Friday, July 31, 2009

sapphire and silver ...

...are the colors ruth and i sponged on the blue walls of our new office. a crimson rug will go perfectly. tomorrow we plan to hang the curtains, and retrieve a table for readings, and a wing chair from the storage unit.

i'm taking my great-grandmother's rocking chair and ruth is contributing her super-plush extra-wide massage table. i can't wait to get on it for a few treatments myself.

i have a perfectly sized lamp. ruth has a fountain. the doctor has patients who are interested in reiki.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

one from patrice

this morning i woke to more gray skies and rain. i wish someone would explain to whatever weather pattern is causing this to go rain where they need it and spare us a few days of sunshine.

yesterday my friend patrice sent me this joke via email and i think at this point it could be more true than funny:

a man dies and finds himself standing in line for Eternal Judgement. as he watches, he sees some souls ushered through the Pearly Gates, and some souls handed over to Satan to be tossed into the Pit of Fire. however, he also notices that a few souls Satan sets aside in a smaller pile beside the pit. finally, his curiousity gets the better of him and he leaves his place in line to investigate. "excuse me, mister prince of darkness sir," he says to the Big Bad Dude... "why are you throwing those people in the pile and not in the pit?" "oh," says Satan. "they're from new england and they're too wet to burn."

and furthermore, the war will end... i believe i believe i believe. blessed be.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

whatsoever you do

today i went to the hartford county animal shelter. it's a grim sort of place, but at least the animals are dry and sheltered and fed and watered. for ten days, and then they're euthanized, unless, of course, someone takes them home.

most of the dogs are traumatized to say the least, a lot are agressive, all of them confused. i brought rawhide chews and a pile of old blankets and i did a lot of reiki. it wasn't much, but it was something.

i came home to find that Beloved received a new estimate... for nearly two/thirds less than the original we received a couple days and left us reeling. it might not feel like much, stacked against the weight of everything else, but it's something.

i find that when you really want to make lemonade out of life's lemons, you have to add a little sugar of your own.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ocean city valdes

no, there aren't any bodies under the tank.

unfortunately, there is a god-awful mess. it's not quite a superfund site but the nice man who runs the clean-up company suggested we could apply for a government grant. in my experience, when the government offers a kiss on the booboo, you know whatever you've been through - or are about to go through - is bad.

even Beloved, most stalwart of men, came home yesterday looking gray around the gills. its grim and its expensive, and there's nothing to do about it but pay the bill and get it done.

but even as Beloved and i shook our heads at the injustice of it all (now i see why i never had a grandmother, said Beloved) the relentless optimist who lives inside my soul found three reasons to celebrate.

for one thing, the image of the reeking cesspit of fouled fuel under the ancestral home is just too good not to write about. secondly, if the remediation is painful, at least it doesn't involve injury or illness for anyone i love.

third, two years ago, when i started to write this blog, i mostly wrote about the difficulties of moving my grandmother out of the house she'd lived in over 90 years, how hard it was for me to contemplate the final dissolution of the bulwark of my childhood.

but after two years of frozen pipes and astronomical heating bills, uncooperative tenants, rising taxes and now my very own oil spill... trust me... it's ever so much easier.

the sunlight's shrouded by white fog this morning, that seems to thicken as i watch. the birds are silent, the bullfrogs still. what i don't hear most of all is the sound of running water.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, July 27, 2009

look homeward, angel, or...

a jersey girl remembers.

this morning, as i type this, a team of specialists are on their way to my grandmother's house, to remove the underground oil tank that my great-grandfather sank a hundred years ago into the soft sandy soil. the soil samples revealed contamination, the oil tank must go, even the oil consigned as toxic waste.

this morning i read about the recent corruption scandals in north jersey, how pervasive corruption is, how deep and how far back it goes. i can't help seeing a connection.

do you ever watch the sopranos, daddy, i asked my father once.

he laughed and said, oh honey, i lived the sopranos.

and then he told me the story of how one evening he was at dinner with a judge and a gentleman who was part of, as my father put it, "myer lansky's organization that ran atlantic city." the judge made a comment that meant nothing to my father, but to which the gentleman from atlantic city replied, after a long pause, "your honor, you're problem is you talk too much." and a week later, someone shot the judge, someone who never got found.

this morning i realized my father's never mentioned exactly why he was at dinner.

