Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mish Mash Wednesday

1, Where have I been? Not an easy week, I'm weighing how to handle something that has consequences no matter how I approach it. Too important to be anything but thoughtful and too concerning to back burner my feelings. I keep reminding myself that love is at the root of it all, no villains, no judgements. I trust the love. But in the meantime, my heart hurts.

2. Change of subject: I am writing this on my new MacPro laptop. I have been so excited about this purchase: I feel like I have stepped into a modern world that will welcome me. I've found I cannot write this second book without the confidence that I will not lose new material, not to mention my snipped together revising manuscript. It's the worse thing, losing new work. There is no way to recreate fresh words strung together into sentences, then paragraphs. So, I'm told I'm not as likely to accidentally delete anything on this Mac, I keep checking Dropbox to be sure its updating, and now I will also at the end of a writing session save a manuscript copy to a little external drive. AND, thanks to Pam, I will sometimes email a copy to myself.

The Mac is awesome. I have a high learning curve, but we will become good friends.

3. The photo above is Provincetown. It's no surprise I love the place. In the off season, meaning not in summer, there are less than 4,000 residents. That swells to 20,000 when the temperature rises, beginning Memorial Day. Summer is a funky wild beautiful beachy boating time, but I've recently spent a string of dark desolate very quiet winterdays and nights there, and what tiny charm and peacefulness. JB and I walk to a movie matinee and sit in a threatre with only 65 seats and usually less than ten patrons. Provincetown is famous for many things and people, but the top of the list is its light. The light bounces of the bay and the ocean in magical ways. I am always grateful to see the shimmering light of the bay just about anywhere I walk.

5. I'm intrigued by many of the comments on my last post. Turns out friendships born from the blogs are more often than not primary friendships. I knew that, of course, because some of my closest friends have been made from blogging,, but I'm surprised with the polite disagreement regarding my recommendation to keep your 'day' friends. I get it, but in a crisis, or in lonely social times, I can't imagine not having a friend nearby, close enough to knock on my door if really needed.

I've posted a little poll on my side bar about friends and blog friends. Please contribute your two cents if you don't mind. I think it's safe to say the world has changed, the way we find and make and hold on to friends has changed. I can't imagine not having my friend Marsha twenty minutes up the road, or my friends Lo and Liz and Heather close enough, but I also can't imagine not coming here to greet my equally precious friends. Here I share in ways I often don't and can't in daily life.

6. Finally, there might be a snowstorm tonight, the first snow since October. Too funny, just as I'm in search of my first crocuses. But I don't mind. I'll be writing today and if I end up writing tomorrow instead of working, that's okay with me.

I am now about to hit 'publish post' with no idea how my new shiny MacPro will space or spellcheck. I'm just happy to be typing on it. It's really cool.


Sunday, February 19, 2012


She's been my biggest fan. Actually I don't think of myself as having 'fans' so that's always made her even more special. Her name is Linda Shepard and I met her on the blogs during the time that our mutual friend Renee was sick and she never failed to cheer on my writing and then I met her in her Arizona kitchen one afternoon and she cooked JB and I an incredible meal.

JB and I were on our way to a week's vacation and we were nearby enough to steer our rental car to Linda's beautiful home in the middle of nowhere. She kept saying, "I cannot believe kj is here in my kitchen! I cannot believe I'm having dinner with kj and JB!"

The last time I heard from her she said she was having some medical problems, that she would be in touch. That was a year ago. I've written, I've tried to call, I've contacted her condo association, I've googled, I've checked the town census. No word. And let me tell you what you already know: this is the absolute worse part of blogging. I fear the worse about Linda Shepard my friend and I hate that I don't know if she is okay, not okay, alive or not, in need or not, somewhere, nowhere. I don't think truly she would have stopped contact with me if she could help it.

I repeatedly say that it is important to have IN PERSON and local friends; that it is not a good idea to build your friendships only around blogging. Instead, why not take the unconditional regard and love we offer one another and model that in all our other relationships, the ones that are more conplicated, more demanding, messier and more challenging. I stand by this belief, keep your day friends!, but tonight what I also know is I have lost a good friend and I would like to know what happened. I would like her to know how much she matters to me and how much I have always appreciated her support.

