Thursday, December 31, 2020

Theft and Crafting?

 You know how it goes--one memory sparks another. Never a bonfire, thankfully, but little fires hither and thither. So naturally, another senior year moment popped up--featuring our small town's women's club. 

I remember when it was Mom's turn to host the club, because it always meant she'd make a special dessert that wasn't for us. <cue sad violin> I'm guessing they did projects and had fundraisers (bake sales?). One year, they took their hard raised money and purchased a sturdy wood bench, to sit in front of Johnny's market downtown.

I don't know why that bench chafed us teens so. We couldn't see the purpose. Where we did see a purpose for the bench, was in our "senior hall". We talked about it and came up with a plan to make it ours, but it was all a silly diversion. Until ... I bet it was Timmy, with a small crew, went down school house hill and freed that bench.

Oh the elation, when we came to school the following day! There it was! Sitting in our hall! The adults were beside themselves--nothing new there, as far as our class was concerned. We declared it was our senior art project.We sanded, carved our initials, sanded more and finally it was time for the shellac. What a thing of beauty! 

And now, as an adult, I wonder why the women's club let us keep it. Because we all know, that's the only reason it became ours. And I wonder where it went after we left? Does anyone remember or are the adults involved all gone? <shrug> Hard to say, but I'm glad that memory rose to the surface. Love, K

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

More Ridiculous Me

 This week, I had the opportunity to finally recognize/pay heed to one of my many human quirks. Yay? It's about buying clothes--something most do from time to time. 

One of my favorite shops had a nice sale this autumn. I found a shirt I loved and bought it. Once it arrived, I admired its cut and fit, put it in the wash and then eventually, hung it in the closet. Each morning, I'd look at that shirt and ponder when I'd have the chance to wear it ---and wished it was soon.

Then one morning, it dawns on me . . . what the heck are you saving that shirt for, K? The thrift shop? Good grief! Not only are you retired and cannot wear it to work, but it's a fekking pandemic, K. Wear that lovely shirt FOR YOU. And so I did. 

Love, Ridiculous K

Monday, December 28, 2020

A Golden Day

 Our ragtag group of classmates, didn't really coalesce until the summer before our senior year. Before that, it seemed we were all divided into groups whose edges rarely touched--except for the cruelty that was dispensed between the groups. We excelled at that. But that senior year, we hung out, smoked the weed, drank what we had and listened to music. So much music. 

One day, in particular, stands out: we were gathered at the other David's house (one of three or four classmates, no longer living)--a rarity, but it was a rare year. David had just been to a Springsteen concert and was eager to share the (life changing) album with the rest of us--Born to Run, was playing loud throughout the house, as we enjoyed the day and the moment. A golden day.

Love, K

Sunday, December 27, 2020

His Grandmother's Cashews

 I've mentioned a childhood friend named David more than once here, but there were two Davids in my class. At least I think that's correct--we did have five Jeff's in a class of fifty five-ish. (That actor must've made quite the impression on those parents--couldn't have been just the mothers. Am I right?)

One long time memory of David B-- was gifting (they'd discover later it was temporary) his wristwatch to whichever classmate took his fancy. Eventually, it became a competition to see who could keep it the longest or receive it next.

When we were older--maybe middle school--he asked me to join him on an errand. Maybe it was lunch time. Naive me, didn't ask questions, I just chummed along--something I learned at a young age. We went to his grandmother's house, perhaps he was doing a promised chore. 

Speaking of naive, he left me sitting alone in her immaculate living room, in front of a coffee table with a lovely cut glass dish heaping full of some kind of nut. He asked if I'd ever had a cashew before, "try one. they're good", he urged. David wasn't kidding! They were good! They were irresistible! 

I can still see that look on his face (shock? awe? horror? fear of grandma?), when he came back into the living room and saw the shiny, unnutty, bottom of that cut glass dish. 

"You ate them all?!" 

"They were so good. I couldn't stop."

And that was the last time I was ever taken to David's grandmother's house. The end.

Love, K


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Childhood Camping

 During my growing up years, camping with my folks, was never at a campground. Even now, I believe it was something at the very core of my father's being, that kept him from embracing using his hard earned money to camp. It's something we may have teased him about, as we were raising our own crew of minions. 

