Sunday, February 28, 2010
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Today, Sunday, I find myself caught up in the peacefulness of the day. February 28, 2010, not a leap year, just a regular year in which Sunday is like a soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone. Decadent, delicious, satisfying, quiet, and pleasing to the senses.
I don't know if I am getting lazy, or if I am just beginning to enjoy the slowed pace of middle age. There is no urgency in the day today. I get done what I have to get done, then I reward myself by curling back up on my big king-sized bed with my latest book, the restlessness of "prior to age fifty-three" trickling away, almost like water running down my back.
Now is the time for walking instead of running, loving instead of condemning, learning instead of knowing it all. Now is the time to write, to sing, to dance, to laugh in a way that releases all the tensions. Now is the time to call friends, have an extra cup of coffee, talk to neighbors, and listen more carefully to nature.
Sunday. What a story.
Image courtesy of http://www.imgfave.com/
Saturday, February 27, 2010
The above photo, which I borrowed from http://imgfave.com/view/492830 looks like a polar bear enjoying the snow and ice. It's not. That is me trying to walk out on my front porch in my white fuzzy coat. The ice and snow just never go away this winter. Remember how much fun it was to get a good running start and hit the ice, landing on your butt, sliding over rock-hard imperfections until you were bruised? Well, that just is not fun anymore. It hurts worse. And the bruises do not go away for months.
I know you all are curious about where I found that awesome coat, right? Especially since it seems to have a hood that looks like a polar bear face? I am not telling. Just be aware that no animals were injured in the making of that coat. Unlike THIS animal who was injured sliding across a concrete porch on her rear end.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I heard a reporter say that nobody was allowed in the water with Tilikum because he has a violent past, having killed two others over the years. I heard an expert on killer whales say that whales are smart and that no doubt Tilikum, the well-balanced whale, had killed the first time as a practice run, the second time to get better at it, and the third time because he was tired of being paraded out in front of millions of people like a whale whore (my words, not the expert's).
I can almost hear the whale thinking, "I don't care if I frickin' DIE because of this, I am taking that woman down today, then they'll either put me out of misery or let me go home."
Personally, I think they should take him out into the middle of the ocean and let him go. Do they think putting him to death will deter whale criminality? I don't think that has worked for humans. By the time a person, or a whale, gets to the point that the only way out to them is to kill, they are going to kill, then what? We KILL them to let them know it is wrong to kill? The lack of any logic there makes me tired. My religion tells me thou shall not kill. I think that probably means thou shall not kill any creature we have had trapped in a little pool, having kidnapped it from its home, the ocean, for crying out loud, no matter what crime it committed. Set him free.
I am sure that the PETA people will jump in with their two cents, screaming that turning him loose in the wide, wide ocean will cause him to die! You know what? He might just thrive out there and actually become a well-balanced, well-adjusted whale, or he might be shunned and go to whale heaven. It sure seems like dying out there happy and free would be more acceptable than a lethal injection by a human in a tiny pool in Florida. Let his own kind be his judge and jury, I say! I cannot help but wonder how it would feel to have a jury of twelve whales deciding my fate.
What do you think?
(Image by http://www.imgfave.com/)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
It used to be that on an occasional Sunday my brother, my boyfriend, all three of our grown kids, and the entire passel of grandkids would make the hundred-mile trip to visit my folks in my hometown, a rural community in southern Illinois that was, as I have discovered just lately, extremely charming. And each and every time we went there, my mom pulled out all the stops.
It seemed effortless. She made it seem effortless, this preparation, for feeding ten people instead of two. I cannot remember ever having a meal where every dish was not perfectly delicious, and the desserts constantly decadent! We would get about fifteen miles from there and my stomach would begin to growl and my mouth water in anticipation of Sunday dinner.
By the time we arrived, the food was already being put on the table. My mom would be stirring and tasting as she prepared the bowls of steaming green beans, the plates of sliced homegrown tomatoes, and the meat, usually chicken or roast beef. Dad would be taking directions from her without complaint, stirring and seasoning the potatoes he was mashing with the old white Mixmaster that had been in use as long as I could remember.
Mom never complained about cooking those dinners, and as a matter of fact, about a month before she passed away from cancer, she had one last big meal on a Sunday that only my brother and I went to, and used that opportunity to clue us in that she was not feeling well.
