Friday, January 17, 2020

A Bit of Beauty

For those of you who are shoveling and freezing, I offer this second bloom of the rose bush which lives outside our bedroom window.
I'm sure you all have good reasons to live where it's too cold to walk outside and smell the roses.  I hope this helps to ease the pain.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

And Then, Today

Yesterday, I said I was done with the news.  Today, I couldn't get enough of it.

I'm fickle.  I admit it.  Feel free to judge; I've been laughing at myself all day.

It seems that the tabloid pieces of this impeachment are annoyingly tempting to my feeble psyche.  I'm enthralled by Lev Parnas's hair styling and the giant buttons on Nancy Pelosi's suit.  I'm wading deep into the weeds of Firtash and Shokin, just so I can be appalled.

It's humiliating, but it's true, and truths are part of what I promise you every day. 

Is it coincicental that the House Intelligence Committee released the unclassified documents showing a direct link between ou President and Lev Parnas on the same day that the Clerk of the House led a parade of legislators to the floor of the Senate to present two Articles of Impeachment Against Donald John Trump.

I have no reason to speak to any of those officials.
They have no reason to speak to me.
Why would ..(officials).... meet with me?
Who am I?
They were told to meet with me.  I was underground, doing their work.

And what Lev Parnas was doing is recorded in notes and emails and voice mails and now, on television in his own voice, telling his own story.

Sure, he's a crook; there are few if any honorable people in Donald John Trump's orbit by now.  Sure, he was in it for himself, trying to leverage a natural gas bonanza.  Sure, he's waiting to be sentenced by the SDNY and will do anything to cast himself in a positive light. 

But everything he says, including laughing about Donald John Trump's loud voice on the telephone, has been corroborated elsewhere. 

Are the Senators listening?  I know I am.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Are You Feeling It, Too?

I could justify it starting at Thanksgiving and through the first weekend of the new year.  Why would I let the talking heads detract from the joy of the season?

I kept track of the major events; I followed the machinations as they became facts. Other than that, I found it very easy to ignore the babbling, the what if's, the commentary devolving into the subjunctive.  I was surrounded by brownies and ribbons and lists of those I love; I was perfectly happy to believe in Nancy Pelosi's judgment and move on from there.  And then my family arrived and the tv was rarely on and the newspapers piled up and I hardly listened to NPR.

Before I knew it, we were almost at war with Iran, and then we weren't; the Democrats were dropping like flies and spending and raising crazy amounts of money; the Astros didn't deserve to win the World Series, and maybe the Red Sox didn't either.

I don't want to know about it.  I don't want to dwell in that space.  I really enjoyed my respite.

I'll still shill for Mayor Pete and write and call my representatives.  I'll still read the WaPo headlines on my phone.  But the final-before-Iowa debate is on as I'm typing to you, and I made TBG change the channel as he surfed by.

I'm enjoying my break.  The Senate may receive the Articles of Impeachment this week, and that trial will be must-see-tv. 

Until then, I'm considering myself a casual consumer of the news.

Just typing that makes me smile.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Planting Our Apple Tree

Rillito Nursery donated it, the Prince Mustangs carried it across the playground, Garden Club watered it, and, last week, at long last, we planted it.
This is how it happened.
It took all of us, using all the plastic tools, and 2 days of digging,
 until we were able to be proud of this small dent in the earth. 
Obviously, drastic measures were necessary.
Grandma brought her pointy shovel from home and, after the littlest gardeners left, brought it out to the garden.
Great progress was rhose who could be trusted with an adult tool, those who understood the limitations of the pink and blue trowels, those who appreciated the capabilities of my shovel.  Even so, I didn't take my eyes off them for a second. 
The shovel went deep and the shovel went wide, and the hole grew and grew.
The loosened soil was collected in the green barrow
and mixed with the Happy Frog amendment,  
creating a nutritious backfill for the roots to explore.  
Yes, your hands are dirty. 

But we are introducing our new tree to a harsh environment, surrounded by dirt-masquerading-as-soil.  Your dirty hands are giving those roots a head start..

But it's a tough love head start. The backfill is mostly the dirt-masquerading-as-soil we removed from the hole. The amendments will entice the roots to move out from the trunk, bypassing but noticing the less nourishing natural environment, growing stronger.  
The backfill will be tamped down around the rootball, patted but not crushed, so the roots can slither at their pleasure, adjusting to their new home without unnecessary impediments. Breaking up the clumps of hard pack and mixing it with the softer, more fragrant amendments, created a medium through which the wooden handles of our plastic tools (pretending to be roots) moved with no effort at all.
With the backfill prepared and the hole properly sized, we tilted the plastic pot, holding the trunk so the branches didn't touch the ground.  We stomped on the plastic with a firmness befitting the freeing of a captive, then gently loosened the root bound ball we had revealed.  

Yes, we cut the roots, but in doing so we were allowing them to choose their own path, rather than going round and round in a never-ending circle.  We spread them out, settled the tree in the middle of the hole, and raked and shoveled the backfill until we covered the exposed roots and created a moat to collect the irrigation.
It takes a lot of help to get established in a new place.
Prince Elementary School knows just how to welcome a newcomer.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Old Friends

Actually, we stumbled over that and settled on laughing as I said "We've been friend for a long time."

