Thursday, February 26, 2015

So Much Peace in the Ordinary

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Blessed by Friends

I've been a little under the weather.
Not to belabor the whole post-operative thing
as I realize
bazillions of people
go through lots worse
every day of the year
and persevere to their own style of
glorious recovery.
My experience is nothing special.
Nothing unique.
I've not suffered more than expected
not agonized in ways I hadn't expected.
That said
the recovery thing
is exhausting and pretty lonely.
Especially if you
send the dog
and the cat
and the bird
away to critter camp
and you live
on the South side of town
which most people consider to be
a good hundred miles beyond
the far hinterlands
and as many miles
past the nether regions
of my home community.
It's like ten minutes from downtown.
So my thanks
to those of you who made the trip
and those of you who checked in on me
and those of you who just whispered a prayer
or wished me well on Facebook.
Bless yer damn socks off, people.
I love ya more than I can say.
As I told my sister this morning
"Angels appear when you need them."
And that's the truth.
let me introduce you to three of my angels
all of whom
happened to send their own
particular style of
on the very same day last week.
In the earliest hours of the still-dark morning
a text-message arrived.
Short and sweet.
It was a Bible verse reference.

And boy oh boy
was it ever
what I needed to hear that day.
A guy I love so much sent it.
I talked to him on the phone last night.
Why did you send that Bible verse to me?
I kinda want to keep what he said to myself.
I kinda want to keep what I said back
to myself, too.
But it was good.
And we laughed.
And it helped me lots
to know he was there.
~ ~ ~
Later that morning
I went to the mailbox
to find this postcard
waiting for me.

A guy I love so much sent it.
He can be counted on to lift my spirits and make me smile
holiday after countless holiday
and lots of days in between.
He has been entertaining my postal carrier
and likely earning me
close scrutiny by the NSA
over the years
with postcards bearing the most suspect of photos
and handwritten messages
all of which I have saved
and love to read over and over.
Don't care
even if it I end up in prison
at the hands of a liberal regime
worried over my activities
as outlined in these messages,
I love everything he sends me.
This postcard made me smile.
It helped me lots
to know he was there.
~ ~ ~
the same day
I opened up my email
to find the following message
of wisdom and good cheer.
A guy I love so much sent it.
He can always be counted on to
paint whatever dire situation I find myself
with the most unique of colors
as to make it
I never take myself too seriously
after a good, solid reminder
of just how good I have it
from him.
How could ones heart
not be stirred
by such sweet, sweet
I think of these guys as the drum majors
in this weeks parade of lovely
and supportive men.
What's not to love??
Add their efforts the visits, calls, meals, offers of help, rides,
encouraging words....overnight stays at my sisters....
all-night hospital vigil by my daughter..
pet-sitting and visits from my boys...
...plants, flowers, balloons and
supply of Snickers bars
and I just feel
One more knee to go
and we'll be dancing!!!

Fire in the Morning

Years before I knew it would be
important to me
I learned a little something about the
glories of woodburning stoves.
My mom married my step-dad on a
hot June day
and we immediately loaded up the blue Volvo
with coolers and suitcases
and headed out
on a "new family" vacation/honeymoon
to Yellowstone National Park.
After the long drive
across three states
we arrived at the park
to find temperatures
hovering just below freezing
every night.
We loaded the necessities
of the four of us
into a cabin just like this one
arriving near dark
and confronted with the frigid reality
in short order:
the place had no heat
other than the tiny little
woodburning stove.

