Dropped.

Dear Sir or Madam:

Of course, I have no idea who you are but I do know that you have un-subscribed to my little blog.  Discovering that was a very sad way for me to start my week.

I don’t check the subscriber stats very often. They are what they are.   But for some reason I checked them last week and Poof!   You were gone.  Just like that, you up and left me.

I hope I didn’t offend you. But, more importantly, I hope I didn’t bore you.  I have enjoyed having you with me, whoever you are.  See, I only have numbers, no names, so you are completely  anonymous. I can’t stalk you; I can’t beg for your return or your forgiveness. I just know that you’re gone. The numbers tell me so.

I guess this is why I don’t do Facebook. People are always Friending and Un-friending….or so I’m told. I think it must get ugly sometimes. My skin’s not thick enough for that. In fact, it’s getting thinner all the time.  At least according to the little bruises that pop up for no good reason.  And that’s just on the part I can see.  Who knows what goes on underneath that.

Well, Un-Sub, I must carry on without you. Maybe you were too young, maybe too smart, maybe you started your own blog!  For all I know, you’re one of my kids.  But, for whatever reason, you’re not with me on Sunday mornings anymore so you won’t even get this little note of regret.

Just in case you check in again some day, I want you to know the door’s always open. Maybe you’ll come back. I won’t know whether you do or not but hope springs eternal.

 

 

Thanks to pbworks.com for the drop (or drip?)

 

A Birthday Story

We have a fairly large family, what with the grandchildren, one great-grandchild and another to be born soon. I’ve forgotten more than one birthday, I regret to say, but when the big 50 comes to one of your kids, it’s best to remember it.

The middle one got there last week so we’ve been putting on our thinking caps about what would be nice to give him and, frankly, we’ve been coming up empty. Birthday presents are hard.  What to do? What to give?

A stroll downtown to the art galleries for inspiration seemed like a good idea. We’ve given the children art before and with some degree of luck. We looked and looked and finally! The AHA! moment we’d been waiting for! There it was in all its glory. His 50th birthday present. No question about it. A real statement-maker but a little larger than we’d planned on.

The problem was: how to get it to him in Missouri?   The gallery, The Filling Station, is just across the street from the iron-artist and together they determined that they could indeed “crate and freight” the gift, despite its size and weight.

But the cost! More than the item itself.

The gallery owner once again came to the rescue. Apparently there’s something called U-Ship. Very like the Uber concept, there are people out there, agreeable to taking large, clumsy items from one place to another for reasonable fees. One goes on line and waits for a U-Ship person to get in touch. You make a deal….or not….and voila.

Our U-Ship person arrived in a pick up truck and after much bubble-wrapping, taping and bolting-down, it was on its way.  I think it will be quite a surprise. We are hoping that there aren’t any neighborhood ordinances against “abnormal” yard art.

He doesn’t have it yet so here’s a picture of his present.

photo - Version 2

Happy 50th Birthday, Scott!

And many happy returns.

(No, no, I’m not talking about returning the present. That is definitely not an option.)

Pet Peeves

At my age, I’ve had a few and I feel that I’m entitled to them. My latest ones are awesome and amazing.

Oops, that’s not what I meant. Sorry. What I meant to say is that “awesome” and “amazing” are my current pet peeves.

There. I think I said it right. It’s those two ubiquitous words that we use to describe anything and everything. Cupcakes, babies, dresses, experiences, pictures.…you name it. There are many things out there that fill us with amazement and awe but they get diminished when so many of them fall prey to the same description.

Recently, a young man whom we know spoke to a group of people about his challenging and complex venture: growing premium oysters from seedlings. Now that’s truly “amazing” and clearly “awesome” but never once did he use those words. His talk was peppered with enthusiasm, knowledge, determination and humor. And he spared us those over-used words.

His speech was a joy to behold.  And to hear.

Bravo to him and his command of, not only oysters, but the English language.

 

The Ballet Came to Town Last Monday

I’m sorry you missed it. But don’t feel bad. The only people there anyway were the dancers. And they didn’t even know they were dancers. They were just doing their jobs. But a ballet it was, nevertheless.

The backdrop was a simple but beautiful room with inspirational wall hangings. The set was spare and functional.

The choreographer, all 5’2” of her, called us to attention and told us, in no uncertain terms, what the plan was, how the performance would start and …..if we knew what was good for us…..how it would end.

Then the props were delivered and we gasped at the enormity of what was being asked of us.

