Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring has sprung.

Oh my goodness, the weather has been gorgeous. Our winter has been a very mild one, although we've had a couple bad storms. But NOW...oh heavens...the redwing blackbirds are back and calling cheerfully. We've got snowdrops and crocuses out, with new shoots pushing forward with promises of yet more flowers to come.

William was full of beans yesterday when he came over, and he wanted to be outside, outside, OUTSIDE. And so we were. We built a volcano. We planned a picnic supper with a volcanic eruption for entertainment. We walked to the library. He danced along with his cricket clicker  wondering aloud if the sound of it would wake the other crickets up from their winter sleep. He explained to me when it was safe to cross the street. He was interested in berries and drains and stones. He was excited to see a motorcycle cruise by. He selected his book and then we headed home again.

We had our picnic and we made the volcano erupt which was fascinating to him, and then he and his mama left. Grandpa and I had work to do at the new house.

We are working on the drains there that catch the run off from the roof. The water is not draining away from the basement as it should be, and so Tim has them dug up and we are redoing them. I noticed the neighbor standing at the corner of his garage with a very angry look on his face. I looked back and he shook his head and went away.

Tim went to mix up some mortar in the garage, and I applied a coat of water proofing to the foundation as a precaution. Laying flat on my stomach, I was surprised to hear the voice of my angry neighbor right at my side. "What seems to be the problem?" he demanded.

I sat up. "What problem?"

He demanded to know what the hole was all about. Cautiously, I said, "Well, we've got a drainage problem that we are fixing." He snarled, "...and you've got every drain in my house backing up!"

I said, "That's impossible..." and he snapped back, "I never had a problem until I saw you digging over here."

I looked at him patiently. "Your house is on the other side of that garage, right?" (and about 80 feet away, and catty cornered at that...) and he said, very aggressively, "That's right, and you've screwed up my drains."

I said, "Well, you'll have to get yourself a lawyer, because this is impossible."

He didn't know what to make of that, but it did not stop him. He blustered on.

I finally got a chance to explain it to him. I pointed. "The drainage we're addressing is the run-off from the roof. This has nothing to do with the drains inside the house at all." I didn't bother to explain that all three bathrooms and the kitchen in our house have been gutted. We have no running water inside the house and won't until we reinstall the new fixtures.

He knows we're not the problem, but he saw a chance to bluster and threaten. He's going to have to pay a plumber to come in a cut the tree roots away like everyone else in the area. He scowled at me. "That's all I needed to know!" and he stormed off just as angrily as he had approached. I watched him go.

Later he sat in his garage gunning his motorcycle engine. Guess he showed us.

Some people bring joy when they come. Others bring it when they leave.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

What I could have written about.

Well, there's so many things that I could have written about:

The big full moon in a dark cloudy sky, and how it reminded me of The Highway Man from highschool..."The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas." and I smiled to myself on the way home from a job that satisfies my heart.

I could have written about William turning five...

Or the snowstorm that dropped a foot of snow on us over night. Grandpa and William and I enjoyed our snow day.

Or about walking across a pedestrian walk with Tim and waving in a friendly way to the car that had stopped to let us cross...just as she was t-boned by a car coming out of a parking lot.

I could have told you about a new grand nephew, and my youngest sister, a grandma four times over.

Dylan and Brittani are coming home in two weeks.

I could have told you about the secret joy of folding laundry in my own comfortable living room while watching 'Still Alice' while crying buckets. I could not have done such a thing if I hadn't been home by myself.

There's that little marmalade cat of mine who knows that Tim does not like her on the bed. So she waits until she hears him snoring (which is pretty quick ~ I've never understood how he can fall asleep so quickly) and then Paddy will come quietly to my side of the bed, and I move my feet to make room for her to curl up on the electric blanket and she arranges herself purring contently.

I built a robot with William. We are growing crystals too.

I got roses for Valentine's Day. I got a sweet card from William that thanked me for our 'mugwump adventures'.

I could tell you about watching a daughter heal.

I could tell you about working with Tim on a house again.

There's always some book that I could tell you about...

...or some interesting person that I've met here or there or where ever...

About hugs from strangers. About hugs from old friends.

Maybe I could write about why I suddenly feel the need to wear colors instead of my customary neutral earth tones, and to wrap myself up in scarves from Afghanistan or Australia...or why my hair is growing long and unkempt, and why I like that

About dreams of unfed birds drowning, so vivid that I came from bed to read about dreams and decide why it had affected me so much that I woke up with tears in my eyes.

I could tell you about a meeting where I felt a strong urge to speak and so I did...and when I did, I caught a startled look from someone across the table and knew that I had spoken his mind as well.

I could tell you all sorts of things, and I am not sure why I don't. Just know in the absence of posts, life continues on, and it is filled with all sorts of small and wonderful joys.

Friday, February 26, 2016


I love books. One of my favorite things is to go to a used bookstore and browse the titles, picking and choosing, looking, leafing, shelving again, or clutching them in a silent joy, glad for my discovery.

What moves me the most, sometimes, is the inscriptions

In a copy of "A Child's Garden of Verse," Rachel and Abby's grandmother wrote that she thought the book with all its beautiful pictures would be perfect for Mommy and Daddy to read to them, and that she knew that soon Rachel would be reading them to Abby. Mostly, though, Grandma just wanted to be there to read the book to them herself.

