It’s been a month, four weeks, since I busted my leg and had to have it pinned back together with screws and a big titanium rod. My nonweightbearing status means I use a walker and carry my weight on my arms and t’other leg. It’s awkward, not pretty, and rather a nuisance hauling myself around the house but I’ve managed, and I even walk to the mailbox when it’s not just nasty outdoors. I think being confined might have been worse mentally if the weather had been pretty for the last month, but the truth is that we’ve had a bonafide winter, complete with sleet, snow, gloom, and chilly temps. To which I might add that it was a capricious drop in temperature that resulted in icy steps and my fall. 

I have watched more television in the last month than in the last ten years, I’ll wager. So glad I got AppleTV and Netflix streaming. I’ve been to London in the ’50’s for Call the Midwife, to Norway with a NJ gangster in Lilyhammer, and to Melbourne with a sassy woman detective (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and regaled in the furnishings and clothes of the ArtDeco age. I’m entirely spoiled for commercial TV because of the loud, obnoxious and repetitive ads that dominate the media. My friend Jenn introduced me to Justified and I’ve had myself a marathon of Raylan Givens (yum). 

So, in one month, I’ve left the house three times. Once to have my hair done, once to see the surgeon, and once to go to a movie under pressure lovingly applied by friends. I have used the internet to order things like shampoo, birthday gifts, and am grateful for Facebook’s help staying in touch with friends. I’ve done a little bit of art work, hardly any reading (surprising, but my ability to focus is short). I’ve had visits from many friends that have made my heart sing, and much kindness and concern from family, friends and neighbors. I think some people are worried that I’m depressed but that’s not the case. I’m just in a strange kind of limbo until I can walk on my leg again, and hibernation has felt very reasonable and comforting when compared with the logistical challenges I face in the outside world. How to get myself and the walker into and out of the car, for starters. 

There have been a few perks. No contacts, earrings, or makeup for a month. I’ve had little pain since the first couple of weeks, and am off opiods now. I feel so incredibly rested, you can’t imagine. I’ve been in kind of a meditative state, peaceful and accepting that this is my reality at the moment. I have every faith that I’ll be back to my old self albeit with the addition of a bit of extra caution when moving about. My little Polo has earned a gold medal for snuggling. I am able to take care of myself and do the basic minimum (coffee, make my bed, take a shower independently, cook or reheat something simple, wash the dishes and put them away even if it does take awhile).   

It’s another three weeks before I see the doc again and have xrays to see how things are healing, and cross fingers he’ll say it’s ok to walk on the frankenleg. I’ll be here until then, I reckon. Please come visit if you can because I miss you all!

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1. never ever be separated from mobile phone AND/or its charger

2. eat prunes

3. no whining or complaining

4. let people help

5. be grateful for cozy house and snuggly dog

6. know your limits

7. rest

8. rest some more

9. try to read. if you fall asleep, it’s ok

 

Wasps. I fail to see the point.

I have anxiety when out of phone service. Especially if I’ve had to put on the spare tire.

The Killing, The Fall, Wallender. What makes me love a good cop show?

Never said these words before (while living in Tennessee), “what a pleasant summer,” but it was bound to happen once in thirty years.

I miss making prints, my fellow printmakers in Atlanta, and our teacher, Kathy Garrou.

Coffee is king.

I’ve decided to send hand-written notes to my family and friends on their birthdays, anniversaries, and whenever I feel like it, because a no mail day is a sad day.

I’m in favor of the Oxford comma.

Cancer can go fuck itself and leave us alone.

Rumer visited me in a dream; she was young and bouncy again, and she tried to catch a crow.

My kids ROCK and my grandbabies are freekin adorable.

My strong opinions are quietly going away one by one, so am I mellowing nicely or do I just not care?

Everyone should have art Friday, every week.

Yep, Breaking Bad. I’m your newest fan. Season 3. Episode 3, when I should be going to bed.

Two days in a row with Drew Isabella = happy Mimi.

Well, there goes another itty bitty weekend; company coming! and holiday the week after, so all is well. Well, almost all.