i hope they don't find any bodies buried under the tank.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

come saturday morning

i was going to call this post "saturation saturday" but it looks as if a watery sun is trying very hard to poke its way through the lingering mist. the run-off was still streaming down the center of the driveway when i walked the puppies this morning, the waterfall is foaming as furiously as niagra.

i slept well last night, even though i woke up a couple times because of the lightning and thunder. every time i did, the sound of the steady rain soon soothed me back into the same kind of sleep sam seems to be enjoying:

note her head on the pillow... isn't she cute? :)

here's some photos from the party last night:

this is baby jake and his mommy ... it's hard to believe he's almost two and she's nearly 29...

this is baby jake and his daddy... can't deny this one, could he? ;)

here is Beloved lighting the cake:

this is the Birthday Girl and libby:

and here's baby jake, eating his cake!

and furthermore, the war will end. eventually. blessed be.

Friday, July 24, 2009

mocha midnight cake with coffee cream cheese frosting

this is an adaptation of an old recipe i found in my mother's old betty crocker cookbook. the recipes taste the way her food used to taste when i was little, and the tips for the happy homemaker in the front are good for a few giggles. for example, did you know that before your man comes home every day, it's always nice to take a few minutes to brush your teeth and hair, then dab on some perfume and freshen up your lipstick? (how come, mommy, asked libby one day, when i read it to her. does the lipstick mark prove you kissed him?)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease the cake pan... according to the original receipe, you can use either two 9 inch layers, a 13 by 9 pan, or 3 eight inch layers. i used a bundt pan and it came out fine.

for the cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups hot coffee
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs

cream the eggs, butter and sugar. add the cocoa, and half the flour gradually. add the baking powder, soda and salt. alternating with the coffee, add the rest of the flour. bake approximately 45 minutes in the bundt pan and 13 x 9 pan, 30-35 minutes for layers. cake is done when a fork comes out clean. cool, then frost.

for the coffee- cream cheese frosting:

1 brick cream cheese
1/3 cup coffee
1 box confectioners' sugar

beat the cream cheese and coffee until smooth, gradually add in the confectioners' sugar. chill until ready to frost cake.

on the menu

for meg's birthday dinner, she requested:

mashed potatoes (im also making baked potatoes for those of us who think baked potatoes go better with steak)
grilled spinach
tomato-cucumber salad
crescent rolls

and for dessert:
midnight mocha cake with coffee-cream cheese frosting

back in the saddle

i haven't posted much in the last few days and commented hardly at all because on wednesday i found out that contrary to my most ardent hope and ingrained belief... meg still can't drive.

the doctor made a point of asking me to sit down before he told me. i have to remember that when doctors do this in the future, to construe this as a Bad Sign. i did, however, remember somewhere in the dim recesses of my remaining mind, that meg DID say she wouldn't be able to drive for 5 or 6 weeks, back when the surgery was first mentioned. so it didn't come as QUITE the shock it could've but it wasn't pretty watching my life disintegrate into the sandpit of time as the doctor gently delivered the bad news.

but it hasn't been too bad, just busy, over the last few days. the kids are all going away the first week of august so a few days' respite, at least, is in sight. in the meantime, ruth and i have plans on monday to meet at the new office and start making it "ours."

i can't wait.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

happy birthday, meggie moo

my third baby and second daughter made her entrance 11 days past her due date at just past ten o'clock on a steamy night 22 years ago today. meg wasn't quite as late as her older brother, but she didn't meet the expectation set by my oldest, who, in a dazzling display of impeccable infant timing had been born on her due date.

most babies, as any parent, midwife or ob/gyn can tell you, are usually NOT born on their due dates. i was born 11 days past mine, my son jamie went 14 days past his. until baby jake arrived on his due date, the midwives who delivered him had never had a mother deliver on her due date, in all their years in the practice.

so although i knew that most babies DON'T arrive when expected, i knew from experience that it was possible that they COULD, and thus, twenty-two years ago this morning, i remember waking up and thinking, damnimstillpregnant.

the day proceeded like any other, until, at my now-weekly checkup, i moaned to the midwife, "i'm so ready to have this baby." i can remember how ready i was. there's a moment in every pregnancy, i think, when your body feels like an overripe fruit, swollen to the bursting point. birth is a painful experience, at least as i experienced it, but i remember how eagerly i looked forward to it that hot summer afternoon. there's nothing like hauling around a body as big as a beached whale's to make you anticipate shitting a watermelon.