We’re a small troupe, normally sure of our steps and marks, but this was different. We were definitely out of our comfort zone. We even brought in an extra in case of a misstep or two…which seemed likely, given the task at hand.

But suddenly, and with little warning, we were on.  Lights, action and places, please!

Now, I’m sure that you’re nearly breathless with suspense. So, here’s the big reveal.

All of this took place on a Monday morning, two weeks ago, at the church-sponsored food bank.

The props were bags and bags and bags and bags and bags of canned goods, generously donated by parents and children of the church-affiliated school. An estimated 1500 (!) cans arrived, all at once. They were clearly in need of un-packing, sorting, boxing and shelving, in preparation for distribution to needy families. And there were only 10 of us to get the job done.

The dance got off to a rough start but within minutes everyone had picked up the pace and settled into their positions, their roles. We found our stride, quickly and quietly.

We moved like pros, pirouetting between the tables of canned soups, vegetables and fruits. We jete-ed and plié-ed our way across the floor. The occasional, if unplanned, arabesque was spotted.

Unbelievably, nothing was broken. No one got stepped on.   Oh sure, a couple of chicken noodles got mixed up with the cream of mushrooms but that didn’t diminish the performance.

When the work was done, the set was struck, high-fives were given and a feeling of accomplishment was shared by all.

We weren’t Balanchine or Baryshnikov but we were good. Really good.

It was all over in 45 minutes…exactly two minutes before the regular food truck delivery arrived and we were able to return to our regular and comfortable routines.

We didn’t need applause from an audience. The reward was simply in and of itself.

 

P.S. I don’t know if you missed me last week, but I missed you so I’m going to try for a weekly post. It’s more fun for me that way. And fun is what this is all about.

 

 

Thanks to vectorstock.com for the image

Where, Oh Where Did It Go?

You know the old saying: When one door closes, another one opens.

Well, my memory door has slammed shut and someone ate the key but my calf muscles are experiencing a whole new life.

See, I’m getting more exercise. Lots more. Walking upstairs, downstairs, all around the house. Searching for lost items. Items lost within the last five minutes. Or less. Or more. But lost, nevertheless.

I’ve been getting emails for years about the joys, the pleasures, the graces of getting old.   We learn that it’s okay, even somewhat admirable, to get a bit saggy, forgetful, slow on the uptake. And I, for one, am glad to know that we are admitting this. I think it’s healthy.

But this business of misplacing everything is getting a bit pesky.

What happened to my coffee mug when I carried it somewhere to do something? Did I finish what I started? I need a jolt of caffeine to jump-start my brain but….

Where was I last reading my book? In a sunny spot? Under a warm blanket? In the doctor’s office?  And, remind me, please. What was the name of the book?

I’ve misplaced my glasses. Again. And since can’t see without them, I could hardly be expected to find them, could I? Oh, never mind. I found them. They were on my face after all. Just exactly where they were the last time I looked for them.

It’s all a vicious circle. But I keep looking. And walking. In circles. Upstairs, downstairs, all around the house.

I’m actually feeling pretty strong these days. Aging has its benefits….just like all of you have been telling me for years.

Maybe if I keep up all this activity, I’ll come across the door marked “Patience.”

Now that would be a real find.

PS. Oops, I almost forgot. Life on the May is going to take a bit of a break. I’m hoping to post something every-other week. This weekly thing is a bit taxing….….so I think a break in pattern is in order. We’ll see how that goes. Stay with me! Please.

“Accentuate the Positive”

I was at the card table recently and the subject of New Year’s resolutions came up.

Having never made one, I tuned out. Resolutions tend to be so all or nothing at all.

But one of us had a different take on the subject and I perked up a bit.

She suggested that we take just one quality…an admirable one…and devote ourselves to attaining a healthy measure of that during the year. Things like Patience, Generosity, Kindness, Self-Control and Joy. There were other qualities on the list but the Joy thing grabbed me. I told myself that I’d take that one and work on it.

Well, the card game ended and, with it, my dedication to the resolution.

Worry, Grumpiness and Griping are essential to my being and I couldn’t really see an easy path toward Joy with all of them standing in the road. I knew they wouldn’t go away any time soon without putting up a fight.

But then I remembered something a friend told me years ago. At the time, I was working with some people who didn’t like me, wanted nothing to do with me and hoped I’d just go away. But I had to work with those people….every day. I was green to the work force and had no management skills. They did. The fight was on and it wasn’t an even match.

