Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Capacity to Love

It is strange. Bowls lined the counter: chopped cilantro, parsley, a honey lime infused slaw and an avocado/tomato salad; stuffed into handmade corn tortillas topped with seasoned shrimp or chicken. All this to celebrate a girl who breezed into our lives as a new four year old. Her braids held tight against her head as she raced through the field dressed in frilly pink chasing chickens. So much has changed in more than a decade.

It is strange to feel love's grip at first sight; another mother's child. Loving through the first lost tooth, the triumph of riding on two wheels and the first day of school. Loving through confusion, "How can I love two mummies?" Loving through the teens.

It turns out the heart has an inestimable capacity to triumph through all seas. 

My intent is to love through it all. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Listening to the weather report has become an exercise in restraint.  Below zero up north, snowing with accumulations on the coast.  Yikes!  In three weeks the April calendar will be torn away to make way for May.  Flowers.  Green grass.  Warm sun and gentle breezes. One can only hope.

This morning in the gloom of snow producing clouds, I put my knitted purple scarf on, decided I was cold and put a second one on.  Shoving my hands into my long wool coat, I trudged down the steps opened the car and grabbed the scraper that has a brush to wipe away the snow from cars whose poor owners live through long, long New England winters.

On Route 3 just past Hamilton's pond, through the curtain of snow I saw the dark silhouette of a deer. Passing her slowly, I noticed the thick fur.  It is much too cold to relinquish winter protection. Enough is enough.

Reality.  No one can do anything about our weather woes.  I psych myself into thinking that today is beautiful; the trees lay heavy with the first snow fall.  You know, it is just not working.


I don't complain, but I think my psyche is permanently freezer burned.

Friday, April 3, 2015


As a kid,
Attending daily mass
Fueled my Catholic
Sister Mary Somebody
"Your protestant grandfather is
Not in heaven,
He's in

My seven year old sensibility

There is a place that accepts
Religious Affiliation,
Rich or Poor,

None of this
In the long run.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

a charmed life

Despite the fact that we have far fewer souls in the house, our mornings are carefully orchestrated all because of the shower situation.  Three teenagers can hijack the hot water tank, leaving the adults with a steamy bathroom and not much else.

The other day our daughter announced that she takes a 30 minute shower.  Really?  I wouldn't know because at 5 in the morning I am still in bed fighting for those eight hours of required sleep; dead to the world.  However, it is a fact that the youngest sons have been known to take two or three showers a day using a new towel for each new watery experience.  How dirty can you get in a few hours?  I use my towel for 7 days.   One week.  Ever heard of save the environment?

This morning there was a guest in the house which meant less hot water to go around.  Literally, I ran into the bathroom and into the shower.  The upstairs water had been running for two minutes-tops.  Today was shampoo day which meant an extra 45 seconds in the shower.  The soapy mesh puff met my entire body at record speeds. This is all so typical. I rinse, turn off the water and am wrapped in my towel.  From start to finish it takes about 2-3 minutes.  There is NO loitering in the shower in our house if your age is over 50.  Seldom do I allow myself the pleasure to linger under the misty spray.  I am too sensible.  I think of water shortages world-wide. Plus we spend a lot of money paying for water.  Let's safe when we can.

I am dressed. I put make-up on and my hair is dry. My husband has taken his turn in the shower.  We epitomize efficiency; from bed to bathroom to kitchen in less than ten minutes. Pouring boiling water over the coffee grounds, I still hear the upstairs shower going.  Eight minutes ago the tail end of my shower was lukewarm.

"How is it that you never run out of hot water?" I questioned my son after his lengthy shower.  "It makes no sense; my shower turned cold."  I offer, "You must live a charmed life."

"I don't know," he says, "I guess I do."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


On a warm day in early fall, I walked into a metal smithing studio.  I knew nothing.  It was like stepping into a foreign land with strange-sounding tools, implements and labels for procedures with hammers and torches.  Even after six months, I  still approximate the language.

My teacher, my mentor reminds me that muscle memory has a lot to do with her ease in completing a job in mere two minutes, when after 45 minutes of struggle, I ask for help.  That being said, I have learned that I have not completely shed perfectionism.  If the muscles in my hands or fingers fatigue or the solder does not stick to the flux and falls off after 55 tries; I may just give up-frustrated.  I look for fast, speedy results.  This seldom happens in the studio.  Sometimes "gluing" metal pieces together with fire has disastrous results.

