Sued51's Blog

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


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.

Veteran's Section Cemetary

Veteran’s Resting Place

Although Memorial Day in the U.S. started out as a holiday to honor the soldiers who have served the country during wartime — a day for parades and family cookouts — over the years it is has morphed into something completely different: a celebration of summer, the first three-day weekend after a long winter (in the North), or simply a chance for a short vacation. I’ve previously written about my memories of Memorial Day as a child, my enjoyment of the parades in my small hometown, my pride in my father who was a veteran of more than one war, so this change is not a welcome one to me.

I know I am not alone. For anyone without family or those who are going through troubles, economic or otherwise, “holidays” like these can be tough to stomach. It’s hard to block out the shreds of others’ conversations about vacations and social plans and how much they are “looking forward” to the long weekend. It’s hard to feel there is nothing wrong with treating these days as if they are any other or with celebrating them in a quiet or different way.

For some people, this is the right recipe to be cooked up for such a holiday: don’t compare yourself to others, don’t set up scenarios in your mind about what your life is “supposed” to be like. JUST ENJOY ONE MORE DAY IN YOUR LIFE.

I thought I would share a poem I wrote last year:

Alone on a Holiday

Holidays can be dreaded things:

the Social noise

salt on a wounded heart.

Silence feared, but solace found only there,

where the heart talks to itself

like a mumbling old fool –

Write it down;

Walk it off;


Enjoy the fresh air —

stop and watch the delicate butterflies

at their colorful buffet;

the bathing goldfinch, hopping joy,

in a puddle a passing cloud discarded —

those very clouds are the excuse I give

for the pall, the aimlessness, the gray mood —

but excuses are poor crutches.

Some days searching for some high purpose,

some philosophical answer is like ripping open a hornet’s nest

that no amount of home remedy can assuage.

Take a holiday,

Give up the game;

Read, rest, live.

{May 12, 2013}   Sunday Post: Mother’s Day

mother and daughter

My mother and Me

I usually do Jake’s Sunday Post on my other blog (Last Train to Qville).  But today I wanted to do a poetic tribute, rather than a photographic one.  I’m going to dinner with my mother today, and I’m really looking forward to it, even though we talk on the phone every day. She is a treasure in my life that I am very grateful for.


Many years ago you made my clothes,

Yellow birthday cake and scalloped potatoes;

Your only girl, you needed me girly,

Amongst the boys — I should be delicate, pretty —

Yet I climbed trees, ran rough and squirrely;

you endlessly brushed pine pitch from my hair,

Because I climbed trees and took the dares,

Of brothers who thought I should be like them —

And you loved me still.

When I favored my father, in interests and looks,

I wouldn’t learn to sew or cook, and

Seemed not to appreciate your skills —

You waited and you loved me still.

When we didn’t talk in teenaged years,

Sullen and silent, I hid my tears

in my room, alone;

You were stalwart and strong, let me find my way,

Through a new woman’s world –

it was a new day – you wished you could

steer me through, even though I seemed nothing like you,

and yet, you loved me anyway.

Then in my twenties I began to crochet,

to talk to you about my day;

I changed and

I listened to what you had to say and

found my voice a lot like yours.

We were women together against it all,

I wanted to be like you, stand tall.

I saw in you the strongest of the strong —

A beautiful bird with a glorious song.

Every step in your amazing life,

You weathered with dignity — all the strife

The hard times, the sacrifice.

Now here you are in your later years:

my ally, my protector, my grace —

I have found beside you, a daughter’s place.

You have been there all along, waiting for me,

To join you there and see its beauty,

A place where my love is too strong to sever

The place where I will love you forever.

Happy Mother’s Day!


What was your favorite toy as a child? Was it a teddy bear? Not me — I had a stuffed donkey given to me by my godmother and godfather. I loved “Donken-in” as I called him and told him all my secrets. Unfortunately, the family dogs got a hold of him several times, and my mother was forced to repair him to assuage my tears. By the time I outgrew him, his ear was sewed back on; his tail was sewed back on; every one of his feet were a mass of stitches. But that never mattered to me; I loved him no matter what.

My cats have favorite toys too. And I repair them and repair them and repair them.

At Christmas time I wrote a blog about homemade toys.  Here’s a picture of the toy right after I made it.

Home-made cat toy

This toy has become a favorite to my tiger cat, Aimee. She plays with it everyday. The other morning I woke up and the toy was on the floor by my bed. 🙂 Take a look at this pitiful thing now.

cat toy

6-months later: the taped toy

Every time Aimee tears a piece of foil off, I tape it back on. I swear the more tape that is on it, the more she loves it!

cat playing

Aimee playing with her favorite toy

My other cat, Zoee, on the other hand, loves this store-bought catnip toy.  It used to have feathers on it, which are now gone. The string has been knotted over and over. I have had to tape the end because she kept pulling it off the stick.

repaired cat toy

A close-up of the repairs to Zoee’s toy

But I keep repairing it…she loves it and wants to play with it every day. She will sometimes carry it in her mouth, dragging the stick behind (today we’re being lazy and just batting at it).

cat playing

Zoee’s “lazy” play

They have a ton of other toys, practically brand-new — because they don’t want to play with them. They want to play with these. So I guess until these toys are out of favor or abandoned, I will repair, repair, repair…

{December 25, 2012}   Home-made Gifts are Best

So…you know what they say…home-made gifts are most appreciated. Here’s the store-bought gift.

cat toy


And here’s the home-made gift: some pieces of leftover foil paper taped to a wine cork.

Home-made cat toy


Guess which gift is more popular?

cat with toy


Merry Christmas!!

{December 14, 2012}   “Tis the Season: Favorite Music!

Time to pull out the old holiday favorites: music, books, and films. Everybody has them. The Christmas music CDs that we love to hear, once a year, no matter how old they are; the movies we’ve seen a bazillion times, but it won’t seem like Christmas if we don’t watch them one more time.

My family has a 25-disc CD changer in our living room, which I usually load up with the Christmas CDs that I have acquired over the years. This year I had to break from tradition; unfortunately the receiver broke a while ago and we haven’t replaced it. My husband tends to be content with just turning to a music station on the TV, but I want to hear my favorite songs, so I decided I would load a few of my holiday CDs into my car, which  forced me to choose my favorites. Without further ado, here’s what I chose.

AmyGrantAmy Grant’s first Christmas Album satisfies my spiritual needs with a little bit of country; she combines gospel songs with some traditional, more commercial Christmas songs, into a very enjoyable collection.

JohnDenverAnother favorite oldy but goody for me is John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas Album. I think his voice and singing style are perfect for Christmas hymn-type songs, and I get the “western” feel.

ChristmasWishesI had to throw in a “various” CD with some really old carols. It’s not Christmas to me without hearing Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, the songs my parents played, reminding me of my childhood.

80'sMy guilty pleasure: The Big 80’s Christmas compilation because some of the songs and versions are pretty obscure (like the Squeeze song, , and I discovered and enjoyed them at a memorable time in my life.

BareNakedLadiesFinally, something more recent, the Bare Naked Ladies Christmas CD, mostly because I absolutely LOVE their version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” recorded live with Sarah McLachlan. A little wacky, like going to  your cousin’s Christmas party.

Obviously there are many other holiday CDs that I like (more than enough for me to fill the whole 25-CD changer — my honorable mention: Loreena McKennitt and Aimee Mann), and there are new Christmas CDs coming out all the time, but favorites are favorites. What are yours?

et cetera
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