Saturday, December 11, 2010

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays..........

Driving home late this afternoon I flipped around the dial as is my usual, searching for music.  I was in an elated mood, having just been carded at the grocery store after what felt like a face sagging day of futility, fruitlessly hunting down Yule gifts for my boys, and heard the strains of Perry Como.  Now, this is the first time in many many years that I look forward to the Yule season, and that Christmas songs haven't made me want to rage against the world.  I sang along, looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations from the sublime to the ridiculous in the neighborhoods I drove through then, I was hit with the most sorrowful feeling imaginable.

My mother always made the holidays special.  My parents did not have a lot of money but as kids we didn't know that.  I only know now, while struggling to find the right balance for my own children, how much she did with relatively little. My memories are of warmth and lights and smells.  My Mom was responsible for holiday expression in our home and each year that passes, it seems the memories become stronger. I don't recall what I didn't get, and I don't remember everything that I did, but I do recall the feeling of the holiday.

Bayberry candles were her favorite and signaled the start of the holiday.  We had tall candles with a kind of sugar coating glazed scene illuminated by the lit candle.  There was garland of holly berry that was strung up around the living room, the centerpiece of which was a kissing ball with an imish elf posed within.  If these items were not hung, it wasn't Christmas.  She would put out ribbon candy that was rarely eaten but looked so beautiful in the candy jar, and there was a plastic tree that she would have us decorate with gum drops of different colors.  The trees always seemed like perfection in our minds, even though now, when going through photographs, we realize we had years of the Charlie Brown quality tree.    These were the staples of each passing year.  As we girls got older, we influenced her choices of decor, but there were always those key elements that if missing, threw off the balance. 

I hadn't conciously thought of my mother as I drove home today, but something was clearly triggered by the music and the sights of all those houses lit.  My parents would occasionally drive us around at night with the music playing and my mother singing along and as I pulled into our driveway, I looked up into our apartment dining room and was warmed by the lights I had strung across the windows.  Our dining room is the main focal point for the holidays, and while it's not exactly as I would like it, I know that our boys wander in and stare at the lights, look at the decorations and enhale the holiday smells.  My hushand has commented that our youngest would be crushed if I removed some element out of frusration. 

Holidays are what we make them.  We, as a family, celebrate the holiday as Yule, as Winter Night, and as Family.  Some years have been bountiful, other lean, others virtually non-existent.  Last year we were packing and moving between Yule and the New Year and told each other it was our gift; more room, separate rooms and new opporunities.  I hope this year, with the space, time and opportunity to celebrate, the boys will remember the little things I did to capture their imaginations.

There is no place like home, be that a room, an apartment or a house.  I am grateful that I have a secure place to call home that is warm and encompases the people I cherish.  I avoid the malls like the plague, try to shop in the smaller, local shops when I reasonably can,  and I am grateful for the very few close people in my life. 

"For the holidays you can' beat home sweet home...."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A day of "ARGHH!!!!!!!!!"

Yesterday, the boys were with the in-laws.  Husband and I had the whole day to ourselves. And yes, we did partake of the privacy.  Mmmmhmmmm.   Then we got down to more "practical things" and this is where age starts to show.We decided to utilize our free time and shop for our oldests' birthday, throw in a little pre-Yule shopping and find some necessities.  Not the kind of free time of our youth, that's for sure.  (To be fair, hushand would have wisely chosen to do nothing but lay around naked, BUT, because he loves me, he chose to go where the wind [me] blew us). 

Today, in the midst of utilizing as much of the quiet times remaining before the boys' return, I cleaned, made a mental list in my head of the holiday feast prep., and discovered that the "really cool" tablecloth I got yesterday for a steal, was a steal because...."IT'S A FUCKING GOD-DAMNED VINYL TABLECLOTH!!!"  Where the hell did my mind go in the moment of "Wow, what a great price" and "wonder why it's so cheap?"  Really? Vinyl?  These were things that my suspicious Yankee mind would have ferrited out once.  Apparently no longer.  'Cuz here I am trying to figure out just what the fuck I can do with it.  I'm not returning it because frankly, the 3.99 it costs is not worth the 2.84 per gallon to take it back.

