Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mish Mash in a New Year

The moment I read this I understood the change that's taken place and is shaping me again. I've always been an optimist but in the last few years I've had challenges that have tossed me every which way. Even now things are not quite balanced in my world. But I read this and I knew that I am back to the  me who pushes through and appreciates. Time can heal. Hearts can bounce. 

 The last month has been a whirlwind. I am writing this from Colorado but I started in Florida at Disney. My last post was all about that trip, but this post is so much about transition that it's fitting to begin with these children, minus Reese who was so scared of these giant mice that there was no way she could endure this picture. 

I love these children. When the oldest, Ryan, was born, I told my daughter Jessica I would love him, of course, but never as much as I loved her. She smiled then and said, "That's okay." In that moment we both understood and exalted the unconditional love of a parent.

Now I know there are different kinds of love, each deep and true. It's still true that I love Jess so much  I can't imagine anything competing with that. But my heart's expanded. There's plenty of room in there.

So what does a new year mean? Especially a new year where I'm eager to be astonished and productive? I've moved to a new town, surrounded by a bay and ocean, where the way light bounces off the sea is astonishing.

I'm determined to finish my book this year, to shop it around to agents and publishers and I dream of it in print by the end of the year.  And if nobody nibbles, I will publish it myself. I have more to learn about the matriarch of my novel: she is gutsy and resilient, that's for sure. But does she crack and fold too? I don't know that yet. But I will. 

A week after I got home from Disney, JB and I were on a plane to Colorado to help her sister through knee replacement surgery. The plan was for me to stay a week and JB five weeks. I was sure I'd use the month JB was gone to write and possibly finish this slippery book. But I'm not home yet: complications and an extended hospital stay and now an East Coast winter storm. I'm heading home on Tuesday to my own version of snow. 

 Colorado is beautiful and here in Colorado Springs, the Rocky Mountains are everywhere. The singer songwriter John Denver has a prominent role in my new novel and as soon as I remembered that, I've been looking at "Rocky Mountain High" with new awe.  Many men here wear leather cowboy hats and look weathered and almost everyone is polite and helpful. The Springs is a very conservative area, very unlike my own politics, but I'm easily avoiding that fact.

I found this on Facebook and I think it's just adorable. HAHAHAHA. 

Mr. Ryan had his ninth birthday before we left and I put into action something I've told him a hundred times. About money. "Ryan," I say, when you get money for a present or you earn money, keep a third for yourself to spend however you want, save a third, and give a third to someone or some cause that will help others." 

JB and I put a $ 20 bill in each envelope and put the three envelopes in a shiny new metal pencil case. Jess sent me this photo a few days ago and it made me glow.

 Here I am these days.

Colorado is a legal marijuana state. Some cities regulate sales by limiting it to "medicinal sales,", but there are also retail shops every where. In our common spirit of adventure, JB and I walked in to this store, Emerald Lakes, were asked to show identification, and were escorted into a large room with tables displaying and demonstrating all kinds and all prices of choices. I asked the young woman orienting us if this was a transition job for her and what she hoped for ahead. She said, "I want to grow marijuana. I need $ 15,000 to start off and I don't have it. But I know from working here how much money you can make growing it."

It might have been her glassy eyes, but I felt sad seeing and hearing her. I wondered how her parents in Ohio felt. 

Because we've spent a good deal of time hospital visiting and helping out, JB and I have eaten out often here in Colorado. This is a french cafe, charming in every way. We met an older couple here who couldn't figure out our relationship. The gentleman first asked if we were sisters. No, we said. A few minutes later he asked again. "Friends or business partners?" Even five years ago I might have hesitated. But I said, "We're partners. Been together thirty years." And for good measure I added, "We're a couple…"

He was taken back but gracious. He had grown up in Massachusetts and we told them we were from Boston, and now Cape Cod. So after they left the waiter told us they came every week for dinner and we asked if we could buy them a drink in advance. "Sure,' the waiter said, "But she doesn't drink."

So with good wishes "from the girls from Boston," these folks will have one martini on the rocks and one velvet cupcake on us. I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy it all as much as we've enjoyed the giving part.

And finally, in a few days I'll head back to Provincetown. A great local photographer named Sue Ballard took this photo, a common scene of the Provincelands. This is the magic I will return to.

I should add that American politics are absolutely scary nuts and the world is in turmoil. I'm well aware of that and I'm very distressed by it. But finally, I'm back on my hopeful grateful feet. I hope this is true for you too.


Monday, January 04, 2016

Winnie Poopie and Taco Bell

I'll start with the cookies. Every year JB and I make and decorate these sugar cookies and every year my health-conscious daughter and son-in-law beg for more and only minimally share them with their kids.  They were quite gone on Christmas Day when fifteen of us headed for Disneyworld in Florida.

How to describe being there from Christmas Day through New Year's Eve? Crowded, Hot, Expensive, Chaotic, and Heartwarming. My grand kids are 8, 6, 4, and 2. We had adventures.

I can't answer why 100,000 people at a time would stand in line for up to 90 minutes for one ride or one experience. But I'll say that Disney has class. This is a quick still shot of a very animated almost five minute ride that called "it's a small world" and it was a feast for the eyes and ears. Color, music, animation, splendored imagination.

Here's the crew of us. Disney has photographers at key locations everywhere and for a prepaid price, they snap away and then in all of five seconds they transfer the shots from their camera into your Disney rubber wristband. Just like that. (Looking for me? Lime green and white blouse, orange red hair).

Every night the castle at the Magic Kingdom turns to ice with fireworks in the background (aka their hit movie "Frozen'.)

There are several different parks at Disney, each with its own theme. This is from a safari ride at the Animal Kingdom. I'm not sure if I approve since I'm opposed to animals in captivity and I don't (yet) know if this qualifies as a bona fide sanctuary. But I was there and here are termite hills. They are here and there along the 20 minutes or so jeep-like ride, in all heights and shapes.

Plenty of flamingos…

My god, lions are majestic…

And the kids played games and won giant stuffed colorful dragons. The carnival section was classy, much like I remember carnivals years ago.

This is 4 year old Logan being hugged by Winnie the Pooh, otherwise called Winnie Poopie by Logan's sister, 2 year old Reese.

The Muppets did their own thing...

and two of the boys underwent Jedi Training, including a light saber face-to-face, one-on-one with Darth Vader, all in front of an audience who clapped them on. I don't know if they'll remember this as they grow up, but I have to say the experience seemed pretty special for two 4 and 8 year old little boys.

My just about favorite experience was an interactive theatre presentation by and about bugs. With the audience wearing 3-D glasses, all kinds of bugs just about sat on your nose, nipped at your feet, buzzed around your head, and stung your back. It was awesome. Later in the day, this bug found us strolling outside and made Logan's day.

I also shot through space at 300 miles an hour in a star wars spaceship, or so it seemed, watched the musical of Nemo finding his father and the extravaganza of the Lion King, rode a wild roller coaster through Thunder Mountain, took target practice in neon black tunnels with Buzz Lightyear, ate at a bona fide 50's diner, sang along with Elsa (Let It Go!) while snow fell on my head, and marveled when one of the kids talked about meeting Taco Belle (aka Tinker Bell).

What else can I tell you? This: we were out the door by 6:30 or so every morning and I walked about six miles a day. Holy Moly. That's what I said already: Crowded, Hot, Chaotic, and Heartwarming.

Happy New Year!