Well, it’s certainly been awhile since last posting, but this one is going to be about gratitude. Life is good. I’ve been in my little house for a couple of years now and happy to say nothing major has gone wrong. Knock on wood. Ben built me a deck in back that gives me and anyone who visits much pleasure, and it’s made from recycled (AKA free) materials. Ever grateful for my handsome and extremely handy youngest. Which brings me to his and Kelly’s latest accomplishment–Drew Isabella Modena! Now 12 weeks old, this little girl brings so much joy to our family with her personality, beauty, and vigor. She’s growing like the proverbial weed, with her big blue eyes and what we think may end up RED hair. Did you know that redheads are getting scarcer? and we are blessed with TWO!

Gypsy continues to live out her traumatic origins and remains skittish, snappish, and mistrustful of anyone other than me. The other evening, though, a friend who hadn’t met her but a couple of times, was sitting on the sofa and Gypsy jumped up traversed her lap, and settled right by her. We looked at each other, startled, puzzled, happy. Go figure. In contrast, I’ve acquired a second ankle biter, Polo, a longhaired miniature Dachshund, who was properly socialized and treated well as a pup, and he’s simply a delight to know. He is a dachshund, so he’s loud and sassy, but oh so sweet. I think he’s been a good influence and I’ve even seen Gypsy play with him a few times. It’s so great to see her act like a normal dog. Everyone wants to take him home with them.

Got another new grandbaby, Kahlil, who is now sixteen months old (momma Rachael) and this boy has given his parents a run for their money. Headstrong, feisty, smart, walked at 7 months, a tease, cute as hell with a Kramer mop of curls erupting from the top of his little  head. The kid who never sleeps. Oh, and I’ve also got me a son-in-law, Yonne, who married my daughter in May. In the almost sleeting neverending rain in what was meant to be an outdoor event. ‘Nuff said. Deed is done.

Expecting a visit from Tristan/Uncle T in a few days, coming to meet his niece and hug his family, AND take Jude to California for a week! Solo trip back to Atlanta for that big boy, too. He was here for a visit this summer, too, so he’s had a great vacation from school. Still have our bond, I’m glad to say, but he has his own friends here in the neighborhood. I have to schedule my time with him. Family is such a blessing to me, and they make my life full. 

My job continues to be fun and continually evolving so never a dull moment. I like it so much I’m almost not mad at having to go there every day. The people I work with are generous, kind, professional, with the high standards I look for in colleagues. I have a tiny commute, a lovely space to work in, and always always more to learn. 

A couple of months ago, I and all my neighbors kept seeing this little dog, running loose on the street, looking terrified and ratty, who would not let anyone near.  Some people at the end of my street were putting food out for her but she was just wild and they couldn’t catch her.  She’d be just standing in the middle of the road, wild-eyed, and it’s a wonder she wasn’t killed by a hawk or owl, run over, or killed by another dog.  She was “out there” for about two months.

Finally, she was captured in a humane trap, and my friend Dawn had her for a few days.  Dawn would have kept her, but she’d just adopted two little rescue critters, and her house was full.  I met her at Dawn’s, shivering in a crate, utterly eaten alive with fleas, and my heart went out to her.  I gave her a name, arranged for her to be taken to the vet for health care and grooming, and ended up taking her home from the vet’s right around Halloween.

She bit Dawn, pretty savagely, and we thought she’d need sedation when she was groomed, but she appeared to be right at home in that setting, and did beautifully.  She was calm, but still wary and defensive.  She did not have heartworms, she didn’t have a microchip (most purebred dogs do), and they estimated her age at 2-3 years.  She had been spayed.  Her weight is 6.9 pounds.  So she was someone’s dog, and even though I’ve asked her to tell me her story, it remains a mystery.

People had posted her photo and description on Facebook and the word was all over our area, but no one came forth to claim this little girl.  She is a Chinese Crested—you’ll find info aplenty about this ancient breed.  She is somewhere between a hairless and powderpuff variety—not hairless, but not puffy either.  She looks like a tiny lion with a mane, feathery feet and a tuft of hair at the end of her tail.  Her ears are indescribable.  She is prance-y and lively and seems pretty happy now that she’s in a place where she feels safe.  She only bit me once, and it was absolutely defensive.

