Thursday, February 9, 2017

There’s Always The Weather To Talk About and My New YouTube Podcast

February 9th, 2017
Boy it’s miserable out this morning.  Here in Barnegat, NJ, we are having another Nor’Easter.  Right now at 8:13 a.m., the temperature is hovering at the freezing point. Noisy window rapping, icy rain pellets have begun to change over to big quiet snow flakes.  
From my chair by the fire place, I have a direct but partial view of what’s going on outside our front door.
Ross asked me, “So what’s on your agenda today?”
“You’re looking at it,” I said.

Yep, I’m pretty much ensconced in my chair for the duration.  While sipping on a never ending cup of herbal tea, knitting, blogging, watching YouTube videos and staring out the window are on my agenda today.

By the way, here in Barnegat, NJ, yesterday the temperatures were in the 60’s.  

For my knitting and crocheting friends, I have started a knitting podcast called Joey’s Scarf.  I would love for you to check it out.   I share what I’m currently working on, what I’ve made and show you any new and yummy items I’ve added to my stash.
Just as important to me, though, is the segment I have near the end of the podcast where I share memories of my Joe.  It’s interesting, you know, in the past few weeks I have been doing these podcasts,  I have found being able to talk about Joe out loud has fulfilled a need in me that I didn’t realize I was missing.  It has been so comforting.  I think I was beginning to feel that somehow Joe was getting further and further away from me.  Everyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one surely understands the feeling, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Giggling and Jiggling

Today is Thursday, January 26 2017.  This has been a gray and dreary January here in Barnegat NJ. We have had only five sunny days this month.  Four of the sunny days have been on Sundays.  Interesting, huh?
This year we have not had more than one consecutive day of sunny days.  And the “sun will not come out tomorrow” or the next day or the day after that.
No wonder I am SAD.  Yes, I believe I have been affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
But, hooray, after two days of a horrific nor’easter, yesterday was one of those five sunny days.
At aerobics, as we grapevined, jumping jacked, lifted and squatted, our collective spirits were visibly lifted by the most beautiful of blue sky.  The usual grimaces were replaced with smiles, winks and nods.  No grunts and groans yesterday, instead we ahh and oohed as we danced to the music in our sun filled ballroom.
I wonder if those who live in “sun almost every day” climates jiggle and giggle more often.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It’s Just A Story

Rick came by yesterday.   Just when I think he has forgotten about me, he shows up.
He has a key to my house.  Even though I know it could only be him, I still have that split second moment of irrational fear when I hear the sound of the key going into the lock.
Click. Jiggle.  An involuntary intake of breath, which I hold until I hear him call out, “Hey Ma! It’s me-ee!”
I slowly let the air out and pat my chest.
“You scared me, Rick!”  It’s what I always say.
“Ma, who else would it be?”  It’s what he always replies.
“I wish you would’ve called first.”  He never does.
Rick is the soft squish of my heart.  “I brought homemade chicken noodle soup, he said.”
“Trish made it last night.  Used your recipe.”
I stared out the window as he set my little two person table for lunch.  It’s a vintage chrome and Formica set I found at Don’s Antiques here in town. It’s my favorite spot in the house.  From my side of the table, I can see the bird feeder.  A golden female cardinal swoops off the pine tree and onto the feeder.  I catch flashes of brilliant red feathers hopping from branch to branch as the male waits for his mate to bring him lunch.
I tell Rick how relentless I was with my bargaining skills until Don gave in and let me have it for the price I originally wanted to pay.
“I think I’m going to go over to Don’s next week.  I saw a pretty soup bowl set that I have my eye on,” I say.
“Ma, you know Don’s isn’t there anymore.”
I squinted and frowned, trying to remember.  “Oh, I know, I know,” I say.  “Of course I know that.”  I was mad at myself for slipping like that.
The soup was good.  Filled with chunks of meaty white chicken.  The carrots and celery were cut into chunks too.  The noodles were Kluski’s Pennsylvania Dutch.  As my handwritten recipe describes, “It’s the only kind I use.”
I tell Rick to make sure he lets Trish know how much I liked the soup.  And I wasn’t just saying that to be nice.  It was delicious.  Gosh, I haven’t made it myself in years.
While we ate, he filled me in on what RJ and Kate were up to.   RJ was a sophomore at St. Ivans college over in Hyattsville.   Kate was a senior in High School.
I told him that I wished I could see more of them.
He reminded me that I promised I would let him know what my decision was.
An involuntary intake of breath, which I hold until he says, “It’s okay, Ma, you don’t have to decide today.”
I slowly let the air out and pat my chest.
“We’ll talk about it next time, okay, Rick?  I promise.”
It was a nice visit, though.  It always is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It’s Morning, But It’s Still Night

 It’s six a.m. and dark out.   It’s morning, but it’s still night.