Then, I realize that I am simply trying to accomplish way to much with my remaining quiet hours and rethink when it is I will do the laundry, bring up the Yule decor from storage, and still find time to imbibe in a good glass of wine and peruse a magazine for holiday ideas.  About the time I'm congradulating myself for taking a break and only bringing down the box fans to the basement, I discover that mold has invaded an entire box of pocketbooks and anhilited two really old leather bags of mine!  If these things had gotten any fuzzier they'd be angora!  Christ!  As much as it hurt to throw away leather, I was more concerned at that point with saving a silk bag my sister had brought back from Thailand for me. 

We moved from our old apartment to this one when our landlord was nearly complete renovations.  We moved from the opposite side of town after years of swearing to one another we would never do it.  Here we are, beautiful sunsrises and sunsets, boys happy in school, more room then we had before, and MICE!  One of the reasons we left the old place was mold.  Mold that had only recently begun to develope but after a couple of years of heavy rain and flooding had taken hold.  So, now we have mice (and still some mildew from poorly installed windows (any suggestions people?).  I threw away my first trap with a decapitated mouse in it today.  Not a proud moment because I really hate to kill critters, but my family's health comes first. We have a cat who was clearly never a mouser, and, I write this from my sons desk which overlooks a steep drop off of trees and rocks, city views and clearly, lots of places for mice to hide.  I've worked really hard at not being a fanatic about cleaning to obsession because life is too short, and now find myself wondering what the solution is.

My longest buddy in the world and I talked today. Yesterday, a very old boyfriend apparently walked into her shop.  He's not worth a lot of wasted time to discuss, so suffice it to say, that some memories are truly best left forgotten.  I've grown up a lot since then; apparently, he has not.  His name became synonymous with dorky clueless behavior, except, that he believes somehow that he is till the intelligent one.  Ignorance is bliss.

But, it's been a day of good humor. Isn't that all we can really hope for?  That we have the good decency at the end of the day to not take life, or ourselves, too seriously?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Feastof Soup

I'm not a lover of cold New England weather.  Mid-Spring will always be my favorite time of year, but there is something to be said for those beginning days of fall when the air just begins to chill, and the smell of damp or burning autumn leaves hangs in the air.  It's when the cooking side of me kicks in.

I'm a good cook who enjoys it, but now that my husband (a phenomenal cook and a stay at home Dad) does most of it, I prefer not having to think about it as much.  Until this time of year that is.  When the chill sets in so does the desire for foods that will warm my family on the inside and fill them with the feeling of home that I remember from cold Sunday's when my Mom would make a big Sunday meal. While I still enjoy a good roast, or poultry (especially now with our convection oven!) I can always count on soup to find my thrill.

Soup is easy, yet so many people avoid it.  A few years ago I figured out the secret: anything goes!  Let the cold wind owl and shake the windows in their sills,  let the light drop from the sky too early, if you have a really good bowl of soup it simply feels like part of the adventure.  Add a glass of wine, and the warmth will really settle in.

I do not meaure.  I "feel" my way through the addition of ingredients and smell my way through the spices based on what goes in.  Tonight, I have started by sauteing the following:

all Fresh -
Leeks (are phenomenal!)
Red onion
sliced portabello mushrooms
fresh chile pepper
brussell sprouts

Once all of those ingredients begin to soften up a tad, I ad a bit of the pre-made Kitchen Basics (no salt) soup base.  Then I start layering in my spices.  Tonight it was salish, fresh ground pepper, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, chives, cumin, bay leaf and dried porchini mushrooms.

Once those have melded and the smell was right, I added in the remaining carton of soup stock, about 8 cups of boiling spring water and diced up chicken thighs.  Chicken thighs, even you haven't tried them, give soup the best deep flavor.  And the longer you can simmer the soup, the better it becomes.

