Comfort and Limitations

It’s dark when the alarm goes off and my husband hits the snooze button to squeeze a few more precious minutes of sleep from his restless night.  I lay there not quite wanting to open my eyes and tentatively move my sore limbs, regretting my decision to tear down a fence in the back only a little, thinking, not bad for an old chick, as I become familiar with each ache.

The sound of the shower motivates me to swing my feet to the chilly floor and shuffle downstairs to turn on the kettle for tea.  One English Breakfast tea bag goes into the stainless travel mug for my husband and I fill the coffee pot to the six line for myself, dumping two mounded scoops of coffee into the basket before remembering to actually turn it on.

The cat is looking at me from her perch on the arm chair and I’m wondering why she isn’t yeowling at me like she normally does at this point in my morning routine, hurrying me along so that she can have a fresh bowl of food.  I glance at the dog’s dish to make sure my son has fed her before heading down to tend to the cat, proceding with caution on the stairs because I know she’ll come barreling down them right as I’m ready to take another step and I don’t want to be a feature story on the 5PM news.  But she doesn’t today, and I look back to see her staring at me, seemingly as uninspired in this routine as I am.  I tap the spoon on the rim of the cat food can and peer around the corner to see her headed down the stairs.  She stretches each hind leg, then looks up at me and yeowls, as if to say, it’s about time.

Continue reading “Comfort and Limitations”

The Things We Keep

Yesterday I tackled the garage, and although I’m far from being done, I’m satisfied with the progress I’ve made.  It’s  a jumble of items you’d expect to find in a garage: a fairly recent deposit of my kitchen overflow;  remnants of our recent construction;  boxes expelled of Christmas decorations waiting for their return;  and my son’s truly unbelievable collection of crap.

Son's Crap

Not exactly a glamorous way to spend the first day after the holidays home alone, but pleasant.  I popped the garage door open to let in the light and brisk air realizing that if I had an attic or basement, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy either of those or my less than friendly neighbors as they passed by on their morning walk, furtively avoiding my gaze and the greeting perched on my tongue, just waiting for an opportunity to be human.   Ever the optimist am I.

I think the reason I avoid organizing our garage or anything else in my house that collects pieces of our lives over time, is that I’m forced to think about the memories attached to every item I handle.  It isn’t that I regret those memories — it’s more about having to accept the time it adds to the task, and the mood I’ll need to wallow in when I’m finished.

My thoughts wandered from annoyance with my son for keeping what resembles a rat’s nest wherever he goes, to flippant defiance:  What if I printed our address in craigslist in the “free” section and just left the garage door open to  the inevitable riot?  Instead, what I’m left with this morning are what lies between, like thoughts about boys growing up who were never interested in playing sports, but did to indulge us.

Old Trophies



Old Toys

Thoughts about school and career, and where all that knowledge and understanding goes when one is done with it.  Of an old house and all its poignant memories.   Of grandmothers and Martha, old friends I should call or write, and school kids I will never, ever forget.

Beauty lost to function and sentimentality to practicality on many counts during my purge. Copper pieces that have gleamed in the morning sun and cast sparks of light on my dining room wall for years are in the discard pile.  Decorations for Valentines Day and Easter that used to liven up the house when the boys were little also ended up in the pile along with a huge bag of stuffed animals I haven’t opened in years.  If I see them, I’ll have to think about who owned which and at what point in life.  It’s sort of leaning against the discard pile, not quite a part of it, and not quite separate.  Is there a child’s stuffed animal heaven somewhere I haven’t heard of?

Old Bunny

But there are things I’ve not quite decided to let go of, and If they’re any indication of who I am or what I’ve been, then I’m as odd as I’ve always thought I’ve been.  As odd as the stack of Martha Stewart Living magazines that seem to be about much more than the paper they’re printed on.  What does one do with that many magazines sitting, collecting spiders and bugs with too many legs to count?  Do I get one out each week, leaf through it, cut out what strikes my fancy and toss it to get on with the next?  There’s something about a sharp pair of scissors cutting along a perfectly straight line and thinking through one’s life.

