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New Moon Storm

It was a dark and wet ride home last night, a new moon Nor’easter,

But I was tired enough to sleep through the night without hearing it.

This morning the cat was hidden somewhere she thinks is safe;

I’d like to hide myself there too, I think.

But this morning my prayer group email is entitled “Clarity,”

and it seems true.

The Universe seems to be aligned,

I think there is also an eclipse.

Fitting that the trees have been cleared of leaves,

Their structure revealed, a kind of clarity,

My life changes revealed, I feel a surge of creativity.

After months of distractions and busy-ness,

I know what I want to say and I want to blab it!

But I have to work.

Ironically these are the days when it is hardest to work –

High energy days when it is almost impossible to stay where I am,

To sit and stay focused.

I’m like a horse pawing the ground,

Resenting the bridle and the rider, work and responsibility,

Let me go, says the voice inside,

Let me go with the wind and the leaves…

 

P.S. This was written totally off the cuff as a stream of consciousness in response to the Daily Post Prompt: Ready, Set, Done, so excuse grammatical and punctation problems…take it for what it is. It is written like a poem because it seemed liked random thoughts to me as a they came…more like a poem than prose. Hope you enjoy it!



{September 30, 2014}   A Walk in the Country

Wompatuck State Park

Wompatuck picnic table

Every Sunday I try to head out for a picture-taking excursion and nature walk. Sometimes I encounter lovely little surprises I don’t expect — animals or interesting plants — that I document on my other blog. Often I have what I call “adventures”  — a right place/right time moment — meet some people and chat briefly. But mostly I soak up the peace and relaxation I need to get myself through my busy week. This Sunday I didn’t have a lot of time so I decided to go to a local park called Wompatuck.

I pulled into the entrance and…stopped. In front of me there was a line of cars…hmmm. I hadn’t been there in years, but I didn’t remember there being a fee to get in. I could see someone stopping cars at the entrance, but I didn’t see any money being exchanged. The line was moving…my turn…”Are you here for the event?” I was asked. I replied, “No,” and was told to “drive on through.”  Oh-oh, this might not be the peaceful walk I had envisioned…but there’s over 3000 acres here, I should be alright.

I squeezed through an area of cars parked on both sides of the road: state policemen with vests and park rangers. Then I drove by a field with a stage set-up, a bouncy house, and various other tents. No time to stare — I had to pay attention to my driving as there were many people milling about and I didn’t want to hit anyone. I was beginning to regret my decision to come there, but I didn’t have time to turn around and figure out somewhere else to go. I told myself to make the best of it and drove on. Anxious to get away for my quiet walk, I drove about 3/4 mile down the road and found a place to pull over and park my car. I figured I would walk for 1/2 hour and then turn around and walk back.

It was a warm and sunny fall day and many bicyclists passed me as I snapped pictures of the woodsy setting and the first bit of color of the season. I began to relax and enjoy myself. Thinking about future excursions, I picked up a map at the camp ground office located there then turned around to walk back to my car.

fall road

Early fall

Just over halfway back  I heard a woman singing. Her beautiful voice urged me on and I walked a little faster toward it. There was a picnic table in a clearing so I thought I would sit down and listen for a bit. As I approached the table I could see the woman standing with a man seated on a stool playing a guitar by a trail. There were people running by. Ahh…I thought, it’s a road race. [turns out it was an event sponsored by a local country radio station to benefit a local hospital...click here if you want to find out more]

picnic table

Peaceful Picnic Table

As I walked over to get a closer look, I saw another photographer taking pictures of the runners. We passed each other and she smiled and said “hello.” I recognized it was going to be one of my “adventure” days and decided to embrace whatever was going on. Today was not the day for just a quiet walk; it was a time to be sociable. I decided to walk over to take some shots and told the woman I thought she had a wonderful voice. She thanked me and gave me her card; her name was Erin Ollis. Check out some of her songs on her web site!

