Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Impatient Patient

Yesterday was Monday. I do enjoy stating the obvious. Just before 11am, I heard a bloodcurdling scream from downstairs. The scream was emanating from my son. Who had just skewered his left index finger with an ice pick. Naturally, his intention was to break up the chunk of ice with the ice pick. But his finger got in the way. He came upstairs and when I saw the pointy end of the implement protruding from the bottom side of his finger, two things happened. Firstly, I was struck with a wave of nausea. Secondly, I made the decision that this was beyond the expertise of Doctor Mom. At the moment I was still in my jammies.

After calling Sarah from next door for her best recommendation as to where to go, she proceeded to give me directions to the local hospital ER. After hurriedly dressing and grabbing my purse, Reid, accessorized with the ice pick and wearing his slippers, and I got in the car. Sarah's directions were excellent, peppered with landmarks and delivered calmly. Once we arrived and were checked in, we were ushered to trauma room 13. Which is festively painted in an underwater theme. 

Holy crap, yes, the ice pick went all the way through. I told Reid he'd probably need a tetanus shot. He calmly looked down at the spike through his finger and assured me he wasn't afraid of needles.

The efficient and professional ER staff at Northern Colorado Medical Center took care of things, well, efficiently and professionally. I'm thinking of placing the ice pick in a glass display box with an appropriate placard explaining its significance. Reid has been relegated to using ice trays that don't require the use of a menacing tool. The final bill from the hospital is yet to be determined. The total was over $3000. I did not faint. The estimated cost after insurance came to over $500 after I made a down payment of fifty bucks. Which brings up one of the biggest problems with how our health care is parceled out in this country, networks. That truly horrible and random invention of the insurance companies. When my son presented himself to me injured and in need of professional care the last thing on my mind was to do an internet search and then call around to verify which area trauma center accepted the insurance coverage that he possesses. I'm just grateful his injury wasn't life threatening. We'll see how this all shakes down. All I know is, when anyone is sick or injured, all they want is the medical care that will fix them up and get them well again. Networks and copays are the last thing on anyone's mind. And I'm certain health care professionals, the doctors and nurses and other clinicians who tend to the needs of patients, would rather just get down to doing the work they are trained to do rather than deal with the restrictions and vagaries of the business side of things. The best thing about yesterday was the copay on the antibiotic prescription, an astonishing fifty cents. Fifty cents. The worst thing, other than Reid getting injured, was the fearful thought of what if. What if he wasn't insured and didn't have access to the care he needed? We're all right for the time being, but a year from now when his father turns 65 and becomes eligible for Medicare, Reid will turn 26 and will have to find health coverage on his own. If the ACA is dismantled by the current administration in Washington, his coverage may abruptly end with the arrival of 2018. Even the optimist in me doesn't believe that this country's health care delivery system will be fixed by then. 

Monday, April 24, 2017


Reid's $3000 bracelet.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

There is Room

Life isn't pie. In a way that's unfortunate. Because pie is wonderful. But I digress. Just because someone else gets what they need doesn't mean that you won't get what you need. You don't need to be desperate or jealous or stingy and grab for that last piece before someone else gets there. Another pie will show up and maybe it will be preferable. Maybe even your favorite. There is room. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Turn Your Brain On

Science Day, Earth Day. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. If we want to survive, we need this Earth. She doesn't need us. Science is the key.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's Still Poetry Month...

Yes, children, another poem by moi. In honor of Pluto's retrograde and the fact that I was rudely awakened to cat poop on the rug in the sunroom this morning, let's face our fears, and stinky messes, and get on with it.

Fearless 101

Embrace your darkest fear,
Invite her in for tea.
Look into those hideous eyes,
So bleak, so cold, so near.
Don't leave him lurking on the horizon,
That future imagining so real.
Examine your nightmare in the light of day!
You'll find it's your shoulder that he cries on.
Don't soften to her tearful pleas!
Ignore the lies he speaks!
Nurture your inner warrior with love.
Confront the pain, it's confidence that frees.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wakeful Dreaming

From three years ago, a memory:

The weather is crappy. My house is a mess. The laundry that requires doing has reached critical mass. I just got a submission rejection email. But none of this matters because I'm so stinking happy I don't recognize myself. And I'm pretty sure I'm awake.

