A win is a win is a win…

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Slip-slidin’ through a Sunday, overcast and cool. The sun’s nothing but a weak yellow blob behind lofty layers of water molecules that don’t yet feel like cooperating enough to make rain. That’s only because they have no awareness of how badly we need it, so no hard feelings.

Kim’s playing in a PickleBall tournament today, which is every bit as exhilarating as it sounds, and I’m without adult supervision. I know, I’m just as confused by that as you are. The original plan was for me to go out there a little ahead of now (9am) when his first match is starting and watch as play continues into the afternoon. Today is Men’s Doubles, and Kim and his partner Marcelo are guaranteed at least eight matches, which I would genuinely love to see, so yesterday we made a trial run.

First of all, we live a block off downtown, right on the verge of East Lawrence. And Rock Chalk Park, where Kim plays in all but nice weather, is way the Helen gone out on what is, for now, the far outer edge of WEST Lawrence. A 15- to 20-minute drive across town is not, of course, a dealbreaker, but stay with me here.

2) Parks & Rec puts the olderish-fart PickleBallers at the farthest end of the mahoosive all-under-one-roof sports complex (sure, okay, we need the most exercise, we get that, but…).

3) Above-the-action “Spectator Seating” for PickleBall is three food-court-type tables and a scattering of matching chairs. I tried one out while Kim went down to the courts on an information-gathering mission.

4) So okay, there are actually two choices: a} stand at the rail and watch, or b} scooch a plastic food-court chair as close to the chicken-wire as possible and catch the action from various angles while peering through the wire.

It became apparent that the phenom that is PickleBall is still new enough that they might not be quite ready for prime time. (Just a fact, not a snark.) Also that this fan, loyal though she is to one adorbs player, couldn’t be spending Sunday at the tournament, no need to belabor all the reasons why. (And now I learn that I could have sat on bleachers directly courtside, but still… )

Kim has explained the game to me (repeatedly) in very clear terms but it doesn’t make intuitive sense to me when I see it played, the way basketball, football, tennis, golf, all the games I grew up with do. I’m hopeless at trying to understand soccer or any kind of hockey, and the lines on a PickleBall court baffle me, because they’re nearly always painted across the markings for basketball and other court games, and played sideways on half the court. Clear as mud, right? Yeah, same here.

Just got a text from my big kid – he and Marcelo won their first match quite handily and should now be into their second. He likes playing, he likes winning. And he didn’t need me out there messing with his head game, so this way everybody wins. Kim and Marcelo, after eleven matches, won 3rd Place in their division.

Also, just between you and me, once I told myself I didn’t have to write another word until I felt like it – I felt like it. Love you, friends, thanks for hanging in with me and I hope your Sunday will be nothing but win. Summer isn’t finished with us yet.

 

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Beauty is its own reward…

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An exquisite gift from The Root Connection that mirrors the month of May – the rain that makes the flowers, and the steaming cup of tea for appreciating it all. 

We’re two weeks into the month already, so burrow down into the good, the true, the right, and the lovesome, and let it heal you. All this other stuff is gonna keep happening, so go ahead and let the outstanding in the world make you dance again and take you completely away from the things that give you the blues.

More about spring and happiness and for lord’s sake not crying so much, later. For right now, if it’s as nice outside where you are as it is where I am we both should be out there. I started with rain and ended with sunshine and 87º (implied), and I’m sure there’s a tie-in but I lack the discipline to nail it right now, so that’s your mission should you choose to accept it. No, forget that – go outside and get some sun – spring/summer has finally arrived.

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Catharsis is not pretty…

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Dammit, life in the end is a cruel mysterious bitch because it’s so beautiful and so brief. I stand in the shower and cry wracking sobs that leave my ribs sore because we’re getting into our 70’s now and some of my most brilliant friends are falling to Alzheimer’s and I can’t make it stop and IT’S NOT FAIR. And I’m wrapped in a towel with my hair dripping water and running down with the tears and I’m trying to find words that mean anything at all when the world is ending and I’m mad as hell and nothing’s right anywhere except… a precious beautiful man loves my son and maybe I can stop crying in a little while… maybe… because when life seems like it has to end right this minute so we won’t die from the ache… there’s something so good we’d be really… pissed if we missed it.

