Monday, April 30, 2012

When in Oklahoma ...

... do as the Okies do.

Right down the street from the Ramada where Sweetie and I stayed in Tulsa is not one, but two of the largest western wear stores I've ever seen. That might not be saying much since I haven't seen that many western wear stores.

When we walked into Drysdales we were greeted by a sweet, leathery smell,  and a sea of hats, boots, blue jeans and western paraphenalia. Except for being a bit pricey, it has to be a cowboy's clothing heaven. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then denim is undoubtedly the same for an Oklahoma native. We gave ourselves away as strangers in a strange land when I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures.  Like being 6 years old and standing in Macy's storefront Northpole.

Hoss Cartwright eat your heart out!

The reason we went to this store was to check out the boots. But Sweetie went straight for the hats. OMG! What a hoot! I made my way over to the boots. A girl who could tell I had no idea about boots followed me around explaining boot sizing and boot style. I strolled the aisles amazed at the selection. I only tried on one pair, because stuffing my fat feet into pointy toed boots caused my toes to yell for mercy.  It was enough to ooh and ahh.

After about an hour we left without making one purchase, and headed down the street to Drysdale's competitor. Sweetie thought they were even pricier, if you can imagine that. Eventually it was time to quit playing and head back to the motel to change for the wedding. It was a fun day in a let's pretend world.

Wishing for you delightful things to try on,
Merry ME

P.S. I am not too pleased with the new blogger. It's gonna take some getting used to.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Home Again, Home Again ... Jiggidy Jog

Sweetie and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma. Truth be told I think we spent more time in airports or crammed sardine-style in airplanes than in Oklahoma. Father/Brother Georges got married and it was my job as representative of my family (after my father passed away) to give my blessing on the woman he chose to marry. Now I don't know what he would have done if I'd gotten into town, given Maha the once over and said something along the lines of, "no I don't think so." It was kind of a no brainer that I would bless their union. How could I not. F/B Georges has waited for his true love long enough. It's time he got married and starts to practice what he preaches. 

Maha is a beautiful lady. She is quiet and demure. But that might just be around people she doesn't know so well. I think she's got some party girl in her! It's kind of hard to imagine that a Syrian priest would find his Jordanian bride in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I mean, seriously, what are the chances? At the pre-wedding dinner, Sweetie and I sat quietly, watched and listened. Most of the guests could switch mid-sentence between English and Arabic. There was Hookah smoking which I did not try, and Oozo drinking which I did. Think black jelly beans - ugh! 

Weddings are sweet reminders of love and hope. If only every day could be filled with same. At the risk of sounding like an old married poothead, as much as I love glitter and glam and flowers and Ave Maria played on a violin, and cake followed by champagne toasts, there is much to be said for the couple who has stayed married to the same person for years upon years. The ones who can finish each others' sentences, who know the punchline to every joke, who remember to pack what the other forgets, who don't scream obscenities when one drives in front of a car he couldn't see, but says a quiet prayer instead.  Love that has stood the test of time is kind of like wine aged to perfection. (I know that's cliche and my writing coach would have a fit, but it's late and I've just traveled half-way across country so I'm a little slow.)

As we jetted back home this evening I realized how much nicer it is to travel with someone other than yourself. I didn't have to worry about hogging the arm rest, or moving around too much in my seat, or climbing over someone to go potty. It was like be home only 30,000 feet in the air.

The other thing that became real clear to me on this trip is how much I like coming home. In fact I wonder if traveling has lost its allure. The problem with this realization is a) sounds dangerously close to something my father used to say and he was 90 years old when he said it, and b) many of my favorite people live on the opposite side of the country and the only way to visit them is by air.  

It's time to crawl into my own bed, next to my tired Sweetie and say a prayer of gratitude that we made it home safely. 

