The one perfect in post-winter

While unmaking the oversized leather sofa and restoring it to its former spilled-milk, freez-popped, baking soda upchuck-absorbed unglory (like its accompanying leather-like chairs and their almost matching ottomans that have been youngster-peeled upon the least shred beginning), I thought of how the repairs of the winter have not yet begun, and how much I wish they could do so. I have given up on the sofa (we may just keep it for life, like the brontosauran file cabinet of a piano), but not so the Spring.

This winter has been so bad, even worse than the usual constant gray and white like old clapboard slats on something only in poverello sectors — auto accidents, illnesses over and over throughout the house for every age person from 4 mo. to 65 years, kids homehomehome from canceled school (“bored!”), the frequent hernia-tweaking shoveling for him, the wanting something and never finding it and settling for midnight shrimp cocktail and notebook paper for her — I’m already dreading next winter.

Winter repairs cannot yet begin, for there is still winter covering much of the enormous shocking-blue tarp that was awaiting (at least) two fold-ers a few months ago. Winter is still covering much of what signals greater life. Yards. Back yards, side yards. The deck is meaningless (to me) if the yard is white, and the river, too. My eyes need somewhere to sit, or my spirit will yawn and nod off. (Unless it’s 8° F. And *breezy* — like being on the ocean without benefit of wave visuals and audio.)

And then, daughter messages the brand new arrival of “Petey” at her and hubby’s Midwest home today, who is pretty much a clone of our JJ — but we never saw our Big Jay this little.  He would’ve looked identical, which made me bawl — and let my eyes find somewhere to sit. My spirit, too, because I can’t help thinking that JJ got another chance at life. I also can’t help thinking that these two who came to marriage with one child each now grown, and who couldn’t have more, now have their new baby. Their new life. This is a wondrous gift they’ve given to one another.     (And maybe to JJ. We’ll never know, will we?!)

 

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Good vibrations

We think about who we were, what we wanted, where we were headed, and now.. sometimes we just think of getting the house cleaned up and sorted better for eventual erasure of our collections of private treasures by the next of kin (and maybe going out to dinner now and then if there’s not too many of us to treat).

Until, that is, we get to the ocean.

The salty spray knows one’s own salt and deliberately blows that morgue odor off of one, threatening to take the whole scalp with it. There on the big rock (pick one — they’re all yours), you can be as wild and crazy as that frigid water that exists for your and my very life. Lie down on a boulder or in some hollow, who’s going to care — the seagulls? No one cares. Bring a pillow.  Dream, again. Not hunkering down, not hiding.  Owning!  Own your crazy ocean, rock, and life. Go. (We do have some sand, but the sand do have some wetness and fleas! Plus, I like being where the rogue waves and I can call each other “Stinker”!)

When I leave for work, I keep the car radio off until I’ve said some abbreviated hour of Mercy prayers (a half hour and sometimes 4 or 5 decades late!), while wolfing down a half of a peanut butter-and-anything sandwich. (Hand-held energy.) When I’m done praying for a heart-furnace to grow quite south of Jesus, and for the Church and for the popes’ intentions (via Mary), for the family and all loved ones, for the children of the world and the (other, public) victims of the day, I turn on the radio. Unless I am deep in cow/horse/turkey country. “Out in the country” only lasts approximately two minutes at 35 mph! I had to go a different way today, though, since some City someones just had to play with tree-limbers on my time, so I heard this from Supertramp. What a great song! It, too, puts my first paragraph into perspective.

To question everything under Heaven is a timeless, ageless good idea. Don’t lose yourself.


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Has come to this house today

Something tells me that you just might believe there are nearly 700 posts in my Drafts folder. I’m sure WP hates me as much as does the cellar that has had to hold 700 other items for years, though not all are mine nor even ours. Nothing hates me/us/them more than does the attic — there’s mice there in the winter, and big black nosy hornets in the other, shorter season and thus, it is visited only by those who’ve seen two tours in Iraq — but the point is, I have no idea what I’ve published or not.

Did I tell you about the geese of apple crisp time, and about the geese of tulip time? How one runs to the window or rips open the door to see and hear them better? It’s such an ordinary occurrence, this honking heard twice a year from a mile away that is even more of a draw than the annual and extraordinary hearing-must-see precision jet flying show.

