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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lingering thoughts...

My dear friend's pond, which just like always has nothing to do with anything.


Swiftly sweeping up the crumbs
which fell
through cracks in my heart,
I felt the crunch of
salt beneath my feet.

Without a map to
guide me,
I search for small
shards of sanity,
left behind in my mind.

Like the tangle of threads
created by haste,
your absence
left me knotted and needing,
from the sting of your leaving.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Yellow Flowers or Dot's Candy Bowl



yellow flowers brought to me, yesterday


Yesterday was a day of, warm sunshine, sunny skies, and almost cold winds off of the lake. While I sat on my front porch, watching my two and a half year old grandson play at digging in the bark chips, while simultaneously guiding his seven month old brother from eating the spring debris off of the ground, I couldn't help but think of a similar time with my own children.

The difference is now, I feel less restless. Less like I should be doing something else, which years ago seemed more pressing then listen to one small child talk, or enjoying the gurgle song of a baby.

When I was brought back from my reverie by a small hand bringing to me yellow flowers, (or as he says "lellow" flowers, so pretty", he can't say his "y's yet.), placing the small blossoms into my hand with a delicacy that belies his youth.

This, of course, reminded me of all of the yellow flowers I had brought to my Aunt Dorothy, who wasn't really my aunt, but I loved keenly.

Aunt Dorthy was a older woman, a friend of my mother's. She was much older then my mother, and was in very poor health. Because of this, all of the women in our church each took a day a week or month to help her out.  My mother went every Tuesday, while others went less often or more often, depending on their situation.

Aunt Dorthy had a large pink plastic bowl with a lid that had the words "Dot's Candy" on it. Which to me as a child, was amazing. I had never seen a bowl filled with candy anywhere else in my small life.

I'm not sure just exactly when I learned, but I can't remember a time when I didn't know, if you brought Aunt Dorthy flowers, she would roll over on her homemade wheelie chair, reach down to the bottom cabinet in her tiny kitchen, and pull out her candy bowl. Then she would take off the lid, thrust it out to you, as she manipulated her false teeth in her mouth with her tongue, saying, "take a piece, oh, go on take another, those flowers were really pretty".

I love that little hand as he pointed out how pretty that one was
The day my mother would go to her house to help her, by changing the sheets, doing laundry, and what ever else she did there, I would be sent outside to play. Typically, I would bring many books and read outside under the willow trees that framed her yard. Sometimes I would play with the children that lived next door. If fact some of those children have grown up to be my dearest friends, even to this day.

Looking back, I now realized my mother looked forward to these days with Aunt Dorthy. While the work was the same as it was at home, the comradery of doing these tasks while visiting with a kind friend, who was grateful for the help, must have been a boost to her. I know there was very little of the grateful at home for my mother.

At some point during the day, either alone or with one of the neighboring children, I would search the yard for some "flowers" to pick, I am sorry to say, only thinking of the candy. Typically, the only specimens to be had, reliably, were dandelions. So, most of the time, these were the flowers picked.

The delivery to Aunt Dorthy will always be on of my fondest memories. After a timid knock on the kitchen door, she would welcome you in, demand you come over for a hug, where she would pull you in to her ample bosom, saying, "what have we here? Flowers! I love flowers. You deserve a piece of candy, come, let's see what is in my bowl!"

My mother would say, "Naomi, what do you say?" Aunt Dorthy would counter with, "No, no Margie, I'm thanking her for the lovely flowers, not the other way around. Come here, give me a kiss." Aunt Dorthy was kindness personified.

Which is why, when my little guy brought me flowers today, I gave him a hug, while considering silently,

about getting my own version of Dot's Candy bowl for the future.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lost in Translation

A quilt I made for a niece's wedding present,
which, as is often the case,
has nothing to do with the words on this page, sigh
.


I am finding,
memories of words said
have new meanings,
as I recollect them.
(or I am hoping for new meanings?)

Sentences,
previously,
lost in the translation
of time,
bring greater comprehension. 
(or do I hope for a understanding long denied?)

Years were fraught with
opportunities to
misunderstand,
now there aren't any minutes
or hours
or days left.
(or was our time together the sum of cross purposes?) 










Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cooking


Something in progress...God alone knows what it is going to be. 

I have a friend who use to say to her family each time she made a meal, it is the one millionth meal she has made for them. This started to run a bit thin with her audience, so her husband, who worked in the numbers arena, actually figured out it was more like the  hundred thousandths range.

Dispiriting to be found out so mercilessly, don't you think?

It does feel like the millionth meal. Sometimes even more.

I like to cook. I like to bake. Sometimes I even love to do both of these domestic tasks.



Take today for instance. I am in a high drive cooking mode. I have made so far this morning; potato leek soup. Kabocha Soup, (a squash we grew in our garden, and froze a zillion packets of, which I now feel over compelled to make something with it, I might be exaggerating on the actual count of packets), egg salad, and I am now taking a break before I start the bread to rise.

