Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Pocket Books

from ryan

Her black fabric pocketbook. With two handles and three compartments. I made sure there was always a few dollar bills and a small container of change in the middle fold, besides my Mother's wallet with her driver's license and social security card and charge cards from the 1990's, several small color photos of her two grandchildren, and a stunning black and white one by one inch photo of herself when she was barely in her 20's. 

That pocketbook was my Mother's true North. No matter what was happening in her life, even through the last few years when she had no need for anything in it, when she was the slightest bit lost or confused or on the imaginary move, that pocketbook grounded her. She sought it, searched for it, asked for help in finding it, took comfort in it, and then forgot about it until the next time.

The pocketbook has stayed on my couch until yesterday, when I moved it five feet where it now sits on top of the box of my grandchildren's lego-type all colors plastic wheels, tucked into the side of the bookcase.  I'm searching for some use for it so I can keep it. I'm desperate enough to think about planting my jade cuttings in one of the compartments. (joke). 

I have been embraced by sympathy and condolence cards. I started hanging them up on one of the hall closet doors--across from our holiday cards spread across the inside of the front door, but there are so many. Maybe 30. Or 50. They say wonderful things: 

"We give comfort
and receive comfort
sometimes at the same time"

and from the little prince:
"In one of the stars
I shall be living
In one of them
I shall be laughing 
And so it will be 
as if all the stars 
were laughing
when you look
at the sky at night."

JB says the number of cards and calls and connections and offers of help is a bit amazing. It feels amazing. I figure there are probably 1, 2, or 3 reasons for so much caring and kindness:

1. It's so easy to feel and understand the loss of a Mother so it's easy and comforting to offer solace.

2. I'm actually blessed by the quality of the people in my life and by my efforts to connect and be kind to others. I'm not perfect by any means but I am sincere and when I care I care. Like my Mother did. 

3. The song, "You Raise Me Up," played at the chapel as my Mother's casket was carried in and I and JB and Jessica and my brother and sister-in-law walked behind her--that's my Mother's doing--raising me up so I can stand on a mountain and  catch kindnesses in the sky.

My family gave a card of thanks to every aide and nurse on the floor at the nursing home, with a surprise holiday $ inside. Today we received a card from one of my Mother's aides; one of the women who was the last to touch her and prepare her after her breathing stopped. She wrote us a note:

"It was easy to care for you and your Mother, and I'm in awe of your show of appreciation and love you gave us on a daily basis. It will forever stay in a small corner of my heart. My w(h)ish is to clone that mold in humanity."

Whatever we did to have even one person feel that way, to feel our appreciation, it "gives and receives comfort sometimes at the same time….."

Aha! It just hit me. I can gather all these cards and store them in that pocketbook; maybe in the compartment with the zipper. Maybe in all 3 compartments. And then, as I wonder where the heck to put that pocketbook, I can remember that I have somehow managed to be found and be loved; that I have inherited even more love; and that I have a duty to pass all that love around.

happy new year, my friends. Thank you most sincerely.


Monday, December 22, 2014

the love story

We said goodbye this week. I'll let these photos speak for themselves. I'll only add that my Mom died comfortably and in peace. She left us with no regrets and with family and friends we celebrated her life through service and song. I will miss her forever, and my memories are wonderful. love kj

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What Love Is

The last few days have been unreal. My Mother is dying. We have been given a private room at the Nursing Home and I have slept on a roll up bed near her for the last two nights. I woke from a fitful and interrupted sleep the first night telling myself I couldn't continue to sleep here. But at 5 am she cried out and my presence made a difference. Then today, although her communication with us and ours to her has been a hundred times 'I love you', she said, "please don't leave me alone." So I'm staying. I am surprised to acknowledge that I consider comforting her a high privilege. 

Despite her four children a her good husband traveling on business, my daughter Jessica arrived yesterday and stayed until mid-afternoon today. That's her hand entwined with her grandmother's. We cried so deeply. My Mother is almost 99 but it still feels too soon. We will miss her so much it hurts so much already. I watched Jess caress her and calm her and kiss her and I know yet again that I have raised a wonderful wonderful daughter.

And I'm feeling that my Mother has also raised a wonderful wonderful daughter. I am proud of myself.  

