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?