Reading the Signs

14 08 2019

I don’t know about you, but over the past few weeks,  I’ve found myself swirling into an ugly little eddy of bleakness .  I let bad news about bad people put me in a very bad mood.  It did no good for anyone, but there I was.

Until yesterday.

I was at the grocery store.  I was annoyed that I’d run out of a few things that required me to get up and go out of the house. As I was waiting in line at the pharmacy for my blood pressure medicine (something I should NOT run out of!),  I watched the 60-ish dark-haired and brown-skinned couple in front of me sort out their medicines, making sure they had everything when a fair and red-haired kid, probably 9 or 10 years old  ambled up behind them, wrapped an arm around the woman’s waist and laid his little freckled cheek on her shoulder.  It was such a sweet and loving gesture, I wished I could have photographed it. It was unselfconscious, it was comfortable, it was warm: it was family.

Right there, in the Giant pharmacy line, I felt the beauty of that moment wash away my despair. I understood my failure to have procured the blood pressure medicine earlier in the week had not been an inconvenient error, but  the opportunity to witness something wonderful.  I realized that I did not have to continue deeper into pessimism.  I have other roads to travel. 

There are markers and clues everywhere. I will  look for the happy ones and follow their directions. Read the signs carefully and choose a good path.

Hug your mother. No matter your age, you’re always her baby. That’s a very good sign.


7 08 2019

For several days, I’ve been feasting my eyes on social media images of monarch butterflies emerging from chrysalises, pumping their wings full and dry, and taking flight, totally different creatures than they were before their brief, if drastic, sequestration. 

Such a magnificent feat of nature inspires my awe. It also pokes at a wound that will not heal.  I choose  – and, believe me, it takes a lot of effort to make that conscious choice – to focus on the wonder of it.  It reminds me that we all face changes: good, bad, inevitable, earth-shattering. 

The loss of my daughter, almost nine years ago, was not the most life-altering change I’ve faced; it was the twenty years she was with us that changed me. Losing her was awful, but having her for those precious years was magic. She made me kinder, stronger. She made me more.

Now, whenever I see a monarch floating on a breeze,  I am always reminded of my beautiful, stubborn, glorious girl. I had to let her go, but I believe she’s dancing in the wind.

Paula’s Day Off

31 07 2019

When I retired from my (paying) job several years ago, I went a little crazy volunteering with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I know, no one who knows me would imagine that I would overdo anything, but, after a 4-days out-of-town stint,  I realized I really needed a vacation from volunteering.

I marked today on my calendar as “Paula’s Day Off.”

No phone calls, texts, emails, or social media stuff about my beloved (and consuming) PGC; one uninterrupted day for my “wanna do” list.

I spent a lovely morning in my yard, sweating through two changes of clothes, weeding, deadheading, pruning, and generally communing with my plants.

Gaillardia makes me grin.
Pots of caladium and annual begonia for porch shade.

I ate the last slice of made-by-me peach pie for brunch on my front porch.  After noon, I spent more quality garden time with my mother, who helped with more weeding and clean-up.  We peeled, sliced, and froze peaches.  We made and took dinner to a friend who needs a little extra love.

Glad to have Mom to help me!

Tonight, after we share our dinner, I will eat made-by-me rice pudding and happily drift off to sleep.

What a day! It seems I can actually take time off from my non-paying job to enjoy other things that are important to me.  Of course, this must be done again, and soon, in the name of science.  I will need to see if this feeling of calm and satisfaction can be replicated by taking a day for myself.

I was about to say I need to be my own guinea pig, but Rebel let me know that such terminology in this house is a micro-aggression and completely politically incorrect.

With experiments like today, I’m feeling like science might be fun!

Good day. Good-night.

Form Over Substance – No Thanks!

24 07 2019

You are here to answer questions about the report you submitted, correct?


You are constrained to answer no questions that are not answered in said report, correct?


You will not opine, extrapolate, or otherwise offer any interpretation of the information contained in said report, correct?


Before we go any further, would you like a glass of water?

I will not comment on that, as it is not contained in the report.

