Ouch

I don’t like to talk about myself much (waits patiently for everyone to wipe their monitors and keyboards free of spewed beverages) but after reading and commenting on the blog Maid’s Day Off with this gem:

Those beasts hammering on your joints are visiting me, too, and I would appreciate it if you would keep them at home. Or at least send them with an oil can.

I decided to come clean, too.  I am of a “particular” age whereby getting up from the comfy couch requires the mandatory “ready, get set, go” rocking and rolling accompanied by the inevitable groan.  (What is it with knees, anyway?)  In fact, we’re sort of shopping for a new couch and everyone gets to plop their fannies on the potential behemoth.  While they’re all snuggling in to new cushions and pillowbacks, I’m cautiously determining the distance from the floor to the knees.  It’s like looking into a pool to eyeball how deep it really is.  The sitting is fine, especially if there’s some lovely support on the lower back region, and armrests that are flat float my boat, too.  But getting up?  Oy.

Wouldn’t you think our feet would be the body parts that would fail first?  Since our first year being alive we’ve been trotting around on those things, pounding them on pavements, squeezing them into shoes that are too tight (but look really really good), stubbing them into chairs and bed frames and doors, getting blisters and bee stings and mosquito bites and stepping on glass, and they just keep rolling along.

Knees pretty much stay covered (on me, anyway) with slacks, long skirts, dresses, capris, pajamas, etc.  There’s no real hazard to being a knee except when your children are little and you have to get down to their level for so many things like tying shoes and applying bandaids and giving baths…or if you’re a guy and getting down on one to propose.  All they really do is get you to stand up or sit down.  That’s not so hard, is it?  Our fingers get much more use than knees and my finger joints are not screaming when I’m typing or knitting or shoveling food in my pie hole.  My shoulders don’t protest anytime I shrug and for all those years I had a phone tucked into the shoulder you’d think they would, but no, they just soldier on and do what I ask.

Knees.  Why you gotta be like that?

Yeah, what then?

Yeah, what then?

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A Love Letter to August

July is dead to me; August is my new love.

July was so glaringly bright and sunny it actually hurt my eyes to be outside.  The grass looked like an overexposed photo, the wind smelled old and tired, the leaves couldn’t be bothered to rustle, the birds gave a half-hearted attempt at singing, and the dirt in the gardens looked like cracked leather.  Nothing pretty.  Mosquitos were everywhere and so were wasps and yellowjackets, but even they were too hot to build their traditional nests under my deck railing.

Ahhh, but August!  The skies are a crystal blue like a baby’s clear gaze and the air has an underlying sweet scent to it.  The leaves are happily tossing about, the grass looks like grass again instead of wheat, and the gardens are looking like gardens instead of scenes from a scary movie.  And the birds!  They are singing like mad and hopping all over the yard and being very friendly to those of us happy to venture out onto the back deck again.

I’ve even stirred myself a bit this August:

The farmer’s market every Saturday morning just up the street from me is a great place to be.  Everything is just bursting with promise and beauty.

Oh, the colors....

Oh, the colors….

We visited the Sussex County Fair and it was fun to see all the animals:

Ya big ox.

Ya big ox.

Who you calling a big ox?

Who you calling a big ox?

And she KNOWS she's fabulous!

And she KNOWS she’s fabulous!

I wanted to bring all the little sheepies home with me...

I wanted to bring all the little sheepies home with me…

Except this one who was eating the chair.

Except this one who was eating the chair.

Hubby said she must have needed iron in her diet.  *rimshot*

Hubby said she must have needed iron in her diet. *rimshot*

And I squeeeeed over the baby goats.

And I squeeeeed over the baby goats.

Beautiful landscaping demos.  Can you see the koi?

Beautiful landscaping demos. Can you see the koi?

Mmmmm.....someone give me $20k so I can reproduce this at home.

Mmmmm…..someone give me $20k so I can reproduce this at home.

This was an unexpected sign.

This was an unexpected sign.

And my favorite: my knitter friend won a blue ribbon for her gorgeous doily!

And my favorite: my knitter friend won a blue ribbon for her gorgeous doily!

Tonight we’re enjoying barbecued chicken and tomato salad.  Tomorrow’s to-do list is already giving me the willies, but for tonight I’m as relaxed as a sleepy cat and as contented as a …. well, something contented.

Pardon me, the deck is calling….

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I’m Like a Sponge

In many ways, I absorb a lot whether it’s by reading, observation, listening, poking about where I don’t belong, osmosis, or my other superpowers.  Vividly recalling the memories I do is like watching a beloved rerun and losing myself in the memories of that time.

Of course, that means the brainsponge has limited capacity to absorb anything new.  So when I ask the Daughters what their plans are for that day and they shoot each other that look then I know I’ve forgotten something they just told me.  So I’m like a sponge that needs squeezing out, but who gets to decide what goes?

Initially I blogged because I wanted to become a better writer.  I have since learned that writing is too lonely and solitary a vocation for me.  It’s the same reaction when I was deciding if I would become a professional musician.  Practicing your instrument six hours a day and scrounging for other money-making resources is lonely work, and I’m the gregarious sort.  (Of course, I’m gregarious on my terms; I want my alone time too and woe to you if you don’t realize when that is and you don’t beat a hasty retreat.)  My focus then turned to recalling memories of my youth for my daughters, kind of a correspondence they can look back on with nostalgia and recall when their mom was just SUCH a hoot in her blog.

Now?  Now I’m just trying to figure it all out, where my next phase of identification of being is, and why the hell I can’t just accept where I am.  It’s like my Hubby watching TV, heaven forbid he watch just one thing, he’s got to flip to all the other channels to see if there’s something better there that he’s missing.  Am I supposed to be doing something differently now?  Is this the watershed moment when I’ll look back and say what an idiot I was, that I should have taken advantage and done such-and-so?  Who’s got these answers, anyway, because I want some.

I’m also like a sponge because it’s August and there’s sweat.

Aren’t you glad you’re reading this now?

People are so quick to judge.

People are so quick to judge.

 

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Purpose

I’ve been thinking about this word for several weeks; it keeps popping up in my thoughts at the oddest times.  Naturally it means I need to write about it, and I doubt if any of it is going to be coherent.

I love to read, have always loved it.  Summers were meant for the library while I was in elementary school and junior high (there was no such thing as middle school back then, which I kind of like but I won’t get going on that topic today), and I regularly had the mile-high stack which made me positively quiver with happiness.  I love magazines.  I love online community forums.  I love blogs.  I love losing myself into another world and its evocative yet intangible settings.  I admire good writing, and wish I had that particular talent to string a subject and an adjective and a comma and bring a happy sigh or a tear to someone.  I tend to ramble without a clear purpose, no linear progression or logical conclusion, no descriptive scenes of beauty or mystery, and more in a “let’s empty the pantry” kind of way.  Dialogue doesn’t flow for me; it requires lots of rewriting to make it even sound human.

Reading blogs has some strange effects on me: I will become instantly inspired and rush about grabbing tools or materials to do that THING that I’ve been meaning to do and I suddenly know that NOW is the absolute right time and that blog was terrific inspiration for me!  Or I will click on and on (especially if I’m devoted to reading the archives which I’m doing with my current favorite,  Posie Gets Cozy; I’m up to 2009) and get somewhat despondent because there’s so much beauty and clever and creative and wonder and I just can’t fathom how all that lovely gets created.  Or I will realize that the image being framed for me has been carefully manufactured and isn’t authentic at all (some very famous craft/domestic/artistic divas not to be named because that wouldn’t be polite) and I get sad.  I don’t know why I get sad, I just do, and I can’t explain it.  (Hell, I can’t explain 8/10 of the feelings I feel.  I just feel.)

Then I reflect on the purpose these blogs (or magazines or websites or books) serve.  To me, they are usually inspiration as well as entertainment and I want to take that inspiration and run with it.  I make the thing.  I draw the thing.  I knit the thing.  I photograph the thing.  I bake the thing.  I usually feel good about it.  But I don’t blog about it.

Maybe I’m afraid someone will accuse me of ripping them off.  Or someone will think my efforts are pitiful and why would I bother posting it when it should be left off the permanent record.  Or my progress isn’t as quick as others, the photos not as pretty, the write-up not as good, and I don’t share it.  I don’t show it.  I don’t do anything except show my family and maybe a friend.  “Look what I made!”  You know what the inevitable response to that is, don’t you?  “Oh, that’s nice.”

Which makes me wonder what MY purpose is.  It used to be raising my girls, but they are adults now.  It used to be teaching but I don’t do that anymore (and it’s not for lack of trying, trust me).  It used to be prepping for craft shows, volunteering, creating a warm home, and (to borrow from a Junior Woman’s Club pledge) living each day trying to accomplish something, not merely to exist.  I feel that I’m simply existing.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not unhappy.  I am deliriously happy that my alarm doesn’t go off at 5:45 anymore.  It is nice to go away at a time of year that’s not beholden to a school calendar.  Volunteering for a select few things that I want to do instead of feeling obligated to do it all is wonderful.  I love getting my knitting and Netflix fix as much as I want.  And now that we’ve welcomed another dog into our home, I’m happy to give belly rubs and ear scritches all day.  But I hardly think that’s my sum total of purpose for my life.