Hence, I am writing this ode to cooking.



Chocolate Cookies, of course.
I started cooking the meals for family when I was twelve years old. My mother went to work, and announced it would now be my responsibility to plan, shop, and make dinner. I was slightly acquainted with how to cook, I was very acquainted with cleaning up after others who had cooked, but planning was a new venue for me to enter.

One of my many brothers, purchased for me the cook book From Julia Child's Kitchen, and later the Joy of Cooking.  Both proved very useful for my entrance into the culinary world.  I realize in hindsight, these gifts to me were partly for him too, as my first attempts were checkered. My mother was such an old had at cooking, she had very few recipes written down.

Like the time I made meatballs and spaghetti, not knowing that a clove of garlic wasn't the entire bulb. The recipe called for two whole cloves of garlic. I stopped peeling after I have finished the first bulb, and thought, this is enough, surely they will not miss the other clove.

Tomatoes from last summer's garden. 
That evening, while we all seated around the table, my mother inquired of me, "how much garlic did you put in the meatballs?" I looked at her with shame as I relayed I had only put in the one clove as I was tired of peeling the little things.  This lead to further inquiry on her part, only to have revealed to me, a clove was one of these little individual things I had been peeling, for what seemed like forever.

My brother, the one who gave me the cook books, said dryly, "we won't need any heat in the house tonight".

I'm not sure how many meals I have actually made. Some days it truly feels like a million or more. Some days, I have zero, I repeat, zero inspiration, as I view the ingredients in my larder. Others, like today, I am inspired.

It is a gift, cooking for those we love. I have often felt like it is a tangible way to show how much these people mean to me. Watching them eat, and enjoy the food I have prepared gives me great joy.

As does the anticipation of their coming home to me,
at the end of the day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sweden Shop


Baby Clothes at Sweden Shop


A few weeks ago my two daughters, one baby grandson, and I went to the Sweden Shop on Foster in Chicago. It was an outing I had been looking forward to, and I am please to say, I wasn't disappointed. It has been a long standing tradition for us to visit this place. I'm not sure if it's the store or the outing that is the focus, but none the less, off we went.


While the Sweden Shop isn't a earth shattering destination, it is always warm, and pleasant, both in environment, and in experience. E and KR and Henry, and I all set out late morning, hoping to miss the traffic. E finished up some work, played with her baby boy in the back seat, KR was shot gun, while I drove.

Dishes, I love at the shop


The Gods were with us. The traffic was light, a parking place was available right in front of the store, the sun was shining, and all was well.

We entered the store, greeting the staff like it was old home week. We pursued the store's wares, text the owner to see if she was around, (she was), we all chattered back and forth about what we would purchase; fabric, yarn, baby clothes, licorice, clogs? Planning all the while to head next door for a light snack at Tre Kroner after our shopping.

Of course, there are foxes too!







While this may all sound very pedestrian, in reality, it is not.  These daughters of mine are best friends. Something I thought might never happen, after watching them scuffle, and snarl at one another in their childhood.  They had golden moments as well, but I still wondered if they would grow together or apart as siblings sometimes do.

I love the way they refer to each other as "sister", or plan sister-moon* trips, meet up for coffee, take walks, trade leftovers, split cookies, and support one another.



Baby boy with Patti, the owner of the shop,
 two of my favorite people!




I am frequently out of the loop in the relationship they have cultivated. That is okay. It is their relationship. One that delights me to watch.

Which is why this little excursion is so sweet, and lovely to me. I was blessed to be a part of the day they shared with each other as it's joy overflowed onto me.



*Sistermoon is similar to the proverbial honeymoon trip. The two of them love planning trips together, some they take, some they don't.








Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Open Door



Clementine, who has nothing whatsoever to do with this poem.
We've got an open door.

Though,
the windows might be closed.

We've all got dreams.

Though,
the dreams might be nightmares.

We've all got songs.

Though,
all the words might be out of tune.

We've all saved

Though,
the loss is all there is.








Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Small Victories

A baby doll I made, which has nothing
to do with this post, per usual. 

Today is a day of small victories. Well, actually, minuscule victories. World peace was not attained, climate change wasn't changed, politics still don't make sense (even to the most casual observer), and the first day of spring wasn't spring like, in fact it was mostly just really, really cold.


None the less, my small (or shall we say minuscule victories?) made this day nothing less then delightful.

I will spare you the tedious list of various activities I was engaged in, but I will share the one constant experience that glued my day together so cheerfully.

I always found a parking place right where I needed it, when I needed it.

So small. So inconsequential. So not necessary for a good life. Though I must say, it really did add a spring to my step, on this day of the vernal equinox. So, overall, I felt much more benevolent towards the  people I encountered,  not that I don't usually feel this way, but it was easier somehow.


My mother always said, "when people aren't behaving well, and as we know, poor behavior never goes out of style, it usually is because they aren't happy, so give them some space."

