Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nun on the Run

It was my third day in Assisi.  The first day that I had totally to myself after a whirlwind weekend of arrival facilitated by old friends, followed by a day in Umbertide with a host of new friends, enjoying an afternoon's celebration of birthdays.

After some grocery shopping at one of the supermarcati in Santa Maria that morning, and a relaxing lunch at my apartment, I took the first of what would become my daily ritual strolls through parts of the town.  My camera became an appendage, a growth that nestled nicely in the palm of my right hand, every ready for it's sole purpose in life, documenting everything I saw and wondered about.  I spent hours taking in sights and sounds during those weeks and my camera, my best friend, helped me focus in on the smallest of details while my brain took the bigger pictures. By the time I left, I knew every inch of the town.

On this particular afternoon, I walked all the way down the street of my little "home" and spent time exploring my neighborhood   I was satisfied that I was getting my bearings and I started back. As I reveled in the late afternoon's sunshine, the wind started to pick up, ever so slightly.  Evening had started its approach when I spotted the lovely young nun as she made her exit from the "Casa Reposo" home for the aged. I imagined she was a nurse.. As she walked up the street,  she clutched the edges of her sweater to brace against the chill and her short veil started to respond to the wind every so slightly. I wondered how aware she was of my presence as I followed her.  My camera was ready, waiting for the perfect time and place for what I imagined would become a lovely photo of Nun With Veil in Wind.  It never happened. The alacrity in her step prevented it. This was a woman with intention.  She was on a mission and I realized that it was not my mission any longer.  The time was hers and hers alone.

As she rounded the bend in the quiet street, she came to an open space which provided a view of the valley below.  She stopped for a few moments and gazed at the vista ahead, studying the scene.  Was she in quiet contemplation?  Was she praying?  Or, was it much closer to the home of every one who has ever been a caretaker.  Was she simply taking a break from the demanding work of elder care?  Were her patients all infirm?  Had she had it up to the tip of her veil with the task?  Had she just had a moment inside that made her wonder why she was there in the fist place?  So young.  Surrounded by so old, except for these moments, alone, with the wind catching her, sweeping her away to some place other than this one.

  This was the perfect scenario for me. I live for moments like this one. Scenes from real life in which I don't know all of the facts. Scenes that allow me to fill in the blanks and weave a story if only to entertain myself.

 I'm the kind of person who sees a pair of sneakers  hanging over a telephone wire in the street and wonders what were the last words of the person who threw them.  I'm always ready for the story, always waiting for that perfect moment when it all comes together. Who. What. When. Where.  Aren't these the Holy Grail of storytelling?  So, it was perfect and perfectly natural for me to weave a good one around the sight of the nun.

After a few moments to herself, Sister turned around and walked back to the door from which she had exited.  Back to work.  Back to the life she had chosen.  The one she had thought about running away from just moments before.  

It's my story and I can tell it any way I want to.........

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Love at First Sight

Somewhere, over the ocean, between Rome and Boston, a terrible near-tragedy occurred and I was completely unaware, as were the other passengers, that anything was happening.  It wasn't until the next day, when I woke up from my much needed night of rest, that I realized what had happened and a sudden chill hit me right in the core.  It took a few moments, it wasn't immediately apparent until I tried to focus and had difficulty.  Oh, a blob of something I initially thought.....a stubborn little piece of something.....stuck there, right in the middle of my right lens.  I grabbed a tissue, squirted the glass cleaner and rubbed. And rubbed. And rubbed. Nothing.  A better look. Oh MY GOD....a set of huge, deep, ugly scratches in the middle of my bifocular vision field.  It wasn't there in Rome.  I did not notice it at Heathrow or during the first hours of flight.  So when did the dirty deal go down?

