Well. It’s Monday

And by now, having jerked my way through finding my password etc., I no longer recall what I’m doing at this site, no clue what was on my mind, and even knowing it is Monday, and breakfast time, I must say that, beyond the frustration, I no longer care. I do have better things to do, like finding my lost earring. Or something. You might think I’m trying to get into Fort Knox.

I’m off to find that better thing before winter assails my senses.



Oh, to see clearly!

My husband had cataracts removed mid October and the beginning of November. Yikes! I had NO idea this process is a time eater. The surgery facility is an hour away, the procedure takes ten minutes and the return home is another hour. The very next day? Do it again, post surgery, to be sure the site was not compromised. Or something. The drops regimen is equal to newborn feedings. Always, always something to do with the patient, who is astoundingly, well, patient! Q4h daily for two weeks. Time eater for sure. Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses even if you just pick up the mail, twenty feet from the garage. Wear this eye shield whenever you lay down. That requires applying the appliance, and the requisite applier. I was hoping for a sexy black eye patch, but no. This is a rubber edged screen so said husband can see through it. Another week of this and we are rewarded with only three times a day, for a week,  then two for another week, then one for the last week. All the while being stringent not to contaminate the eyes. This is extended by twice since we do one eye in a complete cycle, then return to surgery for the remaining eye. Repeat. So very little else gets done. We’re halfway through, with my husband weighing the wisdom of just doing one eye and settling. That’s just frustration. That’s not on.

There is an upside. The right eye, having been freed of its cataract, all drops summarily applied in the proper sequence, sees 20/20! I’d be telling the whole town, were it my sight,  dancing in the street and gleeful to be free of wearing glasses. But no. Not my low key husband. It is almost ho-hum to him. Nice but not special.

Glasses have adorned my face since I was ten years old. Blind as a bat without them, myopic with astigmatism, I grope around without them so I can cook without the on/off/on I’d have to do in order not to scorch everything, and lose the glasses umpteen times a day. And no, wearing them around my neck merely guarantees really messy clothes dressed with food detritus. Tell me I could forget wearing them and I’d be delirious.

The man of the house didn’t need glasses until well into his forties, and has a mild correction which renders him bat blind, at least in his mind. Being bat blind, I have little patience with his slight inconvenience, which of course makes me heartless with lack of sympathy. He could see to drive if he had to. Me? I can’t even find the car in the garage without my glasses.

Within the next few weeks we’ll be free of this exercise and life will resume with a schedule locked with only the mundane needs of the retired. For now we’ll be sure to vote tomorrow, hold our breath to see to whom we will be subjugated and hope we can survive them intact. I have my doubts. Never in my whole life can I recall a time when the choice seemed poor and poorer. I wish there was a box to check for no confidence. I have no kind words for either candidate. We get what we deserve. I mean, where do you think these candidates came from? I know of one whole single person who won’t be holding their nose through the procedure. That, I submit, is pathetic. My glasses, in this, are quite fogged.

The prodigal returns

Boy oh boy don’t walk away for very long! WordPress forgets you, can’t id you, ignores whatever you tell them, start over, Duhhhhh. Yes, I know the purpose is to know for sure I am who I say I am. Kidding??? In today’s world? I check in the morning when I wake up:

Me: Good morning, Barbie.

Me: who is this?

Me: Is that you, Barbie?


Me: Can you identify yourself to me?

Me: Uh, that looks like my navel, so yes. I’m me.

Me: What’s your password?

Really? It’s my bed. It’s my nightgown. It’s my navel. It’s my morning breath. I’d know this woman anywhere. Take my word for it. THIS IS ME.

This is ridiculous. I must prove to myself….MYSELF…that I am indeed who I say I am and need access to my own PC. This took me a half hour and I STILL don’t know which of the many passwords I was asked to change, is the key in. No wonder nothing works in this country. My mother would have typed in some totally unacceptable words, left a serious piece of her mind and then decide a very tall whiskey sour is infinitely more desirable than typing drivel to an unidentified audience, if in fact there is one.

