Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Grandmother's Tale


"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about."
Angela Schwind

Ever since the earthquake (and I think before but I'm not sure) my granddaughter and her mother have been going to Haiti to help out at an orphanage/school supported by their church.

In fact the same week the earthquake hit back in January, Leila had her bags packed and was ready to go. And go she did. Talk about scary. I don't have all the details but I think the school is on the other side of the island from where all the damage took place. It's still Haiti, however, and that pretty much conjures up a picture of poverty.

Every time Ashley and her mom take one of these mission trips, St. Thomas Johnny (yes he's moved again and this is only a temporary assignment!) goes a little nuts. He knows she's doing a good thing. He knows she's surrounded by people who will keep her safe. None of that matters until he gets the phone call that she is back on good old USA terra firma. I try to leave it in the hands of the One they are serving, but it's hard not to worry.

I heard recently there are 1 million orphans in Haiti.
1, 000, 000.
That's not the number of people in Haiti. Or the number of homeless people. It is the number of babies and children WITHOUT a mother or father. I cannot even wrap my brain around a statistic like that.

So you have to wonder what can one person do?

How about this?


Or this?



I swear I weep with pride seeing my beautiful granddaughter holding this child. As I am hard pressed to give up memories, I have a hard time believing it has been almost 16 years since I held this same girl in my arms. Now she's all grown up. Come July she'll be driving. Yikes!!!

But look at her. An angel with the important assignment - to do nothing more than sit there and hold this baby in her arms. God bless them both. God bless the other 999,000 others with someone to offer a kiss of hope, a hug of courage, and a heart of love.

May the day come when every child on earth can live in a home filled with God's perfect peace,
Merry ME

P.S. I do not know the proper FaceBook ettiquette for snagging pictures. These were posted yesterday on the pages of Lisa Millard Ennis and Debbie Rennas Harvey. They were taken at the Kay Anj Orphanage in Cap Haitian, Haiti. For more information, to help or donate go to http://helpinghaitianangels.org/

Friday, May 28, 2010

Long and Winding Road

I can be a rather dramatic person.
I can sometimes exaggerate the truth a little. Okay a lot.
I can sometimes see boogy men where there aren't any.
Except that I am a kind of a scaredy-cat girl who if the British were coming, I would have wanted to be hiding somewhere in the silver factory hiding behind a shelf full of candle sticks instead of on the trail, on a horse, announcing their arrival, there is a good chance that in another time and place, I could have been Paul Revere spreading the news like a CNN ticker tape.
Okay, so I am really more like Chicken Little declaring the sky is falling. You might want to take this with a shaker full of salt.

Every since my sisters were here I've been thinking my Dad was doing well both physically and emotionally. Dare I say he's been easy to be with, even enjoyable.
However, for the last couple of days, maybe since the Symphony outing, he's had what he told the Hospice Nurse "the blahs." Immediately she, and I, thought he was talking about emotional blahs. Nope, he'd never cop to feeling depressed. He was feeling physically blah, as in no poop, not be confused with constipation his constant companion. He's so tired you can see he's tired.

I've also noticed he hasn't eaten a lot lately. He still sits at the table 3 times a day. But the portions he consumes aren't very big. Each meal is followed by a long nap. He doesn't say anything but I watch when he tries to swallow and his muscles just aren't taking food or drink down the esophagus the way they should. This morning he choked the worse I've seen. Not a big coughing choke, more like something was stuck deciding if it should go down or come up. I asked if he needed a pat on the back but he said no. I could tell he was having to concentrate hard to think "swallow" so his brain would tell his swallower to move. It didn't help that it was causing him to have a hard time breathing. Finally, he took one last swig of cold coffee, and headed for his recliner. The whole thing really tired him out.

Yesterday was bath day. When Dad came out of the bathroom he was huffing and puffing like he'd just run from one end of the house to the other. It doesn't take much to wind him these days. He thinks it might be time to get someone in to bathe him. He's afraid he might fall (big concession here - Big- that he might be fearful). He can't dry himself. It takes longer to catch his breath than to shower.

I think these are all signs that he is in a state of decline. Which doesn't mean I think he's on death's door. But I think (read, worry) death's door may be opening a little and whoever is behind it may be beckoning.