Ferd, a giant bunny, sits in a corner on a stack of coolers.  It’s not a very dignified place for something that reminds me of how simple love can be if we allow it, and how easily life can be taken for granted, or lost if we’re not careful.

And these bottles?  I dug them up in the washed out area of an old dump near one of the last places my grandmother lived.  It was in the middle of nowhere — one of those places people used to go and then forgot about after the freeway was built.  The bottles aren’t valuable, but I like their varying shapes and embossed surfaces, each a slightly different tint than the next.  She was like that.

Junk Yard Bottles

Or a bag I packed the day I left my job, nearly two years ago.  It’s moved from one side of the garage to the other, but I haven’t unpacked it yet.  But I might blow the dust off the silver bar that used to sit on my desk to remind me that others see us quite differently than we see ourselves.

Career in a Bag

I’ve done quite a bit of thinking since finishing my work yesterday, and realize that as much as I got some exercise and fresh air, I’ve only moved everything from one side of the garage to the other.  It’s more organized than it was, but it’s all still sitting there.

It’s only been sifted.

Gullibility and a Strong Core

In case you were wondering, I’m alive. I did go out on a couple of early morning walks this week, smartly attired in my plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. By the time Thursday rolled around, though, I was on auto pilot and made a nose dive back into bed. Rude.

Tone your core while you blog! But today is Friday, and you know how I feel about that under normal circumstances, but today? It is my very first non-working, permanently retired if I feel like it Friday. Okay, so retired from working for others work. Payroll work. Having to get dressed and go to work work. So how did I celebrate?
I broke in my new ball.  I sat on it all day and tried valiantly to do something about the organization of this pathetic looking blog of mine.  Nothing has improved on the blog, but at least I’ve rolled and swirled and bounced myself toward a firmer core.  Yes, you, too can burn calories while you blog!  Of course we may not be able to get out of bed tomorrow, but still.

What else is new?

Not much, but yesterday when I was coming out of the grocery store with one of my green bags I finally remembered to remove from the trunk, a young man with a nice smile and a multitude of those disks inserted in his ears and a few other places I can’t remember right now, looked in my direction. He had a clipboard and a purpose.

“You want money, right?” I began since I’m not very good at beating around the bush when I talk. His eyes even smiled.

“Do you know about Greenpeace?” he began.

“Of course I know about Greenpeace,” I told him, flashing on images of news footage years ago of ships with nuclear reactors being prevented from entering a port in Australia or something like that. “But do you have any idea how many requests we get each week for contributions? It’s out of control. Even NPR hasn’t been able to peel my money out of my fist yet.” Who do you give money to when everybody wants it? His smile never left his eyes as he let me blather on until I asked if I could make a donation on line. And when he began to respond, I interrupted him realizing that he wouldn’t get credit for the donation.

“I need to be able to show something for my effort her today,” he told me.

“So fine, can I give $15?”

“No, we’re only set up to take monthly contributions,” he told me, explaining that it helped the organization have a more steady stream of cash instead of having to wait until the end of the year for a lump sum.

“Okay. Okay. Okay. Where do I sign? Can I do $10 a month?”

“No, I’m sorry, the minimum is $15. That’s only $5 more,” he added as I looked away from the form I was already filling out, and making it easier for those leaving the store to escape my fate.

“I can add. The math’s not that challenging,” I mouthed off, and he laughed good-naturedly, most likely thinking I was nuts.

“Do you want a sticker?” he continued as used the side of a brown crayon to rub an impression from my credit card on the form.

“Sure. I need something to show for my money, right? And if someone steals my credit card number, Greenpeace will be paying the bills. Make sure you tell them that, okay?” I called over my shoulder after picking up my green bag to walk away. “I’ll blog about you…”

“Thanks!” he said, still grinning. Talk about job satisfaction. Jeez. But I always wonder when I send off a contribution to any organization, just how much of it is eaten in administrative costs.

So when the MoH got home, I asked what he knew about Greenpeace since I joined.

