Monday, July 18, 2011

boxes & more boxes & nesting

Home Depot has a god deal on moving boxes
and they are being bought and used around here
so much "stuff" to prepare

we will be moving with the actual mover-guys
a week from today
I had to sit here for a number of minutes to try to figure
out what today is first
and then when we actually MOVE
oh wow
time is way past my grip
the other day I took a seven-hour nap
before sleeping seven more hours
things just caught up with me
and I let my exhausted self
and that is just the truth
the bigger truth
perhaps has a lot to do with sadness
and a myriad
of emotions
that have come to the forefront
at first...

open the floodgates
and let the river run, dear me,
watching and wrenching
sometimes hiding

I'll have an energy-burst
and fill up the Escape with let-go-ofs
whether donations-or-gifts-or-some other form
of good-bye
it was very enjoyable at first
then I became a bit numb
and went through motions
so the fun factor needs to be invited back
into the process

finding strength to
once again
a refuge
walls defining space
taking forever inspiration
from my beloved birds on wing
a nature's nest of a place
where you know it is all temporary in the cosmic realm
of an extremely simple reality

my friend Susan Taylor Glasgow created a Communal Nest
made entirely of Glass
it is lifesize to humans
and there is a chair in the center
as fragile as glass is it is also that strong
the nest travels the country
and the shipping of pieces and installation of glass branches
is an enormous task
she does it over and over again
and gives viewers the gift of contemplation

I want to make another branch for her Nest...
Bryan and I made one years ago by taking an actual
tree branch, whittling down to the lovely maple color
completely wrapping it with strands
of tiny clear glass seed beads
it took a long time to do that together
and that is a nesting memory of
time well-shared

Thursday, July 14, 2011

college life contrasts

Friday is the day we go to Mizzou for Scholars Day
Bryan received an invitation
and I was able to get the day off from work
so we will be able to spend as much time as we want

it will be interesting to compare and contrast with our
experience last week at a much smaller school: Columbia College

the Honors College at the University is like a small college
within the huge University
we will learn a lot for sure

if either Brandon or Bryan want to go to school out of town
or state or country I want them to go forward and see what we need to do
to make it work
now we are talking about studying overseas for some part of
their college experience
again, we will work it out
and I believe we can do it
working hard
working together
vision in action
vision forward
building one day at a time
designing a course for learning that includes
[getting those good grades! sure does help (smiley face)]
I respect them so much for making that effort for their entire school-lives

...into this day ahead that opens another door

spelling error & quick definition

last post:

strange to wake up and one of the 1st things to enter my mind:
I think I spelled a word incorrectly:
disfunctional / dysfunctional
as if it matters really
I was dissing the functionality

and when I called a certain aunt (who passed away many years ago)
in my husband's
ex---t---ended family
I should have embraced that word with quotation marks
and given credit to the person who called her that: her one & only child / son
it was not my call to make, whether she was crazy or whatever; I hardly knew her personally
I knew OF her mostly
a distinction (dystinction?) worth noting

it was stunning to me
there we were, a collection of people with varying degrees of connectedness
opened by the event of losing a dear person suddenly
and up walks a man I barely knew and he said:
"Gloria, my mother was crazy and she put things into my head
that were just not true. It took me a long time to realize what she did
to me
and to our family.
I regret not having spent time with Aunt Dorothy before she died.
There are a lot of waters under the bridge..."

I am his cousin-in-law let's say
he wanted to express many things to me
and being the "out-law" appeals to me

I mostly listened and cried
he needed to talk and I had plenty of room to accept that responsibility
that particular day...

I prefer the huge old dictionaries to online ones
the huge paper ones make you search for the word you want
and I always learn new words getting eventually to the one
I started looking for

hmmmm the difference between "dis-" and "dys-"
the Latin the Greek
blow the dust off the crazy humongous Webster
in the garage
when I take a break once I get moving on the moving...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

barefoot wandering

I think I am in a bit of a trance
trying to figure out where to fall down and fall asleep next
today we did med kind of errands for Bryan
and also dropped him off for a day of tennis camp
with his brother as one of the teachers
so I needed to pick him up, too

got some things done in the way of cleaning and packing
get very tired in the heat and stress of the mess of it all
and found myself falling asleep later wherever I happened
to crash
was so embarrassed when Brandon came by to deliver another
of his loads since he is needing to be out of his apt by Thursday
and he is temporarily camping out with us in the midst
of it all
he brought a friend
and I woke up to his voice not realizing we had company
and I was so disoriented
I was sleeping in Bryan's bed since it was the quietest place
at the time
so there was this spaced out Mom
crawling out of the netherotherwander world saying hi
to his friend as I try to get one slipper on
having left the other one in the other room
because of a mosquito bite on my big toe...

