Monday, June 30, 2014

Breaking My Rule

I did something last week in this space that I had never done before. In fact, the deed was a thing that I swore I would never do. It took seven years, four months, three weeks and four days to break my one rule of thumb. That rule being, that I would write about whatever was on my mind and that I would consider each blog post to be a snapshot. An accounting of how I felt or what I thought at the moment that I sat down to type. And that each and every post would stand, as written, and that no matter how I felt or thought about the post at a later date it would remain in the queue. I do allow myself to go back and correct glaring grammatical or semantic errors without noting such changes. Bigger alterations, like a continuity error, incorrectly quoting someone or adding new developments are usually made clear in a footnote or comment. I thought it was imperative to follow this self-imposed rule for one reason. Validity. I don't allow myself to go back and gratuitously reverse edit my life here. Part of the fun is to have a good laugh sometimes months after the fact regarding a topic that was making me a little crazy at the time. My own personal insight into this process is seeing how pointless it is to agonize over things that eventually sort themselves out. I also recognize that this can be a venting space that provides precisely what it sounds like. A place to channel energy that needs a place to go. If I go back to substantially change any post without a notation explaining why, I feel that I would lose integrity. Not that anyone is looking over my shoulder. Except maybe you. And that's why I felt the need to explain. Last week I wrote a lengthy post that was titled For What It's Worth. It was up for about three days. And meant for one specific person's eyes. I don't know if he saw it. It was a last ditch effort to communicate with someone who was ignoring me. A public airing of a plea that I later chose to delete. It never should have been shared in this forum. If I ever have the opportunity to speak to the person in question about what I wrote here, it will be face to face. More difficult? Yes. Embarrassing? Probably. And I'll tell you about it here. 

Food, Glorious Food

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Moon Risen

We are a force of nature, we MoonMaidens who have matured into wild MoonWomen. In this seventh moon of the year that we celebrate our birth, let's shake something loose. Make some good things happen. Love without fear. Dance. Most definitely dance.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Die Hard

Damn. That feathered thing is more stubborn than I am. Still soaring though she has no tangible reason for doing so. Hope has no logic, no memory, no doubt. Her obstinate, inexorable mission is to fly. Fly on, fly on. To do anything else is in direct conflict with her very name. She lands briefly at contentment or fulfillment, joy or peace. What else can I do but comply when she invites me to grab on as she launches herself once more, defiant in the face of question and defeat. It gets better, she whispers. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

What Fun!

I like to think of my birthday as my own personal holiday. Which means, as far as I'm concerned, that a single day is simply not capacious enough to contain all the joy I feel the need to celebrate. So. Starting this afternoon, a full dozen days prior to the recorded time of my birth, my natal festivities begin. In two hours I will be seated in a massage chair enjoying my present to me, a pedicure. And, yes, I am also very practical. I have budgeted for this little splurge*. Then the next month is filled with all sorts of terrific things! In one week I will travel east to the Minneapolis area and be a guest at my cousin Emily's home where a number of my Mother's side of the family cousins will be getting together. Several months ago when we put this reunion on the calendar I was looking forward to the event, but now I am genuinely excited to get reacquainted with these members of my extended family once more. I am hoping it is such a merry success that it becomes an annual event. Upon returning home from the long weekend, the MoonMaiden birthday stretch will be in full progress! It has turned out to be such fun that so many of my girlfriends' birthdays cluster around mine! We start with Liz on July 6th, followed by Karen on the 8th, me on the 9th, Andrea and Jill sharing the 11th, and Marian winding things up on the 15th. Birthday month will wind up with a road trip to the Black Hills to commune with nature and beauty at Jill's cabin and attending the reunion concert of one of my all time fave bands, Red Willow. Still hoping sister Martine will show up and make this time extra special! And, yes, sister dear, this is an official invite as well as a nudge! Let the festivities begin!

