Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: December 12.17

My last two kitchens had islands

the ultimate luxury

the kitchen I live with now

is bestowed more modestly.

So I follow the ways of my grandmas

and my mother, apt and able,

enlisting our four-legged friend,

the enduring kitchen table.

But I have a homey bauble

with which they weren’t stuck

a low-hanging ceiling lamp

which I cannot remember to duck.

Hovering over the table

at just the exact right spot

it clunks against my head

and elicits descriptive bon mot.

Some day I’ll explain to my neighbors

the reverberant mystery

the gong heard ’round the ‘hood

it isn’t Big Ben — it’s me.

 

Yes, I know, dear reader. I took liberties with my French. It was too awful not to use.

 

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Connections: November 22.17

With apologies to Laura Ingalls Wilder, I have dubbed my new home The Little House on the Retention Pond. This is the view from my back door. The previous owner graciously left her swing.

I use the word “home” guardedly. It isn’t home yet. But I am doing the first thing to make it a home: bubbling celery and onion in butter, and simmering giblets. Ah, stuffing.

When I first visited this place and saw the retention pond, my immediate thought was ICK. My second thought was MOSQUITOES! Third, maybe I should see the inside.

But once I’d been glared at by herons and snubbed by ducks, I began to feel I’d been hasty. And once I saw the reflections of the neighbors’ lights at night and the reflections of the day’s lights at dawn, I felt I owed the pond an apology. This little drop of water knows how to throw light around. And I’m a sucker for anything that sparkles.

I don’t know yet if my family will be here for Thanksgiving. What I do know is that I will have turkey and stuffing. And, if I can find the can opener (so far, no luck), I will have canned cranberry sauce. If my family comes, they will bring assorted side dishes which will be served atop festive packing boxes, artfully arranged. The shining water outside will be nicely echoed by the shining plastic drop cloths inside, the ultimate in gracious slip-and-trip living.

Meanwhile, I intend that reflecting is something we will do together, the pond and I.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader, from The Little House on The Retention Pond!


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Connections: November 10.17

In a stupor, I am here, dear reader. Having spent the last three weeks with my wonderful son and daughter-in-law, two grandkids, two dogs, and two cats, I have arrived in my new house. I have lived here for four whole days.

Aside from a mattress on the floor, a desk, and some miscellaneous chairs, my furniture at the moment is boxes, not a one of which is shin-friendly.

I’m downsizing, which is another way of saying I’m exploring the depths of wishy-washy. My decision-making is not crisp. Maybe there are just too many decisions. I contemplate something and what it will look like in some landfill years hence and still I can’t quite make up my mind about it.

Nonetheless, the pile of flattened boxes grows and gives me hope.

The feels-like temp this morning is 19. My winter clothes are in storage, keeping some boxes toasty warm. They are probably close to the box with my pots and pans, which got buried in the middle instead of the front of the storage unit. Golly gee, I have to get carry-out.

I was mercilessly berated by my family on the matter of my eight-year-old computer. So I got a new one. My poor addled brain is therefore trying to deal with the physical chaos of my surroundings and the virtual chaos of a new computer. Touch-screen? Wireless? All new, all befuddling, all out to get me. I have no idea yet how to manage photos.

Please bear with me. I am on a perilously steep learning curve, and don’t dare look down.

 


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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!

 

 

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