One time when my mother was alive she managed to wake up and get up before him. I know she loved it. Her own quiet time with no one hovering over her. When I got up a couple of hours later she told me she thought he was "gone." (Mom had some brain damage that affected her ability to speak - to name things. I lived with her long enough to be able to decipher what she was saying most of the time. Dog sometimes meant Cat, but NO always meant NO!) I knew what gone meant. We walked down the hall and peeked into the room. She was right. Dad was still in bed, barely moving. Mom let me go in first, but like a little kid stayed close behind me holding onto my hand not sure if she wanted to open her eyes and see or keep them shut tight. I had to get right up next to the bed before I could see Dad was breathing. I nodded that he was okay and Mom stopped holding her breath. We tiptoed out and let him sleep.

I've started thinking about that every morning when I get up. I look in on him from the hall on the way to the bathroom but I'm afraid to get too close. In all honesty I'd be relieved to know that he went to sleep one night and awoke the next morning in heaven. Still I don't want to go in room and discover that he is not breathing.

I don't want to see my dad grow weak and fade away. I don't want him to suffer. I know what's coming. I signed on for the long haul.

I know it's really really selfish of me but I don't want him to be gone.

Wishing for you a hand to hold when you're scared,
Merry ME

P.S. I shouldn't close this "alarming" post without saying that after Dad's first nap of the day he woke up pretty chipper. We piled into my car and headed to a nursery to buy some hydrangeas. They are in full bloom all over my neighborhood. Since we have some holes in the landscaping Dad wanted to get some more. It's really kind of fun to go places with him. I let Sweetie's Garmon GPS guide us to where we were going and Dad thought that was pretty neat. I must say we'd have spent a lot more time searching for the right turn off if I hadn't used it.

The trip took a little over an hour and once we got home he settled right back down in his chair to sleep again. See what I mean. It doesn't take a lot to wear him out. At least this was the enjoyable kind of wearing him out, not the choking kind.

P.S.S. While at the nursery the really nice lady that helped us told me how she talks to each of the plants (this was a big nursery, so that's a lot of plants and a lot of talking!). It's like she was saying goodbye to her babies as she gently laid them in the back of our car. I decided I also wanted to get some roses I've been seeing everywhere. She told me they grow all year long. Not thinking it was too dumb, or dorky a question, I asked if there was anything special I should know about planting them. She looked at me and said, "you're a beginner aren't you." Well, yeh, but how could she tell? That it took me three tries to get to the right driveway? That I needed a GPS to get me to the Florida Nursery and Growers Association which is probably top on any self respecting "non-beginner's" list of places to buy really nice plants? That I had asked, upon seeing the speckled flowers on her oak leaf hydrangeas, if mine would have speckles too? (Her answer, well honey, I don't know what kind you've got.")

All that happened in a nano second. Then she looked at me and said, with all kinds of sincerity and just a hint of sarcasm, "dig a hole." Why hadn't I thought of that?

P.S.S.S. Pam this one's for you:
For some reason I can't figure why Florida's southern Magnolias are just beginning to bloom and Pennsylvania's pink magnolias have finished blooming. All the flowers I've seen have been way up high impossible to photograph. But right outside the gate to the nursery office sat this beauty. I hope Sandra didn't see me stopping to take a picture, or she might have noticed that my battery was in upside down so it wasn't working. She might have rolled her eyes and said something like, honey, just turn it on.

me

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A moment of clarity ...

I just looked in the mirror.
Just for the record, I DO NOT look like Diane Sawyer.
I look like Carol Channing.
Yikes!
Note to self .... as long as I'm sporting a short bob, do not buy red lipstick! Diamonds on the other hand would look quite nice!

Wishing for you the ability to see yourself as you really are.
And to like, really like, what you see,
Merry ME

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fun With Jack and Merry



"Using its ability to transform colors and lights
by reflecting and refracting them the Dragonfly shows us
that life, like light, can bend, shift, and adapt in various ways,
making life's appearance never be what it appears to be."*


The oak blossoms have finished falling and temperatures are rising. Sweetie is spending less time cleaning the pool (although it is a never-ending job) and more time in it. I think he has been adopted by a dragonfly.