She’s learned quickly what is expected of her:  outdoors for elimination, mealtimes, and she’s crated when I’m not home so she doesn’t get into trouble.  She likes to collect things and is happiest when she’s near me.  She knows her name and is getting better at coming when she’s called.  She’s begun to defend her food with the most ridiculous growl but Rumer listens.  She and Rumer get along fine, and I make sure R. knows she is and will always be Numero Uno.

I decided to give Gypsy a home, simply because she badly needed one.  My intent was not altogether clear to me, and still isn’t, but it’s a tossup between fostering/rehabilitating her, and giving her a forever home.  Gypsy is not the dog I would have chosen, but I feel that she chose me.  If someone came along who wanted her, I would entertain their application, if they could provide references.  For now, she’s got a home, but I have standards.  I won’t treat her like a silly ornament, and she gets the same care Rumer gets.  Same food, same attention and care.  Though I do have some coats for her for when the weather changes.

I know you want to see some photos, so here they are:

 

 

 

It’s your 36th birthday and I just have to say a few things.  I wept one morning last week on my ride to work when a woman who had lost her husband to the anthrax attack in DC, said she still expected him to come in the door and sit down to dinner, even though it’s been so many years.  Your mother and I talk about this, and we feel the same way.  Does that mean you are close by?  It’s still an impossibility, your death, never mind that it happened two years ago.   We miss you so much and the world is a poorer place.

Jude is learning to skate, and you would have loved to show him your tricks and your love of skating.  Rachael is having another baby boy who will not be as lucky to have you be his manny.  You would have been such a great father!

I try and be there for your mom and dad as they regretfully grow into life without you.  We talk about you all the time!  Your mother has the most amazing memory for things you’ve said and done.  I love to quote you on Monday mornings when we all feel like our weekend was two seconds long.

At least we concede that your short life did not go un-lived.  You devoured every day.  You celebrated holidays so beautifully, especially Halloween.  Your costumes were wonderful, even as an adult.  I’m inspired by you!   You were such an unselfconscious person, and that gave you the ability to accept others and love them just as they are.  Your kindness and generosity of spirit made it impossible not to love you.

All of us who love you keep you alive in our memories and our hearts, for losing you changed us all.  Tristan, your soul brother, Van, TJ and Dave, your “real” brothers, Betsy and Scotty, my Ben, Rachael, me.  We are not the same.  My touchstones are your mosaic fish, fireworks, the incredible drawings you did as a child-a baby, really.  The urn holding your precious ashes draws me-I always lay my hand on its cool surface when I’m at your house, and let memories of you vibrate through me.  I send you love and peace.  Even though part of me thinks you’ll walk in the door again.

So we’ll have a birthday dinner in your honor, and celebrate your life.  We’ll think of you.  We’ll hug and cry, each of us dealing with loss in our own way.  You’ll be there, a never-ending presence, unforgotten and always loved.

Working sure does take up a lot of time, time I might be spending writing.  But it pays the bills and I’m thankful for my wonderful job.  I work with some bright, kind, conscientious people who inspire me to excellence.  This old dog is learning some new tricks, on a very steep learning curve, and loving every minute of it.

But I miss my little blog and sharing the mundane details of my profoundly ordinary existence.  Guess I could quickly update what’s happ’nin.

Both the gingko and dogwood trees are doing well, in spite of this wickedly dry and hot summer.  Of course, I water them EVERY week as instructed.  Also watering potted plants EVERY DAY and enjoying the blooms.  NES came along and demolished the fence row between me and Ruby, and that’s now a work in progress. I.E. a huge mess.  I envision climbing roses all along the fence and more flower gardens, now that sun can get to the back corner.  My other neighbor is also in the process of major yard cleanup and even trimmed the huge poplar that overhangs a little village of crepe myrtles between our driveways.  They will really appreciate the breathing room.  And they are badly in need of trimming, but I’m too short.

