Friday, January 29, 2010

Color me happy!

At the moment I am thrilled.
Can you tell?

I am thrilled for two reasons.
The former sort of depends on the latter, but let's go in order.
First, Jocelyn sent me this book of poems.
I love books, I love poetry, and I love Jocelyn, so clearly there is much to explain the gleeful-bordering-on-imbalanced smile on my face.
However, there is another reason.
If you're one of those few people who've read my blog over the last 4+ years (sweet, fancy Moses, can you believe it's been almost 5 years I've been at this?!?!) you would know that I have this thing, a deep, abiding passion regarding poetry.
It seems to date back to A Child's Garden of Verses and the Dr. Seuss titles of my youth, and at this time it's still going strong.

The point of that rabbit trail is this;

Jocelyn HATED poetry not that long ago. Yes, it's true. Hard as it can be to believe, it's the truth. I tried gently to lure her, subtly, you know, like by posting entire poems in her comment box.

So recently the GRANDER truth (the magic, genius, and logophiliac bliss of poetry) was revealed to her through a poet from her home state.
Jocelyn introduced Louis Jenkins initially on her blog and then very kindly sent me an autographed copy of his book North of the Cities, which just arrived.

Here is a little nibble to enjoy with me.

Is it true that this world, this life, is an illusion, all smoke and mirrors? It must be, because according to a recent poll, seventy percent of the American public believes that Ronald Reagan did a good job as president. And yet if life is only a figment, a feint, a construction of breath and vapor, then why is it a rock falls and smashes your toe and you go hopping around on one foot, mad with pain? Why, if you happen to look at a woman on the sidewalk and your car plows into the truch in front of you, are you dead and no longer allowed to play the game? It's an illusion, but a damn good one.
This may not seem like typical poetry, but it is good.
Here is what Mr. Jenkins said about poetry

"Poetry is always about using language. One tries to make the story, or whatever it is, vivid and meaningful, but to not be too apparent with linguistic tricks. Again, Dylan Thomas, he wrote a kind of poetry in which the sound of the language became almost more important than what was actually being said. That’s a way of writing, but its not my way of writing. Bart Sutter often writes formal verse, rhymed verse; that’s what he does, he’s good. But it’s not my way of writing. He makes the language do a certain thing, and I also make the language do a certain thing, but it’s a different thing. I try to make the poem as casual and everyday as it can be but to still have that surprise."

I think he does it very well.

Thank you, Jocelyn, for a truly wonderful gift that I will enjoy for years to come.

Oh, and welcome to the club.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I have made socks!

The knitting of socks is an interesting thing. People spend hours and hours working over size one or two needles (only slightly larger than toothpicks) to create things like this.

(Nicely knitted sock grabbed via Google Image from some terribly talented knitter)

I was browsing a string sale and saw a ball with a pic of some cozy-looking, thick socks and I thought to myself, "Self! You could totally do that!!"
So I did.

(Me and my socks in my breakfast room)
The pattern that came with the string was inaccurate so a granny at the yarn shop had to rewrite parts of it for me, but once that was taken care of, it wasn't even really hard.

My socks were knit on size thirteen needles, which are thicker than your average-sized pen.
Mr. Logo said they look like battle socks,
which goes nicely with the scar on the knee, hm?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I love...

standing here in my breakfast room (on those very rare mornings when consciousness precedes sunrise) with a hot cup of tea in a cozy polar fleece cocoon watching the orange-blue-crimson streaks of the sun paint the underside of the clouds before the grey reigns supreme.

It seems to me that some people regard a new day as a responsibility of sorts.
Some consider new days as merely inevitable.
I want to be one of those people who think of each day as an opportunity.

Time is a finite resource, you know, and whether I choose to spend mine curled up on the couch watching movies, chatting online with friends, teaching my kids, wandering a museum, playing with a friend, motorcycle riding, or snuggled in bed, I want to make thoses choices deliberately,
not based on some external evaluation of appropriate time allotment, but choices that reflect my values, desires, and priorities.

The important part there? The deliberation.

Today I choose to blog, to play with my kids and husband, to visit with my auntie, and to go over to some friends' house for dinner where we will eat comfort food and play board games.

Today, as on many other days, I will dawdle deliberately; I will allow myself to be distracted when the laundry needs switched, I will read when I have calls to return, I will check blogs, email accounts, and Facebook when I could be vacuuming or dusting. I will do all these things and I will not refer to them as wasting time because they are the activities I CHOOSE.

I may not fill every minute with 60 seconds distance run but I will fill it with 60 seconds of something I deem worthy, even if it is staring over the treetops as flaming streaks dissolve to grey.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Imp of Perversity has been running wild!