*Turns out, Reid decided to spring for my bday pedi. Hey, it's easier than shopping! Thanks, sweetie!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Final Word(s)

I find it so very ironic that when he took the online quiz for the single word that best describes him, he came up with compassionate. Hmm. Maybe acting like a passive-aggressive cheesedick was compassionate! It motivated me to end contact with him. Which, as it turns out, was a good thing. Wow! He is compassionate!

Boyfriend Position Open for Applications

In light of recent developments, any interested parties should first consult here. Qualified applicants may proceed to comments and share pertinent information for my perusal. As always, moi reserves the right as to who makes the cut for the interview portion of the process. Good luck. May the force be with you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mr. Jonas, I'm Done

When you told me you had never unfriended anyone on Facebook my observation was that you were a generous person. Someone who didn't let go of ties easily. A positive thing. What I didn't fathom until just now is why it works that way. You are highly effective at cold-shouldering. Icing someone out. Making the room so frosty that you force the others into turning up the thermostat while you relax in the corner in your insulated suit. Being ignored is the worst. Indifference hurts. Observing the good humor and kindness and affection with which you still treat others, and used to extend toward me but have recently withdrawn, was just too much to tolerate. I refuse to play your hurtful passive-aggressive little game. So I did the dirty work for you. Thanks for sparing me the let's be friends speech. Because as you have demonstrated, you don't have the slightest clue as to how to be one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lunch Conversation With Son

Reid: The problem with a lot of people is that they just don't have goals.

Me: Hmm. So what are your goals?

Reid: Become a professional game music composer, meet Grant Kirkhope and conquer Scotland.

Me: Impressive! I was hoping to get this mess of a kitchen cleaned up and play trivia tonight.

Embracing Curly

In the interest of simplifying my routine and therefore my life in this humid and outdoor activity filled season, I am pleased to announce that until further notice my flat iron has been retired and relegated to the bottom left drawer in my bathroom. 

Learning Curve

Such a lovely epiphany at times, to discover that I'm not just getting older but that I'm getting smarter. Nine years ago, both together and in separate sessions, my husband and I were coming to the end of nearly three months of some pretty intense marriage counseling. It's a bright revelation to me that I am still using the tools I acquired during those therapy sessions. Often not in a manner I am conscious of, but rather like I have incorporated those lessons learned into my everyday thought process. And sometimes illumination is triggered by outside sources. I'm going to gush now. This is your fair warning. Skip over the italicized words if fan-girl-style gushing makes you squeamish. I love advice columnist Carolyn Hax. She is so smart and real and cuts to the chase and through the bullshit. She does it with style and kindness and the authenticity of a seasoned warrior who has battled in the trenches of real life and love and family and the relationships they spawn. I want to live next door to her and be best friends. We'll have each other over for coffee or a glass of wine and gossip over the fence. We'll have an open-door policy, especially for emergencies like needing to borrow accessories to properly complete an outfit. In last Friday's column she was addressing the pre-nup issues of a couple who are from vastly different cultural backgrounds. Even though this specific problem isn't one that I encountered in my marriage, Carolyn's (yes, I'm pretending we're on a first-name basis) following observation really hit me where I live.

Too many people enter that state [marriage] more with an "I don't want to break up so I'll make this sacrifice" mindset than "I genuinely don't give a fig..."

After reading that for the first time I had to sit back for a moment and allow it to sink in. It had triggered the recollection of a particular counseling session where I discovered that I did this thing called modeling. Instead of telling my husband in a direct and clear manner what I wanted and needed, I would engage in doing for him what I desired from him and hope he would learn from my example and reciprocate. At that point in our relationship I had been banging my head against that particular wall for twenty years. Without results. I know, I know, define insanity for me. This behavior had given rise to me making sacrifices about things I genuinely cared about or was concerned over in order to keep us intact as a couple. In the hope that he would recognize this, appreciate it, and then do the same for me. It didn't happen. So insidious was this ingrained dynamic that it took years to fathom the toll it had taken on the intimacy and very foundation of our marriage. And now, having just passed the eight year anniversary of my divorce being final, I feel just a little smarter. A little closer to wholeness. I can discern the very enormous difference between sacrifice and not giving a fig. Where before they were peas occupying a matrimonial pod. Muddling is essential for fruity cocktail ingredients and a very good thing. Muddling of disparate issues to keep the peace is a destructive habit and a very bad thing. Turns out, I do give a fig.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gabo el Magnífico!