The light has faded in our dining room, the clouds are under lit in the most incredible mauve tones and the air has stilled.  The soup simmers ready for ladling into bowls.

Happy Sunday evening.  May your week be easy on your brain.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ready or Not....Not!

My oldest boy recently invited a girl to his school dance.  I was just looking at a picture of him holding his baby brother; he has the soft skinned puffy look of of a typical four year old.  He's no longer that boy to me, but nonetheless I cannot fathom fully that ten years have passed, nor that he's half way through the pubescent stage of boyhood and girls have become interesting.

When did I become the adult here?  I still dream about traveling about the world.  I still wonder what I'm going to be in order to make those travels happen and I got nervous thinking about meeting the parents even though it's my son dating the girl, not me dating the guy!

We haven't fully fallen pray to the "supposed to be" which is likely why we can still have fun, and we probably never will.  Life is short and we are all going to die.  Why start any sooner than we have to?

G., who is still so young in many ways is nevertheless beginning his own life.  I started teaching him how to drive this summer letting him get behind the wheel in a vacant parking lot..  I'm not one of those who isn't ready to let go, and I know when to push when they feel they aren't ready.  But it brings a tinge of sadness to my heart to know that soon he will be beyond our full influence.  That he'll be persuaded by his own heart, by the wiles of another, by the pressures of life's demands.  We've repeated some of our parent's mistakes.  We have rectified others.  And we find ourselves finally understanding what they tried to tell us.  That no one is perfect that no one has handed to them an instruction manual.  You do the best you can, you pay attention, and you let them go when their wings begin to strenghten....

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Memory Of Uncle Charles

Climbed a local mountain.  Found brightly colored mushrooms, likely Chantarelle's but possibly Jack o' Lanterns.

Among the season browns of the summer forest floor there lay a leaf, random and un-sourced and bright bright yellow.

I hiked a mountain a few weekends ago.  I am no stranger to this mountain; it was my Dad's mountain.  He climbed nearly every weekend for some twenty years well past his 80th birthday which he celebrated there among some of his family and hiking buddies on a cold and wintry November day.  His name appears in a book about this mountain, and his picture hangs on a wall in one of the park entrances.  That picture helped reignite memories for him we thought sure he could never lose. 

Now, recently following a stroke at 91, I cajole him into scooting down the hallway in his wheelchair at the nursing home to help regain his strength, and when he complains he is tired, I remind him of these feats.

He stares out of still vibrant blue eyes,  his aged and defiant body, hands bent from arthritis, back bent from years of honest  hard work, wondering aloud when he'll go home. I never thought, given all those years of climbing, that age would forsake him.  And I always thought that when his time came, he'd want to be scattered on that mountain, but he doesn't.  He  wants to be alongside his beloved.  He loved that mountain, but he loved my mother more.

A few of the flowers remain as proof that once there was a garden at my Mother's hands

My parent's yard used to be filled with my Mother's careful plantings, my Father's random finds, and, as I recently discovered when delving into their history, a clue into their lives before they were parents.  

My father had helped plant Pansy's in my Mother's little  garden  in Ankorage, Alaska where she and her Mother were living at the time.  In a couple of his love letters he commented on receiving the pressed flower in one of her letters and how he had loved the day he had helped plant the garden.  I wonder no longer why her trips to the nursery always included Pansy's and why even  he, took a fancy to the flowers.  

These are remnants of those long ago plantings in between long overgrown perennial gardens.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A story unfolds

I have been spending random hours here and there at my parents home slowly cleaning and sorting for an unknown inevitable outcome. Should he come home, it will be to a clean and cleared-of-obstacles space to maneuver wheelchair/walker. Should his permanent residence be the nursing home, we will have begun the difficult process of prepping the house for sale.

While putting some things away, I came across a box of love letters my mother had received from my Dad, that I decided to take home to read. At first, I felt guilty but as his words from sixty five years ago crossed the thresh-hold of my understanding of my father, I was thankful I had.