The favorite spot, for a number of years, was Dry Creek. The space where our pick-up and canopy (and later, the camper) was parked, along with the friends and family vehicles, was probably created for water trucks to fill up during slash burning or forest fire season. There were plenty of trees and a fisherman's path to and along the creek. 

Come morning, the men would leave early with their poles and creels and then the women and children, would take chairs and head down to the rocky beach. We'd take off our shoes and socks and cool off our feet or, if you were me, you'd build a rocky dam. 

Years later, when we had families of our own, we'd tease dad about his camping spots. And tell our children that their grandpa was perfectly fine with camping on the shoulder of a highway or in an abandoned rock pit, and enjoy the looks on their faces. Thankfully, the littles never asked about the bathroom situation. 

Love, K

Friday, December 25, 2020

We're All Swimming to the Other Side

I can remember driving south on I-5, when this piece came on the radio, eighteen years ago. And the featured song, still lives strong inside my head--like an anthem that lifts you up and urges you to sing along. Enjoy, K 

 'Swimming to the Other Side' May 22, 200212:00 AM ET Heard on All Things Considered 10-Minute Listen

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Gray, Grayer, Grayest

 Little doubt that I've written about this before--how the pandemic has made daily/weekly mood cycles more noticeable or not as easy to ignore. At least that's how it's been for me. 

Last night, as some old irritation, wound or shame, rose up out of the old gray matter, instead of attempting to redirect my thoughts, I took my own hand and led myself over to the old irritation to peer closely to see what truths I could tease out. "See, K. There's nothing here. Never was."

It's an interesting exercise, but sometimes I forget or I'm not able to take that mental walk. I reckon it has much to do with what shade of gray has gathered in my head--the lighter the better. 

During the lighter days, it's easier to find and dig into those old dust motes. And, often, there is no shame or bad response or blame for me to accept. Often, it's all in my head. How's yours?

Love, K

Monday, December 21, 2020

New Experiences for an Awkward Child?

 Growing up in a big family (by today's standards), eking out a life in a small town, I had few outside of the "shire" experiences during my growing up years--except for camping, trips to the store, visits to and the occasional meal at a neighbor's house. Yup, that about covers it.

I do remember being taken to the neighboring town to a Chinese restaurant with my folks and their friends--probably an issue with noone to watch me at home. I ordered a hamburger and my folk's friend, Ray, began feeding me morsels from his plate. Sweet Ray.

And then it was time for some kind of special class field trip to Portland, while I was attending high school. We may have gone to the zoo and the forestry center (I honestly have no memory) and then ended at the old downtown Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner.

About half of my fifty-fiveish classmates had been there before, but it was all new to me. There was much to take in--the quirky old building, the interesting seating and the people. So many people. 

When the waiter came to take our orders, I was completely at sea--green salad? Salad Dressing? Menu items that were completely foreign to me. Not a great feeling, when you're amongst your peers. 

My childhood bud, David, was beside me trying to assist with my choices, but was bewildered when I said no dressing on my salad. And, to be honest, once that bowl of green arrived--I was also bewildered. I'm sure I provided entertainment to my more experienced classmates. So that's something . . . 

Love, K

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Shadows in the Night

 Are we born programmed to be cautious or afraid of shadows? I've often hoped that was the reason for my fruitcake-ish behavior over the decades--mainly during the young years. 

The chair at my childhood bedroom desk, would often become a creature watching me huddled in bed, especially when clothing was draped over it. Or if I forgot to slide my closet shut, I'd wake to creatures fluttering out and had to pull the covers over my head to keep them from ... coming to get me? Hard to say, with a small brain seeing a threat and not ready to listen to reason.

But there's one night that stands out. I may have reached adolescence, a bit of a guess. What I do remember, was the shadow on my bedroom curtains--no doubt about it, there was a person in a cape and a Dick Tracy fedora, right outside my window. 

My first thought--how to alert my parents, while frozen to my bed? I began to hit my hand against the wall separating my room and their closet, "whump, whump, whump". And then Dad, in Mother's robe, appeared at my door, "what's wrong?", he may have asked. All I could do was raise my arm and point at the window. 