That night
as we hurried back from the bath house in winter coats
our new step-dad stuffed the woodburner
with wood and all manner of kindling
with great care
to keep his new brood of
family women
warm through the night.
I remember pulling quilts up over my ears that night
looking down towards my feet
just beyond which stood the little stove
happily pressing warm air into the room.
I fell asleep,
noticing I could see stars
outdoors in the night sky
through cracks in the roof of the cabin.
Cool enough, I thought as I drifted off.
Cool enough.
At some hour
buried deepest in the wee ones
of the early early morning
I remember waking to whispers.
And discomfort.
And sweat.
Beads of it.
No......not beads.
More like rivers.
My sister
who shared my bed
was kicking me.
Well, I thought she was kicking me.
She was kicking blankets.
And I realized
I was kicking mine too.
And the whispers I heard
were that of my parents.
They were both up,
one at the window
and the other at the door,
fanning the cozy little cabin
by opening and closing them.
At some point
my step-dads
fabulous fire-building skills
unfolded into full bloom
sending waves and waves
of heat...
blistering, sweltering heat....
into every corner
of the tiny cabin
and deep into our pores.
I suspect we were all
spontaneous combustion.
My mom's face was flushed.
And I just wanted to smack
my sister for no reason.
(This was an impulse often attributed
to over-heating
in my youth.)
Over the ensuing years
my parents would
recollect the moment
and the heat
with laughter;
it became an important footnote
on the page of our
new family relationship.
Our first
group memory.
A sweet one.
A warm one.
Definitely a warm one.
But sweet, indeed.
Years later
I kept my own family warm
through years and years
of judicious
management of a
lower level
in a 70's
split-level tract home.
Grandma taught me how to
bank a log at night.
Not gonna sugar coat
the truth
when there is truth
to be told:
I was a kick-ass
hauling logs
and risking cardiac arrest
over the parade of spiders
that crawl from warming logs
as you haul them into the house
won over the economies
of heating with wood.
yes, I know, green young people,
we returned to the allure
of the convenience
of fossil fuels.
Fast forward.............
wayyy, wayyyy forward....
Today started grey.
It started grey
and overcast and even if the thermometer
says it's warmer than a few days ago
it's still cold.
So I built a morning fire.
And even though the sun found it's way
past the clouds this afternoon
the heat of the early flames
reached out and licked at me,
warmly ministering not only
to my shivering skin
but sinking in
and sending warm, comforting waves
through all of the empty
spots in my heart.
Fire warmed our new little family
all those decades ago.
Fire warmed my own little family
through my kids growing-up years.
Fire warms me still.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Small Steps

After long days of sofa-duty and thrashing around in the night-sheets trying to find a comfortable way to ride out the sleepless hours until morning, a haircut feels sooooo sooooo good.

But I think I've lost too much weight in my nose.
I can't keep my sunglasses up.

I wonder if John Lennon had this problem when he went all vegan and stuff. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Wine and Canvas

I'm so thankful
the way
my angels appear
just when I need them.
Dearest of friends
and family members
stepped in
over and over again
the past few weeks
to help me
with meals
and errands
and pet-sitting
and the delivery of medicine
while I was recovering
from my surgery.
This weekend
two of them
delivered me into an afternoon
of relaxation and fun.
A Wine and Canvas event
held at a nearby winery.
Appropriate enough
the painting of the day
was a winterscape
and I'm just gonna tell ya
right up front
I'm a bit of a rebel
when it comes to someone
instructing on how to
I'm no Van Gogh
but I know how I like to slide paint
onto a canvas.
And it's ok with the
Wine and Canvas people.
They just want you to
enjoy the afternoon
have a great time
and hopefully
go home with a painting
you kinda like.
Mission accomplished.

Since the crowd at these events
is largely comprised of people
who have never held a paintbrush before
the process is slow
and carefully explained
by awesome instrutors
who have created paintings
that can be easily
and replicated
with some measure of success.
That said, on close scrutiny
you'll note
the rebel
watched too darn much Bob Ross
through her children's growing up years.
We have our own idea
about where and how we like
happy little trees.

Early stage.
And I wasn't drinking wine.
Still on medication.
Didn't seem to be a grand idea.


And tah-dahhhh!
Congrats to my two friends
for their lovely works
which truly did turn out
to look
very much
like the lovely painting
our instructor displayed
prior to the start of class!
And mine
And I love that about it.
Big hugs to my buddies for
inviting me, gifting me with the ticket, driving me,
entertaining me
feeding me
doing a load of laundry for me
and even hiking into Walgreens
to refill my stash
of Extra-Strength Tylenol
on the way to the winery.
You're timing was better
than you could possibly know.
We get by with
a little help from our friends.


It's always the right thing.
Not always the easy thing.
it's an act of
long before it becomes
a gesture of
the heart.
It's still always
always and always
the right thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Come Ponder with Me


Whether is makes sense
or it's just the
roiling sediment
of recovery from
or a tough day
always pushes work
out of me.
It's the most curious
of birthing processes
but then again
perhaps not.
Time passes.
I fill to brimming
with threads of ideas
in the form of
and texture
and light
and words
not knowing for sure
how to weave them together
into one
And then the emotion comes.
Brief. Prolonged.
It doesn't matter.
It's the pressure
from being
brim-full to exploding
with emotion
finally tapping the
to relieve the pressure.
And suddenly
hours later
after losing myself in the process
it's just:
Another of those
cigarette moments, I guess.
And dang, but the release is so, so good.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

V-Day. Whatever.