Erin Ollis

Erin Ollis on the Trail

 

 

When I got back to my car I decided to drive down the road a bit to see what I would see. The map I had picked up showed a boat ramp on a pond. I thought I could drive there to take some pictures, but it turned out I couldn’t, however… there was another singer! My adventure was continuing…so out of the car I went to check him out.

 

 

Alec MacGillivray

Alec MacGillivray

 

I didn’t talk to him, but I took his picture and listened a bit. He was at the top of a long gradual hill, and as I watched the runners and walkers struggling toward me I decided to do my part to cheer them on. I began to walk in the opposite direction (downhill) and offer encouragment. Once I started walking, I just kept going. Someone said, “You’re going the wrong way!”

runners

Runners Struggling up the Long Hill

As I went farther along I saw some volunteers handing out water to the participants. They were happy to pose for a picture for me!

Volunteers

Volunteers

I looked at my watch and saw it was time to head back to my car; I had someplace to go. I smiled the whole way back though. I had gone out for a quiet walk in the country. I got some country alright! In a very small way I shared in the goodwill and caring of a lot of people on a gorgeous fall day; I felt part of humanity instead of running away from it, and it helped me forget some of the negative stories in the news lately.

 Country Heals. In more ways than one.

Country Heals

Country Heals

 

NOTE: IF YOUR PICTURE APPEARS HERE AND YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT DOWN, LET ME KNOW.




Forgive me my absence. Being “time-challenged” I tend to be late for events, but working two jobs tends to make time fly in a broader way…fall already???

I had a weekend off from job number 2 and decided to take a couple days off from job number 1 and have a party! (Not really, just relax a bit.)

So I came home Friday night at the start of my four days of bliss to…a water leak in my apartment — sopping wet ceiling tiles on the floor of my closet. REALLY???

My landlady came over with her maintenance guy (another tenant) and I began removing things from my one and only packed closet to the living room: the only place I had any space. As I discovered wet journals and photo albums, I felt my stomach turn over…why does it have to be the things that I can’t replace?

We determined that there was some kind of invisible water buildup that had expended itself; there didn’t seem to be anything still leaking. Also, thank goodness it was NOT toilet water from the upstairs apartment. (This had happened before to tenants before me!) So…that was BLESSING NUMBER 1.

As I went through the wet journals, I discovered that many of those that were soaked were unused or partially used ones; only two of the wet books were actually filled with my life’s story. Most of the dripping papers were typed and printed poems, not penned material. Also, the small stack of literary publications that contained my published poetry were completely dry and undamaged…BLESSING NUMBER 2.

I was a bit teary about the photos, so my landlady offered to stay and help me get the photos out of the plastic-pocketed albums so they could dry out and be salvaged at least for scanning. It turned out only 4 albums were soaked; the rest were dry…BLESSING NUMBER 3.

We talked about people who lose everything in hurricanes and fires as we sat on the floor and cut open and discarded the photo album plastic pages. Surrounded by pictures, we talked about life in general, what we had been through, and what we were grateful about. My landlady joked as she held up some of the photos and asked me about them. “Everybody has these same photos,” she said, “Backyard barbecues, weddings, and scenery.”

At 11:00 pm, with barely a path to walk in the living roon, we finished the salvation project.

photos on floor

Photos, Photos Everywhere

Photos

A path through the photos

The next morning as I gathered up the curled photos and tried to group them by subject or timeframe to put them in shoeboxes, I found myself thinking about what I learned from the experience. I found that some pictures were generic…without the context of the other pictures from each book, where was this tree? This seashore? This sunset? Did I really need these? As part of an overall impression of a place or a trip or a moment in time, they were important, but as pictures on their own, what did they tell me?

There’s always a positive takeaway from moments like these, if you look for it. It’s just another step on the downsizing journey to learning what is important. It’s just…life.