I'll end by letting Linda speak for herself, this introduction on her blog, Arizona Skies:

I'm an early retiree with a 60's social conscience, living in and loving the American Southwest. This is a landscape of my world and you're welcome to come along whether I'm blogging from home or traveling in my RV. Every morning when I look up at that luminous blue Arizona Sky, I'm happy. Here is this brand new day dawning that I can fill with new friends and experiences. There is no telling what will come next and no nibbling around the edges. I take big juicy bites, till it runs down my chin and makes my fingers sticky. Indulgence is a heady brew so I'm jumping in with both feet and laughing out loud. Life is amazingly good.

Good to know how to hold on to people from afar....

love kj

Friday, February 17, 2012

Untitled Just Because

love new mexico and arizona

and Provincetown

and Stella

this was then

and this is the nearby back roads

favorite colors

emily shows up at the dentist. hard to believe....

i drew this at a book signing at a book store in Provincetown

Oooh, that felt good. I am in the midst and mire of computer high tech limbo. My trusty old laptop has died, my quirky new work laptop is unpredictable, I have a new canon printer I'm not yet up to speed on, I transferred my photos to picasa, new to me and I'm recently told ready to shut itself down, I'm on a new version of microsoft word and it's not the same, and I now have a backup system called dropbox that hopefully automatically saves but I'm not yet convinced.

I say all this having lost (deleted) five pages of original manuscript pages,misplaced my entire 330 pages of manuscript for long enough for me to be hysterical, and several times having my laptop instantly and unexpectedly shut down what I was doing (not saved) so it could install upgrades.

But I'm not complaining even though you could argue I am.

Because it's a beautiful planet, after all.

love and happy weekend.


Monday, February 13, 2012

My Grandfather's Hands

Yippy. After being sick, complaining, and missing three weeks of my ten week Monday night writing group, I showed up tonight and wrote:

I wanted to say that my grandfather could flip pancakes with his bare hands. I don’t think he ever did, but I can still feel the hardened traces of cement when he tousled me, and when he handed me the pig’s tail in a small plastic bag. I was home from school that day, privileged to have earned the soft green blanket and a double bed sheet and my own pillow neatly arranged on the living room couch. This privilege was granted only when I was sick. As long as I had a temperature, I would miss school and be cared for on the couch. My mother would make me toast and Lipton’s noodle soup and she and a tray would appear as if nothing mattered more than serving me lunch. There was nothing better than being sick on that couch. I can still see the skin colored plastic bucket on the rug, just below my head, just in case. That part, I hated. But my mother cleaned the bucket and me up as though that was a privilege too.

I was sick on the couch and my grandfather must have brought me the pig’s tail to cheer me up. It was gross even then, even though I was probably young enough when I wasn’t sick, that is, to kill ants with my magnifying glass, a feat I found absolutely amazing, how they curled up and fried on the cement walkway in not even two seconds.

It was obvious that the pig’s tail had not had time to harden, all those tiny blood soaked strings still visible, or so I remember, I could be wrong, but when my grandfather left my mother seamlessly took the plastic bag from me, never to be seen again. I never asked either. It took me thirty years to realize that it was no fluke that the pig’s tail and the fried ants were somehow related.

My childhood was idyllic by my mother’s standard, which I believed totally until I took my first psychology course in college but even now, in a certain way I still believe my mother’s version. I walked to school every winter day with my dress tucked into my snow pants and within the length of three blocks every day I successfully imagined myself to be a world famous detective, solving crimes and having movies made about me. I could not have succeeded in this role if I had not been able to tuck my dress in those snow pants, which is why I became a famous teacher in the spring and a famous actress in the fall.

I didn’t know until five years ago when I read a birth day astrology book that I was born destined to play roles, to master them and move on to another, driven as much by generosity as by my own earnest need for recognition.