He called me to quick come out to the pool, to bring my camera and to be very quiet. As if working for the National Geographic, with every ounce of stealth I could muster, I crept up as close as I could and started snapping pictures. If I had a more elaborate set up I feel sure I could have done this little fella, who was sat quite happily on an azalea limb posing for all he was worth. He eyes were a lovely shade of turquoise. His wings translucent and sparkly. His tail was a light blue. But in almost ever picture I took, with or without macro feature turned on, with or without zooming as close as the lens would zoom, it was difficult to tell which was the limb and which was the bug.

If I got to close, he flew off. He'd circle the pool a couple of times and come right back to where Sweetie was standing waist-deep in the water. I think perhaps my red shirt was less appealing than Jack's hat.

A brief interlude in the middle of a manic Monday was just what the doctor ordered. The dragonfly was amazing to watch. But even more so was seeing how tickled my true love got every time his buddy flew back around. One time it even seemed to hover at eye level. Blue eyes to blue eyes communing in an ancient language?

I kind of feel like I'm getting messages today from an unknown yet all-knowing source. Pam's river stories for grown-ups which I read last night, and Akasa Wolfsong's gift of a fossilized stone tell me that life is on-going and continuous. Humans need to take notes from trees, rivers, and even the stones, to learn how to take care of this planet. The dragonfly reminds me that life is not stagnant, does not stand still. Like a river, it ebbs and flows, circles back on itself becoming something new as it goes along. Always changing ... ever becoming. One day maybe people will get the message.

And no doubt a big part of that message has to do with love. It's hard to tell in this picture but the smiling man below, the man of my dreams, the one who makes my heart sing, tells me he is smiling, so I believe him! And you might notice the new hairdo without the help of "product". It is my au naturale look! Alas, instead of my head sweating I've developed a case of under the boob sweat. I thought maybe you'd like to know that! The pool sure did look inviting!




Wishing for you a chance to see nature at its finest. You might have to look close and fast, but try not to miss it,
Merry ME

*http://positivedailyaffirmations.blogspot.com/2009/07/dragonfly-necklace-jewelry.html

I'm A Dork

For some reason, as you have probably already discerned I seemed to have posted "Life is Good" twice. I can't figure out why! I think I was having trouble with the damned font size. It looked good, then I'd save it and when I came back to it, one row of letters was the size of half the post. When I cut and pasted onto a new page, I obviously neglected to delete the page that was causing me so much trouble, which I might add is no longer acting up.

I should go back and delete one or the other but there are comments on both and since I love comments I won't mess with it!

But for the record, I'm feeling kind of dorky!
Merry ME

Cirque du Symphonie

"It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.”

L. Ingalls Wilder


Imagine my surprise when after passing by a billboard announcing the upcoming Cirque du Symphonie my father said, let's go! In fact, I noted the surprise then kind of forgot about it. Last Friday while Dad was reading the newspaper he saw the ad again. Let's go, he said. I tried to buy tickets on line which proved to be a process that, in my opinion, needs to be perfected some! Instead we hopped into the car (well, we didn't actually hop because both Dad and I are way past the hopping stage of our lives, but we moved quickly!) drove down to the Symphony Hall and bought tickets for that evening's performance. I found out later that Dad was expecting the full Cirque du Soleil experience which is maybe why he was so eager to attend.

This was our first such outing in a long time. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's been years since he's agreed to do anything out of the ordinary. I was both excited and proud of him.

We got to the show early because we didn't know what to expect in the way of traffic, parking places, and settling in. I haven't been to the symphony in quite some time. It was almost as much fun for me to stand in the lobby and watch the people mingle around. There were many styles of dress, from extra fancy to not so fancy. Both Sweetie and I had trouble keeping our eyes off the young girl who was wearing a dress that resembled a poofed out drapery valence paired up with fishnet stocking and Converse tennis shoes. To add interest her partner for the evening was dressed in a full length, blue satin evening gown. I have to wonder if they compared notes before hand about what they were going to wear. Regardless, they seemed to be enjoying themselves and that's what counts.

