Friday, November 20, 2015

The sky is blue, and so I write

The sky is blue after days of cement gray,
wintry, angry days.
I am the whirlwind of dried up leaves,
a familiar, ancient smell.
Still, the waxing, crescent moon rises,
promising a fullness
in a night sky of stars.

The Mary Oliver Book Club met this week, so I try my hand at poetry, which I rarely do,
because the layering that poetry requires escapes me.  Still, it is an exercise in gratitude and humility.
Almost everything these days is an exercise in humility.

I'm better at doggerel derivative of A.A. Milne:

For Sam's Sixth Birthday

Samuel is six, t-rummy, tum-tum!
That's counting five fingers and using a thumb.
He's six, not five;
All of his family is glad he's alive,
And that he's six. He's not a tyke--
He's old enough to ride a bike.
Samuel is six.
Hang out the flag and beat the drum.
Samuel is six, t-rummy, tum-tum!

Today he's thirty-six. Happy Birthday, baby boy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Goblin Valley for Halloween



Cless and Sue

A great place for playing hide and seek
Cless and Sue invited us to their September Cottage above Torrey this weekend. The weather was
crisp and clear.  We drove Highway 12 into Escalante, which has been largely gentrified.  I must say I do love those red brick pioneer houses all fixed up again ready to use for another 150 years.
Then we watched Galaxy Quest that night where the crew of a spaceship land right in Goblin Valley.
We had a theme going.

We played Parcheesi where Cless and I were battered again and again and Tom won with Sue in pursuit.  Good food and good company.  I asked them to adopt us, but they hesitated.  They hesitated.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The second grade chicken

The last time my mother actually bought me a Halloween costume was the year I was in second grade. It covered me fully.  I was one hundred percent chicken.

We sat in a half circle while Miss Ipson tried to guess who each child was.  Princesses were easy.

I sat quietly behind my chicken head. My voice could give me away, and I wasn't going to let this happen.  She went through each child and had to skip me and finish.  Then she came back to me.
She had the children help her. Finally, she opened her roll book and went down the roll to see
who was missing.  "Louise," she cried. "It's Louise!"

And it was. I removed my mask and grinned insanely for the rest of the afternoon.

Best Halloween ever.

After that, I was left to my own devices and put together hobo costumes for the rest of elementary school. I am partial to homemade hobos, although you seldom see one anymore.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hold it in your hands, and if it gives you joy . . .

I haven't read the de-cluttering book that gives the above advice, but everyone in the world has quoted it to me.  We are going to move in a few months back downtown and so I have been chucking out stuff and making trips to the D.I.

Yesterday, I cleaned under my kitchen sink and the laundry room.  Why am I holding a full gallon of Spray and Wash?  Why would I ever buy a gallon jug of Spray and Wash when the original Spray and Wash is only half empty? On the whole, laundry doesn't interest me much.

It didn't give me joy.  So I dumped part of it into the original sprayer and threw out the rest.

Why do I have a gallon jug of hand cleaner?  It's orange, ugly and I don't like it.  No joy.  Throw it out.  Two gallons of rug cleaner.  Out

800 pounds of wheat from the 1960's that I've kept through all the moves.  And still the Zombie apocalypse has not come. I find this hard to dump.  It's in these neat tins and we did the whole dry ice thing and the wheat is still good.  Keep 100 pounds.

I had a lot of pairs of shoes that gave no joy.  I had blouses I hadn't worn in a year.  One yellow suit that I wore at Anne's wedding.  Out

I have an incredible collection of moisturizers, none of which make me look any younger. Out.

Board games.  Throw everything out but Parcheesi.  Parcheesi is our game.

How many writing notebooks does anyone need? And yet, they give me joy.  Never throw out writing notebooks. Or photographs.

Tom and I will have to duke it out over which books go.

I have given away extra cookwear, a fondue pot with all its forks, extra bowls, a set of IKEA dishes, extra coats and I'm about to give away a bundle of scarves.  I love scarves but they make me hot.  Same with necklaces.

Out. Out. Out.  Then take a cleansing breath.

Monday, October 26, 2015

How the dying triumphed

Trish, in Kansas, noted that she'd rather hear about the triumphs of the dying than their regrets. This made me wonder if hospice workers actually ask that question: what do you regret about your life?
And is there any point in asking such a question except to give the rest of us a heads-up.

How did you triumph in life? I like that question.

I made it through junior high.
I always had friends.
I got every job I applied for.
I liked participating in sports.
I had some astonishing creative moments.
I had some astonishing teaching moments.
I had some astonishingly inappropriate moments.
I raised four sons who grew up to be really nice guys.  They make me laugh my head off.
My husband was my best friend.
I perked up my surroundings.
I read lots of books. I read poetry!
Sometimes I was super organized!
I was good at doing nothing.
I made people laugh till snot ran out of their noses.
I yelled at God.
My grandchildren are all brilliant.
I dined at fine restaurants.
I had a beach house.
Tom and I did what we wanted. We did it.  We did what we wanted.
I sang loud.
I did nothing like my parents. And I loved my parents.
I laughed like a horse.
I was loyal as a dog.
It wasn't easy; I was often scared out of my britches, but I did it.
The rest of it no longer matters.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What dying people regret

A palliative care nurse in Australia, Bonnie Ware, made this list of dying people's regrets.  Here are the ten most frequent:

1. I never pursued my dreams.
2. I played it too safe.
3. I wish I'd let myself be happier.
4. I didn't take care of myself.
5. I worked way too much.'
6. I lost touch with old friends.
7. I needed to forgive more.
8. I didn't truly express myself.
9. I should have listened to my parents.
10. I could have left a bigger legacy (touching the lives of others).

Do any of these pinch?

Tom's Birthday

Yesterday was Tom's 76th birthday and it was a good one.  We ate lunch out and I quizzed him about Hugenberg, Nazi industrialist who owned a controlling part of UFA (the film company). Tom has a box of Hugenberg's letters and other research that he never wrote on.  It sits under our garage.  I've decided to use some of it for a project I've begun.

Tom enjoys talking about his research and I am an eager listener. Happy Birthday, Tom. I'm listening.

We shopped for a new wallet, sold our piano, and I took a cake to art class where everyone was glad  it was Tom's birthday. He received well wishes on FB and gmails from sons.  Friday night we will celebrate with them and their spouses with dinner and a concert.

Good birthday? I asked.

He sat back in his seat. "This has been the best October of my life."

It can't get any better than that.