Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rainy Morning
The colors of the world on an overcast day are so much deeper and stronger than when the sunshine is bright.  It's a rainy morning here, the sky is cloudy, and the greens and reds and yellows are breathtaking.  I know that in a while the sun will shine and the hues and shades will be washed out and pale. 
I hope that my colors also shine truest when the sky is dark. 

We were supposed to be at the seventh annual Dan Barr Memorial Golf Outing in Hubbard, Ohio, this weekend, but another summer cold for me has kept us home.  I hope the weather will be perfect for the outing and that it is another successful day.  Thousands of dollars in scholarship money have been raised over the past years to send the children of firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and the like to college.  This is the first year we've missed it, and I am so disappointed.  It is truly like 'going home' to visit our friends in Hubbard.  I hope that we'll be able to make the trip for a visit this fall.

I planted a tiny garden this summer, the first that I've had in years.  It was late before I got it planted, and it's unlikely that I'll get much of a crop from it, but it's been fun watching it grow.  The corn tasseled before it made any ears, so there will be no crop there.  I still have some hope for the watermelon, pumpkin, and purple-hull pea plants.

What are purple-hull peas, you ask?  According to all of my Southern friends, "That's some GOOD eatin', right there!"  I've heard that from folks all over the south, and when Mr. William and Ms. Nina sent me some seed last summer, I decided I had to plant them.  My friend John, from Louisiana, says we'll never get a crop, as our growing season isn't long enough, but we'll see.  I might not get enough to cook up a good mess of them, but I think I'll have a few to taste. 

May your colors be bright today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Looking Through the Curve

I love motorcycles.  I didn't always, but I fell in love with them a few years back, when I was forty-four years old.  I have taken two rider's courses, have a MC endorsement on my driver's license, have owned two bikes of my own, and have logged many thousands of miles in the back seat of the late lamented BigYellowBike.  Nearly all of my best friends ride, and I plan all my vacation time around motorcycle gatherings.

One of the most-stressed points taught in a motorcycle safety class is how to take a curve.  You don't want to brake once you've entered the slow down, look through the curve, then roll the throttle and accelerate into the straightaway.  You don't focus on where you are right now, you look toward where you want to go.  If you allow yourself to become fixated on where you are instead of where you're going, you will crash.  "Look where you want to go!"

It's important, whether riding curving roads or straight, that you ride within your ability and not 'over your head'.  Riding curving, twisting roads is a tremendous thrill, and when it's done correctly there grows a harmony between motorcycle and rider that is hard to equal.  Most riders love riding the twisties, and will compare stories of their rides at great length.    

But even the most-experienced rider needs the occasional straightaway, to rest the arms and mind and catch one's breath.  Twisties are good, and the very best thing about riding, but everyone needs a straight road every once in awhile.  It has felt very much like the last few years have been nothing but one curve after another, and I am ready for a straight stretch. 

I was explaining to my bosses the other day about my sister's condition.  They were concerned with how I'm handling it.  They are riders, too, and I thought of this motorcycle analogy.  I told them, "Right now, I feel as if I am riding at the very limit of my ability and there are curves ahead.  I'm trying my best to look through the curves and not fixate on where I am.  If I can keep from focusing on what's happening right now, I may be able to keep from crashing." 

I guess there could be many ways to look at that analogy...but the point I want to make, and you can take from it whatever makes you happy, is that I have to keep on keeping on, counting on the belief that there is something good around the curve...maybe even a nice straight stretch.  :- )
Summer Thunderstorm...
Last Friday evening, there was a thunderstorm here.  It had been quite dry for a little while, and very hot as well, so rain was needed. The storm came just at the beginning of dusk and the evening sky was still light when the thunder first began to roll.

I've said before that I love the rain, and will stand out in it, as long as there's no lightning.  It became obvious right away, though, that this was not going to be a stand-out-in-it rain.  I was, however, feeling a bit confined and blue, and I didn't feel like waiting out the storm in the house.  I went out onto the front porch, sat on the bench there, and lost myself in the rain and the light and the sound.

It was a magnificent show.  The treetops swayed wildly against the darkening sky, and I marveled that these great solid objects could bend enough to withstand such winds.  The thunder was loud enough on several occasions to be felt in my chest, and wild enough to crackle like fireworks.  Lightning blazed in the sky.  My hair curled crazily with the wind and the humidity, but the porch roof kept me dry except my bare feet and legs. It was magnificent.