Dad has learned how to maneuver his motorized wheelchair around the house pretty well. He still bumps into walls, and runs into things that get in his way, including the dog who can't move any very fast, but he's getting the hang of it. It was going to be interesting to watch him parallel park the rig at the end of the row of seats. Getting in went fairly smoothly. Getting out, was a little more problematic. Let's just say the kid in front of him was very nice about the jolts to his seat.
When the lights went down and the music began I was lost in an enchanted world. I guess when you go to the symphony you should be able to close your eyes and hear the music. I wanted to see everything that was going on - the bows glide across the strings, the fingers move up and down the oboe, the percussion guy move from instrument to instrument, the trombones slide. An orchestra is a lot like vegetable soup, isn't it? Before the performance begins you hear the different instruments tuning up, making their individual sounds. Once the conductor arrives on stage, taps his baton and brings the whole group together, the flavors blend into a kind of magic elixir. And then the juggler came out and Bam! kicked the show up a notch!

I glanced over at Dad to see how he was enjoying it and I could tell something was wrong. Instead of looking at the stage his head was hanging down and his hands were clasped tightly together. I saw him begin to look at his watch - never a good sign during the first 15 minutes of a show. He leaned over and asked for a pain pill. I didn't have any. This was going to be a long show. But he told me not to worry and to enjoy the show. Sweetie pointed out there was no way he could get the car out of the parking lot because it was crammed full. The music played on.

I have to give Dad the staying power award. He made a visit to the bathroom during intermission but came right back for the second half of the show. A show, I must say was pretty amazing. The acrobats performed the kind gymnastic movements that made the audience gasp. I'm still wondering, two days later, how they did it. My almost forgotten longing to be a flying lady (see Life is Good post) burned anew as I watched the performers. I've got some practicing to do but I've already impressed my dear husband with my ability to do a ribbon dance.

As miracles go the transformation of my father's mood and his willingness to go along and get along might not rank up there with the parting of the Red Sea, but it's still pretty darn big. In gratitude I accept this gift.

Wishing for you good music accompanied by $6 glass of Chardonnay,
Merry ME

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ba Ba Black Sheep ...

I just went over to see what was happening at Bedlam Farm.
Look what I found.


Bartleby.
OMG.
Is that the cutest little black sheep you've ever seen?




Take a gander at the look on this mother's face.
In my book this it what life is all about.
Contentment. Pride. Love.

Welcome to the world, Bartleby. May all your all your bags of wool be full.

Life is good,
Merry ME

Life is Good


My friend Akasa Wolfsong has gifted me with this Life is Good award. If you know me, you must also know that I'm am tickled "pink" with the recognition. While there was a time in my life when I would have argued against the notion that "life is good" I am glad to say that for me, today, where I am, it is good. For that I am grateful. And as Pam pointed out on her blog this morning, joy just may be one of the keys to unlocking the secrets that make life so special.

Along with the award came some questions. I always kind of worry about lists like these because I want my answers to portray my deep, insightful side. I'm not sure if I'm feeling insightful today but here's my best shot!

Now for my ten questions....

1.
Who is your favorite poet?
Can you ever go wrong with Dr. Seuss or Mary Oliver? I've never much been into poetry. A lot of it is kind of hard to understand. A lady in my writing, circle, Carol Folsom, has written some really great poems which make me want to read more. That's what good writing is all about, I think.

2.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I'm wondering out loud here, if it was so embarrassing, why would I write about it here?
Most of my embarrassing moments occur when I'm in a situation where I have no clue what is going on. Like the time I was about to have my first child. I was all of 19 years old. I knew, of course, how babies were made, but had not read one book or taken one class on how they came out. I didn't know about being shaved "down there" and I didn't know about enemas. I was a good girl. I did what the nurses told me. I draped the hospital gown around my humongous belly not bothering to tie it in the back. I sat on the toilet thinking I was going to explode before the baby even started down into the birth canal. After what seemed like an eternity, I cleaned myself up and headed back to the labor room. I hadn't made it half-way there before I had to make a hasty about turn and run for the bathroom. Damn if my bare bottom wasn't exposed to the entire hallway. The last thing I heard before slamming the bathroom door was my husband and doctor having a good chuckle at my expense. I seriously considered never coming out!