I stood under them the other night as they flew over, a squadron of five who had split from the other waves of geese. They went dead silent as they approached me. As soon as they were *safe* again, the one on the back left of the vee cranked up the direction/encouragement again. Something rises, then, in those below.  What is it?

As I entered work last evening, I watched a brand new (to me) robin running across the snow, trying to get me to follow it — away from its nearby nesting site.  There would be nothing in the nest just yet, but there will be.  Soon.  They don’t know, but I’ve seen all their babies from spots inside the building. I was only heading for the front door, something that couldn’t be avoided, which I couldn’t tell her or him.  I know it’s better for them and theirs that they remain afraid of all near-nest creatures, but it hurts.  Who screwed up life so much that even robins pay the price of caution at the expense of not enough attention to true predators, like the hawks who are by now very sick of field mice?

It’s cold and gray, today, and I’ve seen some flakes fall. But if I see a robin, it’s Spring. Period. Lilacs will be icing on that cake. Ordinary, yet not at all: Every living creature we see today was Planned, and some will herald our re-greening, life-giving season. Be they people or birds, marvel as much as you dare!


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A re-blog (about health *insurance*)

(I can personally attest to American health coverage itself being sick, via DH’s own experiences of surgeries/therapy not yes’d — based on money, not need. We’re nonetheless in a nightmare of debt [$350/month] for the rest of our lives — even after emptying savings and cashing in CDs [unless we sell the one thing we have: the house] — to pay off an outrageous hospital bill, but there are also the experiences of many friends [one of whom died from a financially-concerned “no”] and even younger relatives who were clearly shown that their lives [and/or the quality thereof] are a matter of money. Don’t anyone presume it isn’t a crap shoot even if well-insured.  The ever-growing and already abundant no’$ may well nickel-and-dime you to death, too, eventually. —Relax)

When people ask me what kind of physician I am, I simply say, “I’m the kind you hope to never have to meet.” I’m an intensivist, which means I deliver care in a specialized unit to patients who are on the brink of death or have severe injuries. My patients are incredibly diverse, ranging from […]

via Taison Bell, M.D.: Stop Playing Politics With People’s Lives — Vox Populi


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A broken foot can break the ice

I’ve been experiencing the symptoms of needing to have a novel or a collection of short stories (almost-fiction) excised from my solar plexus.  The buildup becomes apparent only when one inwardly creates backstories for those wooing crows, or is desperately tempted to speak of the lady who stroked out at the home, whose hand and emesis basin I held (one of those fruitlessly) while the EMTs waited at each end of the gurney because she was comfortable with me — but one feels little or no sense of impending apology.

It is only incidental that I would rather let love out, if not also in, by crafting with my hands instead of with memories — and hope and despair, inanity and solace. Surely, that cloth quilting or wood turning is easier than to be the broken-hearted standing ’round the fresh gravesite, wondering how one’s life can go on, and how the sun can still shine like any other Tuesday for all who are not involved. How does one piece or turn or granny-square a rise from devastation?

There are generations inside us, and some of us will never knit or paint or sculpt them free: We’ll have to find another way.  There are concrete symptoms that can be ignored forever.. or…

And I have to wonder if this is why my desktop computer came back.

Remember how the internet tech after inspecting all my equipment and two telephone poles’ wires came to me empty-handed, and how a few days later, I shook the modem every which way (I don’t really know why — was I thinking “loose bits” or maybe stubborn dust, or a matter of it simply being what New Englanders do?), and suddenly the Internet was back in my home?

I have troubleshot all my equipment fairly Catholically (we never give up), but there was nothing from every attempt for months — new Ethernet cable, old Ethernet cable, this end in here, that end in there, switching ports, taking the tower apart and vacuuming, the tech fellow, prayer. (I did not shake the tower — I was saving that for last. Sometimes prayer works on inanimate things!)

Last night, I noticed the audio Beats light on, on the tower, as if a CD were in the vertical drawer. I opened it, nothing there, closed it. I suddenly realized there was no defeating yellow triangle or exclamation point in my icon tray.  What?? Well, either it was the drawer that had been askew/dislodged dust OR the fierce winds all day long doing to the wires outside whatever needed doing, but whatever — the tower is back! Welcome back, my New England-weird computer.. I think! You’ve taken away my premier reason for no longer considering formatting toward publishing..

