From hope to hope…

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chilly damp and gray

life alters and love is all

we cling to the true

JSmith 11/22/2016

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The Weekend that Was

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Monday morning is here again and it’s one I’m happy to greet with a smile – it was quite a weekend. Let’s just say for now that I’ve gone at life this morning with new-found intention and it’s already paying dividends. So far, and it isn’t even noon yet, I’ve eaten a bagel brought to me by Kim, who zipped to Einstein’s and back on his bicycle – you’re finished, pneumonia! I’ve been to my (physical) therapist for an hour of stretching that made me ravenous and sleepy. Did I nap? Oh, no, there’s life to be re-jumpstarted!

The bed looks almost unslept-in, so I can slide by on that for now. There’s a big load of towels in the washing machine having their second hot bath in three days because I spaced them off sometime around…Saturday, maybe, and left them gathering moss in the machine. The bills are in a neat pile for payment and sitting where I can’t miss them – they’ll wait right here until I get sick of looking at them and do what’s called for.

And now through no fault of my own it’s after 1pm and I’ve consumed a Five Guys baby cheeseburger and fries because it’s what Kim wanted for lunch, yay! When you’ve been as scary ill as he’s been you get to choose for the foreseeable future, and I’m not one to stand in the way of desire.

Also, my current project, for the first time in weeks, is open on my desktop and spread across the top of the chest next to me and on the bed. I’m ready to read it all again, edit where I must, and move on. That feels good.

The weekend left me smiling because for the most part it was so unbelievably sweet. And even the bitter portion of it holds a sweetness that’s almost too precious to talk about.

Kim and I try for an adventure a day, sometimes as simple as sitting on the balcony just out of the rain and watching the light show. Last Friday he broke out the hot-rod and we drove to a small town nearby. Our mission, which was to sell a few antique pieces so we can quit paying to store them, hit a slight delay so we drove on down the street in search of a late lunch, and lo, there was Luigi’s, looking quaint and enticing. Mid-afternoon, ours was one of three occupied tables, and it was wonderful. Clean-smelling wood everywhere, tranquil, all sounds wrapped in cotton. We were seated in a window nook and presented with our choice of delicious Italian fare, accompanied by a generous pour of the house Pinot Noir, and the best bread & oil we’ve experienced anywhere. Wow, well-kept secret, Luigi’s, and we so needed that cozy pause in the space/time continuum.

Saturday’s date was a walk through the cut to Ladybird Diner for a malted vanilla phosphate and a piece of lemon blueberry crumb cake while we soaked up our daily quota of Vitamin D at a sidewalk table. The rest of the day consisted of various sportsing, all involving balls and keeping score, as they do.

Sunday morning brought sad news, which is where the bitter joins the mix. Something tragic took place and someone died, someone we knew, and it’s heartbreaking. The sweetness, the heart-lurching precious part is that my sister and her big amazing cat Jade both woke up to a new day, sunshine, and ongoing life – because circumstances, people, the rotation of the earth conspired to move them out of harm’s way. It was the kind of close call that makes you and your big sister sit up and pay close attention. We talked all afternoon on the balcony, shared a bottle of wine, laughed, cried, and got the healing process underway. There’s always so much to be grateful for. Always.

And life is good, don’t ever think otherwise.

 

 

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Summer Love as always…

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the hubby of me

saves my life by riveting

the little heart holes

JSmith 6/24/2016

 

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Memory of a dream…

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I move to your warmth

but you aren’t there

tears deliver me to unhinged

dreaming

and morning shows up rude

careless

awful

.

you won’t be there

ever again

nor there

nor there

and mornings will arrive

rude careless awful

forever

.

death of hope snuffs out life

a morning has to come

not rude careless awful

breathing beings cease with

only rude careless awful

but hope is pliant

she offers herself endlessly to true believers

.

JSmith 6/23/2016

 

 

 

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So healthy it makes me sick …

We live, we learn – mostly we live.  So as it turns out, “twice-weekly PT sessions for six weeks” merely covered Phase 1. Six weeks ended Friday morning and now we try another month.  And then we “see.”  Not a problem – once I graduate, there goes 90% of my outside social life, so what would be the rush?