I’ve been up for forty-five minutes.  Rico just came wandering out of the bedroom and headed for the kitchen where he proceeded to bark at his empty water bowl.    Easy enough to take care of that.  At least he wasn’t barking to go out.   Now he’s settled down in his favorite spot.

My winter rant has been for us to de-clutter our den.  Funny how that works.  In order to de-clutter the den, we have to make room in the garage so we can store the “I can’t possibly throw that out!” stuff.   Or the “We’ll call the auction guy over to look at this because it might be worth something,” stuff.  And then there is the steadily growing stack of  “If it’s not in front of me, I might not be able to find that important document which I might need to do our taxes,” stuff.

When we had the whole interior of the house painted in September I boxed up 6 crates worth of “things”.  Funny how that is.  I/we haven’t seemed to miss whatever is in those crates.  Which, by the way, are now stored on the shelves in the garage, just in case, you know “we might need that.”

Today, we are planning to take a dozen cans of paint left over from the last time we had our house painted, a dozen years ago, to the recycle center.  Good thing, because we need the space in the garage to store that den stuff I told you about.

Or we could just do this:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why I Don’t Blog Much Anymore

As I wrote my last post, a couple of days ago, I noticed my “Blog Archive”.
 It hangs out on the right side of my blog.  The archive is a history of all the posts I’ve written since I started my blog.  I wrote my first one on March 10, 2011.

Look. It’s obvious, isn’t it?  The steady decline in number of posts.

I began to think about why, particularly this past year,  I don’t blog much anymore.

I do tend to get obsessive about my “hobbies”.   Although, to describe my writing, posting and blogging as a hobby? No, that’s doesn’t do it justice.  It meant  means much more to me than that.   There are so many reasons why my blog was is so essential to my being.  But that topic is for another post.

No, this post is about why I don’t blog much anymore.

Take for instance 2016.  I only wrote 54 posts.  And if it wasn’t for April’s “A to Z” challenge,  2016 would only have had 28 posts.

Okay, I cop to laziness.  Yes, that is a factor.


Why spend an hour or two pondering and contemplating, staring at a blank screen seeking inspiration?  Why agonize over choosing just the right word to creatively complete a poetic phrase?
Why immerse myself in introspection, blocking out Rico’s barking, the blaring TV, or the worries of the world?

Why would I do all of that when in just 140 characters and a few seconds, boom! It’s out there.  Whatever nonsensical thing I have to communicate can easily be stated in an captioned photo, right?
Facebook prompts me every morning,  “Hi Lynda, how are you today?  What are you up to?”
See? I don’t even have to think about what I’m going to write about.

Yes, the main reason I don’t blog much anymore is I’ve been seductively lured by the instantaneous social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter gratification which has snared me in it’s sticky WEB.

Before I wrote this post, I began to read a few of the 662 posts I have written over the past six years.

Ross always encourages me.  “You really are good,” he’ll say.    “No, I’m not,” I’ll answer.

Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between those two.

But, as I was reading this one past post in particular, I became very emotional.  What I wrote,  it made me feel.  The feeling?  No, it wasn’t instant.  It was better because it was quietly, thoughtfully  and slowly nurtured.

I miss my blog.

I think there is a New Year’s resolution in here somewhere :)


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Look Up!

Happy New Year!
Darn, I already broke two of my resolutions.  I’n not even going to mention what they were.  What’s the point, right?

My son, his girlfriend and my two grandsons came for lunch yesterday.  I actually cooked.  After a disastrous, or at least disappointing catered Christmas dinner, I decided we should make lunch.   Ross and I don’t do much cooking anymore.  It’s just laziness, really.  But I’ve discovered that we are out of practice.  That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when the chicken parmesan and ziti with marinara sauce turned out really good.   I must admit I did closely follow this recipe I found on All Recipes.

