...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

knowing how to do the work


corked peach wine yesterday, cherry wine the day before
cantaloupe wine is still fermenting
cleaned up the brewing area, getting ready to start some cream ale

it is a pleasure to understand the brewing process, and to have some rudimentary skills, not unlike having some kitchen skills, or tailoring skills, or gardening skills
all about knowing how to take care of myself
ourselves
independence

also a damned sight cheaper than paying somebody else to do the work

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

terror


Like most folks, I've been paying attention to the terror attack in France. Lots of thought, most not shared with anybody else, and only a little bit here. We've always been this way as humans, it seems. Spread throughout time and cultures, we huddle with those like us, and are suspicious of others huddling elsewhere. Fear. It comes naturally. And then there are those who are smart enough to manipulate fear in order to get what they want.

I wonder if we'll ever overcome that terrible brain wiring before we destroy each other. Maybe. Maybe not. In the end, we all die anyway. Does the universe take notice? I'm guessing not. And so I will trundle about my days, spreading whatever peace and beauty I can muster. It's all I can do. And it's all I really want to do.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

three amigos



This was taken in Toronto, where the Alliance chorus competed at the international level. All three Deninos were in the chorus, now wearing medals. 5th place? 4th place? I don't quite remember. I had some other things on my mind.

George, the grandpa, the love of my life. Look at that smile!

Steve on the right, our son. What's not showing is the brace on his leg, needed because he was  injured in an auto accident a day or two before. He was one of several injured when a car careened into pedestrians. One man died. Steve's quartet also competed - didn't do as well as they could have - might be because the accident happened as they were walking over to the contest venue. His quartet was rescheduled to the end of the day so he'd have a bit of time to deal with the injury. When they walked out on stage, he was using crutches...

Nick, our grandson. That look on his face? Emotional overload. Sobbing hysterically the day before, trying to deal with the accident in which his father was injured. And now, just before the picture was taken, sobbing in joy for the fine chorus placement.

That's a lot of emotion for a youngster to handle.
It was a lot of emotion for his grandma to handle, too.
It was a lot of emotion for our entire family to handle.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Heart of Ohio trail


Well, how about that! Look what photo popped up today! Two of my favorite biking buddies; two old farts (of which I am the third).

Speaking of bikes...
We may have taken our last ride of the year yesterday. Maybe...or not, we'll let mother nature call the shots. We rode a 24 mile round trip from Centerburg to Mt. Vernon and back. Sunny, high of about 52. Any cooler and I'll have to wear ear warmers, at least, maybe spring for a balaclava.

Here are my delightful take aways from this ride:

  1. The high point of this ride is 2 miles from our trailhead. That meant 10 miles downgrade to Mt. Vernon. It also meant 10 miles upgrade coming back. But we all fared well, even Rhonda. Because she has strengthened, and because we don't like to leave her behind, we averaged 10mph for the ride. That's pretty awesome growth. 
  2. Yes, it was cool, but I love cool. Weren't my ears cold, they asked? I told them yes, my ears were a bit cold, but since there was no pain, I just didn't care.
  3. I raised my saddle a bit higher than I'm used to. My feet barely touched the ground. You know what? It felt good rider higher! It also felt good riding faster.
  4. We finally got to have a bite to eat at Pizzaburg in Centerburg. Good stuff! One of the best subs I've ever had.
  5. The ride home...the sunset was beautiful. Stunning, in fact. George asked why I wasn't taking a picture of it. I told him I can't just take a picture from inside the car. He'd have to pull off the road, let me wander into the fields to find the best framing, and then wait up to a half hour for the best picture. Not gonna happen. So we just breathed in the colors. Good enough!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

adventures



remembering again when I was a little girl
reading stories of adventures by Richard Halliburton
wishing I had been born a boy
so I, too, could have adventures
because girls just didn't do that, as far as I knew

looking back, now,
at some of my adventures
mountains
deserts
bicycle trips
venturing into all manner of unknowns
some chosen, others not so much

not at all a gender thing, after all!

it seems like the greatest adventure, though
is the path I walk
into my own heart and soul
and discover who I am

Sunday, November 08, 2015

good riddance



an obituary for yesterday
good riddance
you were snarkily judgmental
I'm glad I didn't take you out in public

how did you sneak in anyway!
you weren't invited!
but the door is open to all
and I suppose that means you, too

maybe you had an owie in your heart?
well, at least I let you stay for the duration
and I hope you got it out of your system

yesterday you is now departed
to the yesterday graveyard
rest in peace, my friend
until next time...