Working on a repeat. In direct opposition to popular belief, lightening does, indeed, strike twice in the same place. Repeatedly, actually. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Swingset of My Discontent

Demolition of this fab play yard has begun. Last summer I offered it up to anyone who wanted to come and haul it away. No takers, and this has turned out to be a good thing. It is not coming apart easily. I thought it would come apart into its various components. You know, like a reasonable person had built it. Let's not go down that road. The good news is, much of it will be repurposed. The slide, climbing wall grips, the swing, and steering wheel have been removed and will be sold or given away. The climbing wall will turn into a potting bench to be located on the west side of the garden shed. The largest platform will be added onto the deck as a step down to the yard, and I expect the solar lights will be used on the corners. The stairs unit has got to have some fun application somewhere. Maybe tucked into a corner of the yard with some potted plants adorning it. The A-frame will remain in place and I hope it will work to string up the hammock. I'll need to improvise a fabric awning, I think, for daytime lounging in the shade. Even better, a vine covered pergola! As for the tire, it goes to the first brave soul who wants it. I see a tire swing in someone's future! Otherwise there's a landfill fee involved for moi. All I can say is, the guy who built this was fond of concrete footings. Serious concrete footings. Definitely theft proof.

Monday, April 17, 2017


In anticipation of yard work this summer, this afternoon I went off with the intention of purchasing a wheelbarrow. And then I didn't. As I stood in the gardening aisle there were just too many options. Close to ten, I think. Ranging in price from forty bucks for the bottom line molded plastic model up to two hundred smackers for the fancy-schmancy yard utility wagon with many variations in between. One wheel or two? Pneumatic or molded wheels? Plastic or steel bucket? Single handle or duals? Metal handles or wood? Too many decisions to make. I was seized by the paradox of choice. It totally pummeled me into submission. So I remain barrowless. Instead I bought flower and herb seeds and grabbed a paint sample. It seemed sad to come home empty-handed. I'll get back to you on how it goes hauling a haystack of bark chips without a wheelbarrow. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

False Bunny

Edgar with headgear.
Another Easter, another back yard, another state.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Not Me!

Jill is more than expert at avoiding being photographed. This would be the summer version.

Winter version. You'd think she was in some sort of witness protection program. Or something.

Failing at Good Work

I love The Writer's Almanac. Everybody knows this. And if you didn't know, now you do. But I digress. I subscribe to it. It arrives in my email box every day, without fail. If you are not familiar with the format, Mr. Keillor gives a brief history lesson for the day including the birthdays of writers. He then reads a poem. Normally I'm leaning back with my eyes closed, a steaming cup of coffee under my nose, listening raptly. In the last couple of months there has been an annoying post script explaining how podcasts work or asking for a donation to keep the service going. Since this additional bit of business spoils the afterglow for me, I usually close the tab. I do understand that nothing is free. I am a sustaining member of public radio and just as often as not refuse the gift so my donation goes further for programming and other expenses. So. Today an ad for American Public Media, the entity that produces and distributes The Writer's Almanac, appears in my Facebook feed. Nice job targeting me, Facebook! I clicked. I became infatuated with this mug. I pictured myself sipping coffee from it whilst listening to The Writer's Almanac. Sigh. One more screen click informed me that APM would be expecting a minimum one-time contribution of sixty dollars to receive the mug. Ouch. I would have given up to thirty bucks for the mug. But sixty is simply out of reach for me. I think it's likely that others feel the same way. If the sixty dollar price point eliminates half of the potential contributors, and I just pulled that fraction out of the air for argument's sake, wouldn't they be just as much in the black asking for thirty bucks instead? Well, okay, no, simply because APM does send out the mug without charging for shipping so they would absorb that cost for twice as many donations. The thing is, a little goodwill goes a long way, certainly further than what appears as greed. I have a small budget to contribute to causes I believe in and entertainment I enjoy and parse that out carefully. But when I'm priced out at the get-go it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry, American Public Media, you have lost this round.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Still Funny!

