Friday, June 26, 2009

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 69

This is week 69 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Well, I had an awful time getting started, but I'm sort of pleased with my mega... or at least my creative use of some of the worlds there. This was a tough bunch of words, I thought. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has come up with.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: Chorus line, clam chowder, apples, jack-in-the-box, puddles, Iran, quarry, housekeeping, speed, letter For the mini challenge: motorcycle, grandiose, summer, flying off the handle, blue jays

My ten word for this week is:
Dan and Jane were thrilled to be visiting New York City for the first time in their lives. It was their honeymoon and along with reservations at a beautiful hotel (the ambiance was wonderful), their families had bought them tickets for A Chorus Line, their first ever Broadway play. The speed and density of the city was both overwhelming and exciting to those not used to it. It had rained and navigating huge puddles that in places were more like lakes while also avoiding pedestrians and cabs made them wonder how city folk survived. But the city was magical. And full of culinary wonders. They had promised themselves that for this week of their honeymoon, there would be no meals at Jack-in-the-Box and they were enjoying a series of amazing experiences. Last night they had eaten the best clam chowder in the world and an apple pie for dessert that was "to die for." The housekeeping staff from the hotel (they were so kind and friendly and had taken Dan and Jane under their wings) had recommended it - a place called The Quarry. They had alredy been to the Museum of Natural History and seen the Great Blue Whale and mummies and all sorts of amazing things. Tomorrow they would go to an art museum and then the play. They were going to have Italian food before the "theater." And then real NYC Chinese food in China town the next day. And then - they were so excited about this - at the hotel they had met a man from Iran who had taken a liking to them and he was going to take them to an Afghanistani restaurant that belong to friends of his. That was for their last day of this amazing adventure that was the start of their life together. It was all to much for a post card and Jane had already written a letter home to her folks and to his. Their marriage was off to a great start. They were happy.

My mini:
Hank Smith had grandiose visions of a wild summer adventure with his motorcycle gang - they called themselves the Blue Jays. They were an exciting group of guys, full of high spirits, a love of the road and a taste for wild times, though none of them was prone to flying off the handle in either the literal or figurative sense. It was going to be a great journey, assuming, of course, that his wife would let him go.

The maxi:
Housekeeping was not Summer Martin's thing. She preferred eating an apple off the tree to baking it in a pie and her clam chowder came straight out of the can. Speed appealed to her more than quality. She was not ashamed to say that. It was who she was. Speedy meals, speedy transportation. No fancy car for her. Give her a motorcycle any day. She'd put her dog jack in the box that he traveled in, strap it to her cycle on a warm day and ride out to the quarry for a swim and picnic. There was a time when she had tried letting him ride free, but that stopped when she saw another cyclist's pet go flying off the handles and get seriously injured. She had no intention of seeing her beloved dog turned into a puddle of blood and broken bones so he rode confined these days. To be honest, she thought he preferred it. He still got the wind in his fur through the bars but he was safe and solid in his own private compartment. Once they arrived, Jack would bark at the chorus line of blue jays, and chase squirrels and run around in euphoric circles like the hero hunter he thought himself to be. A few months back on one of their adventures, she and Jack had found a handsome prince (he really was a prince too - his family was some kind of royalty from Iran or something like that) and his beautiful dog ShaSha. It sounded foolish - grandiose even - but as she had written in the letter to her parents - it had seemed like kismet, like destiny. The motorcycle rebel who doesn't cook or care about any kind of status is about to marry a prince. Who says the Gods don't have a sense of humor.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: Florida, spit, child bride, operatic, busy, holding pattern, sunflowers, ginger jars, office, superintendent

For the mini challenge: music to my ears, plot, powerful, braggart, super model

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

This and That

Well, I'm a bad blogger at the moment. Nate came by and tweaked the browser situation so it's a bit better but there is still much room for improvement. And I'm still in a mood of sorts. Just kind of restless. There's lots of political stuff I could rant about. Health care. Iran. Torture prosecution. But it seems like too much effort at the moment. I'm sure this will pass. Meawhile, just a little mindless rambling and a few pictures for today.