I'm almost never trendy, seldom onto the newest thing. I shop clearance racks. I have a dumb phone. I adopted a sweater, boots and jeans in the winter, sundress and sandals in the summer mode of dress so long ago I can't remember when I wore anything else. Why, then, should I expect to be on top of the latest literary must read? Drum roll please...I am about halfway through Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, published in 1988 and featured on Oprah's Book Club in 2007. Clearly I am behind the times. And I am spellbound. For me this isn't a quick read, I'm only getting through ten pages a night, tops. I get so caught up in the language that I reread whole paragraphs. And then pause. 

And then he wiped him from his memory, because among other things, his profession had accustomed him to the ethical management of forgetfulness.

I am astonished by the beauty of the phrases that issue from this man's brain. How he crawls inside his characters' hearts and minds and puts their secrets on display. You feel their fevers and desires and pain as you read. I am reminded at times of another writer whose lyrical prose reads as if it comes from the same vein. I have loved Isabel Allende from the first five pages when I picked up House of the Spirits fifteen years ago. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that both authors write in their native Spanish. All I can say is, their translators are masterful. I don't happen to know anyone who has read these books in both Spanish and English so that they might offer an opinion on what might be gained or lost in translation. Until then, I am savoring this story in small doses in English. If I don't answer the door, look for me in the hammock. With a time of day appropriate beverage. And the words of Gabo.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Michael!

Newborns look like grumpy raisins. Probably even more so when you make them wear hats.

Then they learn to smile and steal your heart away.

Always such a happy child. Even if most of it goes to you, I reserve mother's license to take credit for the fact that you have grown into a kind, handsome, smart, thoughtful man. Celebrate your natal day in style. Blessings on thee, my beamish boy.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Brain Hurts Dept.

I say we vaccinate the intelligent design devotees with evil pixie dust. Then show we are smart and sane and worthy enough for the aliens to return and give us flying cars.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Poetry Corner

Fervent Rainfall

The weatherman says
For where you are today
And I wonder if you'll wear a jacket
Or if you'll feel the cooling drops
Upon your neck
If you'll race for a door through a deluge
Or linger in a warm front shower
Eyes closed
Breathing deep the fresh air wetness
Nearly drowning in the sweetness
What would I give
To fall fast from a cloud
Chasing on a current
Touching gently on your skin
For just a moment
Would you sense
That it was me

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's Your Dad...

I am a coward. And a lousy liar. This is a highly ineffectual combination of traits when the phone rings and it's my father on the line. I do wish to have some sort of resolution where he is concerned. But I avoid it. In other areas of my life I am a firestorm of confidence and accomplishment. I make things happen, I get things organized, I check things off the list. But I know that when I hear his tremulous old man voice coming through the wire that I am helplessly reduced to childhood. He will say, Carla Jean, is that you? and I will reply, hey, Daddy. Then we will chat about essentially nothing for usually ten to twenty minutes, say goodbye, and hang up. I have had deeper conversations with public broadcasting fundraising volunteers. The thing is, I'm a terrible liar in all aspects of my life. Especially when it comes to emotional issues. The truth often blurts right through even when I'm making every effort to be circumspect. I'm a crier and tears are a dead giveaway that I'm being honest. When I do lie, I'm so very certain that I'll be found out that my insides wrench up. I flop sweat and my mouth gets dry and my throat closes up. I wait for lightening to strike me dead out of a clear blue sky. Not to mention the enormous psychological price of having to keep track of a lie and be consistent in its rendering. Please don't ask me if your butt looks big in those pants. If my words say one thing my face will tell the truth. The fact of the matter is that my father is a stranger to me. There have been years when we have fallen out of contact altogether. I no longer feel any sort of connection to this eighty year old man who is living in a camping trailer parked on his nephew's farm in Mississippi. Even the futile exchange on the phone feels like a sham. An agreed upon perpetuation of the mendacity that is deeply rooted in my juvenescent brain. An hour ago when the phone rang I asked my son to lie for me. To tell my father that I was out grocery shopping. I know I should just bite the bullet and make a decision. Pick up the phone and do the usual or tell him I'm done. One thing is certain, I need to stop asking my son to lie for me. I have no right to demand his complicity. My estranged relationship with my father is my burden, not his.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Now that my sons are twenty-two and just days away from turning twenty-six, I am feeling particularly grateful that they grew up with a hands-on, very involved and loving father. I can't fault him in the parenting department and I'm reasonably confident he would echo that sentiment in regard to moi. Which leads me directly into considering the near total lack of a relationship I have with my own father. There is the occasional phone call, always initiated by him. I'm long past the anger but that means I am also long past any real caring. I know that I still have this shadow of abandonment issue lurking around in the darker corners of my consciousness. My awareness of this shadow helps deflate and defeat it when it rears its ugly head. As of this month, ironically the very time we celebrate dads, it is twenty-one years since I have seen him. I've mostly gotten over the fact that he wasn't all that interested in the father gig, but what remains beyond my comprehension is his lack of participation in maybe the best job in the world. Grandpa. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday The 14th