3. What is the one thing your Grandmother/'s impressed upon you that you really took to heart and still live by to this day?
When I think about my paternal grandmother I think about her smile. She seemed to be to be always happy. She was a one-woman welcoming committee at the retirement home where she lived out her final days. And she believed in the power or prayer. I can still remember the feel of her hand as she'd pat my cheek, and say in her southern drawl, "Oh, May-ree."

4.
Helium Balloon Ride, Ocean Parasailing, Deep Sea Fishing or Experiencing the Wilds of Africa - which one would you choose to show your adventurous side and why?
Balloon Ride, for sure. I like the idea of floating above the tree tops. From the ground, those balloons remind me of multi-colored magic carpets.

5. If you could choose a charity to give to what would it be?
Something that would promote peace, and/or help children and women. There are some good ones out there. My favorites would be Women to Women International, and Maithri'sPossible Dreams. I am also partial to the ministry I started at church, the Guild of the Christ Child, to help indigent moms. The gifts aren't large but the love behind each one is huge.

6. If you could choose a living person of today to spend the whole day with who would it be
and why?
This is a hard one. I don't think I could pick just one although Michele OBama would be near the top of the list. Vying for the # one spot would be Weneki, LG, Jon Katz and Maithri. Then, of course, I'd have to have another whole day to spend with the bloggers I've come to love. You know who you are.

7.
What is your favorite meal?
I think it would have to be something that contained a big piece of red meat. Steak, roast beef, juicy hamburger. Followed up, of course, with a slice of chocolate cake or fried ice cream.

8.
What is your favorite holiday of the year?
I don't particularly like the Hallmark-ization of Christmas, but I like the simple pleasures of that season. The smells, the sights, the look in kids' eyes, random acts of kindness, traditions, midnight mass, children's choirs.

9.
Tell one thing about yourself that others do not know.
I think I'm pretty much an open book. I'm not good at keeping secrets - my own or others. What you see is what you get.

10.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A mom. A June Cleaver/Donna Reed kind of mom. I know now 1950's moms were not always what they seemed. Sometimes being a mom means taking the apron off and getting dirty. But the notion that a loving mom was home baking cookies while her kids were off at school is still a mind picture I don't like to give-up. Not very realistic, I know, especially in this day, but I like the idea of a kinder gentler time.

Also, for a while I was pretty sure I was going to be the pretty sequined lady that road an elephant in the circus parade and swung on the trapeze.

In other words a sequin-wearing, trapeze-flying, cookie-baking mom!

Now I think I'm supposed to pass this award on to others and ask ten different questions. Sticking with my tradition of NOT forwarding chain letters I'm going to throw the award out to everyone. Life is good for everyone, not just bloggers. And if you feel like answering any of these questions you can do so in the comment section.

Thanks again AWS.

Wishing you a Life Is Good kind of day,
Merry ME

Life is Good


My friend Akasa Wolfsong has gifted me with this Life is Good award. If you know me, you must also know that I'm am tickled "pink" with the recognition. While there was a time in my life when I would have argued against the notion that "life is good" I am glad to say that for me, today, where I am, it is good. For that I am grateful. And as Pam pointed out on her blog this morning, joy just may be one of the keys to unlocking the secrets that make life so special.

Along with the award came some questions. I always kind of worry about lists like these because I want my answers to portray my deep, insightful side. I'm not sure if I'm feeling insightful today but here's my best shot!

Now for my ten questions....

1. Who is your favorite poet?
Can you ever go wrong with Dr. Seuss or Mary Oliver? I've never much been into poetry. A lot of it is kind of hard to understand. A lady in my writing, circle, Carol Folsom, has written some really great poems which make me want to read more. That's what good writing is all about, I think.