The staff here feels that the process of dying will not take a week now. They assure me my Mother  will remain peaceful and without pain. This morning, around six am, I put my iPhone to her ear and played Perry Como singing "Till the End of Time" and the soundtrack of "Some Enchanted Evening." And then Bing Crosby's "White Christmas." Her eyes were closed and she didn't move. We held hands and my tears fell. These tears are so much about love I almost welcome them.

My Mother has every reason to be proud of her life and her passage. She spoke my daughter's name. She kissed JB, she told my sister-in-law "I love you four times." She told us she is comfortable.

And me: she struggled but she got it out: "Karen, I've always loved you. I worried about you because I love you so much. I love you. I love you."

There will be heartbreak in this family. But there will be no regrets.

What a blessing.


Thursday, December 11, 2014


I took this photo about two weeks ago. This is my Mom. We didn't know then that her liver was failing; that today she would speak for maybe two minutes at a time and then fall back into a comfortable sleep.

We didn't know that today the nursing home and her doctor and hospice would be preparing us to lose her, any day now. 

My Mother is 98, a month short of 99. For almost a decade she has operated with a faulty memory that has held her smack in the present. And in the present, she is fully present. She is kind and fun and very dear. How anyone without a working memory can be so with it is beyond me. But she was and is. Ask anyone.

The head nurse at her nursing home told me tonight that all the staff is taking this hard. I know that must be true because they are coming to us, some crying, others volunteering stories of how much they care about her. They are checking in on her and fluffing her pillow and massaging her shoulders and legs and holding cups of ginger ale with straws for her. To a person, they are so kind.

In the next week, or perhaps two, I'm told to expect that my Mother's body will slowly shut down; that with the help of Morphine she remain comfortable and without pain. Today she is able to say I love you and to squeeze my hand and smile and say thank you to everyone who so lovingly comes in her room to care for her. 

I am both prepared and unprepared to lose my Mother. I am aware of the deepest love within me and I will have no regrets, a gift in itself. But god will I miss her. I won't miss the nursing home or doing her laundry or deciding to put off that trip to Italy, but I will miss my Mother for all of my life.

I know how lucky I am to have the privilege of loving her so much. 

If you don't mind, would you pray with me that she will die, if she must, in the gentlest way, hopefully with me with her, both of us knowing that the whole of her life was everything a good life should and could be.

I keep telling myself these tears are solely due to love. Which is true.


Wednesday, December 03, 2014



The word has meaning for me.

First off, I'm consulting again doing what I last did 10 years ago. From home, on my own schedule. Mostly I like it.

Next, for the last few weeks my Mother has been 'present' in our conversations only about half time. The other half, she's in her own world. This I don't like.

And then I'm juggling my strong love of these holidays with my desire not to stress. I'm not sure how to  coast into and out of making presents, spending time with family, baking cookies, hanging  lights, visiting friends, fitting in all that I hope for. 

And finally, I am writing a glorious (to me) book, lines and paragraphs and sometimes even chapters tucked into moments mostly when I have enough time. 

What does it mean to teeter in part-time? Does it mean I'm avoiding full-time? As in Full Time?

I could never complain. I have leisure moments far greater than ever before in my life. I have choices. Gardens. Books. TV shows.  Farms and oceans. And grandchildren. Children!

But sometimes I wander from one thing to the next, kind of sputtering instead of flowing. I know flow is important. 

And I'm not sure I have it.

Do you?


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Words about Words

Violent riots in a southern American town. There are reasons, not that I think destroying a downtown is the right thing to do. 

But what is happening in Ferguson MO separates what should not and cannot be separated. It may sound or be hokey, but all of us are a human family. A community.  We are all connected. Even basic physics confirms that. 

There are lessons that must be learned. But seeds do grow. 

I and most of us are very disturbed about what is happening. Profiling and disempowerment are real. If I were black and had a black son, I would resentfully be teaching him that the most important thing is not to antagonize in order to stay alive. To stay alive. That is so wrong. 

And yet. Come on poor black communities. Start working for power. Get your voices on boards and in government. Invest. Work more and rely on welfare less. 

No doubt it is politically offensive for me to say this, but I have credentials. I know poverty because I have been privileged and trusted in the homes of poor families. Too many people who can don't work, and it's passed down by generation. I think material things don't matter so much if you for whatever reason have to move around a lot and don't have a car to transport belongings. I wonder about the looting last night: if you don't have much, or you don't work for what you have, maybe you don't know what it feels like to lose something materially important, to lose this kind of a fabric.