That good friend, who understood the situation, told me that what I needed to do was “neutralize” them. (No, not gangster-land “neutralize”….don’t even go there.)

Positively thinking that I could, just perhaps, gain and maintain a neutral relationship with them was the key. It made all the difference in my attitude.

I’ve decided to use that as a path for reaching my New Year’s resolution. I know I’m not going to get all the way to unbroken Joy. It’s just not in me. I’m hard wired to be half-glass-empty. But if I can “neutralize” the negativity, then that’s a start. Perhaps the goal will be attainable. Or, even better, sustainable.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m hopeful.

So there. Take that: Grumpy, Worry and Gripe!

 

 

Image thanks to @GrumpyCat/Twitter.com

House Music

We’ve lived in a fair number of houses. Two of them were full of musical instruments. No, not the piano. Not the flute my husband tried to play but never got his embouchure quite right. Not the guitar, the cornet, or the drums, all of which made their way into our basements and bedrooms via the children.

No, these two houses had their own magical instruments.

The first one had a giant boiler in the basement. It needed constant care and feeding. Sort of like an opera diva. But when it worked, its sounds were wonderful.

It would start at 5:00 a.m. Drums and cymbals clanging up through the radiators, each with its own pitch and tone. Followed by the operatic hissing and screeching as the heat rose through the pipes.

Those were among the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard. We always stayed in bed until the concert was over. That sweet house was telling us that it was ready for us and when we arose we’d be warm, welcomed and loved.

Our current house has a different set of instruments. They’re the tin flashings on the three chimneys. Oh, the music they make in the rain.

It always starts with a few gentle pings on one chimney. The orchestra tuning up for the main event. The score can get pretty tough, depending on the wind, the rain, the thunder and lightening. The conductor has her hands full. It’s fun, loud, and free!

Some many years ago, a writer said that when the thunder and lightning come your way, it’s your job to curl up in a corner, listen carefully and enjoy nature at its most dynamic and musical. Try it next time. You’ll be glad you did. I’m betting on it.

 

 

Image thanks to clker.com

 

Subscriptions

We subscribe to exactly three magazines. We enjoy them but I am wearying of their relentless attempts to get us to renew. And re-renew. They even offer to send a FREE subscription to a friend or family member if I’ll renew….right this very minute.

The notices start off with a soft sell, of course. As in: “Dear Mrs: We know you don’t want to miss a single issue of______. We’ve enclosed a self-addressed stamped-envelope especially for you so you can take advantage of this unique opportunity. We eagerly look forward to hearing from you, our loyal reader.”

Lacking a response, they kick it up a notch. “Dear Mrs:  You are missed! Please re-join our group of informed, stylish and up-to-date readers. Just like yourself. Renew now!”

The next round is harsher still. “Dear Mrs:  Take advantage of this offer immediately! Time is running out.”

Then the gloves come off. Now there’s not so much as a salutation. Just a warning. “This is the very last offer you will receive. It’s now or never. Consider yourself in danger of dismissal.”

If I haven’t re-upped by then, I fear they’ll abscond with my youngest child.

But we never get that far. I cave. I write the check.

I need to remind myself that these notices are not party invitations. I don’t have to respond every time one comes in the mail.

The other one who lives here and carts those heavy magazines to the recycling center suggests that I read the fine print so I’ll understand that when it says “Jan. 29” it most likely means that I have 13 years left on that subscription.

But isn’t that always the problem? The fine print? It’s hard enough to wade through the magazines. Who has time for the “fine print?”

By the way, do any of you want a free subscription to _____?   No? Of course, you don’t.   If you did, you’d have already subscribed and you’d be getting these letters, too.

Food for Thought

The over-used electronic world is one of my pet peeves.

I’ve said this before. Now, I’m certainly not against access to information, to education, to entertainment, to the world. Not at all.

My concern is that its obsessive use draws us away from conversation, from face-to-face interaction, from time together.

My feelings were recently echoed, I thought, by a contributor to one of our several local magazines. They’re well-done, glossy, pretty and frequently have articles of interest in them. One article in particular caught my eye a few months ago. It was entitled, “Unplugged.” How could I not happily dig into that?

The focus of this particular article was how to unplug from television. Kids watch way too much. And adults probably do, too. And if they’re not watching TV, they’re plugged into their electronics.