Wishing for you a magic carpet ride because that's got to be more fun that American Airlines (or Delta, or Southwest),
Merry ME

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review

Sometimes I like to jump on the social bandwagon and sometimes I like to blaze my own trail. Of course, the trail I blaze is seldom seen by others cause I don't like to call attention to it. Like getting a tattoo. I had my a small teesy weensy tattoo inked on my thigh, where no one can even see it except maybe my husband or gynecologist, before tattoo parlors appeared on every street corner and muffin tops were uncovered to show off flowers, or Disney characters or Chinese hieroglyphics.

Today I'm announcing that I sit squarely in the middle of the (band)wagon train that is celebrating the publication of Jenny Lawson's (aka the Bloggess) book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. When my pre-ordered book arrived in Saturday's mail I almost tinkled with excitement. (Okay this is not necessarily a good description cause really, just about anything - good or bad, like when I jumped out of the chair to swat the retching cat off the new couch - can cause me to unexpectedly tinkle). I've heard about the book for months, but nothing prepared me for actually holding it in my hands. I don't know why, but it's not just another book to me. It is a woman's lifeblood, tears, joys, and life put down in words and shared with the world. I stand in awe of Jenny's success. It's a concrete example of what can happen when a writer tells his/her story. It's a dream that I dream, but lack the self discipline and self-esteem to think I could ever achieve.

I started reading The Bloggess blog after the metal chicken story went around the world. I was hooked from the start. There are times I cringe a little at the language. Not that I'm a prude, or haven't said the F word or V word in public. I just think it is often not needed to make a point, and sometimes it's overdone. But that's just me. I skip over the words I don't like. One of the things I like about Jenny is the way she shares her very real, very quirky, very honest truths. She appears to have learned how to accept then deal with her anxiety disorder and depression. I relate to that on a very personal level. There was a time in my life when depression ruled me, not the other way around. Now I talk about it without shame and sometimes even make jokes about it. Not in a mean way, but one that lets me be the boss of it. One that says there is light after the dark.

Last week I had no books on my bedside table. Today I have 4. Three of them are due back to the library on a given day. I can't decide whether to dive right into Jenny's memoir or put it in it's right place in the queue. I think it's going to be one of those books that when you read the last page, you want to start reading it all over again.

So here's to Jenny Lawson. Bravo!
And here's to dreaming impossible dreams, writing funny stories, sharing your truth and knowing deep down inside, even if it's only for a minute or two, that hope trumps fear.

If you need something funny to read, go grab a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened.
Merry ME

P.S. I'm only one of a kazillion Bloggess fans. This is an unsolicited review of a book I haven't even read yet, so you might want to throw some salt on it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Waaaa! Waaaa! Waaaa!

I'm feeling kind of blue today. Actually I think I'm on the fence between feeling a tad angry and a smidgen depressed. With little encouragement I could go either way. And depending on which way I leaned, my reactions could be more explosive than "tad" or "smidgen" might indicate.

Yesterday I went to Jacksonville's first Caregiver's Expo. I skipped most of the 100 exhibits, because, now that I'm no longer a caregiver, I didn't feel the need for any of the paraphernalia that goes along with the job - information on rehab hospitals and nursing homes, Jazzy walker demonstrations, sitter services. The kind of stuff cheery people who make a living off your mother or father or you fill in the blank's needs. 18 months ago I would have felt like a kid in Toys R Us at Christmas time. Oddly, yesterday it just made me feel sad.

The whole reason I went to the show was to hear Gail Sheehy speak and sign my copy of her book. I read it just a few months before Dad passed away. And even though there wasn't a lot of "new" information - caregiving requires the ultimate degree of on-the-job training - it let me know I was not the lone ranger I felt like in the wee hours of the morning when Dad wanted company while he sat on the pot. Sheehy was every bit as pretty and informative as I expected. She has obviously survived the zombie stage of caregiving. She lived through it and shared with other walking dead that there is hope. Instead of feeling happy to be on the other side with her, I looked around the room at the host of caregivers, some of whom had a day's hall pass, others who wheeled their dependent one along with them, and felt sad.

