Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I simply remember...

I made this list in 2015 when--like right now--I couldn't think of anything to write about and because I love the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. It was my favorite ten things right at that moment. I didn't include my husband or family because that went without saying.  Still does.

When I found this, I thought I would make a new list, one that would reflect how much my feelings had altered in the past few years. They have, after all, been difficult years, with loss and unsettling changes making my cocoon of contentment really uncomfortable sometimes.  Of course things would be different now, wouldn't they?

1. Laughing babies
2. Teenage people
3. Writing the first chapter
4. Old friends
5. New friends
6. Sunrise & sunset
7. Hot tea
8. Clothes that have been washed so often they stay soft no matter what
9. The day a pre-ordered book shows up on my Kindle
10. Knowing in my heart there will be joy in the morning, even though I'm not sure what morning it will be.

So, here it is 2018. And my list still stands. Those changes I mentioned above--many of them anyway--have been difficult. I haven't wanted to make them. I don't like some of them. So it's nice that those ten things--and the husband and family--are the same. 

Have a great week. Share your favorites!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Get Up, Get Dressed...Joe DeRozier's Here

Joe DeRozier makes doughnuts. And fritters. And things with Bavarian cream in them. And braids--he talked about his braids so much his daughter asked him to stop. Just the mention of a pastry he's made makes my mouth water. I've never met him, although I've grinned at him through the door behind the counter in Aroma, the coffee shop on Broadway in Peru, and he's waved back. But I love his writing, so I asked him to do guest posts sometimes. He didn't say yes. Or no. But finally he said I could cut and paste from Facebook if I wanted to. So this morning that's what I've done. He and I hope you enjoy it. And if you're ever in Peru, Get Up, Get Dressed, Get DeRozier's. Thanks, Joe.

I'm in bed by eight pm.
My alarm goes off at 12:01 am. 
Why 12:01? I refuse to get up for work the same day that I went to bed.
I get up, hit Snooze, get back in bed. My puppy growls at me. I wonder for a second whose bed it really is.
I swear I just laid my head on the pillow. My alarm goes off, again. I hear my pup give a loud sigh. That makes me laugh. 
My right ear is bad now. Too many years of hearing the mixer on my right side. WHAP, WHAP, WHAP.
If I lie on my good ear, I can't hear the buzzer.... I should have slept on the good ear.
I wonder if I could set my Keurig in the bedroom. I could hit a button and have coffee before I get up.
Kathy said, no. I don't know why I don't insist. I bet I can beat her arm wrestling.....well, two out of three.
I get up and navigate the stairs. I'm still not real sure since the stroke. Kathy calls it my "episode".
"Episode?" When did I turn 100 years old?!
I get ready for work.... I should say, my loose interpretation of the word, work.
I get to go to the bakery!

I get in my car, and drive down East Fifth. I'll be moving soon, so this very familiar drive will change. That will be sad.
I get to the stop sign and come to a stop.
Why do I completely stop? It's one am. I don't know... I just always do.
I get to the light on Fifth and Broadway and get ready to turn right. The light is always red. I look both ways. No one is out..... no one is ever out.
Sometimes I feel alone.
I turn, then go down my alley. My alley...haha. It SHOULD be my alley by now. I've driven here so, SO many times.
I go to park. I see life! They've been drinking. I keep my head down and get inside.
There's this feeling in here.... I can't explain it, or define how it makes me feel. Almost a completion....or sigh of relief.... that's not it...not entirely.
What will I ever do in my life when I can't do this?
I get a bit choked up thinking about it.
My friends talk about retirement and what they want to do.
But I want to do this.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The best job ever

I'm doing a lot of revisiting this week. Another Mother's Day post will be on https://www.peruindianatoday.com/ tomorrow. They're both old ones, but they're both celebrations of the best job ever. My mother-in-law, Mary Farrell, and my mother, Evelyn Shafer have both left us and there are great empty places where the were, but what blessings memories are!

My sister-in-law Debbie Coleman once said it was the only job she had that she never wanted to quit. I had to admit that I wanted to quit it at least once every single day. The kids probably wanted to fire me at least that often. One of the greatest gratitudes in my life is that we all stuck it out.