When something shocking happens, one's mind wanders.  The brain tries to make sense out of nonsense and often times, the nonsense gets bigger by the minute.  So, my brain teased, there is a logical explanation.  The Bulgarian woman did it.  She put a hex on me, going straight to the jugular, my precious glasses.  I knew it.  She wasn't as sweet as she wanted to look.  She wasn't happy at all about the fact that when she asked if I would excuse her, unfasten my seat belt and let her get up to go to the bathroom, I said "NO!" She looked crestfallen as I, who knows not one word in Bulgarian, swiftly explained "Is very dangerous now" then, as she started to unfasten her own seat belt to get up, "You no can go now".  The plane, at this point was bouncing around as if a classroom of kindergarten girls were on board.The flight attendants were strapped in to their seats.  Nobody was going anywhere and I sure as hell wasn't going to unstrap anything.  In fact, at this point, I would have liked a few more seat belts. It must have been her, she did it.  Revenge is sweet.  She was smiling at me for the rest of the flight....

So, for the next weeks I continued to wear my cursed spectacles.  It wasn't easy.  My eyes ached and my world did not feel well, not at all, as my eyeball kept reaching up and over the big scratches.

My ocular misery ended today.  My new lenses, free of charge due to a warranty, came in and a whole new story began when my turn came to consult with Gardner, the optician who would be cutting the lenses to fit the beloved frames.

"Lynn........where did you get these frames??????  They're the best ones I've ever handled. I live for days like this.  Do you know how valuable these are?"

Sit yourself down Gardner and I'll tell you the story of how I found these in a box in the waiting room of my former office in New York.  They were coke bottle sun glasses, probably put into the box in which I collected glasses for a charity of one sort or another. Beautiful remnants of a past  that, no doubt, had once belonged to somebody's grandmother, recently departed. I used to play with the glasses with my friend Danny DeLorenzo and one day.......I took them.  I took them home in their gold lame case.  I stuck them in a drawer where they remained for a long time until.....I found them and took them to the optician in Grand Central Station who said "lady, these are fabulous". "I know, I said, they're Vintage Calvin Klein and I hope you can make them into my prescription".  And the rest is history.  Almost ten years of history, a gazillion compliments and one big set of scratches.

Well, Gardner treated my glasses as if they were royalty.  He ooohed and he aaahed.  He begged for more and told me to come back in the afternoon.  He really wanted to take his time with putting the new lenses in.  He was so worried that he would break them during the process.  "You know, they're brittle"  "I know, they're vintage....."  Later, when I returned, we sat down again, this time for the final fitting.  "I've tightened the screws, they were loose"  "Use two hands, always.....careful now...."

My glasses were treated with reverence, dignity, respect.  I'm thrilled to have them back, doing the job they were meant to.  I'm so happy that they survived because they need to be with me for a long time more.  They, and me, will always be together.  They are me.  We're in love and always will be. As long as there are Gardners in my life, no amount of turbulence or Bulgarian trickery can ever break us up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

West 57th

A few months ago, my daughter and her family were in New York City for her brother in law's wedding celebration.  At the same time, I was in Italy, returning to the states five weeks after the party, crashing head first into the holiday season so there really wasn't much talk about the party and, in the rush to get ready for Christmas, only highlights of our recent pasts were shared.

Of those highlights, I remember one well.  It was the little story that Sara told about Lucy, her then six year old.  The story is short and goes like this......

Walking back to their Times Square hotel one morning, after a very New York start to their day, Sara said something like "let's go back to the hotel" at which point Lucy asked that she not refer to it as "the hotel" but as "the apartment" so that all who could hear would think that they lived there, somewhere in the city.  Sara obliged and from that moment on, a little girl's fantasy was allowed to live a rich full life of its own.

I loved this little story.  I related to it.  I applauded Lucy for her ability to verbalize her desire, allowing her mother to enter into it. I marveled at how, at this very young age, she already had a love for urban life and all that went with it. I also totally understood her little fantasy and thought about one of  my own urban fantasies..

When I worked in Manhattan, I never got used to the thrill that getting off of my commuter train at Grand Central Station gave me.  I loved every sight, every smell, every challenge that the big city held. I loved working in the city, loved every thing about the city and always will and now, in the dead of winter, here on Cape Cod, I really and truly miss the everything.

But, back to the fantasy world....