I'm thinking maybe a parking space can make all of the difference.

As the cold spring air blew across Lake Michigan, under my coat, chilling my hands, and on my face, finding a parking spot allowed me to be on time, not chilled to the bone, and grateful for life's small gifts.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Parade love into every room...


Himself with grandson #1

I awoke this morning,
bereft.

I had dreamed such beauty.
You were at the heart of it.

Then.
I opened my eyes.
You were not there.

You had made your
silent escape,
while I slept.

When we were young,
I felt your leaving,
glad for you to go.

Now we are older.
Leaving
has darker implications,
I dread to think of.



So now;

I parade your love
in parking lots,
while switching car seats,
(of grandchildren at nursery schools)
in stores of concrete floors
(which make my knees hurt)
in rooms of every sort.
(while our children look on with puzzlement)

Knowing now,
time has always been fleeting,
just not your love.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Baby Days


And here are the objects of my post. 


Well, today is Friday.


For some this means going out for a drink with fellow co-workers. For others, date night, some others it may mean something even more varied then my tried mind can think of as I write these words.

For me Friday means the start of two days without::

1. Diapers to be changed.
2. Nursery school pick-up.
3. Apples cut into slices arranged on non-breakable plate in a floral arrangement.
4. Treat for going to the potty. (What's good for the two year old is good for the grandma)
5. A floor clear of wooden toy trains and baby toys gone awry.

It also means the start of two days without:

1. Spontaneous, small arm  hugs wrapped around my knees, with an upturned face smiling at me.
2. Coos, raspberries, and squeals of enjoyment from two six month old babies.
3. Contagious giggles over unexpected events.
4. Pure unadulterated love, without condition or expectation.
5. Reading story after story after story after story, one more time.

I am glad I am able to care for these little ones, I am also glad to be intimately acquainted with their lives, and their parent's lives too. And while, someday I feel my age acutely, I feel renewed by their love.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Seduced by Electronics



My spouse, mi esposo, mio marito, mon mari, of just shy of forty years, is my friend, no matter the language.

In fact, we hardly need language to communicate to one another, which is handy as he isn't what one would call a big talker.  Unless, of course, he is recounting his golf shots he takes in the backyard, describing why the loft on his sand wedge is just what he had hoped or how a line of programming code is eluding him in the function he was hoping to achieve.

He loves to swing imaginary golf clubs everywhere, everywhere. To his credit he has a beautiful swing. When we met, he had planned to be a golf pro. He chose another course, no pun in tended, as he felt it was a rough lifestyle for a family, and he wanted a family. He rarely plays on a real course, but his backyard has seen him hone his putting, sand wedge shots, and patience. I have never heard him complain at the lack of playing time, which considering his YouTube profile of golf videos, is exemplary.

His profession ended up in the Information Technology field, in other words, computers. This path has work out well, though it does keep him inside.

He is excellent at explaining things to small children, like the time he substituted for my Sunday school class,and successfully taught them all how to do bicycle hand signals. When you think about it, bicycle hand signals are great metaphor for life. One way or another it is always helpful to communicate just where you are headed, so those around you can anticipate your next move.

One of my favorite things about my husband is this: he is thoughtful. While this thoughtfulness plays out in interesting ways, it is in his tangible gifts, I find this the most delightful.

For my birthday one year, he gave me a power surge protector, when asked why, his response, "I thought you needed one for your computer."  Always looking out for me. For my thirtieth birthday, a portable house phone, before the days of mobile phones. His logic? With four small children running around, it would make my like easier if I could take the phone with me, instead of leaving a child unattended. For Valentine's Day? An I-Pod. He thought it would be nice for me to have portable music when I walked off the baby weight after our fourth child. All of these examples show how quirky, kind, and dear he is to me.

His latest gift? A small boom box, which as I write, sits upon my desk, keeping me company. I had mentioned I wished I could listen to the old WFMT Midnight Special programs we had taped in our youth off off the radio. We listened to this program on Saturday nights while we played with our first baby.

This small electronic wonder arrived several days after I had verbalized this desire. He has once again seduced my heart with electronics, and thoughtfulness.




Saturday, March 3, 2018

Small

Recent watercolor, which once again has little or nothing to do with anything,
least of all this poem. 


Moments build
small mountains
between people.

My mountains
grow without
aid of volcanic lava.

Maybe eruptions.
while sometimes unexpected,
purge pain,
retarding the growth
of heartache.

Though while my heart aches,
my mountains
feel ragged
with sharp cuts,
from cutting words.

Now,
I'm without words,
without tears,
longing for both.

Hoping for:
healing from
salt water,
even while it burns.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Solid Ground

So, it is snowing, again...

Is it possible to sink on solid ground?

Apparently, it is.

As I have been doing so all  week.


It takes time to come around,

to notice,

to observe,

to slip between the picture

and the solid ground.


It feels like shoes don't fit,

like all my dreams were just in my sleep.