Not a big fan of the V-Day.
I don't hate it.
I just think there are
herds and herds
of people
who dread the day
because they're alone.
There is nothing wrong with being alone.
In fact, there is a whole lot of right
in being alone
but it would seem we are obsessed
with the accoutrements of
with the implied snapshot
of aloneness
as one
I'm not opposed to either.
I've been alone.
I've been together.
Both made me happy
and crazy
and confused
and content
and restless.
Both have left me
on different days
spreading my wings
and cowering in my cocoon
and laughing
and considering
and tearing out my hair a bit.
Life is like that.
Love is like that.
Whether you're with someone.
Or just walking through life as a person alone.
All of the red and the pink and the rosy-ness
of the celebration
of this (frigid, winters, I might add...) day
led me to pull out one of the
many tubes of Avon lipstick
purchased and tucked away
by my mom.
She died about a year ago.
She was a young mom
in the 50's
when a crisply pressed apron
and a swipe of
fresh lip color
was all one needed
to feel
and ready to face the day.
I hardly ever touch the stuff.
Right color? Wrong color?
Too dark?
Too shiny?
Do I have to sparkle?
I just never ever can seem to figure it out.
But what the heck.
I dove into mom's unopened tubes yesterday
and picked one that seemed like it
might be right.
I've been stuck inside for a long while
it's winter
and it's cold
and the wind is howling a bit
and honest
I just needed some kind of
distracting pick-me-up
to get through the day.
I dunno.
I suppose to give it a fair shot
it should have been accompanied by
a haircut
or at least washing
since I'm still hanging out in my
post-op jammies most days.
But....maybe, mom.
Happy Valentines Day.
Brought to you by
Target and Walgreens and Hallmark
and those demon candy people, too.
And one tube of slightly pink
slightly 50's
Avon lipstick.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


It's been a long two weeks.
I had knee replacement surgery at the end of January
and happy as heck to have been in the hospital
having it done.
Coming home
of course
is always a good thing
but the ensuing days since
have been harder than I expected.
I'm not used to taking drugs.
I'm not on any medications
so a daily vitamin
and a random Aleve here and there
is the extent of it.
The assault of drugs necessary
to facilitate my recovery
from this surgery
launched an assault on my body
even as they were helping me
and honest
I can't remember a time
I've felt so
and so blue
and so alone.
I know lots of it just had to do with all the drugs.
And yet
even as we schedule and plan for things
like surgery
and we prepare all of the little auxiliary life functions
like who will take care of the dog
and the cat
and the bird
and taking out the trash
the truth
and perhaps unfairly so
is that life will continue to roll
mindless of ones rock-solid
state of mind
or otherwise.
And in my case this past week
it was definitely
frequently tearfully
Not really prepared
for unexpected disappointments
and emotional roller coasters.
But invites to ride
come anyway.
And ride, we do.
Best as we can.
The hills and the valleys
found me spending time with an old friend
this week.
I love the Book of James.
The wise words and practical counsel
have guided me through
the ups and downs of life
since I was a teenager.

It's not always easy
to be pure
then peace-loving
considerate, submissive
and full of mercy.
Sincere impartiality
is tough stuff.
blessed, blessed
oh how blessed
are the peacemakers.
May I remember to be one
Always, Lord.
Please always
let it begin
with me.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

When the Words Finally Come

Some days
the words are just there.
They flow
as if someone tipped the pitcher
and it was full
and it was ready
with each drop
spilling a little bit of my heart onto the page
in an order that mystifies
even me
when all is said and done.
It's the cigarette moment
the one where I lie back
and inhale
what the hell just happened.
There it is.
There. it. just.

I sat on a handful of
for this piece for the longest time.
Just the longest time.
They were like
snippets of highways
no where
and everywhere.
Leaving me clueless
about the destination.
And then I saw the picture.
It reminded me of the moment
these first words were born.
On a warm summers night
at the end of a long day.
I looked off to the West
and I thought
to myself
"You live in the sunset...."
and it might as well be a million miles away.
Thank you for the photo
which tipped the pitcher.
Thank you for the story
which spilled onto the page.
Thank you, God
for the sunsets.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Faith and UnWinding

Just about the time it all seems
to be going so right
in such a clear
falls the dark curtain
of doubt
and confusion
and you realize
maybe things weren't so right
after all.

Isaiah 41:10
 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~ ~ ~ ~
The unfolding continues
and smiling
didn't come so easy