I spent my summer days knowing I was lucky not to have Jeannie and Janice’s horrible mean stepmother. She wouldn’t let them wear shoes in their own house and she made everyone else take their shoes off in the kitchen. And she covered all the living room furniture with sheets of plastic, as if anyone would want to sit in there anyway, that room that seemed like it belonged in someone’s museum. Jeanie and Janice and I walked to Lowell field every summer day and we sat in the giant sandbox with its own roof.and we made potholders. I’d pick out certain colors and mix and match them and I would bring them home to my mother and she smiled and tugged at each one and told me I had made them good and sturdy. She never mentioned the colors but that was alright because I liked my colors.

My mother used my potholders until she either scorched them on the stove by mistake or they wore out. I never saw any in Jeannie and Janice’s kitchen, which was just more unnecessary proof of what a witch they had to put up with. They had an Italian grandmother who tried to shield them and that is where the potholders ended up, but even so Jeannie ended up with a nervous breakdown one summer and we all knew why.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Matter the Circumstance

"Be kind, do not live in vain."

photo and quote compliments of my friend Susan

"Just give what you seek."
ms. kj

I forget sometimes, but thankfully, then I remember. Happy weekend, love kj

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wishful Words

It seems to me that when you're in your thirties it's a time to search for understanding and by the time you hit fifty it's a search for acceptance. Not to take anaything away from all the every day wonder, astonishment, connection, and love in the world, but part of acceptance is accepting that things don't always happen for the best, life can be unfair, and some questions don't have easy or any answers.

Ah, but what's to stop me from wishing backwards? This idea makes me think that wishing ahead is about hope and wishing back is perhaps about regret.

Backward, forward, or anywhere in between, I have a hearty list of things I wish I'd hear:

That mistake in your retirement account? Turns out it was in your favor. You can stop working anytime now.

This is Random House. We're offering you a book contract for The Light Stays On and MGM wants movie rights.

Susan Sarandon wants to play Lily. So does Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet.

You've achieved lifetime status at Weightwatchers, kj. You're the perfect weight.

The winner of tonight's Wheel of Fortune trip around the world is kj306.

Mom, it's me, Jessica: Mike and I and the kids are moving to the town next to you. Can we come over every Friday night for dinner?

I know we loved each other and I'm sorry I hurt you.
An online community of 50 bloggers is meeting up for a week in Provincetown and every single person will be real and wonderful.

Mr President, Congress has agreed that the best thing for the United States is to find ways to compromise and cooperate. No more gridlock.

All of JB's collages sold at her gallery opening. She has immediately cashed the checks and booked a three week trip for two to South Africa.

kj, this is Houghton Mifflin. We'll double the advance for "The Light Stays On" and several film studios want movie rights. You get to decide who plays Lily and Alex and Mike and Max.

You don't know me but I had a dream about your dog Stella and she asked me to find you and tell you that she is fine, that the next time you see her she will be able to run straight to you.

All your friends are healthy and any of their financial woes are history.

I'm happy to tell you that this free little bracelet will take care of everything you need to know about computers. You will no longer lose documents, have problems with Blogger, or otherwise be required to have g.d. programming skills.

I could go on. Indefinitely. But I'll end by tossing out this idea of backwards or forward. Anything you'd like to hear yourself? I'll bet there is!

love kj

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Proof that New York is a BIG City

I'm posting for the second time today because I can't head to bed knowing I left my whiny grouchy first post still open for business.:^) So here is a fill in substitute.

I love New York City. It is a short two hours from me and I don't get there enough. These photos from around Times Square show how massive a city it is, but the real secret is that much, even most, of the city is comprised of charming neighborhoods.

For now, however, here's a quick peek at the city that never sleeps. In all its massive glory.

Start spreading the news....

New York, New York!

If you have the chance, it's a city not to be missed. Even if you hate big cities, I think you'll be delightfully delighted.

love kj

Better Said Than Done

I'm in no mood.