We’ve been binge watching the Amazon prime video series “The Man in the High Castle”.   We finished season one last night and watched episodes 1,2 & 3 of season two while we waited for the ball to drop.
The series is based on a book of the same name written in 1962 by Phillip K. Dick.
Src. Wikipedia: "The Man in the High Castle (1962) is an alternative history novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. Set in 1962, fifteen years after an alternative ending to World War II, the novel concerns intrigues between the victorious Axis PowersImperial JapanNazi Germanyand Fascist Italy—as they rule over the former United States, as well as daily life under the resulting totalitarian rule. The Man in the High Castle won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963.

I have not read the book.  The series is well done.  I highly recommend it.  The premise is fascinating and terrifying.

When we changed the TV back to “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, we caught Mariah Cary’s disastrous performance.  It was pretty embarrassing.   Apparently, there are conflicting stories as to what actually happened.  She is such a diva, really, she is!

Then the ball dropped and everyone shouted “Happy New Year!”  And we quietly wished each other, “Happy New Year.”

And so we begin again.  Gosh,  it’s astonishing when I think about how many New Year’s days I have  now lived.  There are times when I find myself being “ho hum" about holidays.  The phrase “Been there done that” comes to mind.

But some experiences, like the one tonight, still take my breath away.  

Lady Venus winkled and twinkled in tonight’s indigo sky, flirting with a silvery sliver of a crescent moon.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Why Yesterday Was Different From Today

Was yesterday really that different from today?
When I woke up yesterday morning I did what I do every morning.  I stretched and yawned.  I disturbed a grouchy growling dog as I got out of bed and slipped into my sparkly purple slippers.
As I passed by the faded, used to be white, little swivel club chair that we picked up at an auction 15 years ago, I lightly brushed Joe's gray and black scarf, which is now permanently draped over the back of the chair.
I scuffed my way into the kitchen, filled the teapot and waited for it to sing its one note teapot song.
While I waited for my tea to brew, Trader Joe's decaf green, I settled into my fireside easy chair and browsed around on Facebook and Instagram. I skimmed through my e-junk-mail, deleting practically everything along the way.
After tea, for me and coffee for Ross,we fed, watered and walked Rico.
Then, we went out for a bite to eat.  I smiled and said thank-you to the woman who held the door for us.
After breakfast, we did a little Costco shopping.  Customers were noticeably grouchy in the warehouse.  There was a lot of impatient huffing and puffing.  I heard a passing comment about   "those people being so rude".   I'm not sure if she was referring to a specific segment of the population or just the couple with the three rambunctious children.
One woman was darting in and out of the cart traffic muttering about how everyone should obey the aisle rules and "stay to the right!"
I was happy with the purchase of my large, gorgeous, fresh pine smelling $15.99 Christmas wreath, but I was glad to get out of the madding Costo crowd.
When we got home I passed the rest of the day with my knitting and catching up with Jen on an hour long phone call.  Ross read through his 12 inch high pile of magazines and watched some History Channel or PBS WWII thing.
Oh, there are some slight variations to the way we spend our yesterdays.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to an Aerobics class. Some days we have appointments, sadly these days mostly medical.  We might attend a weekly or monthly community social group meeting.  There are occasional family visits or a rare get-a-way, but mostly our yesterdays are day in and day out reliably, peaceful routine days.
Today, though,  is not the same as all of the other days.  Today will always be different.  It won’t ever  be peaceful or reliably routine.
Today, I lingered in our darkened bedroom, uninterested in Trader Joe’s green decaf.
I briefly tried to talk myself into going to the Monday Aerobics class, saying, “But you’ll feel better.  You know you always do.”
I knew, though, that there was no way I could muster a polite thank-you to the woman holding the door for me.  I did not want to have to make my mouth curl into a smile, a smile I did not feel.   I’m sure my arm would feel much too heavy to raise and my hand too clenched to be able to manage a cheerful wave to my Aerobic’s classmates.
No, today is the day, this fifth, 5th of December day, that I find the courage to rip off the bandaid of polite smiles and cheerful waves and expose the raw wound of my grief.
I will sit and stare out at the grayness of the day and feel all of the aches of my heartbreak.
I will wonder why it happened.  I will question how it could be.  I will shake my head in disbelief that he is gone.
I know I will never understand, for there cannot be any acceptable explanation.
After five years, the pain has not lessened.  It's just that on all of the other routine and peaceful yesterdays,  I have become more skilled at hiding the ache and suppressing the screams.

Joseph Christopher Deak, died on December 5th, 2011 of stage IV colon cancer. He was 36 years old.   I am his mother.