I deplore the looting. I don't fully understand it. But I read this on Facebook and I understand it:

"If we refuse to hold accountable those who speak with bullets, how dare we stand in judgement of those who respond with stones?Starhawk

I think this quote is super important.

Change of subject: I am prepared food and head-wsie or Thanksgiving and I like it. A significant first snow is expected so who knows: JB and I may be roasting a 16 pound turkey for ourselves. (Oh dear.) But either way it will be okay. I can cook and bake and do just about whatever I want tomorrow. I'll see my Jess and the crew on Friday. I'll have reason to feel grateful.

I leave you with my highly recommended turkey stuffing. Do yourself a favor and read the recipe. 

Happy Thankgiving to you, my friends.  xoxoxo


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I love the Christmas holidays to the point of absurdity. I am ready to go already, thinking about presents I will make and give; planning who I will see, what and how many cookies I will bake, who I will give them to. This year I've planted cuttings from my Jade plant and that makes eight little present pots to give away. I also have my godmother's recipe for walnut orange loaves and I'll bake a few because I figure that's a good present too. 

I know the holidays are rough for many people. I don't know how it is that I've been spared that. I think for most of us the memories from our childhoods form our feelings about the holidays as adults. I must be lucky, because my Mother created a good memory for me. I had an overflow Christmas stocking, and toys and other presents under my father's too-squatty tree. My family of four sat at the dining room table only twice a year, and Christmas was one of those times. Several of my cousins and my bossy aunt Sophie and mousy but dangerous Uncle Mike (children: beware) would come with hot homemade butter rolls and fresh loaves of bread. My Mother's gravy and mashed potatoes were nothing short of orgasmic. 

 I've begun my favorite rituals. Every year now I make our holiday cards from photos I've taken. I will take my time writing out cards and if I have time I'll  doodle on the envelopes. This year's card has been decided: it's one of the following finalists:

the window of WA in Provincetown

a store window but I don't remember where

our dining room table last year, complete with my grandparent's wedding day

a winter view from Jessica's house

Our Provincetown bedroom, compliments of the night light turtle

barb and rudi's vermont barn
Can you guess which one JB and I chose?

Anything of interest that you'll be doing?

And, how are you feeling about the soon-to-be holiday season?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Life at the Linda Manor Nursing Home

The nursing home was nervous today. Three women each asked me how to get home. They were concerned about being late, about missing their ride. 

These are women, like all the residents there, who are not going home. They can't go home. They are not able to live without supervision and assistance. Like my mom. 

There are about twenty-five residents on my Mother's floor. All have have dementia or Alzheimer's or a consequential problem with memory. It is a nice unit and the staff is nice and kind and no one is  overworked. Today my favorite nurse there told me he's noticed as I have the decline in my Mother in the past few weeks. She is more tired more of the time, she is especially relieved to see me, and she has trouble saying the right words. All of this is new and I'm told it's simply the combination of dementia and age. I think that must be true. My Mother will be 99 on January 5th.  I know she could not live at home with me. I'm glad I know that. 

I find myself staring at most of the folks on this unit until I can see their younger selves through the lines of their faces. They've had children, jobs, homes, spouses, gardens. I've come to understand their confusion and resistance because where they are now is not their life. 

This week my Mother has been thrilled when she sees me. With relief she says, "Oh good! How did you know I was here? Should I get my coat? Are we leaving now?"

It's a heartbreak, but I don't make it a heartbreak. I reassure her that I am always close by. I stay longer. I tell her jokes. This week, uncharacteristically, she said 'bullshit' when she couldn't say the word she meant. I told her the problem was called a 'senior moment' and we both laughed. 

There is something very noble and very sad about living in old age in a place you don't know, with memories that don't always work, with a true north sense that this place may be okay, but it is not home. My Mother does her absolute best to adjust and thrive there. She is very much liked, with good reason. Often she tells me I don't need to worry about her. But I think her resilience is waning. Because it's hard to be resilient when you don't have context. 

She knows and trusts me. Sometimes she thinks I'm her sister Betty but mostly she's safe with me because we have deep love for one another. These days I want her to be okay, whichever way old age turns her. I don't want her to become afraid or wildly unable to be herself.

To be Herself. That is what we all want. Now. And even when we may become too old to know who that is.  