I want to thank all of you who have left kind words and reiki and prayers from so many of you about my grief process. I am doing much better. I don't' know if this is the end of wading through the gunk or just a rest but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. It helps (except that I'm compulsively, addictively lost in it) that my friend Dan shared a new adventure game called Three Stars of Destiny. REALLY long game with lots of mazes and twists and turns and problems to solve, but not one of those games where you have to go be guided through it every step of the way or you lose your mind (though I'm kind of lost at the moment and frustrated and walking around in cyber circles). One of my characters has gone missing and I'm not sure if it's a glitch in the program or part of the story line. But anyway, I'm getting having a great time on Dan's dollar and really appreciate him sharing it with me. Nothing like slaying monsters and dragons to take your mind off your troubles.

No news on the house renovations, though I think I'm supposed to get something in the mail in the next day or so. I'm so looking forward to my new universe. Eager as I am to have the kitchen work done, I can't wait (well, I can and I must) for the new walk-in shower. My new greedy wish is that maybe there will be some (enough) linoleum left over from the kitchen work to do the bathroom floor too. (Ya never know...) The I wonder if that would be a good idea or... Anyway, I'm looking forward to having it all behind me and to a prettier more user friendly time ahead of me. Which reminds me that Dennis Puffett has a new on-line healing page. I really love it. It's very simple but I could feel the wonderful energy coming off of it. I give him partial credit for all the wonderful things are happening. He did his special blessing on my little house and it started calling wonderful things to itself, for which I am very grateful. The new page is pretty amazing.

I think I had other things I wanted to talk about but I got up at 6 am this morning after about an hour and a half of sleep and I've already forgotten what I was planning to say.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beaten by a Twelve-Year-Old

Shannon came by for a while yesterday and joined me in being frustrated by the browser problems I'm having.... so much so, that she suggested we play Scrabble. It was a close game most of the way and then.... then..... the little whippershapper went and beat me! It's the first time she's ever played a game where all the tiles got used up and she was just thrilled to beat and old fart like me. "You got beaten by a 12-year-old!" she rubbed in with glee. The word that did me in was three letters (see middle right of board): JAY for which she got 39 points. Anyway, she took these photos and I promised to announce her victory to the world, so. Shannon D. trounced me at Scrabble 258 points to 220 points. Brava, Shannon! Well done! Shannon took the photos too.

I'm still very frustrated by whatever is going on with my browsers. The computer isn't unusable, it's just annoying. Mozilla usually shows up once but then creates shadow browsers if I click it again which is upsetting and slows the computer down. These shadow browsers no longer go away when I run a clean-up program so I have to restart the computer or it runs really slowly. This means I'm using Internet Explorer. I don't like Internet Explorer. It seems very slow to me and it freezes all the time and it just generally makes me cranky. I did figure out one thing yesterday. I got rid of the stupid AOL "My Page" which I had never wanted in the first place and that has helped a bit. But it still keeps refusing to load things and it's so SLOW! Anyway.... I will try to visit people but I'm not a really good visitor even when things are working well, so...
I have photos for Ruby Tuesday but I may have to wait another week because all the rebooting makes me way crankier than anybody ought to be.
Have a great day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Water for the World

Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 68

This is week 68 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. Thank you to Dr. John (who feels there have been too many phrases and not enough just words of late) for this weeks collection of 15 homonyms. Clever man.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: sow, close, console, lives, minute, polish, bass, pussy, complex, resume

For the mini challenge: bow, sewer, house, import, intern

My 10-word offering for this week:

Mary Beth went to the console and pulled out the emergency bottle of Wild Turkey. Harvey needed to be consoled. The garden he had spend hours sowing in hopes of having enough produce to feed their big fat sow cost-free had been near fruition when their very naughty pussy cat had polished it off in mere minutes with a series of surprisingly complex moves. When he had tried to stop her she had accidentally left him with a collection of minute scratches that had morphed into a large, pussy wound that hurt like the devil. He was not a happy camper. Their lives were pretty stressful at the moment anyway, since they were struggling financially and looking for extra income in the form of a second job. "Why don't you relax and go bass fishing, Harvey, to take your mind off things for a bit. Then you can come back and resume work on your resume feeling refreshed and restored." "Well, I could go fishing, or I could take my beautiful wife to the new movie and shopping complex and enjoy some time with her," Harvey replied in the rich bass voice she loved so well. "That sounds wonderful darling. What movie shall we see? Oh, and does this mean that Destructo kitty gets to live?" "It's a close call, but I guess I can close the door on my anger just this once. Let's go have a lovely afternoon together. Have I mentioned that I love you?"

My mini:

Bowing to the inevitable, intern Fred Franklin finally accepted the full import of the town's decision to route the new sewer system under his beloved house. Although he had felt bitterly like a victim interned there for most of his childhood, the old mansion now housed his own family and a host of beautiful treasures which he had taken great pains to import from abroad. The dramatic lace curtains - hand crafted to his exact specifications by the sewer - could be taken with them when they moved, but his most prized treasure, the bow of the old Spanish galleon which he had restored board by board into a special playroom addition to delight his children would not weather another transformation. Such was life, he sighed. On the up side, the town was paying him a pretty price for the old place and he had alreay found a magnificent new home free of old memories. On the whole it was a good loss, more silver lining than cloud. Life was good.

My mega: (no more homonyming)

Intern and surgeon Martin "Bow" House was noted for his gifts as a "sewer." His minute, close together stitches left barely any scar for his patients. Their post surgery wounds were never pussy, healed like magic, and most were able to resume their normal lives in record time. But his gifts were not limited to technique. He was also known for his understanding of the complex dynamics of the human spirit, for his compassion and his ability sow the seeds of hope as well as to console both the ill and the grieving. His deep bass voice carried the tender resonance of one who understood the import of his words, but he also had the wisdom to know that sometimes it was more important to listen, and that sometimes compassionte silence was more comforting than polished words. He was, in other words, more than a doctor. He was a true healer.


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: Chorus line, clam chowder, apples, jack-in-the-box, puddles, Iran, quarry, housekeeping, speed, letter

For the mini challenge: motorcycle, grandiose, summer, flying off the handle, blue jays

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Kindness, Grief and Wild Geese

Yesterday afternoon while I was wallowing in my own misery, I received a lovely note (which I have posted below my own ramblings) from Anna N. (aka Gabrielle, wordzzler and poet extraordinaire whose blog is Wild Goose Scoops Moon). She was right on target. I'm having a very difficult time. I'm in a state of deep grief. Just to be clear, though, I'm not grieving for my brother. I won't go so far as to say I'm glad he's dead. I'm not glad or sad. His death is not tragic. He was ill with Parkinson's for a long time and at the end more vegetable than alive. I always think death in such a case is a mercy not a tragedy. As I have said before. I didn't like my brother, but I did love him in spite of everything. I would not have wished him ill.

But I'm not grieving for Phil. I'm not grieving for what might have been had we not become estranged. Estranging myself from him probably saved my life and what sanity I have. I'm grieving for myself. I'm grieving for a childhood of a thousand tiny cuts that went un-nurtured. I'm grieving for 12 years of my life given to caring for an ungrateful sadist. I'm grieving for the fact that - in part because I allowed it and in fact colluded with it - he got to play the victim and I was cast in the role of abandoning villain. I'm deeply pissed. It was my childhood all over again. My brother does something awful - brilliantly awful - does his brilliant lie while telegraphing the truth in such a way that you can't prove it - and gets away with it. In fact, I'm told to have compassion for him. It took me almost 40 years to ask the question: "What about me?"

At one point in the estrangement process I asked my father (in writing): "If what my brother did was physical, if there were broken bones and black eyes and bruises, if there was blood, would you still want me to stay friends with him?" His answer, honest and awful was: "Yes, I think I would."