apologizing away
I am sure I was not an impressive sight
so there I am trying to find earrings as if that is going to
oh brother
what a mess
might as well be funny otherwise it will be scary, sad and
rather pathetic

we are all still adjusting to our experiences the other day
with the whole graveside service
and missing one we have loved for a very long time

a crash course in family-restoration-at-the-funeral 101
when someone has to die before people can live
with each other
declaring that one crazy person screwed up relationships
for many years
and she had to die years ago to set her own son free from
herselfishness and judgmental attitudes...
so Gary gained back his only cousin in this world
they could finally meet as men
in front of a coffin
and many stories were told that day
and telephone numbers and addresses written down
on the backs of Memorial Cards
saying when Dorothy Jean Johnson Jenkins was born
and died
and the date was marked when the family
that disfunctioned for so long
functioned a bit better

I immersed myself in the process as much as I was invited to
and I invited myself in when it seemed right
what is there to lose?

my own father waited until his last gasping breaths
to say what needed to be said over a lifetime
when something is so broken and smashed as our lives were
a few words at the very end seemed so
they were self-serving words
and I did want to believe them
only to be proven gullible later
I thought the hitting would end when he died
he managed to hit me after... one last time

deathbed confessions
family reunions casket-side
I'll try to find value anywhere I can
but bloody hell
let's get it together sooner than later why don't we

being stretched is perhaps not the best time
to write
stuff happens and I let it out
without regret this time

still barefoot
strange choice of earrings
I looked in a mirror a while ago
and had to laugh
and actually liked my craziness
whether Brandon's friend ever shows up here again
we'll have to wait and see
but I will make sure he gets the message that
he is always welcome
even if I look like a "hobbit" (thanks, Brandon)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

holy (whatever)... when all is said and done

as I was writing Holy Moly Mackeroly over ten years ago now
I oftentimes thought of how satisfying it would be someday
if I could time it just right
to write it all out
to the marrow
strip every word and thought down to its essence
to find the simplest truth
know it because I live it
and then just say it

when all is said and done

what a privilege to have written a couple of books
that touched a few lives along the way
the first was a compilation of stories that I felt absolutely compelled
to get down on paper before turning 50
done deal
such long pages
so many words
any professional editor would have taken a chainsaw to it
and trimmed off half
at least
I didn't want that then

the second one
the words were tighter
and my hands did most of the talking

the dvd with Creative Catalyst
was like the rush of a wave
like a race against time
to get it all down
fill in the cracks of what came before
and then as soon as I returned
a blur......... and it is almost five years later

when all is said and done

my days and moments are tied into a woven dichotomy
that juxtaposition
of grateful to have the medical tools and physical strength
to live a 2nd life
or a 3rd or 100th depending on the definition
and seeing natural lives completing themselves

the beauty and agony of youth
cause my heart to beat and break me open
I watch
in wonder
in pain
in celebration
in acceptance
not in resignation
but in knowing

that when all is said and done

I love
I am

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

homemade apple

it has been a very long day of long telephone calls
and visits to take care of details involved in
the "no hullaballoo" service
I can't imagine what a fullblown extravaganza would be like
to bring together
it sure can be complicated to keep things simple!

I am happy to help
there is never an especially "good" or "convenient" time to die
right now does seem like an especially good and convenient time to live

Bryan slept only two hours last night / restless like I was
he got up very early and went out for a walk
that became a run
and an adventure with nature
and his own inner being
he was listening to music and realized that the songs
he had been playing recently were actually quite sad
so he switched it up
and played a song by the group Plain White T's called Rhythm of Love
and it cranked up his mood to great heights

if I got the group name wrong oh well, but I think I got the song title...