Saturday, November 08, 2014

What I've Been Doing

I have to write about my Blog. I know that the longer my posts, the less likely they will be read. I understand that fully because I have to make the same kinds of time decisions about the blogs I like.

For years I had a  clear sense of this blog of mine: my personal essays, clever and cosmic attempts at wisdom, stories and poems, and too, a sharing of my frailties and spunk.  For a long time, I had many many more visitors, friends, commenters, than I do now. For a long time a community was apparent here. 

So am I upset that so many people I so enjoy who used to blog don't blog anymore? Yes I am. It's a loss. I loved keeping up with them so regularly and I loved their attention. I love sharing comments. That said, these days I just feel like writing, if only for myself. I am tickled for every single person who stops by.

 Thus:  I am going to post this long post even if only a couple of people read it. Read, by the way, with my appreciation. It's a new day in Blogland, yes, but it's still an awesome place to be! 

:^) Here goes:

First of all, if I say what I've been doing lately, will you say too?

Okay, good. Thank you.

1. I have been alone all week. JB is in Provincetown in part so I could push myself to work. I have a research project (about Physicians ) that hangs over me. I want it done before Thanksgiving so it won't hang over the holidays. So I worked a good bit this week; not enough yet, but there is progress.

2. JB and I have been economizing (never mind why :^) So no lawn service to pick up our many many many fallen leaves. For a couple of months now. with JB's help,  I have been successfully employing my turtle approach to gardening. I do what and when I want, hoping in time it all gets done enough. Our yard is big, 4 or 5 different sections. This week I hired a young guy, from an agency, to help me for 3 hours. It was near perfect: I raked and he lugged the trash cans of leaves across the street, dumping said leaves in nice place. The tail end of the # 9 clean up is near. It feels good. It even looks good.

3. Jeez am I writing. In the last 2-3 weeks, the bones of two big chapters are done. I am writing about a character, a Mother, Christine Macabee--who I just love. Either I'm fleshing her out or she's revealing herself to me. She is so resilient and trustworthy. I know it's a good story, about a good family: I just hope I can write it well enough.

4. The roof in Ptown leaked into the kitchen ceiling (drip drip) last weekend so that's a surprise repair and expense. I wrestle with managing money these days. (Do you?)  I think I'm on top of it all and Bam! But I'm fortunate that I can usually fit in extra costs somehow. But still--Jeez # 2.

5. The election. Is it as bad as it looks? Is the USA really so starkly problematically divided? What can be done? I think about this.

That's what I've been doing.
And you?


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another Sweater Tale

Whoa! I wrote this several years ago when I didn't know that time and distance would give me a broader and more nuanced perspective.  But still, for me, there is truth in this complicated allegory. We all know life can get complicated .

FYI: I wouldn't know how to  interpret this for you, so  I'll be interested in what you may or may not get from it. 



 I know the most about this, I have to be the one to fold it over and inside out so it still looks and feels like the same soft sweater that fits in every nip and tuck but the trying on and taking off stops for once and all. It’s too late to side step the price tag-- imbedded charges with accumulating interest—but still, I wouldn’t change the cost even if I could, which I can’t .  

There are certain steps that must be taken today. There is no return-of-goods counter—just a “you buy it, you own it” policy with fine print I didn’t read then and don’t want to read now. I know I must hem the predestined pleats and complicated seams, iron out past and future wrinkles caused by sitting still too long, air out the fabric so it remains pure and air fresh.  Meanwhile, even though I’m dressed to the hilt, I’ll still carry those tarot sticks near and far, carry them because I freely picked them up to begin with, and I want to hold onto even the smallest  branch. I’ll be taking one step after another on my way to town, even though the one-day- all-out tag sale is for naught.  

If destiny has another plan, I’ll be there, waiting first in line for the doors to open.  But there is no special sale on this day. There is no discount or resizing that can make this anything other than what it is. It is not that. It is only this. And what it is is so inestimable I will spend the better part of my life on the budget plan, making regular payments into an account where withdrawals will be scarce, (but worth every penny?) I can purchase only what I have paid for, and I can take home only certain sizes even if they’re wrong for the circumstance.  I came here freely and knowingly. I knew then there was no warranty, but the fit was so exquisitely perfect I made a deal with destiny. I would carry the sticks and accept the conditions in exchange for the moments when the fit came straight from God’s designer.