And then we’re crying… softly now… from the grace and the sweetness and the peace and the yin and the yang.

The balance is always there if we can let the quiet find us…

… so pain is such a mixed bag that we don’t really dare wish it to be gone forever. That’s a much-needed revelation this morning and I’m glad for it.

Have a beautiful spring Sunday, friends. Because life is good. So good.

 

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The joys of fiscal restraint…

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We celebrated a milestone last month with the sale of our townhouse that had been on the market for almost five years – a little too much house for the location but it served us well for twice that long, so no regrets. Now that the Beloved Albatross is no longer our baby, the Wish List is a thing again, topped by MATTRESS – the 15-yr-old king-size pillow-top behemoth with the crime scene outlines where the bodies were. The one with three possible places to stretch out – left, right, or the crest in the middle, provided you weren’t a restless sleeper.

Armed with a recommendation from friends, we walked all innocent-like, our actual faces hanging out, into a mattress store, assuming we knew what we were doing – how hard is it to buy a mattress, right? You know how you think your friends’ kids that you never see are still wee toddlers? Same with the realm of the boudoir, who knew? A mattress is not just a mattress anymore. They still consist of a horizontal surface that fits into some sort of frame if you so desire, but that’s where the similarity to the familiar ends. The operative word now is foam and lots of it. Remember Serta? They’re still in the biz, but now you also see names like Casper, Puffy, Purple, Leesa, Ghost Bed, Nectar, Helix, and such.

After a quick education and an aha moment or two, the indented version was on its way to that great mattress paradise in the sky and we now have a new iteration that looks basically like a serene slab of cement but which welcomes my screaming bundle of cells after dark and puts me out of my misery without a struggle. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a gift, but experience has shown me that Karma is a meticulous bookkeeper so I don’t ask too many questions. Even with the swanky always-cool pillows, we came in grossly under budget and my girl-type readers know what THAT means. Riiiight – we get to add to the list.

So far we’ve checked off three biggish-ticket items that have been hanging fire for the past five years or so, all at an unexpected discount, so maybe we’re kinda good at this. Bodes well for more fun in the future when we most need it. And we KNOW we’re going to need it.

 

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Spring and its whims…

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Feels like a Windsday – already 70º at 8am and too breezy for comfort on my 4th-floor balcony. It’s overcast again too, for the whateverth day in a row. There’s talk of rain by late afternoon, in which case all would be forgiven, otherwise I’m in the mood for sunshine.

Our East Lawrence neighborhood is leafing out, bit by bit, once again obscuring the houses and buildings from view. I should know what these two little trees are, on the corner of our parking – I just know their pink delicacy makes me happy every spring.

And now it’s nearly noon, Kim is home from the PickleBall wars, it’s time for sustenance, and the sun is shining. Since there’s nothing left to whine about I’ll take my leave, wishing you a beautiful spring day. Make it count – it could snow tomorrow.

P.S. It did.

 

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Let the good rain down…

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What’s a dark rainy morning good for besides almost everything…

…good for listening to the drops against the windows…watching the neighborhood dissolve into a distorted river…sitting in the dim quiet of my house and thinking Zen (as opposed to anguished) thoughts…warming my hands on my favorite tea mug…writing words and bantering with friends…and maybe, possibly, crying just a little.

 

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The stuff of life…

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February is underway and the purge is on again, this time in the deepest recesses of my iMac, where my latent hoarder tendencies find safe pasture. In my favor, I’m a fairly organized hoarder, but even those systems are breaking down and need a good whomp to shake out the dust and detritus again, still, some more. It’s true, we really can be and often are our own worst enemies. Procrastination = my downfall. I’ll look at, listen to, deal with, make a decision LATER – I’m far too busy right now with whatever it is that gets me to the end of the day. So things stack up a little, out of sight and, of course, out of mind.

The “later” concept bleeds over into all of life. Don’t burn that gorgeous candle now, save it for “a special occasion.” Wait until you can drag it out of the far recesses of a storage closet after four blazing hot summers, including the one when the A/C gave up. It’s okay to enjoy it now because it’s too ugly to save for company.