he experienced the joy of defining life on his own terms
he looked in all four directions at one point
ran into the middle of an intersection with no cars anywhere to be seen
and jumped into the air and did a 360
he talked with little critters he met on his 6-plus mile walk/run
before most of the city was moving
and found a freedom and power that he delighted in recounting
for me and later Brandon and Gary
never tiring of repetition
because it was actually newer and deeper each time he told it

his first heartbreak has just happened
yet his heart is stronger than ever
because he decided to live forward

my children, my teachers

oh, and the reference to "homemade apple"...?
that is the name of the font I used for the script for "my 2nd life"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

an honor to love her & be loved by her

late this afternoon the phone calls came
I didn't understand for some time what the quiet words
were about
Gary's aunt passed away today or perhaps last evening
and I miss her so much already
her loving husband of many many years is slipping away
into the mist of Alzheimer's and she was his CareGiver
protecting him
we missed seeing them this last Christmas

from Brandon's very first Christmas until this last one
the boys have received beautiful Hallmark ornaments
as part of their Christmas gifts

she loved sending them and asking how they liked them
and we would carry on about how many we had
each year more and more, over 60 now I believe
there were years when she would send extra ones
and then when they were older and she wanted to make sure
they got exactly the ones that had meaning for them
even when they were Darth Vader (!!!) or Spiderman
she was on board and placed the order with her local
Hallmark shop in Mexico, Missouri

Don and Dorothy did not have children of their own so Gary and his sister
had a special place in their hearts
and our combined four children were like adopted grandchildren
in a quiet way

but it was never quiet at Christmas!
one year my mom was here from New Mexico and saw them in action:
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus of the Midwest!
she made countless delicious cookies and knew all of our favorites
so tons came
and box after box of food treats, 10 kinds of cheese,
rows of boxes of crackers,
chocolates and yummy homemade-by-the-Amish candies
candles, usually some kind of crystal or clear glass piece for me
to add to my collection from her
and always surprises

one year it was the biggest barrel of cheese balls on earth
from the little boys' point of view!
she loved to see them laugh and jump up and down with delight!
she loved hearing that we didn't have room in the frig for everything
she brought, so we stuffed and crammed and carried on laughing
and munching at the same time
it was this generous spirit of abundance
it was giving with abandon
watching Uncle Don playing with the kids and enjoying their toys
as if he were young again made her laugh so hard

she was teaching the boys her way of creating Tradition
no words of instruction needed
this past Christmas did not sparkle as bright because they could not come
we tried a number of times to deliver our gifts to them
but they were cocooning I feel
and as much as we missed seeing them
we could talk with them on the phone and she of course sent the
loveliest anniversary card to us
the last card we will receive from them
and her handwriting is as strong and pretty and giving as always
just a handful of days ago...

this evening I had a bit of time and used it to go to the mall
and find a few Hallmark cards as I reflected upon her impact on my life

the new Christmas ornament booklet has just come out!
I could hear Aunt Dorothy's voice telling me that it is time
once again
so I picked up one of those catalogs
and will ask Brandon and Bryan to please pick out
their favorite ornaments once again
in Memory of one who loves them
so unconditionally it feels like a Christmas afghan blanket
wrapped around snuggly warm

the strong hugs she gave made me safe
everything would be alright
we will have a wonderful Christmas day
we will have fun food to last until April
there will be cards in the mail for every holiday
St. Patrick's Day included even though none of us happen to be Irish
but hey it was a chance to find cute cards and slip in some "fun money"
and wishes

I miss you, Aunt Dorothy
I love you and thank you for loving me and all of us unconditionally
we will find the ways to take good care of your good Don
there are good friends and family in your life working on that
right now
and there will be quiet goodbyes made
"no hullaballoo" for you
as you made very clear!

reflecting on life and death this evening when we were
all here together hearing the news and receiving it and responding
in our different ways
I learned so much as much came out

her living loving pulsing example will always be a standard of heart
I want to learn from
genuine, genuine through and through


a desire came upon me to play around with the design of my blog
anything to do with "playing around" on the computer
beyond what I know
which is very little
is essentially unheard of by me in my own head with my own ears

I have watched Gary and Bryan over the years
with their experimentation, fearless pursuit of what might happen
if they keep going deeper wider closer as if jumping down
Alice's rabbit hole enjoying the ride especially
the part of not knowing where they might end up
what bumps along the way
yet very confident that the process will lead to something

instead of asking one of them to help me re-design here
knowing that I wanted a change
not any particular idea of what
I just started pushing buttons
that had words like "design" and had pretty color choices
and interesting fonts

I had to laugh at myself when I didn't even know what
anything at all was called when it came to labels
oh, that is the this-and-that, ok, so maybe that is the so-and-so
no, but it's interesting, hmmm, well, that set of colors
makes that happen, etc...

and so after a long time that went by faster than the clock indicated
I came upon a very simple look that looks like I want it to for now.

