Sunday, March 10, 2013

Absence explained:

Two computer crashes and rebuilding my new computer for the second time has kept me from writing and blogging. I will return.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Yes, I did manage to vote.

What a day! This morning I was out of coffee and everything that goes in it, so I had to drink tea without milk. By the time my eyes were beginning to focus, I heard an explosion and, in the distance, the beginning wail of fire engines. Somehow, I knew they were coming my way. A peek out the front window confirmed my suspicions that a house down the street was on fire and smoking out the rafters. I think the city sent every truck they have.

Then the owner of the burning house arrived--full throttle, as always, parked with a screech across the foot of my drive, screaming before she'd climbed out of her truck. I couldn't go anywhere all day. It became a neighbor event. The dog, freshly bathed just yesterday, had a boo boo and sat in it and now needs another bath. One neighbor thought he'd been frightened by an explosion. Once it even looked like fireworks for a few minutes and I could have sworn I didn't see a fireman move for five more.

The man coming to estimate replacing my windows called and said he couldn't get in. The City had barricaded the entire area so there was no entry or exit without permission. About 4:00 pm I finally was freed to go buy my coffee. I was convinced my day would not improve without at least one cup of real coffee. As I was climbing back in my car at Braum's, the window man called again and said he would meet me at my place. No coffee until later, I groaned.

By the time I could go to vote, it was getting late. I arrived to find a note on the window that said our polling place had moved, but provided no map. Luckily, I vaguely remembered the citizen's center where we'd had a water system meeting several years back and that it was off some side street near the Hwy and it has a long graveled entry. The sun had set by the time I found it. The notice I had received that said my voter registration was no good due to the change of the name of our street, was, luckily, untrue and I actually did get to vote. But I do have to change the address.

I never did get a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This post has been in my draft folder for ages. In reviewing it, I wonder why I left it in drafts.

Briefing over the gist of my morning pages this morning:

I have a friend whose father is suffering one calamity after another in intensive care right now. She is agonizing over his care. She is very focused on the medical team in charge of him. And, naturally, her situation calls to mind my own unburied pain from the year my father died. We are very different people, my friend and I. That is okay. In fact, that what my pages were about: the need we have to be understood, not judged.

A third person entered in. Another woman who has been shouldered with the responsibility of caring for her mother-in-law. She speaks to me often about the situation. I think it may be because she finds acceptance and compassion from me and she can say what she is feeling without meeting with any condemnation. She can tell me that she resents the responsibility as she complains about one more time that she has had to take care of a doctors appointment.

It is okay to say, "I'm tired." "The time this takes out of my life keeps me from doing things I need to do for myself!" Caregivers often don't even have the time to take a bath. I sat by my dad's bedside the day he had surgery and I held his hands all day to keep him from pulling out his IV lines and I couldn't go to the bathroom! "I wish so-and-so would do more." Of course we do! It is the most honestly selfish thing most of us can say. If so-and-so would do more, then we could do less. This is the way we deal with being a care-giver. And it helps so much to have somebody who isn't too busy to take the time to listen, to accept hearing, "I'm not strong enough to do this!" or, even, as I have heard said, "I hate doing this!" And why isn't it okay to say that, to voice it? Truth be told--all of us must hate doing this! What is to love about it? "I love going to the hospital and sitting by my father's bedside and watching him suffer!"? No, nobody could ever say that! So, society insists that must couch it, we must suppress our emotions and say nothing at all--that is the painful norm that saddles us with guilt, the suppressed anger and emotion. To say, "I'm not strong enough," doesn't mean that you aren't bringing what strength you have to the table. It means you want more strength! It would be so healing to be able to say it. To grumble about how horrible it is--because it is! But the heart that is open understands just exactly what is really being said and can reflect back the right emotion.

Yes, I hated it! I hated my failure and my shortcomings, my lack of knowledge, my lack of energy, my lack of bladder control! Beneath the surface are all the broiling emotions, "He is in pain and he is suffering and I must be able to relieve his suffering!" It is pure baggage. I had a book that was recommended to me called (forgive me, I gave it away some time ago) The Thirty-Six Hour Day. I loved that title! It was honest. All those frightened emotions are very real and honesty is not a bad thing: "I don't really know what to do!" "I can't seem to pray at times like this." "Is everything being done that can be done? What haven't I thought of?" In the aftermath, several ideas have occurred to me. "Should I say something about this? Is this normal?" Minds get stretched at times like that and later we second guess ourselves and our judgment of ourselves is always too harsh. Guilt saddles us over what we could not have done. We dry up and we blow away--we lose our selves in trying to help somebody we love who is helpless and hurting. Then forever after we carry guilt for natural unvoiced emotions. And the only way to put ourselves back together is to have some sympathy for ourselves.

