a year to pay attention

This is the year for me to really start paying attention.

Creativity emerges from paying attention. Problem solving requires paying attention. Connections thrive on paying attention.

Until the middle of November, my mother’s fatal dementia, by necessity, was the focus of my attention for the past decade. It feels strange, in a way, not to feel that pull any more — to have no excuse for not paying attention.

Writing well depends upon paying attention.

And so I begin here, tomorrow, participating in a month long project, A River of Stones.

A small stone is a polished moment of paying proper attention, and the challenge of the project is to write a small stone every day.

I will start tomorrow. One small stone. And, stone upon stone, I will try to set a solid path out of the stress and sorrow of the last decade and into a more focused future.

________________________

I was starting to feel guilty about not posting frequently enough on this blog. Then I read what my son wrote on Twitter about his blog:

I write for me, and then stop writing for me. Anyone who reads in the meantime? Cool.

compost

This is my response to the visual writing prompt at Magpie Tales. You can read the responses of other writers at Magpie 35.

Compost
It is the season’s leavings
that root me to this spaded place —
bent twigs, loosed leaves,
the year’s used ends and endings
storm-swept in sheltered corners.

Barren fields and desert reaches
free the weed to tumble in its time,
but the clutter of the season’s leavings
frees the roots from hidden seeds
of other spaces, other times.

Where Goes Wonder Woman??

I am a year older than Wonder Woman, and she was my favorite comic book character beginning on the day I first walked into Mr. Wellman’s candy store and discovered her on the shelves.

wonder woman

But today’s comic publisher is going to turn her into something she was never meant to be, and I, personally resent the insulting “updating.”

My Wonder Woman had a past, a “backstory” worthy of her mythic and iconic stature. From here:

From her inception, Wonder Woman was not out to just stop criminals, but to reform them. On a small island off Paradise Island was Transformation Island, a rehabilitation complex created by the Amazons to house and reform criminals.

Armed with her bulletproof bracelets, magic lasso, and her amazonian training, Princess Diana was the archetype of the perfect woman from the mind of her creator, William Moulton Marston. She was beautiful, intelligent, strong, but still possessed a soft side. At that time, her powers came from ‘Amazon Concentration,’ not as a gift from the gods.

Wonder Woman’s magic lasso was supposedly forged from the Magic Girdle of Aphrodite, which Queen Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s) mother was bequeathed by the Goddess. Hephastateus borrowed the belt, removed links from it, and that is where the magic lasso came from. It was unbreakable, infinitely stretchable, and could make all who are encircled in it tell the truth.

I first become interested in Greek and Roman mythology because of that original Wonder Woman story.

But now “they” are going to change all that — make her a Superman Clone.

They are taking the awesome “wonder” out of Wonder Woman, and I don’t like it at all.

so, I won this book

book

The book, which contains free verse and reprints of prayers and bits of prose, features lots of Corita’s collage art, which contains lots of cut-up words from ads and headlines, sometimes reconfigured, sometimes not.

The description above is from a post on the site from which I won the book — Killing the Buddha. It’s a site that I find always stimulating.

I never win anything. I mean it. I think that this is the first thing I every won. Well, I came in second in a Swing Dance contest once. Even got a trophy. Usually I don’t even make an effort to enter any kind of contest. Never play the lottery. Because I never win anything.

But this time I did. And I did because I remember the 60s. I didn’t remember Sister Corita, who created the book, published in 1967. But I did remember the Berrigan Brothers, and I remembered that Daniel Berrigan was a Jesuit.

I recently read online somewhere (can’t find it again) that the story was that Daniel Berrigan kept a photo of Sister Corita in his shower with a note that said “no one should shower alone.”

Thinking of Berrigan, I am remembering another activist ex-priest who was a good friend at one point in my life. He has grown immensely as an artist in those past 25 years, although he was good even back then. His paintings, as he is, are larger than life. I just love his new stuff.

I have been fortunate in my life to have had some closeness with some truly unique men, who have inspired me and moved on and left me with the kinds of memories that will keep me smiling someday as I retire to a rocking chair in the sun.

(And I’ve been just as fortunate to continue to have a group of close women friends whose constancy and candor, humor and heart, help to keep me smiling — well, most of the time.)

So, now I wait for my prize, a book by a creative woman, to arrive.

It’s a good day.

25 year old t-shirt

My grandson is wearing a “Haley’s Comet” t-shirt that was my son’s back in 1985.

There was a time when I intended to make my son a quilt out of the images from his old t-shirts, and I saved a bunch of them in a box that has accompanied me on moves since the late 70s. These days, my grandson also wears a 30-years old t-shirt from the original Star Trek movie.

Sometimes intentions have their own intentions.

Buddha waits for Spring

buddha

Until the snows came, Buddha rested on a tree stump in the corner of our yard. Now he waits in the corner of the porch, along with bike helmets and what will be the starting of seeds.

I wish I could wait like Buddha, without anticipation or expectation. Waiting in stillness as lives begin and end, as the first butterfly finds its way to our doorstep, as somewhere on a mountain, an old woman cries for stillness.

extended-family living

I am blogging from a Daily Grind coffee shop above the community room where my daughter and grandson are enjoying a Home School Co-op Thanksgiving party. My daughter is still on a crutch as a result of knee surgery and can’t drive yet. So I chauffeur.

