The Emo Queen

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falling asleep on

a pillow soaked with tears makes

for a soggy rest

JSmith 11/12/2017

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Off topic…

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sunday morning sun

slants through the blinds and underscores

the small heap of guy and girlie things

fresh from the dryer and

loitering on the unmade bed

like so many multi-colored Jelly Bellies

oops not a metaphor to pursue

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On making sense of life…

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What a beautiful fall day – doors and windows are open and the air smells clean and new. Farmers Market is winding down for the day, and Kansas Jayhawk football is happening over on the Hill, the culmination of Homecoming Week here. Kim’s watching the game while he cuts up a bigly mountain of peppers to freeze, a generous gift from our friends Terry and Leigh and their bountiful garden.

Well hey, I started this yesterday and then Calgon took me away. It was a good day all the way through…riding with Kim while he ran errands, napping, walking to Cielito for a margarita and dinner.

And now it’s a sunny Sunday morning, the chef has returned from the PickleBall wars, he’s in his kitchen making ranch omelets, and life is looking entirely doable all day.

These are the things that matter. When everything around us is unending chaos, these are the things that carry us through the days until the outer world seems real again. We have to keep our hearts open to the beautiful and the true in life – the things we can’t afford to lose. Hang onto them like life preservers. It’s the only way anything makes sense.

 

 

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Summer Sundays…

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house is dim and cool

sun is bright and warm

which spot will I choose today

JSmith 06/25/2017

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Life is too short…

can i start my life

again say fewer dumb things

the next time around

JSmith 06/04/2017

Is it a trick of the light, a scent in the air, not sure where the overwhelmedness gets triggered, but within seconds I can have myself regretting my entire existence and wishing for do-overs. Then pragmatism kicks in and I go on doing whatever it is I do and the mood passes. Reality in the sunshine…

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I’m speechless…

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words there aren’t enough

and yet far too many said

save some for later

JSmith 5/21/2017

words

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Daily joy …

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messy Sunday bed

singing Sunday birds so loud

sunshine lights the way

JSmith 04/16/2017

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How bad is your OCD?

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Over the years together Kimmers and I have gradually realized that we’re both assorted shades of OCD. His shows up, fortunately, as a desire for neat and clean so we’ve saved serious coin by declining to engage the services of a Professional Domestic Engineer since his Mom-&-U.S.Navy Training rendered him eminently qualified. He also prefers being alone in his kitchen while he works his magic according to nose and feel. It isn’t nice to interfere with the Zen, not to mention that it would be foolish, so staying out of the way and maintaining partial radio silence is no sacrifice on my part. I read yesterday that “he who feeds us is our personal god.” I’ll buy that, especially since Kim’s an entirely benevolent one and those are hard to find.

My OCDness is sort of what it looks like – oddness. Odd Cranial Disarray. That’s me up there with too many things taking up space in my brain, sorting priorities, trying to stockpile enough spoons for whatever’s ahead. When it all gets to be a little much I start asking myself what needs to go, either for a while or for good. This month it was my long-term addiction to Facebook, something that felt unbreakable until now. In a bold effort to rescue myself from the slough of despond over politics, which is to say daily life, I shut the door cold turkey on February 1 and the only thing I miss is comments from my real friends there. If I go back when March blows in it will be with a far less engaged mindset. No rush.

The most obvious clue that I’m at least a little OCD is that whatever toy grabs my interest and attention gets the “You’re my favorite thing in the world” treatment until the shiny wears off. Disclaimer: The preceding statement does not apply to people I love – distractions only.

First obsession I remember was learning embroidery from my grandma, making quilts with her, making my own clothes, and then in my little old lady days falling victim to the counted cross-stitch fever that took the civilized world by storm. It was fun, expensive, and I got good at it, but alas, in the end too much work for the eyes and neck muscles, so bye-bye trunkload of fabric, floss, and patterns, hope your next mistress isn’t so fickle.