Meanwhile, under a canopy of shining stars, we dance and then we linger. And then, always, once more, we are  free.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Provincetown

I took the first photo, a house just up the street from ours in Provincetown. But the rest: ah--sit back, relax, please enjoy this most beautiful place captured by these beautiful photographers. These photos are from the Provincetown Photography Page on Facebook. I am a member and can't hold a candle to most of these folks. But there's no competition: just pure enjoyment and abundant sharing.

I apologize that  I am unable to give proper attribution to many of the talented folks who took these photos, but you can follow the Provincetown Photography Page on Facebook yourself. Have a look: you most certainly will NOT be disappointed. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Neighborhood Hypocrites

Scene: a cul de sac somewhere in Western Massachusetts

Act 1: Obnoxious Tony abruptly moves from neighbor Marianne's house and returns to Kentucky

Act II: Obnoxious Tony abruptly moves back and resumes his almost daily mowing of Marianne's  lawn on his over sized giant seated lawnmower

Scene 1: Obnoxious Tony tells his neighbor JB that he's returned to help Marianne because he is a 'high paid gigolo' 

Scene 2: In their efforts to control expenses JB and her partner Ms. kj decide to they must handle their yard's fall clean up themselves. This includes a very large amount of leaves that will need to be raked and disposed of.

Scene 3: Tony drives his car so fast on the cul de sac that Ms. kj tells him she will call the police if he continues to drive recklessly

Scene 4: The leaves start falling and JB and Ms. kj are seriously overwhelmed

Scene 5: JB and Ms. kj reluctantly decide they must hire someone after all to rake and clean their yard.

Scene 6: JB and Ms. kj notice that their side yard that faces Obnoxious Tony's yard is suddenly and mysteriously clear of leaves

Act III: Obnoxious Tony drives his over sized giant lawnmower to JB and Ms. kJ's kitchen door and engine running, sits and waits

Scene 7: Ms. kj walks outside and approaches Obnoxious Tony, inquiring why he is sitting on his lawnmower by her kitchen door

Scene 8: Citing his own self interest, Obnoxious Tony offers to remove all leaves from JB and Ms kJ's yard and to continue to do so until all the leaves have fallen from the many trees on their property

Scene 9: JB and Ms. kj give their approval, thank obnoxious Tony, and dance a happy dance that their leaf problems are solved

sometimes there is comfort in expediency :^)


Monday, October 06, 2014

Streams of kj

I just feel like writing tonight. I'm leaving Provincetown tomorrow after being here since last Wednesday. Our house (a house in ptown: unbelievable) got hooked up to the sewer today. It was a massive job: a bulldozer digging deep into the gravel road, four men digging down into my yard,  I'd say 5 feet, laying plastic pipes like the toy tubes. By tomorrow the site of the old deck will be ready for the new (same) deck to be rebuilt there. It's been a week of required change and required spending.

I have been mostly alone. My friend Marilyn came by last Friday. Raul came by to fix the door. Hal Winard came by this morning for a deposit for the deck. The sewer guys have been great, but they are doing too much heavy labor to chit-chat. 

Do you ever wonder not just what you do or would do when you're alone, but is what you do or don't do worthwhile? Healthy? Legitimate? 

 I am writing up a storm: I've probably written 30 new pages and I've improved another 10 or 15. I've also planted luscious yellow mums in the outside flower and window boxes. And I bought a replacement blind for the upstairs bathroom. This, in a week.

That's about it. I wonder about keeping too much to myself. Which is really to say I worry about being too sedentary. I don't take walks. I don't because I'm lazy and because my right hip kills when I walk.  But also I didn't walk the one measly block to the ocean. I didn't see it, hear it, smell it, feel it. 

Instead I wrote. I have no idea if I am a good, average, bad or some other kind of writer. Honestly, I don't know. I know my vocabulary is limited, and that affects how I write. But I like this family I'm writing about. Many writers say they don't care if they are published or not. That is so not me. I want to write a blockbuster book. I would like that a lot.  :^)

That's all I want to say tonight. :^) I would  be happy to hear how you're seeing your life and days lately. 

(Never not care)
(Be Kind)


Friday, October 03, 2014

The Birds Debark

It's started to look like my blog is a lot of photography. Which I don't mind, but I'm mostly a writer and  besides for stories, I used to write poems too. I don't seem to be able to write poems at the level I used to, but that's no reason not to write poems anyway. Who knows when inspiration may take the wheel? 