For the first time in a long time, I feel that I am living a real life, part of a busy family. I mean REALLY part of a family. We do things together, and we do things separately. We take walks, we play games, we cook, and I continue to learn science and history facts that I never knew as I my grandson shares with me his Home Schooling learning adventures,

Over a year ago, as I made plans to move in with my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, friends expressed some skepticism about the wisdom of my doing such.

Granted, it was a risk. But the risk was lessened by my adding space to the house so that I could have my own couple of rooms and by the fact that my son-in-law is unusually easy-going.

And so, for the first time in a busy while, I’m taking a few minutes to blog, sitting here by the window of the Daily Grind, since there always seems to be so many more fun and interesting things to do with my life these days other than blogging.

Including making slippers for various family members and playing baseball on my new wii with my grandson.

For every thing there is a season, and a time.

And I’m enjoying this time of solitude. And blogging. And now I will knit for a while as I wait for my family downstairs to let me know that they are ready to leave.

sold gold

My 1950s charm bracelets and the charms from it. Rings I never wear any more. A chain from which a locket once dangled. None were more than 14K. We took them to a jeweler who buys gold.

If we weren’t in a depression, perhaps someone at an estate sale might have bought the bracelets, and we would have gotten a lot more money for them. The styles of the jewelry were none that my daughter would wear. If I had a granddaughter, she might (or might not) one day want the stuff. But the price of gold is at its highest in a long time. And there won’t be a Medicare COLA coming up, and the cash will come in handy.

I have never had an affinity for gold, except for a ring I bought for myself after I got divorced and stopped wearing my wedding ring. It’s a one-of-a-kind organic design, made with the melted wax method. It’s set with a gold moonstone and has meaning for me on many levels.

Otherwise, I wear silver or copper.

And so we sold the gold.

digitized for posterity: me

I was tooling around the website of the campus of which I am an alumna because I will be going with a college friend to his 50th reunion next month. As I was looking through the list of events for the reunion weekend, I noticed that the college library was having an event for former staff of the college’s newspaper to celebrate the fact that the old paper copies of the publication have been digitized.

Wow, I think. I must be in those digits somewhere, having been the Feature Editor and having authored several different columns over my coed years.

So I go into the data base and poke around the issues from time period that I was on the paper’s staff.

It’s a whole lot embarrassing to read what I wrote as a college junior that pretty much always appeared on page 3. I pretentiously called my column “The Prism.”

Oh my.

OMG.

Groan.

Another groan.

Well, at least this isn’t so bad.

We didn’t have a journalism program back then, and I cringe at what today’s journalism students would think if they had some reason to read what I wrote when I was young and full of myself and still trying out my voice.

The writers’ workshop I joined starts in a couple of weeks.

Funny, but back then I probably didn’t think I needed to take one.

why I love my iphone

I wasn’t sure that I was up to learning any new technology tricks (being almost 70 and just about managing to blog successfully), but I invested in an iphone and its expensive upkeep in a moment of brash consumerism.

But the damned thing has got me hooked.

Away on vacation in Maine for the past four days without a computer and wifi, I had the time and inclination to figure out just how useful my iphone might be.

Of course, there’s the camera, and I knew I would make good use of that feature. If there were a “panorama” app I might have been able to get both the beginning and the end of the rainbow which started on land and went out into the sea, but I can live with what I did get.

rainbow

The “night camera” app I downloaded before we left enabled to me get some decent photos indoors without a flash.

My “Facebook” app enabled me to upload a couple of photos to keep my friends apprised of the good time I was having while wishing they were there.

My most pleasant surprise in recognizing the helpfulness and ease of iphone use happened on the way out to Maine, when my grandson needed to go to the bathroom and we were all hungry for lunch. Because I was driving, my daughter downloaded a “fast food” app and we got directed to a McDonald’s off an exit a few miles from where we were on the road. How cool is that!

We ate out a lot, so the “tip calculator” would have come handy had not my son-in-law been able to figure it all out just as fast. (Actually, I did use the app just to check his accuracy. And because it was new and I wanted to test it out.)

Before I left for Maine, I downloaded a WordPress app so that I could post to my blog if I wanted to. I posted once, just to see if it would work. I’m used to typing text on a big keyboard, so it was a bit if a problem to use the little iphone one, but, obviously, it can be done. Since I don’t do text messaging (there’s no one I know to text message to), I’m still not used to the little keyboard. But it’s good to know that I can do a blog post if I want/need to.

Since we were in a rented cottage with limited television reception, my evenings were spent using my iphone to listen to the books on tape that I downloaded free from my local library, check in with Facebook, catch up with bloggers whom I follow, follow my son’s exploits on Twitter (I don’t belong to Twitter, but I can read his tweets), and obsessively play my “Bookworm” app game.

While I’m still feeling guilty about the $70 or so a month it costs to keep my iphone connected, at least I’m finding the little machine damned useful. It’s gotten to the point that I’m never without it.

Before the iphone, I had a TrakFone, which I rarely used, and several cheap mp3 players, some of which would not play the WMA audio book files from my library. The iphone covers it all and more.

There are still lots of features on the iphone that I haven’t tried, and I figure that I’ll get to them when I need them.

I have one major frustration at the moment with the iphone. I can’t hear what a caller is saying unless I put on the speaker. Maybe someone reading this can tell me where the hell the phone’s volume control is. I can make the ringer louder or softer, but the voice that’s coming over the phone is barely intelligible.

If I can fix that problem, my love affair with my iphone will be just about perfect.