Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How I Spend My Time


First of all, this is where I live. Not right here in the Provincelands, but no more than a mile or two away. In addition the bay beach is barely a block from our house, and whether the sky is puffy like this or deep pink or bright orange or wild grey or robin blue, light bounces off the water here in Provincetown and it makes the world here very beautiful. But too, it''s been a tough move. JB's been sick and settling into this small wonderful community has been slow. Socially, I'm probably as sedentary as I've ever been.


It has been a year since my Mother died. I factored her into my plans so much and so often that there's been a certain kind of day-to-day relief (freedom) since then. I find I think of my parents quite often: how lucky I've been to have been raised in a family who loved me and put me first. I'd never seen this picture of my Father and me until recently: I look so hip-nerdy and he looks so handsome-relaxed that I just feel proud that he was my Father. He was a mason with rough hands and easy tears whenever he talked about his difficult childhood or his lottery-winning gratitude that my Mother loved him. He died the same way my Mother died: surrounded by our family, unafraid, comfortable. I'm so thankful for that.


JB and I have begun looking for a shelter dog to adopt. Maybe even two. We're more cautious than we've been in the past because our last dog, Chase, a greyhound, never adjusted to living with us and we had to return him to be rehomed where he would live with other greyhounds. It was awful to admit he was wasn't happy or bonded with us. I wouldn't want that to ever happen again. We want an adult dog who's had a hard life, who's good with kids, who's very smart and a little goofy, and who like all dogs deserves a good home. We've begun the search.


I went to Colorado for two and a half weeks to help JB help with her sister's surgery and I came home thinking I'd have three weeks to write before JB came home herself. I began, but I got sick and stayed sick for the whole remaining time. So much for plans and preferences. I have a novel to finish and it's moving so slowly. I think part of the reason is because my main character thinks she can handle just about anything thrown at her and that's not quite how I feel these days. I'm not sure a writer is supposed to get bogged down identifying with her characters, so that might be a problem. Some of the reason is also because I'm working again and I can get pre-occupied with that. I wrote my first book in 2008. This second one is way overdue.


I feel that I'm damn lucky to love. I hope I love well most of the time. I know I've become far less judgmental as I've aged. I have strong opinions, and I shy away from people I don't feel good about, but I'm not righteous about any of it.


I wrote a stupid comment here on my blog about finishing up a work project and I made it sound like all I cared about was getting paid. It wasn't at all true that money was at the root of it, but my words gave cause for someone to be offended and my thoughtlessness created some waves and conflicts. I should have known better. I'm at a point and an age where I have zero interest in competing with anyone or winning a race. I just want to do my best and feel proud of what I do. (What a relief that is.)


JB is nudging me to take a walk with her every day and I am reluctantly agreeing. I'm trying to walk at least 1.5 miles a day. I know it's important for my health but I am at my core a sedentary person. I surprise myself by how lazy I can be. If left to my own devices, I could stay in the house for days at a time.


I am cooking more. And baking. I like that.


Ah my four grandchildren. I adore them. I try to see them every two weeks and lately I'm plotting how to have overnights here with one kid at a time. I like teaching them things, pointing out colors and clouds, telling them stories real and imagined.


Long ago I read this book and I remember thinking these "Agreements" were pretty much on target. I've come across them again lately, and I still think that.  So I'm sharing: here they are.


He's six and he came for an overnight. It was a grand success.


We did a lot of things--movie, beach, shopping, eating, walking, coloring, story telling. But best of all we made sugar cookies from scratch and then frosted them. Drew wants to learn to cook. Here he is with  JB in our kitchen which, by the way, is going to be completely gutted, probably this fall, a new and necessary foundation put in and rebuilt and designed. We're working with a space planner and it's exciting.


Cookies….

And finally, this is a typical scene walking along Commercial Street. It is just beautiful. Which is how I started this post. Life is wonderful and life is hard and the trick is not to miss the wonderful parts.

love
kj

20 comments:

  1. This is probably my favorite post by you. I had really thought that you had written me off (due to your perception that I’m racist and sexist, I assumed), so I was surprised when you visited yesterday. I envy you your happy childhood, and I greatly respect you and JB for your interest in taking in adult dogs. I would just suggest—if I may be so bold—that you avoid the extremely shy ones because while I’ve heard of them making improvement, it’s questionable that a dog that’s been severely damaged can ever really have anything like a normal life. I know that dogs are sometimes given anti-depressants, and I wonder if that wouldn’t be worth a try if you find yourself with another dog that just can’t adjust no matter how hard you try to help him or her. Finally, would it not be possible to take a dog in on foster basis, and then keep him or her if it seems good to do so?

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    1. snow, i visit you from time to time. some subjects I pass on but not all.

      our dog stella took two years to really finally relax and trust us. she was always compliant but she'd try to hide. she'd been treated so cruelly. she blossomed in time; it was a treasure to be part of . we don't mind being patient. with chase, he had such serious seizures--one lasted two full days and nights-- and some days he wouldn't move an inch; once almost 36 hours before we finally almost dragged him outside to pee. it was brutally hard. when he was rehomed back with a pack of other greyhounds, it was clear he was more comfortable in his distant way. it was the right thing for him, and for us too.

      most/many of the adoptable dogs are already in foster homes. blessed folks, they are.

      love
      kj

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    2. “snow, i visit you from time to time. some subjects I pass on but not all.”