Resentments! The thing is--he is sick, dadgummit! I resent that! And I can't make him better! I resent that! I need more energy, more knowledge, more imagination, more patience, more hands . . .

*I have diverged from my original five page rant!*

My point was that we each deal with things differently but everything we do springs from our emotions. And every person involved in the care of that person also has their own baggage, their own weighty emotions. And these different emotional states and needs don't necessarily play off of each other evenly for the best teamwork to support the sufferer. We actually divide and we don't support each other. Society puts a burden on us, a societal norm. But we aren't emotionless machines! From all these different directions come burdens. Some of us are stronger, some weaker, some more energetic, some exhausted, some more knowledgeable, some clueless--but surely at such a time we often don't feel we are enough! We aren't! And people often back up this norm by being impatient with us for agonizing over whatever we are agonizing over. It hurts! I will take these scars to my grave.

A compassionate ear is a great gift. The more honesty they can have, the more likely they are to see that they deserve their own sympathy for their own shortcomings. Because only God could do what we want to be able to do at such a time!

Am I?

Am I going to do the NaNoWriMo?

I have an idea, but inspiration always comes in waves and it is too rudimentary and also too important to commit to forced writing. The wave comes and the current lifts me off the bottom and I feel myself floating, it covers me, my head feels the current, my hair flows with the water as it passes by. I can feel it in the very roots. I have no idea how far the wave carries me before it gently sets me back down and I feel my weight settle back into the heavy gravity of the world. As the wave passes and I have regained my footing, I look at it as it recedes, looking more like a mere gentle rise with no foam or form. I turn and look for the next wave. I see it in the distance, the curling form of the top of the wave making a steady foam that it pushes before it, but it looks to be a long way off yet.

In short, I know what I want to write about, but my approach has not yet been decided. It is the creation of the body that it lacks. It is ephemeral and illusive. As long as there is no imagined container for it, it can't be poured into anything. It is just the raw idea. My working title is Metamorphosis, so surely you can imagine!

Of course, something could happen in the next twenty-four hours. I might grasp some thread and I have thought of signing up for the NaNo anyway. It is okay to let the goal slip by and especially in a month when there is a wedding at the very most productive time of the month. I have so often wondered why they chose November! It seems to be one of the worst possible months of the year. But just add a wedding to that--a total distraction and days away from home. I'll lose a full week! From the day I leave to the late night that we endure to arrive back home to get Ike back to school on time.

But phooey! I would like to do the NaNo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why I am a liberal!

I have seriously wondered before how two people can grow up in the same family, be taught the same things by the same people and then one grows up to be liberal and the other conservative. The two are linked both politically and religiously. I feel shocked sometimes when I learn that somebody I thought I knew is very conservative politically, "How could she be?!" I always did think that liberals and conservatives balance each other and one without the other is pure chaos. In our own ways, we can take things too far. At least I got that much right.

Here is a profound video on the subject. If you are conservative, realize he is aiming his message at his mostly liberal audience, but I think that you can learn as much as I did about how we differ and how we influence our world and what we should do about it.

TED | The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives

Monday, October 29, 2012


Jell-O is like Koolaid, clear, sweet and oh, so 50s! Every mom always had Jell-O and Koolaid. It was a good mom sort of thing to do. I can just see the quintessential 50s mom wearing her checkered dress and her white apron carrying a tray loaded with bowls of bouncing red Jell-O, smiling benevolently on her children and their guests. But that is just in advertisements on TV. Venturing a guess, I'm sure it was red checks with cherry Jell-O to match. Real mom's didn't look quite that good even though most wore aprons. Otherwise, Jell-O didn't impress me much.

Most good moms appeared to prefer cherry to every other flavor. I hate cherry. Now, black-cherry is good, if I had a choice. I question whether or not they ever asked for our opinion or if they just liked red. Really good moms would make the Jell-O squares. Now, those were fascinating and I could use my spoon to push and pull the perfect square into strange shapes and watch it bounce back when I pulled my spoon away from it. The squares, however, tended to be thicker and more rubbery and resisted penetration with the spoon, couldn't be cut, and the squares were little too large for my mouth. Many landed in my lap. They could also be picked up in the fingers and played with. So, they were a pleasant toy, great to look at but no more fun to eat.

Jell-O also appears to link itself automatically to tummy upsets and sore throats. This is not good for its reputation. The doctor prescribed it to stop diarrhea. It is an illogical correlation. Cherry Jell-O with banana slices comes to mind and mothers could save themselves some trouble if they made a big bowl of it in advance. It is not soon forgotten. To see that bouncy, cold, clear and bright colored bowl of Jell-O is almost enough to make me think I must be sick. I was such a good girl that I would obediently eat it just as well as I would take my Benedryl and with only a little less groaning than my Pepto Bismol.