2. What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I'm wondering out loud here, if it was so embarrassing, why would I write about it here?
Most of my embarrassing moments occur when I'm in a situation where I have no clue what is going on. Like the time I was about to have my first child. I was all of 19 years old. I knew, of course, how babies were made, but had not read one book or taken one class on how they came out. I didn't know about being shaved "down there" and I didn't know about enemas. I was a good girl. I did what the nurses told me. I draped the hospital gown around my humongous belly not bothering to tie it in the back. I sat on the toilet thinking I was going to explode before the baby even started down into the birth canal. After what seemed like an eternity, I cleaned myself up and headed back to the labor room. I hadn't made it half-way there before I had to make a hasty about turn and run for the bathroom. Damn if my bare bottom wasn't exposed to the entire hallway. The last thing I heard before slamming the bathroom door was my husband and doctor having a good chuckle at my expense. I seriously considered never coming out!

3. What is the one thing your Grandmother/'s impressed upon you that you really took to heart and still live by to this day?
When I think about my paternal grandmother I think about her smile. She seemed to be to be always happy. She was a one-woman welcoming committee at the retirement home where she lived out her final days. And she believed in the power or prayer. I can still remember the feel of her hand as she'd pat my cheek, and say in her southern drawl, "Oh, May-ree."

4. Helium Balloon Ride, Ocean Parasailing, Deep Sea Fishing or Experiencing the Wilds of Africa - which one would you choose to show your adventurous side and why?
Balloon Ride, for sure. I like the idea of floating above the tree tops. From the ground, those balloons remind me of multi-colored magic carpets.

5. If you could choose a charity to give to what would it be?
Something that would promote peace, and/or help children and women. There are some good ones out there. My favorites would be Women to Women International, and Maithri's Possible Dreams. I am also partial to the ministry I started at church, the Guild of the Christ Child, to help indigent moms. The gifts aren't large but the love behind each one is huge.

6. If you could choose a living person of today to spend the whole day with who would it be
and why?
This is a hard one. I don't think I could pick just one although Michele OBama would be near the top of the list. Vying for the # one spot would be Weneki, LG, and Maithri. Then, of course, I'd have to have another whole day to spend with the bloggers I've come to love. You know who you are.

7. What is your favorite meal?
I think it would have to be something that contained a big piece of red meat. Steak, roast beef, juicy hamburger. Followed up, of course, with a slice of chocolate cake or fried ice cream.

8. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
I don't particularly like the Hallmark-ization of Christmas, but I like the simple pleasures of that season. The smells, the sights, the look in kids' eyes, random acts of kindness, traditions, midnight mass, children's choirs.

9. Tell one thing about yourself that others do not know.
I think I'm pretty much an open book. I'm not good at keeping secrets - my own or others. What you see is what you get.

10. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A mom. A June Cleaver/Donna Reed kind of mom. I know now 1950's moms were not always what they seemed. Sometimes being a mom means taking the apron off and getting dirty. But the notion that a loving mom was home baking cookies while her kids were off at school is still a mind picture I don't like to give-up. Not very realistic, I know, especially in this day, but I like the idea of a kinder gentler time.

Also, for a while I was pretty sure I was going to be the pretty sequined lady that road an elephant in the circus parade and swung on the trapeze.

In other words a sequin-wearing, trapeze-flying, cookie-baking mom!

Now I think I'm supposed to pass this award on to others and ask ten different questions. Sticking with my tradition of NOT forwarding chain letters I'm going to throw the award out to everyone. Life is good for everyone, not just bloggers. And if you feel like answering any of these questions you can do so in the comment section.

Thanks again AWS.

Wishing you a Life Is Good kind of day,
Merry ME

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's A Bug's Life

I don't know about you, but I am starting to get very bugged - quite literally - by the advertisements that appear on my email page.

For awhile there was this wrinkled old woman who morphed before your eyes into a beautiful lady with nary a wrinkle in site. And there is a fat lady who trims down into bikini size. And some old guy with long hair and a shaggy beard that just sits there staring at me. But none are quite so bothersome as the new one that appeared in the last few days. Way over to the right of my screen that I can really only see out of the corner of my eye, this God-awful cockroach goes scurrying up to the top of the screen then turns into a scad of little baby roaches. Now I realize it is an ad for pest control but personally I think it is taking animation just one step too far.