We fell into one another's arms the way you do with a woman you used to see several times a week, in and around town, at meetings and doing good deeds with our daughters, at parties and on girls' nights out in the city.

We all left Marin when our kids finished school there; since then we've kept in touch on the interwebs. But she was traveling with her husband and their son, for business, and they'd be in Tucson on Thursday.  A plan was made.

I saw her sitting at the table in the lobby where wares are hawked.  I noticed and disregarded the customers. I pushed aside a folding chair, and listened to her describing us as old????? friends....ugh. as we hugged, and looked at one another, and hugged and smiled and got teary all at the same time.

Our girls are mothers themselves, now.  We, of course, haven't changed a bit.  We were so very glad to see one another.  We spent a lot of time grinning and being glad.

It was a connection to a huge part of my life wth which I'm gradually losing touch.  We could only think of a few families who still lived in town.  I know more about my children's peers than I do my own. Sitting and chatting with a friend from a certain era was a quick trip back in time and place and cadence and shorthand and a relaxation .... like putting on your comfy slippers.

Then Miss Vickie and I found our seats and watched her husband and her son.
Booker T. Jones has the same silky voice, the same mega-watt smile (the first thing Miss Vickie noted when he came out on stage), the same delightful combination of diffidence and pride that I remembered from our time as neighbors.

The matter of fact way he tells about just walking into Stax because it was right there, in the neighborhood, is no different than his stories of recording with Sam Cook, or Otis Redding, or of writing Green Onions, the #13 song in America before he went off, at 17, for his freshman year at Indiana University.

He drove back to Memphis every weekend.

The man is capable of being many things at once.

I knew him as a father, and so did Little Cuter.  "I go to school with his daughter," she whispered in Cleveland, staring at her friend's father immortalized forever in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Her face - a smiling mixture of surprise and awe and NO f'ing WAY! -  is one of my favorite memories of all time.

And so I sat in the audience at the Rialto Theatre, next to a friend I haven't seen in much too long, basking in the glow of another down the way.  Watching the father and son .... the son I remember as all legs in soccer shorts.... the son now making music on stage, touring with his dad....... I'm trying, denizens, but I'm at a loss for words.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Taking Care of Myself

And what did I do with my aching heart and my weary soul on the anniversary of my perforation?

I did what I have done every year - I spent fifteen minutes around 10:10am weeping, then I went to Prince Elementary School.

I stood on the playground, spread my arms wide, and announced, to no one in particular, Grandma needs a hug.

Thus proving, once again, that it is impossible to be sad when surrounded by little ones. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

It's All About The Heroes

(I posted the first version of this post on January 9, 2014; I'm using it 6 years later, once again, as a Day After entry. If it moves you, go out of your way to thank someone who keeps you safe.)
In the telling and retelling of the story of my perforation, there is one question that is always asked: "Did it hurt?"

My answer is always the same:"Not until the paramedic said, 'Hang on, Ma'am, this is really gonna hurt,' just before he plunged a needle into my knee."

This is the story of how I we met again, exactly three years later.
photo by The Firefighter
There have been anniversary celebrations and commemorations and speeches and films and discussions and bell ringings and flag raisings and I can't imagine that any of them were as moving as the simple event outside the Pima County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning.

TBG and I arrived a few minutes before 10am.  There was a shiny (is there really any other kind?) firetruck, parked, crisp and straight as the firefighters and battalion chiefs and fire chiefs and sheriff's deputies and local police who milled about, before taking up their positions in a semi-circle to the left of the flagpole.

Footsteps... in cadence.... drums... and then the bagpipes came into view.  They stood, silently, beside the hands-clasped-in-front-of-them first responders.

Silently, as we all sat on , from 10am til 10:10... watching the shiny bell and the firefighter behind it... reliving the morning in my head....

Now Gabby's getting out of the car.
"Look at that - she accessorizes and you could too, y'know!"
Now we are getting into an orderly line, according to the sign in sheet.
"Of course you can  fill out the form.  You are a constituent. You'll get mail.  
Yes, real mail, addressed to you."

Out of nowhere, at 10:10 am, there was an unexpected noise.bA bell. It went through me the way the bullets did; 19 times it rang. I saw pictures in my head of each and every one of those humans.

I held Faith's hand on one side and TBG's on the other as the flag was raised and the pipes played Amazing Grace and I noticed nothing but us, bound together, until TBG suggested that we stand up and I realized that we were the only ones still seated.  

As one, we rose, and were embraced by the others behind us and before us and all over the city, doing the same thing.  It was teary and it was wonderful and it was brief.

Perfect. Only, it gets better.

We went into the library to see the small-but-touching display case filled with memorabilia from the spontaneous memorials which sprung up around Tucson three years ago.  After hugging all who needed such attentions, we made ready to leave.