Wednesday Poetry Corner

It's been National Poetry Month for twelve days now. I'm surprised I held off this long. You can thank me later. Should you choose to continue reading, that which follows is a poem I wrote in 2005. Even though I had not yet met the the person this poem brought to mind today, the sentiment applies just the same.

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, April 11, 2017

Down at Kohl's

1. I found four unscented ivory pillar candles on a clearance shelf. They were $2.99 each and with another 30% off, the final price was $2.10. Serious bargain!

2. I got in line at the checkout with my bargain candles. The woman in line ahead of me was digging in her purse. She pulled out a container of breath mints and offered me one. I said, no, thanks.

3. Did I have nasty breath? Was I encroaching into her space bubble so she would be aware of this? Did I unintentionally make eye contact and invite her interaction with me?

4. She had a number of items and offered twice to let me go ahead of her with my four bargain candles. I said, no, thanks.

5. I declined her offer of letting me cut in front of her mostly because she already had a pile of stuff on the counter and the nice young man had already started ringing up her purchase. 

6. I was beginning to regret not taking her line-cutting offer when the last thing she pulled from the bottom recesses of her cart was a Kohl's shopping bag. I thought she was going to attempt doing a return.

7. At this point I am amused, I can't imagine what else could possibly happen to further slow things down.

8. The woman ahead of me then pulls a pile, seriously, a preposterous pile of old Kohl's sales flyers and coupons from the bag and asks the nice young man to go through them to see if any are still valid.

9. Just then, another nice young man opened up another checkout and asked me if I'd like to be next. Well, naturally I said yes and was out the door while the other checkout line still had not advanced.

10. This shopping trip was made even more memorable by a woman with rainbow-dyed hair who left a wafting cloud of patchouli in her wake as she browsed the clearance racks in the junior department. I was happy to see that hippie culture is alive and well.

Monday, April 10, 2017


A glass of wine. Thick, fluffy towels. A Margaret Atwood novel. A tubful of hot, fragrant water. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Birthday Boy

This is Erik. One of my favorite guys. He's a tiny bit older than me. We have known each other for over forty years. I'm not doing the math. Aren't we fabulous?

Waking Up

One lone grape hyacinth at the edge of the patio stones. Spring is full of surprises here.

Friday, April 7, 2017


From paraphrasing Elvis to just plain lost in the translation. Fortune cookies ain't what they used to be. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017


In other bloomin' news, not so many blossoms on the peach tree this spring. After last year's bumper crop she may be a bit tired. That's alright by me. We all need to take some time off now and again. 

Bloomin' News

So I have this humongous tree in my back yard. I thought it was an elm. Do elm trees bloom? I don't know. It's a mystery to me.

They are quite lovely. White with the tiniest blush of pink to them and a fuzzy yellow center. I expect some botanical research is in order.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Edna Method

I think we can file this under almost but not quite. I was employing my mother's method of hanging stuff on the wall, which is using existing nails already pounded into said wall. This was the procedure she used when we moved into a different domicile to hang pictures and other decorative items. Boiled down to its basic steps, The Edna Method is as follows. One, find a nail already in the wall. Step two, hang something on it. Generally, at least according to my eyes, little consideration was given to the final aesthetic effect of the placement. Often it worked out just fine, given that many people will center a hanging object on a wall, and when they leave the nail behind, it tends to be optimally placed. Sometimes it was just weird, though, with pictures hanging in seeming disarray, too close to the ceiling or ending up behind a door or blocked from view by a piece of furniture. Yesterday, in an homage to Mom while organizing the game room downstairs, I gave the Edna Method a shot. As you can see, it doesn't quite work. Some tweaking will be necessary. Unlike my mother, I'm fearless with a hammer and nails. Even though I use a level and measure the space carefully, I don't always hit the nail on the head where the nail ought to be. Which means I also am fearless with the use of wall spackle.