See I live in the land of roaches. No let me correct that as my father would if were reading this. What I see dashing under any available shelter when I turn on the light into the garage are not roaches at all but Palmetto bugs. What the difference is, I'm sure only a roach loving biologist could tell you. It may be that Palmetto bugs are bigger and can fly. I don't know, can real roaches fly? OMG, I'm getting creeped out just thinking about it. Anyway, I have to deal with these bugs because I live where it is hot and damp. I'm not the neatest of housekeepers but I don't believe the bugs have decided to call my house home because of dirt and refuse.

But really who cares. Clean or dirty, they are disgusting. I really do not like having cyber-roaches any more than I like seeing the little buggers scamper across the floor. Here's the absolute kicker. I probably shouldn't even tell you because you'll never come to my house to eat even if I show you a clean bill of health from the sanitation department. This morning as I was emptying out the clean - did I say clean???- dishes from the dishwasher, I noticed a 2-inch section of antennae kind of waving at me. You know how when you go to the Red Lobster and all those Live Maine Lobsters are in the tank just waiting for you to pick one out, like kids waiting to be adopted, only you're going to have it thrown into a pot of hot water instead of take it home and raise it as your own. You know how the smart ones kind of sit there looking near death and the not so smart ones swim around the tank unsuspecting of their imminent doom and they kind of move their antennae around as if to wave at you and say, pick me, pick me?

Well that's what I saw. Only it wasn't a lobster, it was a Palmetto bug, hiding in a crevice between the dishwasher and under the sink. He was trying not to be seen, while checking to see if the coast was clear so he could take a stroll around or through my clean dishes. I saw that stinker but with no way to commit Palmetto bug murder, I could do nothing but scream.

I try to love all of God's creatures, even snakes and grizzly bears and octopi and jelly fish. I don't want to shake hands with them, but I think we can live peacefully on this big planet together if they stay on their side of the road and I stay on mine. I have to draw the line, however, when it comes to black, flying/crawling, just plain gross roaches and Palmetto bugs.

I am lucky I have my very own bug catcher in the form of a rather large but surprisingly lithe when it comes to bug hunting black cat. Trouble is once she captures her prey she wants to share the prize with me by dropping it on my bed. Uh, thanks but no thanks. I've been known to sit up straight out of a sound sleep if I here her tell-tale victory cry coming down the hall (how it is that she can carry a bug and declare herself queen of the world at the same time, but she does) in the wee hours of the night. I have checked having a roach crawl on me off my list of creepy things to do in my life. I do not want to do it again.

On that note, I'm going to head back into the kitchen, open up the dishwasher and spray a healthy (or not so healthy) dose of eco-friendly-get-out-of-my-kitchen-you-creepy-pest spray, followed by a long shower of hot water for sanitation purposes.

Hmmm, not sure how I got off on that tangent but I think I feel better!

Wishing for you a bug-free environment. Unless you are the kind of person that likes bugs, then I wish you bugs enough to delight your fancy,
Merry ME

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Family Reunion, The End

"Hair brings one's self-image into focus;
it is vanity's proving ground.
Hair is terribly personal,
a tangle of mysterious prejudices."
Shana Alexander

Last night Sweetie asked me when I was going to write about something other than our recent family reunion. What, too much estrogen for him? Maybe living through it was less a monumental event for him than it was for me. Maybe he's right.

The thing about these kind of get togethers is that I tend to compare myself against the rest. I've always been the tallest. Check out most any picture of the group and I'm in the back, with a small portion of the top of my head out of the range of the camera. And as my dad has been known to point out, I'm a big girl. This time he followed that truism with "just like my mother (meaning his mother) who was in fact not small. Indeed his side of the family was built bigger than my mom's side, though some of her people were taller than average. Guess you had to be "big" to cross over the mountains and fight Indians. In recent years my sisters have all managed to lose weight and add exercise to their routines so my size in our group pictures was especially noticeable to me.

And what about that hair? I made peace with my grayness a long time ago, but I am still looking for the perfect style. Long, short, in between. I realized today the perfect style is the one I don't have. Long hair is an oddity for me. I thought this time I was going to be able to make it work. Then the temperatures began to rise. Outside temperatures and body temperatures. Even if I spend time in front of a mirror with a blow dryer, brush and spray, when the heat wave starts up the back of my neck, there is nothing to do but grab the whole mess of hair and clip it in some kind of knot. All that styling for nought.