Having grown too young at that point for needlework I got my first computer and the world was new again. It turned all that industrial-strength bookkeeping on the farm into a sweet walk in the pasture, and it was chock full of games, including an elaborate DOS setup that taxed all my brain cells even as it entertained. Then…years later, when I was even younger, social media burst onto the scene in all its primal glory and began its scorched-earth march to the sea, incinerating all in its path. And hasn’t it been a barrel of laughs, boys and girls? Still is, some days, and I’ll wander back soon, to touch base if nothing else.

I have fond memories of the adorbs farming app in the early days – I lived that silly game, fretted when my crops failed because I was, incredibly, away from the computer when they ripened, took pride in arranging everything just so. One day it dawned on me that I was exerting a godlike control unavailable to me as an actual farm wife and I quietly left it to the birds and bunnies. Then came Candy Crush, the game that ate my soul.

In my current iteration as an adolescent I’m bouncing from one fill-the-blocks app to another, working an endless selection of online jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, dabbling with Twitter, and still ending up with plenty of focused hours to write. Shocking how time-devouring Facebook alone is if you think you have to see every.single.thing that passes through your feed.

I started out to say something here but it got lost in the spaghetti, so let’s do this – if you have reason to think that you, too, may be eligible for the OCD Club, raise your hand, introduce yourself, and let’s have a meeting.

 

 

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So there…

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There is no point explaining.

There is no point painting word pictures.

There is no point trying to bring two sides together who do not speak the same language.

There is no point attempting a mind-meld with someone who doesn’t see you.

There is no point in expecting that someday, somehow understanding will come, empathy will win, compassion will carry us forward.

There is no point in expecting

There is no point in

There is no point.

 

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Be like a tree…

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Image: Lars van de Goor

Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.

~ Rumi

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Cold skies, warm hearts…

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when it’s cold and gray

the fireplaces of the heart

keep us warm and safe

JSmith 11/27/2016

 

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Sacred Sound of the Universe

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Constant Reader will remember my brutal fall on the ice in January and the mystifying soundtrack that has inhabited my skull ever since. After nine months’ time, during which the music has morphed from one personality to another, and countless days when I’ve found myself astonished that Kim can’t hear it because it’s so overwhelming and all-enveloping, I’ve finally stumbled across an answer that resonates with me.

It’s a passage from THE NIX, by Nathan Hill, in a scene from the tumultuous 1960 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Allen Ginsberg has seated himself cross-legged in the grass, palms raised to the universe, listening, as the hordes of protesting flower children stream past him toward an unseen ambush.

“He wants to soothe them. ‘The way forward is like water.’ But he knows it isn’t good enough, isn’t radical enough to calm the wild appetite of the young. And so Ginsberg strokes his beard, closes his eyes, settles into his body, and answers in the only way he can, with a deep bellow from the bottom of his belly, the great Syllable, the sacred sound of the universe, the perfection of wisdom, the only noise worth making at a time like this: Ommmmm.

“He feels the hot holy breath in his mouth, the lifted-up music breath released from his lungs and his gullet, from his guts and heart, his stomach, his red blood cells and kidneys, from his gallbladder and glands and the long spindly legs he sits on, the Syllable issues from all these things. If you listen quietly and carefully, if you are calm and you slow down your heart, you can hear the Syllable in everything – the walls, the street, the cars, the soul, the sun – and soon you are no long chanting. Soon the sound settles into your skin and you are simply hearing the body make the sound it has always made: Ommmmm.”

The music inside my head is simply the sound my body has always made, and when I’m intentional about calming every cell and listening it sounds like Ommmmm, the sacred sound of the universe. It’s a G-major and I would deeply miss it now if it ever went away…

 

 

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ZEN beats PPT

 

Interesting phenomenon in progress: just as too much of social media is disintegrating into a sticky morass of politics, racism, and religious conflict and I’m wondering who the hell I’ll hang with after the mud dries and the dust settles, a door opens – one of the best kinds, totally unexpected and unanticipated. Said door is an invitation to blog for a site whose aim is to provide new platforms for current voices. Their bonafides having checked out, I’m in.