 So here's a summary of last weekend's invasion of crows in our little three house cul de sac.

They flew every which way
Not planning to stay
Which was fine with me
But seriously,

What in the heck
Were all these black flecks?
Dozens of birds
Flapping was heard

They came from the trees
past bushes and bees,
grass and yards on a lark
This flock did debark

Pecking their beaks 
Into the streets
Then those birds--all around
Left without sound.

love kj

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Warm Sweaters (so to speak)

Somehow I am at a point where it is very easy to spot love in plain sight and around corners. I have such dear people around me. 

Look at her. She turned one in August and every time I see her a new facet of who she is and will be shows itself. This is Reese. 

And this is Logan. He was pretty silent for his first two years. Now at three, I could listen to his questions and joy all day. 

I  have four children, ages 1 through 7 in my life, who I find just amazing. I am so grateful to know them, to be astonished by their perspectives and their silly dilly ways. 

It's good to push back on secrets. You never know when authenticity may help someone else. So with some relief I show you my (beloved) partner JB who has had a time of it; anxiety and worry to the brink over too many months. She's finishing up a month in our (beloved) Provincetown and all the release and replenishment we'd hoped for has happened. JB has spent time with herself, making art, walking along the ocean, hearing the waves, stepping into sunsets, and greeting strangers and friends. A world of good, it's done. Amen. 

Look at her: my (beloved) Mother who in January will be 99 years old. I carry such love for her; I'm the most present daughter I can be. But. It's gotten hard. Nursing homes are hard. Personal care needs have increased, remaining memory has decreased, sometimes I become her sister Betty. Sometimes she tells me the truth that she is alone in that nursing home and how great and safe she feels when I am there with her. It's hard. 

The people I love are warm sweaters. 

This brings us to this poem about the mess of current affairs:
What can I tell you?
Of course the world is turned upside down:
Wars and worries wear thin
Even though the seams.
But the sweater of the years is knitted tight,
Weathered wool that softens and warms 
Even the prickliest skin.

I’ve worn that sweater in pouring rain
And I’ve faced the nighttime shakes
and only once did a chill remake,
In some strange manner 
Only once is too often now
But I am better 
And with better comes hope.
And after all, hope is the warm sweater
Of days to come.

Before I end this, I want to thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave such welcomed comments. it means a lot to me and I hope you know.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

For Love….

Forgive me, Spirit of my spirit, for this, 
that I have found it easier to read the mystery 
told in tears and understood Thee better 
in sorrow than in joy.
George William Russell, 1867-1930

I get this statement and a good while back it inspired me to write this poem.  I modified and cleaned it up a little tonight. I can't say it's joyful, but I do think it's hopeful.



For Love 
It’s only one arm,
Okay its dominant
But I can still
Raise broth to my frozen lips.

Only one eye,
The other choked blind
Though still I see shadows
Gracefully in flight.

I gave up my voice
So I could hear another
When the wires
Misfired and static reigned.

My steps though mis-shapened,
Hobble past space
Where molecular memory
Settles in.

Forgive me on a day
When my knees give out
And I whimper toward
Whatever grace isn’t.

When I was whole
I moved too quickly
To notice almost anything.
Now, lucky loss has given me sight.

My smile survived
because it double duties
With a tearful turn downward
At midnight, through the howls.

Yesterday I watched a cattail
Bend and balance
And I remembered when
My heart moved like that.

The loss of limb and love,
Lust and luster:
What a tiny price;
What a tiny price.

I wonder in the years ahead
Should my parts should regenerate
If I will miss
The space I’ve forfeited.

I wonder if sorrow
Might reappear as joy
filled with a love
That’s made me whole.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mish Mash in a Nutshell

Blah to my last post. Too serious for the times. I've had a very good summer and I'm ready for a New England fall. I'm writing daily in-between and aside from some consulting work, yard care, laundry, family, the nightly news and trips to Provincetown. 

Tonight I'm just thinking out loud:

This drives me crazy. Why is it so hard for so many people to use 'your' and 'you're' correctly. You're means you are. So you don't say 'your so lucky.' Please pass it on. It will make some folks seem instantly smarter. 

In an alley way in Provincetown, this woman from 1906 lies unobtrusively lies in front of the Atlantic House, a well known gay men's bar and a great place to dance.  She is not well known or well visited, but once seen, who could resist her?