I had a dentist, in fact, I had two different dentists, when I was working for Colgate, who both had offices in the same building.  Of course, when I left the practice of one, to become a patient of the other, it was a bit tricky but, thankfully, each had his office on a different floor so I was safe and never did I run into the former dentist while en route to the new one.  Both, might I add, gave me professional courtesy and accepted my dental insurance in full, not a dime ever passed between us.  This might have accounted for the many visits.  No financial hardship for me.  Cash cow for them thanks to good insurance from my employer.  This is a cold, hard fact, especially in New York City where money talks, nobody walks.

My dentist was located on West 57th Street, one of the busiest in midtown.  My appointments were always made for after work, a time I could did not have to worry about waiting for my cell phone to ring, summoning me back to the office to give a throat lozenge to my big baby of a boss who mis-used his position for such things.  I never knew, when that phone rang, if it was going to be something of that nature or a call to real action because someone was having a nervous breakdown or even worse, a real crisis like a heart attack.  Perish the thought that I might be taking care of myself at such a time!

I love 57th Street. It feeds my urban soul.  I had  a number of route options between my office on Park Avenue and my final destination and, depending upon the weather and the time of year, I would randomly select one, finding a good reason for that choice.  Sometimes, I had time to kill and rather than kill it at work, I would leave and make a stop along the way that usually resulted in a purchase.  Feet hurting?  The Easy Spirit shoe store.  New shoes for the rest of the walk. Talbot's sale, why not check it out? 

 The corner of 57th and Fifth is the home of Tiffany and Company. Across the street and up a short way, is Bergdof Goodman and then the plaza where the Plaza Hotel sits.  Across the street, the entrance to Central Park and the glorious stretch of road called Central Park West.  My walk to the dentist did not take me up that far on Fifth but rather  took me straight across Fifth and on to West 57th.  It was usually at dusk, after work, through the heavy ornate exterior doors and down the long marble floored hallway to the elevator bank that I walked, totally engaged in my thoughts.

There was not one time that I entered that building that I did not allow myself this little fantasy:  I live here.  I'm coming home now, after a day at work.  This is where I live, on West 57th. Street.  In my mind, I wondered what that would be like, were it real.  How different would my life be from the life of the woman who lived in the apartment on the opposite side of the street, the one I watched from my chair in the dentist's office as I waited for the Novocaine to take effect.  In that chair, feeling very much like Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window", I watched through her windows as she came home, turned her lights on, checked her phone messages, opened her mail and went from room to room, preparing for her own transition from working woman to after-hours resident of West 57th Street.  To me she looked exactly like Grace Kelly but I never did get a real look at her face.

All I saw was myself in my apartment on West 57th Street.  Or, was that simply my reflection in the window....

Maybe one day in the future, I will visit Lucy in her own apartment on West 57th Street, it's just a fantasy away.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Story Slice....At the DMV

If you ever want material for a good story, take yourself to your local Department of Motor Vehicles on any afternoon, any day of the week and there you will find your masters degree, just sitting on the hard benches, staring straight ahead or on a cheap, broken, sorry excuse for an office chair, waiting to push the magical button that will summon you to your very own place of envy as the “next customer”
Yesterday, was my day. Lucky me. A whole hour on the bench. I made the best of my time. I watched, I listened and I wrote.
This is the best one
“Sir, I've raised five kids so I only say things once. I say things once and I say them right. Now, sir, I don’t really care what you do with your old license plates. You can hang them on the wall above your fireplace or you can make a handbag for your wife out of them”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wishful Thoughts

My friends who know me, tell me to keep writing.  That they actually look forward to what I post on this blog site.  That they are disappointed when I fail to do so. It's hard some days to fill that order.  Right now, I am knee-deep in a wonderful e-writing course and soon, I'll be back to my beloved "Writing With the Whole Brain" course which demands a decent production every week for the next three months.  I promise that I will write again about the everyday wonders of my Umbrian adventure but for now, I'm telling you some stuff you may, or may not be interested in........I wish I were the kind of person who did not really care.

