Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ode to Green

Photo by John

"Green is cool and friendly like ...
and I think it's what I want to be."
Kermit the Frog

Several years ago when I lived in San Diego I had a green moment. Like an "ah ha" moment that Oprah talks about - that moment when a lightbulb goes off in your head and you see things with perfect clarity - only it was green. I'd lived well over thirty years, but for some reason I'd never really noticed or paid much attention to the color green. On that particular Spring day, I rounded a corner and viewed before me a vast landscape painted in what appeared to be a crayon box full of shades of green. I'd never seen so many variations on the green theme. It was stunning. It was spectacular. Since that day, when I think of Spring, I think of green. Green that is so much more than just a back drop for bright spring blossoms.

One of the first things I think of when I consider the color green is Kermit the Frog. Mostly because Kermit green is a favorite of my daughter, Weneki. After some soul searching and song singing, Kermit decided that he was comfortable in his green skin. In the book, "It's Not Easy Being Green and other things to consider" which is full of the wisdom and wonder of Jim Henson, Ray Charles is quoted as saying, " ... he (Henson) believed that people are good and that they want to do their best and no matter how or why we might be different from anybody else, we should learn to love who we are and be proud of it." Green, then, must be a color of confidence.

Here are some other things that the color green brings to mind:
Easter grass
Newly mown lawns
Tropical seas
Four leaf clovers
St. Patrick's day beer
Christmas trees
Fields of cabbage along a Florida highway
Palm trees
Moss on the north side of a tree
Cottage cheese that's been in the fridge way too long
Cashmere sweaters
Tree frogs
Brussel sprouts
Peter Pan
7-Up bottles
Boston ferns
Hiking trails
Luna moth
Artichokes and asparagus
1970 appliances
Dill pickles
Al Gore
Pesto sauce
And last but not least .... Green eggs and ham.

Do you have a favorite green thing?

Wishing for you a day filled with color of happiness,
Merry ME

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feeling Blessed

"As the sun shines on upon my heart,
so may my heart shine upon others!"
The Upanishads

I haven't been writing much lately. I could blame it on all the painting and furniture re-arranging. Or I could say I'm too busy getting back in the groove of dad-sitting. These are truths as well as excuses. An even deeper truth is that I feel like my words have dried up. I've tried to write, Nothing works. The fact that Spring has sprung and my blog friends are either soaking up Nature's newly green bounty, or writing about how they are spring cleaning both their homes and hearts also has me feeling stuck. I don't have any deep thoughts about the weather or my circumstances.

Sweetie and I got a card in the mail today congratulating us on our marriage. As I read the note, I realized that not having a lot to say is one thing, not saying thank you is just poor manners. So many people held me tight in their circle of love during one of the hardest times in my life, and woohooed with me on both my wedding day and my birthday. I am blessed beyond measure. Although I could see how it easily could, I hope my silence is not perceived as a lack of gratitude for your generosity.

Another blogger recently posted a kind of farewell letter. She decided she was ready for "real" relationships, as opposed to what I'll call "web"ships. I understand how having friends on Facebook, Twitter or the blogosphere can take the place of meeting new people, sharing a cup of coffee, going to a movie, and other activities. One day, when I'm not so tied down I may want to get back to that. But truth be told in my lifetime I've never met so many like-minded people as I have since writing this blog. My fantasy is not to meet someone new to hang out with, but to meet the people I feel like I've known for a lifetime. People who "get" me without me having to do anything other than be myself.

So to my blog friends: Terri, Dani, Sorrow, Molly, Mandy, Pam, Patty, Jody, AkasaWolfsong, and Swallowtail, I say a deep-felt and hearty thank you. I pray that if the time ever comes when you need my shoulder to lean on I'll be able to give as good as I got.

To the friends I have known seemingly forever: Catherine, Fred, Carol, Laura, Joanne and Barbara, thanks for sticking by me even when I go underground for long periods of time.

To my writing group - old and new members alike: Thanks for reaching out to me and especially for encouraging me to write even through the darkness.

To my family: Wendy, Linda, Letty, Johnson, Todd, Jean, Jim, Deana, thanks for giving what it takes to keep our family tree firmly rooted in love.

To my Sweetie: I remember the day shortly after we started dating that you told me "how the cow ate the cabbage" with regards to you and the holy state of matrimony. Who would have thought the road would lead us to where we are today? Thank you for being my friend, for being my sounding board, for being my rock, for being my shelter from the storm, for loving me.