I wonder how many people go out to sit and watch a storm?  I don't remember ever being frightened of them growing up, but the thirty years I spent most recently living on the open prairie made me somewhat nervous of them.  With nothing to stop the wind, it becomes a force with which to be reckoned.  Now that I live in a more sheltered place, I'm rediscovering my love of these great works of Nature.

With all that's going on in my life right now, I think it was a good thing for me to sit out and watch a thunderstorm.  It helped me remember that I am just a very small part of this universe we inhabit, and that the problems that take up so much of my thoughts are proportionately small, as well.  It helped me try to slow down...take it easy...just be.

It's a good lesson for me in these trying days.  I do love a good storm.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In Pursuit of Clarity...
A few days ago, I made a blog entry titled This Was My Sister.  You can read it by clicking the title.  The intended point of my words was that the wonderful, vibrant, funny, beautiful, loving, smart, giving, talented, and absolutely marvelous person I grew up knowing as my sister is being stolen from us by a cancerous tumor in the speech and language portion of her brain.  I wanted to post pictures of her as she was, as I remember her, as I have always known her, so that all would remember that very, very special person whom I love so dearly, and remember her at her best rather than as she is now, to celebrate a life lived to its fullest.
It is tragic that cancer can do this terrible thing.  It is heartbreaking and dreadful.  I know that my sister is still alive and that she is still my sister.  I intended to make the point that even though she still lives, I am mourning the person she was...the person who has been a constant and vitally important part of my life for nearly fifty-four years, the woman who is being taken from us, bit by bit.
I have spent a great deal of time with my sister these past two years as she has fought this horrid monster with all her being.  I have seen her slip away, a little at a time.  It is tearing me apart.
It is apparent, however, that I did not find the right words to make that point.  Someone read the blog entry on my Facebook page, misunderstood what I was trying to say, and felt the need to point out on my page that she IS, not WAS my sister, as if I had not considered that fact. I apologize for any mistakenly-perceived callousness on my behalf.  I assure you all that no harm was intended.  I don't know any better way to say it.  If I offended, I hope I can be forgiven.  I am just a sister, mourning the impending loss of a sister, and I don't know how I will go on without her in my life. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like...
This is a new phenomenon on the Internet, where one can paste a sample of one's writing and it is analyzed to compare it with famous authors. 

I write like
Margaret Mitchell
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Poor Ms. Mitchell...I guess I've read Gone With the Wind too many times over the years! :D

I write like
Margaret Atwood
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

But then, I also write like Margaret Atwood...maybe this all just means that I should have been named 'Margaret'?

Wait...I also write like Kurt Vonnegut. I guess I need to find a writing style of my own.

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
William Gibson
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Leo Tolstoy
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Harry Harrison
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Who???  Off to Amazon to do a little writer-research...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

This Was My Sister...
I have never been in this world without a sister. Mine is ten years older than I, and I can say with some surety that we have never had a cross word with one another.  Two years ago last March, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the same sort that Edward Kennedy had.  She has been fighting it ever since.  Her husband of just one year at the time of her diagnosis has been a constant and tender caregiver.  Lately, the cancer has been stealing away small pieces of her, making it more and more difficult to communicate.  Yesterday, she fell while her husband was at work, and may have hit her head.  At any rate, she was admitted to the hospital, and today we met with Hospice.  There are no words strong enough, so I will let these images speak for me.  Click on the images to view them in a larger size. 

Monday, July 05, 2010

My Boy!
I do love this face...

He spent a night and a day with me last week, and we had a fine time.  We weeded the garden, and he sang to the plants to help them grow...he said they were growing faster when he sang.  :)  Thank you to a dear friend who suggested that plants might grow better when sung to by children!

And then we picked blackberries, and "I eated them ALL, dramma."   As if I couldn't tell by the color of that face and those hands. :)
Then we went to my place of employment to pick up my paycheck.  I took him to my new store and let him explore.  The store was busy while we were there, and he helped me wait on a customer.
Next, we visited the building where I used to work.  We rode the carousel, he got to choose a small toy, and we had a soft pretzel and a drink.
Then home, for a 'peanut-belly-&-sammich' and a short rest on the porch swing.
It was a very, very fine day.
Click on the song title to be taken to a YouTube video of this song.

John Lennon

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient
'Cause it's a long way to go
A hard row to hoe
Yes it's a long way to go
But in the meantime

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy