Yesterday and the day before I took long walks in the Thanksgiving weekend sunshine, mailing a first batch of Christmas cards at the Uptown post office, avoiding the shopping strip (though I do love our local shops), restocked the Little Free Library with children's Christmas books for Iris Harley, and hung a strip of tiny white lights on the patio door to dangle free and loop around the houseplants. I yearn for a tree. We'll see. I have lost track of the day of the week, but since I did all my housework yesterday, I'll call it a Slattern Day in the blog.
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
I am glad to say these movies have managed to cheer me up, as did a long walk in the afternoon sunshine. I have much to be grateful for, and I am indeed thankful. And I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving weekend, good vaccine news, and merrier times to come.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Probably a cherry cordial Hershey's kiss is not a healthy breakfast, but today it was one of the soft joys keeping me (emotionally & spiritually) alive. We had our weekly grocery shopping date early this morning, and I got the $2.99 special on Hershey's holiday candy (if you buy 5 packages), an item actually on my list, because I had been decorating my house, and it was time to put colorful (individually-wrapped) candy out in the various dishes...for us to eat for several months, as nobody else is coming in our house... Sigh...
But, back to the joy part, I had no trouble picking out 5 bags of what I wanted, including mint, almond, plain milk chocolate, and peppermint bark bells. Instead of eating breakfast, I was placing the dishes around the house. Somehow, this helps.
Likewise, I was delighted with the response to my story, "A Retiring Woman," and grateful to Calyx for publishing it online. My daughter and her boyfriend were gripped by it, and she quoted a passage on integrity of voice. My son said he laughed out loud! Yay! It's a long story, and so many people read it and responded. I am wowed.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Well, I got over yesterday's cranked-up crankiness and actually got even more work done than expected! So today could be an official Slattern Day, except I am actually working from home this afternoon--virtual poetry event at the library--and, as usual, working on various things in my home and home office before and after that. I am glad that Cranky Doodle Day is a fairly rare day among my "eight days a week" regular blog practice, but I suppose the crankiness can build up.
I congratulate all those people who put up their holiday decorations during our warm spell! I am pulling out interior decorations gradually, and I am glad I planted that tiny tree in a pot to decorate with blackberry lily seeds and leftover earrings. Every little bit helps. My chalkboard poem for today is "Sad/Glad," about my children. When I walk into my daughter's room now, I flip the light switch to turn on her string of tree lights left behind...
I walk into the rooms
of my children
who won’t be coming home
for the holidays.
I am glad
they are alive.
I had some good news: my story "A Retiring Woman," which has gone through many revisions and various titles, coming back now to its original title, was first runner up for the Margarita Donnelly Prize in Prose Writing at Calyx. For fellow writers, I've been working on this for years, and years ago I sent it to Calyx, thinking that was the perfect home for it. It was rejected. Back to revision! And back to Calyx! I love how this worked out.
Also, Calyx is in Oregon, and so is my daughter, so it's a Random Coinciday in the blog!
Friday, November 13, 2020
Superstitiously, I also put off posting a poem on my chalkboard by writing a mock-superstitious mock-haiku. No joke, though, I really didn't want to jinx anything by posting the real poem I'd been working on...and I have learned to listen to my gut.
What things make me nervous? Sometimes it's communicating about technology via technology! I'm big on communication but aware that a lot of people don't like to read emails or communicate promptly. So, mixed fear and annoyance about lack of response. Sometimes it's dread of certain people who find fault with anything I do. I know this is probably from their own fears and insecurities, but it still gets to me, hurts my feelings. Sometimes it's because if I say something like that, someone is bound to jump on me and say I'm the one in control of my own responses to other's people's negativity, et cetera, blah blah blah. I'm laughing as I type this but also annoyed!--with them as much as me, BECAUSE, to quote from the musical Company, "I'm a living thing, too, you shithead." Wow, I didn't know that was coming. I guess it's a Cranky Doodle Day in the blog!
Sunday, November 8, 2020
What joy, joy, joy and relief I've been experiencing since yesterday! I'd gone into my front yard at 11:30, maybe to put out the mail? My across-the-street neighbor said, "We've got some good news!" This was the first year her daughter could vote! Yay all around! So many pictures of champagne later in the day, the spread-out family toasting! And all of us had beautiful weather wherever we were, the weather joining in the figuratively/literally thing.
It's Sunday and I've got that "Love thy neighbor as thyself" feeling. Neighbors have been out in the fine weather, so we've been able to chat from an appropriate distance in the fresh air. I still love my back yard neighbors who probably voted differently than I did, the down-the-way not-so-responsible (poop) dog owners, and the neighbor who left conservative/religious books in my Little Free Library as an obvious message (since the yard signs recently in my yard were also an obvious message). Yes, let's heal, work together, and love one another as best we can.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Yesterday, freight trains came through town on both my walks. On the way into town, I saw the marvelous graffiti that gave me this small poem that started as a haiku, expanded into a double haiku (not really a thing), was briefly a reverse haibun (also not a thing) in the bramble, and eventually became two stanzas that fit on a chalkboard.
Graffiti on its box cars
gives me the finger
over and over.
I smile in the sun,
admiring the patient art
of angry artists.
The train was stopped now, all crossing bars down. I could see that no emergency vehicles would be able to get through until the bars went up. The police station, blocks away, is on the other side of the tracks. Et cetera. Drivers continued to make bad choices, especially when the crossing bars went up, and they surged and turned into the path of police cars to get where they wanted to go, but finally help reached the woman, and she walked into the ambulance with two fellows helping. My friend gave a witness statement, and I chatted with a young man with a bike, who had come to work in the building she'd just hit. He had a bandage on his head from an accident that morning--bike, car--and seemed a bit befuddled, repeating his story with exact words to everyone who came near.
Walking away, I could see how easily we could have been in the driver's path. There were two white turn arrows painted on the street. One pointed to the sidewalk a few feet from where we stood, and one pointed to the building where she had crashed. These are advance warning arrows, but it was as if she had followed the second one exactly. Her car took the arrow's path, not the street. How is she doing now, that young woman? What a horrible day for her, on what a beautiful day.
I went home and collected yard signs for candidates (to return or recycle) and raked the side yard of tulip poplar leaves and sat in the back yard with the squirrels and read a book and drafted more poems and said hello to a tiny dog that had been running around the neighborhood and eventually into my back yard (where the gate is stuck open), explaining some past incidences of poop. And now I know the identity of the dog's people...the back yard neighbors down the way who curse a lot. Maybe they'll turn up in a poem someday.