Barn and Bed

Barn and Bed

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Scarf

           I've been cleaning computer files, updating, moving items around and found this in my "document" files.  A story I wrote for my dearest niece upon her 40th Birthday.  I'm so glad I found it and could share this....she is one very special young woman.  

                             


 She gazed out to the farthest point to sea as the sun began its slow descent towards the horizon.  She was middle in the cup of the bay, with the craggy steep cliffs to her left and right.  Her eyes closed softly and her ears opened to the laughter below on the beach.  She thought she might have heard her sons voices amidst those of the other children playing on the beach or in the gentle methodical waves. 

   She listened intently upon the waves that almost mimicked her heart at that moment.  The pause as a wave gathers offshore. That quiet, yet momentous moment before it spills over and rushes to the shore.  She sees in her mind as the sea devours the sand and lashes out to bare toes, then feet, then ankles, then calves and knows the little scream one makes because of the chill the water brings.  A smile forms and she opens her eyes. 

     Her scarf flutters over her eyes shielding the view that she wants to see of what she was thinking.  She wants to see what she hears of the children.  Was she not a carefree child not more than it takes for a wave to melt a sand castle?  She pulls back the scarf the color of indigo blue and sand.  It was as light and wispy as a lazy kite in the sky. 

     She inhales and the acrid smell of seaweed lying on the beach hits her nose.  The smell brings up memories of dragging large seaweed ropes along the sand.  Or the time when they all pretended it was a large slithering snake and how her children jumped away as she ran after them with the bulbous end that might “bite” them.  She laughs slightly to herself of those times.  This is a place of joy, a place of memory making.

     The sun slips down closer to the sea almost to the point where it will be ablaze in shades of red, orange and yellow.  She knows that her family will want her there with them as the sunset begins and hits the surface then dissolves into the deep blue sea.  It was voted upon to stay at the beach till the first star twinkled in the sky.  What that really meant was till the sky was filled with stars.  They would all lie on the big quilt looking upward to count the stars and find the constellations.  Times like this made magic because of her husband.  Stories would abound as he talked.  She knew he would reach for her to cuddle close and she would listen as the boys discovered the Milky Way. 

     She begins the walk down the rocky cliff trail careful not to slip.  Her scarf is wild in the breeze that blows up to the cliffs from the beach.  She wraps it once then twice and finishes it by making a soft over under slip as though she was tying her shoelaces.  She recites to herself as she sinks her toes in the cooling sand that squishes and squashes beneath her.


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
 i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)



(Poem i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

               by E. E. Cummings) 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

And so it goes......

My dining room is beginning to reappear.  It's been missing for the past nine months.  Removing the last personal effects from my mom's home, stuffing it wherever I could find a table, under beds, closets, and sadly even the floors when there were no other options, just getting it out of her home and closing the door forever.  Bit by bit I'm reclaiming my home and the dust that lies beneath all those boxes and table tops.  Dear daughter's bedroom....that will take some time to deal with.

What does one do with a framed honorary degree when my mom didn't go to the college but was generous in giving to the school?  I can't even begin to say how many plaques I threw out.  What would I do with them?!  If I deemed it worthy of saving for some historical family pass down, then I saved it.  Clearly my parents were movers and shakers in their social time, yet to hold on to these framed, engraved, and even a statue, I had to draw the line.  I'm proud of all the honors bestowed upon them, I just can't have it become needing of it's own trophy room.  

With months going by and my wandering in the room occasionally, I have had the chance to think about whether to keep the tall, single, glass, candle holder.  Today I decided to let it go.  It is lovely but doesn't go in our home.  Still it has taken me nine months to make the decision.  I wish I had kept the decorative asian brasier I sold because I didn't know where to put it in our home.  She would put orchids in it but wouldn't it have been entertaining to have used it the way it was meant to?  No I kept the stupid tall glass candle holder.  Those rapid fire decisions we had to make when her home sold with a 30 day closing still haunt me every once in awhile.  Then I sweep the thoughts away knowing they were just material items without any family heirloom title of how they came to be in her home.  



With Thanksgiving mere months away,  I'm determined to get the dining room emptied and cleaned.  Polish the silver that has been slowly turning blue-grey.  That will take some serious time to bring back to a sparkling clean.  Speaking of silver, what does one do with unwanted silver?  I have too many large trays.  I mean LARGE!  Who buys this stuff anymore?  Who uses this if they have it?!  The silver will be the next project of what I will keep and what will be sold.  Then E. will have her room back.  I laugh about this as I still label my children's rooms even though they don't live here.  I should say, we will have a guest room back that one won't trip over the multitude of boxes under the bed and around the room.  The closet will be another project if I don't forget what is in there.  I sort of have.....

