Monday, August 26, 2013

Quick Visit

This past weekend, I noticed how full my home feels when my sisters are there. Most of the time the place where I live is "my" home. When my sisters visit, it morphs easily back into "our" home. I may own and maintain it,  but its spirit will always belong to the whole family ... my four sisters, their children and their children's children.

I like where I live well enough. I'm grateful for having it. But sometimes I wish I could pick up and move somewhere smaller, closer to my faraway family. I love the homey feeling I get when I know that family sits around the table, or congregates in the kitchen.  I tend to have issues with loud noises, they kind of freak me out. But the sounds of pan lids rattling, dishes clicking together and Coke cans popping, accompanied by my sisters' laughing is music to my ears.

The the ocean's siren call lured Jean from the mountains to her favorite place by the sea. The magic of sea air and sunlight is the elixir her body craves after being gone for awhile. I, on the other hand, have not put my big toe in the ocean all year. What's wrong with that picture?

Yesterday, I noticed how sad I feel every time I say goodbye to my sister(s).  I noticed how the emptiness engulfed me, so did the only think I can think of in that situation. I said a prayer for Jean's safe travel and crawled into bed for took a nap.

Merry ME

(Note to Jean and sunny D: The pictures are on my camera but the computer is not recognizing the camera hook-up??? Will share when I figure it out.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New School Year

Chase Mehta
First Day of Kindergarten - 2013

Today I noticed parents and children walking to the elementary school near my work. There was a mother with a baby on the back of her bike, leading her bike-riding sons across streets and along sidewalks like a mama duck in Make Way for Ducklings.

There was the father holding his too-young-for-school daughter's hand as they walked beside the older brother shifting the weight of his backpack from side to side. What really made them noticeable was the green-polka dotted raincoat and cowboy boots the girl had on. Oh to be young again and be able to dress in polka dots.

And there were mothers of older children, who could probably walk the block to school and cross the street with no one watching, but they tagged along anyway. I choose to believe they wanted to share those last moments with their kids who will soon be to old to be seen with their mother; they wanted to watch and wave goodbye because they weren't quite ready to let go.  I choose to believe the parent's proximity had nothing to do with the need to protect their precious babies from perverts, kidnappers or threatening, gun-wielding, killers ravaged by mental illness.

I choose to believe the world is a safe place for children.

To that end I have decided I'm going to stop listening to news reports. Instead of the sounds of 911 callers' frantic cries for help, my ears will listen for laughter coming from the playground. Instead of the sound of gunfire, I will await the crack of a bat hitting a home run. Instead of my own children complaining about too much homework, I'll nod at the other moms I see waiting at bus stops for their children to tell them about their day, knowing their hearts have begun to beat in a more normal rhythm as they hold little hands safely in their own.

Oh God, Divine Teacher, Loving Parent,
I pray that you send angels to watch over the students, teachers, principals, bus drivers, crossing guards, coaches, school nurses, secretaries, volunteers, PTA mothers and fathers, and janitors who have begun a new school year. Open their minds to the wonder of new ideas and concepts. Give them tenacity to overcome the challenge of lessons that don't come easily.  Fill their days with joyful determination instead of worry about what bullies might say or do.  Provide them with food to nourish their bodies, music and art to nourish their souls, and praise to nourish their spirits. At the end of a long day, give strength to the harried moms and dads who have dinner to make and homework to check. Remind them to turn off the TV/computer/phone, to find the time to ask, "how was your day?"  then listen to the answer. And, Lord, when young and old lay down to sleep, fill their dreams with the glorious possibilities of a new tomorrow. May it be so.

Remember to stop for school busses,
Merry ME

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things I've Noticed Lately

The other day while floating in the pool I noticed how the raindrops collected on Sweetie's gigantic elephant ears and looked like diamonds. It made me think I haven't posted many "noticings" lately. Probably because I have been scattered all about and not really paying attention. Here a few things that I couldn't NOT notice.