We were alarmed as we had never heard her complain, and we convinced her to seek medical attention the next day, which she did. The next weekend, she asked me to come down and take her to the hospital the following day for a colonoscopy, and when I told her to please let me just get some sandwiches at a local deli for our Sunday meal, she did not argue. I knew then that things were probably not good.
But the whole reason for this little narrative is not to mourn, it is to celebrate Mom’s life and her talent and her dedication to her family, and to thank her for teaching me to take over as matriarch even though I never felt particularly ready for that role.
Today I am preparing a large meal for my own family, carrying on the tradition of the weekend family dinners, and I can tell you it is not effortless. Why was it that my mom would use two cans of green beans and feed several of us and when I make two cans of green beans, they are gone before everyone gets a serving? Why is it I cook a huge-looking roast and then find my kids fighting over the last piece when Mom’s roast seemed to feed a dozen people? And why is it that I am starved for some rich, decadent dessert and can only manage to throw a package of Oreo cookies on a platter? I wonder if they seem more exotic when I twist them apart and smear Nutella on the wafer-only side and slap them back together and serve them in a bowl of ice cream?
The family will be the harshest critics, and we’ll see how it goes. I only hope that my kids and grandkids will post a blog someday and talk about the weekend family get-togethers at Gramma’s house with even half the admiration I feel as I am posting about my mom’s and dad’s Sunday dinners.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Probably even more amazing is that I knew exactly what she was talking about with no further conversation and wandered into my kitchen and took it out of the cabinet to make sure I had the name right.
Then, after a few seconds of perusing the shelves in the peanut butter section of the store, a dejected, "Rats."
Never fear, though, dahlink! CLICK HERE
Monday, February 15, 2010
Ginny and I did venture out to Walmart, and when we returned home, I sat back down to work for a bit, and she said, "I'm going to go downstairs and start some laundry."
Grunting in her direction to show her I acknowledged she would be out of the room, it was about thirty seconds before I heard her say, "Oh, my God." I yelled, "Ginny, what's wrong?" "Oh, my God!"
By this time concern was registering, and I rushed down the stairs to find my friend standing ankle deep in water and could hear the steady hisssssssss of something leaking.
It did not take long to figure out the water heater had gone belly up. Phone calls were made, and no sooner did I realize we had no water, that I began to have to use the bathroom.
We sat around the better part of the afternoon. I kept my mind off the bathroom situation by working harder at my transcription job. I was, though, secretly quite relieved to see the plumber's truck pull in the driveway. There they were, to the rescue! Already I was dreaming of my shower and getting to use the indoor facilities, as opposed to having to find a tree behind the house, in the dark, cold, dreary, probably snake-riddled nature center, a.k.a. woods.
John sent us to Ace Hardware, where we met friendly folks like the Ace Hardware Man. I also found a bathroom there. When we pulled back in here, the plumber informed us that A) It was Ginny's fault, and B) There would be no hot water tonight. Sigh.
So, as we speak, I am heating a pan of water, preparing to somehow wash my hair. Nobody will want to sit by me in the close quarters of a 737-300 Series Southwest Airlines jet, even if the flight IS only an hour long, if I don't have a wash-up tonight.
It is not lost on me that almost every time I go somewhere, a plumbing disaster accompanies me, wildfires spring up in my path, or quakes rattle, rumble, and roll where I have strolled. Maybe I should cancel all plans for any future trips...unless your love for my company negates the negativity you might feel toward me when your pipes burst or your fireplace leaks gas or your water heater bites the dust.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Ginny and I had seats 5 and 6, Row AA, in other words, front row center, and Sylvia graced the stage, sitting on a leather sofa, a soft lamp on each side of her, talking to us about healing ourselves and healing others. We meditated, we laughed, we listened, we "amened," and we loved her!
The first four rows, and that included Ginny and me, were ushered to a microphone where we were allowed to ask one question. Here I was with the greatest psychic of our times willing to answer a solitary question, and I nearly drove myself crazy coming up with it. I realize that it could have gotten way out of control if there wasn't some sort of limit, because I alone could have shot off twenty questions without taking a breath.
I said, "Are my mom and dad happy? Are they with me?"
She said, "Not only are they happy, turn around and say hi because they are right behind you."
That answer, of course, could have been the answer to anybody's question; however, I had mentioned several times to friends of mine that I wake up every morning at 3 a.m. That has been a pretty disturbing pattern for me for weeks now. As I walked away from the microphone Ms. Browne said, "They visit you at 3 a.m. every morning, just so you know."
I backed up to the microphone and said, "Excuse me? What time?"