So, I’m on board with the writer. Reading every word with relish. You go, girl….tell it like it is, how you stop the addiction, how you counteract it.

Toward the end of the article, there was a list of things to do other than watch television.   Maybe 20 ideas or so.

And the very, very first suggestion, at the tippy-top of the list was “Have Sex.”

Oh, dear. I thought this was a family article. What happened?

Now, I know better than to elaborate on any of that. To go down that road.  So I’m going to leave you to ponder that all by your smart selves.

I will add that, with some level of fear and trepidation, I read the rest of her suggestions.

And the very, very last one, at the very bottom of the list, was: “Spend time with loved ones.”

Oh, my. Didn’t she start with that? Or am I just showing my age here?

 

 

my thanks to churchpastor.com for the image

We grinched yesterday

I usually love that. Cleaning up, getting rid of all the red and green, the glitter, the shedding fir. I was always the first on the street to drag the tree to the curb, sometimes as early as Christmas afternoon. My reason, ostensibly, was that it had become a fire hazard. But, really, I just wanted it done. Out. Over. Back to normal.

Not this year. Don’t know why but taking stuff down and stowing it away was not fun. Not even a little bit.

Santy went peacefully back into his drawer, carefully tucked in with his old sheet, not to be seen for another 353 days. But who’s counting?

The ornaments are nicely organized but, more importantly, they are in a closet where I can easily see them if I want to take a quick peek.

I’ve left a few vestiges of the decorations tucked in spots around the house. Only I know where they are. And they’ll still be there this time next year.

I don’t understand this at all.

But as the song says, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

Twig Tree, Redux

photo (1)

Shortly before Christmas, our sweet and unadorned Twig Tree was mysteriously and gloriously decorated with small packages of Cheezits, our favorite cocktail snacks. This apparently happened in the wee hours of the night….or at least sometime after 8 pm….  our usual time to retire.

Our grandsons who were visiting were amused by the mischief and creativity and were moved to wax poetic. One in Haiku; the other in rhyme.

I hope you’ll enjoy their take on Twig Tree’s transformation. Their renditions were among the best presents to be found under, or in this case about, the tree.

By the way, the “star” on the top is a picture of The Donald (click on the image to see it). Interestingly, a big puff of hot air blew across the porch, and he disappeared.

Happy New Year to all…..

 

From Eli:

I sit at the table

Looking out through the back door

Out towards the May

Past the door I see

A tree which has been well loved

Sitting on the porch

The tree was once bare

Nothing hung on its branches

Then neighbors helped it

It sits on the porch

Adorned with bags of Cheezits

Placed with care, by friends

From Noah:                           

The tree stood out back bare to the bone

It hadn’t seen an ornament since 2001.

Rich with much history

It sat waiting for a mystery.

When several nights before Christmas

It received one of these enigmas.

One night it was empty

The next day it was covered.

Not a creature was seen

But it now had a cheesy gleam

Ordained with bags of delightful treats

It glowed because of these sweets.

The tree found its decoration

Just in time for the celebration.

 

 

 

Twig Tree

It was a display item in a garden and gift shop, a fixture designed to show off shiny ornaments and other Christmas decorations.   For some reason, we ignored all that jazz, peered behind the glitter and saw the strange and twiggy thing that was meant to be our very own unique and special Christmas tree.

photo (1)

When the store manager removed all the beautiful ornaments, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Anything but. It wasn’t green. Had no needles. And it wasn’t even for sale.

But we were smitten and found a way to bring it home.

We bought pretty silk flowers to stuff into its many unsightly gaps, slathered it with our favorite ornaments, filled its odd limbs with odd things and declared it the best tree we’d ever had. This was well over 20 years ago. It has faithfully followed us wherever we’ve gone.

Two years ago when we moved to this old house with no storage, there wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. Twig Tree would come with us even if we had to give up one of our few closets to keep it nearby.

Now, in the Christmas season, it has own Life On The May, overlooking the bluff. The old moth-eaten L.L. Bean blanket still warms its trunk in the chill. We don’t concern it with ornaments any more.

It’s perfect just as it is.

I Love A Parade

I’ve always wanted to be in one.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the ultimate in my dreams.

Last weekend was the Bluffton Christmas Parade. It’s a big deal in our town and my neighbor suggested that we participate. Yes, I said. Absolutely! I was hopeful that after a debut parade appearance, albeit a relatively small one, the Macy’s gig might be in my future. When one doesn’t have decades left to attain one’s dreams, one must take every opportunity to grab the brass ring.