That’s three weeks ago, and my sticky news feed is increasingly being populated by writing sites, blogging sites, photography sites, publishing sites, helpful friendly contact with writers of every stripe (not the porn dudes, they can’t find the trail), and it’s the best attitude adjustment I’ve happened across in months. Nobody’s been purged, blocked, unfriended, unfollowed, or hidden (recently), I’m just so busy talking with friendlies in the world of words, the spunk is quite organically melting right off my page, who knew?

Venturing further into the writing community is proving timely on a purely personal level as well – in a week when nothing at all seems to be going smoothly (an aberration for us), when there are more questions than answers, when our pitiful attempts to garner information come smack back in our faces RETURN TO SENDER every time, and both of us are entertaining morose thoughts of a worm & gopher-guts diet…whew…new friends to save the day (for me). Not that all my old friends aren’t doing a bang-up job, promise.

So yeah, we’re just over here speaking of books and blogs and …

“… shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sae is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.”

“Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.”*

…and just like that, my prickly, peevish, testy news feed is Zen AF and feels all homey and shit. Guess who took it full PPT on everybody in the first place? Should I write that down somewhere?

 

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*Jabberwocky, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

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A sister I didn’t know I had…

Sally Field, who is approximately my age, struck me as overly adorbs in her Gidgety phase and her Flying Nun embarrassed me – such a dippy premise. She went on, of course, to conquer immensely stronger roles, but I realize now that it was the vulnerability oozing from every pore that made me shy away from her in the beginning – I had plenty of that without reinforcement from someone who was too cute for words.

Now on the cusp of 70, Sally Margaret Field, like so many other women in our generation, has found her voice. For maybe the first time, she is no one’s primary caregiver and doesn’t need help herself. Quoting from Apr/May 2016 AARP, “In so many ways I feel like I’m new to myself. I believe all of us, in every stage of our lives, are coming of age.”

Sally’s most recent character, Doris, one she molded and developed, sounds like someone I’d like. Quoting Field again “Doris {who’s a little eccentric} doesn’t see herself as older,” and she then goes on to laugh at the way she forgets about her own age until she’s brought up short. “You forget because inside you stay the same.” {Been saying.}

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week will bring more pool time in sight of those mortified young kids who are charged with our safety – pretty sure this wasn’t what they signed on for. I can’t be certain whether they’re embarrassed for us, for themselves, or simply disgusted at how stupid life is, but I’m going with all of the above. Speaking of age gaps, the AARP piece ends with Sally talking about playing the love interest opposite men who were one to three decades older, a studio decision that always embarrassed the actors. On the set of Absence of Malice, Paul Newman apologized profusely for having to kiss her – at twenty years older he was extremely uncomfortable.

However, author Taffy Brodesser-Akner says this about what Sally Field has learned lately – “…that the embarrassment is beside the point, maybe. The alternative to growing old is dying young, and she has so much left to do. She beams her Sally Field smile at me, that broad grin, her nose becoming even more of a button, her eyes shiny, and while what she says next is about kissing a younger actor, it’s also her most essential statement on this moment in her life:”

“We’re still alive and upright. Pucker up, honey.” ~Sally Margaret Field

Everyone will be relieved to know that no lifeguard personnel are at risk of being kissed or otherwise disrespected by class members. I mean, gack.

 

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For Krista

morning glorious

blue-sky easy-breeze

families farmers mowers runners riders pedalers

dogs kids coffee sprouts

players hangers-on sun-babies

he does so we can

precious spoons accrue

Fat Lady mute

JSmith 4/24/2016

 

{Thoughts while pondering The Meaning of Life on a Saturday, prompted by feelings about the artists who’ve helped us get through the night, know ourselves better, value our existence more, give ourselves tacit permission to be weird. Those friends of the heart are relentlessly leaving us, and not by choice. They got older along with us, and talent can’t necessarily buy extra time – so we have a sacred responsibility to own what they tried to show us, and keep the lights on. Life is a good thing.}

A gift to my niece because she asked. She is a true poet and I love her enough to put some words out, knowing it isn’t a contest. ❤

 

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