So, anyway, I think I'm mourning for the life I didn't have, the love I didn't get. I'm mourning (this is petty) for the credit I didn't get for the years I spent being super nurse and super friend at the cost of my own happiness, at the cost of a life of my own, at the cost of my late 20s and my 30s. I'm mourning for a childhood in which my own feelings were so negated that I had to learn at 40 what they were. Was I sad? Angry? frightened? I didn't know. I was always "happy." I was always cheering everyone else up. What about me started to come out in therapy, but I think now that the wicked warlock is dead, my inner child is finally wailing her heart out? What about ME she is screaming. What about me? I don't know the answer. I only know the question. I learned early to be cruel and judgemental about myself. I'm kinder than I used to be but the voices that whisper how selfish I am still mutter under the surface. And the internal agument rages. "No I'm not. Yes I am. No I'm not." God, being crazy is exhausting.

So anyway, Anna's kind words and the beautiful Mary Oliver poem were like a healing balm on the crying infant who is in almost total control of me at the moment.

The crying infant also does not have much patience for computer problems. She is pissed about them too. She is just dedicated to feeling sorry for herself at present - about anything and everything - and is still working on finding a way to offer herself the tenderness she wants from parents long dead... from others onto whom she projects them. She is (I am) a wreck. My therapist (Dr. Jim) is such a God-send. He is very kind to her/me... but he also tells us the truth. That's what makes him so good.

Anyway, that's my story for the moment. I'm not much good to anybody and not much for fighting two sets of browsers, neither of which works very well.

Thank you so much Anna, for the kind understanding and the beautiful poem. Here, after all that introduction is what Anna/Gabrielle so generously and kindly sent me:

Dear Katherine,

There is no pain like the one you must be feeling in the wake of your brother’s death. When these wrongs are committed by kin, it is not easy to separate. Yourself from them. Blame placed here, anger falls there. A vortex of grief. Often there aren’t words at all. Just an ache that won’t go away.

This poem has brought me solace in times of distress; I hope it helps to lift some of the heaviness.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do
not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred
miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of
your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will
tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the
clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the
prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the
wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over
announcing your place
in the family of things.

Just to let you know I am thinking of you. Your heart is so big and so tender. And therein lies your strength. I hope you are finding some peace and beauty in these days.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gloomy Tuesday (as opposed to Ruby)

Well, I had plans to do Ruby Tuesday but my computer has other ideas. It is being all squirrely and uncooperative. That is making me cranky and frustrated. I'm already feeling guilty because I did Shadow Shot Sunday and not only didn't visit everyone, visited a shamefully small number of folks. So I'm not going to add RT guilt. Next week. (Well, hopefully things will be working again by/before then). Lucky for me my friend gave the newest Aveyond which is distracting me from what would otherwise be a really frustrating week... and Matt just sent me a whole new batch of wedding pictures.... Yippee. He says it was a perfect day. Everybody should have a perfect day. I'm so happy for him.

Here are a few pictures. The yard has been a bit stingy this year but not completely. Nice little bunny visits and a few visitors have come by too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Nephew Got Married!

My nephew Matthew, master chef and computer genius got married this weekend in what he described as a non-traditional Ukranian wedding. I wish I could have been there (there would be a LOT more pictures among other things) but it just wasn't possible. My heart was there though, and it is happy today. I can't help but to think that my sister is dancing in Heaven to see her son so happy and surrounded by so much love.

Matt's new wife, Marichka, is Canadian and they live in Toronto. I met her at the end of last year and I really liked her. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. I have never known Matt to be happier. I think they are a match made in heaven. Marichka's warmth radiates out from her. I wish I could figure out how to copy the Pdf version of their wedding flyer. It's full of warmth, humor and love. M&M as they call themselves were meant to be. Here are a few photos I've gotten so far.

From their wedding flyer:
"The central element of the ceremony is the “crowning”
of the couple with periwinkle wreaths as king and queen
of their household. Their hands are tied together with a
traditional embroidered cloth called a rushnyk, and
they drink from the common cup to symbolize the
life they will share together."