So I broke into my own house today. And it really wasn't all that easy. One of the cats helped me. Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Reid wanted pizza so clearly it's all his fault and I hadn't actually been inside Pizza King for years. Seriously. Years. So we went to Pizza King. Local pizza! While we were waiting for our food, Reid entertained me by drawing pictures and doing anagrams of his full name on a napkin. Then there was pizza and we ate the whole darn thing. When I went up to the counter to pay, Reid pointed out a small, drawn in Sharpie and rather tattered sign taped to the counter. It said cash or checks only. Meaning no plastic. I had eleven dollars and change. I did what any good mother would do. I volunteered my son for washing dishes and left him as collateral and went to the bank. Hey, he's twenty-two. It was fine. As I got into the car and headed toward the bank it occurred to me that I was carrying my small purse. With the tiny wallet. That did not contain my ATM card. The next logical thing was to proceed home. The place where I would have access not only to my ATM card but also my checkbook and modest cash stash! I was nearly giddy until I glanced over at my small purse in the passenger seat that does not contain keys to the house. No problem. This was precisely the occasion for which I years ago cleverly hid a spare set of house keys* somewhere on my property! And I actually remembered where! Then I couldn't get any of them to work. I sat down on the bench on the deck and it started to drizzle. This just keeps getting better and better, I mumble. I hear a meow. I look up toward the patio door and there sits Newton staring at me quizzically. The patio door is open** about four inches! Only a latched screen between me and inside! I located a pair of scissors in the garage and cut a neat opening, slipped my hand through, unlatched the screen and slid it open! I was in! There are more details but they're boring. This is what happens when Friday the 13th goes well, people. It creates some sort of cosmic buildup that has to cut loose at some later point in time. This is all basic physics. All I know is, next time I'm robbing a bank. It would be easier.

*Rest assured that I have given up on the hiding an emergency spare set of keys theory. If I catch any of you nosing around hoping to find them there will be hell to pay. Go rob a bank. You'll get more and it will be easier.

**This is the sort of miraculous part. I always close and latch the patio door. Always. This would be the exception that proves the rule.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday The 13th's Honey Strawberry Moon

Just Doing It

Hello, pink bike. Let's get reacquainted.
 It was time. After a number of short jaunts on the bike this season today was the day for a long ride. Seventy degrees and the wind was with me on the long, northerly stretch. I had no excuses.