The cicadas’ visitation was dramatic, noisy, and so very interesting.  I don’t miss them, though.  Thirteen years will be a nice break.  Think what we might all be doing by then.

Let’s see, concert forecast:   The Devil Makes Three tonight, later on KD Lang, Bruce Cockburn, Bluebird on the Mountain in October with six of our best friends.  Possible trip to Hawaii at years’ end.  And CALIFORNIA! in August with the family, including the bonus of a visit with Susana, one of my Vermont darlings.

The Bells Bend CSA is providing me with a very sufficient quantity of lovely organic veggies.  It is good to eat local, in season, healthy food.  I’d do it again.  It’s also good to see youngsters who embrace the land and love farming.  They are a wonderful group of hardworking kids.  Their mommas should be proud.

It’s almost two years since we lost Ben Koomen, and it remains painful and tragic and hard to accept.  Betsy and I cry together still, and talk about him, and worry over Scotty, and the rest of the boys, who hurt too.  Tristan got his memorial tattoo for Ben last week in Taiwan, and I think all our tats are powerful symbols of our everlasting love and honor for him.

Doug and I will be together for a year pretty soon (if he doesn’t break up with me before next week) hahaha!!!  I’m still kind of amazed that it’s working–we couldn’t BE more different if we tried.  He earned the thumbs up from my old friend Lee who visited a few weeks ago.

Now I gotta go vacuum up dog hair.  Which reminds me to say that Rumer is slowing down dramatically, and is nearly deaf and blind.  She doesn’t hear me come in the door at the end of the day and has given me a fright more than once by not moving a muscle till I make my presence known.  Big sigh of relief.  I’m not ready; as you all know, she’s the best dog ever.

 

o.m.g.  I’m as tired and happy as I can be.  Jude is in the house for a week, coinciding with my second week at a new job.  Finding a place for him to be every day?  Touch and go.  Thank-yous aplenty to Betsy and Dave, Doug, Julie and Seth, and especially Kelly, who is taking not one, but two days off to keep the boy.  Everyone has taken a turn!  I’m so very grateful.  Getting him back at the end of the day?  Priceless!  It’s a delight to have him be part of my life again.  The house looks like a tornado went through it, if I may say so without diminishing the suffering of real tornado victims.  I’m washing dishes at ten PM because there’s NO MORE ROOM IN THE SINK!  That’s my antique house; we don’t have modern conveniences like a dishwasher.  Even though he makes me crazy more than once a day, I’m energized by having him around, too.  Today, for example:  up at 5:30, Jude loaded and outfitted and dropped off with Julie and Seth at 7:30.  On to work until 5 PM.  Home.  Grilled a big ole hunk of London broil that’s been marinating.  Cooked up some veggies from the CSA share (carrots, beets, fennel).  Went to Target because Jude was soooooo good the last couple days he deserved a new toy, and to procure necessities.  Home again to watch him pogo, ride bike, gave him a bath, read a book (we managed one page of I Spy), call mama and daddy, get clothes out for tomorrow, pack pool bag, brush teeth, night-night.  I went on to clean the house (vacuum up dog hair, put stuff away-I mean, there was stuff EVERYwhere, wash that pile of dishes, fold some clothes, get ready what I needed for work, tried and failed to find some paperwork, thought about what to wear tomorrow, took a shower, wrote this, read my book a little. It was a busy and lovely day.  And it rained!  We needed it so badly, and that means I don’t need to water in the morning, whoo-hoo.

So, all that to say, KUDOS to all you single moms out there, never mind, all mothers of little kids who want a minute for themselves, who love and nurture their children, have incredibly busy lives, and accomplish so much every day.  Day in and day out.  This has only been a week for me.  It’s made me grateful I wasn’t a single mother, and even more appreciative of my daughter.   It’s given me a new connection with my precious grandson.

I have one confession.  When I got up this morning, I wadded my hair up into a little bun with some pins, decided it looked good enough, and went to work without even dragging a comb through it.  Is that bad?