I thought I should check the boxes on one side of the bed and low and behold I found a box full to the brim with table linens.  I thought I had absorbed it all with my linens.  Clearly not.  I put the lid back on and pushed the box under the bed.  It can wait.  I brought two more  boxes, filled with wine goblets, that I placed side by side with the other boxes with the last available space.  My conclusion being that wine glasses always seem to break and I can just replace as needed with these.  

The Asian clock is keeping me busy.  It doesn't like to stop.  If it stops and I rewind it, it gets goofy by being off by 15 minutes.  Even without fiddling with the pendulum.   I correct the hands, making sure the hour chime is right, only moving the minute hand, and it still will be off.  It takes me multiple times of correcting and finally changing the pendulum to have it working perfectly.  I had no idea it would be so fussy.  No matter, I do have a fondness for it and the quirkiness of it is probably why.  A couple of weeks ago the hour hand had come loose and was just swinging if touched instead of being firmly attached to the small square piece that it and the minute hand are attached to.  I sort of panicked, fearing I might break it if I pushed it back on.  I let it sit a day and then decided that I'm in charge of this clock and I will fix it.  I can do this!  Carefully I pushed it slowing and tentatively back in place.  It held!    Bless my mom's housekeeper for keeping that clocking working all the years it was in her home. 

And so it goes on this beautiful Indian summer day.  Trying to empty out a room and resting off and on to hopefully get rid of a lingering virus.  



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

To Dance Amongst Words

I'm trying to find the magic time to write when my mind is open and the house is quiet.  One would think with only two in the house that it is quiet.  It just seems that I have been doing the humdrum home care as well as enjoying the time while my middle daughter E. was visiting us.  One's children fly home and that is the time to savor with them.  My time will come.....

I've been reading blogs of others I've neglected.  I use to be able to read them with my morning coffee and then the past year swept that time and my heart away.  Sort of like listening to the radio in the car and singing with gusto.  I'm still enjoying the quiet of sitting in the car.  I find this odd but I'm going with it.  It's sort of comforting to drive along hearing the subtle sounds my car makes which isn't a lot as it is a hybrid.   I still sing at times, but I'm getting annoyed with the radio stations when they start playing the same songs that I hear a bit too much of.  Yes,  I could bring the iPod.

What thoughts transpire these days.....

I am amazed with the fact that my son is so far away.  Yes, I of course!  He is in college!  It's just such an odd feeling, me the mother of four,  the last one gone and I am just swirling this around and around in my head of how this affects me. 

I wonder if he misses us.

Does he think about us?

What does he miss most of all?

When I left home I was ready and packed as soon as I had a place to go.  But I had a Dr. Jeckll and Mr. Hyde mom that on one hand could be loving and dear and then be all over me over absolutely nothing.  So yes, I was ready to get out of the house.  I choose to go to a nearby college and since my Papa was a Developer and his business was also managing apartments that they owned, I moved into one of his apartments when I graduated from high school.  Quite the big step and we picked out furniture for the apartment from a recent closing of Model Homes that his company had built.  One special piece of furniture did not come from there.  My Love, my boyfriend all those years ago, had made me a lovely round oak table with claw feet.  

I knew nothing of cooking.  Thank goodness for my Love and his mom who had us over for dinner many a night.  That and the many afternoons I would go to her house, have tea and have the best woman to woman talks.  I cooked strange combinations of food.  Certainly not balanced.  My parents would take me out as well from time to time.  I had a lot to learn of being on my own.

My Love and I had a love nest.  It was wonderful to be with him in the evening, sort of like I imagined married life might be.  I would do my homework and he would be reading in bed.  Then I would turn out the lights and snuggle with him, night after night after night.....

My time away from home is far different than my son and that is fine by me.  

The writing....I want to dance with my thoughts!  Like having a waltz playing and my fingers and thoughts are like a dancer's feet, they tap and are ready.  Who will take my hand?  Out on the floor I will step and be caught up in the motion that will sweep me along.


Like the song "To Be Surprised", that I will be....whatever flows will flow.

Very soon we will be back East, exactly where we were two years ago to the date of our daughter K. and her hubby B.'s wedding!



I'm looking forward to walking in the field they were married in.  To see the changing colors just as we did and let my mind fill with the sweet memories of that whole wedding trip. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Choose Love



Without children living at home, the new title of empty nester still quite new, my thoughts swoop to places uncharted.  Only fifteen days without R. in the nest and fifteen days of being a "just the two of us" with five of those at a family wedding.  Stop counting Ellen.  That is me, the one who logs down emotions and thoughts, calculations of living.  I can't help it. 

So what one may ask, is transpiring in those thoughts?  A lot.  Given that it has been a year of extreme lows and extreme highs I can't help but think these thoughts belong on a trapeze.  Swinging back and forth, being caught (God I love my husband for holding me tight), swinging out freely on my own (God I'm grateful for my self-stability and trust in myself), then from lofty heights I fall into a soft net of my loving family.