Necessary equipment, sans my still missing iPod.
Seriously, I was dreading the lack of tunes. My as yet not found iPod has provided a soundtrack and rhythm to solo rides for so long I didn't know if I could manage without it. Of course, I did manage. Another excuse deflated. Interestingly, without music, my ride became contemplative. I was focused on my thoughts rather than entertained. There was that midpoint when I wondered if it had not been such a good idea to follow the bike trail east, effectively turning my inaugural ride of the season from an easy six miles to nearly doubling the distance. Downshifting from fourth to third gear to compensate for wind and the long, slightly uphill grade, I finally reached the crest, turned north, and leaned forward for the easy downhill pedal in sixth gear. And the rest was a piece of cake. That midpoint stretch is a stinker no matter the circumstance. Where you find yourself wondering if this was ever a good idea. But lacking better options you forge on toward what you hope will be good results. Forward through the fire rather than attempting to reroute around it, like Pheniqs you are tempered and transformed. At this point in my life I have much less of an appetite for immediate gratification. Pleasures and milestones reached through anticipation and earned with labor are that much sweeter. Celebrate the arrival. Relish the journey.

Wear Your Lucky Underwear!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

H.W. Longfellow, A Man Who Used Hairstyle To Predict Behavior

But does this poetic treatise hold true for the little girl once she is grown?

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Then & Now

Chances are, if I do something once and it was fun, I am likely at some point to do that same thing again. In the above photo I am consorting with the ratcatcher fellow at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. We have swapped head gear.

Fast forward nearly thirty years and here I am doing the same silly thing with Lucio, one of the Tortuga Twins. We have seen the future and he is pleased. I seem somewhat concerned. Either that or we're quoting Monty Python. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Darn My Intuition Anyway!

Yesterday I found one of my favorite movies in the five buck bin at WalMart. It was packaged as a double feature with another film that also stars Richard Gere. The one I wanted? Intersection. The bonus? Nights in Rodanthe, one that I had never seen. Not finding Intersection all by itself I went for the double feature. You know how sometimes a bonus is a good thing? This wasn't one of them. And I wanted to like it, I tell you! I adore Diane Lane! Nights in Rodanthe turned out to be a pretty predicable romcom with a few likable moments but nothing special. My intuition comes in near the end when Diane Lane's character falls asleep waiting for Richard Gere's return. I make a face at the tv and mutter, I will be so seriously pissed if he's dead! Please do me a very large favor after dragging me through this average piece of overly sentimental treacle and serve up a goddam happy ending already! But no. I remember feeling the same way at the end of City of Angels, which I actually liked, when Nicolas Cage bit it in a way you could smell was coming at fifty paces. I hate it when I sniff out what is intended to be an unpredictable plot twist. Like in Phenomenon when I remarked, if he has a brain tumor I will be so pissed! What a totally unimaginative cop out to explain away an ordinary man's remarkable acquisition of super intelligence and magical powers! It would have been so much cooler for his unlikely transformation to be attributed to the bright light he witnessed in the night sky! More difficult? Yes! More entertaining? Most definitely! Okay, I'm done ranting. And if you must know, I only blurt out these observations when watching at home. Well, most of the time. You can dress me up but you can't take me out to a movie. Well, most of the time you can. This, people, is one more reason why drive-in movies should make a comeback!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pointed East and Ever So Slightly North