One of the pipers approached me as we approached the door. He didn't want to intrude. He didn't want to keep me. He just wanted to tell me that he was the medic who worked on me that day.

"YOU are 'Hang on, Ma'am, this is really gonna hurt?'"

"Yes, Ma'am, and I'm so sorry."
It took me a minute or two to stop crying and hugging him and thanking him for saving my life and sharing him with the world's most grateful husband who had tears in his eyes before I paused and asked him why in the world he was sorry?

"Because I hurt you.  I don't like to hurt my patients."

Is it any wonder I love this town?

My always-and-forever-in-his-debt husband and I spent the next few minutes reassuring him that honesty was the best policy, that I was very very glad he had told the truth about what to expect, that I had never for one moment expressed any anger towards him, that he was the focal point of my what-it-was-like-that-morning story, and that stewing over it. or anything else,  for three years was something never to be repeated.  

I couldn't help it.  It was guilt in a kilt speaking to the Jewish Mother within. We loved him.  We loved him before we knew him.  We would always love him.

I told him that seeing my son graduate from law school, seeing my daughter marry, being here to hug him right now, all of that was possible only because he had rescued me.

Sorry doesn't enter into it at all. A whole lot of THANK YOU does, though. 

For sure.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January 8th

It doesn't have any other name.  It doesn't make the list of mass shootings on the chyrons.  It was a big deal and then not so much of one and every now and then it comes around again.
It feels like yesterday and it feels like history and it's always a fact. It's with me, the prickly pieces usually resting in their box in the back corner of my mind, the consequences tickling the edges of my consciousness, the background noise of my life.

I'd do it again.  I'm not sorry we went. 

I wish it had never happened.
I look fit and put-together.... and I know that CTG will still have comments.

I love that about her; it makes her who she is: a perfect little girl who is quite pleased with herself, with the world, with life in general.  She wants everyone to be just as happy as she is.... and that seems to include accessories these days, at least for this 9 year old.
I stand on a platform held up by the souls of those lost and damaged on January 8th . That's ... the easy answer when someone wants to know how I manage to go on. 

I am here and capable while so many are not; it would be disgraceful to do nothing with the life I have before me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

My Empty House

Do you think it is cold in here because there are fewer bodies warming it up? I asked TBG yesterday.
Every time I turn a corner, wondering who's on the couch or in the refrigerator or trying not to fall into the pool, I'm heart-tugged as I remember that there's no one here but the two of us.

The quiet is lovely.  Being back on a regular exercise routine has calmed my limp.  But that's it.  I've thought about it all day and those are the only two benefits I can see.

There are no random hugs, no slobbery kisses, nobody shorter than I am.  I have to do my own cooking and empty my own dishwasher.  Groceries no longer magically appear.  All of that happened under my adoring gaze, without my lifting a finger, as those who run their own homes moved easily into taking care of mine.

I had fun polishing the counters and swiffering the floors, but mostly I enjoyed watching others work.
FlapJilly set the table, keeping track of how many place settings were required, choosing the serving utensils, reminding Little Cuter and me of Chrisitna-Taylor doing the very same things, asking the very same questions.  This one was my mommy's.  The glasses go at the top of the knives.  This was a gift from Grampa's mommy.  
What goes around comes around and that warm feeling from a decade ago hugged my heart every time my very efficient granddaughter considered her choices: a slotted or a solid spoon; a pointy or a rounder fork.. 

For herself, though, the choice was clear.  Her great-grandmother's sterling sliver dinner fork.  The most impressive of the meat silverware, which lived in the right hand side of the hutch in my parents' dining room, which I don't use and which is now, with the dairy set in a box waiting or her to grow up and need it. 
I didn't know when I started this post that I would actually feel warmer at the end. 

I'm surprised.  I haven't changed my clothes.  The thermostat's setting hasn't changed.

I don't know exactly where the cockles of my heart might be, but they are certainly warming me up right now..

Monday, January 6, 2020

I'm Back!

In all my years of blogging, I"ve been diligent about posting.  The only time I missed a day was when bullets perforated my self..... up until last week, when fun just got in the way.

We celebrated the new year until 2am... a new indoor/outdoor record for TBG and me.  The grown ups sat outside, drinking the champagne that had been saber-ed open as the year turned, sharing family stories.  Wrapped in blankets against the cooling night air, I watched the ones I love fall in love with one another all over again. 

Their faces watching their faces...... it doesn't get better than that.

I reveled, I kvelled, I watched the grown-ups who are my family remember and tease and giggle as the past came to life, sometimes immediately and once, from Big Cuter, several conversations after the question had been answered by the rest of us.  No one cared; we went back to where he was without a moment's hesitation.....well, after laughing, gently, at Big Cuter being Big Cuter, once again. 

We all love his careful consideration of important issues.  We all love his sister's ridiculous word salad, my forgetfulness, our various choices in pets. There were rueful moments and thoughtful moments, but mostly there was love.

Lead with love.
Be kind.
Laugh at yourself.
Avoid your mean voice.
Share the love.
Kill them with kindness..... it always works.

I'm a very lucky woman.