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.

Epiphany.

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 :)











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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.





Sunday, November 6, 2016

What I Did With My Extra Hour Today

Oh my, it's been too long since I've paid attention to you.   October got away from me without a single post.   For me, writing is like exercising.  If I am not disciplined and diligent, I get lazier and lazier to the point of inertia.
Since we turned the clocks back this morning, I have this extra hour to spend, so here I am.
I am sitting in my lazy chair, the one I mold into when I'm obsessively knitting, just one more row, just one more row.  Before I know it, it’s too late to go to my aerobics class.  Inertia.
My lazy chair is a well-worn high back wing.  It's in front of the fireplace in our living/family room.  Although this morning there is a little nip in the air, it’s not chilly enough for a fire.
Our fall weather has been perfect.  Cool mornings followed by cozy sun-warmed afternoons.
I am wrapped up in my soft fluffy red robe.  My knees are propped up to provide a lap for my laptop.
My Contigo tea mug with the blue top is tucked into the corner of the chair.  It's filled with "Relaxing Honey Vanilla Bliss" by Teekanne Herbal Wellness Teas.
Now and then I take a thoughtful sip pondering what the heck I am going to write about.   As I sip and ponder, I gaze out the front door sidelight windows,  hypnotized by the gentle swaying of brilliant ruby and gold maple leaves.
I must admit I am doing more gazing than writing.
Ross is in the kitchen fighting with Rico.  It's medicine time.  "There's no biting!" Ross admonishes.
Pretty soon I will have to move to the kitchen.  Rico won't eat his food unless I am sitting at the kitchen table.  It's one of his quirks.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of knitting. Truth is, knitting is and has been a big part of my life.  For me, I suppose it's similar to blogging.   It satisfies a creative need.  Many times it has been an emotional support for me.  Like bloggers, knitters also have a supportive community. I am a member of a website called Ravelry.

Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.

Ravelry has 6,597,646 registered users. 981,114 Ravelers have been active during the last 30 days.

Wow, huh?  Over six million knitters and crocheters.

Now, within the knitting community, there are the knitting podcasters.  They are also a tight-knit  community.
I have become obsessed with watching knitting podcasts.  There are hundreds and hundreds of them on YouTube.  I find it interesting  that they all follow the exact same format.  I wonder why that is.
Anyway, I fantasize about doing one myself.  Then, I wonder why I want to do one.  Hmmm, lots of introspection surrounds that question.
Perhaps I feel that venturing into the knitting podcast world would provide the same comradery for me that being part of my bloggy family has.
You see no one close to me is a knitter.  None of my sisters knit.  My daughter doesn't.  I tried teaching my granddaughter but she's into other things, which I thoroughly understand. 
Actually, my knitting companion happens to be Ross.  He encourages me by oohing  and aahing about my latest projects.  He is genuinely interested, but he refuses to learn how to knit!
I do belong to the needlecraft group in our community.  They are a great bunch of friendly and welcoming women.  They all do beautiful work.  Even though I am around the same age as most of them, they are of a different knitting generation than the Ravelry and  Knitting Podcast folks.  By that I mean they are used to doing things the way they always did and seem to be hesitant to try new things.  Which is okay.
But, not only do I want to talk about what I'm working on, I also want to learn about the newest techniques, where to find the finest hand dyed yarn, and what the latest designs are.
That's what the knitting podcasters do.  I guess that's what I want to do.
Okay, I have to come clean, I, well Ross and I, do have experience with podcasting.  Our "show" is called Sundays With Lynda & Ross. It is mainly entertainment.  Since we don't have a lot of viewers, it mostly for our own amusement.  And perhaps our great-grandchildren might come across our videos one day.
But, to go solo with a podcast, For this shy introvert, though, it might be a stretch, a real reach outside of my comfort zone.  If I can summon up the courage, I'll let you know.
Anyway, my free hour is up.  I think I'll get dressed and instead of gazing out the window, I'll step outside the door.
By the way, I realized something just now, I missed you! :)




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tears Falling On The Feathery Fringe of His Black & Gray Scarf

Ten years ago, to give as Christmas presents,  I ordered tee shirts and scarves, custom embroidered in red, white and green lettering with "Christmas 2006 Proud Member of Priscilla's Clan".
 Priscilla is my mom.
We gave each of her children, sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and step grandchildren one or another of the embroidered items.  I think I remember Mom being surprised about the whole thing.

Last night Anne asked me if I'd like the "Priscilla's Clan"  tee shirt, the one I gave to Joe that Christmas 10 years ago.
"Oh yes," I said.
"You know I had to empty the attic because I was having some work done," she explained.
"I had boxes of Joe's clothes stored there.  They're downstairs for now.  There are other things if you want to...," her voice trailed off.
I hesitated for a minute, trying to emotionally remove myself from what she was asking.
She got up to head to the basement.  She turned towards me with a hesitancy of her own.
Unspoken words floated through the air between us.
I followed her, distracted by her red strappy heels as she carefully made her way down the steps.
The boxes were stacked, one on top of another.  Clear plastic ones, with colorful tops.
The kids were down there playing.  Domani chattering away with his cousins.
I would glance at the boxes, then look away towards Domani, smiling at his antics.
Now, as I try to recall what I was feeling, I have an image of  myself, alone, sitting on the floor, as I carefully take out each piece of him one by one, hold each one next to me in an embrace, not wanting to let go.
I remember the last night I was with him.  We were all there.  All of us who achingly loved Joe, none of us, not one of  wanting to let him go.
I will always regret that I didn't have my alone time with him that night.  Perhaps I thought I would have more time.  He promised me that, you know.
Now, as she and I were focused on the boxes, but not really on the boxes, I felt awkward.  I think she sensed that I might want to look through the boxes.  She took the top off of one.  My eyes were instantly drawn to feathery halos of soft gray fingers of fringe laying somewhere near the bottom of the box.
She began to gently lift the rows of neatly folded items, looking for the Priscilla shirt.
She found it and handed it to me.   I took it and held it close.
She told me that she had already picked out a group of his tee's.   She was going to have a quilt made for Domani.
I liked that idea very much and told her that.
She was about to put the lid back on the box.  "If there's anything else..."
I asked if she knew about a scarf that I had made for Joe, all the while knowing that it was the one down at the bottom of the box.  The one that the halo of gray fringe was attached to.  But I didn't want to intrude.  Funny, now that I think about it.  How reserved I am.  How reserved Joe was.  Too polite to ask, "Would it be okay?"
She said she didn't recall.  I slowly reached into the box and pulled out the gray and black scarf, the one with the feathery fringe.
"Yes, this is the one," I said.
I remembered the last time I saw him wearing the scarf. He walked into the room and I immediately noticed he was wearing the scarf.  It made me happy.   He wore it around it neck, hanging down loosely, making a fashion statement.  He was cool that way.  I believe it was at Domani's first birthday party.  The only birthday party Joe would get to spend with his son.

But now, I began to cry, softly at first.  She came to me comforting me with a hug, tears falling on the scarf and the Priscilla shirt that we held between us close to our hearts.
Domani stopped playing.  His little face became flushed.  "What's the matter?" he wanted to know.
"Grandma is just sad," she said.  She leaned down next to him and whispered something to him.
"You understand, don't you?" Anne said to him.
He looked at his mother, then at me and solemnly nodded.