I remember Dad starting to explain that there must be an easy explanation--right before he darted outside to see what in the world that shadow could be. When he returned, he was chuckling and filled me in on how my Uncle Pete's horse, Dutch, we were boarding, was near our mercury vapor light, with his rear hooves on an incline and ears just visible above his rump. Dutch the vampire horse! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Halloween or Hallo-won't

The year was 1991. The month was October. The day? The thirty-first. That was when our small family unit relocated to Salem. 

Such a full day: 

  • meeting at the title company, 
  • denied keys, 
  • broker advocating on our behalf due to a listing agent's upset over not having been the seller,
  • realtor bringing us McD's breakfast and a fig tree to soothe our upset,
  • finally emptying contents of moving truck into house,
  • and then the realization of ... the date. 
As the day crept towards late afternoon, oldest offspring began to ask about Halloween. My lame response: "On our moving day? I was thinking you could pass out candy to meet the new neighbors.", I uttered unsympathetically. 

Silly me, I thought I'd won and all was settled. But unbeknownst to me, the offspring had shifted their strategy towards N. Once the contingent of three, reappeared to talk to me, I learned that N had brainstormed costume ideas and settled the young and then he was ready to settle me. 

Such a sweet memory, of how he advocated for the kiddos, and made me see that it could easily be done. I bet he even drove to the store to buy the candy for the trick or treaters. That's my N. Me? I stayed and answered the doorbell. I smiled and handed out candy--even to the tyke who asked where Mrs. SoAndSo went and how much they liked her.

Love, K

Monday, December 14, 2020

Dusting the Dough

 The period of time, that all of my siblings were under the home roof, was a brief blip on my timeline. Which probably explains how few of those memories are still active in my head. 

One that shines bright, was a sibling cookie making effort. I have to believe that sister S, was in charge--she was born to manage and tend. My spot, was atop a stool. The cookies, were Snickerdoodles. And with several workers shaking the dough balls in paper bags in the room, the air was filled with sweet cinnamon.

A sweet moment for all. Love, K

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Tickled While Falling Asleep ...

 As I lay in bed last night, willing my body to become one with the mattress, a moment from years back popped up and brought a smile. The memory was attached to a "get to know you" conversation with a work bud and mentioned childhood neighbors, Grandma and Grandpa Curly. I can still hear the two beats of quiet and then, 

"wait--your neighbors were your grandparents?"

"No. No relation to us, but that's what I grew up calling them."

Something that had never seemed different or odd to me, but I was suddenly seeing it through another's eyes. And saw the amusement--especially when they added that they thought the name sounded like something a child might come up with on their own.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

And the People Stayed Home . . .

This afternoon has found me reading this article about a woman who wrote a poem that has resonated and inspired a book and videos like this:


And the People Stayed Home ~ Poem by Kitty O'Meara

And people stayed home 
and read books and listened 
and rested and exercised 
and made art and played 
and learned new ways of being 
and stopped 
and listened deeper  

someone meditated 
someone prayed 
someone danced 
someone met their shadow 

and people began to think differently 
and people healed 
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways, 
dangerous, meaningless and heartless, 
even the earth began to heal 

 and when the danger ended 
and people found each other 
grieved for the dead people 
and they made new choices 
and dreamed of new visions 
and created new ways of life 
and healed the earth completely 
just as they were healed themselves.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Caught in a Book Passage

 Last night, as I read my current novel before bed, I found myself. There I was, tucked neatly within a paragraph, in words of the young main character, describing how his mother coped with life "by appeasing".

It was a revelation that felt like a slap across the face. And my first thought-- was appeasing something I adapted to ease my way in the world OR was I born that way? Appeasement--perhaps that was my tool as part of the family constellation. 

I read a book about family dynamics thirty plus years ago and it was the first time I found words to describe what I'd witnessed in my own family as a child. Families are like living breathing organisms, each member unknowingly influencing the behavior of the other members. 

And now, after a quick search, I see when you search for "family constellations", you mostly get information about the therapy that has blossomed since. And, once again, I mourn the rabbit hole searches without all of the commerce sites. Sigh. Love, K

Sunday, December 6, 2020

A Seinfeld Nod

Was thinking I ought to do a Seinfeld post--you know . . . about nothing. 

Yeah, this is my current brain status during these seasons of Covid. 

I've been feeling more lethargic, forgetful, and ridiculous. How about you? 

Love, K