I gained a window into a man, in his late twenties at the end of the war, so desperately in love with a girl that he wrote her every day while he worked out a way to bring her home as his bride. This man who had a difficult time showing any of his children emotion or affection, had at one time, the capacity to call his sweetheart "Precious" and "Sugar" and "My Love." What happened to this boy?

I tread lightly when asking him about those days. His memory is failing and his lover for nearly seventy years, is incarcerated in the same nursing home a floor below and yet, he cannot bear to see her every day. It pains him that her memory of him has vanished, while his remains. I understand for I too, have a hard time visiting a woman with no reference to me.

My father and I were never particularly close, but in the last few weeks, I have begun to understand him as a boy, and as a man, trapped and desperate and lonely. And now, since reading his letters, I have begun to recognize him as once we all were; naive and hopeful with the promise of the whole world stretched out before us, a blank slate ripe for developing. He has a story, and his story is part of mine. I cannot know who I am until I understand who he was and how he came to be.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A tale in progress

Yesterday, I spent the better part of my day dealing with the detritus of age and it's affects at my fathers house. While he lay in bed bemoaning his need to be home, I was at his house stupefied at how quickly a place goes down hill.

My father took some nearly sixty years ago, a small cape built as military housing near a small airport, and turned it into a home. Without any formal training just Yankee wits, he converted those otherwise good bones into a tight little house for a family of six. A family mind you, he never really wanted to start but with some pressure from his bride they had, before moving to this fixer-upper.

My pride in his handiness is mixed with fading shame, for I never wanted to inherit this home. It resides in a neighborhood too close to business, mediocre schools, and memories while not awful they are memories I haven't completely reconciled with. Nonetheless, I always felt safe there,learned my independence while climbing trees, pilfering my fathers tools to build forts with, pretended to be a spy and to love the summers.

My father built several feet, of several feet high, flat stone walls mostly around our house, but in later years for a neighbor. He took his spare time and his lack of money, and his wealth of knowledge about the land to forage on weekends for long abandoned cellar holes. From those caved in and overgrown foundations he began to build his own.

Now, those walls still straight and solid, surround a house he's long failed to see clearly to maintain. He no longer can see his own food spills, the grimy stains from hands on walls and switches. The build up of coffee stains, and milk droplets and accidents. The garden my mother cultivated and passed on her love of flowers for, has long been overgrown. Bees have taken up residence underground and as we've recently discovered, mice have found a place to call their own behind the knotty pine walls he so lovingly protected his beloved with.

I spoke to my children thirteen and eight, and told them that I had no desire to be kept in a home when my time comes. That someday, I hoped to have a place in the woods I could go to, and of my own choosing, pass quietly away in. The thought of all that work and pride and sweat and towing the line so that someone else may profit just to end in a pitiful existence in a room away from home was too much to bear. They played it safe my parents. They bought the lie that hard work and obedience would pay off. (My father still worries that a bill not paid immediately upon receipt will be a mark against his name) and they earned themselves a bed in a home with underpaid staff.

As best we can tell, my mother has lost herself within herself and knows no better. Though I can tell you while I sit and look at her stare into her hands, that she knows too well what she has become. My father speaks repetitively of going home, and only needing a ride to get there. He does not understand that his body has now forsaken him. Or that if he were to simply break a rule that only exists in his head, he could call a cab and go home.

Life is short and lacks in guarantees. Grasp it whole, ignore the stings and live it well. Yes, it is hard to let go and imagine, but we have nothing left to lose.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Deep in the quiet. A place to be

Naked in the sun, in the shade, in the rain the heavy drops assaulting my skin.

Fat warm drops falling from infinity upon my breast, to my belly down my thighs to my feet, tasted on my tongue, dripping from my hair. 

I dance like Neptune's daughter on the land in the trees, in the moss with the breeze.

I am free, I am whole, I am something to behold.

Through the stands of the trees come the humming of the bees, swept along like a song, I am wild, I am free.

Restless to wander

I am restless.  Not miserable; just restless.  I stumble around blindly a newborn critter. It is time for my eyes to be open wide.  I have been dealing with my elderly father and his diminishing existence and it makes me crave travel. 