to that end, my midwife obligingly stripped the membranes, and predictably, an hour or so later, while doing the weekly grocery shopping, i felt the first real contractions. i remember thinking justdon'tletmywaterbreakhere as i breathed deeply in the checkout line.

and later, when the midwife held her up, mewling like a kitten, slick with slime, blue cord pulsing, the first flush spreading across her gray-blue chest and belly, i remember how delighted i was to meet my meggie moo at last.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Monday, July 20, 2009

running with the bulls

my son starts a new job today, at his first "wall street" firm. seduced by the passion with which Beloved pursues his avocation, jamie has decided to follow in his stepfather's footsteps. what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in exuberance, charm, intelligence, and a fair measure of my tenacity and ability to persevere.

from the time he could compete, jamie did, throwing himself heart and soul into every race, game, or team with an intensity i seldom see in my daughters. my girls are like me when it comes to winning - is the prize to be won deemed worth the expenditure of the amount of energy necessary to win it - and if the former is deemed less than the latter, you can forget the competition.

but not my son. jamie likes to win, and in the Great Game of wall street, there are definitely winners. there're also plenty of losers, but we won't think about them today. today i'll wish that he's always long when he should be long, and he's always short when he should be short. today my only caution is to remember that bears make money, bulls make money and pigs get slaughtered.

today, i'll wish him goddess-bless, and god-speed. go get 'em, tiger.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

how to live with a ghost

i've noticed that there's a lot of shows on paranormal subjects on tv lately, and a lot of them deal with hauntings and supernatural activity in people's homes, and it seems a lot of people are frightened just by the idea. but in my experience, most intelligent hauntings, where there seems to be an awareness attached to the energy, are benign, and to react to them in fear only calls in negative energy where none necessarily needs to be.

shortly after Beloved moved in, it was pretty clear that steve, the man who'd built the house and created the grounds, was still here in some fashion, even if he'd been found dead in the house a few years before. much as Beloved wants to dismiss and deny some of the things that happen here, some things - like the candle that burned through one halloween night outside all night along, despite heavy rain directly into it - just defy explanation.

my children asked me once if my grandmother's house was haunted. what makes you ask that, i replied, cautiously. we hear things, they said. footsteps where there shouldn't be footsteps and doors open and close by themselves. since i'd seen the same things, and more, but i didn't want to freak them out, i paused before answering. "look at it this way," i finally said, "anyone who's here, you're related to. they won't want to scare you - just tell them to go away and not to frighten you." i could see them thinking about it. "oh," said katie, always the spokesperson. "that's a good way to think about it."

and that's how i thought about it when it became manifestly clear that steve still very much considers himself a part of pond house. for one thing, it was clear there were certain changes he resented and certain things he approved of. he liked the fixing up Beloved did in the ground floor bedroom and bathroom, for example. he didn't like the blue tiles Beloved put down on top of steve's black ones. once my stepdaughter gasped and her eyes filled with tears as she passed the stairs down to the ground floor. what's wrong, we all asked. i just saw a man standing at the bottom of the steps. i told her later i had seen him, too.

things had a habit of disappearing in pond house, to reappear in places you knew they hadn't been. an example of this is a watch with a particularly noticeable band made up of chunky, brightly painted clay beads. i loved the watch - not so much because it worked (watches and i don't get along) - mostly because it was so bright and handmade and it was especially hard to lose. i was heartbroken when the strings broke at last and the beads scattered to the five directions. but anyways, one day it disappeared. i searched all over for it - my place, pond house, my purse, my car, my office, even Beloved's car, but it was no where to be found. then one morning i was lying in bed beside Beloved when i thought i saw a man-shaped shadow walk quickly past the bottom of the bed, toward the tv, carrying my watch. beside me, Beloved jumped. "what's wrong," i asked. "i thought i saw someone walk past the foot of the bed," he said. i didn't say anything then, but when i got up i looked on top of the tv. and there, in the corner, just where i knew it couldn't have been, was my watch.

i'll tell you more ghost stories later.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

awash in water

i woke up listening to a tropical torrent. this morning, thanks to the efforts of my son, i was able to watch the waterfall gush as well as hear it.