She repeated, "3 a.m."
My heart sang. My spirits rose, probably literally, because, well, after all, this was a woman who could speak to spirits, who could see things we sometimes don't see.
That was part one of my sabbatical to Birmingham, Alabama.
Valentine's Day I awoke with renewed energy. Apparently Mom and Dad chose to let me sleep all through the night for the first time in many weeks, thank you guys, and I was prepared for a Valentine's lunch at Jim N' Nick's with Ginny, her sweetheart, John, and their son Todd, who thought he would melt my heart by bringing along these two little angel children, Luke and Lily. And they did. What sweet little kids. Luke is the most sensitive and artistic little kid I've ever met, and lovable. Lily, at age 3, is just a little imp with a round face and short curls. I was surprised that wings have not sprouted from those shoulder blades of hers and Luke's.
Here's what I ate: Pulled pork bar-b-cue on a plate with this big mound of mashed potatoes and some baked beans. Which was okay. As far as I was concerned, the sweet biscuits they kept tossing on our table BEFORE the meal were the highlight. Everyone knows how I feel about my Southern style sweet stuff!
While there, I drew a fantastic picture for Luke. Artistically, I am equivalent to a 2 year old. My impressive stick figure and tree and sun with spikes sticking out of it that was floating mysteriously right on top of the tree was awesome, then Luke drew a stupid-looking portrait of me, which looked just like me, glasses, shoes, a tree and a sun with shimmering light coming off it. (I hate to say it, but it wasn't nearly as good as MY drawing). (Okay, yes it was. It was way better - and I'm fifty-three, and he's 7).
After our lunch, we had to go about the business of having a memorial service for Ginny's little dog who tragically died in an accident earlier in the week. The kids came over, and Todd did the shoveling work while we said what we loved about little Billy. There were tears all around, but it was a decent send-off for a little dog whose greatest happiness was when hunting down and chewing up someone's glasses, iPod, ninety-dollar head sets, or snatching a pink bra and running madly down the street with it with his cussing master in hot pursuit! We will miss Billydog. Enjoy your new wings little buddy. And as Ginny said, "I'll be up there with you someday, as long as you don't eat God's glasses, you little scamp!"
So now, my little weekend with one of my best friends is drawing to a close. Tomorrow, if the winter storm warning for my part of the world does not materialize, I will be back on a Southwest jet heading north and sleeping back in my bed which barely had time to get cold while I was away.
To Alabama! Cheers!
Friday, February 12, 2010
What is the first thing a woman wants to minimize on her body as she hits the Size Old-er? Her ass, right? So what is with all the big bulky pockets and designs all over each butt cheek? That is not flattering, girls. From the side you look like you have big lumps sticking out back there, and from the back you look like someone is playing a really cruel joke. Is it not bad enough that we already have enough padding back there to cushion every player in the NFL? I have to admit, the jeans were really cute from the front, but since most people will not be seeing me from the front, I passed.
Then there is this. We do not, as Size Old-er, want to see our tummy fat flopping over the top of the waistband. Anything that I have to jump up and down in while pulling the waist up the same level in the front and the back, is going to button in a very unflattering way, trust me.
Relaxed fit? ROTFLMAO! I mean really. All that means is that after we eat a piece of celery we can keep the damned things snapped, but it looks like wearing a canvas tent in the bottom and thighs.
Here is what I want: I want a pair of Levi Strauss (because they just look so strong and durable and keep their shape) to make a pair of jeans for Size 10-P Old-er. I want the waist to sit somewhere close to right underneath my boobs for a little support there, or maybe even just have them button somewhere NEAR my actual waist which is not below my crack in the back, be straight-legged to make my legs look longer, and not have any pockets in the back.
I came home with 2 pairs of jeans, one that buttons under my belly fat and one that promises it will make me look slimmer. I can just about lay odds that when I get to my girlfriend's house tomorrow I end up in my ratty old jeans with no pockets, that are actually frayed on the bottom but have formed to my particular rear end and are comfortable.
I am never going shopping for jeans again, so these things better frickin' last, that's all I can say.
Monday, February 08, 2010
blankets the earth outside my door, bumping
up the thermostat, covering my shoulders with
a baby blue shawl.
My coffee iced even if the thermometer
points below zero, drinking it, sipping,
enjoying the flavor while my feet warm up under
the electric blanket.