This morning as I was walking to my garage on my way to an early morning chiropractor visit, I noticed a car pulled  up to the next apartment unit and a man exiting the car with a basket  over his arm, looking for the apartment of another resident.  We live in a sixties and over complex and it wasn’t hard to imagine that this was a young elderly gentleman who had been dispatched from his own home by a young elderly wife who had prepared something from her kitchen and placed it into the basket.  I conjure up the image of the wife calling the intended recipient, perhaps a friend from her church who had recently taken ill or had a fall or perhaps a joint replacement, asking for details that she then communicated to her husband as she sent him off on the mission.  “Here you go Dear, Hilda is waiting for you, and she’ll leave the door ajar.  You don’t have to stay, just drop this off”

I’m sure that this scenario is one that is played over and over again in this area that I currently call home.   After all, Cape Cod Massachusetts has the highest per capita senior population in the country we’re told. It’s a lovely scenario and I must admit, I have been on the receiving end of just such a gesture on more than one occasion but…….it reminds me of my own personal list of things that would qualify me as the kind of person I wish I could be.
I wish I were the kind of person who bakes cookies or meatloaves, wrapping them up in an oversized gingham napkin and along with the perfect little note, tucked into the most charming basket, sends them off to the home of a friend or an acquaintance, one who would be a delighted recipient.  I wish I could do that, I really do.  I wish I wouldn’t worry that the recipient might not like what I sent, that it might get re-gifted or simply thrown in the trash.
I wish I were the kind of person who did not have to sweep the floor and vacuum or wash the floors before inviting anyone in  or even worse, before doing  those things that are so much better for me  like taking a walk, writing a story, polishing my nails, applying moisturizer to my dry body parts or baking a meatloaf for a friend.
I wish I were the kind of person who would visit a friend who is lonely, hold a hand of a person who is scared, take time to wrap a gift as if it were the last one the birthday person will ever receive, get in  my car before cleaning my house, drop everything and stand by someone who I know is alone and would love to have me present, without feeling that I was intruding.
I wish I were the kind of person who could put my personal health and fitness above all other things, go to the gym, talk a walk every day without failure, floss my teeth, only use dermatologist recommended face soap, use Clinique’s Three Steps each and every day and when I ran out of the products,  immediately  bought more.  I wish I had the determination that it takes to get rid of the big fat abdomen that prevents me from feeling like the person I wish I felt like.  I’d like to look like her all the time.  She’s wearing my clothes; the ones that make me feel like I like to look when you see me.
I wish I were the kind of person who did not constantly seek approval and who totally bought into the “I’m doing it to make myself happy so screw the rest of them” notion.  I wish I did not have to feel that every creative pursuit had to have a plan before starting.  I wish that the craft supplies in my closets were worn out.  I wish that I did not get such a rush from simply buying and owning them, that the papers, glitters, paints, glues and little canvases were strewn everywhere, as if they were soldiers on a march, instead of neatly tucked into the Elfa drawers that bear labels from my label maker machine that I proudly purchased with yet another Michael’s fifty per cent off coupon.
I wish I were the kind of person who knew the names of the huge variety of birds that I see in my backyard and the ducks in my pond.  How I would love to say “I saw a hammerhead chickadee today and watched it build a nest” or “if you look very carefully, you will see a thump-backed pond duck down there…..oh there she is, in the same spot she is every day at ten in the morning”
I wish I were the kind of person who  could sit down every day, book in hand, with full attention to what I was reading, not feeling guilty or unproductive.  I wish I were the kind of person who can remember the name and author of that very book, even before I finish it.  Same for movies.  Same for restaurants.

I wish I were the kind of person who could actually stop wishing I were some other kind of person.  That would really make me the kind of person I wish I were.

Monday, January 14, 2013

On the List

Last Friday, a package from arrived at my door.  It was addressed to me.  I knew I hadn't ordered anything so my child-like sense of anticipation as I ripped it open quickly grew as the cardboard parted and out dropped two paperback books.  The titles told me that they had come from someone who knew that I was taking writing courses.  One, a "Writer's Guide to Character Expression" , The Emotional Thesaurus, the other, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, each landing on my lap, in total surprise.  No, I had not ordered these, but they were spot-on, totally perfect for my current state of mind.
The fact that I have a birthday coming up soon eluded me until I read the enclosed gift card....."An early birthday from Barbara, with a personal nod to the hope that I would continue writing.