The need for caregivers in the world is staggering and growing. As boomers turn 65 the number of "Single family nursing homes" as Sheehy called them is going to continue to grow. The health care system is already broken. And, excuse me for getting political here, the men and women in Washington don't have a clue. "Caregivers of the world unite" could be a rallying cry, but there aren't enough hours in the day for caregiving revolutionaries. There are diapers to change, dr. appointments to make and attend, linens to change, wounds to dress, pills to dispense, meals to prepare, grandchildren to play with, spouses to play with, and, that part about taking care of yourself first. No wonder I felt sad. The burden I don't even have anymore felt heavy on my shoulders.

And that's part of where the sadness came from. Sheehy said something along the lines of, "don't quit your job... you need to have that to fall back on when your caregiving days are over. You need to be adding to your 401K, and SS quarters. You need your own health care insurance. Things that I lost by making the choice I made 16 years ago. I made out better than some, and I'm grateful. But when it comes to going back to work, and being able to write a resume that might get me hired in time when there are people way more qualified than me who are being turned down, I'm way behind the proverbial 8-ball. Something my father tried to tell me about at the same time he demanded my single-minded attention. Again I looked around the room at the people there and wondered, how are they doing it? How can they add "work" to their work?

Today, Sweetie took my crabby ass to a movie. A great distraction. When we got home our alarm system was flashing a trouble light. Let me just say that during the time Dad was alive and still in control of things, he gave me several Alarm System lessons. True to form I only listened with one ear. Seriously, I had enough other stuff to worry about and as long as he was here, why did I have to learn how the system worked? I know Sweetie got his own lessons, and perhaps Johnson did too. But today the lights were flashing and a buzzer beeping and no one could even find the instruction book. Where the hell is my father when I need him? I fussed at Sweetie like the whole thing was his fault. But I think mainly I was blindsided by the fact that Dad isn't here. He's not here to fix things, to tell me things I don't want to hear, to demand my attention, to point me in a direction even if its not the direction I want to go, to give my life some purpose. I sat in that room of caregivers yesterday and became decidedly aware of my lack of identity and purpose.

Are you a writer, the lady beside me asked when I suggested she stay to hear my writing coach, Carol O'Dell, speak. I tried to say yes, but, even to my ears, it didn't sound believable.
My muse apparently left when Dad did. I'm struggling to put meaningful sentences together, just like I struggle to write a resume.

Waa! Waaa! Waaaaa!

I am glad I went to the Expo yesterday. I didn't get to sit down with Sheehy and have an Oprah Book Club moment, but I expressed my gratitude and that felt good. I got to watch my mentor and coach in action. I got a glimpse of where she thinks her babe chicks can go. I was very aware of the freedom I had to go to the show, stay as long as I wanted without worrying about what might be happening at home without me. I'm grateful for that. Being mad at Sweetie for a defunct alarm system does neither of us any good. Feeling all pissy just adds to the pissiness. So I guess it's time to eat some chicken pot pie and move on.

Thanks for listening.
Merry ME

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Writing

While waiting at a doctor's office I started reading a new book - The Call of the Writer's Craft by Tom Bird. What I got out of the first few pages is the same thing my writing coach and group have been telling me. In a nutshell, one must write on a daily basis (300-1o00 words, the number changes depending on who's advising), preferably in the morning. Bird's theory says to write in the a.m. because when you first wake up your left brain is still kind of drowsy and can't get in there to shut down the creative right brain with criticism. I'm not a morning person has been my traditional comeback. Well Mr. Bird, squashes this excuse pretty quickly. He wants his readers/students to get up 2 hours earlier than normal and try it. He uses words like "retrain" and "catharsis" which barely register in either side of my brain before daylight.

But, for the 3rd day in a row, here I am up. The birds are just beginning to sing their good morning songs. The day is full of promise.

On Day One I started slow but soon hit a feverish pitch. I'm sure what I felt was close to a cocaine high or the manic stage of bipolar disease. My fingers danced across the keyboard. I was creating a program for my writing group's end of the year recital. My creative juice spigot opened up and the words flowed. Some of the words were typed, others shouted and turned the air around me blue with profanity. My only experience in layout design is in Word. I tried using one of my user friendly Mac's templates which just made me crazy. I'm sure it would help to know what I was doing. By 11:00 that night with only a few interruptions I had the format of the program I wanted to make.