For me there is an unwritten but proven law of hair science. Let's say I buy myself a package of barrettes or scrunchies. This is a sure sign that I'm going to have my hair cut within the next few weeks, probably days. I've done this so many times you'd think when I find myself checking out the latest clip selection that I would just walk on by and not buy. In fact just yesterday I did just that.

There I was in the store looking for something when I was overcome by a wave of heat that must have come straight from the devil's backyard. I grabbed my hair in one hand and twisted it onto the top of my head. Then started fanning myself with the Vitamin brochure I was reading. Had there been a row of fans blowing I might have placed myself in front of one of them, or dropped an ice cube into my brassiere. But all I could think of to do was buy a new clip. It was in my hand. A pretty tortoise shell clampy thing that looked like something from the movie Jaws (da dump da dump). With sweat dripping down my hairline I made a decision to forget about donating my ponytail which still had about 8 inches to grow to Locks of Love and offer instead whatever lay on the floor after I shaved my head to the BP oil company to aid in cleaning up the oil spill. I put the clip back on the rack and picked up the phone to call my hairdresser, Charles.

Charles is more than a stylist. He's a hairdresser, psychologist, travel guide, and friend all rolled into one. He's been with me through thick and thin - or short and long as the case may be. He's accompanied me through both my Jamie Lee Curtis and mountain woman with braids phase and everything in between. He's sold me "product" to boost my unruly hair into submission. He makes me smile and lets me cry on his shoulder. He never laughs. Okay, he laughs. But with me, not at me. He reminds me of the styles I tried but didn't like. He gently forgets that I rarely if ever follow his instructions.

Heat happens, he told me when I whined about "all this hair". Come on in and let's see what we can do about it. Now I know that Charles has years of education and experience under his belt, but I prefer to think he works magic. Snip. Snip. Comb. Spray. And voila I feel like a new person. It is not uncommon for me to drag my moody butt into the salon and leave with a bit of a lilt in my step, singing "I feel pretty, oh so pretty" to no one but myself.

Right now this very minute I feel like a new person. Charles didn't have to shave my whole head. All he had to do was wave his wand, add a spritz of magic dust and away I went thinking I am now in my Diane Sawyer phase! Ooh la la!

Wishing for you a bit of magic and a cool breeze,
Merry ME

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Reunion, Part 3

"She never quite leaves her children at home,
even when she doesn't take them along."
Margaret Culkin Banning




My mom has been gone for seven years. We've grieved and moved on with our lives. It helps to think of her up in heaven talking and laughing like when she was young. Yet, each in our own way we miss her. A lot. Although nobody mentioned it while my sisters were here but I am pretty sure my mom was hanging around. Sometimes I don't think she ever left.

I suspected she was there supervising the cooking of the roast, helping Dad blow out his candles, listening as each daughter told stories of her kids/grandkids, and reminding Dad to embrace his softer side. I'm sure that was her in the kitchen each night nudging me to rearrange the dishes in the dishwasher before turning it on and turning out the light. The thing that convinced me, however, that mom's spirit hovered overhead and surrounded us with her love, was when the gardenia bush in the back yard burst into bloom on the same day my sisters arrived.

Family lore has it that my father fell in love at the first sight of a lovely Hawaiian girl posing naked in a tree. No the girl was not naked, but wearing a nude colored bathing suit. Pretty hot stuff for the teenaged daughter of a Navy commander back in 1940, my mom was a looker. Her time in the islands gave Mom a kind of sultry, tropical appeal her daughters tried to emulate but never quite pulled off . She was often photographed with a sweet smelling flower behind her ear. Hibiscus, gardenia, ginger blossom, pikake, you name it, and my mom could somehow make it even lovelier by casually sticking it in her hair. Nope, I don't think it was a coincidence at all that this particular bush blossomed at this particular time.


Circa 1950: Mom in Guam


June, 2001: Mom wearing a pikake lei on her 60th wedding anniversary

During the week, each of us picked up a flower, inhaled its delicate smell and remembered the woman who made polyester shorts and flip flops seem glamorous just by sticking a flower behind her ear.

Wishing for you sweet smells and good memories,
Merry ME