it's so green here, my niece from san francisco noted. there's so many trees.

in this little corner of the world, on this gray-green, moisty, misty, mossy morning... there sure are.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, July 17, 2009

feeling very friday

what a week. here are some of the highlights:

on monday, i went to take a second look at what will be my new healing space in avon. it has a nice feeling to it. i like the two-toned blue walls - i already see them sponged and glazed. the owner is not only welcoming, and affirming, and not only is the space itself at the nexus of a major intersection, and thus easy to find, and easy to access - even for people with gimpy knees - the word avon itself has a most auspicious association for anyone who seeks a deeper connection to Flow. "avon" is one of the few old british words that survived the saxon onslaught on the english tongue, and it means "river."

on tuesday, katie was sick, and so not only did meg need ferrying from place to place, so did katie - who lives two towns over. on wednesday, my brakes gave up the ghost, but fortunately my son was here to ferry me to the garage, and to give my little yellow bug a jump, so i haven't even had being carless as an excuse. on thursday, my mother and stepfather dropped off my niece for a few days' visit. not only did i manage lunch two towns over, but i also got libby to tutoring, volunteering and movies with a friend (and my niece) and got meg back and forth to physical therapy.

today i took libby, allie and baby jake to brunch, picked up bagels for meg, jamie and cj, then headed off to passiflora to lunch and read cards. then it was off to the grocery store, with libby, allie and baby jake, while poor meggie nursed her miserable migraine. thank heaven for the presence of yolanda in our lives - an angel of a neurologist, who now treats all of my girls.

tomorrow its meg to the chiropractor, harry potter and the mall. sunday it's my sister's for lunch in massachusetts. monday its my SoulCollage respite. and oh, do i need a respite.

i can see light (at the end of that tunnel)

it's funny how things work out. just as meg really needs me - not just to drive her around, but to prepare for her upcoming semester in ireland - just as my time is about to get swallowed up whole, i release a toxic relationship and create oceans of space and energy that i have very much needed. just in the past 24 hours, i've logged 111.9 miles.

but meggie gets her sling off next wednesday, just in time to turn 22, and begin to prepare in earnest for her semester in ireland. i can see light at the end of this tunnel, i can, i can.

my next goal is to put the finishing touches on the Eating the Angel Way proposal, and focus on my new healing practice. i'm starting to get itchy to write fiction again, too.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

how pond house got its name

Beloved moved here in the winter of 1997 on an overcast february day. at the time, the house was a very little house on a lot of land. the best part about it were the gardens, the extensive stonework, and the way the house had been situated, overlooking two ponds. the picture above shows the upper one, in spring. the lower pond is connected to the upper one by a waterfall. it's been so wet this year the waterfall, which usually dries up by now, is still running.

it was clear, fairly soon after Beloved moved in, that this place wasn't quite... ordinary.

for one thing, it had a little bit of a history and some mystery attached to it - the man who built the house and grounds obviously put a lot of himself into it. working alone, he'd created the terraces and gardens and tumbled walls. and he'd died alone in the house... and his body had been here a week or more before anyone came looking. but it was more than that - the place had an energy to it, as if whoever had made it had understood, even if only subconsciously, how energy flows. steve, the original owner - called the place Deer Run - for all the deer that used to come and drink from the ponds until buddy started scaring them off.

but the deer, even before buddy, were fleeting and elusive. the ponds form the centerpiece. mornings and evenings, we watch them fluctuate and change, subtlely different every year, and so captivating is their spell, they make television seem irrelevant. even my grandmother admitted, propped up deep within a corner of the couch, "it sure is peaceful here."

it happened almost at once. we started to call the place pond house right from the start.

at the top of the driveway, a cast iron cut-out sign used to say Deer Run. a few years after Beloved moved here, i gave him a new sign for his birthday... one that says Pond House. we hung the old sign from a tree overlooking the lower pond, where the deer - and steve - can still see it.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

pond house pretty

this is the toile for the curtains. i found it at a fabric sale a couple years ago adn bought it because i just couldn't resist the price - $10.00 for just over 10 yards.

this is my grandmother's cupboard that i intend to paint. i haven't quite decided on a color yet, though i'm leaning toward the same buttercream as the cabinets in the same glossy finish. then i'll stencil some pretty combination of leaves and flowers and ivy in the same tones as the floor and counters.