Mary Farrell
Mother’s Day has come and gone for another year and I didn’t write anything about it even though writing is what I do. I think about it a lot, think about my mom—gone all these long years—and my mother-in-law, who I’ve loved almost as long as I’ve loved her son and who has loved me back. I think about being a mom and a grandma—it’s just my favorite thing. But Mother’s Day? I’m really glad my kids remember it, tell me they love me, stop by if they’re close by, but mostly I’m glad it’s not
Mary Farrell
confined to one day in May.

I wrote most of this years ago—I’m the rerun queen, you know—but I hope it still says what it did then. I hope it stands up.

Graduation days have always been like Mother’s Day. They were the signal that one of the most important jobs in life-as-a-mom was nearly finished and that she had, at least to some degree, been successful at it. From my own high school graduates, the entire day of graduation was a gift to me. They would much rather have collected their diplomas on the last day of school and cut and run. They were not eager to wear caps and gowns, to see all the relatives at the open house, to stand with their dad and me and have their pictures with us grinning gleefully from either side of them.

Evelyn Shafer
Parents Night during the various sports season is like Mother’s Day. After all, we always get a rose; we get to stand with the kid and grin gleefully while our picture is taken, and we go back to the bleachers safe in the secret knowledge that, bar none, our kid is the best one out there. Oh, she may not make the best grades, and he may not be the best athlete, and she may cause trouble in class from time to time, but overall, he’s the best kid. You know what I mean.

Mother’s Day is when you tell the kid who thinks you’re being bossy, unreasonable, and not quite bright that you love him more than anything else on earth and he tells you he loves you, too and maybe gives you a little one-armed hug if no one’s around.

Mother’s Day is when someone tells your daughter she’s just like you and she just smiles and says, “Thank you.”

Mother’s Day is when the kids have been horrendous brats all day long. They’ve beaten up the neighbor kid who’s half their size, trashed the entire house, and flipped mashed potatoes at the kitchen wall. They’ve broken the Blu-ray player—the one you got their dad for Christmas—and spilled…oh, everything.

After they’ve gone to sleep and you’ve scrubbed the wall and cleaned the worst of the mess in the house and apologized profusely to the neighbors, you check the kids before you go to bed yourself. And they look like angels among their cartoon-character sheets. Their skin is baby’s-bottom soft and flushed with innocence and youth and they’re the best kids ever born and you are so lucky and it’s truly Mother’s Day all over again.

When they’re older and have established their own ideas and thought patterns and don’t agree with anything you say and their favorite things about you are your wallet and your car…yes, even then they will every now and then do something so perfect and so right it brings tears to your eyes. It doesn’t matter what it is—it can be standing firm for something they believe in, defending an underdog with heat and dignity, or confessing to a wrongdoing rather than let someone innocent of it suffer in their place. When it happens, it is absolutely Mother’s Day.

To all who fit the bill, Happy Mother’s Day. Whenever it may be.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Magic moments

This is from August of 2015. It has served as a good reminder to me this week. Although it was first on a writing blog, I think it works okay for the Window, too. Enjoy your moments!

Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace. 
Carly Fiorina

My thanks to Jenny Crusie for this post. Not that she wrote it or even knows it exists, but she suggested we “take a moment” in another blog, and that's why I’m writing about happy pieces of time.
          Like when someone tells your kid she’s just like you and your kid says, “Thank you.”
          Or when no one’s around and your aloof five-year-old grandkid climbs into the chair with you and stays a while.
          Or when in the manuscript from hell, you get a scene that is so perfect it leaves you laughing, crying, or jumping up and down. Or all three.
          I talk about Happily Ever After a lot. Married 44 years and some, I believe in Happily Ever
After. Every time someone talks about a romance novel without one at its end, I cringe. And it’s not because I think life goes on blissfully and without flaws as long as the protagonists live. I don’t expect their lives to be perfect.
          No, what I expect is that they’ll slam doors, they’ll mumble “I hate you” under their breaths, they’ll think all the way to work about how that night when they get home they’re going to ask for a divorce. They’ll sit alone in the dark and cry sometimes and they’ll envy their friends who always get it right and never have any problems. In their futures there will be the thing said or done that is nearly unforgiveable, there will be grief that brings them to their knees and threatens to swallow them whole, there will be bad days. Oh, Lord, yes, lots of bad days.     
   But at the end of those bad days, someone will always have their back (and probably rub it if they’re feeling particularly tired and vulnerable). They will not be alone in grief. They will be lonely sometimes, but they won’t be alone. Not really. Because someone can finish their sentences and knows how they take their coffee and they probably say “I love you” every day or, at the very least “ditto.”
          And it’s all moments. Even during long, hard days, there are good moments. And during bright, sunshiny ones, there are pinpoints of darkness.
          We went to a wedding this weekend. We were leaving the reception–kind of early—and were halfway to the door of the venue when the DJ started a slow song. Duane turned back and said, “You want to?” and we went back and danced for the first time in years. It was only a moment--or a few of them--but it has made me happy all day.
          Happily Ever After. In moments. I guess that’s why I write romance.
          Have a great week.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The more things change...