We are a band of wanderers.   Like gypsies, we do static existence well for only brief periods of time. In each others company, on foreign territory we are at our best, especially while enjoying really good food.  It renews our creativity and our drive.  My man has been dreaming of the Mediterranean and as long as I can bare my feet and be warm, I am satisfied. 

From August 2000

I sit in the yard among the lilacs and marvel at a woodpecker tracing a quick pattern up and down the trunks of the bush.  Here, in this city, despite the noise, pollution and steady stream of traffic, flitters this beautiful bird with a ruby colored throat among the branches.  Close, closer,  and the rhythm  it beats out with it's tiny beak, a mantra, "Live.  I live.  I am.  I thrive.  I adapt.  I assimilate."  Remember what it was like to be a child, independent not thwarted?  Embrace the memory, this is life.  Regain the memory and the essence.  It was not taken, it was relinquished. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'd Like to Pose Naked

I would.  Seriously.  In black and white, in an artful way.  I would like to pose as the woman I am before I become too wrinkled, too bent and too frail for it to be anything but obscene.  But then, who dictates the boundaries of obscene anyway? I am neither voyeur nor exhibitionist.  I am woman, appreciative of the human form and aware that as I fade, so shall any semblance of my existence save for the memories carried along by my sons.  We have, as best we know, one life to live and I am compelled to  trade one shell for a larger. 

I am intrigued by the primal aspect of being naked, by the reality that is hidden behind clothing where most people give no second thought to hiding, or fading into background. 

Naked and exposed. 

How many of us have (innocent mind you) pictures of ourselves taken as babies on rugs, or blankets? As though the only real way for our parents to realize our "realness" was to take a picture of us without the trappings of clothing?

For all my imperfections, supposed or otherwise, I cannot help but think that by continuing to hide behind the facade of clothing, we continue the fiction of what is true beauty.  Especially here in the U.S., where youth is considered the first ideal of beauty.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I dropped my youngest off last Sunday for his first,week-long overnight cub scouts camp.  I didn't cry.  I didn't ache.  I had a little twinge of worry as he hugged me several times assuredly, as though he felt I needed it more than I would let on.  The twinge was indefinable; did I worry because it might hit him later, the distance? Did I worry about the myriad of things that could go wrong - likely wouldn't but whispered quietly from some back corner of my consciousness?  I watched him as he set himself upon the task of arranging his tent, laying out his provisions; settling in.  We said our good-byes and left him to his preparations.  My husband asked, "are you worrying?" I said no and he replied, "great, because you aren't I am!" We chuckled then fell silent.  Each wanting to say, "he'll be fine" each knowing there is always the smallest shred of doubt.

Tonight a tan and confident (albeit exhausted)  boy approached me.  I grinned and spread my arms wide, he leaned against me and started into chatter.  There were no tears, no drama just artifacts of a week spent with boys his age and all that that implies.  I was beginning to think he'd grown away from his need for me when I realized that he'd reached for my hand several times as we went about the business of rounding up his possessions and checking out.  It wasn't just a casual off-hand catch and release, but rather he reached for me as he hasn't in ages and wrapped his fingers round my arm, and grasped my hands, parting my fingers with his own for a better grip.  I felt the maternal pull and ache of heartstrings and stopped to stare at my sandy haired youngest, tall and fit, dressed in khaki shorts and hiking boots, who wasn't letting his excitement run his words into a jumble.  I realized he'd grown from this experience, and yet, still longed for home, his comforts and his security.  I think a part of me had feared that he'd no longer need me.  Yes, it was silly.  But your children grow so fast and time does not wait for you to grow accustomed to their autonomy.  I was proud that he'd come away with so much maturity, and positivity from the experience, and relieved that his love for his mother, could still be found.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When I make your beds my darlings, this includes lover - even you, I am careful to to smooth your sheets just right so that not one wrinkle, not one twist one knot or some entangled sock can mar nor line nor scar one sacred inch of any, your visage.

