Thirty-one years ago I woke up, went through my regular morning routine and went to work. It was a Tuesday. Not just any Tuesday, mind you. I was done at noon. I had a hair appointment. I walked into the salon with a dried flower headband that Cindy braided into my hair. I was dressed in jeans and an old denim shirt. Allen and I went to Nick's Hamburgers and had a late lunch. We were in the habit of going to Nick's on auspicious days to celebrate whatever big thing was going on in our lives. A couple of hours later we were at the courthouse with Brenda and Dave. We had an appointment with the judge to get married. We waited outside his chambers and the clock crept forward past our scheduled time. I was chilly, the cavernous stone building had absorbed the cold of the three previous months and my dress was lacy and gossamer-thin. I think I was visibly shaking by the time the judge opened his door and gestured us in. He seemed a bit distracted, frazzled even, as the four of us, bride and groom, maid of honor and best man, assembled inside his paneled office. Turns out he was was in the middle of a trial and had recessed briefly to officiate at our wedding. He was agitated over the testimony of the defendant, whom he was convinced was lying. He said so, and needed some time to calm down, read through the transcript and decide if there were grounds for perjury. I was grateful for the warmth of the room but still felt as though I was shaking, if only internally. The judge was looking over our marriage license and recognized Allen's name. I remember thinking, this can't be good. Several months earlier, Allen had written a letter to this very judge on behalf of a friend who was serving time in the state penitentiary to ask that his friend's sentence be shortened. That if he served his full sentence, it was likely that his marriage would be over and his life would suffer irreparable setbacks. I felt as if a pall had been cast over our day, the day we were committing our lives to one another. First by the ongoing trial in the next room, then by the troubles of another couple whose marriage was likely over. Three's a charm was the thought that crept to the front of my brain. I wonder sometimes why this memory lingers in crystalline crispness so many years later. And if it was a glimpse into the future of our marriage. Perhaps an indication that it wasn't built on such solid ground after all. It was snowing outside when we left the courthouse. Big, feathery flakes landed softly on us and the car. The kind of snow that is easily brushed away. Just as I brushed away my doubts over the promise of til death do we part that had been uttered mere minutes earlier.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Pardon me if I've posted this photo of Cullen before. It cracks me up. And today, on the occasion of what would have been the day he turned 53, I need to smile. Back in the days of film and a frugal mom, you only hauled out the camera for auspicious celebrations, and then only snapped a couple of photos. You wouldn't know for probably weeks if any of them turned out well. Or at all. Here the birthday boy was captured just before extinguishing all seven candles with one mighty blow. Happy birthday, Cully. You are loved and you are missed.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
We're talking about the puzzle, children. Specifically the Sunday crossword. I'm not chastising anyone nor am I cranky. So. I enjoy my Sunday morning routine. I make coffee, I have some sort of treat, a pastry or cookie or sometimes an English muffin with some lovely jam, and put on some music. Then I sit down with the crossword and the accompanying cryptogram. I used to have to brave the weather and cross the street to retrieve my newspaper, but now I access it online. Once I got moved, that paper version was no longer available, so I bought a couple of local papers to fulfill my puzzle needs. Not being happy with those alternatives, I ran across an incredibly cheap online deal for the paper I used to subscribe to. Incredibly cheap. Ten bucks for six months. I then proceeded to be annoyed for six months. I needed to print out the puzzle from the e-version of the paper and the source was blurry and smaller than the hard copy had been. Meh. Better than nothing, right? The six months went by and even though I received the email allowing me access, there was a paywall greeting me when I attempted to log in. So I did what I should have done back in June. I did an online search for the puzzle. And found it. For free! It prints beautifully in a large, clear and legible format. I bought a book of of three hundred plus cryptograms and I was back in business! It's not just that I enjoy the puzzles, I feel like it's brain exercise. You know, that use it or lose it thing. Doing the crossword also gives my right hand something of a workout. Writing a legible letter inside of a tiny box helps retain my fine motor skills, as diminished as they are. Sunday morning is starting to sound like a spa appointment. All I need is a massage artist and and a hot tub. Amazing what you feel you can afford when the crossword puzzle is free.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
I wrote this a very long time ago. It's about what you really want or need, but what you'll do to get by. I've said too much.