On Day Two I finished re-writing the story I may do as my "recital" piece.

On Day Three, my neck hurts and my eyes are only half open. But I sit here, babbling away. It helps to know that down at the beach my writing bud, Amy, has been up for an hour or more writing away. Amy challenged me to write 300 words a day. Since she can only type with one finger and can barely see her computer screen, I think I should at least give it a try. Amy's only a few thousand words short of finishing her memoir about life after a stroke. She gets up at 4:30 every morning because she's committed to her writing. I think that's where I fall short. Commitment.

I would love to write a memoir, even if I have to "creatively" exaggerate some of the duller parts of my life. My problem is after the beginning mania fades I'm left with tired fingers and a brain turned to mush. Mr. Bird says if I follow his method I can write a book in 30 days. It sounds like those Ginsu knife commercials where one simple kitchen implement can do everything from slice tomatoes to chop down a small tree - too good to be true. But maybe that's just my awakening left brain trying to throw me off track.

Here's the thing. When I do write something and turn it in to the group for critique, I feel like the 6th grade girl whose teacher made a big fuss over every story she wrote. Or the 8th grade girl whose English teacher made a bet with another teacher that she had a student (me) who could properly diagram a really complicated sentence on the final exam. She won the bet and I soaked up the kudos like a sea sponge. It's like when Suzi Q begrudgingly lies all the way down on the floor for a Milk Bone. It's more work, but I want the reward. I want to learn how to write better and better and that isn't going to happen unless I do exercises.

So here I am, pumping up my writing muscles. Can you hear the Rocky theme in the background?

Wishing for you a part of the day to listen to your muse
Merry ME

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bird Lessons

Sometimes having the National Geographic channel in your own backyard isn't such a great thing. (See Miracle post below about the baby birds). I watched and watched as both mama and papa red bird flew off to find food then came back and dropped the chewed up mess down little tiny gullets. I could hear the babies and the parents talking to each other while I did the dishes.

Then there was silence. Then I noticed Mom and Dad were no longer coming to the nest. They'd land on the bird feeder then fly across the yard to another tree(s). Oh dear, I worried. This can't be good. Something bad must have happened to the wee chirpers. Visions of lions chasing down a baby zebra for dinner flitted through my mind. Oh dear. Did the babies fall out of the nest? Were they dinner for some bigger creature? Oh dear.

So I went exploring. I stood under the tree where the nest sits empty and looked up. I looked til my eyes crossed. And then, I saw it. A baby bird, whose coloring perfectly matched the tree, stood stiff as a soldier at attention. Ah, I breathed a sigh of relief and a cry of surprise. At least one baby still survived. But how did it get so big so fast? It began to make sense that Mom and Dad were still on duty serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, just in a different diner. How those babies got across the yard is beyond my comprehension. I know cat mothers will pick up their babies by the neck and move them around. I just can't believe a bird can do that. So the only other possibility is they (Johnson has seen 2) must have flown. Unbelievable.

I'm reminded of that saying about jumping off the edge of a cliff and building your wings on the way down. I guess it's a trust thing, and baby birds don't have much of a choice. Maybe I should be more daring, trusting, ready to fly when it's time. You don't really know what you're capable of until you try, do you.

Wishing for you, guts and glory,
Merry ME

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joy in the Congo


Speaking of miracles ...

Sunday night I watched the last segment of 60 Minutes. Normally I'm not a big 60 Minutes because sometimes I think the stories can be downright hurtful, or mean, or too sad for me. But since I was waiting for Amazing Race to start, I kept the station where it was. I am so glad I did.

The Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. The pictures of what I can only call squalor were unfathomable. How people live, work and raise children in a place like that is beyond me. But if you look closer, like Bob Simon from 60 Minutes did, you'll find the Kimbanquist Symphony Orchestra. A 2oo piece orchestra and choir under the tutelage of Armand Diangienda. I wonder if this is what Beethoven was thinking of when he wrote Ode to Joy.