Health, though – such a ginormous issue in every direction.  Do we possess it?  Do we value it?  What value are other people placing on our health?  Do we take it entirely for granted, or do everything we can to maintain it?  Or realistically, somewhere between?  And if we lose it, can we get it back?

The past few months have shown us that my bones are in far better health than we knew.  And I’ve lost some pounds so my numbers are starting to improve — the dread NUMBERS that cause your extremely caring GP to make sad-panda eyes and counsel you to drop even more pounds and take scary-sounding drugs.  I’m just stumbling along for now, thanks, and trying to beat those numbers into submission by means of personal discipline and other words I avoid.

My preoccupation with health at the moment stems from learning that a cousin is going through a hellish experience.  He’s six weeks older than I am and we grew up more like siblings than cousins, our other siblings nicely stair-stepped or matched up in age, which made extended-family vacations oh so simple.  And now the skinny little boy in the photo is all grown up and overrun by adulthood, and he’s ill and in pain.  That hurts my heart. He’s a kind man who’s “been there” for everyone else.  And life couldn’t possibly get away this fast and our bodies metamorphose so quickly into whatever stage this is that feels suspiciously like a cocoon, while our 60’s-addled brains go right on scheming and dreaming and making plans like a boss.  Wow, whiplash!

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Here, in their natural habitat, are my cousin Bruce, his big sister Vickie on the left, our Aunt Bonnie, who was probably still a teenager, and wide-eyed me, wondering what it was all about, Alfie.  This was just the other day, I’m pretty sure — I remember the shingles on that house — they were a reddish-brown and felt funny under my fingertips.

Bruce will get well I think, and we’ll all go on.  But the knowledge that he’s dependent for now on a wheelchair and round-the-clock help from an only slightly younger brother brings it all home in kind of an in-your-face way.

I mean, today Patty Duke has left the building.  In recent days it’s been Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Pat Conroy, Garry Shandling, and a litany of others in my generation.  This isn’t going to stop, and I’m not ready for it.  Happen it will, though, that’s how this goes.

We are ALL most definitely playing for time, boys and girls.  Make it count.

 

 

 

 

 

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An ti ci pa tion …

Kim, browsing my Facebook Saved list for recipes:  You have a lot of stuff in here, like really a lot.  What are your plans for all this?

Me:  My plans are to watch the videos, listen to the music tracks, read the articles, and use some of it as a springboard for my blog.

Kim:  Really?

Me:  Yeah.

Kim:

Me:  During lulls when there’s nothing else on my mind and Facebook is boring and I’ve already purged all my email files.

Kim:  

Me:  Seriously.  There are down times.

Kim:  So you save stuff every day because you’re in a rush, but you’ll have time later to go back through all of it?

Me:  Well.  Mostly my attention span isn’t that long, and after the first handful of big-ticket posts I start to drift, but I don’t want to lose them.

Kim:  So they stack up.  Doesn’t that bother you?

Me:  Not much, they’re out of sight.  And I’m waiting for Marky to come along and give me folder capabilities for saved stuff so I can sort and find.

Me:  And delayed gratification is my bag.

Kim:

 

Poor Kimmers.  Clutter, even the thought of it, offends his OCD worse than any other, and in my morally-lax final third I’m an endless trial to him. He’s out of the house most mornings now, so I’m probably working my way through the For Later list, right?  No, not so’s you can tell yet, because there’s another fact of life at work here — one must be IN THE MOOD.

And guess what, bitches, I got IN THE MOOD to compose and handwrite that belated note to Maddie’s veterinary staff.  Mailed it yesterday. Booyah!  I should have taken a picture for you — work of art and worth the time spent agonizing over it, except not really.  Oh, life, I adore your continuing education classes.

A final Easter Egg for the faithful who read to the end:  The Wurlitzer recital in my head, precipitated by my fall on the ice, ended approximately ten days after we upgraded my hearing assists and added a masking track.  I’ve busted it several times trying to make a comeback, and it slinks back under the bed.   Peace is not overrated.