“Great. They float around on a boat and cause a lot of problems,” he mumbled, partly in jest.

I’ll have to work on him a bit more. He’s no where near to being green.

The sun did come up today.

I need the sky to be grey and angry looking. I want the wind to blow and rain to fall. But it’s blue as far as I can see.

I don’t want to hear the kids at the end of the block playing in the cul-de-sac. But they’re laughing and screaming at one another, having fun.

I want the trees to be bare like they’re supposed to be in the winter, and not green with signs of spring already.

I’m not in the right frame of mind for blooming and regrowth. Sprouting and budding.

I thought it might be good to bury my head in the pillows until about noon, but knew that was never going to happen. And once I’m awake, the last thing I want to do is lay there and think. Not today. Especially today.

I headed for the bathroom acknowledging my numb around the edges self, knowing that I wouldn’t see Blackitty, and wondering whether my ugly, red, puffy eyes could actually squeeze out more tears. They felt like they wanted to. And right when I could feel the wave of grief begin to wash over me, the door nudged forward and my dog’s big golden head and soft brown eyes pushed into the space, tentatively, seeking permission. Her cold wet nose bumped against my knee and I could hear the thump of her tail against the vanity as I scratched her head to say thank you for continuing Blackitty’s routine. A very nice dog.

So amazing.

Continue reading “The sun did come up today.”

My Heart is Broken…

I have been fortunate to have known many lovely cats in my life. If I proceed slowly backwards, with each name I recall, I can glimpse a bit of the life I was leading when I had each one, and smile remembering what knowing them brought to me.

Blackitty (Mr. Blaxter Blackington) & Precious (The Yack Star)…Dear, dear Holis and his friend, Miss Mew…Rocky Lou…Yeller, Jasper. Tar Baby. Spark Good Buddy. Sissy Kitty. Tuffy. Big Kitty. Boomer…and so many others.

A few of them have been very special. They had the quiet ability to soothe when the need was there. To calm. To provide warmth and a bit of softness exactly when it was needed. Somehow they just understood that their responsibility was to share themselves unselfishly. I can think of almost nothing else that is as simple, and yet so valuable.

I lost the dearest one today. Blackitty. The loveliest cat I’ve ever had. IMG_0971.JPG

I knew something was wrong, but I just couldn’t bring myself to deal with it. I didn’t want to imagine how it might be to not see him each morning in the bathroom after I’d dragged myself out of bed. He’d push open the door, slink through it, rub against my legs, and then stretch his velvety body with one paw pushed against the wall.

He didn’t do that today.

Continue reading “My Heart is Broken…”

Blogging & Future Rock Stars

I told the MoH I was staying up here nights. At least that way I can get my blogging done. Jeez.

Is there any reason WHY, if I don’t salivate over watching football, or baseball, or basketball, or hockey, or soccer, or poker, or curling (just wanted to see if you were paying the hell attention…) but yes, he watches that if it’s on, too…that I can’t BLOG? Well?

No. I didn’t think so.

So maybe Cafe Kelly is closed. Okay, well, don’t get too excited, because I do have to do my foodblog. Really. And I do have to pay more attention to it. At least try.

No hissy fit. Just making a statement. Now I’ll put my soapbox back under my desk for the next time.

But you can help out by going to my food blog and clicking on the vote button in the upper right hand corner. You know. Just in support. I swear there are people who are cheating. So vote for me. “Kay? Routinely. When I’m famous, I’ll put you on the payroll. We can party.

I can’t believe it’s been forever that I’ve posted again. TOO much going on. Seriously.Gee-Tar

But I did want to share the RT’s new status as Resident Rocker. So that means I guess his name has to be different now. How about Resident Teen Rocker. RTR. And while I’m at this nonsense, I need to say some serious thanks to Scott for helping me along as I did my research on guitars. I paid attention! He’s already had his first lesson, actually practices, and sounds like he’s hitting the right notes. Okay, so that’s kind of piano lingo, but that’s all I know. He IS sounding decent and playing around with the sounds on his amp. I haven’t needed earphones once. We’ll talk in a couple of months, though. Remind me.

