Saturday, April 2, 2016

Warshing powders, a cup of tea and Basketball

I wait for the phone to ring. A formality is all.

I could either sit in silence and wait, or get up and do what needs doing.  Washed dishes -some by hand and some in the machine with "warshing powders".  Loaded some clothes and added "warshing powders." Always makes me smile. Warshing powders.

A cup of tea sits on the counter cooling its heels. Went with Tazo cinnamon chalet. Mostly for the scent. Always makes me smile. Cinnamon smell. Bet you thought it would be oranges. Not about me.

Turned on the NCAA final four. OU v. Villanova. Sworn to never root for OU. Villanova's nickname is Nova. I like that show. Nova. Comes on PBS. A big fan of PBS our Aunt Val. Especially Downtown Abbey. Also a fan of old time westerns. Reminds me of her and Uncle Don on early Saturday mornings. Always makes me smile. In the old westerns the good folks win.

Driving home from St. Paul on Wednesday night I turned on the radio. Pressed the "2" button for Aunt Val's classical music, but a spiritual spilled out: "Hush, somebody is calling my name...ain't gonna die just gonna steal away...I gotta feeling everything gonna be all right...Lord what will I do?" Reminded me it really will all work out in the warsh.

I read somewhere that favorite musical memories last longer than other types of memories. If so, I hope Claire de lune by Debussey is what her brain has cued up as she moves further down her path. She would like that. Especially since neither the Hawks nor Badgers made it to the final four. Looks like Nova won.

Cue the smile.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Just As I Am

This morning I wake to having Aunt Val resting in the downstairs bedroom, Betty the calico intently watching the birds outside the window and glorious sunshine spilling in the windows. The light changes the whole house with differently hued walls, bouncing off the colored glass vases that hold the tulips for this afternoon's tea party.

I am who I am. Isn't that one of Popeye the Sailor man's quotes?

This morning in my front porch time (spent on the back porch so as not to disturb Aunt Val as the front door with its beautiful ruby red glass groans loudly whenever its put into service!). Anyway, in my "front porch time" I was looking at the tree stump in the yard and not thinking much of anything. When the words from "Just As I Am" drifted into my thoughts.

Of course, the voice I heard singing it was my sister, Dorene. She was one person who could make my squeeky off-pitch voice seem to harmonize whenever we sang together. And this song was one of our favorites to sing together.

Later today 10 of the dearest women in my life will come to my ancient of days house to celebrate my birthday (a day early) and, more importantly, spend time with our dear Aunt Valda whose spirit and fight find her enjoying another spring.

A house with new roofing, new siding and 14 wonderfully warm windows new this winter. While the morning sun bathes the rooms and turns them into colored gems, the reality is that it is an ancient house. Scarred wood floors covered with splashes of rugs, curtains sheer and lacy, the stairway steep and the plaster peeling here and there. To me, this is home sweet home.

When I try to view it through the eyes of others, I see the stray cobweb that my broom couldn't reach on these 12 foot ceilings. Every scratch and scar on the old wood that life has created. Stairs that need a new coat of paint, worn from the trodding up and down of my dear old dad, uncle Vail, brother Jeff -- all exhausted from long days. Leaning on the bannister, taking each step heavily and escaping to a welcomed chair and bed in a room that each of them, for a time, called home.

Stacks of law, mystery, Minnesota small town history and children's books fill the 7 or 8 bookshelves throughout the house. A few, but not all, pictures hang on walls. Just the few i love enough to figure out to hang on the plaster walls or tuck onto dressers or "the buffet". A front room, with the best light, full of bins full of colorful material, eagerly awaiting their turn on my quilt design wall. Several pieces of easily accessible exercise equipment that get me through winter and rainy days when a walk outside is a bit dangerous!

A house that resembles me. Yep, a home that truly is just as I am. Older, scratched and scarred, filled with light that changes me daily and welcoming to all who come to visit or need a safe harbor for a short rest.

All are welcome here.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Sometimes the one person you need is your sister. Since that isn't practical, probable or even just a teensy bit possible in this lifetime the next best thing for today is tulips in a hand blown glass specially made one weird summer spent traveling with her daughter.

Tulips in glass. And it is January in Minnesota.

It boggles the mind. Which is good as now a days all my mind is boggled. Up is down left is right red is 4 to 10-3E and I must be unconsciously holding my breath because I have found myself gasping for air which I try and turn into a cough and people are beginning to question whether I have a cold. A cold? No. Not a cold. I wish it were a cold. That I know with certainty I can recover from- a cold.

The absurdity makes me smile. Almost laugh. Like looking at tulips attempting to bloom in an orange speckled glass in my Minnesota kitchen in the middle of winter.

Yes. I am smiling now. It feels good. Smiling. At least that is my 2 cents today.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Bridge

Today I was cleaning out a ton of old emails and Facebook posts. Some from 2009...I found myself stopping to read a few. Like stills from old movies and whispers from old books my life poured out of those digital posts and emails. 

My birthday event at the Anderson...complete with bowls of oranges, cupcakes, quilt blocks for family and friends. Traveling to California, Washington and Oklahoma to checkout law schools. I was amazed at how many posts I had about the matter what state I was living or visiting there was the wind. 

Faces of my Dad still cause my breath to still. Reading of how hard life was in law school, it amazed me how much I wrote of living the dream even as I can still recall the deep and aching loneliness of those years. And the pride of graduating and being sworn in...and the fear of never finding an employer and becoming homeless.

The numerous posts of sitting on my beloved front porch. The home that for a time seemed to have an endless supply of bats and mice! The photos of the best mouser...and her last day on earth. It rained. She so loved the rain.

Even in the hardest times of my life over the past 6 years - death, cancer, poverty and the fear of winged beasts and dank basements - my words and pictures shared one underlying hum: Hope.

Happy New Year.