Thursday, November 05, 2015

joy



Today is quiet, a time to let our legs recover from a 30 mile bike ride yesterday. It was our last long ride far from home, and it was memorable. The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway from Nelsonville to Athens, and back again. The colors were past prime, but it was beautiful anyway. Quiet, often far from road noise, frequently paralleling a river, through Wayne National Forest and skirting some farmland. A joy.

Taking it easy today was also a joy.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

sorrowful mysterious bookends



The day began and ended with sorrow. Like bookends.

He stopped by in the morning, announcing that he is now, at age 75, a free man, whether he wants to be or not. The divorce is final. Dry silent tears were visible on his face. He knows he has support and safe haven here with us, if needed.

She visited in the evening, needing to talk. Her husband is slowly dying, and she's beside herself in her helplessness. We shared tears, laughter, and hugs. I gave her the name of a wise woman to give her assistance and guidance; I cannot do it myself for I have to protect my own stress levels.

George and I look at each other in love. We are strong with and for each other. We've explored and dealt with our differences. We've faced the possibility of my death a couple of times. Here we are, still in love, still holding hands. And, honestly, still arguing.

Arguing. I call it Italian love talk. I learned it from my mother-in-law.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

imitation


One of my regular clients stopped by and brought her 3 year old son. I opened the door, and they walked in, with the little guy holding a cell phone up to his ear. They were here for 15 minutes or so, and all he did was sit or stand with that cell phone up against his ear. That's all.
She explained that he was imitating his dad.
How times change...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

random



I did not choose this photo for today, Halloween. I promise. My photo choices are not even choices. It's whatever shows up next in a particular file.

random

It's interesting how some people think it's God acting when a random good thing happens that makes life a little better. On the other hand, if that Halloween ghost asteroid actually hits earth tonight, then for sure they'll be thinking God initiated the apocalypse. I'll vote for random. Your mileage may differ. (ymmv)

Friday, October 30, 2015

a roomful of toddlers



I like doing a lot of different things and it's hard sometimes, to keep my brain from jumping around trying to attend all my interests. But I think I've found a solution. All these things yammering in my brain, all wanting my attention? It's like a room full of toddlers. So here's the fix. I pretend each of my interests is indeed a small child, wanting my attention. I speak to each one in turn, letting them tell me what they want to say, then scheduling a time where they have my full attention. All the other little ones know they'll have their turn, so they're willing to wait. So far it's working.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

when that time comes



Well, that happened!

One of my sons initiated a conversation regarding how I would be cared for when that time comes in my last years. Or months. Whatever. Good! Or how we'd be cared for, in the event both of us live long enough to be alive and either physically or mentally incapacitated.

We have a fair amount of experiences, having cared for both of our mothers, and now doing some difficult care for a very elderly aunt. I hope we've learned a few things; what works, what doesn't.

I've done some thinking about the topic, waiting for a time when it would become conversation. Now it has. It is a comfort, though i hope I don't need comforting for at least another 20 years. I haven't worn out my bike yet! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

you never know



yesterday
one last fall color ride
my eyes deeply inhale the colors
filling the shelves in my memory functions
because I never know
if this time will be
the last time

Monday, October 26, 2015

boring day



a boring day
a normal day?
nothing to write about

so I'll write about nothing
no surprises
no last minute panics
no arguments
no bike ride
no unfinished business waiting for tomorrow
ho-hummm

a peaceful day
a day to dream
a day to plan

not so boring after all

Sunday, October 25, 2015

different strokes, etc.



I"m hemming a bridesmaid's dress, purchased for probably $150 for her friend's wedding. She'll wear it for only one day, then hang it in the back of her closet, or maybe give it away to Goodwill. It's not the kind of dress that would ever be worn for any other occasion. And yes, she'll also pay me $40 for the alterations.

Remarkable, when I think about it. I've never worn a bridesmaid's dress, nor have I ever worn a dress that was only good for one day. My mind doesn't work that way. Neither does my wallet.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

enjoying the flow



Life returns to normal. Normal? That's a good thing? I don't know. But I suppose it must be so that we can do the work that later permits us to party and bike and laugh and enjoy each other next time.
riding bikes
falling off bikes
racking wine
bottling and drinking ale
planning our next bike ride
talking, remembering
sometimes just being quiet in the same space
just being 2, sometimes 3, sometimes 4 happy little monkeys, enjoying life

life is good

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

oh brother!



my brother is coming!
my brother is coming!
I haven't seen him in over a year

does he still have hair?
is it purple?
is he clean shaven?
does he have a Santa Claus beard?
does he weigh 500 pounds?
or 80 pounds?

it doesn't matter
my brother is coming!
he's in the air now
soon he'll be here

my brother is coming!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

again



more violence
angry
sickened
violence with guns
with bombs
with words

violence against families
by denying them
health care
living wages
dignity

violence against children
by denying them
quality education
food for their growing bodies

violence against souls
by nurturing hate
and ignorance
and fear

violence
sometimes bloody
sometimes not

no more words...

