Friday, October 28, 2022

A Glass of Blessings

Well, it's the title of a Barbara Pym book, a phrase from a George Herbert poem, and, for me, a fancy way of saying TGIF! I am glad that it's Friday! I'm exhausted and, indeed, grateful. Grateful, in part, that I will raise a glass (of blessings) at book group tonight, discussing Notes from a Young Black Chef, by Kwame Onwuachi. Grateful that 1) both parents are getting better, little by little and 2) my dad will have a follow-up appointment tomorrow, to relieve (I hope) some ongoing discomforts. Grateful for the support of hubby and siblings during this trying time.

Grateful that I had dessert first--if not ice cream for dinner--earlier this week at the history museum, a thank-you celebration for those of us who worked on the annual cemetery walk. It was an ice cream social, with excellent ice cream, mix-ins, and both caramel and chocolate syrups! We got to color--with markers--little wooden Halloween pins. Our table had ghosts saying, "Boo!" Other tables had pumpkins and bats. Grateful that my little pin turned up, which I thought I had (immediately) lost!

Grateful that I got to see a Halloween parade of little ones in costume at the library! I hope I remember to wear my lacy white witch's hat with a white owl on top to the library on Monday! Grateful to have seen Batman walking down the sidewalk as I emerged from the parking garage today in beautiful Uptown Normal! 


OK, I did label this post a Cranky Doodle Day in the blog, but I am not now cranky, not at all. There was a lingering crankiness earlier this week, from various things, but it has lifted! I am even grateful for the latest poetry rejection because it was a nice no, wanting to see more, from a major publication! I have gotten their standard rejection before, so I know they mean it. Wooee! Yes to no!

Grateful that I finally got to train our new Artist Watch editor at EIL via phone call and simultaneous work at the site. Both of us have already busy lives with extra stuff going on right now. Grateful that I made further progress on a book review before the next interruption. Grateful that I can run errands for my parents! Grateful (and amazed) that both my kids bought houses this month! That a local friend found her dream house. That another friend is slowly getting better after a fall.... That blogger friends who were sad are beginning to come back to joy.

Did I mention that I saw Batman?!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

10,000 Steps

It's been a stressful three weeks, but things have settled down a bit with my parents' health worries, and we had a return of warm weather, so, whew! Wishing you all relief from your own worries, and joy in the changing season. I took a lovely walk with friends yesterday, full of light and color, as the leaves drifted down on the hiking-biking trail. Mary, with the fitbit among us, said, "10,000 steps." 

Reading helped during the stress, a way to step aside, as did doing crossword puzzles in old New Yorkers, passed along to me by my mom, for me to read and recycle. "Watch out," she said, "you can get hooked." I did. Going to and from the hospital in Peoria, we had lunch twice, and pie once, at Busy Corner, a popular eating place at, yes, a busy corner. And saw the colors of the changing leaves by the side of the road. A joy to my mom. Less so to my colorblind dad, but his joy was getting out of the hospital!

Reading books with colorful covers, too. Balladz by Sharon Olds and Where Are the Snows by Kathleen Rooney, the latter in my stack of books to review for Escape Into Life. I need to 1) read slowly and repeatedly for a review 2) have a clear mind, ability to I am behind in this task. But I got the laundry done! Plus, these two books look great on my coffee table.

My own poetry waits patiently for me to get back to it. I have a composition book at hand for bits of inspiration. I flip back through the pages and see lots of actual poems there, awaiting revision and assembly. I have sent out a few things, received a few rejections, and one wonderful acceptance. A nice surprise. 

I'll keep on. Many more steps.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

And Now I Spill the Family Secrets

Well, I had just fallen asleep on the couch, having finished Nightwoods, by Charles Frazier, a dark but strangely "cleans[ing]" tale (to almost quote from its final sentence), when my husband woke me to summon me to the latest emergency. So: 2 ER trips by ambulance in the same week, one for each parent. Both involving the nose, and blood, to make it a Random Coinciday in the blog. But we are getting through, with a little help from our friends, support from family, and polite and patient health care professionals. Thank you, OSF! Thank you, Devon, for the apple butter, Ellen, for the extra coffee maker, and Kim, for ongoing support and friendship. Thanks to siblings & their spouses and my own hubby, too! My dad got a lowdown ride in his Miata at one point. Talk about random!

I think I need a walk in the chilly sunshine. I will go mail letters at the P.O. and walk through the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, instead of the nightwoods. I will catch up on work and sleep when I can. And Now I Spill the Family Secrets, by Margaret Kimball, is a fascinating memoir & graphic novel I read for the yearround Adult Reading Challenge at the Normal Public Library. October is graphic novel month. I have had a pretty graphic October so far.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Some Tame Gazelle which Barbara Pym anticipates Marie Kondo

I recently re-read Some Tame Gazelle, by Barbara Pym, after I read a new biography of Pym, The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym, by Paula Byrne. It was fun to re-encounter the sisters Belinda and Harriet (middle-aged "spinsters") knowing that Pym as a young woman had imagined a life similar to the one she later lived, roommates with her own middle-aged sister!

And imagine my delight, after having read the Marie Kondo book on tidying up (as both a physical and spiritual activity), on finding this passage in Some Tame Gazelle:

"'It's no use being sentimental about things,' said Harriet. 'You shouldn't keep a clutter of clothes you never wear just because you once liked them.'

"Belinda made no comment on this, for she was thinking that Harriet's words might be applied to more serious things than clothes. If only one could clear out one's mind and heart as ruthlessly as one did one's wardrobe..."

I'm glad I got rid of clothes and books this summer, but not my goofy little Pym paperbacks! With weirder covers than anything shown here. And I'm working hard, but I hope generously not ruthlessly, on clearing out my mind and heart!

It's been an exhausting couple of weeks. Partly because of the annual cemetery walk last week, a lovely community event, for which we had excellent weather, and partly because this week my mom had a fall. She is fine now, amazingly healthy overall, but it was stressful and scary for everyone, especially her. She is so glad to be home. 

Me, too, and so glad it's Friday. Chilly. It will be the coldest year ever for the Sugar Creek Arts Festival, moved from July to October to avoid the heat...but now folks had better be bundled up in layers! Art in the streets!! And maybe funnel cakes and elephant ears! And kettle corn! Hoping my mom stays home this year. But we have found her cane! And maybe I could find a few more at the arts festival! To leave here and there around the house...

Hey, there are actually gazelles on this last sample book cover! Wait! Is it possible that Marie Kondo used Barbara Pym as an epigraph to her own book, and I had already encountered this random coincidence?! I don't know! I gave the book away! Twice!!