Friday, January 31, 2020

Spring is in the Air - Random Thoughts

We're surprised that it's cool outside, often neglecting a jacket as we head to the gym in the early morning hours.  Once the sun has been up for a while, we can sit outside and read; it will take many more degrees before swimming is plausible.  There's really no excuse - I ought to be walking outside.
The roses are pruned back to leaf-less-ness, the canes nicely shaped into an outward-facing bush.  Both Katie at Rillito Nursery and Dr. Google agree that it's hard to cut too much.  Apparently, roses are quite hardy. 
While pruning, my garden guy and I discussed that orange faced menace (his words) and impeachment.  While the details escaped him, the major facts were at his fingertips.  No amount of Presidential obfuscation clouded his conclusion that the guy's a crook, has been his whole business career, this is no different. 

It was the clearest description of this transactional presidency as I'd heard in a while.
My rosemary bushes, all 12 or so of them, are, after 13-plus years, finally growing together into a thick hedge.  TBG's desire for an English Garden must be satisfied in small doses; the desert doesn't lend itself naturally to such things.

I figure that by the time FlapJilly graduates from high school the whole thing will be worth photographing for you.
TBG's watching college basketball on tv.  The sounds feel inappropriate.  Those male voices, those squeaky shoes, the horns and the cheers and the back to the studio's are imprinted on my psyche as happening with a snowy, cold, bleak vista outside my windows.

While there's a little bit of snow on the mountains, I'm watching the purple lantana come into bloom, after lying dormant all winter long.  My ears are saying winter; my eyes are refuting the claim.
I haven't been keeping track of my books in the sidebar (no one mentioned missing it, so I figured no one cared), but I have one to recommend: The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett. 

It's lyrical, lovely, interwoven but not too confusing, and feels very, very real.... down to the perfect description of sitting in a parked car, with the windows rolled down, on a muggy, summer night.  It's a much happier read than a plot description might lead you to believe.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Following Directions, or Teachers Are VASTLY Underpaid

I thought it was pretty simple::

  • Take a plastic cup (no, it didn't matter if you took a red on e or a blue one)
  • Use the big Sharpie to write your name on the cup
  • Make sure Grandma Suzi pokes a hole in the bottom of your cup
  • Fill your cup with soil from a yellow bag
  • Come back and I'll give you an onion or 3 seeds
I thought it was pretty obvious:
  • The cups were big and bright 20 oz ribbed plastic
  • If your name isn't on the cup, how will you know it is yours?
  • The hole is either there, or not
  • There were two, bright yellow, 50 qt bags in the garden... and it's not that big a space
  • FILL.... not Put a Little Bit
  • You are not done until you have planted something
I'll grant that the hole in the bottom of the cup was counter-intuitive when they were supposed to fill it up, but the hole was made by a small, pointed pruner, not a lot of soil would bleed through, and the water would make its way out of the cup so the plant didn't moulder and die from drowning.  I was happy to explain all of that.

What made me want to tear out my hair were questions like these:
  • Did you poke a hole in my cup yet?  (Um, you are holding it.... look and see.)
  • Where's the yellow bag?  (It's right there, almost as tall as you are.)
  • Do you have a tool I can use? (No, the cup itself is the tool.  So are your hands. The big shovel is not really necessary for this.)
  • Is this too much water? (All my talks about plants not being fish were, apparently, for naught.)
I said nothing, of course, just smiled and pointed and answered and reassured.  But my brain was having a wonderful time answering them, even if my mouth did nothing but recite the same things, over and over and over and over again.

Of course, there were those who listened and followed directions and proudly showed off their finished projects before picking up the rakes and doing the work that earned them a plant.  There were those who answered the questions for me, neither patronizing nor abusing their classmates.  There were even those who said Thank You.... well, there was one of those..... and he got a special Grandma Suzi note with 2 hearts and the word POLITE written with that big black Sharpie.

I have them in 6 groups following one another for 20 minutes once a week.  I'm exhausted afterward, even though I'm always well fed and wearing comfy clothes and can sit down whenever I must.  

Just thinking about running a classroom from 7:45 in the morning through the early afternoon is tiring.  Getting up and doing it 5 days in a row ?  These educators are VASTLY underpaid.  

I challenge anyone who disagrees to try it.  You can start in my garden, if you'd like.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Report from Friday's March for Life in DC (Updated - The pictures work!)

My Brother participates in life.  He's an enthusiastic and keen observer of the world around him.  He makes me laugh and I love him.  Today, I'm sharing him with you.  Enjoy!
It was a nice day, so I put on my hat

and went downtown to see what this country is all about. This crowd was much smaller than the first anti-Trump Women’s March. This group was very ruly, walking slowly along Constitution Ave toward the Capitol.

  In 2017, the unruly Womens’ Marchers ignored their assigned parade route, meandered along both Constitution and Independence Avenues, trampled the grass on the mall, and stood in long lines for the hundreds of porta-potties.