I hope, I really hope that I don’t enjoy reading about other lives more than I love living my own.

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Happy Happy

WordPress notified me of a “Happy Anniversary!” and I was so busy I couldn’t do more than say “Oh, cool, I’ve been blogging for a year.”  Nope!  It’s been two years!  LOL as the crazy kids say.

Some busy: Birthday Celebrations.  Anniversary wishes.  Father’s Day.  A new member of our family who likes to bark at rabbits and is named Nellie.  Another wedding.  A trip to Virginia.  Entertaining.  Next thing I know we’re halfway into July and I’ve already harvested zucchini and beans from the garden.  (The cucumbers keep trying to put forth some flowers and new leaves, and the rabbits/groundhogs keep snapping them off.  I hope Nellie puts a stop to that soon.)  

What is the name for that feeling when you want to do ALL THE THINGS but then it’s 4:00 and you haven’t planned dinner yet?  When you know you want to accomplish certain things but then the other things take your attention or your brain thinks you’ve done it when all you’ve really done is say “I need to do the thing”?  When Monday comes and you have a mental to-do list and then it’s Thursday and all you have done is make the to-do list?  What is that called?  Please tell me it’s a cool name like “ennui” and not something like “laziness.”

The siren song of summer.

The siren song of summer.

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Luck be a Doctor Tonight

Dear Doctor at the Local Walk-In Medical Emergency,

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing such an amazing job with my stitches.  It’s one week later and aside from one tiny bandage, I no longer look like a freak.  (My friends can keep their helpful comments to themselves, thankyouverymuch.)  I don’t have a huge muffler on the side of my face, my bruises and swelling are almost completely gone, and I have been able to wash my hair and stop wearing a ridiculous side-ponytail that is not at ALL flattering to a woman of my age.  You treated me like a person, not a case, and I am very glad the luck of the draw brought me to you.

Love,

Tea and Sarcasm

Dear Doctor at the Local Walk-In Medical Emergency,

Hello again!  Yes, you did see me this morning.  Yes, everything is okay, and yes, it is strange that I’m back again at 5:30.  But this time it’s my Older Daughter who has her own malaise and it might be something a bit serious.  Thank you for treating her as impeccably well as you treated me, and quietly but firmly recommending that the family practice doctor she saw earlier might just be mistaken and an emergency room visit was in order.  Like right now.  Like right as soon as she calls the hospital because she’s doing that now.  Again, the luck of the draw gave my daughter good counsel.

Oh, and thanks for calling me “Ear Lady” as we left.  You made me laugh and reduced my tension.

Love,

Tea and Sarcasm

Everybody gets a hug.

Everybody gets a hug.

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Well, Crap.

Today is Friday, June 5.  I’m supposed to be at a wedding right now on Long Island.  Instead I’m at home in New Jersey with my head bandaged up like I suddenly took Holy Orders and everybody is calling me a nun.

I took a shower this morning.  That’ll teach me.  Dirty is the way to go, my friends!  I slipped in the shower (something I haven’t done since I was a teenager forcryingoutloud) and I hit my head on the corner of our marble sink and my thigh smack onto the rim of the tub.  I waited a second to see if I was going to pass out (good, no dark tunnels, no harps playing) and slowly stood up.  That’s when I noticed all the blood running down my shoulder.  I was actually able to shut off the water, wrap a towel around half of my head, get another towel wrapped around me, opened the door and called out to my beloved who was snoring peacefully in the bedroom.  (Later he told me “Well, yes, honey, I heard something but I thought you were getting some clothes out of the closet.”)  The first words he said were “What did you do?” and that’s when I knew I was going to be okay.  If he had recoiled in horror or passed out from the sight of blood then my goose would have been cooked.  We ascertained the blood wasn’t coming from inside the ear and went to the local walk-in-if-you’re-injured place.
Not only am I darn tootin’ lucky, I’m apparently also quite talented in the falling department.  I have ripped up the cartilage on the rim of my ear pretty well and I have a gash about two inches long in back of the ear.  Once they finished stitching me up and wrapping my head, I figured we weren’t going to a wedding, even though everyone tried to convince me that it didn’t look too bad and maybe I could put a nice scarf over it?  Seriously.  I’m wearing a wimple and you think people won’t notice?  Besides, the bandage is white and it would have competed with the bride.
In other crap news, remember the lovely photos of my garden I showed you?  The very next day the cucumbers, snap peas, hollyhocks and nasturtiums were gone and in their place are three very happy and very fat bunnies hopping around my yard and wondering when the next buffet is served.  Apparently they’re not Italian bunnies because they’re staying far away from the tomatoes and zucchini and basil.  We never had a rabbit problem before, but we figured out that the last time we had a garden we also had a dog.  Now we just have marauding rabbits, greedy groundhogs, maniac squirrels, bipolar chipmunks, and very confused mourning doves.
Tomorrow we go into Manhattan to see a show.  I actually think I’ll blend right in.
Oh, sure, you're cute when you fall down.  YOU'RE PROBABLY WEIGHTED DOWN WITH VEGETABLES.