this is the latest arrangement of rainbow glass. when the sun comes streaming through the skylights, the colors just glow:

these are two of my favorite things from my grandmother's house - her rocking chair, or "nanny's rocker" as she herself called it, and my mother's piano, bought for her by my great-grandfather. my grandmother kept it as a sort of hostage all these years after my mother's fall from the family grace. (don't weep for my mother, by the way, she just kept the piano my father bought for me.) i like these two pieces side by side, under the assortment of photos of all six of our kids. it's like they've found a place where they both belong at last.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

taking the high road

if we had august in april, now we're having october in july. i half expect to smell burning leaves and hear honking geese. most of the birds are subdued, and the peepers have been frozen into silence. only the crows caw with vigor. this is their kind of weather.

the house feels lighter, freer, fresher. my current round of frenzied projects is winding to an end...i'd like to repaint and stencil my grandmother's old cupboard i now have in my kitchen. im thinking of painting it the color of the cabinets - which are a soft buttercream, and then stenciling ivy in dark blues and silver gray and white.

i settled on blue toile for the kitchen curtains, but im thinking i'll wait til fall to make them - sewing feels like something you do in the winter in place of gardening. and speaking of which, my son gave me a leg up with some of the yard work.

in terms of new space, plans proceed apace... nature does indeed abhor a vacuum. more convenient space, more accessible space, more welcoming space - not to mention cheaper space - has suddenly been plopped into my lap, and old friendships are reconfiguring into new patterns. i am starting to think the sacrifice has been well worth what i appear to be gaining.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

full court press

the weather appears to be cautiously cooperating, pond house is looking a bit neater and tidier. my writing room is finished:

the rocking chairs are ready:

they ended up being hot pink, light pink, light purple and dark purple. i love the way they look against the blue paint and blue flagstones on the patio. the pots of lavender, combined with the sweet annie growing wild, make it smell heavenly.

today my plan is to give the kitchen a good going-over, shop and put the finishing touches on my talk tomorrow on how to make your characters plot (so you don't have to.)

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Friday, July 10, 2009

the zen of surrender

i received a letter today, from my former business associate. she sent me a copy of the contract we signed lo these many months ago, as well as a nasty little kiss-off of a letter. for someone who espouses the Ways of Love-n-Light... the lack of caring - not to mention integrity - revealed by her actions are making more people than me realize that the brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

i think it was milton who so eloquently described hypocrisy as the "only evil which walks invisible, except to God alone."

its times like these that it comforts me to remember that my ex-husband, whose history is frighteningly similiar to my ex- associate's, and whose profession is exactly the same, now spends his time in a crayon factory putting rainbows into little boxes.

more than one person remarked today on the autumnal edge in the air today, sharp as kali-ma's blades, cold as hecate's breath. the light had a kind of crystalline clarity that seemed to shine in every corner, under every stone, revealing even those things we'd rather not see.

i am reminded that every time i've left the question of Justice - real Justice, not the tin thing we call our legal system - up to the Powers That Be, the results are always so much more spectacularly apt than ever i could have imagined.

after all, somewhere else, another prophet promised: "vengeance shall be Mine, saith the Lord." it often requires a bit of patience to allow the Eternal Scales to right themselves, but in my experience, it's well worth the wait.

christmas in july least that's how cold it felt this morning when i woke up shivering at five thirty am. even a morning cuddle didn't warm me more than superficially - sitting here, im wearing the same fuzzy sweats i do in december.

where's summer, i hear everyone ask.

i bought some lavender yesterday, and some pots to grow it in. i've figured out how to solve my difficulty getting lavender to grow through the winter, i told the nice lady who gave me my discount. yeah, she asked, how? im planting it in these pots and hauling it inside when it gets cold, i answered.

if it stays like this, i may not even take it out.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the zen of weeding

a couple weeks ago, i noticed what appeared to be a pale green sheen on the surface of the zen garden. at first i thought it was some optical illusion created perhaps by rain pooling on the surface of the sand.

but shortly afterward i realized it wasn't an optical illusion at all... it was weeds.

there are few weeds i don't welcome, but there's a few kinds i loathe. the one spreading throughout the zen garden grows particularly virulently around here, probably in response to my loathing. and yes, you garden divas among my Gentle Readers, i've suggested, implored, demanded, and insisted that it take itself and grow elsewhere - anywhere, in fact - but in my designated fox-tail free areas. but like Bad Bunny who taunts buddy so relentlessly on the other side of the window, the foxtails flaunt themselves this year with what seems like special impudence.