I arrived after the President addressed the crowd.  Heavy security (the Secret Service has their own magnetometers) meant an hours long wait to get through the checkpoints if you wanted to pay homage.  Anyway it’s better viewing on tv.

If you haven’t noticed, there is a religious war going on in this country.  And the alt right is highly visible
(notice the balaclavas)
although either ignored or accepted by this homogenous 

There were lots of pre-printed signs. 

Among my favorites were the “I vote pro life” held by underage children. Can they read, or think?

There was no waiting at the comparatively small number of porta-potties,

but my favorite overheard line was, “It took me forever to find a toilet that had toilet paper.” 

Much singing and praying and loudspeakers for Jesus.  “We love babies yes we do. We love babies, how about you?!” 
Colorful matching hats and shirts helped keep groups of crusaders together.  A distinct lack of either profanity or humor on the signs, but enough of the usual graphic imagery of aborted fetuses, even on large video displays. (I'll spare you those pictures.)

As I was heading home walking away from the march through Judiciary Square, a pretty 30 something woman coming from the courthouse flashed me a knowing smile. Must have been the hat. 

She was the only one who noticed.  It’s a whole other world out there.

(Editor's Note: Most people would stop here.  My Brother is 
NOT most people.)

And so, the country is at a fork in the road


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

And Then There Were Nine

The news got worse as the day went on.  More girls and moms and dads gone in a flash.  TBG was obsessed; I tried to avoid it.  That quickly became impossible; it was on the national news as well as the sports news and on the radio and all over the inter-webs. 

I saw nothing about the civil suit he settled when he was 25 and accused by a 19 year old hotel employee of rape.  A WaPo reporter was put on paid leave for tweeting about it; I suppose it was too soon to look at the whole picture. 

But I wasn't focused on Kobe the superstar.  I was stuck on his family, one sister gone and three without their daddy. 

I couldn't get Payton Chester out of my mind, nor Alyssa Altobelli, 8th graders... just on the cusp.... full of life.... riding to an away game with the coach.... a scene that, perhaps without the helicopter, is familiar to lots of us.
I was stuck with all those families who now exist in a Before and After world.

The professional athletes who were forced to face their own mortality made me understand the value of a rueful smile.  That was a break from the awful reality of Alyssa's siblings making their way on their own, of Matt Mauser's 2 year old crying for her gone forever mommy, of the students and players and carpool parents whose lives are forever altered by a single, unlikely event, something that happens to other people. 

Suddenly, they are other people, too, members of a club that no one wants to join. 

They are in my heart.  All of them.

Monday, January 27, 2020


I've seen almost every episode of Law'n Order aired before 2011; I knew what was coming when I stopped in front of the television.  I don't know why I stayed, why I watched, but I did. 

A perfectly lovely moment doing just what they should have been doing became a woman cradling a shot and dying loved one's head and saying exactly. what. I. said. to Christina-Taylor.

I knew it was coming;  I didn't know it would leave me sobbing.  But there I was,  hanging onto to TBG, having all the feelings that are usually locked up in a box in my head pouring out of my eyes onto the front of his sweatshirt.

I was fine once the feelings were aired out and wiped off and the lip replaced, gently, on the box. 

And then, today, Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter died. 

The lid is going to need a new latch pretty soon.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Are You Watching?

TBG and I were obsessed with the run up to Impeachment.  We watched everything, hearing over and over again the same (to our ears) wonderful arguments.

The President obstructed, and there was proof.

The President broke the spirit of the law, and there was proof.

The GAO says the President broke the law, and there was proof.

Then the Articles were walked over to the Senate and my will was snapped.

I cannot listen to Jay Sekulow.  I cannot spend waking hours watching grown ups willfully misconstrue the facts.

I feel terrible.  Adam Schiff is brilliant, but I've been catching him in the car on NPR, not sitting down for a binge civics lesson.

Am I a bad citizen? 

Thursday, January 23, 2020


They like to dig.
They like to make pies and cakes and piles, 
but mostly they like to dig.  
It makes them happy.
They use the plastic trowels and the plastic shovel without complaining.
Today, they were satisfied with the slow but steady pace the rain-softened soil allowed,
working together to loosen the soil between our trees. 
There were issues regarding the redistribution of the dislocated soil.
Some were brought to my attention with a great sense of urgency. 
Some were resolved by talking it through. 
And some were more possessive of their soil than others.
I have to come up with a creative use for digging.
And you thought you had problems?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My Resolution for the New Year

On the theory that I am more likely to keep it if I announce it, here is my Resolution for 2020:
I will look for ways to de-clutter my life.  I will try to give away that which will give others joy.
I'm not going all Marie Kondo on my life, and there is one obvious reason why.  The woman can manage to keep her book collection to "30 at any one time".  That's a non-starter for me.

What I can manage to accomplish, I think, is getting rid of that which is no longer useful, necessary, important, applicable, attractive, interesting, or likely to be touched again in my lifetime.  Having all those descriptors helps when do I want this any more? is too big a question to answer.