Just for fun, here is the previous incarnation of the room. This wall seems to demand a curvy metal adornment. I am complying, but do find it necessary to move some nails. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Red Shoe Magic

In the bonus material on the High Fidelity dvd, John Cusack talks about experiencing music biographically. I certainly do. There are songs, even entire albums, that are so closely synced with experiences that it's impossible for me to recall one without the other. Today's musical backdrop to preparing brunch was Neil Young's Harvest Moon. Which calls up beginnings, travel, and anticipation of what might be. Inspired by emotion and fueled by the resulting lack of sleep, sitting up late and writing poetry. Grateful that I can still be surprised. And despite my age and experience, astonished over feeling just as giddy and unprepared as I did when a teen. Contentment wrestles with passion until they collapse together restfully. And finally, the need to know becomes a known. And it turns out to be an almost familiar thing that was waiting within to be discovered all along. Indeed, there's no place like home.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Much More Than Zero

Tis one thing to be the fool, but quite another to be foolish. Celebrate today the child-like, free spirit that lives in your heart.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I am a Sapiosexual

Not that it's a problem. But admitting it is the first step toward finding an authentic love. One that will last. Where are the smart guys with twinkly eyes?

The Madness Begins

Son Reid gave me a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. In an effort to clear up the last bits of indoor clutter so I can move on to outdoor projects, there is now a puzzle assembling spot downstairs. I have a big table and a non-glaring light source,

Starting a puzzle so I can get other things done does seem self-defeating in nature. Though it's possible I may become obsessive about working on it, I now have a space dedicated to jigsaw puzzles. Meaning we're not eating around it or shifting daily business to another space for the duration of puzzle-putting-together activity. So this can be a leisurely pastime. Some little dreams take time.*

*I never did accomplish establishing a puzzle space in the old house. Odd that it's possible in this house after downsizing square footage by 25%. Proving that smaller might be better. Or just better-used is better.

The Unsent

Monday, March 27, 2017

More of Me as a Painting

Let the Denial Begin!

Facebook is marketing this shirt to me. Not along the side, mind you, but smack-dab in the middle of the news feed on my home page. It just doesn't get any more targeted than this. Which is precisely why I won't buy one. So there.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Feels Like Home

A year ago about now, before I set foot in this house in which I now reside, but had a solid offer on my house in South Dakota, I was busy perusing homes online. There was one house in particular that I could see myself living in. The basement was roomy and practical for Reid. An enclosed front porch was stealing my heart as well as the original oak flooring. The dining room boasted a fireplace and oak built-ins. There was even a perfect spot for my faux Tiffany light fixture there, just above where the table would be. I loved the kitchen. As I was standing at the stove this morning stirring my bubbling oatmeal, I was reminded of that house. It sold before I made the trip out here to buy this one so I was never able to see it in person. I have to say at this point, two months til the anniversary of moving in here, that the reality of this home has more than lived up to the fantasy of the one I only virtually toured. I think that's called wanting what you have. Which is far better than having what you want.

Friday, March 24, 2017

SciFi Kiddie Lit Nostalgia

It's not just a rumor, I was reading scifi way back in elementary school. I remember buying this paperback at the school book fair in either third or fourth grade. Yes, the printing press had been invented about two weeks earlier. So. I had on my mind the last week or so that I had read this weird book way back when about two boys who built a spaceship and went on an outer space adventure. And then I found it had recently come back from out-of-print obscurity! It was originally published in 1954. I ask you, how could I help myself? I bought a copy. I'll read it after I return from Margaret Atwood's dystopian future. I'm still waiting for my flying car.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fodder for Free