Of course they were from Barbara, so very like her.  So thoughtful and kind.  So knowing.

Today, a new assignment arrived from Laurie, the amazing woman who teaches my online course, "Telling True Stories".  With the virtual lecture, came several prompts for the next few days of writing.
"Make lists" she advised. She explained that they help clarify thoughts and make for better telling of stories.

The lists suggested by Laurie were not just "lists".  Rather, they were prompts to prompt. Ways to get to the heart of things that matter, mental inventories that started with "Twenty Five Things About Me" and then the drug of choice for this writer, "If You Really Know Me, You Know.....".  I could hardly resist.  I sat right down and popped them out like kernels of corn in the microwave. One by one, pop, pop, pop.  Where do I begin, where do I end?  Never mind, just pop, pop,  pop.  No prompts needed.  Totally visceral. Very enlightening and somewhat cathartic.

Wow.  People who KNOW me!  Not just my name, but who I am, who I am not, who I wish I could be.  Comforting.  Validating. As I listed the things that one who knows me would know, I realized this.  They're out there in my universe and they keep coming back for more...for some reason....

 There, in front of me on the "list" .....a friend who sanctifies my ability to make sense and put it in writing. This same friend gifted me with a book on the art of collage, my other creative love, and handed down a book on watercolor, hoping that I would find inspiration.  This same friend, a beautiful, intelligent, worldly person who has her own great artistic talents.  This same friend, fearlessly cheering me on as I run around the bases still trying to find my niche, unafraid of the attention that I might receive for having succeeded. Of course the newest books came as a gift from this same friend.

When I made my lists, I never imagined that I would come so quickly to the realization that there are people who know me. People who like me, despite my flaws.People who are not afraid to live and to love. People in my life who I have the honor of knowing. Great people who make me feel humble in the light of their own personal accomplishments.

People who allow me to express my own character, who give me creative writing prompts every day of my life.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

In the Sun Room

On my journey through life, where have I landed this week?

Early in the week, my wings took me across town to the home of my father for what started out as a simple lunch together.  I brought the food.  We sat in the sun room.  We ate, almost in silence.  There is nothing to talk about.  I try, but the result is a series of inane remarks that I have difficulty wordsmithing into something that will not sound too complicated or intelligent.  How many times can I comment on the weather, present past and future?  How many times can I strip all the luster out of my own life so that I don't overwhelm? How many times can I forget who I am and fight the urgent need that he has to be whoever it is he thinks I am?  Does he even know who I am?

I try to make conversation, try to convey the compassion that I truly do feel.  Try to let him know that it is okay to miss Mom, that he does not have to be scared, that it's okay to be confused and need some help when you are ninety one and alone, without the person who guided your every move and sat with you in your sun room for three meals a day, every day, for all those years.

But, he only sees what he wants to see, hears what he wants to hear and fears what he fears the most, the lack of his independence, a one-way ticket to a death house, a nursing home.  His biggest fear. He sees me as the threat.  He's afraid that he will slip up, that I will notice that he is slipping.

My biggest fear is that this quiet will go on for too many years, that I will have to sit in that sun room too many times, watching him evaporate into his loneliness and isolation, searching for words that will allow me to visit his dementia. Aging as he ages.  Pretending that he is still entitled to his independence while mine is dwindling as his needs get met.

So, we sat in the sun room, quietly eating our lunch.  Both of us missing the one and same person who hid the keys to the gates of our biggest fears.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What if I Were to Tell You?

 This is the first piece of "homework" from my current e-course in "Telling True Stories".  I can't possibly write two essays in one day so I'm fudging it and posting this one today......The prompt for this assignment was "What if I Were to Tell You......"