I've been sick for two weeks. Here I am in Provincetown for five days with ample time to write and relax and I'm prone on the couch, almost too weak to growl. Please, no sympathy comments. I have a respiratory virus and it will pass and meanwhile I'm in no mood.

From which I just thought, "better not post when I'm like this," followed by "I wonder how ornery I'd let myself be?"


Blah blah blah about friends. In my world, they're the best but sometimes the worse. They disappoint. They come and go. They fail to follow through and they disappear and they draw lines and sometimes they miss the point.

Blah blah blah also about love. Love heals but it also leaves scars. Those people who retreat and vow to never love again? They may have a point. I'm not one of those people, which may or may not work in my favor.

Blah blah blah about science and medicine. Gee whiz WTF doc, you can't tell me more than rest and drink fluids? I had to wait a week for a physician assistant to tell me to do myself a favor and breathe over a steaming kettle?

A zillion blah blah blahs for anyone who hurts an animal. This includes the ritualistic religious brutalization of pigs and horses, a recent scene from which I am destined to recall all too clearly for far too long.

I should include blah blah blah for a lack of gratitude, impatience with the flaws of others, rushes to judgement, and endless complaining, but that would unfortunately clearly implicate myself and at the moment I'm in no mood.

I will end this by saying yay for me for writing this and thank you for you for reading it. Now again, no get well wishes please. I'd rather you let off your own steam instead. The universal blah blah blah personhood might even appreciate hearing from you.

ah, love kj

Friday, February 03, 2012

When I Was Rich....

Nobody talks about her/his financial situation on the blogs. I don't either, but I have no doubt there are times when alittle or alot of money makes life easier and fun and not enough brings challenges and stress.

I am lucky to have bathed in abundant waters for a brief awesome time. Just about six years ago JB and I sold the house we had lived in for twenty years. It was a magficent pink and grey Victorian duplex with three floors and 14 rooms. When we bought it the kitchen was home to three rusty refrigerators, the elegant pocket doors were used for dart practice, and some of the rooms were so cluttered that it was not possible to enter them.

The place was in bad shape but it had solid bones. Slowly, year by year we made improvements.
We sold our house at the height of a housing boom and with the knowledge that one hour later we could never afford to buy it back. We then bought #9, a modest seven room executive ranch house in the Pioneer Valley and for the first six months we were very rich. By very rich I mean we were able to fix up this new house all at once and in some cases splurge without any hint of normal caution.

For example:

we remodeled an old three season porch and made it super cozy
we bought an outdoor hot tub and put it just outside the cozy porch
we installed recessed lighting in the living room complete with 4 sets of dimmers
& garage doors that open and close when you push a clicker
We put a ceiling fan in the bathroom that has a heater for when we get out of the shower,
fenced in our property so we no longer feel like we're on a main street
took a trip to Italy
insulated and painted the shed in the yard and created JB's Magic Cottage Studio
chose new lighting for every room
refinished the floors, &
paid someone else to dig up and till my garden space

There was more. We weren't totally reckless with this cash windfall but we weren't confined either. We made our selections and choices with tasteful, creative, and fabulous abandon.

Unlike now.

Last month I pulled out the bills and the checkbook and set about the task of making do with less. JB has deservedly cut her work hours back and if we don't figure out how to manage what we have now, we'll be risking and having problems in our future.

Money is such a personal and challenging issue for most people. It's a fact that when you have more you will spend more and where ever you fall on the continuum between reckless and miserly will remain the same. My own view is that I wish to be generous with myself and others, but I don't want to drag along debt and worry I can't control. Thus my effort and attention to not to spend a whole lot more than we have.

I also know that it is ludicrous to think of being rich in terms of money. Family, friends, health, purpose, passion: that is the currency I covet. In any situation, whenever I can, I choose abundance.

The heyday of a monetary windfall is likely over for me. (Maybe not, you never know) (grin). I'm back to weighing priorities, saving for the fun stuff, being sure we have an emergency reserve when not if the unexpected happens.

But I'm still rich. I know what feeds me.

End of story.

love kj