"The traffic felt like another personal attack. Another kind of boxing in, not giving her room, impeding her. It made her angry, and it made her sad. She'd felt trapped so long by her mother's illnesses--mental and otherwise--even after she left home. The relationship she craved from both her parents kept eluding her. And now, just when she thought she might have a chance at building something with her dad, there was another needy woman in his life. Somebody else with a claim on his time, his focus, his emotional energy. Would Jenny ever get to be the focus? Even for an hour? A minute?"
Dinner preparations are going on, and now I'm in charge. When I was a kid I tried to be on hand whenever that was happening. I liked to find pieces of cabbage hearts, celery bottoms, raw potato. I would salt them and amidst many warnings from my grandmothers or my mom, I would eat them. They would shake their heads and return to whatever task called them. One of my grandmothers was sure I was poisoning myself. I wasn't, though. In fact, I think that habit did me a power of good. Yes, sometimes there was a bit of grit in the celery bottom, but why wouldn't there be? It was the part that touched the earth. This was in the days before all the pesticides and chemicals were used. As far as I know. But somehow I'm still around at 81, anyway.
"He sat by the amber glow of a dying fire, swirling the last bit of his drink. Myriads of stars were visible that warm night in the desert valley of San Jacinto. The day had begun much like any other. Then, through one simple act of helping another human being, he felt his life profoundly changed. Even if the woman who was now sleeping in his guest room disappeared by morning, he knew he would be different, was already made different. The wide sky river of the Milky Way dropped a shooting star. Jack stirred the embers of the fire, sending an answering shower of sparks upwards through the cooling air."
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Did you see the pomegranate, split wide from falling or by birds or some wild thing,
under the drooping branch of wet poppy leaves?
Even after days of rain it still looked dry and dusty, the skin cracked like old leather.
I feel like that some days, split, spilled, cracked open.
The bright seeds inside still held a juicy promise for a brown squirrel with a watchful eye
and he, or she, took time to taste those tiny glowing morsels
and then in a flash disappeared
the fruit empty, picked clean.
Holiday season begins for me when the grandkids start planning their Halloween costumes. Those plans are usually made not long after school starts in the fall. I can remember a time when I complained about Christmas music playing everywhere before Thanksgiving, but my views on that have softened considerably as any family member or friend will tell you if they visit anytime between Halloween and New Year's Day.
When I was a kid in the 1940's and 50's, no matter how depressed things were in my house, and often that was the case, whenever I saw the bright Christmas decorations and the row upon row of holiday ornaments lined up at the dime store, my spirits lifted. I knew it wouldn't be long before my mother would come out of her downward spiral and rally for Christmas. Sometimes those Christmases were more manic than fun, but at least they weren't sad.
Embossed: "...(a design carved, molded, or stamped on a surface or object." That's how it's defined in the Oxford Language Dictionary. Do you remember embossed napkins on your table on special days? I do. I hadn't thought about them until I was given one at a restaurant this morning. Then I remembered one holiday sitting at the table in my grandmother's kitchen. My mother and aunt were busy with preparations for dinner, my grandmother was probably setting the table. I must have been fidgeting or complaining about something, and I can't remember who handed me an embossed paper napkin and a box of crayons. "Here. Why don't you color this design." And whoever it was went back to putting olives in the molded glass dish that held the carrots, celery, and pickles.
It feels like the beginning of something today, which is odd because it's the end of October, not January. But fall always makes me feel like new beginnings. Maybe it's because I lived so many years by the academic calendar, when fall was the beginning of the new school year. But in any case, I celebrated today by decorating the front porch with orange twinkle lights and pumpkins. Trick or Treaters will be coming soon!
It was a simple thing to do, and not something I was sure I was going to continue being a part of, but my local Buy Nothing FB Group has proved to be a source of inspiration and joy. This is a place where neighbors meet and share. And anything goes, really. People offer goods they no longer can use, for free. One person's trash does turn out most of the time to be another person's treasure. Sometimes people post that they are in search of something, and inevitably someone else has that item to give or loan. Everything from old lawnmowers to jars of peanut butter are listed, and snapped up within hours. Even things like packing materials, extra plastic shopping bags are taken with a please and thank you! People sometimes post that someone has moved into the neighborhood and don't yet have furniture. And they are offered furniture, pots and pans, to borrow or to keep.
Do what you like today.
If it's opening the window to hear
If it's to give the cat some treats
If it's taking your time deciding what you want
If it's sharpening a pencil
If it's lighting a candle
If it's making a pot of tea
If it's listening to an old song your old self loved
If it's taking a nap
If it's unwrapping a new bar of soap
If it's window gazing
You know that all of it, every bit of it, is a good bit of doing.
It is Friday morning, and it is going to be hot here in the San Fernando Valley, unseasonably hot for early April. We are talking 99 degrees before noon. I have taken my morning pills, vitamins, had my low-calorie breakfast, put on my support socks and the rest of my clothes that will keep me somewhat comfortable inside our air conditioned house.
Every morning I wake up hoping that this will be the day my energy will return for all the pending tasks needing attention. And every day I go to bed having fallen far short of my own expectations. Even the simplest things like folding laundry and putting it away have morphed into monstrosities that refuse to be tamed. I have books that need reading (not just for pleasure!), a number of quotidian tasks that should be undertaken, and my level of enthusiasm and energy for such tasks has deserted me. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can get the dishes loaded into the dishwasher before I go to bed. Such a small thing!