Diangienda, a commercial airline pilot after the airline he worked went belly up, taught himself to read music, play instruments, find broken instruments in the trash, repair them then teach others how to play. How he did this has got to be a miracle. The Divine Maestro had to have had a baton-waving hand in the whole thing. Like planting an acorn and having it grow into an Oak tree, God gave one man an idea, and and many gifts. Then sprinkled it with the water of hope, hard-work, inspiration, tenacity, beauty, and joy for the love of music.

Seriously you need to watch this video. It made me weep for the joy and promise as seen on the musicians faces. It made me clap my hands and shout encore! Encore! It made me want to spend Daddy's last nickel on airline tickets for these musicians to play at Carnegie Hall. But maybe that's too grand an idea. Maybe the place where they are is where they are meant to be. An ode to joy for others who need to believe in miracles.

May you find music in the most unexpected places.
Merry ME

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Miracles

"Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing."
Albert Laighton

For Christians, this time of year brings with it the joy, hope and promise of the Resurrection. Yesterday I participated in a world-class rejoicing of the Easter message. It was pretty awesome. I also witnessed some miracles going on in church during the Maunday Thursday service commemorating Christ's last supper. I had just learned that a dear church/family dear had passed away. My heart was heavy, my face streaked with tears. I sat in the pew, but didn't feel like being a part of the service. I chose prayer and silence as my form of participation. In my stillness I became aware of little "rebirth" miracles taking place around me.
For instance:
  • Several women prayed with/for/over people at the altar. I watched as one of the pray-ers gently rubbed the back and shoulders of the person who was kneeling. I soon realized that her touch was as much a prayer as the words being spoken. I didn't see auras, or doves descending. But I knew I was witnessing a re-awakening of Divine peace.
  • I saw one woman holding a pitcher of water which would be used in the traditional "foot washing" service. Nothing more than holding some water, but in that moment, I saw her servant's heart re-born.
  • I saw love re-newed in a smile between mother and daughter.
  • I saw joy re-newed in an embrace between friends.
  • I saw grace re-newed as the priest anointed his own mother with oil.
  • I heard holiness re-newed in the sound of a crying baby, for babies, I believe, are God's way of saying the world will continue to be reborn.
  • And I felt my grief replaced by gratitude knowing Shirley had joined the band of angels that had once worshipped at our church. I smiled to think of Mom & Dad and many other friends welcoming Shirley home.
While we celebrate the empty tomb, with bells and whistles, bonnets and baskets, and colored eggs and commerical hype, I believe Resurrection miracles don't just happen at this time of year. I think it happens all the time, we just don't pay them as much attention.

I think Springtime rebirth, renewal, and reawakening are synonymous with the miracle of the resurrection. For plants, animals, and people. The fact that colorful Spring flowers make their way up through winter's frozen ground to dance in the sunshine is miraculous to me. And what about the resurrection of bushes and trees and shrubs trading in their brown, lifeless branches for new green leaves. It is as if the Divine Artist dipped His brush into green paint and flicked it, sending green splatter all over the world.

When I walked through the mall over the weekend, I couldn't help notice the bright Spring colors on dresses and shirts. The same girl who loves getting the LLBean catalog in the fall was drawn to the reds and oranges and purples that appear to be this year's color palette. The girl who pictures herself in plaid flannel shirts, corduroy slacks and mucklucks found herself trying on eyelet peasant blouses, capri pants and sandals. It's like this every year. My personality seems to switch gears. My indoor-loving hermit persona goes dormant and the girl who likes to play-in-the-dirt and dance in the rain is reborn.