 

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Naked conversation …

This weekend’s spa soak found us once again solving world problems by means of logic, common sense, and positive thinking in the face of current events.  No, really.

KIM: So if the economy crashes again, we should have a realistic idea what we might do.

ME: Realistically, a van down by the river would be a plan.  No problemo, baby, I’d live under a bridge with you.

KIM: Or how about an Airstream?  We could get a cool antique truck to pull it with.

ME:

KIM: What?

ME: You need to focus.

 

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He knows I’m serious about the “whither thou goest” schtick, though, partly because we were in the bathtub when I said it and he always tells me you can’t lie to somebody when you’re naked.

Also, Headline Checker App, I didn’t appreciate my low grade on this one and I’m not sure your management style meshes with our goals at present, so buh-bye.  Who needs that kind of negativity … jeez.

 

 

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Red Velvet Pancakes

A late Valentine’s Day brunch?  This temptation brought to you by AllRecipes.com.  You’re welcome.

(DISCLAIMER: I would have to settle for Light Pink Velvet.

Too much Red #40 for this chickie!)

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Reader suggestions: 1) Add one more tablespoon of cocoa powder and sugar to the listed recipe. Don’t skimp because it really takes the flavor up a notch which to my palate was perfect!! 2) Cook the pancakes on a lower heat setting then regularly. I found these pancakes like to burn a little faster than others. They do better at a lower heat. 3) Butter and spray oil for the pan/griddle is essential. A little melted butter followed up by a spray of oil and you will have a hint of buttery flavor and a slight browning to the red batter. 4) Let your batter remain a little on the lumpy side. It does seem to produce better pancakes. Let the bubbles form completely and the edges dry out a tad before flipping. The cream cheese drizzle works a little better with a touch of milk and a few seconds in the microwave. Enjoy!!

Maddie

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I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!!!

 

 

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First post on my Facebook feed this morning was a Happy Anniversary wish from our son John.  It’s our 11th … and both of us spaced it off completely, a first in that number of years.  We are, joyfully and officially, The Old Married Couple.  We’ve been cutting Hallmark short since about year five, our favorite flowers ever were the ones at our wedding, and neither of us needs chocolates, so nothing lost — it rained a bit ago and cooled off the oven that’s been raging outside our door, so we’ll probably walk the half-block to Cielito’s, our home away from home, and celebrate on their big patio with the best margaritas in town. 

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Eleven years ago today, we got married after the close of the morning church service, and then our pastor and friends served lunch to about 300 people.  Simple, beautiful, memorable, sweet, and fun.

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Happy.  So happy.

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Our glamour photo shoot — a gift from Kim for my birthday not long after our wedding.

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Yeah.  This guy.

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The newlyweds today.  A lot of changes can happen in eleven years’ time, but the basics stay the same, and that’s so cool.

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The Birth of a Dynasty

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It began with a fifteen-year-old, working at the local Mercantile, and a young soldier home from the WWI battle front.

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ReeseFamFrameIt steadily grew to nine children and a grandchild … and my grandmother was just 36 years old when she reached that status.

My mom is at the far right.

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The siblings in reverse order of birth, starting in the lower left-hand corner:  Roger, Barbara, Jerry, Ron.  Back row:  Sterling, Victor, Virginia (my mother), Bette, Bob, and their mama, Jennie Marie.

With Grandpa now gone, my grandmother got to see all of her children together in one place for the last time.  Several would precede her in dying, which should never happen.  But no dynasty knows when the end begins, so they go right on …

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A fraction of the progeny brought forth upon the earth by the Reese Siblings.  We’re as fun, entertaining, intelligent, smart-mouthed, certifiable, damaged, and independent as any group you want to assemble.  Seriously … don’t mess with us, especially in light of the fact that I didn’t even try to list all of our stellar qualities.  Except for the old codger front row third from right, I’m the eldest of all the cousins, middle of the middle row.  And I’m clinging to that status for as long as possible while we watch the never-ending arrival of new babies.  Every once in a while, you start something you can’t finish …  