{August 25, 2014}   Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge

Cee’s right…there are definitely those photos that you don’t know what to do with but you can’t throw away…

Blue Car, Blue Building

Blue Car, Blue Building



{August 18, 2014}   Like a Bad Penny…

Punk Rock, Pet Rock

Punk Rock

You know what they say about a “bad penny”? You don’t? I had to look it up as I was writing this. Not sure it fits exactly, because it is not turning up multiple times, unwanted…but this little treasure just turned up in our recent forage through shed boxes. I had thrown it out back in the 80s, but here it was still kicking around. My father would sometimes “rescue” things we kids threw out, thinking they might be worth something or we might regret it later. I guess this was one of those items.

Of course there’s a story behind it. (Isn’t there always?) It once reminded me of a painful experience. But thanks to the blessings of perspective and maturity, it now makes me feel something completely the opposite. It now represents the love and caring of dear friends. What a difference years can make…

I thought I’d tell the story here and then toss it once again. (And hope it doesn’t return…it smells BAD! The cats think its musty mousy smell is VERY interesting, but I do not.)

Cat with Punk Rock

Mmm…smells good…

I’ll keep the details a little vague to protect the innocent. :-)

Flashback to my club-going days: Jane, Julie and I were planning to see a former member of one of our favorite bands perform an acoustic set. We were looking forward to seeing him because the band had been broken up for while and we missed them. I don’t think he knew that I had received a phone call a few days before asking if I was coming. His friend and I had once had acknowledged but unconsummated feelings for each other. I didn’t want to be “the other woman” and he always seemed to have a girlfriend. For a long time I had held out hope that when he was done “playing the field” that we’d get together. Not sure how long it had been at that point since I had seen him, but was this the night? I started the night anticipating the reunion.

We got there a little early and our musician friend came over to chat before his set. Naturally the conversation included chit-chat on what his old bandmates and our mutual acquaintances were doing. He tossed a grenade without realizing it: his friend was engaged to be married! Julie and Jane looked at me…Luckily my face froze in a smile. I felt like it was obvious, but I guess it wasn’t, as he just kept on talking. When the smoke cleared, in walked the former “man of my dreams.” He came over and sat down next to me and Julie and Jane soon excused themselves saying they needed to get something at the store down the street.  I guess it was lucky that I already knew so I could give him my congratulations in a fairly convincing way. I even asked about some other guys he knew, making him think I might be after them!

Jane and Julie returned and said, “We saw this, and thought of you!” It was the Punk Rock! They didn’t have much choice at a Store 24, but it was the thought that counts. Somehow I got through the night without cracking, clutching my gift, knowing my friends understood and were with me. We walked back to the car after it was over; I touched the door handle and the tears poured down unstoppable. I cried the whole ride home.

A couple of weeks later, Jane bumped into the guy on the street. They stopped and talked for a few minutes. Apparently I put on a pretty convincing performance that night. He thought I didn’t care; she told him otherwise. He said he might write me a letter, but I never saw or heard from him again. As I moved on with my life, the Punk Rock did not come along. It reminded me of something I didn’t want to be reminded of, so I threw it away. But here it is like a bad penny…

But we are SO dramatic when we are young, aren’t we? Now it is just fodder for a blog post.

 




Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Thank Goodness for Buffy The Vampire Slayer

We all have certain things that never fail to cheer us up, or at least help us to tolerate the less-than-perfect times. It is with a giggle I admit how often I have turned to Buffy in the last year.

One year ago I moved to my tiny apartment. Even with very little space, I decided to lug along my big, heavy TV with the built-in VCR and DVD players to put in my bedroom. As senseless as it may have seemed at the time, I have been grateful for it many times in the last year. Like when it took three appointments with three different technicians to get my cable and Internet running properly. As I was trying to settle in and find comfort in my new space I was able to turn to my “old technology” TV and pull out my Buffy the Vampire Slayer series DVDs. Ah…the clothes, the silliness, the witty writing…and the familiar characters…it was good to see them again. I didn’t feel so lonely and so lost.