Today my wish for each of you is a heart full of gratitude for all your blessings,
Merry ME

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chaos Theory

"One never knows what one is going to do.
One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different."
Pablo Picasso

I have just finished putting the second coat of primer on 3 walls in my bedroom. Even before this month's hullabaloo, I'd been thinking I was ready to change the dark, mossy green walls of my "cave" into something lighter and brighter. I was thinking yellow. Sweetie nixed that before giving it even a cursory bit of consideration.

When I painted the room four years ago, I figured a dark color would cover just about anything. What I didn't know was that it can take at least two if not three coats of paint for a good coverage. Of course that could have as much to do with the expertise of the painter as it does the quality of paint. Now I'm discovering the same is true of covering over a dark color. I guess that makes sense. Especially since the color I finally decided on is none other than your basic, apartment Navajo White. I may go for an accent wall in a darker shade but it will still be a neutral shade of tan!

Unlike other members of my family, I am not a planner. I don't give much forethought to my projects. I get an idea in my head then jump in. With nothing in mind except a nice sale price, I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday to see what they had in the way of new bed linens. I opted for a foreign made quilt of variegated shades turquoise. It reminded me of the color of the ocean in some of the Hawaiian pictures Johnson has sent lately. What could be better for relaxed sleeping than a room that conjures up a tropical sea?Marine blue spread, sandy tan walls, white trim the color of puffy clouds. Mmmm, I think I could take a nap just thinking about it.

I'm a messy painter. Even with a drop cloth under the paint pan and a rag in my pocket to catch drips, I seem to be wearing as much primer as I've put on the walls. I'm speckled in white. This makes me wonder why painters wear white when they know they are going to soon look like something from a polka dot factory? Perhaps I've smelled too many paint fumes, but this thought leads me to another? Who exactly is in charge of deciding who wears what to work in? Why do chefs wear black and white checkered pants? And what's up with that hat?

Do you remember when only women were nurses and they used to wear white dresses, hose, shoes and funny looking hats? The person who came up with the concept of brightly colored, novelty printed scrubs for nurses, lab workers, and veterinarian assistants has got to be resting in a hammock on some tropical island drinking mai tais and looking at the luscious turquoise sea. But there is always an exception to the rule, isn't there? Yesterday a hospice nurse came to visit dad, dressed head to toe in what appeared to be starched white cotton, just like the good old days. I must say he looked quite clean and neat.

Getting back to painting and my lack of expertise. Today, as I worked from the top down, I began to wonder which is the more correct way to do it? Does one neatly trim the joints where the wall and ceiling come together (or wall and baseboard) then feather in with a roller? Or should you roll the paint on the entire wall, then feather in with a brush to finish? Does it make any difference? I've always done the brush work first but I'm not sure why.

I think it is going to be good to have a fresh new room to sleep in. It will be a quiet, tranquil place for Sweetie and I to retreat to when the world around us is going crazy. I also think it's been good for me to be doing some physical labor. I've still got a lot of emotion churning up inside of me. Stuff I'll have to deal with sooner or later, but right now I'm opting for later.

One night when we were homeless, staying in the Homestead Suite and I couldn't sleep, I tried to count all the places I've lived in my lifetime. Where I live now is the house we moved in to when my dad retired from the Navy in 1962. It's the place I've always thought of as home, even when I lived thousand of miles away. Home as in where my roots are. Home as in nothing much changes. Or didn't until Sweetie and I moved in 4 years ago and I tried to incorporate our "new" style with Dad's "old." I can see now how over time, Dad might have felt edged out, while my reality was all about putting a "fresh" face on things. The drapes in the living room have been here for at least 30 years and the wallpaper in the hallway nearly as long. Maybe because I've moved so many times, I'm just not used to being so settled that everything stays the same; every few years I seem to be ready for a change. Because Dad hasn't moved in 48 years, home is just another habit that he has grown used to. I think when you are old and begin feeling uncertain about how much time you have left or have trouble remembering how to do the things you've done for years, old habits must be a comfort.

The room where I sleep is the room in our house that was traded down from sister to sister. When we first moved in, three of us shared the space. As each sister aged into her own room, the walls would be painted to reflect the personality of the girl(s) remaining. When I was standing on the ladder this afternoon, painting above the closet door, I could see three distinct paint colors - peach, light blue and mossy green. Someday an anthropologist might scrape down to the bare plaster and have a field day trying to tell the story of the people who slept in that room just by the all the paint colors.

Sweetie has tried to make a path to get in and out of the room safely in the middle of the night. I suspect his desire for neatness and order is at odds with the room's dishelvement. I will have to remind him as we tuck ourselves in that there is a theory that chaos breeds its own kind of order. I wonder if he'll buy it!