Ahh the beach at low tide.  I took this shot one block--one block!--from our new house in Ptown. I am still orgasmic that we have this house. I still can't figure how it happened.

Said beach.

 Can you pronounce it? I can't. I can and then I forget. If you know a way to remember, please help me.

This was taken last Saturday night: It is the story of friends as far back as junior high school getting back together. Most of these folks I have not been in touch with for forty plus years. But we didn't miss a beat. There is something good to be said for being known.

That's all. I'm good. Because I'm riding the horse in the direction she's going. I hope you are too.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Hard Friends"

Before I tell you my own story I hope you will consider sharing with me and others a time when someone has nudged your life in this way; someone who you were destined to love and learn from.
My family won't like my choice. My friends won't either.

There are people who reconfigure your life in ways that nurture and exalt and others who blow things to holy hell and leave you wondering how or why any of it could have happened.

Someone hurt me so deeply I wasn't sure I would recover. I might have hurt her deeply too but that I will not know: her words have dripped with so much vilification and vehemence toward me that I believe she walked away without conscience and without a glance.

We met in 2006 and crashed in 2009.  For a time after that she was clear and public on these blogs that she viewed me with disgust and contempt. I've had relationships end but never like this one.

I've come to understand well more than I did then. There were many concerns: convention, politics, geography, culture, religion, sexuality, and I dare say mutual psychological issues. I don't miss the Rush Limbaugh demonizing and I don't miss the crazy push and pull of my emotions. I do miss the wild impromptu fun and provocation, the art and mail and passion and affirmations.

The bad was so bad. 

But.  I  cracked open. I became more myself, not as dependent on the opinions of others or life on the edge. I'm calmer and I finally know how to think as much as feel. I don't jump into any relationships the way I used to and I take my time before I commit my time or a hand or my heart. I'm not disappointed so often and when I am, I know that sometimes things just don't work out. I know when a person lacks empathy or quotes Rush Limbaugh arbitrarily that person is not for me.

I also know that I live my life without bitterness. Sometimes I still wait for evidence to bolster my side but mostly I try not to.

To JB and Jessica, you are my North Stars. Your love and  lessons come to me gently from security.  Even still, sometimes I learn by being broken.

So Miss Meanspirited Sunday Painter, thanks for the privilege Anyway I wish you peace. And sometimes I hope somewhere somehow you like me understand more now than then. 


Monday, September 08, 2014

Mish Mash

This summer:

JB & I did three rounds of Artist Trading Cards with eight other women. Each of us had a theme--I did this one for "Animals" (obvious liberty taken on my part, since birds are not animals.) I so rarely use my colored pencils or water colors and I am always happy when I do. 

My Micron pens--I use all the time. If you don't own a Micron, spend $ 3 and buy one. They don't smudge. And their lines are everything you'd want lines (and circles and shapes) to be. :^)

Our peach tree delivered.  I was  impressed.

This is our friend, Barb. She was always fascinating, but has somehow morphed into this fascinating stunning woman. A joy to behold, wouldn't you say?

I drew this for the ATC's--the theme for this one was People. I would say these are the kick-ass Sisterfriends. I can't draw from imagination. I tend to try to copy something, even though I might then make it my own. These three were on a black and white calendar.

My writing friend and I hope forever friend Lora sent me this chart when I publicized my struggle to keep my characters and events and their ages organized. This is the 'organizational chart' for a Harry Potter novel. Aha! I wrote out a chart for myself, vertically from 1947 through 2012. Next to that I put in a title of a scene or a chapter--some event in the book. Horizontally, I put the names of each character (7 of them, including the singer-songwriter John Denver) and added their ages over the years, and what was happening with them.

Something is now clearer in my head. I am starting to thread people and time and place together. I have written 35,000 words and I have to say I am laughing my ass off in parts. I read a chapter to my ferried Liz and she laughed her ass off. Good sign and fun times, writing this book (disclaimer: so far).

I created this graph a while back after I read about the five balls. Four of the balls are made of glass, sufficiently fragile that if you should drop one it can break. But the fifth ball--work: work is a rubber ball. It can bounce. I offer this as a quick lesson in What Matters Most…..

I have some blog visits to catch up on. I will. I am still cursing Facebook for changing too much about my blog. And just about everyone else's too. Still, I cannot even tell you how many actual true blue friends I have made and I will always love from blogging. From all over the world. Fantastic.