Johnson pointed out a miracle to me the other day that was almost right under my nose. What looked like a big ol' passel of moss hanging out of the Ligustrum tree by my kitchen window is really a Cardinal nest. It's like having my own National Geographic show. Johnson, who rescued baby birds when he was about 10 years old and fed them baby food and water from an eye dropper a round the clock says he talks to the whole bird family - mama, papa and 3 little babies. From my vantage point at the window, I can see when the parents fly to the nest with food. As soon as they get close little beaks open up and say "me first, me first!" Every time I watch the devoted parents fly back from feeder to feedees I am reminded of the miracle of life. That babies are born so fragile and helpless and parents, of every species, do everything in their power, with little thought for their own needs, to nurture their offspring so they will grow.

Who could doubt that miracles happen when they hear that Baby Lucy's heart is working? She's off the ventilator and breathing on her own. Most of the tubes connecting her to artificial means of support are gone. Or that Dona Rosa, who suffered several heart attacks last month is not only out of the hospital and finished with rehab to build up her strength, she's back in her own home. Did I mention she will be 103 years old in a couple of weeks?

I would be hard-pressed to say Spring is my favorite season. As long as the temperatures are not extreme, I like them all. What I'd like to be able to do is take the everything old is new again lessons of Spring, and apply them to each and every day. Every morning, when we wake up and begin a new day, the Easter message tells us that miracles abound.

May you see the miracles all around you,
Merry ME

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Serendipity Two Days in a Row ....

... is downright woo woo!

Lucy's Quilt

In my cleaning frenzy yesterday I had yards of fabric to go through. Well, actually to cram into boxes so the tops would fit on. With it all spread out across the bed, the floor and part of the hallway, I started thinking maybe fabric manufacturers (like Potato chip makers and Tobacco companies) put some kind of addictive additive in their product to make people buy more (eat more or smoke more). I think my sewing machine has only been out of the closet once over the last year. But whenever Joann Fabric has a sale or sends me a coupon in the mail I seem to think I need to check out the quilting fabrics. Seriously folks I'm not sure I'll ever make another quilt.

As I told my writing coach this morning, I can no longer multi-task. I can either be a writer or a quilter but I can't manage both. When I sew I leave trails of fabric and thread (and pins) everywhere I go. I turn the dining room into a sewing room. It could be Santa's workshop if Santa was a quilter. None of that is really a problem to me, but OCD Sweetie can only take so much before he starts squirming. And all my ranting about being surrounded by clutter goes right out the window because I'm the biggest offender.

Writing isn't quite as messy. Well, maybe it is. I can't see the top of my desk, or the floor near my chair. I try to organize it and the next day it looks like a whirlwind has spun through the house leaving paper in its wake.

I set aside a bunch of quilt-making supplies and patterns to give to my old guild. I began to seriously consider giving them all the fabric too. Now I know there is some kind of law of physics (or Hoarder's Manifesto) that if you clean out your closet what you are really doing is making room for new stuff. Still the allure of an empty closet intrigues me. I'd almost made my decision when I got this heart-wrenching from my coach/friend Carol.

I’m too tired to write much, but I want you to teach me how to quilt.

One of the sweetest, most comforting things has happened this week is that when Lucy came back from surgery and we got to see her for the first time—she had a sweet, beautiful hand-made quilt. It helped so much—to not see her tiny body covered in tubes and needles and IVs—it softened what would otherwise be such a harsh and scary scene that would forever be carved in your memory.

So that’s what I want to do. Make quilts. Happy colorful sweet quilts.

Sweet Lucy after surgery

Sleeping in the arms of angels

[The background is that her newest granddaughter, Lucy, who was born on my birthday had to have open heart surgery when she was only 10 days old. Say it with me, folks. OMG. I can't even wrap my head or heart around something like that. But as of this writing Lucy and her mom and dad and Llama Carol and the rest of the family are doing okay. If everything went as planned her chest was closed up today and they will soon wean her off the ventilator. That's not to say they are out of the woods but things are looking up. ]

What do you think? Is the Divine Quilter giving me a sign that I shouldn't give away my fabric but share it with someone who wants to learn how to quilt?