As for this post’s title, an oak toilet seat (via gravity) was what so electrifyingly broke my foot bone, which adult learners who had grown used to being mostly invisible came in and out to hear in their secretary; long after it had healed, we spoke as friends. There are many friends inside one’s solar plexus, whose lives remain mostly unembellished. I’d rather give them all puppies, but at least a colorful square of a life can be pieced into a word quilt. Some folks could develop into royalty.

For now, though, I’m going to be looking at your sites on a screen that is 6 times bigger than this tablet’s!


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Two scale dishes, now one

This will read as no surprise, coming from someone raised under a grandmotherine Rosary, an uncle-underlined priesthood/Sisterhood, and the also truth-bound Ma-wielded yardstick, but I’ve often wondered how the final inventorying will go, the one I’ll make while standing near a set of scales –and not doing so alone, for the first (and last) time.

I wondered, that is, until a couple of days ago. Something wonderful pointed out that I never give myself proper credit for anything; once a decent thing is done, it’s gone from my mind or is overladen with muds that really don’t belong to it.

Except for the bad stuff. That, I remember clearly, with shudders. It needs no additional muds. Confronting that sin-friendly part of me makes me wince, call myself names, and sometimes makes me do what it’s supposed to: Ask for forgiveness, make amends, and request in all sureness the grace-assistance to change (/move on).

It’s not entirely rare (so far) that someone says, “You’re not so bad, you know.” DH says it, and the kids, and I can believe it from them.  They, however, don’t know everything on the inside of me. They see the good I’ve done, or tried to do, or wished to do,  but the not the bad I’ve done, or (but for the grace of God intervening) wished to do.

I’d long and subconciously thought that the bad cancels out the good — but that is as untrue as if the good cancels out the bad. I have no purchase on the truth of me (or you). Only God does. Hence, only God can weigh us.

The something wonderful the other day (and nothing to do with this) reminded me of a homily of Fr. C’s in which Jesus is drawing on the ground while the woman *caught* in adultery is about to be stoned by these righteous men testing Jesus. If He says it is unlawful, then He will be dismissed as a false prophet, just a merciful do-gooder.  If he says it is lawful, then, again, He will be revealed and shamed as a man just like them, because He’ll have not found a way to save her; they were already disappointed in His unregalness as the alleged Messiah. For them, this seemed a matter of SOSDD, in 3-2-1…

However, after writing on the ground with a twig, He finally replies that whomever is innocent of sin may cast the first stone.

“But what was he writing or indicating,” Fr. C. asked, “because it doesn’t seem likely that He was merely doodling to buy time. Some think perhaps He was writing the bad things these men had done, since all the stones dropped one by one.  Perhaps… perhaps, though, He was writing the good things these men had done.”

And once, I thought perhaps He was writing the good things this woman had done. For all anyone but they –and Jesus– knew, she rescued a child from a well, or took care of these men’s mothers when they ailed. Perhaps she returned these very men’s coins for their own religious tithing, sometimes. Perhaps all the care-less coins beyond what bought food and paid rent went to orphans and widows; perhaps she had supported old Anna and Simeon (who perhaps had invited her as a child to pray with them).  We’ll never know.  The scales of (wo)men’s hearts are that fickle, though, aren’t they? “STONE HER!” or, yes, “CRUCIFY HIM!” we hear, or say, having forgotten much indeed, or having never known and never much cared.

All we know is that Jesus’ heart changes hearts (and minds!) — and changes any scale reading, if we want It to.


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A re-blog, of entering adulthood

(Shades of a Dave Barry mind, with a George Carlin delivery.  I give it four chuckles, three guffaws, two thumbs up, and one genteel North American snort. Enjoy! —Relax)

To prepare for the trial ahead, the boy must fast for three days. On the third day, there is a ceremonial feast that begins the quest. It marks the beginning of the boy’s ascent to manhood and it marks the beginning of the Suburban Vision Quest. In the lands of suburbia, in the whitest and […]

via The Suburban Vision Quest by Alex Colvin — literally stories