Oddments

In search of story


12 Comments

January 8.18

This conflagration, dear reader, was my birthday cake last night. Today is the actual date (yes, me and Elvis), but last night was the family do. What makes this flaming cake blog-worthy is the arrangement along the far arc of it. If you look closely and use just a little imagination for the emoji candles, you will see (I’ve no doubt) that the 1001011 is my birthday in binary. My family, ladies and gentlemen! Undeterred by the lack of a 7 and a 5, they devised a binary 75! I seemed to be the only one at the table to be slow on the pick-up. Yes, yes, I know what “binary” means, but it is hardly where my brain goes when I don’t have the right candles!

You may note the second cake. My daughter-in-law, in all other ways an exemplary person, does not like frosting. So there is always an angel food cake for her. Full disclosure: no one objects to having a piece with her.

Now to real life: I lay me down last night after a full day which followed one of those rotten sleepless nights. Of course I couldn’t fall asleep. This is partly age, partly my lifelong struggle with insomnia, partly too much binary cake. After about an hour, I drifted off. At 1:20 I was awakened by chirping. Yes, chirping! One of these wretched alarms was chirping! Which one, and what would I do about it in this new house?

You may know, dear reader, that any venture in the wee hours starts with a trip to the bathroom, and that’s where I saw all the blood in my mouth. How long had that been going on? I rinsed and spit and spit and rinsed. It’s this blasted HHT, as you may know if you’ve read my blog for long. It took a few shaky minutes to stop it.

The bleeding stopped but not the chirping. There I was, at 1:30 in the morning, atop a ladder at the top of the stairs, feeling woozy and not at all patient. I couldn’t figure out anything about the rotten thing. So it continued its own happy-birthday song to me. And it continues now with its soothing beepathon.

And so begins my 75th birthday. I have broken my rule of the 300-word blog post limit, which I have abided by almost unfailingly. But it’s my birthday and I’ll write if I want to.

 

 

Advertisements


4 Comments

Connections: January 4.18

“Snow showers” yesterday. Bits of the day fluffed in white. A lovely dusting of powdered sugar over the ice troughs on the street. A fairyland touch to the neighborhood. I looked out at the mailbox and the words “broken hip” flashed before my eyes.

I had just read the advice to walk on ice like a penguin. To keep one’s weight on the front foot. Wait. If you walk like a penguin, there IS no front foot. You are waddling, gracefully heaving your weight from heel to heel.

“Walk like an arthritic penguin” would be more accurate, and more fun for the observer, I’m sure. But I’m not a penguin, and waddling is not my preferred method of getting to the mailbox. Also there were enough clear spots on the driveway for a slow-motion hopscotch. I could save my waddle for the craggy terrain left by the street plow.

The windchill was bitter. The snow swirled. I retrieved three pieces of mail. One was an ad from some dentist. I didn’t think anything could be more enticing but then I saw the other two: one for “Senior Living,” and the other for Assisted Living and Memory Care.

For this I walked like a penguin?

To be sure, it was good not to get the ad for the Blue Light Special on cremations. I’ve had that in the past.

Here, dear reader, is the REAL “senior living”: navigating your way back from the mailbox while contemplating all the offers to take care of you in your dotage, the onset of which is hastened by just such trips to the mailbox.

 

 

Connections

 

 


8 Comments

Connections: December 23.17

A plate of Christmas cookies

is so much more than that

it’s a serving of family history

forebears’ concordat

it’s Grandma’s recipe card

in her distinctive hand

it’s Mom’s poinsettia plate

generational ampersand

connecting younger fingers

with those gone long before

sweet and sticky memories

toothsome family lore.

 

 

Connections

 

 

 

 

 


7 Comments

Connections: October 22.17

I groped for the word: appalling? scary? astonishing? embarrassing? All the above?

This is one of two units in which the stuff of my life is stored. You know, dear reader: stuff? It isn’t life but it becomes life. Doesn’t it? It tells of people you miss. It tells of the daily. It’s the familiar, the comfortable, the personal.

It’s easy to disdain mere things. They are, after all, temporary. But they are also deeply a part of us. So I stand in absolute terror at the base of this mountain of things. It stretches floor to ceiling and wall to wall — in two units! What will I keep? What must go? How did this happen? What will I do about it all?

But, more important, what do I need? My writing mate Tamara is a minimalist. She and her husband have amazingly pared their life down to necessity. They have by example taught me to re-think ownership. That will enter into this. Also I think I’ve reached a time in life where the letting-go begins. Ironically, a holding-tight happens at the same time. I want to hold tight to memory even as I want to let go of the things that hold the memory.

Thus tension.

I might have a house to go to; I’ll know more in a few days. If so, the whittling begins. Look out for shavings!

 

 

Connections

 


10 Comments

Connections: October 18.17

I call this Still Life With Mess.

Not that life ever stands still, though at times it seems to. But there is ever a mess. That is, unless we’re sitting around on our…umm…hands.

These three artifacts just happened to end up together as the movers plied their art, and of course I couldn’t help noticing the serendipity. The wonderful pine cone and seed wreath was made years ago by my dear friend Donna, and is one of my favorite things. The assembly-line autumn wreath has been fabulous on my front door here, if I do say so. The decrepit, ancient suitcase was my Aunt Edna’s and holds her academic cap and hood (the heavy velvet and gold of Ph.D.). To the left, the back of a print procured for me at a condo swap by my son and daughter-in-law because my son knew it was my favorite Ansel Adams.

What a mishmash life is.

Today I will leave this place that has been Grandma’s House for seven years. There is some melancholy. But another, smaller Grandma’s House awaits, and both grandchildren have given it a thumbs-up (as have I). So bear with me, dear reader, as I launch myself (albeit, it must be said, a trifle arthritically) into whatever comes next.

 

 

Connections


4 Comments

Connections: October 13.17

Economy of words

is not my strongest suit

I’m Irish, blather-minded,

an English major to boot.

But occasionally I’ll do it

say it all in just one word

here’s syllable to prove it

in a box of the absurd.

Packing up my years

forces me to see

in wording and in living

downsizing is the key.

 

 

Connections

 

 


4 Comments

Connections: September 15.17

I am so old

that I can remember

a time we decorated

only in December.

What were we thinking?

Why didn’t we see

the whole twelve months

celebratorially?

 

 

Thanks again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives

and to the D.J. Berg sense of celebration.

Connections