A couple of weeks ago, after a trip to my neighborhood King Soopers, I was in the midst of the unbagging and putting away portion of the task. Lurking in the bottom of one of the bags were a couple of laundry detergent pods. I figured the person ahead of me in line had been shorted them so I rolled up the bag and set them aside with the intention of returning them on my next trip. Which was today. When I got in line for customer service, there was only one person ahead of me who was currently being served. I was busy complimenting myself for my exquisite timing as a half dozen more people lined up behind me. The woman behind the counter gave me the stinkeye over her glasses and asked that I move back behind the sign until it was my turn. I half-smiled at her as I backed up a couple of feet. There was no line, or a sign that I could see indicating how far back I should be, so I stopped within a reasonable distance of the next person behind me in line. When my turn came up, I handed over the bag containing the detergent pods and explained what had happened. As she pulled them from the bag, she began shaking her head. These are samples we have been giving out, don't you want them? I replied, no, thank you, I don't use fabric softener. By this time she was scowling at me and waggling them at me. They're free! No thanks, I said once more and caught her in the act of a massive eye roll when I looked over my shoulder as I walked away. I sincerely hope that whomever ends up with the free samples enjoys them. If Ms Customer Service was having a bad day, that's understandable. If she has this sort of attitude in general, I hope she finds employment better suited to her sour demeanor. Mostly I just hope I never end up in her line again. Maybe it's just me. I'm a human lightening rod. Or as Reid is fond of saying, Mom, you're a bitch magnet. I remain convinced that as a writer, I need weird stuff to happen to me. So I have things to write about. It's a vicious cycle.

Shame on You, 45

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Evening

You try to avoid the fact even as it's asserting itself in your mind. What's about to happen is inevitable. You have an open bottle of Ravenswood shiraz. You have a bag of Reese's white chocolate peanut butter eggs in the fridge. It's time to watch Mama Mia! and sing along!

Poor Woman's GPS

I am not a Luddite. I enjoy electronic gadgets. But I do love maps. When I road-trip alone, I end up with numerous sticky notes on the dash for quick reference. Before I back out of the driveway, I examine maps, both online and the paper atlas variety, and write little notes to assist me in finding my destination. Often the acts of map reading and jotting down the information result in a pretty solid imprint on my brain, so the dashboard notes wind up being a backup system. Yes, I still sometimes miss turns and end up backtracking. But if travel comes off without a hitch, you don't have stories to tell. And road trips are all about the stories, if you ask me. I may be wandering, but I'm not necessarily lost.

On The Wall

I'm pretty happy with this new painting. It doesn't get lost in the space like the framed birds print, which is about a third the size of this canvas. I love the colors and how it suggests sailing ships without looking outright nautical. Which brings the count of boat motif items in my living and dining room area to five. I'm dangerously close to a theme here, so I need to draw the line at toss pillows with anchors on them. Or Jolly Roger flags. Steamer trunks? Somebody stop me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review, Release, Reset

Spring is here! It's time to plan the garden and clear the debris of Fall and Winter from the ground. May you find balance and peace as the light grows with each passing day.


Just under the living room window there is a very spindly and nondescript shrub. I hacked it back a bit last fall to keep the tallest twigs from creaking on the glass when the wind kicked up. A couple of days ago I noticed that although there are very few leaves thus far, numerous yellow blossoms have sprouted. There is no discernible scent wafting from these flowers, but it is nice to see some color in this otherwise drab spring landscape. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Things That Finished Today

1. My binge-watching of The West Wing. Just after midnight they inaugurated President Matthew V. Santos. I'm going to float through the next few days pretending that he actually is our President.

2. This morning I finished reading the second book in Margaret Atwood's Maddaddam Trilogy, The Year of The Flood. On to the third volume!

3. Winter! Today is the final full day of winter, at least so far as the calendar is concerned. Winterish weather is still a possibility, though, and I must say I have enjoyed the open windows temps these past few days.

Maybe I Have a Tiny Problem...

After realizing that I brought home four more wine glasses from my trip down to Arizona, maybe I do have a problem. Okay, I have some glassware. 

The corner cabinet in the kitchen has a glass front, a perfect place for storing and displaying shiny things. A ghostly image of Reid is reflected in the door. He was admonishing me at the time that I might be taking unintentional selfies while photographing my glassware. 