I've mentioned before how I feel about quilts. My grandmother was the person who introduced me to these comforting, comfortable, love filled pieces of art. Even a utilitarian quilt is artistic (Check out the Quilts of Gee's Bend). Grandmother made a red and white Lone Star quilt for my father. Whenever I was sick and stayed home from school, mom would pull out the sofa bed in front of the TV, cover me up and let me watch Match Game or Concentration or Hollywood Squares with her. Sweetie has recently claimed it. He has back issues so gets up in the middle of the night to switch from the bed to his chair. When I come out to feed the dog in the morning, there he is sound asleep wrapped from knee to neck. I'm not sure why he leaves his feet out but it doesn't seem to affect his sleep.

A quilt can be as comforting to make as to sleep under. I've made several. I'm never sure what it's going to look like when finished. Perhaps that's how Michelangelo felt painting the Sistine Chapel. But then again, he may have been a little bit more exact than I am. Some quilters have perfect points where pieces come together. I think it has to do with cutting straight, or sewing straight. I don't do either with as much precision as I should.

Back to Lucy. The fact that this horror has been soothed somehow by a quilt is no surprise to me. It is one of the reasons quilts speak to me. They are medicine and they are magic. And so are quilters. When I first moved to Jacksonville, it was the quilt guild that took me in and loved me and encouraged me like the Chats do now. Perhaps it doesn't matter what they do, as long as there are groups of nurturing women who say, Hi, my name is ... Won't you join us?

It felt good thinking about fabric and sewing and making quilts today after being so grumpy yesterday and wanting to throw it all away. It was a good reminder that getting rid of things isn't always the best course of action. Even if your son does think you're a hoarder and threatens to have a dumpster delivered. I still don't know when I'll make another quilt. I've got the next great American memoir to write. But having fabric in the closet is like having gold bars in Ft. Knox, something to fall back on when you're feeling low.

Wishing for you some comfort to wrap around you,
Merry ME

P.S. Lucy and her family can use all the prayers they can get. If you don't mind will you send one up to the Big Guy in the sky, or light a candle, or take a moment of silence and send good thoughts.

P.S.S. I think there is probably a Ronald McDonald house near most major hospitals that care for children. If you're looking for a place to send a few dollars, you might consider this.

P.S.S.S. If you are a quilter or know of a quilt group making tiny quilts like this for post surgery babies might be a good service project.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Serendipity Happens When You Least Expect It

Do you believe in serendipity?

I have been writing some stories about when I met my Sweetie and how things turned kind of upside down between me and my Dad. My group encouraged me to keep going on the theme 0f "MY" growth instead of focusing all on caregiving, death, grief, etc. Which is where I thought if there was a book in me, that would be the subject.

It hasn't been easy. It's taken 4 weeks and 5 "chapters" to even get to the end of our first date. Perhaps Love and War could be a good title. Anyway I've been stumped now that I'm at the point of story where Sweetie kisses me goodbye and I have to walk in the back door and meet Dad's anger head on. I think the stuckness comes from the same feelings tucked away in a hidey hole under my ribs. The story is hard to write from my perspective and not make Dad sound like the Big Bad Wolf. Which of course he was on occasion, but so was I.

Anyway, I decided today to clean out the guest room closets because we're going to have guests at the end of the week. I've been wanting to tackle the project but it is daunting and a lot of the stuff there should be thrown away. But how can I throw away fabric, and sewing supplies even if I may never use them again? And how can I throw away stuffed bears of all sizes that Sweetie has given me over the years? And how can I throw away stuff like anniversary cards from my parent's 50th wedding anniversary? So there I am knee deep in stuff and I come across a letter, stuck in some fabric. It's a letter from me to my psychiatrist, dated March 12, 2004. I wrote to him explaining how the week had exploded after that first date.

It says everything I wanted to write about, but didn't know how. I talk about "moving in a direction I need to be going," and a "time to stretch and grow and be a woman." There it was, in a closet I never open, inside some fabric I'll probably never use again, as if waiting for me to find it.

Serendipity? Fairies? What? Can you explain it?

Wishing for you awakenings,
Merry ME