Oh, sure, you’re cute when you fall down. YOU’RE PROBABLY WEIGHTED DOWN WITH VEGETABLES.

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A New Home

The lovely Winsday has offered to adopt my little family of yarn, so off it shall go to the friendly climes up north.  Winsday, please email me at woolizard at gmail dot com so we may chit chat about delivery.  And thanks!

And that's how baby projects are made, kids.

And that’s how baby projects are made, kids.

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It’s Actually Growing!

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Iris Garden in Front

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Patio Tomato Flowers

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Garden Tomatoes, Beans, Snap Peas, Zucchini

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Bean Rows

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Snap Peas

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Cukes in various stages of survival

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The last bleeding heart blossom

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When they grow up, they will be hollyhocks and nasturtiums and zinnias

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Patio Planter

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Herbs and birdhouse

So some things were eaten (and not by us, sad to say) and some things look a bit straggly and some things I don’t even remember what I planted, but there it is!  It’s been in the ground for almost a month and it’s working!

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The World is a Carousel of Color*

Never more so than in the month of May around these parts.  Between azaleas, rhododendrons, iris, columbine, dogwoods, and peonies, it’s a riot for the visual senses.  The green of the trees is still crisp and fresh, although we are soon headed for the wilted and tired when it hits 90 degrees here next week.  I am prepared.  I have air conditioning, hear me roar!  (Well, hear IT roar.  Or hum.  Whatever.)

I also have color all up in my senses because I went to an art store today.  The bliss.  The joy.  The almost trembling.  I may have gotten carried away, especially when I was stroking the amazing hand-made papers that were like gossamer and printed like fabrics.  The intensity of color spoke to me on a different level and I realized that I respond to color with my yarn as well.  My favorite color is green, but I couldn’t possibly isolate what kind of green; olive, moss, grass, jade, deep deep emerald….yet every car I buy is red.  I gravitate towards pinks and purples (princess much?) in some wardrobe choices.  Royal blue and periwinkle catch my eye and I linger.  Yellow and orange, not so much, but I love Autumn the most.  Perhaps that is why the art store just dazzled me.  I stood in front of the colored pencil rack and gazed appreciatively before I reached for the list I brought of pencils I wanted.

I carefully unfolded the paper, and decided to start with the blues.  “1100,” I murmured, and scanned the labels.  Frowning, I scanned them again.  And again.  Sheepishly, I turned to Older Daughter and bleated “help?”  I couldn’t read the minuscule numbers printed on each bin and wouldn’t know if I was getting 1100 or 1768.  What a great daughter she was, too, because she pretended it was hard for her to read the numbers as well and she frowned and squinted and took a moment before whipping the correct pencil out of its bin.  The numbers are printed on each pencil in a silver reflective oval which you have to hold at a certain angle to see, much like an old-fashioned mercury thermometer.  But I’ve got them, I’ve got twenty-three new colors that I will spend tomorrow playing with and making new little tags for inkytags and little labels and tiny arts.  Ironic, isn’t it, that my preferred choice of art is making miniatures?

My joy in color is probably enhanced too by recently knitting a black cardigan sweater, and while I absolutely loved the scrumptious yarn I was dying to work with color again.  I started a very colorful pair of socks (pinks and purples, see what I mean?) and I think I need to draw some flowers.  And leaves.  Lots of green.

*Anyone know the reference for the title?  It’s an oldie that I loved.

PS–wouldn’t anyone like to adopt this little family of yarn?

Or really cute dishcloths.

Or really cute dishcloths.

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