Wishing for you a calm seas and relaxing vistas,
Merry ME

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh Happy Day!

Flowers by Wilson's Inc.

Wedding rings from Walmart

Sleeping in my own bed with my husband and cat(s)

Sitting with Dad last night as he settled into bed, I couldn't help but wonder if I was just waking up from a bad dream. Everything around us looked the same, yet how could we possibly be the same inside after all that was said and done? I'm sure there is a lesson to be learned from the experiences of the past three weeks. I know I should be replaying the tapes in my head to get a handle on what happened so it doesn't happen again. Perhaps in the days ahead I'll be able to do that. Right now I'm relaxing into the feeling of being "home," getting my bearings and trying to breathe at a kinder, gentler rate.

We've agreed to some changes which will mean moving furniture up and down and all around. This provides as good an opportunity as any to freshen the paint in a few rooms and perhaps continue to de-clutter. There will be little rest for the weary in the coming days. The added hour of sunlight and the hint of Spring in the air makes the work almost feel compulsory!

If I sit here much longer, I'll lose my momentum.
Today I wish for you a cool breeze that carries a hint of Spring flowers and a place to lay your head next to the one you love,
Merry ME

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Romeo & Juliet, continued ...

"Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb.
It isn't something you get. It's something you do.
It's the way you love your partner every day."
Barbara De Angelis

I'm not sure where to start so I'll just jump right in. Romeo and Juliet got married yesterday. For those of you who have been following the story you might ask, well why didn't you do that a long time ago. The only answer I can give is that either by Divine orchestration or blind luck, things finally fell into place. Getting married - in the eyes of God - was the right thing to do.

In the midst of all the turmoil of the past weeks, I was given the name of a minister in a small town a couple of hours South of here who would consider marrying us in the church, thus bypassing the state licensing and losing my military insurance benefits. Pastor Prevatt told Sweetie, when it comes to God's law or man's law, he'll go with God every time. It sounded good to us.

It was raining when we got up but it didn't put a damper on our excitement. "Rain is just God's way of showing us things are going to grow," Romeo opined as we headed out of town. It wasn't a hard rain, just a gently shower until we hit the outskirts of Welaka when the sun tried to peep through the dark clouds. I'd say it was a pretty good omen.

According to it's town website, "Welaka is home to some of the best large-mouth bass fishing in the world." It is not a big town, yet like most Southern bergs, it has a good number of churches. Seven to be exact. Four of them in a row right on main street. Finding the United Methodist Church was not hard to do. There it sat sharing a driveway with the Welaka Bait shop and Dee's House of Beauty. In the style of many river churches, it is a white clapboard number with steeple, the kind you'd expect to see in any small town America.

In typical fashion my husband to be allowed plenty of time to get to the church. We arrived two hours early, just as Pastor Earl was turning the heat on to warm up the sanctuary. He didn't mind getting started early and neither did we.

I donned my wedding clothes in the ladies bathroom, which had not yet had time to warm up. A sure sign that the Welaka Methodist congregation weighs in on the older side was the raised toilet, bracketed by handrails, where I sat to pull on my pantyhose. Once dressed, I added some blush to my cheeks, mascara to my lashes and daubed my lips with a hint of pink. I was set to go.

Pastor Earl's wife Joanne wrote our names on a pretty certificate already signed by herself and Luwanda, the woman who was waiting to clean the church for Wednesday night services. Pastor Earl had hoped that Joanne's son, Sammy, could walk me down the short aisle as his mom played, "On Eagle's Wings" on the piano. As luck would have it, Sammy was dressed for doing chores, not escorting so I wobbled down the aisle by myself. My pink shoes slipping on my heel.

I was vaguely aware of the music, the candles, the witnesses, and my beautiful bouquet to which I held tight. Mostly I kept my eyes on Jack who seemed to be quite pleased. The traditional service was quick and easy. We made the traditional vows, promising to love each other through all kinds of blessings and calamities. Joanne left the piano as we pledged ourselves to each other and became the official photographer snapping pictures right and left.

After we exchanged rings, Pastor Earl served Jack communion who in turn served me. The three of us prayed together which was the pastor's idea of what makes a good marriage. After the final "amen" Joanne suggested Jack kiss his wife and Pastor Earl shushed her til we had time to stand up. I must say it was a sweet, sweet kiss.

After posing for a few more pictures, I changed back into my jeans for a comfortable ride home. Pulling out of the driveway, Jack stopped when he saw Joanne, round and friendly as Mayberry's Aunt Bea, running after us with a store bought angel food cake that was left over from Sunday's social hour. In fact the whole scene could have been something out of another time or southern tv sitcom.