After watching my mom lose herself from Alzheimer's, with urgency I wish to live more fully.  I want to do it all.  I want to go everywhere, NOW.  Not later, now.  I want to smell every flower, touch the softness of every petal and hold it's delicate blossom knowing soon it will fade.  It's not that I am thinking of my own demise, though those thoughts certainly have come up when you lose your parents and wonder "what now?".    Rather than take that step to that door, I choose life and that other door called living.  

Sometimes my thoughts travel back to when Papa died and that turning point where I knew my mom was dying, figuratively, because she gave up on ever being truly happy again.  Fourteen years of living but not wanting to be living.  Then the last three + years where her brain became emptied unvoluntarily.  I've wondered if her ability to love was only for him.  What might cause one to abandon the essence of loving?   One can give and give your love to someone who has given up on love and in doing so you can become weakened and can find yourself hurt, angry, and in the end with my mom I became empathetic.  Deep inside I knew there was nothing left that I could do to help her.  

I'm blessed to be married to this man, my Love.  He has loved me through every stage of my life and I to him.  We both yearn to see the world and to be with our family whenever we can.  I'm ready to allow myself to be silly, something that has been lost to me for quite some time.  Laugh at myself, love myself, discover who I am and whom I shall continue to learn about.  



Time is precious.  Neither of us want to waste a moment to live in happiness.  We can't avoid the days that surely will come of grief or sadness.  Slump days will happen, illness will happen, days of utter delight will happen.  Balance.  Karma.  Yin-Yang.  

What I'm observing in myself since R. has left is the renewal of the amazing relationship I have with my Love.  It's sort of like dating all over again.  And that is pretty darn fun.  I'm learning to listen with intent and not with "uh-huh" half heartedly.  When you are in a relationship that spans as long as we have you can sometimes not listen with both ears.  I've done this and he has too.  I'm ready to woo and be wooed.  So what that we have been married for 37 years?  Let's begin again and again.....

 I choose Love.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Going. Be Brave.




It's Sunday, the day before we leave to take R. to college.  He is packed, the earliest I've ever seen him pack up to go anywhere.  I showed him how to fold a dress shirt and gave him a lesson of how my mom would pack her clothes.  Lay the garment button side down, take some tissue doubled and lay it flat on top of the garment, fold to about 2 inches to the neck down the body of the shirt, folding sleeves carefully in the body on top of the previous fold, fold again in half.  My mom for extra measure to prevent wrinkles would add extra tissue before the fold.  Sometimes she would then lay the garment inside a dry cleaners bag before putting in a suitcase.  It worked.  Prevented some serious wrinkles.  R. won't be doing this but the pearls of wisdom must be shared if only for me to talk out loud with motherly advice.

My Love is wandering around, bringing items to R.'s room.  Something he normally does not do.  He took a long bike ride and a short nap but then he was looking for what he could do to help.  Clearly R. needs no help from us.  We have passed this on over the years leading up to this day.

And I, what do I do?  I was great this morning.  Happy and cheerful.  I went to my gym and all was well until the folding advice.  Then it started, the thoughts of him being away and my tears that run down my cheeks, come and go.  I have a hard time with goodbyes.  Even when I know that I will see a loved one again.  It's the goodbye.  I washed the last few items he was going to pack and laid them on his crumpled bedsheets.   When R. was little I taught him how to make his bed and explained that it was a chore that he was responsible for.  And he did make that bed every day except Friday when it was sheet changing day.  He has always been responsible.

Then he became a teen and the bed chore sort of passed.  Having had the three girls before him and all the difficulties of what to push with teenagers, I chose to let that go.  Pick your battles.  A bed not made is not a big deal.  I don't sleep in it and it is out of my view.  The one day of the week I make it is sheet washing day.  I did it lovingly because I knew there would be a day he would not be here and this room would languish in a slumber that empty rooms do till someone needs that bed.  

His room use to back up to ours from birth till near 4th grade when we moved him back to one of his sister's former rooms.  We got a queen bed instead of moving the twin knowing that he would be growing.  That queen bed gave him the ability to sleep diagonal which I never could understand.  It gave him the ability to make the duvet go sideways and the sheets pushed to the foot of the bed unused.  Pillows all over the place but always on the bed.  Frankly I couldn't sleep that way but for his teenage rest it was heaven.  He does like that bed and now he will have to resort to Twin XL.  From four pillows to two.  From mom changing sheets to him doing it all.