I have stolen many sleepless hours - wee hour glances at each your angelic faces, and while lines of age may one day speak volumes of your history, I'll not mark you with a lazy air.
As we left early one morning, a month or so ago running late for a scouting event, there was an odd creature trying to make it's way across our busy road, a baby opossum. It looked so lost and helpless; white and pink , nocturnal eyes straining to see in the daylight. We couldn't stop and I felt a maternal loss, a kind of abandonment of the animal. We live on the side of town where birds of prey tend to congregate. It wouldn't survive those birds, if it survived any number of cars that travel our road. When we returned several hours later there wasn't a hint of what happened to it. I could only guess but in the end, nature takes care of the order of things.  Babies die everywhere, and while I could feel a distant sadness, in truth, we watch children die every day on the news with detachment in order that the wealthy remain wealthy, be it for oil, "health care" reform, or pure apathy, all the while it is the animal shelters, and the pet food companies, and the animal rights activist who get the air time.  How many mothers must watch their babies die before this boat we are all in together gets up-righted?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wandering Randomness

Oh the madness and gladness of rain!  It is raw and damp/rainy.  The oven is on, slow-cooking a roast; I love the smell of garlic under layered spice (love herbs and spices) wafting through the rooms.  I have cleaned, ran errands, lamented my tight budget and blog hopped. I can't do the painting projects I'd planned so I've fiddled at little projects instead.  All is good.  The juices are flowing; I'm beginning to meet interesting people from all over (mainly the UK oddly enough) and feel like my horizons are expanding.  I knew it was coming again. 

It's a random, much needed kind of day.  I made myself finish the "must do" list before I settled at the laptop with a glass of wine (lately I've been into Malbec) and an appetizer of Buff Mozzarella, fresh basil (one of my top fave summer herbs) and Roma tomatoes.  I could survive quite nicely on this combo.  My husband and I are food snobs and have spent large quantities of cash on good restaurants, or, on indulging our food senses at home.  Somehow we are not big as houses, but then, money doesn't spend these days like it used to.

If we had our opportunity, he would likely open a book shop slash coffee/tea house.  I would find something to open right next door, or across the way so we could make google eyes at one another.  Maybe instead though, he'd open that bistro he's talked about too (I won't divulge his hook).  He's brilliant, if only he could see it.

Back to the rain: It brightened at one point, enough so I thought I would wander with my camera in hand, but it darkened before I could finish the thought of getting my shoes on.  Two nights ago, as I lowered the shade for bed, there was this incredible spiders web in the wires outside the window.  Between the screen the streetlamp, I could not capture the intricacy or the magnificence of the web, wet with rain.  Suffice it to say it was the most beautiful peace of artistry to think about before falling asleep.  I love to photograph, have I mentioned?

Yellow seems to be my theme color as of late.  I wonder what that means; is it laziness or unconcious meaning that makes one follow the same color?  I realized that I bought yellow pansies and gerber daisies, only after this week when drenched with rain interspersed with warm days and nights they've bloomed with madness.  Across our street are yellow flowers too, and creamy hydrangeas and I'm baffled.  I know I want blue and reds, but they haven't happened yet.  Just this yellow theme everywhere!  Maybe next weekend there will be a sale.  I miss my garden, but I've not been compelled to drive by it.  Lucky, it's out of the way too.  But, I'm pretty good at putting down, once I've decided I'm not carrying anymore.  I'd have made a good burro.  Perhaps in the next life. 

FATES! I love this time of year! 

I've got a little worry that's been plaguing my mind.  I can't leave it behind so I carry it along and try to pay attention. 