Information, Please

Last December I was scheduled for my Welcome to Medicare exam. Because I had lacked medical insurance for nearly three years I had some catching up to do. After much conferring and being put on hold and eventually being told they would have to call me back with an answer, my doc's scheduler finally called after a couple of days. Yes, she said, my annual exam could be combined in the same visit with the Welcome to Medicare exam. Excellent!, I thought. Two birds with one stone. After the appointment, though, I was left thinking the opposite. Since the two exams were combined, all I could sort out as being different from my normal annual exam were a few items. Bear with me, please, because I am aware that I am much younger than the average new Medicare patient. I became eligible for Medicare eighteen months after I was approved for disability status according to Social Security Disability parameters. My disability relates directly to the nerve, soft tissue and tendon damage in my hands and wrists that render me mostly unemployable. Otherwise I am remarkably healthy. For which I am grateful. But this disparity between how I generally appear and the level of pain I constantly experience coupled with the great difficulty I have with the smallest of everyday tasks can be frustrating. Anyway. The last thing I want is pity and I have veered off topic. The only items different from my regular exam were these. A hearing test. The nurse administering the exam stood across the room with her back to me and said a few words to see if I could understand her. I could. I was asked to rise from a sitting position and walk across the room, touch the door and return to the chair and sit down again. I was timed for this task. I passed with flying colors. I was also asked a number of questions meant to determine my mental and physical state. Was I often depressed or lonely? Did I live alone? Did I have difficulty with stairs or was tripping on rugs a problem? I was also given information on setting up a living will and other end of life issues. After the exam I had a number of whys on my mind. Why didn't they do a blood draw to determine baselines for iron (anemia) and blood sugar (diabetes) and cholesterol (heart health) levels? Aren't these the most basic indicators of chronic health problems among the elderly? They didn't collect a urine sample which can indicate infection as well as other pertinent information. Which led me to wonder, knowing what I had paid for a typical office visit in the past, just how much was my doctor reimbursed by Medicare for this Welcome to Medicare exam? Which, in my opinion, was pretty darn lame as far as establishing my general level of health. After reading this, I proceeded to click on links hoping to find out just what it is worth to my doc to perform this exam. And have been unable to determine the dollar value. It's almost like I need a keyboard shortcut labeled divining rod. At any rate, I have been welcomed to Medicare. And left feeling as though I should have at least been offered a cup of tea and a cookie.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


I want to do this. In my Subaru Outback. Who is with me?!?!

Happy BDay Sis!

It is my dear little sister's birthday today. She is not quite two in this photo but about as adorable as she can be.

A few more than seven candles today. But not quite enough to make it necessary to secure that dreaded fire permit.

I'm guessing fallish 1966? In the backyard of the house in Aurora. Making me nine, Martine four and Cullen two and a half. I like this pic because I'm still taller than both of them. Maybe nearly as tall as both of them put together. I didn't appreciate it at the time.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Renaissance Fair Menu

Some of this food requires explanation.

The Irate Punch is the same price as the Pirate Punch.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Gift From Sister Pam

When the sisters gathered in Atlanta in April we were in a sense saying goodbye. And Pam wanted to give Martine and me something from the house where she and Cullen had lived for so many years. A memento of their marriage and home.

There are two of these lovely tables that they had used as nightstands. Perfect. One for Martine, one for me. Today that brown van pulled up in front of my house and delivered a huge box. My table was inside.

Cat inspection and approval process. Thank you, Pam. It already feels like home.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Festivous Felids

Happy eighth birthday to Newton and Einstein! In the ancient days of film photography, I would on occasion load up my trusty Canon with black & white film. To be artsy. Or something. The boys are four months old in this series.

Such good kitties! Helping with the laundry!


Exploring another household appliance.

Bad kitties! Bad, bad, bad!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Top Ten Social Network Phrases/Acronyms That Most Annoy Me

1. Just sayin'

2. LOL

Okay, fine. Just these two annoy me. It seems I'm much less crotchety this morning than I thought. In fact, I just took one of those highly reliable and definitive online tests that describes me as blissful. I'll take that. Just don't dim my bliss by LOLing all over the place. Just sayin'.

Afterthought..."'nuff said" grates on me, too. So that's three. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Einstein Pines for the Flowers

My Punny Sonny

He is heating up some leftover pasta for lunch. This is what happens, you know, when you pay off the judges so you can win a theater award, he says. Rig-a-Tony. I really need to find a more isolated, preferably doored, part of the house to do my internetting.

My Punny Son

Mom, if a foolish person is covered in thorns then is this person a rube-barb? There is not enough coffee today.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Yes, the photo is a little fuzzy. But Heather's puppy Darby, nestled happily in my lap, is fuzzy even when the pic is sharply focused. I foolishly remarked that I must be pretty darn special for Darby to adore me this much. To which Heather replied something like, not really, she's very friendly, she likes pretty much everyone. I was crushed until Tami chimed in with oh, no, you're special, Carla. Followed by a gleeful cackle. Smartass. This is the last time I volunteer my puppy cuddling and supervisory talents while she digs holes and transplants peonies in the hot, hot sun.