maybe it is chalk on the blackboard of life?
perhaps just the clean lines of black and white
such a complicated intense time for me recently

de-cluttering on here when I am also de-cluttering the rest of
life around myself
hopefully it is not hard to read

it is funny to me to look at this now
me, the one who loves the colors of Mexican weavings
and yes
the essence of Japanese brush paintings
those contrasts dance in me

and so I pick up a white piece of chalk
and write simply
strip down the words
strip down my distractions
strip away old paint
leaving some wood exposed and rough
putting a new coat other places

always in search of the genuine

a touch of turquoise here and there on this new "canvas"
silver finger nails if you can believe it
hands and head finding new expressions
gradually setting aside the fears of
what if I mess this up

guess what
it never mattered
I gently remind myself
play like a child

and I always loved chalkboards
when they were slate, or tar, and now a screen...

Monday, July 4, 2011

watching a fighter

I never thought a certain friend would ever
ever ever have to deal with cancer
she is just too strong
too positive
too vital
a kind of energetic spirit
I could go on and on
and when I visited her at her farm
there she was with her great smile
and fuzzy new chemo hairdo with a bandanna (sp?)
to deal with sweat not a way to mask
her sparse cute hair

she is sporting a new vitality
it is different than before
her face is lighter features-wise
I think when we lose our eyelashes and brows
or they lighten up some
also our skin has a kind of transluscent look
I see it sometimes in the faces I pass by
as we go down the halls and mazes of the cancer center

her creativity knows no bounds
and she has bounded back with a vengeance
that I marvel at

it is hard not to compare
and wonder why why about many things in myself

it would be best to gain inspiration
rather than judge myself...

I noticed she was wearing beautiful sparkly earrings
different than what I had ever seen her wear before
they are a gift from her daughter
who wanted her mom to have sparklers as a reflection
of her vast love and admiration
it was wonderful seeing them together
talking about the meaning they placed upon the gift

it was wonderful being on their farm
signing a box which is a gift for my son Brandon
(I placed my order for these before her diagnosis)
made from wood that came from an old Boone County barn
another part of the same barn that Bryan's box is made from
I have wanted this for years
boxes made by Carolyn Linton
from Boone County barn wood for my treasure-children
she is putting the finishing touches on
the coats of hand-rubbed wax from England I believe

her daughter was beside herself excited to hear
me say
that this move we are making has opened me up
to my desire to create "things" of art again
her daughter shared with me stories
of how we met and how small pieces of my artwork
from what feels like another lifetime ago
grace her life...

that was very moving to me
and I smiled to think of the artwork of my friends
that grace my life
a lovely turquoise handbag and fabric fortune cookies
tucked into a Chinese takeout box
so perfect and so loving
and my gratitude spills over

Saturday, July 2, 2011

affirmed & closer

yesterday we reached our 29th anniversary mark
it was funny, because the reminder was that we were receiving
anniversary cards, that clued us in
time has warped, and I find myself enveloped in the moment
sometimes in excellent, paying attention mode
other times so intensely wrapped in bubbles of
concern that I cannot see the ground under my feet
remember the year when it is important to
and then use an extreme amount of focus
to climb back into today
from somewhere else...

so, almost 30 years being married
we had to laugh when it took a few moments to
realize the actual date
my attention has been on trying to find a new home
appointments that need to be made & kept
from haircuts to college visits
oh yeah, laundry
and then checking and checking to see how things are
going with the house
and Brandon is needing to find a new living scene as well

and we are close now
just heard a short time ago that the house we hope for
is now under contract with Gary's sister!
Things are moving along, a new place is closer
I wrote about what I was experiencing the other day
here in blogland
and it was zapped
perhaps it needed to be

I find it interesting that the name of the street
that we will move to is called Affirmed
named after a great horse-in-history I presume
with all kinds of other equestrian things going on
in the neighborhood
Affirmed is a good word
affirmations are significant statements
both internally and verbally

this morning I worked and my 96 1/2 year old gentleman
affirmed my value in kindly direct ways
thanking me for making his life more comfortable and fun
we have these talks that I enjoy and wish I could
record in some way!
I teased him a bit about that today:
"I ran to the kitchen to get a paper and pen so I
could capture a quote of yours and then
I was trying so hard to remember and then my own words
crept in and I lost it! I want to write a book
of 'Lee's Words of Wisdom... in the trenches of real life'
a real long life..."

I just now realized that I have been married longer than not married
29 years married / 57 years old
having time with Brandon and Bryan yesterday and this weekend
is very special
good to laugh and hope
just good to be together
whatever is going on

getting closer