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Honeymoon Time

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My mom and dad went to Mexico for their honeymoon, and on their way back to Kansas they stopped in Albuquerque to see family for a few days.  The little boy in front is my third-cousin Gary, who was born with something amiss but was forever the sweetest guy in the world.  The young woman on the right side of the photo was either a friend of my mom’s or a relative — all I know about her is that she and my mom were besties, otherwise why the Twinkie outfits?  1946 and my mom was only 18 years old.  She and my dad had been married 49 years when she died of a sudden heart attack at 67.  It would be easy to think of life as an unfair process, but it’s just life — not wise to take it too personally. 

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This is getting ridiculous …

I can’t write, I might as well face it and move on.

It isn’t that I can’t write, I know how, but the words have all gone somewhere else.  Things come to me but I don’t make it to the end of the first sentence and the orphaned drafts are starting to rack up bandwidth.    I have pressure behind my eyes from needing to write something that doesn’t suck, but I sit here every day and do nothing but procrastinate.

Yes, I would like some brie with that whine, be right back …

Wrote that a week ago, walked away from it, looked through some old photos that same afternoon and wrote this.  On Facebook.  Just like that, shazott.  Learned something about myself that’s been knocking around in my head all week, and when it settles into a shape and forms sentences, I’ll share.

So from a week ago …

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Did you get the memo saying PLEASE, NO THROWBACK HUMPDAY PHOTOS??  Neither did I.

This one has layers. Start with where the truck is parked. The blue spruce snuggled up to the passenger side was brought from Colorado, by my grandparents, as a seedling back in ought-whenever because that was perfectly legal then. It grew to many, many feet tall and almost as many feet wide at the base until one day in a storm it simply came out of the ground and assumed a horizontal position, landing on and against the house but wreaking minimal havoc. (Back-story: My grandparents’ house is to the right, where we see part of a roof.)

Then there’s the truck, a fixture of my childhood. It was gray and pretty wonderful, and when my dad drove it to town with the first cutting of wheat to test for moisture content, the gray-dust-covered elevator guys motioned him to drive the front wheels onto the lift, because of course there were no hydraulics under the bed … and then they raised the front of the truck high enough for the wheat to pour out the open tailgate in the back. Which was pretty freaking high to a seven-year-old and he only let me stay in the cab with him once, but not because I cried. I’m pretty sure he decided Mother wouldn’t approve.

Which brings us to the watermelons. Big, dark green, full of luscious red fruit, and juice that ran down our chins and made everything stick to our hands. Every summer, a truckload like this and far more came from my grandpa’s big patch in the middle of a section, next to an irrigation engine. The melon patch was raided one night by a couple of carloads of high school kids — the four girls dropped the four guys off and drove around the section (a square mile), stopping to let their boyfriends stash gunny sacks full of melons in the car trunks. My dad, Grandpa, and a couple of the neighbors, alerted by the sudden rash of traffic in the middle of nowhere, ambushed them in mid-haul, blinded them with spotlights, and panic ensued. The girls drove off, the boys lost their shoes in a field covered in Texas Tacks, and the whole thing ended up in court. My grandpa didn’t mind a melon going missing once in a while, but he held a big feed for the whole township every year and it made him mad that these guys had stolen more than thirty of his prize watermelons and deliberately destroyed a goodly number of the rest just for the hell of it. But it infuriated him even more when he asked the ringleader’s name and the kid said “John Wagner.” That was my grandpa’s name and he thought he had a bona fide smart-ass  in front of him. True story, though, and Big Daddy was an attorney — with the same name. I understand it got fairly comical during the hearing but my grandpa never cracked a smile.  Fun and games. Told you. Layers.