just yesterday, i thought i made a dent the day before. this morning i saw the futility of my hope.

this morning i spent an hour in the sun, patiently pulling up the tiny sproutlings. they come up easily enough through the sand, but they have to pulled up one by one. no rushing and grabbing for clumps - all you'd have left is a fistful of sand and borax.

it's not quite as relaxing as raking the zen garden, but it's just as zen.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

putting it all back together

i spent today working on my writing room. i've hung the new curtains, delicate wisps of lace that buddy better not destroy and began to rearrange the furniture. the photo above shows my new view. i like it a lot... what do you think?

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

tea & sympathy

i went to lunch today with a friend who was kind enough to reach out to me after i was forced to end my previous association.

it's good to know i'm not the only one who noticed certain things were odd, to say the least and that there WAS a definite lack of consistency between what was said and what was done, that didn't go entirely unnoticed. there WAS a pattern of passive malice and deceit. it's good to be reassured that inside every person who identifies as a victim is a bully waiting to be unleashed.

the brighter the light, after all, the darker the shadow.

a few years ago, as some Gentle Readers may recall, i lost the person i considered my best friend in all the world, the person who - except for possibly Beloved - knew me for exactly who i am and liked me in spite of it, who walked with me through some of the darkest days of my life. it was a loss from which i continue to learn many things, not the least of which was not to take any friendship - from the most casual to the most intense - for granted.

on the other hand, my first marriage taught me not to tolerate abusive behavior, especially from someone who tells me she loves me.

i realize im still learning to tell the difference.

the sun is setting, visibly, for what feels like the first time in weeks, the air feels crisp and clear as fall. the pond is bathed in a deep well of shadow, the zen garden is weeded and freshly boraxed.

i like the way i've turned my desk to give myself a view of the ponds. already i've noticed a coyote slinking around the water's edge, unseen even by buddy, and watched an eagle plummet with talons outstretched to snatch up a flopping bass.

i have a workshop to prepare for next sunday's writers' retreat, i have an offer of new office space. Beloved had a wonderful conversation with his mother - they're forcing her to take her medicine and - by golly, surprise, surprise - it's making her feel MUCH better. (anyone who thinks drugs don't work just hasn't found the right combination.)

i sure hope they keep giving her the happy juice, Beloved said, when he related the conversation.

i sure hope so, too.

from the other room, i hear the baseball fans cheering - someone on the yankees just did something great.

it feels like god's in his (her) heaven... and maybe - just maybe - all's getting just a teensie bit better with the World.

the sun'll come out tomorrow...

bet your bottom dollar...come what may..."

and it did.

i woke up this morning to sunshine and birdsong, and a sense that Resolution is coming. things proceed apace with the sale of my grandmother's house, Beloved feels better about his mother. i even got some time today to attack the gardens.

now i have more jewelweed than i can think of things to do with and that was from just one garden. some of the stalks were thicker than young trees, but at least the fact they come up easily compensated a bit. i have one garden done, and a plan of attack for the others.

my writing room is coming together slowly, too. this is what it used to look like:

phase one, before we painted:

phase two - after we painted last year...

and what it looks like now:

i know it looks hopeless but i have high hopes.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

dream a little Dream

we're back and i have to say our adventure seemed to have been scripted more by lewis carroll than kathleen woodiwiss.

we ended up overseeing the admittance of Beloved's mother into the hospital. he feels a lot better about where she is, but still it was incredibly upsetting. her state and her behavior remind me so eerily of my grandmother - down to her meanness, her manipulations, and her passive deceits - that i understood why, every time i hesitated about accompanying Beloved, i heard the little Voice say, "you have to go."

and i understood so well, and saw so clearly, that when the time came, i was able to help Beloved make the call that, hopefully, will propell my mother-in-law into a much better quality of life.

we DID stay in a place that had such highly erotic murals on the walls of the lobby that a staid couple from some red state complained about it on the web site, but i found the images of women kissing and naked nymphs entwined with naked fauns entrancing enough that i totally missed the 20 foot statue of buddha - or maybe it's kuan yin - in the back of the lobby.