I have detailed internal conversations and the two main characters in my head before.
Sometimes, I don't know what to tell you, sometimes the Editor takes a break and the Imp holds sway!

A couple weeks ago I was shopping with a girlfriend. As we left I checked for cars before crossing the roadway between rows of parked vehicles. I began to cross and a jacked-up pickup truck WAY down at the end of the lane began revving it's engine. I slowed to a pronounced saunter and the thought crossed my mind that it might be a friend being ornery, but then the truck roared up toward me and I realized, no, this was just an obnoxious redneck so I took my time strolling toward the parked cars. When I reached that relative safety I just to face the truck, smiled as widely as possible and waved.
The guy driving truck then floored it so hard his girlfriend/cousin/step-sister sitting in the middle seat probably slammed her head into his gun rack as he went flying through the parking lot. I guess he showed me!
But I got a giggle out of the experience, and that is all I ask.

at my mom's memorial service just over a week ago one of THOSE people approached.
He is loud, rude, obnoxious, offensive, laughs loudly at his own inappropriate jokes, and generally doesn't seem to notice everyone backing away from him. He has been a friend of my parents for nearly 30 years though, so what can you do?
He walked up while his son, daughter-in-law, and I were commiserating about 13 year old children. He attempted to pat my mid-section and asked if I was expecting number four or had just been enjoying the buffet. His son interupted, "Dad!" His daughter in law corrected, "She only HAS two kids!" and I flicked his hand away.
Then, without a pause for thought I said,
"I'm actually just fat, thanks so much for pointing that out.
Say anything else and I'm going to kick you in the 'nads."
He began to laughly excuse himself and I did a talk-to-the-hand, interupting him firmly,
"Uh, no, nuh uh..." as he tried to keep talking.
His wife walked over just then and told me I could feel free to stab him in the eye.
I explained to her that I was unclear on why he was even still alive, she knew where he been sleeping for the last 40 YEARS after all.
Into this Mr. Logo then walked and immediately realized something uncomfortable was afoot.
Once again the obnoxious creature began to try repeating his terribly witty remarks and I actually stepped forward, pulled my leg back, and I would have kicked him but he stepped back sharply, covered his mouth and wisely decided to go get more coffee.

He did call and ask me to forgive him two days later, explaining he was reprimanded for the whole three hour ride home because "some people just don't get my sense of humor."
Uh huh...

Still dreaming?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mmmmmmm nachos,

heap them on a plate and top with piles of refried beans, guac, sour cream, and pico de gallo.
When served with a good friend and a margarita?

They make anything just a little bit better.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What does it mean when

liberals assume you are conservative and conservatives assume you are a liberal?

You Are 12% Republican

If you have anything in common with the Republican party, it's by sheer chance.

You're a staunch liberal, and nothing is going to change that!

You Are 20% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.

You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Just over two years ago I went with my dad and my mom to visit her oncologist at Swedish Medical Center. We were informed that her breast cancer had metastasized to her brain. Although her doctor is not one to throw time frames about it took very little research for my sister and I to both discover that 6-24 months was the life expectancy after such a diagnosis. It was a very early diagnosis though, so we were all comparatively hopeful as she went into treatment.

In March of 2009 mom really only had one last treatment option available. It was not even an attempt to kill the cancer, just to stave off the inevitable. After some lengthy indecision mom opted for the cyber-knife treatment.
It got her eight months;
three really good months,
two pretty good months,
one so-so month,
one not too good month,
and one really rough month.
My mom died on Sunday. For just over the last month of her life she was bed-bound. For the last two to three weeks she was not able to speak expressively. On the 17th of December was the last time she really said anything meaningful to me.
I was getting ready to leave and was giving her a hug goodbye.
She leaned her head on me and said,
“Love you, baby, see ya.”
When I returned just a few days later she wasn’t able to speak expressively but she was making sense of what we said to her and answering simple questions.

Taking care of her was a two person job by the end of November so my sister or I were there with my dad to assist him. My daddy is one of the best men in the whole world. He took amazing care of mom.

Mom, shockingly, was not in severe pain from headaches. The hospice nurses were continually amazed by that. She had some aches and pains but nothing like the debilitating headaches that were anticipated. Mom credited all the prayers offered for her by family and friends.

Sunday morning mom’s breathing was ragged and we worked on getting her comfortable with some phone coaching from hospice. We finally got her resting comfortably and went to sit down and regroup. Just a few minutes later dad went in to check on mom and found she had passed away.

Despite knowing this was coming for two years, and knowing it was close, it still somehow arrived with shocking swiftness. I thought we’d know. I thought we would be holding her hand and sitting with her. We just thought we were getting her comfortable for a rest time, not the last time.
I’m glad her ordeal is over,
but I really, really miss my mommy.