On the way home we stopped for lunch at Angel's diner - the oldest diner in Florida. It reminded me of the old days, driving on two lane highways lined with pine trees, stands selling citrus fruit on the side of the road, and turquoise Howard Johnson's motels advertising salt water taffy and ice cream.

All in all it was a perfectly lovely day. I can't in all honesty say it felt any different to be married in the church as opposed to the kitchen where Jack and I first vowed "till death do us part" over a pot of simmering peas.

Tomorrow we will move back into my father's house. With mixed feelings and raw nerves? To be sure. After daily meetings around the kitchen table, reminiscent of the Paris Peace talks that helped bring about an end to the Vietnam War, Jack and Dad and I have worked out an agreement which will hopefully let us live together in harmony. Like most decisions I make I am filled with scary "what if's". Having taken one leap of faith, however, I think it's getting easier to trust my gut and my heart. We must keep listening to the small still voice that guides us.

Wishing for you dreams that come true,
Merry ME

Thursday, March 11, 2010


"When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
Alexander Graham Bell

Over at my friend Molly's blog she is working on a creative project that involves photographing doors. I don't usually spend a lot of time looking at doors. After all they are just a way to get in or out of a place. Yet, like anything else if one pays attention, one can find a world of beauty in simple every day objects.

Needing to wrap my confused mind around something besides my life's drama, my father's health, Romeo's pulled muscle and finding a new home, I tried looking at doors as I drove down streets in an old Victorian neighborhood. Not easily done. I looked some but didn't try to take any photos.

This morning I was finally able to make contact with a lady at the hospital where I donate some of the Guild of the Christ Child layettes. Again, driving down an older, more run-down neighborhood, I tried to keep one eye on the road and one on the houses/doors around me.

Almost at the hospital I saw one. The door that probably wasn't painted with me in mind, but the one God wanted me to see. After delivering the packages I went back and took the picture. What do you think? Isn't it stunning in a bright optimistic kind of way?

It's been a gray drizzly day so maybe it was the colors that first caught my eye. Once I turned my head (the light had turned red!) I saw at once it was a door.

I wanted to share it with you. It reminds me of the Bible passage ... knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Maybe if I keep the door of my heart opened too, love will come in to stay.

Wishing for you something good on the other side of your door,
Merry ME

P.S. A comment on my last post asked that I enlarge the size of my font. As you can see, today's font is a lot larger. Not because of anything I did. I think the type size is formatted to 12 pt. but my new computer seems to zoom in and out at will. I thought once something was posted it would go back to the size it is supposed to be. Apparently this is not the case. Right now, I just don't have the patience or desire to figure it out.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daily Report

" True love is one of the rarest jewels of life, treasure it with all your heart.
When you find someone who loves you just as you are, is steadfast during moments
of stress, willing to grow with you and allows you to feel however you choose to
feel in any moment - there is nothing more you will ever find in a person. You've
found True Love when you feel fear; fear of vulnerability, fear of abandonment and
fear of letting go of your own stubborn egoic patterns that keep the real you separate
and safe from the other. Trust in love and go towards your fear, taking this leap
of faith in every moment is the journey Love requires for its sweet reward."
Mastin Kipp, founder of TDL.
TDL - Wisdom with Style
March 10th, 2010

While Romeo laid in bed under the influence of tendon relaxing meds, I left the Homestead and drove around town to look at apartments. I started out in conversation with Tyrone the floral designer who gave me a tulip to see how quickly it would open when taken out of the ice cold refrigerator. I have no time lapse photography to prove it, but the little beauty did in fact open within minutes. However, contrary to Tyrone's assurances it did not open so far it fell apart. By the time I came home this evening, it was still looking magnificent in all it's tulip-y splendor.

I stopped by Paneras for a Bear Claw and iced tea for the road. I could only eat and drink because my stomach is doing its best to stay churned up. Next I stopped by my sister's office to wish her a happy birthday and pick up some papers for my dad. Then I was on the road for the better part of the day.

I didn't see the inside of any of the places on my list. The places I think we can afford are sort of in the low - low rent district. It's funny how appearances can change from one street to another. The area where I was looking is an older part of town with an up 'n coming air to it. In fact, it's been coming up for awhile. Lots of old Victorian homes have been separated into apartments, renovated and rent for way more than you'd think a one bedroom place should cost. There is a nice neighborhood feeling to it, though, instead of a row of cinder block apartments one after another.