Growing up on the farm, only guests were allowed to see the good dishes or know we had them. Being prepared counts. If, say, the governor were out on a listening tour at some point and was curious to know what that dead-end dirt road led to, and he and his henchmen knocked on our door and it was around lunchtime, my mother wouldn’t have been embarrassed to serve them a flash-cooked meal on our unblemished china. Priorities, people. On the other hand, she was wise enough not to give four wild children access to her dowry.

There comes a point when later begins to hold less promise and the do-it-now instinct kicks in. I’ve reached that point. You know how the center of an omelet is usually the best part? My self-imposed rule has been that I have to eat the outside ends first and then I can have the cheesy yummy center section. How stupid is that? No, no, no, it should always have been yummy centers first – when you aren’t already almost full from the less amazing stuff. If you leave anything on the plate (Ha!) it has to be the ends, not the middle, jeez, do I have to tell you EVERYthing?

Same for cake and frosting. Slide a knife horizontally through your piece of cake, neatly separating the frosting and about a half-inch of cake from the drier stick-in-the-throat part. You were going to eat that part first, right, and then reward yourself with the sweet stuff. No, look, this is important. Throw the cake in the trash and savor every bite of that frosting – you don’t have time to mess around. Later gets shorter every day, don’t waste this – no more saving the best for last.

You can extrapolate it out to just about everything – we wait for the right time, the right mood, the perfect occasion. We have to stop. I have to stop. Do the thing, enjoy the thing, appreciate the thing, in and of itself, just because. Mostly because we won’t be here forever.

Hey! Happy Tuesday, and be on the lookout for the best – it’s for you.

 

 

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Perspective – a GOOD thing…

DEEP THOUGHTS…

With the ever-widening gap between ages on my birth certificate and driver’s license I’m being forced to dig harder for the positives attached to getting older. First thing that comes to mind is the fact that I’m still breathing, since that isn’t a given.

Second…is that I’ve been out of circulation long enough to fall off most people’s cracker, buying me the relative anonymity I crave, and exempting me from psychically-strenuous socializing. I know staying home most of the time, either alone or with one other person, isn’t everybody’s idea of a positive, but in my world it’s an amazing thing and will probably help me live to a hundred or so – the Zen is hugely beneficial, both to me and to others who are thus spared.

A close third has to be the freedom from OPO – other people’s opinions. OPOs used to influence my thinking to a shocking degree, but I got over that when I remembered almost no Other People ask for my opinion about anything, ever, end of story.

It’s astonishingly liberating to look up and realize you’ve survived to a certain age and some of the people who used to make you nervous aren’t even here anymore. Look at me, outliving folks and getting all happy and shit. O me of little faith.

You’ll be shocked to know that sarcasm is in the positive column – very much so. Utilized correctly, it can provide maximum relief to the wield-er, while inflicting minimal damage on the distracted target.

And since there CAN be too much of a good thing, I’ve deeply thought for long enough and have to run. I’m positive.

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The world on a blue marble…

fog

 

sunday

air cold sky gray drizzle

time for this patch of earth to be

an ice rink

again

 

good day

killer breakfast

cozy fire

man playing liquid melodies

on a champagne stratocaster

 

sweet day

snuggled in blankets

voyeurs of the sportsing

hot chocolate yes please

small world all is well

JSmith 01/7/2018

 

 

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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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More rain worship…

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Adrift on the pouring rain, the flashes and rumblings, the delicious darkling morning. The bed is unmade and its still-warm folds insistently breathe my name. I brazenly cancel coffee and convo with a friend in favor of staying inside and cozy with Kim, who isn’t going out to play this morning either. My friend goes back to bed, so there’s one good deed done for the day.

Languid…liquid…lazy…leisurely…laid back. It’s that kind of day, and if my muse remains trapped in here with me it will be productive in spite of itself.

 

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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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Loving ALL THE THINGS…

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farmers market day

white tents filled with food and drink

and flowers too because life

JSmith 06/10/2017

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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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Namasté…

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clear out the cobwebs

brain engages as it will

worth the good effort

JSmith 02/09/2016

#ShePersisted

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