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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Wrinkle in Life

Theme Thursday - Wrinkle

There are all kinds of the ones on your clothes, your face or your dog: small and unimportant wrinkles. And there are life wrinkles, also often small and unimportant. Every now and then, however, we get hit with a life wrinkle that is deep, so deep that it creates a major rift in daily life, with the potential to derail the serenity of existence, a wrinkle whose presence is difficult to deny.  All of us encounter these massive wrinkles that threaten our equilibrium, whether it be divorce, a death in the family, estrangement from a loved one, or whatever form this ever morphing wrinkle chooses to take.

Over the years I have met up with my fair share.  Sometimes I am able to grab an iron, take the bull by the horns, and get in there and deal with the situation, resulting in a satisfying resolution. It is so gratifying when my deft wielding of a verbal iron is able to press that nasty wrinkle into oblivion, creating a once-again smooth surface.

However, what happens when the wrinkle won't go away... no matter the hours spent ironing, trying to reach the heart of a seemingly impenetrable wrinkle? There are various courses of action: permanently removing myself from the situation, ignoring the problem as best I can, or accepting that there is just going to be a wrinkle there, perhaps forever. I most often choose the latter solution, as imperfect as it is; but it is at least a way of moving on with life.

Since I believe that I am constantly learning and changing, perhaps I will discover a new avenue for dealing with a bottomless wrinkle. Maybe I'll discover a new, super-powerful iron that will do the trick. I'd like that,but I am not holding my breath.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Are We There Yet?

It seems that spring is having a hard time getting started this year. There are teasers of sunny, warm days; but before I can get used to the lovely weather, the sky turns dark with pouring rain just a few steps behind. Today is no different: sunny and seventies with yet more rain in tomorrow's gloomy forecast. In spite of this unwelcome prediction or maybe because of it, I ventured out to inspect my deck garden and discovered that - yes - spring is in fact happening. It's just colder and wetter than the springs of years past.

There's a touch of pink amidst all the green as my hydrangea gets ready to put on a fabulous show. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wren are busily building their annual nest in anticipation of several hungry occupants.

The morning glories, which I thought were never going to sprout, have finally poked their green heads through the soil and will be moseying up their trellis before too long.

Strawberries, now an unappetizing shade of green, will soon morph into juicy visions of red and find their way into my eager mouth.

Really. I just need to exercise my limited patience, secure in the knowledge that Mother Nature is, indeed, doing her spring thing. The once-a-year magic is just beginning; I am always amazed by the beauty of the world.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Animal House

Theme Thursday - Pets

 I can't imagine my life without pets.  I've had quite an assortment over the years: fish, guinea pigs, birds, cats and dogs. My first pet, Tigger, was my pride and joy. I had to beg and plead with my parents, using every wile I possessed as an 8 year old, to be allowed to bring him home. That was the start of it all; and I have not been without at least one pet since that time.

I presently am owned by 2 cats and 2 pugs, though the cats are only fond of me at meal time or when they need to rub off some loose fur that's been annoying them. They will occasionally let me give them attention when it is solely my idea, but mostly they tolerate my presence. Yet I'm totally hooked on them, even though I am secure in the knowledge that they consider me a bother 98% of the time.

The pugs, however, are quite the opposite in that they rarely let me out of their sight. When I leave the house, they both stand at attention with their sad brown eyes throwing darts of guilt in my direction; and, when I return, they are overjoyed, jumping in circles, unable to contain their joy.  Since they are convinced that I am a marvel, they quickly forgive and forget that I have left them (cue the scary music)... home alone.

When we are together, they never judge or criticize, not like some human companions I could mention. If I am feeling lazy and cancel their walk, no problem. If I am late with their dinner, that's fine. They always act as if they are thrilled with every little thing I do, every insignificant move I make. Their ears perk at the sound of my voice, eyes glued to any gesture I might make. They seem to think that I am fascinating and brilliant.

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.


With their funny little smashed-in faces almost smiling, they are incredibly good sports when I put costumes on them and parade them around for every one's amusement. The actual truth is I think they enjoy the ooohs, aaahs, and chuckles. Pugs are capable of being incredible hams, given the opportunity to perform.

As if that weren't enough, they never hold a grudge. If I err in some way or, God forbid, have to discipline them, my bad behavior is quickly a thing of the past. Good companions...that's what they are, in every sense of the word.

To err is human, to forgive, canine.