Quiet day, heavy in the air of departure.  Lost parents not knowing which way to go.  Not knowing what to say to each other because any possible thought could send us both into an emotional trigger of tears.  "Be brave", my mommy mantra of the day that is said calmly in my head and heart.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who Knows Where the Time Goes



Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
Oh but then you know, it was time for them to go
By the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I do not count the time
for who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
Sad, deserted shore
your fickle friends are leaving
oh, but then you know it was time for them to go
But I will still be here
I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time
for who knows where the time goes?
I know I'm not alone
while my love is near me
I know that its so until its time to go
All the storms in Winter and the birds in Spring again
I do not count the time
For who knows where the time goes?
who knows where the time goes?
who knows where the time goes? 



Last time I posted this song it was on my other blog A Walk into Oblivion and it sang to me of my mom and Papa being gone.  It was sung by Sandy Denny who sang it with a longing of past days that were no longer.   My heart ached knowing my parents would not be around for all the happy times ahead or even the times of sadness that inevitability come.

When I heard this version it felt different.   Not full of melancholy, but of life moving forward.  We can't escape times past yet ever we move forward with fond, dear memories.  With R. leaving a lot of emotions well up in my heart.  He is leaving home earlier than originally as he is joining a Fraternity and they move in a full eighteen days earlier than the dorm he was to go.  Oh me, the mother in me counting the days till my fledgling leaves the nest.  My excitement for him is full indeed but let's be real.  We all remember when we first left home.  Coming back to mom and dad's home was different because we were different.  We separated and begin our own life, our own story that was just beginning.  So many new adventures, new faces, new places, new struggles but through each new beginning the home we remember living in was fading.  The child, now grown, takes flight with wings and eyes wide open.  

It's busy in my head with lists of items to get when we arrive in his new city to live for the next four years.  What will he need in the fraternity house different from the dorm?  Won't know till we see the room and that is fine.  I could order items at Bed, Bath and Beyond in a registry and they will have it ready for me when we get to Washington but in the real world for me right now is we don't have time to go wandering in a big store for useful and needed items when we leave in such a short time.  If truth be known, if there is a closet, a small dresser then he will be fine.  I'm making a list of what I know will be handy.  I'm good at making lists.

 I hope he will take it his guitar.  I've noticed he isn't playing as much as he use to which was constantly, but to imagine him without a guitar I just don't know.  I don't know if I could wander into his room and see all the guitars left behind, idle, and collecting dust and going out of tune.  I just don't know.  And what of the calluses he has from years of playing?  Or the length of his nails that he has grown for playing his acoustic guitar?  Will he cut them?  Most times his nails look far nicer than mine.  I'm encouraging him to bring it and his sister has as well.  We shall see.   When I hear him play my heart swells with joy.  This I know that music will always be with him and if he doesn't bring the guitar now then maybe at his Thanksgiving break.  Maybe he'll ask me to mail it up to him and I will.  Oh I will!  

I'll leave this post on a high / happy note.  A song that from the moment I heard it reminded me of R. and his future days....


I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh (Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh)
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh (Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh)
I'm never gonna look back, Whoa-Oh
Never gonna give it up, No-Oh
Please don't wake me now
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) Whoo
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
I howled at the moon with friends
And then the sun came crashing in
Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh (Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh)
But all the possibilities
No limits just epiphanies
Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh (Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh)
I'm never gonna look back, Whoa-Oh
Never gonna give it up, No-Oh
Just don't wake me now
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
I hear it calling
Outside my window
I feel it in my soul (Soul)
The stars were burning so bright
The sun was out 'till midnight
I say we lose control (Control)
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-i-ife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) This is gonna be, this is gonna be
This is gonna be, the best day of my life (Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
Everything is looking up, everybody up now
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh)
This is gonna be the best day of my liife
(Ooh, Ooh-Ooh, Ooh) My li-i-i-i-i-ife


 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Letting go



There have been many thoughts going through my mind these many weeks since we came back from vacation.  It's now August, almost a year since my mom passed away.  That is one deep abyss of confusion still of her the mom and the woman.  

Then there is the coming time when my son, my heartbeat these past 18 years, will leave our little nest to begin his life separate from us, his mom and dad.  We may have had four kids, but with R. it has felt like we had an only child since the girls have been out of the nest for quite some time.

It has been bliss.  Truly.  Amazingly.  Bliss.  



A paradox in my life right now of the year anniversary for mom and the beginnings for R. but also for my Love and I too.  Beginnings can be quite unsettling.  How to feel?   I go from weepy eyes and choked up throat to excitement (alone with my Love for the first time since 1980! WOC ~ without children!), pride (so very proud of my R for being the honest, kind, intelligent young man he is), scared (letting go of R...I knew this day was coming but how to let go of my sweet boy?)  

I will.  I'll let go.  

I remember all the walks R. and had I with his little hand in mine.  Soft childish puffy little palm in mine.  I can remember tracing in my mind that a day would come when he would not want me to hold his hand.  Big boy.  Me do it myself time.  And you have to let it happen.  Parents have to let go so often that it begins to blur when and why, only that you do and the child is learning to be their own person, separate from you.

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