Have you ever read a story or heard someone say, that they didn't know why they picked something, but it just felt right. IS that serendipity? I tried to stay hyper-sensitive to random acts of serendipity. I prayed and prayed some more. It's silly I know, because I seriously doubt that God was going to speak out loud to me, I was kind of hoping for a whisper or nudge. At one point I pulled over to the side of the road and cried. I called a friend I haven't seen in months. He wasn't the answer to my apartment prayer but his gentle, soothing concern and understanding was enough to let me know I'm being cared for by the Master Planner in the sky.

Then I spent a few minutes with my dad. For him or for me? Not sure. Then I came home and felt a little rankled that Romeo was still not up to dancing the rumba. Probably a good thing as that kind of exercise could easily pull other tendons out of line.

It is clear I need a few lessons in the power of positive thinking. Pollyanna has definitely left for parts unknown. An overwhelming sense of fear and dread is seeping into my bones. Even so my mantra has become, "to everything there is a purpose."

Wishing for you serendipitous blessings,
Merry ME

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Romeo & Juliet

The original R&J were teenagers, I think. (At this point I should probably admit that I am not sure I ever read the play. I may have read Cliff Notes which were way shorter and easier to understand. I am sure, however, I have seen Franco Zefferli's movie version. If I tried I might even be able to hum its theme song. So a lot of what I say about the Shakespeare version is going to come from Wikipedia or my own imagination!)

As teenagers, R&J were agile enough to climb up balconies, stay up late and get around town a whole lot easier than if they'd been, in their 60's living in an efficiency room and sharing a car.
Balcony climbing agility is something my Romeo lacks. Yesterday was proof.

Last week I spent the morning in the ER making sure I was not having a heart attack. Today, Sweetie drove himself (as I was on duty with the sleeping Luther) to the same emergency room even though he was suffering from a possible fracture of his femur. I think I mentioned in a previous post that he took a slight tumble while sitting on one of the garage sale items. He knew immediately he had strained something. The pain increased daily. Last night he was in what I would call extremis. Unbeknownst to Juliet who fell asleep listening to his manly whimpering, what little sleep Romeo managed was on the floor with his legs propped up on a chair.

By 6am wake up my man was really hurting. Fear that I had kind of kept at bay for 24 hours lunged at my fragile countenance like a 3 headed dragon. What about the VA? Who would pay? How can you drive? What about Dad? What would Juliet do? It was a co-dependent's worse nightmare - who do I save, my father or my true love? Where was Friar Tuck when I needed him?

Cutting to the chase, it turned out that the leg was not broken but a tendon was pulled. Romeo was given prescriptions for serious pain medication and muscle relaxants. When I called later in the day to check on him, he responded that he had no pain at all. This was the 2nd answer to about a million prayers sent to the Great Healer in the sky.

My day with Dad was not physically painful except for the stomach ache that lasted most of the morning. It was however challenging to a lesser degree. I feel really sad to see how my dad has aged in 10 short days. When you are almost 93 years old, the slumped shoulders and frown lines appear more menacing. Our conversations were limited and somehow kept coming around full circle. He wants me to see things his way. I want him to see things my way. Neither is willing to compromise anymore than we already have.

I did get out to get a haircut this afternoon which made me feel about 67% better. My stylist's mother passed away last week. We commiserated and lifted each other up as best we could. Just when I am about to be totally consumed with my own little dramas I see much greater suffering in the world to help me try to keep some degree of perspective. And I continue to loved and lifted up by all kinds of people when I least expect it.

Even as I feel disconnected to the man who gave me life, I am ever more aware of the connections of people with big ol' open hearts. To love is to be open to the good and the bad, the dark and the light. I am reminded that darkness can be penetrated by rainbows, robins, emails, love stones, cards, photos, poems, hugs, haircuts, sisters, pussy cats, and mantra bracelets.

Wishing for you the ability to feel the connection,
Merry ME

Monday, March 8, 2010

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom,

Pema teaches us that only one approach to suffering is of lasting benefit,

moving toward painful situations with friendliness and curiosity,

relaxing into the essential groundlessness of our entire situation.

There, in the midst of chaos, we can discover the truth and love that are indestructible.”

When Things Fall Apart (Heart Advice for Difficult Times)

Pema Chodron

It was a daunting task that faced my Sweetie this morning. Gently trying wake the sleeping bear (ME) at 6am. He's an early riser, an up an at 'em kind of guy who greets the dawn with a giant mug of coffee touched off with a shot of French Vanilla creamer. Since we've been in this small living space he's been respectful of my sleeping in tendencies. It's the damned coffee pot that does me no favors. Drip. Drip. Drip. Hisssss. Drip. Drip. Drip. There is a reason the Chinese use dripping water as a method of torture. Or at least an alarm clock. Could be one and the same.