What if I were to tell  you that I very recently spent one month, alone in the beautiful Italian hill town of Assisi and that I can only remember the name of one restaurant and two shops and very few other of these types of  details? Would you think me a complete dullard? What if I were to tell you that I was moved by a force that was beyond my control as I made plans to leave my home, that once I started the process, nothing stood in my way? Not even my husband. He totally got it. What if I were to tell you that I had a specific intention for this trip and I could never use the word ”vacation” as I made my plans? Nor could I use it during my stay. What if I were to tell you that this was, instead, a ”journey” and that it was necessary for me to make this journey, alone, at the exact time and to the exact place that I did?
My mother died in July. Her’s was a battle royale against the indignities and discomforts of reproductive cancer. I was the everything person to her and my 90 year old father. I managed her care and lent my life to them for as long as it took for her to allow her death. What if I were to tell you that I had not one, but two surgeries during that intense period of chaos, both of them preventive? Both of them statements. I was not going to die of the same illness despite the risk factors stacked against me. What if I were to tell  you that I needed time? Time to recover. Time to heal, physically and emotionally. Time to get stop crying out loud. Time to not have to explain why I was crying out loud. Time to regain confidence in my ability to live my own life, to restore self-efficacy. Time to breathe, pray, walk, listen, and to seek teachers who would guide me, inspire me and tell me that I need not feel guilty about being alive after my mother’s suffering and my father’s entrance into his own uncharted waters. What if I were to tell you that all of this would not be possible had I stayed home seeking the same? Home, where I am constantly making demands of myself. Clean the house, cook the meal, fill out papers, file papers, do laundry……and, with the few remaining minutes, perform a ruthless act of engagement in a creative pursuit. What if I were to tell you that my plan was to place myself in a world where none of this would matter, miles away from my home, a completely different time zone.? No calendar, a broken wristwatch, limited phone access. The only tools taken on this journey were my camera and my notebook computer. What if I were to tell  you that I wrote an essay every day and took three thousand pictures, most of them of details, things I noticed and wanted to recall later? What if I were to tell you that every day, instead of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, I walked, climbed hills, met personal goals, and met the ”teachers”?
What if I were to tell you that I filled my time with new acquaintances, people who understood who I was and why I was there. People who pulled the right words from depths I could only imagine.? Souls, sharing my space. Artists, writers, poets, each pointing the way to the next., each affirming that it was good and just to live and enjoy the process.
So, I remember people and their contributions, each in exquisite detail, not gift shops or restaurants. I recall beautiful artwork, most of it in places of prayer or contemplation. I recall moments and hours, times well spent. I remember that I never felt lonely and that I always felt supported. I remember that I always felt alive and well and…..
What if I were to tell you that I really was never alone?
What if I were to tell  you that my mother accompanied me on my journey and that at times, my grandmother joined us?
What if I were to tell you that I took myself on a journey that I am sure my mother always wanted to take and that she made it all happen?
I’m telling you.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Good Mommy

Years ago, when my children were very young, I received a gift for Mother's Day.  Most likely, it was something purchased by an adult, possibly my husband or maybe it was my own mother.  It was a decorative plate, one meant to be put on display.  It had a picture of a current Hallmark favorite, I think it was Holly Hobby in fact, and along the rim of the plate, the words "A Good Mother Makes a Happy Home".

I did my very best to fulfill the prophecy of the plate.  I tried hard to become that good mother, to make Holly Hobby right proud.  It wasn't always easy.  There were many times when I am sure that I did not make the grade as "Good Mommy" and that my children surely would not have sent my photo to Hallmark as an inspiration source for the next year's plate.  It's one hard job being a mommy and it's sad that we spend so many years wishing that the job would end and we would find freedom from the bonds that tie us to our children.  Oh, if only we were able to take a time trip into the future for just one day.  All of that would change.

 So, I kept up with the challenge, putting all of my efforts into what was, at the time, my one and only full time job, the seemingly thankless, pay less and all-consuming one of  Mother who longed for just a few moments alone with Father or just alone, alone.  Some day, I would think to myself, some day I will have all the time in the world to do whatever it is that I want to do, uninterrupted, without having to explain anything to a child, without having to clean up after a day's play or a peanut butter lunch or a "project".  Just time and nothing more.