Let's open it up and take a look, shall we?

On the top shelf we find some fairly nondescript champagne flutes. The two slightly taller glasses are pink, so they're a teensy bit fancy.

The middle shelf is where the martini glasses reside. The St Clair Winery glasses have moved in with them. 

On the bottom shelf we find ourselves concerned with beer. Lots of fun, commemorative and branded glassware. Most of which were acquired in a completely legal and appropriate fashion.

We have moved on to the china cabinet in the dining room.

Though I was able to pare down my possessions by half prior to the move, I just couldn't part with any of the wine glasses. On the left, one of a set of eight, is a lovely all-purpose wine glass etched with flowers. Oh, and there are two champagne glasses that match them. Scored them at a rummage sale for under a buck a glass. Then we have some tall goblets with purple stems. A set of six was a birthday gift a number of years ago. Next up is one from a set of four beautifully etched wineglasses that sis Martine gave me nearly thirty years ago. Up front, the tiny etched crystal glass is one of a pair that I rescued from the garbage dumpster outside my apartment building circa 1979. I fill it and hand it over to guests that say they only want a small glass of wine. Behind that is one of five cut-glass champagne flutes that are slightly fancier than the ones in the kitchen. Second from the right is one from a set of eight. They are pretty darned fancy and reserved for sit-down dinners. On the right is one of three surviving smoked crystal goblets that were a wedding gift to my parents. I have two and Martine has one. Originally there were probably six or maybe eight of them.

Then there's the bar cart. Where we have a couple of very pretty wine glasses that don't get used much and four cut crystal on-the-rocks glasses. Which are for the serious sipping of your finer liquors. I think it's time for a self-imposed moratorium on the purchase of glassware. I'll let you know how long it lasts.  

Down at Home Goods

While visiting sis Martine, we found ourselves strolling through Home Goods. I always enjoy shopping there, but this trip was particularly fun.

Right in the front of the store, we found a humongous metal elephant sculpture! Well over six feet in height! Of course, I neglected to get a photo of this majestic piece of art, so the above pic is the closest I could find on the interwebs. The elephant at Home Goods, whom I have named Toby, was made of a filigree sort of steel, making it whimsical and see-through, not seeming quite so massive. I also noted that it was made up of several panels that were attached together with nuts and bolts, making it totally dissassemble-able and therefore could possibly fit in my car. I wanted it soooooo bad. I even considered taking out the store credit card to get ten percent off on the purchase. I eventually thought better of buying Toby, though I'm pretty sure The Bloggess would have snatched him up without blinking an eye. Mostly because it would have annoyed her husband, Victor, but also because she would see the value in having a fancy metal elephant sculpture out in the backyard. Mark my words, as soon as I have a book deal, I'm buying one. Home Goods had an other ginormous metal item in the store, a brassy and silver colored gazebo. I thought Martine should buy it for her cats. Forget the catio, the next big thing is the catzebo. 

And since I simply do not have enough glassware, I needed these two adorable little wine glasses. I bought them to facilitate drowning my sorrows over not bringing Toby home with me.

Clair, Patron Saint of Vino

Should you find yourself in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and you also find yourself peckish, do what I did. Take a good, long soak in the hotel hot tub to relax off the road dust, then toss on some fresh clothes and enjoy dinner at the St Clair Winery and Bistro. I had the salmon with lobster sauce and mixed grilled veggies accompanied by the recommended St Clair pinot grigio. Absolutely delish. After dinner, feeling the need to buy a souvenir, I settled on two pieces of signature stemware. Because I don't have enough glassware. Really. Well, okay, just not too much. Glassware. Stop judging me!

The friendly and accommodating young man behind the bar wrapped up the glasses for me, and as you can see, they made it back home in one piece. He also told me that their wines are marketed nationwide. All I have have to say is, I hope my neighborhood liquor store offers a selection of St Clair wines. If they don't, I will gently suggest that they do so.

Women to Emulate