Or, in this case, the handle on the little red wagon. Filled with deeply confused chickens.

Version 2

My neighbor, source of all ideas, concepts, costumes, and, in this case, chickens, was our leader. We strapped on our chicken hats, (doesn’t everyone have chicken hats in their attics?) donned our gloriously feathered masks, and our cheery Christmas socks and gloves.

The chickens, Phil, Belva, and Weezie, in glitzy neckwear, were safely cooped up in their wagon to protect them from fight or flight. Saletta was scheduled to be with us but balked at the last minute. Chickens can be so moody.

Off we went. All five of us. Surreptitiously. Down the back alley-ways.

See, we weren’t formally part of the parade. Hadn’t applied for that all important “permit.” So, we jumped the line, squeezing ourselves and the chickens in between the Boys and Girls Club Marching Band and the Jackson’s Towing Service float.

The roads had been blocked off, the streets were crowded, Christmas cheer was in the air and the weather was perfect.

It wasn’t long before it became evident that we, even dressed as festively as we were, were not the main attraction of our “act.” Those chickens got all the attention.

Most of the kids didn’t know what they were. Many had no idea that the eggs they eat for breakfast actually come from those feathered beings.

Adults wanted to know if the chickens “interacted” with humans. Many wondered why one would have chickens in the first place. It was a teaching moment for the parade goers.

It was not, I’m sad to say, the giant step towards the Macy’s Parade that I had hoped for.

What it was, however, was fun.

Name Calling

I’ve been called many things….some to my face and, I’m certain, some behind my back. No matter. One thing I’m sure of is that I’ve never been called a cook.

Oh sure, I prepare food. I also order-out and bring-in.   But real, honest-to-goodness, get-your-hands-dirty, mess-up-pots, measure-ingredients kind of cooking. No. Not my idea of fun.

But lo and behold, in the paper recently, I read a quote from Julia Child and it appears we think alike. Julia says that things will always go wrong in the kitchen. You can count on it. And her mantra is: “Never apologize. Never explain.” Well, if she thinks that way, and I certainly do, well, then maybe I am a cook after all.

There was the always reliable Tuna, Mushroom Soup, Spaghetti and Curry Delight. A mainstay on our table for many years. We’d add little bowls of raisins, hard-boiled eggs and bananas because it was a curry dish and we were attempting to disguise the ingredients.

One night we had company and Tuna Delight was on the menu. As I went to the kitchen to retrieve it, I saw the cat in the dish. Not sniffing, not nibbling, not testing. He was totally immersed. And most of the tuna was gone.

I’d like to think that Julia would have done what I did. (Of course, she never would have served Tuna Delight in the first place but that’s another issue.)

I plucked out the cat, rinsed off his paws and his whiskers, fluffed up the Tuna Delight and carried on. No apologies; no explanations.

To my knowledge, no animals or humans were harmed in that experiment.

Well, we’ve actually not seen those people since that evening so I can’t be totally sure about them. I am, however, quite sure the cat was happy.

 

Fanciful cat image thanks to colourbox.com

 

A persistent flower

She was indeed a persistent flower. She died several months ago, cared for by her family across the country.

A celebration of her life was held here recently. Many who were present shared her illness….Parkinson’s disease….but there were a few of us from her life before all of that.

It was a lovely ceremony. We were each asked to take a flower from a beautiful assortment and then replace it in the vase as we shared a few words about her, as we’d known her. Some recounted unique experiences, others spoke more generally but the message was the same. She was persistent, smart, funny, brave and determined.

As we left, we were asked to take a flower from the re-constructed bouquet, put it in a little water and think of our friend as the flower wilted and shed its blossoms.

I brought mine home, broke its long stem in two, put it in a bud vase, and thought that it would be gone by the next morning. That I had said good-bye.

It’s now five days later and that flower is still going strong. It’s a rose….a pinkish- white rose. The outer leaves have drifted downward but they’re still attached to the stem. There’s a core bud, strong and determined. I’ve added water to the vase three times.

Day six. It’s weakened but there’s still life. Just a little bit more water.

You don’t think for one minute I could have let that flower go until it was ready, do you? Something that persistent can’t be easily dismissed. It wasn’t particularly pretty at that point. The end of my friend’s life wasn’t either. It was tough going. Not for her, the easy life.

God speed, Suzanne.