Matt's side of the family. Front row (left to right): my great niece Annika, the bride, my great nephew Trevor, and the two seated ladies are the magnificent Aunt Joyce and her life companion Lois. Middle row (left to right): my niece Cindy, her sister Diana, their father Sheldon, the groom, cousins (Joyce's kids) who I'm sorry to say I don't know. Back row: (left to right): Cindy's husband Rick, Diana's companion John

Matt and Marichka, I wish you joy, peace, abundance and a long, long, happy life together. It heals my heart, Marichka to know that Matt has found such a wonderful woman with whom to share his life, his love and his dreams.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

Hey Harriet's Shadow Shot Sunday is here again. It's been almost a month (and a rough one) since I last participated, so I have a gazillion crumby photos to choose from and am posting a quarter of a gazillion (and very late too) because I have little or no self control or capacity to make decisions (which is also why I'm posting very late). Given that I never leave the house I fear my offerings are a bit repetitive so it's probably a good thing that there's time between postings. Anyway, I'm looking forward to touring the world's shadows (though it may take me a day or so) and recommend that others check out all the wonderful contributions of others. A lot of my shadows this week are pretty "subtle" (barely there?)... sorry about that. Ok... guess I should stop apologizing if I'm going to post this and just do it. Happy Sunday!

I thought this guy was feral, but I don't know... I didn't see much of him
over the winter and now he's back. He's a lot skinnier than he used to
be so he probably is wild. It was a rough Winter and hasn't been much
of a Spring either.

Tara Grace's turn to have a solo appearance.

There ARE shadows in the next three... really...

Have a lovely day...
and may all your Shadows hold beauty and treasures for the eye and spirit.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Saturday Wordzzle Challenge: Week 67

This is week 67 of the Saturday Wordzzle challenge. Anyone new to the process can refer back here to find out how it works. First, let me apologize for this week's words. I was in a pretty bad state of mind when they spewed forth from my fingers and onto the "page." On the up side, Dr. John thought that I've been putting too many phrases so he submitted words for next week - 15 homonyms. Cool. Thanks Dr. John.

The words for this week's ten word challenge were: nausea, everything is on sale, expect great things, frying pan, pledge, birds of a feather, stick, Saturday morning, liver and bacon, caterpillars

For the mini challenge: aggravation, protective, bargain basement, take me out to the ballgame, break a leg

Here's my ten-word offering for this week:

Martha Magneson awoke on Saturday morning with a feeling of deep nausea. It was not a nausea which rose from the liver and bacon she had cooked up in her frying pan the night before, but from her anticipation of the day that lay ahead. She was grateful that she had group of great and supportive friends. "Birds of a feather stick together," Marylou would always chant in times of trouble and the others would chime in with her singing it over and over until they were all laughing. The flock, as they called themselves, would arrive shortly to help her move and arrange her belonging out on the front lawn and put up a sign with an arrow into the house as well. "Everything is on sale," it read. If all went "well" there would be nothing left and she would have enough to make a new start. If not.... "Remember the pledge," she reminded herself, "Expect great things. The death of the caterpiller is the birth of the butterfly. Every ending is a new beginning and this isn't a loss it's an opportunity...." And with the arrival of the first of her friends, her spirits began to lift to match her words.

For the mini challenge:

The sale luckily drew large numbers of people, a mix of human vultures who tried to get better deals than the already bargain basement prices and kinder, more generous souls who saw Matha's pain and remembered that there but for the grace of God... Then there were the cranks who specialized in feeling and spreading aggravation. One woman felt a need to complain to everyone she could find about the layout of items. "Someone could break a leg," she grumbled. "Too crowded. You should have..." and so on. Mercifully she didn't stay long and protective friends kept her away from Martha as much as possible. But on the whole, it all went very well. At the end of the day almost everything was gone. One item that hadn't sold were Charlie's Take Me Out to the Ballgame" glassware. As much as she had hated the sight of them, Charlie loved them. One glass for every team in the league, each day of the week a different glass and team. She had often been tempted to "accidentally" drop them but he had loved them so much that she couldn't bring herself to do so. Now she was secretly relieved that they had not sold. They were a piece of Charlie's heart. "Oh, my, I'm tired," She whispered to Sarah, her oldest and dearest friend who stood next to her. "That's to be expected, hon." We'll go to my place now and have a lovely meal and count your loot and our blessings." Better days are coming. "Thank you, my friend. I am blessed with the best of friends and that makes me rich indeed. Life is good and I expect great things," she added with a smile. "Thank you my flock of angels for being in my life. I love you all."

My maxi:

Dad was a baseball fanatic. On Saturday mornings he'd take me out to the ballgame. He'd have a few beers and I'd eat hotdogs and soda and ice cream until I could eat no more. I had to pledge not to tell Mom about the beers which was cool with me because I knew she wouldn't approve about the hotdogs and soda either. She was something of a purist food-wise. Much to my aggravation as a kid we had to eat liver and bacon every Tuesday night. I'd see the frying pan come out and my heart would sink and my stomach churn with anticipatory nausea. Except for those Tuesday nights, Mom was a pretty good cook... and a good Mom. She was protective but not overly so and she taught me to stick to my beliefs. "I expect great things from you," she'd say to me. "You've got talent." When I was in the most awkward days of my teens, weeping at my ugliness, she'd look at me and say, "I think you're beautiful. Maybe right now it's like you are a magnificent caterpiller and you can't see the butterfly emerging, but I can." When Dad died last year I didn't realize quite how bad things were for her. Her friends - the Flock, they call themselves - or The Birds of a Feather girls - let me know she was going to lose the house. Everything is on sale, they told me, and for bargain basement prices. I was supposed to be there and then I had to go and break a leg... and an arm and I'm stuck here in the hospital while she goes through this all on her own... and of course she's worried about ME when she's the one in trouble. I talked to her on the phone at Aunt Sarah's house. I couldn't help crying I felt so bad about not being there and then I felt bad because that made her all worried about me. "Mom, I wanted to be there. I'm so sorry." She, brave and steady as always wound up comforting me. "The Flock was with me hon. And you know those awful glasses your father loved so much? Nobody bought them and you know what? I"m awfully glad. Don't you just bet he's laughing in Heaven?" That's my Mom. And Dad probably IS laughing and letting Mom know that he's watching over her." For me, I'm doing well enough that I think I can help her out. I may move back to Kansas. I think she needs her friends. Anyway, once I'm up and moving again, we'll start on what Mom would call a new adventure. "Expect great things," she always says. And I always do thanks to her.


Thank you to Dr. John for next week’s words. He pointed out that they are all homonyms. Gives us some flexibility of meaning, I guess.

Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: sow, close, console, lives, minute, polish, bass, pussy, complex, resume

For the mini challenge: bow, sewer, house, import, intern

Thanks for playing. For those who are new, here are some guidelines to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Some Pictures

I actually started this post yesterday but couldn't quite get myself to finish it. I started it out saying I had a lot to say but wasn't ready to say it and then wrote a bunch of junk that I have now deleted because I'm really NOT ready. I have a lot to process about my brother. Things I thought I had dealt with. I'm not really grieving for him. Well, I probably am on some level. I'm mostly grieving for myself and the things he did to me and that I let him do them and that I protected him even up to the end. All these wonderful changes are in progress in my life. "New" furniture from my friends, a new kitchen and bathroom and front entrance... and I'm struggling against the pull of anger and negativity and agonizing old hurts. I want to keep my attention on the good, but I know I will have to write about Phil, about incest and emotional abuse and cruelty to myself and others. I want to find a way to do so which will have meaning and not just be a spewing of pain. I'm not ready to do that yet. I want to, but I'm not ready.

So instead, here are some pictures. See you at Wordzzles, I hope.