This is not meant as a comment on one side of the aisle or the other – there’s plenty contempt to go around.  It seems we have little control over the twisted melodrama/reality show our federal government seems hell-bent on performing, but we can turn the channel.  I am going to work really hard to look past the shiny objects, red herrings, and all the other petty misdirection games life tosses into my view and pay attention to what’s important. For me, that’s my family, my friends, my guinea pigs, my plants, and my projects.  I will be happy to answer questions on these topics, whether they’re reported or not.

Some Spectacular Family Folks In a Place We Could See Russia . . . Almost
Friend and Family Colluding to Act Out
Two Lazy Guinea Pig Girls Who Accept Bribes from Refrigerator
Backyard Planting AKA Sean Spicer’s Safe Place
Family Project Fun – No Sworn Testimony (but I think I swore when cleaning up)

Whose Comfort Zone?

17 07 2019

Yesterday, I was looking at some images of wonderful, definitely designer, menswear that had been shared by a fellow in a Facebook sewing group.  He asked about whether he might be able to pull off such a look.  One of the first responses was, “These styles are lovely, but they are more like women’s clothes.” Seriously?  Why should only women be wearing items of clothing made from top-shelf fabrics, in rich colors, with flowing lines? 

Issey Miyake Menswear Spring/Summer 2020

A few days ago, there was an urgent social media request post , asking for FREE preemie clothes. Almost immediately, the post was edited to add for boys. A premature baby needs clothes and the requester is worried about gender.  A onesie is a onesie; if it’s clean and comfortable, what else matters?

Last week, while having lunch with my sister, I caught a glimpse of a very pear-shaped woman who was wearing a close-fitting dress in a stunning black and cream inch-wide stripe fabric.  The person I used to be would have pointed out how the stripes accentuated every bountiful curve of that woman’s body, which they DID, and I would have wondered aloud why someone shaped like that would choose to wear that dress.  Happily, what went through my much-wiser-now mind was, “Wow, that woman looks gorgeous.” She had clearly dressed to please herself, she’d flexed her personal power, and that made her beautiful.

The way we dress is one of the most judged-by-others decisions we make. People we don’t know at all will stare, shake their head, smile, nod, laugh, or make any number of other comments about what we wear, a fact lead me to this conclusion:

You won’t please everyone you meet, so wear what pleases you.

The comfort zone that matters is yours.

My handsome – comfortable – husband. Yes, that is a Homer Simpson t-shirt.

Mosquito Madness

10 07 2019

Mad Magazine introduced me to song parody when I was in grade school. It has just been announced that their August issue will be the very last with new material. A wave of nostalgia (and OTC antihistamine) has obviously overcome me, so, with apologies to composer George Gershwin and the writer DuBose Heyward and hoping you are all familiar with Janis Joplin’s rendition of the aria from Porgy and Bess , here is my take on Summertime.

Skeeter Time and my body is itchin’.

Welts are swelling from my head to my feet.

No matter what I do, insect vampires keep swarmin’,

So, bye Citronella, it’s time for DEET.

Skeeter Time and I look like a leper.

Shouldn’t scratch those bites, but I couldn’t resist.

Last year was skeeter-free, not a single one got me.

Looks like I’m back at the top of their blood-wanted list!

One of these evenings, I’m gonna find my yard pest-free.

Nothing biting, but that comes at a cost.

The purge is swift and sure, but the price is real heavy,

‘Cause Raid’s not an option, but neither is the frost.

Hope you sang along loudly, just like I used to do with Alfred E. Neuman. Enjoy these height-of-heat-and-humidity summer days – they’ll be headed south for the winter before we know it!

My resident green frog is more of a singer than a hunter.

Hello, July!

3 07 2019

Suddenly, it’s summer!  Serious, steamy, summer.  I am delighted!

This is one of my favorite times of the year . . . that time when it’s too hot to do much work in the yard, so I am “forced” to relax and enjoy the plants I’ve so doted on for all the other months, just waiting for them to reward me. Boy, are they paying me for the effort!

Flowers are pretty and that would be enough, but my gardens are so much more to me.  They encourage generosity by growing into share-able sizes, so I can give my friends the gift of something I’ve loved and nurtured.  My trees leave their gangly adolescence behind and adopt more mature profiles reminding me that time keeps moving. They call forward happy memories like the time Jessie saw her first earthworm – she loved earthworms! 

I think I learned the lessons of gardening very well . . . I, myself, have taken root.