Monday, September 28, 2015

two days of entertainment



I have a 9 day window of alterations activity, so timing is everything. Those who waited for that window know that. Here's what has transpired:

first appointment day 1: cancelled two hours before her appointment, and actually had cancelled for a time she had not scheduled for in the first place. I gave her another opportunity the next day; she couldn't. Too busy with football and soccer. I gave her a deadline of Wednesday. Well, guess what! If she calls for a Wednesday appointment, I will tell her that the slots have already been taken by others. Nope. No sympathy.

second appointment day 1: no, I really cannot "grow" your dress, not with 1/4" seams. Sorry. I'll hem it as you request. Just don't eat salty foods from here on out, and learn to belly breathe.

third appointment: Honestly, I've never seen a ninth grade girl so short and so fully developed. Two homecoming dresses for two homecomings at two schools.

first appointment day 2: normal.

second appointment day 2: Seriously? They made the dress to deliberately look like that? Well, there are things I can do to alleviate the insanity of the design. Good thing I already like you as a client. We have a delightful history together, and you are worth the work.

third appointment day 3: wedding gown repairs before being cleaned and preserved. She will be charged $300 to have the dress preserved. Wow. Makes you think about stuff...

fourth appointment day 4: older couple preparing for a party. He just finished bottling 48 gallons of wine. Says he'll bring me a bottle when they return. I'll give him a bottle of my ale.

Life is interesting. My business is not only good from a financial standpoint, but it provides both entertainment and opportunity for deep philosophical thought.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

all kinds of love


Quietness returns. It was a good, a very good visit. When you only get to see a beloved son once a year, any possible visit is a good visit. And then, in his middle years, when he finds the love he's been looking for, the visit becomes magical. The two of them together...a delightful magic.

And now I turn my eyes and heart to the next visit not too many days away. My brother. The one man I've loved longer than I've even loved my husband. My brother. For a few days the three of us, and sometimes four, will get on our bikes and ride. Lotsa lotsa love and laughter about to descend! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

namaste



A week of family gatherings; some brand new, some as old as we are. A mix of American (whatever that actually means), Italian, and Japanese. Ages 14 to 94. Social gadflies, hermits, ADDs, a couple of empaths.
In a nutshell, I'm tired.  I'm one of the hermit/empaths. I can sense all the swirlings of feelings, assumptions, defenses, curiosities, all of it. Including my own. Not that I always get it right. That's one of my strengths - to know I have weaknesses and incompletenesses. Is that a word? Well, it is now.

Conversation. It's not as easy as you think. Are you just putting together a string of words and tossing them out to somebody? Waiting for what they may say so you can put together another string of words to toss out again? What are you actually doing? Instructing? Fishing for confirmation that you actually know something? Thinking your words are more important that the other person's words?
Do you ever LISTEN to the other person? Listen with your ears for the words, listen with your eyes at their face, hands, and body language as they speak? Listen with your heart at the spaces between the words?

Yeah, I know. I wrote a whole paragraph based on "you." Preaching? Maybe, maybe not. Definitely ranting a bit. And I don't really care. This is not a conversation. And this is my piece of paper to throw down any damn words I want, and you can read it or not and I'll never know.

But at the end of the day, we're all just a collection of human beings, doing the best we can with the tools in our toolboxes. In celebration of diversity, of incompleteness, of anticipation, of weariness, of keeping on. I love them all, including me. Including you, too. How can that be? Because we're all of us pieces of the Oneness that some call God, some call the universe, and some are wise enough to know whatever it is...can't be described with words. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

tomorrow



the beds are made
the floors are swept
tomorrow's dinner is slow cooking in the oven
(the best damned spaghetti sauce in the world, in case you wondered)
bathrooms are cleaned and stocked
tomorrow we stop at the farmer's market
and pick up salad greens and fresh eggs
the gas tank is full...
and tomorrow we drive to the airport to pick up our son
and his new bride to be
yes, I'm stressed
but as my friend pointed out,
the new bride to be is probably stressed, too
we will meet each other for the first time
how can she know how much I look forward to greeting her,
welcoming her into our family
how can she know how much I welcome another woman in the family

tomorrow she'll know