Another thing about it that kinda makes me feel sick, as I remember it, is how many moms served it in those Tupperware bowls. They had that old plastic odor that could obliterate any other odor, especially the scent of cherry Jell-O. The bowls were usually heavily used and somewhat faded having originally been made in pale pastel colors, semi-transparent with spoon scratches all over them.

In short, Jell-O was not a good subject and Natalie really let me down on that one! Needless to say, I have no Jell-O.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Now I remember!

It was my plan through October to work out of Natalie Goldberg's "Old Friend From Far Away." Is that insane, or what?!

So, I'll do "Coffee" on Page 16. I just want to say, having seen the previous entry on page 15, Three, that I am short on writing friends, so if anybody wants to be a cyber writing friend, say so, please.

Here goes: Coffee

It is interesting that I was just contemplating how much more I could accomplish in a day if I didn't love my morning coffee so much. A long time ago, I learned that once I started working, my coffee would get cold. So, I stopped working.

I don't really sleep all that late. I just don't like to rush my morning coffee hours. When I work and I only have time for one large, hastily gulped cup of coffee, the day never seems quite right. I'm not awake enough. I'm not at the top of my form. My brain doesn't kick in until late morning.

Coffee is a major part of my weekly food budget. By the time I buy the coffee, filters, sweeteners and maybe even more coffee for a different flavor, half my food budget is gone. I could almost live on coffee. I can make sacrifices elsewhere, like on meat or veggies--you know, the non-essentials.

My morning coffee is the main reason I wash the dishes before I go to bed. I hate not having a clean coffee pot--everything must be spotlessly clean so I get the best flavor out of my coffee. I even hate coffee stains on glasses, and on filter holders. Seriously, I could be lazy and leave my dishes, but the mere thought of a dirty pot would be like a waking nightmare if I stumbled into the kitchen in the morning to find my pot or favorite cup dirty.

This love of coffee is my Mother-in-Law's fault. I had never drunk coffee when I got married. Nobody gave my husband and I a coffee pot for our wedding. But I had two electric can openers. My Mother-in-Law suggested trading a coffee pot for one of my can openers. That was the beginning. It was one of those old percolators. I sort of miss them, sometimes.

As the years passed, we followed the fads until finally coffee makers lost their appeal. The last automatic I had was a Bunn, for the speed, you know. But there was something unsatisfying about it, the coffee wasn't as good as I like--the water wasn't as fresh. I once had a Melita porcelain pot and filter which I gave to my son and he never used it. Now, that is exactly what I want and they are pricey! I want it back! I finally rigged up my own. I use a hand-thrown stoneware pot with a plastic Melita filter holder. I make two cups at a time and no more. I like my coffee steaming hot and very fresh. It isn't as fast as a Bunn, but it is worth the wait.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A quick evening note:

My older son will be getting married the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He has waited many years for this opportunity. He has a lovely fiance--any mother's dream girl for her son. And, finally, we are getting close to the big day.

No young man has ever so much enjoyed the very idea of wedding planning as he does. It has been quite trying to him to relinquish most of it to his fiance and her mother. But one thing is left for him to plan and it is for us to do. Or, is it for me to do, but he has the plan?

I was out running errands when he first called. He began the conversation, charmingly, by telling me what his plans were--making his suggestions for the rehearsal dinner menu--but at the same time telling me that we needed to talk about it. I stopped by Head Country B-B-Q to pick up my dog's favorite dinner. I treat him every now and then, so dinner tonight was a huge brisket sandwich of the quality that is hard to find and then, for sure, only in the South. The conversation continued while I ordered and waited for my sandwich. The young man that waited on me pantomimed his questions. He smiled as I drove away.

I managed to drive home, mobile phone held to my ear. And then to get dinner, dog, back-bag and phone, still held to my ear, all in the door and make my way over doggy gates (yes, with the dog) and through doorways to my study. I revved up the computer and waited a good half an hour while the conversation meandered through other territory before returning to the subject of the rehearsal dinner.

Once, when we were momentarily disconnected, I managed to get my sandwich out of the carton and arrange the meat on the bread. The call resumed, I set the sandwich aside, and we talked too long. After quite a few minutes, I heard a happy yip a few feet behind me and looked to see my expectant little dog who could no longer restrain himself in the hope of half that luscious brisket. Normally he has such good manners. But, I must say, I loved seeing his enthusiasm as he has been generally under the weather for the last few weeks.

Finally, my son managed to pull himself back to the subject at hand. He ordered me to open a notebook and take notes. I finally found the menu that is available on line and we spent the next forty minutes selecting exactly what he had suggested in the first five minutes of the conversation a good two hours previous.

Gosh, I love my kids! Even that furry little thing that is curled up on his doggy bed sleeping off too much beef brisket.