thinking of my mother on father’s day

It’s Father’s Day tomorrow, and I’ll think about him then.

But today I’m thinking about my mother because we find ourselves in East Sandwich MA driving along roads that we drove with her a dozen or so years ago when I took her on the last vacation she had.

When I rented the house we are now in (for this week), I had forgotten that we all had been out this way before, before dementia took my mother away into her own world.

It was my son-in-law who recognized familiar sites — the place we had gone several times for ice cream; the miniature golf course where my mom actually did very well for a little old woman in her 80s. And then I remembered, too — taking her into Hyannis to shop, taking her on a nature walk through some strange grove of bamboo that also served as exhibit space for even stranger sculptures. She had time to sit and laugh with her granddaughter and grandson-in-law. It was a good time for all of us.

I think of her now after we walked on the beach this evening — my daughter, her husband, and the soon-to-be nine-year old.

Someday, after I’m gone, I hope that they will smile when they remember this vacation with me — despite my limping along with a bout of vacation-annoying sciatica.

I am thinking of my mom today and wishing that I had been able to giver her more chances to enjoy her family while she was still able to enjoy them.

I am looking forward to this week of relaxation and adventure with my family. (Even the drive out with several stops to ease my grandson’s car-ride queasiness was part of the adventure.) There are plans to go to Plymouth and make other day trips around the Cape. Chances are, however, unless my sacroiliac calms down, I might just sit on the deck and read.

After all, I’m on vacation, and Cape Cod Bay is just the perfect place to be.

the blessings of white picket fences

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom
.
— Marcel Proust

I am enjoying the blessings of white picket fences, pink clematis, and red rugusa roses — and those who house and care for them. And me.

My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between, I occupy myself as best I can.

— Cary Grant

_______________________________________________________________

On the other hand,

Every passing minute
is another chance
to turn it all around.

— From Vanilla Sky

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.