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When Easter feels like the pagan festival it is …

The world is a cruel place for dreamers — we tend to be motivated by beauty, kindness, and justice, the biggest pipe-dream of all, and then when the world turns ugly and vicious, as it so frequently does, we don’t even know who to talk to about it.  I mean, I’m as ecumenical as the next person — bunnies and eggs and chocolate and death and whee! so fun how we’ve cleverly combined it all into a little something for everyone!   But when Easter Week coincides with the spectacle of its celebrants disenfranchising an entire chunk of society — people their religion requires them to at least proselytize* if not love — I’m finding it far more honorable to go full-on reality and identify with the original pagans.  I won’t slow you down with the details, so Google is your friend on this one.  I just think those guys didn’t line up good PR, because they actually did a ton of cool stuff and didn’t seem to hate anybody in the process.

So, now I’m seeing “Don’t worry, the Supreme Court will fix it.”  THIS Supreme Court?  You’ve observed them in operation, right?  We’ll leave that right there for now.

And filed under Things That Make Me Go WTF?!  Well, today it’s knowing that a Teabilly with three teeth, one of which is just a baby tooth stuck back in there for luck, who voluntarily smells like a rhinoceros and sleeps with his sister has, as of this week, the legal right to discriminate against, disrespect, disparage, and disgust an intentionally unprotected class of people with whom said Teabilly could not intelligently converse if his or her peapickin’ sorry little life hung by a thread on the success of that very task. And statistically it’s a given that there are gay people within the Tea Party fortress, God help them.  I’m pushing away a thought that maybe they drown them all.

And here’s something we can all file under Things That Count.  Every lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered person covered under this legislation is somebody’s lovey.  Because if I say somebody’s son or daughter you’ll be all “Yeah, yeah, me too, so what?”  No, you heartless jerk, every person on earth deserves to have his or her sweet guts loved out by somebody even if that somebody ends up being solely his or her self.  And more often than sometimes those somebodies are beaten to a pulp and half dead inside, a lot of it self-inflicted, before it’s real that they can love themselves that completely, and if you make a double entendre out of that you officially suck.  This whole thing is so heartbreaking — and so unnecessary for anyone to suffer through.  Once we emerged from the Dark Ages, the question of sexuality should have been a non-issue, so how do we, a supposedly intelligent, enlightened people, find ourselves still looking like frothing idiots?  Never mind, rhetorical.

One more for the Things That Count file.  A bloodbath doesn’t happen overnight, so write this down … homosexuals were among the very first to be harassed in Germany for their “inferiority,” and thousands eventually died in the camps after brutal torture ordered specifically for them.

This one’s a freebie:  If you don’t know what fascism is and you have only so much time, look it up instead of the pagans — they’ll keep.

“If fascism comes, it will not be identified with any ‘shirt’ movement, nor with an insignia, but it will probably be wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution.” 

James Waterman Wise, 1936 issue of The Christian Century

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*Because if you’re gay you can’t be a Christian, you know.

Feels like a HumpDay …

4:00pm.  Good news and bad news so far today.  Rewind to …

10:45am.  Kim returns from his annual cardiology exam/report full of great news — the sonogram shows no sign of muscle damage, his blood pressure read 116/63 in the office, and he is, in clinical terms, healthy as a horse.  Everybody hugs and does the happy dance and the house feels warm, and safer than it did at 9:45 before his doctor said to him “You should be around for a very long time.”

11:45am.  My surgeon’s assistant calls to remind me about tomorrow morning’s appointment, which I think is for finishing the graft and freeing my eyelid again but is simply a check-up, at which time Dr. Khan will determine how much longer the graft has to “bake.” I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

11:46am.  A meltdown may or may not take place, after which Kim takes me to Hog Wild BBQ for a loaded baked potato bigger than my head.  Carb therapy.

2:00pm to present.  Lying prone in a darkened room does wonders for temporary insanity, and by darkened room I mean Facebook and WordPress.  By *lying prone* I mean I’ve intentionally flat-lined for a while, and by *temporary insanity* I mean batshit crazy.

4:15pm.  It’s all good news, of course.  A delay in ditching an irritant does not a tragedy make, the graft looks like it’s healing perfectly, and my well-worn face has not been further marred — the scar is going to fade beautifully and who really cares!

Staying cozy tonight with Kim and Madison and feeling grateful.  Another HumpDay conquered.

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