Hey. She wasn’t always wrong. I did have something on my mind to say but I can’t recall what that was. I have not been here to tend to the stew of story in several weeks. Cataract surgery limits that activity and it isn’t my own eyes causing this short term fail. Those eyes are my husband’s. Tomorrow we’ll trek an hour out to the surgery unit and do the remaining eye. Today was the first day he could happily realize HE CAN SEE, not just the wall but what’s on the wall! So with the remaining eye repaired he should be stunned that earth has much more clarity. He rarely emits loud noises complete with exclamation marks, so this morning’s shout out was a real joy for me. He had no real understanding re how or what the surgery was. New lens? Really? Ohhhh yeah. Bye bye glasses. His right eye from the jump now sees 20/20. This time next week he’ll think Superman is alive, well and must be his twin. Cataracts are stealthy tricksters leaving little clue that vision is very slowly seeping  away. The miracle is that the new lens, of which he was totally unaware, gives him back perfect eyesight. His stroke, though, stole his peripheral vision, which he prays he’ll get back with this correction. Not likely. And there goes his ability to drive. For a man, that’s like prison. For his wife? You don’t want to know.

Love affair with the ocean

It is ever harder to listen to political news without hurling. My gut, my brain, my temper are overwhelmed. Yes I know I can turn the telly off. What I’m hoping for is real news. Surely there is still some out there. A kitty stuck up a tree?  A field fire near the neighborhood? A dog loose without his collar? Anything beyond our fixated attention on Clinton and Trump.

Listening to the pundits trying to dictate to me, second guess me, manipulate me, has been on for two weeks. Frankly, they hold me so cheap I could throw up. On their shoes. No more. I know full well who I will vote for. I didn’t know in August. There is so much more going on than the egos of  two politicians so full of themselves they spill over.

Holding my attention are the eye drops my husband keeps blinking away, necessary for the eye surgery in the morning. Some of the liquid reaches its target, so I’m not worried. I tell him cataracts sneak up on their victim, that he won’t believe when both eyes are corrected the world will be a surprisingly clearer place. At least visually.

My fave season is upon us. Crisp mornings, clear skies, warm afternoons and cool evenings are more comfortable for me. I don’t do well too hot or too cold. There are not enough of these golden days. I know that my ignoring it will not forestall winter, enjoyed only from indoors. Soft falling snow is lovely, even when driven by cold winds but only for a week, and then I long for spring. I suppose I live on the wrong coast, or at least as close as the coast can be to Lake Erie.

I had the deep pleasure to use someone’s seaside home down the shore some years ago. In winter. During a storm. Magnificent! The ocean stacked high above  the snow covered sand as the wind howled and pounded the windows. Next morning the beach was busy with folks bearing huge trash cans, picking up whatever the sea had dumped. I bundled up to have a look in late afternoon, the sand still littered with…..king crab, flounder, star fish, mussels. All frozen.

I dashed back to the house for a trash bag, then back to the beach for the bounty. For over an hour all I needed to do was bend over and lift the treasure. Someone stopped to tell me that when I emptied the bag in the warmth of the house, anything that didn’t move when thawed was not edible but that all else was.

We ate seafood for three days. Succulent fresh from the sea lunches and dinners so good we couldn’t believe it. My family feasted, leaving only sucked shells to toss back to the sand for gulls to pick clean. The sea plowed the shells back to the bottom of the ocean where  salt water would break them down.

I didn’t know this event was as rare as hen’s teeth. That snow on the beach in Southern New Jersey was not a common experience. That the sea pitched up incredible food just for the taking.

What I did know, for the rest of my life, is that I have always been in the wrong location for my soul’s joy. Sand and sea in any clime is totally necessary for my well-being. The crashing of waves on rocks and beach heads is the music I didn’t know I need. The soft shushing of a quiet ocean guarantees sound sleep. Moonlight on the water soothes me like nothing else can. I didn’t know. And now that I do, beneath even the loveliest of my life experiences I wait for those sounds and sights that tell me who I am and where I should have been for a  lifetime.

The days dwindle down

Back from Vacay, I hardly know where my head is. I can’t wait for the election to be over. I’m aghast at the pandering, the lying, the bias of all media, pick either candidate, though I’m not surprised because every single day the appalling attempts to mold public opinion grow more gross.

It is so past time to start using our own brains. Sorting through the mud and mire takes time and dedicated discernment. What did we ever do without WikiLeaks shedding the spotlight on the material they expose. Lots to think about.

The better subject is the gorgeous arrival of autumn tiptoeing in dressed in gorgeous finery. The young woods outside my bedroom once again share their yellow lit leaves in blazing color, painting the walls lemon. It is my favorite season, with crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings needing a light sweater. The blue skies are clearer, never mind the morning fog lying over the small pond. By 10 o’clock the fog is gone and crystal clear brilliance edges everything with a sharp quiver. It is the rare time I simply observe without effort or anxiety that the morning is getting away and I have nothing to show for those hours. False; it is food for the soul. Respite from the poison of politics.

We spent time with delightful family we rarely see, in Georgia. The drive was long coming and going, but did it safely, a true feat in itself. Georgia was enjoying very temperate weather, without rain and so we spent lots of time just relaxing. But we are glad to be home, finding we have new neighbors, two librarians, to occupy the house next door. I look forward to their presence. Change happens whether we pay attention or not. I live in a very stable neighborhood, where most of us are home most of the time. To know an eye is kept on my home when I’m absent, that the mail is picked up and held for me, is a comfort, and a neighborly courtesy we all extend to each other.

Time to do the travel laundry, press and fold and put away. Time to bring in the ferns, a tiny bit tipped with brown after one night of frost, time to put the porch furniture under the deck, time to have the chimney checked since it’s been a while when we had a fire in it. Time to pull out recipes for soup nights with grilled cheese sandwiches. This is my fave season, did I say that again? and try to make the most of it. Several varieties of apples in the crisper, cider in a jug, spice cake on the schedule, bourbon and a cinnamon stick, you see I’m getting ready. As winter begins to threaten I make jammies time in the morning with hot chocolate and marshmallows with my toast, warm slippers and lazy hours in front of a warm fire, thinking what to write about next.  Or not. In winter I’m a contented slow starter. I own that. I admit it and take great advantage of the available time. I’m making up for the pace I kept in my youth. Yes, I still remember with fondness and no regret. With knowing smiles.

A Fine Wine Friend

I love this short season of pre-autumn, when summer slowly relinquishes its hold on green and gold and wet and dry spells, when it considers capitulating to the coming long sleep of winter heralded by gorgeous foliage, crisp mornings, shorter days and a slowing of pace with time to think and reflect.

Autumn is my season. I relish it, dedicate time to relax in it, feel the last warm rays of sun before my spirit hibernates deep within tall boots and heavy sweaters. I enjoy bundling up in a blanket with a sturdy cider and a slow book, toasting on the deck snug in a lounge chair until about four in the afternoon when the temp changes and the breeze freshens to cool, telling me to go  make dinner. By the time the dishes are in the dishwasher, it is dark. I don’t like that part at all. I don’t much seek out quiet time, more’s the pity, but in this season I rearrange my life and see to it that quiet time is on the agenda.

I still write letters. Long-hand. It forces me to shut out the world and focus on my subject and my target. I have a long-time friend twenty years my senior. We have had, and maintain a strong affinity for each other. He is one of the four men in my life who, across its expanse, have shaped me. He is a retired physician living on the left coast with his almost reclusive son. The two of them just moved from Muscle Beach to Sonoma, to a tiny town amongst the vineyards. He’s only been there a month or so, yawns a bit at the overbearing preoccupation with wine, wine, wine, given that his preferred drink is a good scotch. In a town of about 1200 people, I’m willing to bet he’ll ferret out a scotch drinker or three to share his stash with. I sure wish he was closer, though I must admit, a 49 minute phone call, massaging our common connections went by all too quickly, assuaging the emptiness we both feel because of distance.