      I thought you had departed following the “slut” posts, but then I saw that you were still on the list, so I made bold to visit you in hopes of getting you back. I would like to you to consider that there’s a contradiction involved in distancing from someone because you perceive yourself as open-mined and tolerant and him as a bigot, especially if that “bigoted" person remains open to you. It’s also true that the lines are not neatly divided, meaning, in the case of those two posts, that some longterm feminists agreed with me. Sometimes, it seems to me that you’re more of an either/or person than I because I could be friends with anyone if I trusted in their goodwill and integrity, and I do offer you my goodwill and integrity.

      I wouldn’t have taken Stella home with me because I don’t to be a therapist to a dog. I admire you for doing it, but what I want in a pet is a friend rather than a client. Of course, if a pet later turns into a client it’s a different matter, as with Bonnie when she went blind and consequently became afraid of every noise and movement. There’s hell in caring for a fragmenting animal, whether human or otherwise, but a good person is honor-bound to do it. You’re in a different category in that, as I see it, you’re willing to make enormous sacrifices even when, in my view, you’re not honor-bound to do it. This is probably why I persist in being your friend when, truth be known, it would be easy for me to dismiss you as a bigot.

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    3. Ha snow, as far as I know you're the first person ever to call me a bigot.

      I know I can't satisfactorily explain why I am not a constant presence at your blog. I read a lot and you write a lot and sometimes I'm either not interested in a certain post or I'm put off by the subject or perspective. I would not choose to devote deep time or energy to discussions about a person'a sexual preference or cultural identify if only to oppose what perceive as bigotry; not even at my own thanksgiving table! there are discussions age and experience encourage me to avoid.

      Not to say I wouldn't call you for coffeeif I were in your neighborhood!

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  2. I send you early morning love.

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  3. well this was a nice way to wake up this morning!

    love
    kj

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  4. Love the photos. I'm looking forward to baking with my granddaughter one day.

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  5. Deb, it's such a joy to do things with little kids. I want them to always carry those memories when they're all grown up

    Love
    kj

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  6. So much I could comment on here, but I will try to limit my normal drivel:

    love the glasses!

    I find it so counter-intuitive that you live in such a beautiful place by the sea and still prefer to stay indoors.

    Love the agreements. I have never seen those and have copied them for future inspiration.

    Good luck with a kitchen rehab. We did ours last year. The best I can say is that we survived it.

    We have always had rescue animals. Of course it is a very personal choice but we have found you rarely go wrong with any dog that is a lab mix. They are smart, gentle and loving. Our current is a lab/collie mix and we hit the jackpot with her.

    Slow writing is better than no writing, yes?

    And finally . . . cookies!

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    1. Hi 8 xo,
      It bothers me that I'm not outside for extended time every day. I'm finall able to walk again without pain and I think I got in the habit of staying put too much. Time to get moving again.

      I'm psyched about the kitchen rehab. I have this idea to find an off season one room place a mile away, on the beach, for 4-6 weeks. Then I can show up at our house everyday and supervise progress:-)

      We're ready for a dog. ....for us too, it will always be a shelter dog. There are so many unwanted pitbulls: i can't choose that because of even the 1% chance involving children.

      Always nice to hear from you

      Love
      kj

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    2. I understand that you are probably not do the renovation yourselves. But I highly recommend you do the demolition. There is nothing as therapeutic as smashing things with a sledgehammer! Just saying . . .

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    3. "There is nothing as therapeutic as smashing things with a sledgehammer!"

      I find it depressing, the amount of things we build, only to tear them down and take them to the dump a few years later. I’ve been a carpenter, so I’ve done my share of demolition, but it seems to me that the main reasons that so many things get torn down is that their care was neglected or that they were poorly planned.

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    4. Good point Snowbrush. However in our case, it was a 60 year kitchen. We recycled most of the barn wood cabinets for shelves in the garage, and relocated the old appliances to our camp. We did sledge hammered through the old plaster walls though to replace outdated insulation, upgrade old faulty wiring and install a fire wall. Had to be done.

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    5. Truly, few things last forever, and not everything can be saved--plaster, for example.

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  7. It's a good life you have there, KJ.

    Beach-walking is my favorite - I'd have a hard time not being out there every morning.

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    1. Hi cs, you're right. JB's been pretty tied up not being well and that's upset my (our) equilibrium. But I know I'm lucky beyond lucky.

      And you too...

      Love
      kj

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  8. Something about this post spoke to me today, perhaps the way you talked about having each grandchild visit you for an overnight. I missed not being able to do that with my grand-daughter as she was shy and attached to her mom and her other grandmother. By the time she grew, though, she began to bond with me, and to look at visits with me as a real treat. I guess we can't force things; no matter how much we want them.

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  9. It is good to read this post, Karen. Especially the dog part. We ourselves have now 4 year old Lola since July 2015 and it is a great success. I hope your search for a new dog (or maybe two) will also be successful. And the grandchildren are real cuties. Is JB well again?

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  10. I love this JB. Thank you for your words of wisdom, as always. xx

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