Eventually, I couldn't put it off any longer. I faced the morning with the kind of matter of fact dread I used to feel on the first day of a new school year. Today was the first time I was going back to Dad's house (but with all my stuff still there so it is also kind of my house) to spend the day caring for him. Sweetie is concerned that this is not going to be a good thing for me. His argument(s) is a good one, though I am unable to appease him. I am sure it is the right thing to do - continuing to serve my father. I promised my mother on her death bed that I would. I can't just walk away.

I was at the house 3 hours before Dad started to stir. In that time I did most of the morning chores then sat on the couch trying to entice my boy cat out of hiding with little luck. He'd come sneaking around a corner, see me then turn and run the other way. With all the commotion of the last week, we haven't had our normal amount of one-on-one love time. Now every time he comes near I have to grab him and shoot some vile smelling grilled chicken flavored medicine down his throat. He knows it's going to happen so he gives me a wide berth. It makes me very sad.

When Dad got up he called for a bath sitter - someone to wait outside the bathroom door to listen for a loud crash which would indicate that he'd fallen. It has been my custom to pull up one of my grandmother's afghans so Boy Cat will feel safe enough to come visit. He was just getting close when Laci came running into the room, collar tags jingling, and plopped herself on my chest. Hello Laci! Goodbye Boy Cat.

I know how I've felt for days. I've avoided looking in the mirror to see how bad it appears to others. I hope it is not as bad as my dad looked this morning. Showering took away any strength he may have started with. His breathing was heavy, not labored exactly, but not easy either. Even sitting down it took about 5 minutes to figure how to get one leg into his trousers. When he arrived at the breakfast table he sat down, rested his head in his hand ready, I think, to go back to bed.

After eating a little and drinking a cup of coffee he laid down in his recliner to rest. He didn't budge except to ask a few questions. HE decided he needed a new phone and some apples. An interesting combination! We also stopped at the medical supply store to try out an array of fancy seated walkers. Like Goldilocks's, he tried one but it was too big. Another had no breaks, you just pushed down on the handle to stop it. Too difficult to maneuver. The third one was just right ... or sort of. It took awhile to make up his mind. I think once he sat down he just didn't feel strong enough to get back up and moving. We were barely home before he was back in his recliner, eyes closed, with his breathing finally settling down into a normal rhythm.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln ....

It was easy for me to step right back into caregiving mode. For sure I didn't like seeing him look and act so tired. On the other hand he wasn't lambasting me with accusations about Sweetie or trying to talk me into changing my mind. It wasn't painful being back in the house, not particularly comfortable either. Guess that's how it's going to be for awhile. It felt strange leaving after 12 hours. He sat at the table with his nighttime care person. My heart clutched a little when I heard him say, "now that you're here I'll feel better." I'm glad he's comfortable with this lady with a big heart.

Now the day is almost over. I need to crawl into bed and get some sleep because I know that coffee pot serenade will begin playing way before I'm ready to hear it. Sweetie's hip is causing him great distress. It could be a long night!

Merry ME

Sunday, March 7, 2010


My Sweetie has erased all his previous blogs and started another.
He's got a lot to write also these days.
Please go to the blogs I follow list on my sidebar and click on "heartfelt."
This man of mine needs a lot of support right now and I can't think of anyone better to lend a hand than my dear blog friends.

Merry ME

Romeo & Juliet, continued ...

"If I ever think I am alone in the world,
would you just wake me up and tell me I am being irrational?
Tell me to look for the winking God
who appears all over the place when I am looking for Him."
Divine Caroline **

... Yesterday, Jack and I went back to the scene of the crime - Dad's house; home that was no longer home. The neighborhood just happened to be holding a joint garage sale this weekend which proved to be good timing for us. That is, if there is good timing for such a thing. I've never really been much into garage sales - going through other people's trash looking for treasures. I've always just given stuff to goodwill to get whatever parting needs to be done get over quickly.

We got to the house by 7am. Another something that is far from my comfort zone. Jack, who unlike me is a garage sale veteran, soon had tables lined with books, cds, and video tapes set up in an orderly fashion. He had household items in one area, bikes in another, garage tools along the edge of the driveway. My sister set up her shell crafts. I wandered from place to place trying to get a feel for what price went with what item.

Like a new day filled with expectation and promise we priced, on the high side, parts of our lives that have filled rooms with meaning. With the goal of scaling down to bare bones minimum we dropped our prices as the morning wore on. Jack had kept a wad of bills in his pocket, I kept my eye on the clock.