In another book of poetry about mothers and daughters, a mother wrote, "This book says everything. I love you, beautiful daughter."

How do those books, with their beautiful inscriptions, wind up in a thrift store? How do you discard tangible evidence that you are beloved? I wonder about Rachel and Abby and their grandmother. I wonder about the beautiful daughter and her mother as I continue to browse through the books.

I take my small pile of books to the counter, and I pay for them, and I walk out into a gray snowy day. I will take my 'new' books home where they will join the ones already on my shelf. The ones with no inscriptions.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


We've had a pretty mild winter here. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks w/ snow on the ground. On January 31st, it was in the sixties. I don't mind it.

Punxsutawney Phil is calling for an early spring (don't laugh people...Groundhog Day is a big deal in Pennsylvania).

Next week they're calling for snow every day, although accumulations should total less than six inches. Nothing to worry about.

There have been some big snows but they have missed us each and every time. I've gotten kind of jaded about weather forecasts. Tonight though, I heard the weather man say that as we lose a few degrees tonight, it will get colder.


You know, I have no real doubts about the accuracy of that forecast.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

She Was

I recognized the name in the death notice right away. Probably most people did. If they didn't, they'd have recognized the face.

She always looked like a bag lady, but she wasn't poor, not if you believed everything that you were told about her. Not if you knew where she lived.

Her home was architecturally interesting, but unfinished and cluttered. I looked across the iron fence at it often since we lived on the same street and I am a walker too. I like to daydream, and it was fun to daydream about what could be done with a place like that.

Her car was parked in front and filled with papers and junk. I never saw her driving. She either walked or caught a ride with others.

She would sit at McDonalds for hours with her coffee collecting free refills while reading the free newspapers. I imagine that she bought a sandwich or something from time to time, but truth be told, I never saw her do that. Just the coffee while she read those newspapers.

She'd button-hole lawyers for free legal device, and she would not back down. I'd watched it once. The lawyer was flustered, stammering a little, while this short little woman just kept at him.

Everywhere she went, she was arguing for discounts or cheaper prices, and she just would not back down.

Actually, she was one of those people that employees sort of dreaded to see coming. She could keep at you forEVER. She'd just claim not to understand you (she had a foreign accent- Polish? German?) and keep on arguing.

I saw that death announcement in the paper, and I was anxious to read the obituary which was to be printed when available.

So who was she? Where was she born? Was she really the widow of a prominent doctor? What kind of life makes a person like that?

Except that there has not yet been an obituary.

Did she have a family? Is there anyone to mourn her?

I find myself feeling badly for that elderly lady, the one that made employees groan a little when they saw her coming.

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Someone explained to my husband that they had gotten a reverse mortgage on their home. We've heard about them, of course, but talking to his friend, Tim got a little alarmed. 

This 'mortgage company' pays  60% of the value of the home. That's all. They own it, but the previous owner can continue to live in his or her own home. Except that the mortgage company can inspect the house and tell their 'tenant' that this has got to be fixed, or that the house needs painted, or that they want new carpet, etc. etc. If the 'tenant' does not comply, eviction proceedings are started. 

Tim was horrified. 

Why does anyone think this is a good idea? We discussed it as I got ready for work. I mused, "We've spent our whole life together trying to establish financial freedom. He has sold himself back into financial bondage."

I cannot help but wonder why this sort of thing is even legal. It seems like it is preying on the elderly. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


It seems like I fit into this world in a tentative sort of way. 

Like, maybe, I have lost my voice. 

I wasn't always like this. My kids were telling of their adventures at Christmas, and I listened to them laughing, amazed at their audacity. Dylan reminded me that I had my own streak of audacity, once upon a time. I knew right away that it was true. 

When happened? Why did it happen? I've been thinking a lot about this since then. 

A couple of weeks later, Andrew asked to speak with me after the service. He stood in front of me, and he said, "We were all talking the other day, and your name came up, and we think that we would like you to join us. You would be a good fit." And he stood there with his gentle Andrew face, waiting for my answer. 

Immediately, the reasons why I shouldn't, why I couldn't, why he was wrong, why I didn't fit at all, came pushing to the front of my mind. 

I struggled for a moment, but I remembered a time when I used to be audacious, and there arose in me such a hunger...

...that this time, I said yes. 

And all those thoughts and excuses that had pushed to the front of my mind stood transfixed at the sound of my voice. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Did I tell you that we sold a house?


We did.

And did I tell you that we bought another?


We did.

We are in the middle of another rehab, and this one is mine. It is a very nice ranch style home. The appliances are delivered, and so are the kitchen cabinets. We have gutted two bathrooms with one more waiting for us.

I think about the people who will live there some day as I am working on it, and it makes me happy.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mothers and their Daughters

I was reading a friend's post. She lost her mother last year, and although they were not close, she grieved.

I understood.

My own mother is gone, and any chance that we had to see things a new way went to her grave with her.

You make your peace with that, and you do it the best you can.

On the second floor, tucked way in a little corner at the entrance of the third floor, I have a little nook. There are shelves with books. There is a desk. On that desk sits my mother's Smith-Corona typewriter, something that she got when she was in high school 60 years ago. Scattered about the space are things that remind me of her, or things that are hers, and they are mingled in with things that I love.

It is a quiet room, and when I go up to water the plants, it is nice to take a moment to sit on the wicker settee. There is no sound but the soft ticking of an old clock.

It seems appropriate.