Some items are easy.  Those jeans haven't gotten past my hips in years; what makes me think that any amount of diet and exercise will make it happen in the future?  Gravity is not letting go of my abdomen any faster now than it was when last I wore them.  I weigh about the same as I did when I graduated from college; it's all in different places now.  It's time to admit that and move on.  There is no reason to be uncomfortable in pants that don't even look that good any more; it's hard to tuck in a shirt when you can't zip them up.

Out they went, even the fancy ones I got for a song at Buffalo Exchange on a girls' day out with Elisabeth, years and years and years ago.  I'll still have the memory.  Someone else can have the jeans.

Concert t-shirts met the same fate; the memories stayed, the garments went. So did the shorts that are too short and the socks I haven't worn since I moved to Tucson.  Being able to wear sandals for nine months of the year relegates socks to hiking, the gym, and ccccccold wintry nights on the couch.

There is no need to hold onto what will keep someone else warm, so sweatshirts that are dusty from disuse were folded on top of most of the long sleeved shirts I haven't already left in the frigid north with Little Cuter.  I'm not only concentrating on clothing; I have blankets that were swag from conferences and reunions that have been keeping my garage shelves warm and toasty since we moved here. If I haven't unrolled them in 13 years, I probably can find someone who needs it more than I do.

I took advantage of the commercial breaks during TBG's favorite weekend of professional football to drop the contents of his closet next to him on the couch.  Cubby hole by cubby hole, he mourned the departure of clothes that were too tight, not comfy, never worn, don't like.  By the time the second game was ready to begin, he was left only with that which is serviceable, appropriate, and desired.

I started this venture in the kitchen when the kids were here, offering relics as heirlooms, using their height and strength to move things around.  Now, for the most part, what I use is close at hand, what I didn't want has gone to Goodwill, and all the cabinets are clean, inside and out.  They make me smile.  TBG notices the difference; the Tupperware drawer is no longer terrifying.

I was smart to begin in a public space.  I had company while I worked and everyone shared in the after glow.  The closets are now places of joy and wonder as we wear things that had been hidden and are now revealed; these smiles are more private, but no less delightful.  I'm working on it, one section at a time, sometimes 15 minutes at a time, sometimes not til this is done

Even if I stop now, I'm ahead of the game.  I think I'll like this resolution.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

I've Used Up My Outrage

At least, for the moment, my tank is empty.  I've had my fill of shouting at the wind.

I've been angry and anguished and articulate on the phone and in the ether.  I've enlisted others in the fight and reached out to long lost friends who might be eager to raise their voices alongside mine.

I've gone upstream as far as I can.  I've been through my address book.  I refined my written response and my talking points until I had to stop because they no longer made sense.

I went to sleep upset and I woke up the same way.  I have very little hope. 

The issue requires some reading (an article or the whole Report) and writing (which could be cut-and-paste) and putting your name out there on an issue that is bound to be contentious, if not down-right hostile. 

As usual, I acted before I thought about the ramifications of my screed.  Though edited for clarity and tightness, the current version is just as furious as its predecessors.  I'm still sending it out and about, hoping to make a difference.

Unlike gun safety, the people on the other end of this issue are neither armed nor dangerous to my physical well-being.  I can call them out, demand answers, wonder about their motives, and not worry about bullet holes in my windows.  That has allowed me to vent my spleen, to give voice to my ire, and not worry TBG.

But I need a break right now.  I can't think of anything else to do. 

(If you are interested, especially if you are connected to Cornell University, here are the links to the article and the Report that threatens the existence of the College of Human Ecology in an effort to promote Public Policy.  Read it and weep.... then act.)

Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King and A Day of Service

I did not know that today is the only Federal Holiday specifically promoting the idea of service to the community.

I find it odd that I, of all people, missed out on this important bit of information.  Doesn't it seem like the kind of thing that would be right up my alley?  Getting people together to do a good deed - that's what floats my boat.  How did this slip past me?

I ought to go to the Tucson Village Farm, since it was their article in the paper that alerted me to the call to service. 

I could drop off the extra diapers and wipes at the Diaper Bank after I leave the snacks the kids didn't eat when they visited at the ICS Food Bank.  I worked with TBG to go through his closet this weekend; I could drop off his discards at the Amphi Clothing Bank.

I could paint at Ben's Bells, doing good while soothing my soul. 

I know I'll take a few moments to think about the man himself.  Flawed, certainly.  But brave and literate and young, so very, very young, when a young man with a grievance took aim across a parking lot and opened fire. 

I have some experience with that.  I imagine I'll spend a few moments in that space, too.

But that space leads me to GRIN and the Prince Scholars and all the good that came out of a tragedy... a tragedy I would trade in a heartbeat, were I able.... because the good is no where near equal to the losses...... but it's all we have. It is what we do to remember, to honor, to keep them by our sides, continuing to inspire. 

Therefore, we do what they, were they here and able, would be doing by our sides.  It brings who they were into specific relief.  It clarifies what their presence meant.then and means now, as we go on. 

Were she here, I'd ask Christina-Taylor to choose for us.

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.