When was the sun going to rise high enough in the sky to warm us up? Was Dad up yet? Did he need breakfast?For years now my life has been dictated by Dad's daily schedule. I'm not sure what to do with myself when not living on Dad's time.

The hours passed in slow motion; my mind continued to move as if stuck on fast forward. I tried to greet potential buyers with a welcoming smile. Jack's sales pitch - make me an offer - had a more positive ring to it than my, how about a quarter. By noon we were not sold out but had cleared out quite a bit. We were both tired. Jack's hips hurt. We called it a day and piled the remains back in boxes. Thinking back over my life, I can't even count the number of times I've packed all my belongings into boxes. Even when I looked forward to new horizons, knowing my life could be reduced to a roomful of cardboard boxes was depressing. The flip side of that, I know, is that when the movers deposit the same compliment of cardboard and newsprint in the middle of your new living room it can be a little like Christmas morning. Right now I can't quite work up that kind of excitement.

I did spend some time with my father. He reiterated that he still loves me. He is sure that there is Divine purpose in this whole mess. I want to believe the same thing. But I can't conjure up a divine being who, in the name of love, can disrupt lives of perfectly good people. So I change the idea around a little. I don't think God caused the grief. Instead I have faith that He/She/Spirit/Love is here in the midst to bless each of the shell-shocked members of my family ,which like it or not includes Jack, with peace in the middle of it all.

Faith ... which is where I was going when I started this post. In some of my posts last year I talked about God winks. Those times when you get a "sign" or a feeling that the higher power you believe in sends you a message in a way you'd least expect but cannot deny.

This morning I awoke in a panic. My insides quivered. I would have stayed in the bed and covered my head except that I'd been there way too long already. I tried something different. I got up, showered and dressed, then picked up my camera and went for a walk. The first picture I took was of the Homestead sign at the entrance of our temporary domicile. I saw a robin, one of my animal totems, and tried to get close enough for a photo. The bird was much quicker than me. I continued to walk, not long or far but moving. I began to hear all the birds, not just the robins. Ducks on the pond, mockingbirds and even a blackbird joined together in a kind of Sunday morning hymn fest. I joined by humming a few verses of a favorite hymn:

"Holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee."

By that time I was back to where I began, in front of the Homestead sign. This time when I glanced at it, I noticed not the name of the hotel but the decorative cross over the words. Check it out:

It is exactly like the cross I wear almost every day. I bought it a year or so ago because it reminded me of tulips. In each individual flower it looks to me like there are 3 petals. The trinity perhaps? I touched my cross. I gazed at the cross. I listened to the birds. I walked back to the room feeling lighter, less alone. I hugged my Sweetie, then asked him if he believes in signs. When I showed him my necklace and the pictures, he smiled at me and agreed. God had just winked at us.

I know this is a really, really long post, and all over the place. I gotta get this stuff out of my head. It's not going any place so you don't read it all in one sitting.

Wishing for you enough awareness of your surroundings to notice when God winks,

Merry Me

** First published, May 2007

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Modern Day Version of Romeo & Juliet

... or in our case, The Story of Jack and Mary.

Chapter 1

"... stony limits cannot hold love out."
William Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene 2

Usually chapter one means starting at the beginning. Instead I'm going to start in the middle. Depending on what date we pick to celebrate our anniversary Jack, aka Sweetie, and I have been a couple for just over 6 years. A lot has happened in that time. I'm not in the mood to go back to the start of what brought us together. Suffice it to say, one day, while taking a break from Cinderella duties, I checked my account for what was to be the last time. Much to my surprise and delight I had a message from a possible prince and things progressed from there.

We still have a way to go before we say a final goodbye while, "... and they lived happily ever after" and the end credits roll at the the movie of our life.

One of my writing buddies told the group a few weeks ago that even a short piece must have conflict. Ah, conflict, I said to myself. I know conflict. I'm writing this piece sitting on the largest piece of furniture in the one room efficiency belonging to Homestead Studio Suites. The queen-sized bed dominates the room. In my younger days I might have thought this was all my partner and I would need to live. A bed, something to drink in the refrigerator, a shower and mini-sized shampoo, conditioner and soap.

I recently listened to a rather alarming rant from my son who is also staying in an efficiency which thankfully did not get swept away in a Tsunami. Johnson told a tale of finding a bug on his bed, where he left his duffel bag full of clothes. One bug or a colony, does it really make a difference? Apparently not as the hotel, the company who booked the hotel, and the service operator in India whose misfortune it was to pick up the call, all got what I easily say was mostly likely a fury that would sit right along side the wrath of God and a woman scorned.