"Oh prongs are easy," my teacher said looking at a piece of fossilized coral.  That was weeks ago.  After tedious steps and having to take it apart several times with more filing, sanding and soldering; last night I was able to walk out of the studio with my first pronged piece on my finger.

Walking to my car it was dark.  I had no light.  With trusty Bean boots on my feet, I opted to venture through the muddy edge of driveway to my car.  This seemed the more sensible route rather than swim through the depths of puddles or slip on ice.  Nearing the road, I remembered that delicate shoots of green were popping up in the owner's garden at the corner of the driveway.  Last I knew they were submerged in water.  Despite the cold temperatures the mud still provided a slippery footing.  It was troubling when my left foot splashed in deep water. I was certain I was crushing plant life, someone's prized daffodils or something.  Quickly lifting my foot out of the puddle to save the flowers, I took a sharp turn away from the bed and found myself lying face down in the cold gravelly mud.  Realizing my left foot was stuck in the mud, I tried to release it hearing a sucking noise.  I got up quickly, but only as high as my knees when I was knocked to the ground again.  My left hand (the one with my ring) plunged into the cold, muddy dirt.  My bones could have shattered, but after all that work I was  concerned about my ring.  Once I was upright, I sloshed a few steps into the road and  lifted my left hand closer to my eyes.  It was too dark to see.   For the five minute drippy ride home I realized that there was not much I could do about my situation.   It is likely that my car is muddy.  It is also likely that my ring was crushed with the blow my left hand and wrist took to catch myself.  There is a lesson in everything.  The lesson here is patience, persistence and detachment.  It all became so very clear when I was grounded in the mud.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Too Curious?

This is the final installment of THE SLICE OF LIFE CHALLENGE 2015.  Each year during the month of March teachers and students are invited to write daily, post and comment on at least three other participants offerings.  Every year, I am inspired and motivated to write.  I wouldn't miss it.  Here is my SOL 2015, #31:

Holding my mother's hand, I watched my brother and sister dash for the car, leaving us behind.  In no hurry my mother walking a slow pace along the manicured lawn, remarked about the colors and beauty of the flower beds. We arrived at the car, my brother and sister hunched in the back seat urging, "Hurry Ma, let's get outta here!"

Before that,  my mother shading her eyes from the sun, pressed her nose into the window pane of a large building. There was something going on in there.  Adults in fancy dress milled in and out of the ornate threshold.

Before that, my mother stopped the car in the parking lot and announced that, "We are going to see how the other half lives."

Before that, we saw the bell boys who stood outside The Shawmut Inn in their  long pants and jackets adorned with gold braids and brass.  My mother slowed down under the portico.  We all thought she was stopping the car, but instead sped ahead once a young man stepped toward our car.  She opted for another place to park the car.

Before that, my teen-aged sister tried to rub the melted ice cream that dribbled down my front.  The napkin stuck leaving behind little puffs of white on my shorts and shirt. It was a hot day my legs were even sticky.

Before that, we stopped at Garside's Ice Cream and my mother paid for four cones from the change jingling in her small purse.  Through the week she stuck stray coins in there. She used it only on weekend excursions to places like the beach.  She always brought a little money, just in case...

Before that, we drove along the river with the windows rolled down singing.

Before that, we piled into the car in our rubber flip flops, shorts and the coolest shirts we could find because it was much too hot to be stuck in the house and even hotter outside.

Before that, my mother said we were going for a drive. A long summer drive meant all four windows were rolled way down as the cool air chased the heat away. Long summer drives were always a series of expected, yet unexpected events orchestrated by an adventurous, daring woman who was at times a bit too curious for her less adventurous teenagers.  As the story goes, me (the youngest at the time) did not know any better.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Super Powers

This morning I was so thrilled to be listening to a young one read.  We have been working so hard making meaning using text; and with that comes expression and phrasing.   This student read three books in succession with great confidence and fluency. So long to reading word by word.    My cheeks hurt from smiling through the books, I added, "Wow, you have been reading right along just like a story teller.  Wow.  You've been working on that.  You did it, didn't you?"

He sat back in his chair, paused and then offered while unzipping his jacket, "You know why?"
Watching him unzip, I was trying to anticipate his reasoning.  With his warm up jacket unzipped, he puffed up his chest.  "I'm Super Man!" he said revealing the BIG S!

How I love my job!