I now realize that my dreams of free time became a reality all too soon.  I wish I had known that free times are not always those that I would most cherish.  All too often, I now have to push and prod myself in order to get organized and productive.  Had someone told me that it was the children who were my source of creativity and inspiration, I might have argued then. I miss those days. I also now realize that the white knight who I thought would ride up to my front door on his horse, presenting me with a proclamation of "The Mother of the Year", was purely a fantasy. It really did not matter if there was dust on the floors or crayons in the coffee pot.  I have too much free time that allows me to sit and wonder if I really was a good mother at all.

In a blink of an eye, my little girl grew up.  Seriously, wasn't it just yesterday that we were at the Mall visiting the "Wabbit" who gave out "poppy pops" to a busy little three year old Sara who asked endless questions and tied her socks into bows around her ankles during nap time?  The Time Bandit, about whom I speak quite a lot lately, stole that little girl and replaced her with a greater gift, my daughter as a grown woman, unspeakable beauty and filled with all that any mother could possibly hope for. 

I watch Sara, now a mother herself to two little girls, and I remember how hard it was to get it all done.  I recall vividly the longing for time and space of my own.  I watch her as she mothers her own children so incredibly well, putting creativity and joy into their lives, teaching and guiding them, introducing them to the countless joys of being children.  I know she takes her job as mother very seriously. It isn't easy, it was "yesterday" I remember it well.

If it is true that a good mother makes a happy home, then I know that Sara's is a home of abundant happiness and love. Holly Hobby is smiling.  She does it better than I did and I hope she's never going to tire of the job because today, more than ever before, good mothers are needed to make a happy world, beyond the walls of home.  It isn't easy, but looking at this beautiful fruit of my own labors, I understand that it is worth all the efforts.

Just as my time passed in an instant, so will hers. I hope she realizes this.

 Just ask Holly Hobby.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Were it that I had the honor of interviewing myself on any life topic, I most certainly would pick the subject of sleep habits. I've had lots of practice speaking on this topic.  It seems that it comes up in most of my social encounters, it is the first and last thing I discuss with my husband every day.  So, what better, more or less interesting aspect of my life would I choose?

I would be an interviewer's dream come true because I would not hold back for one minute.  I would be more than happy to express my views on the benefits of sleep and the consequences of not.  Without hesitation, I would talk about things like.....

Pillows.  I sleep with a collection of them next to my side of the bed.  I start with one and usually change to another during the course of the night.  I have tried them all.  Big ones, small ones, stuffed ones, slim line ones,  Temperpedic ones from Brookstone, chiropractic ones from the chiropractor and of course, the "My Pillow" from the "My Pillow" billionaire.  Usually the reason for the switch is due to.....

Numbness and tingling of my hands.  If something has not already disrupted my sleep,  I will find myself awakened by hands that are still soundly sleeping, both at the same time. I know this is due to not observing the laws of ergonomics when using my computer.  Ironically, I spent the last part of my career in nursing trying to help people avoid this exact same problem and now, I'm the unlucky victim of this occupational hazard.  So if it's not this tingly stuff that wakes me up it's the snoring.......

That my husband is so very, very good at that wakes me.  He is a lovely person, good natured and exceptionally well-mannered but when he's asleep, he's noisy and he talks, snores and hits things.....

That are on his side of the bed, knocking things off the bedside table, to the floor, in the middle of the night and, if by some small chance I have fallen back to sleep after my pillow change, I wake up to go.....

To the bathroom for the enth time.  This never happened when I was younger.  Nor did.....

Sleep Apnea, a real diagnosis.  I was diagnosed and treated to my very own C-Pap machine which looks very much like something from a mid-evil torture chamber as my friend Jay described it which makes one wonder about why and how he has had the opportunity to observe what is in my bedroom.  You see, he was my house guest when I was in Italy......

Where I slept a whole lot better, not great, just better because I forced myself to. I  had only one type of pillow, a long walk to the bathroom, and had not yet experienced a recurrence of the numbness and tingling......

 The condition which I aggravated when I used the notebook computer that I brought with me for my month's stay in Italy, most of which was spent alone. In my bed. At night. Without the snoring partner but with the.....

 Construction workers, underneath my window, arriving before seven in the morning who woke me up every day so I really did not get the sleep that I should have gotten anyway.

Some things, they never change.