We brought our own sheets, towels and pillowcases. Paper towels and toilet paper too. A handmade quilt covers the bed. It's not home but homey. The window air conditioner hums as it chills the room. If I were turn the frown muscles around my mouth upside down, I'd smile at the most obvious difference between Jack and I. We may be more like Felix Unger and Oscar Madison than R&J. Jack came in, emptied his suitcase neatly aligning his clothes in the makeshift closet and toiletries on the single bathroom shelf/counter. When I commented on the his neatness he grabbed up the 50 or so pairs of socks that he'd emptied out of our previous dresser and tossed them in a drawer. Maybe it was more of a wind-up pitch. No,actually it was a Micheal Jordonesque take-this-you-son-of-a-bitch slam dunk.

I, not caring where my things are or how neatly arranged they are have little piles here and there scattered amongst Jack's tidy arrangements.

We are in this clean, yet tiny, living space because last Friday at our weekly luncheon with my sister who is also Dad's accountant, the conversation took on a life of it's own. Maybe Dad had it all planned, knew the script and how to push my buttons so I would react the way I did. It could have been an accident or an act of God. Either way, when Dad told me that my living with Jack (under his roof for the last 4 years) without the benefit of HOLY matrimony was adversely affecting the whole family, I got up and left the restaurant before throwing up in what was left of my salad.

From there it got ugly. Real ugly. No more words were exchanged between my Dad and I. He sat in his car, seriously wondering what he'd said to upset me. I lay in the gutter of a nearby street crying and wailing like a banshee until two women came out of the hotel in front of me and asked me to get out of the street. I imagine it was a bothersome sight; more like something you'd see in a drama charged high school parking lot, or state hospital just before the men dressed in white start down the hall. Eventually, someone drove my dad to my sister's house, Fr/Br Georges talked me out of the gutter and I drove home to face my Sweetie.

It's hard to figure how it could, but it went downhill from there. Meetings were held. Verbal arrow zinged from one side of the table to another. I couldn't believe my father was saying the things he said. Apparently repenting of our sins and after a period of atonement, getting married was still not going to appease the beast. I stormed out of the room again. This time more in a rage than I have possibly ever been.

The word love has been bantered about quite a bit over the past week. By my father, my sisters, ME, Fr/Br Georges. The only voice I heard that got through to my heart was that of my Sweetie telling me it was going to be okay.

I'm not sure how or when. Like a delicate glass mirror in a hurricane I feel like I have broken into a million little pieces. My arms cry out for one or two cuts that might somehow relieve the emotional pain. I feel tired enough to sleep for a week yet find myself awake at 3:15 am after dreaming about Orca-sized sharks circling around me. I feel paralyzed with fear yet not moving is not an option.
Sweetie, who is taking the brunt of undeserved venom continues to hold his head high. Good Lord, he's got to be scared too.

And Dad? What's he feeling? He looks like hell. He didn't shave for days, his shoulders slump, he has a dazed look in his eye like some of the homeless Vietnam Vets you see on the streets. I feel so sorry for him. I can't quite conjure up enough anger to let him stew in his own juices. I'm moving out to live with my friend, lover, confidant, and partner for life. But I've agreed to "work" for dad as a daytime caregiver so he can stay in his home until he dies. What else could I do?

Walk away and not look back. No that's not Merry ME's style. Call me crazy. Call my hysterical. Call me flat out stupid. I've got to see this through to the end.

Too be continued ....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Today's Wisdom

Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, "I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me."

- Ann Landers (Belief Net)

There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.
St. Paul
I Corinthians 13:7 (

"There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've chosen to go."
Richard Bach, is a best-selling author. (The Daily Love)

"If you let it, life can become a simple pattern of staying in your comfort zone and never wandering out into the unknown to see what lies on the other side of its horizon. Today is Monday, the first day of the week; change your patterns, even slightly today, so that a new world can find you. Do ONE thing that scares you today,
ONE thing that makes you a little nervous, ONE thing that you never thought you would do. If you do ONE thing every day you will have done 365 NEW THINGS in a year!
Today, don't try to tackle everything, but please do ONE thing!"
- Mastin Kipp, founder of TDL. (The Daily Love)

Good stuff, still I feel paralyzed.
I must start moving, though I'm not convinced my legs will hold me up or my feet will move.

I can't just sit here. Fatigue settles me deeper into the couch.

I will move. I will take a shower. I will make some phone calls.

I will grieve.

Then grieve some more.

Then grieve some more.

But first I need to move.