During the move, of which I was unaware, I couldn’t find him. He didn’t answer his phone, and though it wasn’t disconnected, I worried he’d left the planet, this man who truly believed he’d die a few years past retirement simply because he doubted longevity in his line. No. He just turned 96, with a brain more agile than any kid. He spends most mornings on his deck with a good book, and noodles in the garden just to prove he can still squat in the dirt. He has been and continues to be a fount of knowledge on many subjects, abhors the state of the nation and its politics and stays abreast of current events. He allows himself a short nap in the early afternoon, and retires after the nightly news.

What did he do with himself most recently? He went fishing in Boston with his slightly younger brother. Every day he wakens is a great surprise. He has developed a few deficits at his great age, like losing teeth, and reduction of vision in his left eye, but thinks these infirmities are negligible.

What is evident is that he has not lost a minute’s interest in living, and though his pace is a bit slower, his mind is not. He is a treasure in my life, albeit he’s a continent away, essentially. I daily thank Alexander Graham Bell. Bill refuses the computer his son bought him, I can’t think why, since it would open a whole new world for him. But he feels no need for the new fangled, given he can board a plane and go fishing in the streams of Massachusetts. How, he asks, would a computer ever enhance that?

So he remains on my letter writing list, especially since he answers in kind, with pithy and informative responses of his own. We reminisce our histories, and know that, in another life, in another place, the pair of us would have been inseparable.

Of those four, I married one, and consider myself among the most fortunate of women to have had them all fully engaged in solid friendship across nearly fifty years. One of them died long before I was prepared for that parting. Chris was everyone’s treasure and there will never be another like him.

A thriving 96 year old with all his faculties is one  fabulous gift, like a  vintage car  whose tires still have great tread. When he calls I drop everything else and never forfeit that time, knowing we will sooner or later run out of that commodity. Until then, I’m grateful for every moment.

Sometimes I’m simply stupid.

I can be so obtuse. By now I should know not to argue politics with anyone, least of all people I’ve never met, and never will, who think that their outlook overrides that of those who disagree. I must say they are not sages, any more than I am. Enough, already.

The day is beautiful, clear blue sky, empty of clouds, air dry and clean. My back is healing well, though I walk with pain after a half hour and need to rest it. That is huge improvement, however limiting.

I completed my assignment for Bible Study Fellowship and am ready for tomorrow’s time in the study. This year it is the Book of John, the favorite of Jesus, who understood and wrote about Jesus as the Light. I love this study and hear John loudly.

I’ll pack for the short trip east, take my time and be grateful for the forecast. Sam no longer can drive, with his peripheral vision compromised, so all of it falls to me. Fortunately I love driving, especially in good weather. It’s still too early for gorgeous foliage, but then there will be no snow either. A dear friend who is several years my senior, just drove from Maine to Virginia and back . We are both aware and astute, taking driving in stride. The don’t forget it list is longer now, but we have several days to get it done.

We are at that age when reunions mean a luncheon, no longer a party, with shorter hours, and less fuss. It should be about reacquaintance, not the dress or the place. I finally caught up to the second VIP male in my life, after a month of not being able to locate him. He’s in his nineties and a bit slower but not much. A gifted physician, his mind is agile, holds strong opinions and most of his teeth. Too bad for me, he lives on the left coast, a trip too far, so we are glad for the phone. He has moved from the beach north to wine country. I envy both his abodes and long for his new location. I have been so fortunate to have had several men in my life who shaped my world view, lent me their wisdom and given me much of their time. I wish some newer acquaintances had had the benefit of his knowledge, his understanding about how things really work, and in this time of political confusion, he still sees with clarity who is the least dangerous and who is most. He is a liberal, currently disillusioned about that, so unhappy with his party, and I am a conservative, feeling the same. We make great room for the opinions of each other and that is a gift we never take for granted nor do we trash. We do not try to convince each other of the supposed correct path. Hard to come by in this day and age.

This has been a relaxed day without contention. I must divorce myself from fruitless argument, preserving myself against assailants who truly believe they owe it to themselves to help me understand the error of my ways. Reading that, I laugh out loud. Mama always said it is insanity to stand in front of moving trains.