  1. The sweet, tight curls haloing Gracie's head
  2. The effortless way Caroline can reach her toe to her mouth.
  3. The aches and pains playing hopscotch across my body.
  4. How an afternoon storm filled my senses - the tension in the air, black storm clouds, the smell of rain, the crack of lightening 
  5. Suzi's deep brown eyes telling me the story of her upset stomach
  6. Bella commando scooting across the room to me, just after her mom said she'd probably skip crawling and go right to walking.
  7. The way Bella and I smiled at each other when she reached my knee.
  8. Having a purpose again
  9. A small Christmas bear, dressed in red velvet sitting on the ledge of the parking garage as if waiting for its owner to come back and claim it.
  10. The sound of a kazillion birds fighting for a place to sleep in the only tree left by the parking garage, then, after my eyes adjusted to the dark, seeing them.
  11. The amount of energy a 3 year old boy possesses could probably send a rocket to the moon.
  12. A really, really weird looking caterpillar crawling up McDonalds's drive thru counter. 
  13. How fragile a sick baby looks lying in hospital crib,  with an i.v stuck in her tiny hand and connected to monitors
  14. Feeling free body and soul while skinny dipping with my Sweetie
  15. That I do laundry start to finish for other people when I'm at work, but when I'm home, the clothes often spend the night in the dryer getting so wrinkled they have to take a few more spins.
  16. When I write emails to people I am witty and wordy. A couple people commented this week that humor is my forte. Why then can't I a) break thru my writer's block and b) if I do write something can't make it funny. 
  17. Elmore Leonard died this week. I read his 10 Rules for Writing and discovered I break the majority of them. I'm perfectly happy to use adverbs and I often find that using exclamation points makes me happy.
  18. Subway's Green iced tea, quinoa, smoothies made with kale and almond milk, and strange sounding Indian beans don't taste nearly as awful as I expected.  In fact, the green tea was sweet, as in very good, not sugary.
  19. When I'm sewing quilt squares, they turn out wonky even though I measure carefully and use a ruler.
  20. It's taken me a week to finish this post. 
What have you noticed lately?
Merry Me

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gracie's Back in Town

It's been almost a year since Gracie came to visit her GPaw and Grammy.
What a difference a year makes.
She walks and talks just like the real thing.
But oh my goodness gracious she is beautiful as ever.
You're going to have to take my word on that one!
Apparently she doesn't like to have her picture taken.
What's up with that?

My new favorite song is Little Sugar
Warning: After you've listened to it, you're going to be singing it all afternoon.
There is no doubt about it, Eleyiana is my little sack of sugar.

Going to sleep smiling tonight,
Merry ME

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunshine Award

Last week my Cohort in Cahoots, Illuminary, shared a blog award with me.

Just knowing there is a Sunshine Award, and seeing the names of other bloggers who have received it, makes me feel sunnier than I might normally be.

I'll be honest, sometimes I forget to be sunny. When it's just Sweetie and me in the house, I look at him while he's reading a book. He usually has a furrowed brow, lips turned down, intense look on his face.

M: "What? What's the matter?"
S: "Nothing's the matter. Why do you ask?"
M: "You look kind of upset, mad, grumpy, like something's bothering you."
S: " No, nothing's bothering me. This is my normal look."
M: " Okay. Just checking."

I think maybe my normal look is a few notches below Sunny. [Note to self: add being sunny to my "Change Things Now" List. See post below]

All that aside, I'm honored to be on the list with some of my favorite people who, even though I've never been in their actual presence, imagine them to be like those rays coming out of a child's drawing of a sun. I'm grateful, too. The problem is most of the other bloggers I know have already been tagged. Not that doesn't mean they don't deserve a double award, but it's kind of like a dog going around in circles chasing his own tail. Part of getting the award is naming 10 heretofore unmentioned things about myself. In the years I've been writing this blog, I think I've pretty much covered most of what you might want to know. And the things you wouldn't want to know are better left unsaid.

Clearly,  to accept this award, I'm going to have to break the rules.  If you didn't know this about me, but I think you did, I hate to break the rules. My daughter Weneki is a chip of my non-rule breaking block. For example, when at a restaurant, say Denny's, and the sign at the hostess desk says, "Please wait to be seated" but people walk right past us to find their own seat as we stand there waiting for said hostess, who is nowhere in sight, Weneki and I will wait rather than follow the crowd.  Steam might be coming from my ears, because sometimes, I admit, I'm not a patient waiter, but we wait anyway. We look at the menu, imagine being able to use that claw contraption to actually grab a stuffed Pink Panther wearing an inflatable swim ring, and give the stink eye to the non-waiters who pass by us,  as well as the wait staff who ignore us altogether instead of than politely tell us we can take a seat without waiting. Ignoring us is in their best interest. If they did speak to us, we'd probably be so relieved that we woule seat ourselves in their already overcrowded section, then we'd be unhappy about how long we had to wait to get cold eggs. It's better to let us fume at the non-existent hostess, than risk a less than stellar tip. Little do they know Weneki and I are good tippers even when we have to wait.

All that said, I'm going to say thank you, Illuminary, for thinking of me and let the rest go.  However, I would like to dedicate this Award to my non-blogging niece, Sunny D. She's working real hard to make the sun shine in her little corner of the world and I want her to know I'm proud of her.

 Thank you fellow sunny people whose light I share and hopefully reflect.

Merry ME

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hide and Seek

Girl Cat hides thinking so one can see her. 