Maintenance vs Ecstasy
The cool, filtered water from the kitchen tap suffices.
While I wistfully dream
Of a rippling mountain stream,
So clear and cold and tumbling its taste and sound entices.
The night brings gifts of darkness and deep and restful sleep.
All alone in my bed,
Reveries in my head,
Waking up beside you is the memory I keep.
Stepping from the shower I’m clean, pristine, renewed.
It seems very clear,
If only you were near,
I’d be dirtier by far with auto-eroticism eschewed.
Protein, fat, and carbs are the basics we require.
Available in pills
Devoid of gastronomic thrills.
Bread and meat, ripe fruit, red wine fulfill desire.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Jill, who claims to not cook, made this for me ages ago. I loved it so much I often make it for myself. For breakfast, but also as a quick supper. Eggs how you like them, which for me is over easy, toast, my preference being whole wheat, and a side of sauteed-in-olive-oil mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach. Just a little salt and pepper, and fresh cilantro if you've got it, and this is one of the yummiest meals ever.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
If anyone needs me, I'll be on my couch, under a blanket, binge-watching The West Wing. I like the Bartlet Administration a whole lot better than the one currently setting up shop in Washington. They're kinder, more capable, savvier, better looking, funnier, and have much snappier dialog. And I seriously doubt anyone in today's White House would be capable of finding an error in The New York Times Sunday Edition crossword puzzle.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Took in Dr Strange yesterday. You know, the newest movie-fication of the Marvel universe. I enjoyed it. Villainous villains, reluctant hero, outstanding visual effects, just enough comic relief to offset the general horror. But what struck me and is still hanging with me a bit, is the fact that our hero's hands were injured. His hands. Shown shaking and scarred and struggling to do what they used to do without his conscious thought. How frightful and Frankensteinish they appeared post-surgery in their slings, fingers studded with steel pins. How his frustration exploded into anger as he struggled through a physical therapy session. I certainly wasn't a brilliant neurosurgeon prior to my workplace injury. But I used to do beadwork and plink a little on my guitar. I could type speedily without having to look at the keys to direct my uncooperative fingers to the letter that I require. I was an expert seamstress. Like Dr Strange, I eventually had to look within and figure out how to get on with my life with my compromised hands. I had to lose the self-pity and stop asking why me. When told by the demonic Dormammu that it will be painful, Dr Strange responds that pain is an old friend. I feel like pain is more of an annoying constant companion than friend. I try to use my daily allotment of spoons wisely. And I find joy in the moments of most days. It would be pretty cool to have an animated red cape, though. When the laundry room is more organized I may have to fire up the sewing machine and invest a week's worth of spoons in making that happen. Meanwhile, I'm changing the wifi password to shamballa.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Susan, a friend of a friend on Facebook, has suggested that we just pipe down and share our political views privately. And give the new president a chance. Not a chance, Susie.
I will not go quietly.I will not give a chance to a man who is clearly a sexual predator, a misogynist, a homophobe and a bigot who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and is a hatemonger and a pathological liar. His policies will devastate our environment, our economy, our relationships with other nations, access to healthcare, and a woman's constitutionally guaranteed right to choose. Those of us who are speaking out will save people like you from your own folly for believing one word that comes out of this carnival huckster's mouth. We all deserve better, even the Americans who voted for him.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
You have only twenty-eight days, yet you are so full of so many things. Tomorrow is Imbolc, which should be celebrated with a ritual fire. It will be damp and cold here, so it is much more likely we will observe the modern holiday Groundhog Day by watching the movie of the same name. I love Valentine's Day even though I am single. I believe in the celebration of all types of love, including that of chocolates and champagne and cats. The romantic sort can be okay, too. And when I'm all immersed in it, you'll be the first to know.