A year later I was again having trouble with my cable and Internet; I’m up to Season Three now…and I’m grateful…again. I even told the customer service person on the phone about Buffy. When I couldn’t get a technician to come out for two days she said, “Well, I guess you’ll be watching Buffy again tonight!” And we laughed. I’ll bet she was grateful too… Buffy helped her not to have to deal with a frustrated customer.

And within that year I had a month and a half when my cable-connected living room TV was broken (it was the holidays…too much going on…then the TV repair man had to come out three times before he got the correct board to fix it). Buffy and my old TV kept me from feeling upset with things out of my control. After all, we have Buffy to protect us from the vampires and demons out to get us! :-)

And when I had a horrible migraine, a terrible day at work, and sat in the waiting room for an appointment that had been changed to another day? Buffy and a bloody mary (get it?) was the redeeming ending to my day that allowed me to go to sleep with the confidence that the next day would be better.

You definitely wouldn’t call it binge watching as after one year I am only in Season Three, but I’m savoring it…every moment.

Tell me, readers, do you have a movie or TV show  you turn to in the “tough” times?




Last October I wrote a post about the search for the elusive comic book: the one my father didn’t sell that we could sell now and solve everyone’s money woes.

Nine months later we continue to sort through old boxes, sorting out the family heirlooms or things we could sell at a yard sale, our own version of the lottery. Recently we found some approximately one-hundred-year old sheet music in pretty good shape. Once I got over the initial (false) excitement of thinking they might be financially worthwhile, my heart beat more normally and I became  interested in the history. I had taken a class in college on nationalism in children’s literature and found it very interesting. Now firsthand I was witnessing nationalism in another form: sheet music.

Many of the ones we found were copyrighted at the time of  WWI, and thus, this was their subject matter. You can’t get much more nationalistic than this one!

General Pershing song

WWI Nationalistic Sheet Music

How about this one?

 

Vintage Sheet Music

More Nationalistic WWI Sheet Music

According to Antique Roadshow, these are representative of the “golden age” of sheet music between 1890-1920, when people gathered in living rooms and played music for entertainment.

Because my grandfather was in Paris during WWI, I am interested in this time in U.S. history. This is one of my favorite photos of him.

My Grandfather in Paris during WWI

My Grandfather in Paris during WWI

 

I have been considering creating my own “display” in my home with my grandfather’s photo and some “doughboy” toy soldiers. Finding this sheet music may just give me the impetus to do it. I’m thinking now I will frame one of these treasures to add to my display. Since according to Antique Roadshow, they are affordable collectibles, we probably won’t sell them.

But I’m torn. The nationalistic ones are interesting from a historical perspective, but I fell in love with the artwork on some of the others — their colors and style.

sheet music

Vintage Sheet Music

 

vintage sheet music

Colorful Vintage Sheet Music

 

Certainly I can’t be greedy, I’m sure my brothers and sister-in-laws may be interested…and I certainly don’t have the room for more than two. It will be hard to choose, don’t you think?

In the meantime, I’m learning about history and antiques, and the search for the elusive comic book goes on.



{June 25, 2014}   Gotta Love Grandmothers

Clippings

Clippings

The other day my mother and I were going over more boxes. (They are endless!) My paternal grandmother died years ago, but there are still boxes of stuff hanging around that were cleaned out of her house. My father never got a chance to sort through them before he passed away. My mother is determined to dig into the sheds and get through them during the summer months. (It’s easier emotionally than going through my father’s stuff or her own…besides, this stuff is OLD and smelly and she can do it outside.)

My grandmother was a clipper, especially as her memory started to go and she stayed inside all the time. She clipped out recipes, she clipped out poems, she clipped out news stories. There are many boxes just full of yellowed newspaper clippings. Why don’t we just toss them you might ask? Well, here’s a perfect example of why we don’t.