Continue reading “Blogging & Future Rock Stars”

Parts is Parts

What does it say about me when I can admit that I spent most of my morning at work putting labels and stickers on file folders in preparation for this next year of business and L.O.V.E.D. it?

CONTROL. The woman craves CONTROL. (insert wicked and crazed laughter here and clasp your hands near your chin, making sure to rub them as if applying lotion) It’s an office supply problem. You know. Paper, and pencils, envelopes and white out? I’ve always had an issue with office supplies, and I’ve learned there’s no cure.

But wait! There’s more.

I worked a whole extra 90 minutos loving it. I could see a real live finished product that had dimension. And I could carefully pick up all the brightly colored folders, and click them on the desktop to make sure they were PERFECTLY lined up. So. Cool.

About half way through my time, someone brought up New Year’s Resolutions, and I was surprised that I hadn’t even thought of making one. Of course, now, it’s still on my mind. But not so much that it has kept my drawers in a knot or anything. Now that would be quite the conundrum. Call this practiced avoidance.

Why do you need a resolution when you have a list. I made one last night before going to bed so I could hit the ground running when I got home from my J.O.B. Guess what was first on the list? Okay, so you’ll never guess, and although I’m a complete pro at Twenty Questions, I’ll cut to the chase…

…my friends at Best Buy. Or better said if you’ve watched the show on Monday nights, Chuck, which is beyond surprisingly good for television and no, I’ve never watched Boston Legal, or 30 Rock, or…Okay, you get it. Buy More. That’s what the store is called on Chuck. Best Buy is Buy More. Whatever.

Anyway, I called like a gracious and tolerant consumer who has been screwed and dragged over the coals by the capitalist machine that will be the bane of our existence before we know it ahem…has been so patient with an obvious communication problem.

I was less than thrilled when Josh answered the phone after I dealt with the cheerful machine and sitting on hold for 10 minutes. It wasn’t that Josh wasn’t thrilling. He’s been well trained. “Let me verify that the television we’re talking about is at (***) 555-DORK.” I told him that was correct and that there were most likely red flags and unhappy faces stamped around my phone number along with a few Jolly Rogers and a Fickle Finger of Fate for good measure. After a professional pause, he stated that they did not deal with red flags and unhappy faces (bwahahahahahaha!) and then he read me the notes the supervisor wrote on 12-14 after I spoke with her about what could be done.

Poor Josh read, “General Electronics (authorized posers) is having difficulty ordering parts.” I could only gasp delicately and ask him to tell me if that meant the parts to fix our T.V. still had not been ordered before I collected myself to breathe scorching flames through the receiver. He politely responded that,” because I’m not a supervisor, ma’am (wince), I may not be able to access all the information regarding what has transpired.”

So yes I spoke to yet another supervisor whose name I was provided without a request and isn’t that stellar customer service? But after she said hello, she asked to put me on hold so she could review the service notes. Uhhh…what service?

And when she couldn’t tell me whether parts had or hadn’t been ordered, I told her I would take the T.V. to the closest Buy More Sucker Store and stay there until they gave me a new T.V.

And guess what?

She said in her well-trained and pleasant customer type service voice, ” I can submit an authorization for you, if you’d like.”

Huh? “An authorization for what?” I asked.

“An authorization for a replacement T.V. which will take three to five business days.”

Go figure. So I told her I’d prefer the quickest way to ensure the T.V. was totally functional and wasn’t this a lot of horse shit from me.  She said she’d pursue both avenues and ain’t that special. I was smiling, however. And I did NOT raise my voice ONE time. But my eyebrows were very angry.

So next Wednesday, I’ll bring this up again. You will be soooooo over it, but it will be so special to find out whether I’ve been granted a brand spanking new T.V. or parts. And you know what they say about parts.

Parts is parts…OR…the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

What’s that song that says something about being happy if you know it and clapping your hands?

Yah. Like that.

Now, on to the next thing on my list.