Thank you for following my wandering randomness.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

An argument for creativity

I spent the entire day today sorting through items at my sisters house for McGee's shop.  I was at my sisters house before she was even awake and began dragging boxes down off a shelf in the garage.  I came across items stored there from a yard sale from some three years ago.  I found some treasures, items I truly thought had sold or I'd long forgotten.  By the time my sister woke up, I'd uncovered a decent sized collection of items that at one time, we thought we could not live without.  We washed and sorted and still didn't really put a dent in the amount of things left to go through.  Out of this kind of chaos, McGee has made a business.  With her wise wisdom and encouragement, we are letting go of items we once excitedly thought we had to have, and recovered things we were glad still remained.  Nothing vaguely monetary may come from it, but the simple act of doing, has sparked the creativity in both of us.

At the shop as we listed and priced items, we started to discuss our children and their creative minds.  And as I drove home, it occurred to me that we all start out with such creative drives, (fort houses and dress up and the various games we play) and I began to wonder why it is we stifle ourselves as a society by not encouraging the artistic forces in our children and each other?  My youngest has a desire to be a potter.  By the time he is in high school he may have abandoned the idea of "just getting through school" so he can become a potter, but for now, that is his goal.  We put so much emphasis on our children getting a "good education" when in reality, they are barely receiving the knowledge to get them through the day to day.  Much of what they learn is only partial truths, for what real knowledge will they need to become a worker bee?  If the world should fall to shit, how will they survive?  I would rather have my children be able to learn a craft or a trade and someday be able to support themselves in a way that makes them happy, not beholding to bosses, and die having done something that made them happy, rather than with regrets.  I've met many unhappy people with "real jobs" but those that I know who have followed their creative natures are happier by far. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

It has been almost a year since we vacationed in Manisota Key in Florida.  We stayed at a friends condo on the gulf and fell in love with the area.  It was the best vacation I've ever had, or we've had as a family and we will treasure the time there forever.  The people the beach the sea life, the shoreline.  We swam every night at sunset, and snorkeled for hours during the day watching fish, finding huge sand dollars, shells, sharks teeth.  We didn't want to leave and I'm glad we did more than contemplate going last year. 

The horrific oil spill that has ruined so much, will continue to ruin so much more.  Don't ever let an opportunity slip your fingers.  You may never get a chance to know what you are missing.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

When I was little, my sister, we'll call her RH., was tasked with taking care of me.  She is eleven years older than I, so you can imagine that her life was on a different track as a teenager than that of her obnoxious younger sibling with a big mouth and an attitude to match it.  It was rare she would lose her cool, and the worse it ever got was when she mashed spaghetti in my face for making a stink about dinner when my parents were both at work.  I thought she was going to get it for sure when my Mum came home.  I learned that sometimes, parents side with the sibling who's had enough.  It's the singular memory I have of pushing her too far.  I deserved it, I'm sure it wasn't the only time, but clearly it was a lesson that remained with me.  She inherited the patience from my mother.  All of it. 

Summers were the best, as it usually meant an extended stay at the beach, my other sister and I, to give our parents a break.  RH and her best friend Suzie would rent a place for a couple of weeks each summer.  She'd come and get us in her VW bugl, the smell of hay filled seats, sitting in the front seat (I don't recall wearing a seat belt) flipping the 8-tracks (Carol King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Neil Young).   To this day, the smell of hay in the warm sun yanks me back to those memories like they were yesterday.  There, we had the freedom to run, swim, burn, be loud. Their friends were always good to us and would indulge us in tossing us into the water, standing with us as the tide buried our feet; with each wave as we "sunk" deeper into the sand, swimming.  At night, we'd crash, hot with sunburn, our bellies full of steamed clams wherever there was room, and I would fall asleep listening to their secret world of laughter, hushed conversation, guitars playing, the clink of beer bottles. 

As I got older, we became closer spending time shopping in unique shops, craft fairs, or just driving around looking at houses, peeking in windows, over garden fences.  I have learned much from sister.  She has a great easy style and her house is filled with treasures that so many others, including myself would miss. I'd watch her when I was little, apply make-up, put together outfits for dates, choose jewelry.  There are scents that evoke memories of my sisters closet, or her long blond hair.  The best part, is she doesn't even know she possesses these talents, making her one of the most genuine, people I know, and my best friend.