Once I thought the game of golf was beyond dumb, knocking a little ball into a hole in the ground?  Seriously?  To be a sport, I tried it once before and it was frustrating and seemingly hopeless.  The people I played with suggested I try playing left-handed……

I am predominately a lefty, but really, sports and recreational activities I do with my right hand (baseball, bowling, knitting, sewing) although tennis and badminton can go either way.  The left hand is for writing, eating, tooth-brushing.  So, from that experience, I pretty much wrote off my ability to ever play golf.  Besides, it was a stupid game, right?

Last weekend, I tried, really tried, playing golf, many years after that first attempt.  This development came after a pretty successful trip to the driving range, surprising both me and the boyfriend, who happens to be a crackerjack golfer.  The balls I hit off the tee went pretty far and in a straight line.  I decided to try and learn the game, so we can have a shared pastime , since he will never bloody likely go snow skiing, and I will probably not be inclined to waterski.

We went to a par-3 course, which had, by the way, 2 holes that were par 4, making the par score for the course 29.  BF, naturally, was right there in that range.  My score was more like 72, and that was with multiple forgiven bad tee-offs.  I had to grit my teeth and bite out curses a couple of times, but managed to hang in there for all nine holes, and I actually enjoyed it, in spite of the heat and humidity and frustration.  The game is SO frustrating that any success whatsoever is cause for celebration, but I can now see that it will be worthwhile to play enough to gain some skill and confidence.  Photo above, by the way, was taken AFTER the round, and that’s me, still smiling.

At the driving range, thinking of going all the way around a course seemed pretty daunting.  Now at the par-3 course, a “real” course feels like an insurmountable obstacle.  It’s all about perspective!  Concentration!  Focus!

Having turned my nose up at the idea of using a cart (why spoil a good walk?) I see their value:  shade.  You get plenty of walking, going from the tee-off place to the green and back and forth to the cart for different clubs and all.  And I like jogging to the next place early in the round.  I hope to get strong arms, increased trunk mobility and core strength, flexibility, endurance, and the ability to make that incredibly satisfying snapping sound when you hit the ball just right.

The golf course is not a standardized playing field, and the course is definitely a character in the drama of a game.  The par-3 course that was my maiden outing was far tamer than one we “walked” while visiting my hometown of Southwick, Massachusetts, Longhi Golf Course.  That beast was situated over hill and dale and was simply frightening.  Smyrna golf–much more reasonable.  It’s right by a little airport, and featured some birdwatching opportunities as well as a nice, flat, relatively easy game of golf.  I was delighted to see a Northern Kingbird fluttering over the grass snatching insects out of the air.

Longhi had a sweet little putt-putt course that we played, too.  I honestly think that sinking a hole in one on the very first hole profoundly affected my newfound positive outlook on the game of golf.  Now, THAT was thrilling, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for out there on the links?

Hate to even let this cat out of its bag, for fear of the jinx, but I am registered for orientation, have filled out paperwork, and have a start date.  I have a job!  and a job for which I think I will be well-suited, a job that was offered to me right at the interview, and a job I hope I will keep until I am able to retire, should that day ever come.

Not even going to say any more, except how incredibly grateful and humbled I am by this opportunity.

My life these days feels as though I am already retired.  I’ve visited, shopped, cooked, worked in the yard, had company, travelled, finished up projects, started new ones, caught up on business, watched a bunch of movies, read a buncha books, too.  It has been lovely the past two months, minus a stressor or two.  One more week till I start working, and you can bet I plan on enjoying it.

I’m going to play a round of golf for the first time (par 3) and am pretty psyched to see if my concentration can hold up for nine holes.  ‘Cuz that’s what I’m told it’s all about.  Trying not to imagine needing fifty strokes to find the cup, thinking more like, well, three.  Ha-ha!  clubs bent over the knee!  That’s harder to do than it looks in the cartoons, I imagine.

Got family here today, and a birthday dinner to enjoy!  My baby is now thirty-two years old, if you can believe that.  So see ya!

I only wish these were my peonies…maybe next year.

Flickr Photos

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