In one box my mother found an old Reader’s Digest envelope labeled in my grandmother’s neat writing: All Susan’s Clippings.

My grandmother had cut out the articles published in the local newspaper for every time I made the honor roll or appeared in the school play. They were tucked into my high school graduation program. Her efforts were touching enough, but I found a treasure in there.

I mentioned in previous posts that the first poem I ever had published was in the editorial section of The Boston Globe. I had just turned 16 at the time, so even though it is a “silly” poem, I’m still proud of it. But I didn’t have a copy. I’m sure I kept one at the time, but it was easily misplaced over the course of many moves and 40 years. Bless my grandmother…there was a copy in her little envelope! Nobody but a diehard Red Sox fan would probably understand it, but here it is…

Red Sox Poem

My First Published Poem



{June 18, 2014}   Celebrity Sightings

Lately they have been happening all AROUND me but not TO me…other people telling me about their celebrity sightings. Last week John Wayne’s son came in to the liquor distributor I work for to promote his bourbon, “The Duke.” Meanwhile I was in holed up in a co-worker’s office getting some training. I had no idea he was there until after the fact.

I also just found out a TV actress came in to the restaurant where I hostess every other Saturday. It just so happens her father lives in the small town where it is located and likes the place, so they came in for a Father’s Day meal. Hmmm…it was my weekend off…missed that too.

A Facebook friend has a friend who just saw Viggo Mortensen at a store in Idaho…Aragon in Idaho, go figure…must have been filming somewhere around there. (I admit that story fluttered my heart for just a moment…though it was the farthest removed from me. I am a big admirer of him as a modern-day renaissance man.)

I was working on this post yesterday and didn’t finish it, and then — Voila! — The Daily Post topic today is “Instant Celebrity.”  Am I on track with The Universe on this?

The question The Daily Post asked is this: if you could be a celebrity, who would you be? Hmmm…That’s a tough question for me. I think it is easier to say who I WOULDN’T want to be…Alec Baldwin? Miley Cyrus? Kim Kardashian? I wouldn’t want to be anyone who is known for outlandish behavior. To me, they have no ethics, no personal integrity. But I don’t want to go off on a rant about people doing ANYTHING for attention or money; I’ll save that for another post. :-)

To seriously try to answer the question — I would want to be a brilliant but reclusive writer (maybe Margaret Atwood or Joan Didion) or a well-off philanthropist (Melinda Gates or Oprah). But perhaps the reason The Universe has not provided me with that gift is that I wouldn’t handle it well. Maybe being famous would turn me into Alec Baldwin (EEK!) because I don’t like being the center of attention.

Going back to the actress in the restaurant…my friend told me people were approaching her and asking to have their pictures taken with her. Bless her, she obliged, but I think it would get pretty annoying trying to have a nice quiet Father’s Day dinner with a loved one who you probably don’t have much time to see, and being interrupted by fans.

Naw…I don’t think I would want to be a celebrity.

 



{June 11, 2014}   Working through a Migraine

puddle with pollen

Pollen Murking up the Puddles

I had a rough day at work yesterday; the thunderstorms and weather change brought on a migraine at a busy time. My stress at being unable to control what is happening to me exacerbates it, but it is hard to calm myself down. I know no one on the outside knows what is happening inside my head; I fear they think I am stupid when I can’t get things right. Can anyone relate?

This poem is what I got out of a bad day.

Migraine

When it comes, the torture begins:

I am plunged under water and

struggle to do the simplest thing –

Breath, hold on –

as the numbers and words enter

my whooshing ears,

they are dashed around

inside my head,

flipped over against

the rocks of pain over my eyes;

behind them, I mentally write white

upon a black backdrop

so I can see what I hear,

try to send them in a slow-motion rush

through my hands, through my pen,

backwards like a photo negative,

Black on white –

Make sense, I pray,

please

make sense,

hang on

until you are released

and the water recedes.



et cetera
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