Oddments

In search of story


8 Comments

July 13.19

Two dazzling things happened yesterday, dear reader!

As you know (or not), I’ve been in the throes of downsizing. I moved into this smaller house about a year and a half ago, and that makes this my second gardening season here. If you are a gardener, you know that you have to¬†earn ownership of a garden; it doesn’t just happen. Nor does it “just happen” that a house becomes home. For me, it’s all a work in progress: this isn’t home yet either inside or out.

However, there were these two heart-stoppers yesterday:

I caught a glimpse of new color deep in a tomato plant. I was down on the ground as fast as my creaking knees would allow and, yes, there it was: the first red tomato! MY tomato! If you have read my blog in the past, you know that until recently my main claim to gardening fame was in consistent tomato-killing. I grew them in memory of my Grandpa Mauck but without much hope of eating actual tomatoes.

(Last year was The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, if you recall. The tomatoes had their revenge.)

And tuxedos in the dill! In my last house I had a magnificent dill patch and these very formal, elegant caterpillars feasted royally thereon. Swallowtails bobbed their thanks over what was left. This year the blasted rabbits ate to the ground every single dill plant I tried to grow, so I planted dill in a pot on the deck. Now come the beautiful caterpillars. Can swallowtails be far behind?

I dance a rheumatic jig and think that maybe home will happen.


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


2 Comments

Connections: December 24.16

20161220_181935In such small space

so great a brightness

in such simple corner

so vast a rightness

not just because it’s Christmas

Christmas comes and goes

but because it speaks of home

which warms the heart and toes.

With thanks again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives

and to the D.J. Berg Christmas Panorama.

Connections


2 Comments

Remembrance of things never past

February. It has nothing to do with groundhogs or valentines or Lent or the aching drab of late winter. It’s about assisted living. It’s the anniversary of separating Dad from his own home. A Caesarean without anaesthetic. An amputation without tourniquet.

When the memory came back to me a little while ago, I could feel my hands go clammy. I looked: my palms were sweaty. So quickly does memory turn to flashback.

Home is much more than worn highways in the carpet; it is independence, control, identity. All that is lost in assisted living. And, for Dad, by my hand. Rocks in my chest. I feel them now.

Dad’s dementia was non-Alzheimer’s, a cruel state of awareness and unknowing. Dad might seem fine during the day (he wasn’t), but at night he wandered, goaded by that unknown, a danger to himself and me. We were both sleepless but he didn’t know it. So he, uncomprehending, had to go into a secure place. He had a lovely apartment with his own furniture — and a locked door at the end of the hall. Incarceration became cardiac stress and in five days he was in the hospital.

Simultaneously, Dad’s sister Jean was dying of leukemia, his sister Edna showing signs of her own dementia. I was saturated with aging and dying. My face twitched so badly that I seemed to be winking.

No part of caregiving occurs in a vacuum. Always other things are going on. When I see this sweat on my palms today, fifteen years later, I also see my empty-eyed father, my deadly white Aunt Jean, my muddled Aunt Edna, and I long for sleep.

Caregiver flashbacks. Will anyone believe them?