all in all, the hotel was...okay. the Dream Hotel is a boutique hotel founded in consultation with deepak chopra, and i certainly give Beloved an A++ for trying. the room was a bit too stark and sleek for my tastes - it was all straight lines and right angles. the weird blue light under the bed was okay at first, but when it woke me at three am with the unfamiliar brightness... not so much. i liked the rooftop bar with its spectacular view of sixth avenue at dusk, but i was too exhausted from the emotional and physical rollercoaster of the day (such as the three hour drive, the decision to call for an ambulance, the ride in the ambulance and the wait at the emergency room, plus my lobster, of course) to be able to swallow more than one drink.

but at best i can only grade the hotel experience as a C, and not because of the erotic murals. it's because as i was packing up, i noticed the bottom sheet had come off the mattress. when i went to examine the mattress itself, i saw that it was NOT encased in any kind of plastic protector. the mattress was simply naked.

thus, although the place was spotless and not a bedbug was in sight, it was still quite possible for an infestation to occur.

i don't know if you, Gentle Reader, have ever had a first hand experience with a bed-bug infested bed, but let me assure you, it's not pleasant. the first thing i do when i check into any hotel is to ask Beloved to check the mattress and boxspring for bugs. (the reason WHY Beloved knows the signs of infestation so well is fodder for another blog, but suffice it to say that Beloved's experience of bedbugs is copious and up close.) he checked this mattress and pronounced it clean, but failed to note that the mattress wasn't encased in plastic.

this is a huge detractor for me, especially given the outbreak of chemical-resistant bedbugs new york city has experienced in recent years. i would reiterate that there were no signs of infestation, and that the place appeared to be spotlessly, faultlessly, immaculately clean. however, sleeping without a plastic mastress protector in a place like a new york city hotel* - especially one with erotic murals on the lobby walls - feels a little bit like engaging in very unsafe sex.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

*note - in the last two years, Beloved and i have stayed at the pierre, the lucerne, the warwick and the waldorf-astoria. ALL these hotels had mattresses encased in such protectors, which were completely undiscernible when we slept on them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

there, and back again

have i mentioned anywhere in the last few days my brother john's visit? he's here, now, as i type. john's curled up with a book in the guest room, my niece allie is curled up with libby on the couch, and my niece zoe is playing play-doh with Beloved.

as if i haven't driven enough in the last week, i zipped up to sturbridge, massachusetts today to rendezvous with my sister sheila. she dropped off my brother, i picked him up and voila, here we are.

tomorrow, john and zoe and allie and Beloved and i are all driving down to new york. we'll leave john and the girls at their hotel in manhattan, and then Beloved and i are going to see his mother in brooklyn. im not sure how long we'll be there... i know we'll have an early dinner/late lunch at the same italian restaurant we ate at last trip.

hot lobster was one of Beloved's incentives.

the other, which has me positively intrigued, concerns where we'll be staying. Beloved says it's the hotel of my dreams... whatever that means. my sense is that this could be very very good, or very very bad.

driving miss meggie

when meg said she was going to need someone to drive her around while she was recuperating from her surgery, i suspected it was going to have a major affect on life as i lead it. what i did NOT know was that driving miss meg wasn't going to simply AFFECT my life - it was going to take over.

between rearranging my writing room... finishing up the odds and ends of projects that i've started, and keeping up with the rest of the housework, i've been doing not much besides driving meg from physical therapy to baby jake's house to home on a basis that im fairly sure only FEELS like it happens three times a day.

WHERE have you been, my mother wanted to know, when i was finally home yesterday afternoon to pick up the phone.

"out," i said. "im running granny annie's cab and livery service. between meg's appointments, libby's activities and baby jake's needs, i've spent most of every day in the car. you know," i continued, "it's been years since i had to do this much driving. ever since katie got her license lo these many years ago, i've always had a second driver around to do my bidding."

"poor baby," my mother purred.

i guess i hadn't realized how spoiled i am.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

look, ma, i got an AWARD!

kat of Candles&Crafts was kind enough to give me a LOVELY BLOG award that i am too technologically challenged to figure out how to cut and paste into this post. so if you could all please go to KAT's BLOG and check it out, that would be swell. if anyone could help me figure out to post the picture, that would be even more swell.

and as for passing it on - i nominate ALL my followers!!

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.