This was written in January of 2011. As I too often say when about old things, very little has changed, although politeness and respect have gone so far out the proverbial window we can no longer see them even in the distance. I am appalled, not for the first time, that as a society we are all too eager to fix that which is not broken, but totally unwilling or unable to fix the things that are.

Criticism is just a really bad way of making a request. 

No, I didn’t say it, but I wish I had. Diane Sawyer quoted it from someone she’d interviewed, then pointed a pistol finger at the side of her head and said, “Genius.” She was right.

For the nearly 40 years I’ve been married, I have hated television. Not because I think all TV is bad, but because in our house, it’s on every waking moment of the day. When the house was full of kids and noise, the TV was the loudest noise of all, because not only was it on, people were watching it. From my point of view, which is admittedly only half the equation now and was much less then, nothing that was said on TV was as important as anything that was said between us. This argument has been shot down for 40 years. I have complained about the one-eyed-monster that lives in three rooms of our house and criticized its watchers for…well, you know how long by now.

I, on the other hand, want to read the news. And everything else. I read the newspaper daily, but get most of my news from the Internet. I am annoyed when I want to read a news story and end up instead with a video. If I wanted video, I would watch TV. (Just another argument I’m losing.)

I also like to read for entertainment, not watch TV. Until Duane bought me a Kindle, my books and magazines cluttered every flat surface in the house as well as the bookcases, my car, and several boxes in the attic. Not being particularly neat in any event, this clutter has never bothered me. It has, on the other hand, driven Duane crazy for, yes, 40 years. Before he gave up—as I did with TV—he was critical of my clutter and of the fact that I have to read things to get them; I can’t always absorb what I’m being told.

We have come to an easiness with the passage of time. He turns the TV down, though never off, and tries to listen to me even if what I’m saying lacks importance. I buy my books electronically and try to keep the magazines in semi-neat stacks, though I fail way too often. Because we like each other a lot, we’ve also learned to make some allowances for the other person’s quirks.

I can’t help but wonder if we’d have learned much faster if we’d just asked more often instead of criticizing.

We had elections in November, with all the newly elected people being critical of their predecessors and promising big changes and promising to keep their promises. Within two weeks of swearing in, we’ve seen broken promises and heard constant disparagement of how the new folks are doing the jobs they haven’t even learned how to do yet. The criticisms from both sides of the ideological table are vitriolic and downright mean. Fact-checking is tossed aside in favor of having the loudest voice.

Over the weekend, an Arizona congresswoman was shot. During the same siege, six people died, including a nine-year-old. Before the blood was washed from the scene, before anyone knew if Gabrielle Giffords would live or die, blame, accusations, and criticism were being bandied about like stray bullets.

None of those things do either Ms. Giffords or the rest of us any good. Until we learn to respect each other and each other’s points of view on everything from religion and politics to butter versus margarine, we will neither grow nor grow up. It is not necessary that we agree, nor that we all like each other, though I admit it’s easier when we do.

I said—over and over—that I wasn’t doing New Year’s resolutions because goodness knows history shows I never keep them, but this is one I think I’ll work on. Instead of criticizing, I’m going to try requesting when I want something to be different, and maybe I’ll take a long look in the mirror while I’m at it.