At the urging of my friend McGee, who is the second original influence from my early life, RH and I have begun revisiting an idea that we have talked about, but never explored.  While the world is a mess, and the economy is souring, some would say why bother.  I say, "Why not?"  It is the little indulgences that can often make someone happy.  It is the act of creativity that leads to creating.  Who knows what it may inspire in us?  Who knows how we may ricochet from this into the world? 

I started this blog two years ago, and when we moved I took it back up again.  The act of simply moving uncorked the need for expression, not only in words, but in the nooks and crannies of my dwelling.  And so, while I cannot say how successful if at all we'll be, I can say that it will bring me closer once again to my sister, who was such an influence on my life and to two people I'd drifted away from.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Everything in it's place

We have ants in the house.  Nearly everyone we talk to, has ants in their house.  They are slowly diminishing but not fast enough and yesterday I bought some organic spray for the kitchen.  The ant itself is a fascinating little, if not abhorrent creature.  They are a social species and some colonies number in the millions.  The millions! But just when I think I stand these "useless" insects any longer, I see a reminder that each of us has a reason for being left to our own purpose.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yesterday, after being bit by the yard sale bug I found myself in a consignment shop.  I was certain I would find nothing to compare to my great scores of the day: a big old box fan in eggshell blue purchased from a lovely old man with a gold stud in one ear, a funky piece of fabric from a young girl helping her grandmother clear out some items, and some giveaways from a neighbor friend of my sister's.  But I was wrong.  I found a rocking chair with such great bones, I figured it would be uncomfortable and sat in it.  I figured wrong and was claimed.

I was never a huge fan of rocking chairs until yesterday.  I will try them out occasionally, but I'm not long impressed.  I did find a really great chippy pair at a friend's shop not too long ago and was sorely tempted.  I don't much regret the miss - it simply wasn't mean to be.  But this chair was different.  My first walk-away from it had me feeling I'd forgotten something important.  The second look revealed lifting laminate and that would have been the death knell except I sat in it.  The arms of the chair had been held, the rockers had been rocked and I was sold at first creak.  I've never sat in so comfortable a rocking chair.  I felt a lightness as I listened to every dry creak and knew it was mine as I imagined all the imagining one could do in a chair such as this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What will happen when there is nothing left to see

The light plays through the closed bamboo blinds, blocking the heat.  I watch the patterns shift on the wall above the bed.  The sun as it slides into it's evening pocket has been brutal today, but the light play on the wall has enchanted me and I forgive.  The slide of day into dusk through the changing pattern is poetry.  I am alive to see this.  I am conscious that it even it exists.  And miles away killing oil is pumping into the ocean.  The greed machine grinds away.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

They grow so fast

My youngest wants to sleep on the couch. My husband, wants to write without the threat of interruption. I call to my boy who flat-foots it forlornly into my bedroom and flops down on the bed. I too, wish to write, but the sight of him - fading hints of baby chub, broadening shoulders, developing biceps, makes my heart ache for toddler he no longer is. He understands. He is creative himself and hates to be interrupted mid-creation, but it stings him to be told it's bedtime. I hold him close to me for a hug. He breathes deeply and tells me he loves the smell of my hair. "Just a few minutes Mom, so I can relax, please?" I acquiesce. Someday I will be old and he will be off on his own life, and I will think, "please son? So I can relax?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring brings the change

I've got an empty glass and my corkscrew poised. I shut off the cooling pad for my laptop and sit back relaxed into birdsong. For a few minutes at least I have the peace I long for. I cannot explain the joy I have at hearing the birds in the canopy that surrounds our newest place. Or, that later, when the city begins to sleep, I will have full access to the crickets that at the old place eluded me until (like clockwork) August 1st every summer.

In the last few weeks I've begun to feel a renewed sense of creativity. This move was the best thing we could have done, and while it hasn't been perfect, I think I rather prefer it that way. I've poured my wine, someone has turned the t.v. on and boys begin to argue over the mundane. After a brief moment when my shoulders begin to hunch I realize, I am here and now and things have begun to change.