ME: Find the cat Suzi.
Suzi: What cat?
How about I smile for a picture?
Suzi: Hey! I think there's a MilkBone under here.
Suzi: I like this game.

Suzi: Look at that, there's a cat under here.
Girl Cat: Tag! You're it!

Let me just say, Suzi is not the smartest dog on the block.
When was the last time you played hide and seek?

Merry ME

Thursday, August 1, 2013

To Whom it May Concern

I have tried three times, and rewritten once, to correct the font size of the last two paragraphs  in the post below. It looks good on my screen, but when I post it, "Honey I shrunk the font" happens. I don't know how to fix it. I hope you have a good pair of reading glasses or don't mind squinting. If you decide to skip the end, I'll understand.

Frustrated ME

The Good China

I'm learning Sweetie likes to change around every now and then. Not long ago, he declared he was ready for some new dishes. Huh? What's up with that? At the risk of sounding like someone named Luther, I think our plates are perfectly fine. 

Okay, perhaps they are a little boring - no flowers, no stripes, just plain Jane white. They still function well, so why bother to change them? And what would we change to? 

I don't know how Sweetie would respond to that question, but in my opinion, the answer is clear. We'd go straight to the Fiestaware store we browsed in Savannah, drop down a bucket load of money and walk out with plates, bowls, pitchers and platters in the old fashioned turquoise, yellow and green. They'd be called vintage. 

A turquoise disc pitcher of an age long ago never fails to remind me of being at my Grammy's camp in Vermont. It conjures up the whole feeling of camp. The pansies growing, snoozing in the hammock with a Nancy Drew mystery across my chest, the moldy, woodsy smell of the Patty cabin, a whole series of Oz books, the gasoline smell and the sound of a small boat putt-putting across the lake (how when someone stood up to pull the choke string I was afraid we'd tip over), digging up worms from the loamy soil in the woods next to the driveway rutted road, picking raspberries and popping them warm and juicy into my mouth, an old man with a missing arm, crispy clean sheets fresh from the clothesline, chipmunks skittering over rocks near the water, bird songs, daddy long-leg spiders, the mist over the lake, fireflies, and eating a whole jar of olives meant for my grandfather's martinis. I can't remember where I put my keys half the time, but one look at an antique vintage pitcher and my mind is flooded with memories.

The sad truth, of which I'm pretty sure, is that I'll never own any Fiestaware. And if I did, it wouldn't be Grammy's. And it wouldn't have the stories of my youth embedded in it's lead-free paint. Maybe that's why I could care less about our plain Jane plates. We haven't had them long enough for them to hold our stories. I'd gladly eat of plates laden with lead again if I could see my mom sitting on the front stoop, with a cigarette in her hand and a scarf wrapped around her head.

Last week, for no particular reason, I decided to pull out the "good china." Mom's Noritake. Thinking about it now, my heart must have known the reason. It just took awhile for my brain to catch up. Lately I've heard a lot of sad stories about lives unexpectedly cut short, of freak accidents or cancer diagnoses. Each story, whether it happens in Timbuktu or my own back yard, is a reminder of the tenuous hold we have on life. If life is so very fragile, why save the "good" china for a time that may never come? Why wait for a dinner party I'll probably never have? Why let the pretty plates with delicately painted flowers and a gold trim languish in plastic bags on a cupboard shelf? Shoot,  throwing them in the fireplace after Thanksgiving dinner would be a better end for a stained coffee cup and saucer than ending up in a thrift store waiting to be picked like a puppy at the humane society.

When did people start having two sets of china - one labeled every day and one labeled good? Who made the "good china" is only used on special occasion rule?

In October of last year, Christine Perkett wrote on her blog about using the good china as often as possible.

"... Because every day we have in life is lucky.Every moment we spend with someone who truly loves us is profound.Everyone we let into our home is impacting our lives in some way.Every day is special, even if it seems ordinary.And every moment matters. Every. Single. One.So get that china out. Seize the moment. Declare it special enough. Celebrate one more day of living." []

Makes me wonder what else I could be doing to make every day feel more special. My list might start with: Buy more flowers. Smile more. Voluneer at a homeless shelter. Write more thank you notes. Give up worrying. Listen more/better. Hold my Sweeties hand more often. Stop trying to be in charge of the world. Try new things (like Quinoa or kale).

Erma Bombeck supposedly wrote "If I Had My Life to Live Over" after being diagnosed with cancer (there is some discrepancy here). I've decided against waiting for disaster to strike, I'm using the Noritake now and smiling more at the happy feeling in the vicinity of my heart since I started setting the table with the good china.

When was the last time you used the good china?

How would you make your life more special?

Merry ME