Fumbling for the remote control lost
under the covers somewhere, point and shoot
at the TV bringing it to life, quickly lowering
the volume till I wake up myself.
Slipping into warm jeans, warm boots, a warm
coat and a knit stocking cap, grabbing the camera,
feeling tears freeze on my cheeks,framing up, favorite
photo captured for remembering.
But my favorite simplicity - a good book
read in the sunshine on the patio with blue sky
overhead, birds singing, bugs buzzing, dogs barking
in the distance.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Holidays are tiring. There is just too much preparation involved. But on Super Bowl Sunday, usually the coldest day of the year here in the Midwest, it seems, with ice and snow coating the ground and making travel difficult anyway, we get to stay in the house, by the fire, with a bowl of hot chili and a tray full of sliced and diced veggies with dip, and a bag of chips in front of the big HD TV, and cheer on our favorite team. Even when my home team is not in the Super Bowl, the day, for me, is just sparkling with comfort and joy, as I watch helmets fly and arms and legs bend in totally unnatural ways. When my team is playing in the big game, I find myself curled up in one corner of my sofa with my quilt half-covering my eyes, afraid to watch every agonizing moment of play, not eating because I might be sick from the nervous feeling in my stomach. Don't worry, though. Once the game is over I eat everything in sight, either drowning my sorrow or celebrating our win.
You might think I am a little bit crazy, and of course, you probably would not be too wrong about that assessment, but there is one day of the year where I feel inclined to yell and cheer and let out all my aggression without having to actually hurt anyone.
Super Bowl Sunday. It's more than a sport...it's a legal way of letting out all that year-long pent-up anger! And it isn't just for the guys anymore.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
When I noticed the frayed bottoms of my jeans and the condition of my shirts, I made a decision that this Saturday, today, I would venture out in my green Ford Focus, Myrtle, and make the sixty-mile drive to the nearest city with a mall and update my wardrobe. I actually have gotten excited about it over the past few days. The last time I did that was before Thanksgiving when my daughter and I drove down together and shopped the day away. I didn't realize then that my jeans needed replaced, though, choosing instead to buy essentials like ten bottles of lotion from Bath and Body and a half-dozen candles from a little expensive candle shop.
I am up early. I have to work awhile before taking this little hiatus. I woke up, stretched, went to the kitchen and made my iced coffee, walked to the French doors to glance out, which is my ritual...WHAT'S THIS? IT SNOWED? NOOOOOOO! It didn't only snow, there is ice under there. It's visible in the car tracks on my street. For once this season, the weatherman hit the nail on the head. I knew it was supposed to "snow." But they are constantly predicting these huge snowstorms and when I get up the next day, you can still see the grass sticking up through the "blizzard."
Can we do it? Well, first I have to find a door that will open because apparently the wind has blown all night, too, sweeping that wet, heavy snow into every nook and cranny and piling it up against the nearest vertical surface, for example, my doors. I. WILL. GET. OUT. TO. GO. TO. THE. MAAALLLLL!
Stay tuned for updates.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Now, to tell you that after the first dose I had an immediate response to the medication might seem presumptuous and unbelievable, but I did. This morning I already feel a change. My outlook feels brighter, my focus is maintained, and the daily panic I have been experiencing has not happened yet today!
A friend of mine called to check today, to see how I was doing, and I told her about this miracle medication that seems to have found my center and begun adjusting the chemicals in my brain that keep me from feeling like I am going to fragment into a million little pieces. She was pleased with what she heard...until we discussed Valentine's Day, which is fast approaching. And she said, with a little giggle, "What do you think you'll get this year? A can opener?"
I replied with, "I am going to write down 'Keurig coffeemaker, the one-hundred-thirty-nine dollar model,' and leave the note where my boyfriend can see it."
Well, she laughed out loud and I asked her why she was laughing like an evil wicked clown, and she said, "Take that medicine back right now...it has made you an idiot!"
Upon further discussion about the Keurig coffeemaker, which I really, really want, I had to come around to her point of view, though I must say that I got a very surprising, caring gift of a gold necklace from my boyfriend for Christmas, which kind of redeemed him from the time he gave me a weed eater for the big day; however, she reminded me that I received, for my birthday this year, a motion sensor light for my garage.
I am not giving up hope, though. I AM going to get that coffeemaker, even if I have to go online and in a moment of his weakness ask him for his credit card. Then I will buy him a beautiful thank-you card!
Valentine's Day CAN rock, but sometimes you have to just treat yourself in order to reap its rewards.