So, my home is awash in fur, even though I try to wear my Martha Stewart hat from time to time. The wing chairs in the living room show signs of serious claw sharpening, with threads poking out from various angles. Litter boxes, water dishes, scratching posts, and assorted squeaky toys that I never fail to step on have created an unconventional decor that won't be found in any decorating magazines. But it's me. And I wouldn't change it for the world.  Welcome to my zoo.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
-Roger Caras-

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Opera in the Morning

Renee Fleming, the Met, Rossini's Armida. What a fabulous  way to spend four hours on a Saturday. I love the idea that people around the world can experience the glory of the Metropolitan Opera thanks to the Met's highly proclaimed HD series, now being shown in local theaters.

It is mind boggling to me that I can drive from my home, for a measly ten minutes, and see this incredible production rather than having to hop on plane, travel to NYC, and cab it to Lincoln Center.  While I believe that there is nothing better than a live performance, this has to be the next best thing; and it is like having a front row seat...only better because the audience is given aerial views of dance formations, occasional close-ups of the performers, back stage shots, and even interviews with the lead singers as they exit the stage. All that for $15. I'll take it! And no opera glasses needed.

The theater is sold-out and the parking lot full as we join local opera lovers, as well as a nation-wide audience, to witness a breathtaking performance of this not so familiar opera, a fact that does not lower the enjoyment quotient at all. The Met expects Armida to reach 250,000 viewers, and this 9 show season has sold 2.2 million tickets. Wow.

Next up? An encore performance of Carmen in July. I'm so there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Girl Sleuth

Theme Thursday - Mystery

It was Nancy Drew who, when I was a pre-teen, introduced me to the magical world of the mystery. Nancy was brave, intelligent and fearless; she could do it all.  I found this very appealing at a time when I was trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted from life. There weren't many role models in books that inspired me, at a young age, like she did.

Some things just don't change.  Though I now enjoy all types of books, I confess that I still get a charge out of a good mystery, trying to crime-solve while eagerly flipping the pages, sometimes reading into the wee hours of the morning.

As a regular visitor to my local library, I almost always have a mystery or two on my hold list. I love that they offer a vacation from more challenging works, which require concentration and a serious thinking cap.

I have often wondered what happened to my now ancient Nancy Drew collection. They are antiques today! All I know is that once I left for college, I never saw them again. Of course, I didn't miss them, either... that is, until much later. I suspect they rested, gathering dust, on my bedroom's book shelves for many years and were finally tossed. Too bad, as I wish I had them today.

So, just give me a comfy place to lounge, decent light, and my glasses; and I am off to another world, even if the butler really did do it. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010


That's how she always signed her letters to me. Madre. Why Spanish? And she called me "Mousie".  Again with the why? Was I? ...mousey, I mean. How I wish she were still here so I could ask her.

There have been many Mother's Days spent without my mother, but I mentally celebrate her every year on this day as if she were still living .

That is not to say that I celebrate her only once a year; it is more like a daily, though sometimes fleeting, occurrence. She will pop into my mind, out of the blue, because of a sudden and surprising memory jolt. It could be a red mustang; how she enjoyed that car. It could be a beautful hat, maybe one with feathers; she loved to wear hats. It could happen as I drive down Franklin Avenue past the cemetery where she is buried. I always wave and say, "Hi, Mom." Sometimes a thought of her just pops into my head for no apparent reason. That's how much a part of me she is.

I hear women joke all the time about becoming their mothers, and I understand that, depending on the mother in question, can be a frightening thought. However, the notion appeals to me because I was lucky enough to have been mothered by a gentle nurturer, always so giving and sensitive to my needs.

In her final note to me, typed because she was no longer able to write, she carefully pluncked out,  "You have been a joy to me all my life...Madre". How amazingly lovely that she felt that way, kindly forgetting the times I sassed her or disobeyed her. So like her: always remebering the positives.

So, once again, I celebrate my beautiful mother, remembering her many intangible gifts to me, wishing that I had been given more time with her yet thankful for the time I had.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mommying It Up

Theme Thursday - Pink

My baby girl...that's what this theme brings to my mind.

 It was strange becoming a mother because it all happened so quickly. Fall in love, Engagement. Marriage. Move to Guam. Mom's cancer. Move to Chula Vista. Teach kindergarten. Move to Meridian. Pregnancy. And then, miraculously, there she was: my dear little daughter.

Since we didn't know whether to expect a baby boy or a baby girl, a yellowy neutral, but very pretty, nursery awaited her. A cushioned rocking chair rested in the corner of the room while special-order yellow and white striped shades festivelycovered the windows. I was ready.

I held her, a pink wrapped miracle,  in my arms as we drove infant car seats at that time. And that's when the love of my life began.

That beautiful mother-daughter love connection has continued over the years. She has enriched my life in so many ways; now she is a mother herself, and I am the delighted grandmother of three darling boys. So the pink has turned to blue.

It's so fine. Mmm...hmm.