Saturday, December 29, 2012

Whirlwind - why I'll never catch up

A wonderful whirlwind with
sugar and toy-jazzed grandkids
wrapping paper and toys everywhere
trampled chocolate and gum in the carpets

To do list growing to two pages
single spaced
10 point charactors
Enough to fill 2013
which isn't even here yet.
Only 361 days until next Christmas

Just remembered
Exchange Karen's sweater for smaller size
Repair engine on Conner's train set
Repair net on the basketball goal
To do list growing to three pages
or just reduce the type
to 9 points

If I make the typesize small enough
I won't be able to read it and maybe
it will go away.

Missed the Friday Shootout
and I had a good blog planned too...
Pictures still in camera.
Maybe I'll do a belated blog.
Add it to the To Do list.


BUTLER:  "You know, if you stopped wasting time making a To Do list and just did each task as it came along instead of adding it to a list..."

BAGMAN:  "Forget the tasks.  Just look at the faces on Conner, Noah, and Kay..."


Karen's car pulls into the driveway
I can see it from my window.
Door slams downstairs
Feet running down the hall and up the stairs
"Diggy!  Diggy!  Diggy!  Diggy!"

No time to edit, just
push the publish key,
turn off the computer and lock it
(some things need protection)
from the whirlwind,
Jimi Hendrix song in my mind:
"The wind cries Diggy."

Beat the footsteps to the second floor hallway,
drop to my knees, open my arms
and let the whirlwind
blow me, smiling, up.

Friday, December 21, 2012

FMHTSO - Rainy stuff

Having just dropped the kids off after several uninterrupted days of rolling around on the floor, getting jumped on, hugging, building with legos and spending zero time on the computer, I dash into the B&B Studio for the Friday Shootout Blog.  And Friday is already half over.

"So what have you guys come up with?" I ask Butler and Bagman who are lounging around looking fairly bored.

BAGMAN: "Diddly Squat."
BUTLER: "He means that we don't really have anything."

"I know what 'diddly squat' means," I reply.  "But surely out of thousands of photographs, we must have a couple of rainy pictures."

BAGMAN: "OK, Almost diddly squat."

BUTLER:  "In Mark's defense, he is appropriately careful not to get his camera wet."

BAGMAN (rolling his eyes): "Or let sand or dirt get in it, or let it get too hot or too cold.  He treats it like a baby!"

"Except I put the baby in the bathtub regularly and she loves getting wet," I protest.  "And we did find this one..."

BAGMAN: "Our hero!  Fearless photographer.  Shooting from inside a car."
"The camera is a delicate thing!"  I argue. 
BAGMAN:  "Barclay took his Nikon all over Africa in all kinds of weather and mud and hippo filled rivers and..."
"And it came back filled with sand and mud and dents and scratches," I protest.
BUTLER:  "And he got some incredible pictures while you were mostly shooting pieces of furniture and shadows on the livingroom wall..."
BAGMAN:  "Maybe you should just frame the camera itself and hang it on the wall."
I decide that maybe the boys have a point and maybe I need to get out more.  But first I try to squeeze in one more picture.

BUTLER: "Not too bad, but you realize that lightening is not actually rain."
BAGMAN:  "Besides you took it from safely inside your back porch."
"But I had the door open," I whine.
BAGMAN: "National Geographic would be proud."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

FMTSO - How I Celebrate the Holidays

I was going to avoid this topic because...

BAGMAN (Rudely interrupting me): "Because you're a weenie and you always..."

BUTLER (Politely interrupting Bagman): "Let him finish his first sentence, at least.  He is probably going to make his usual holiday disclaimer about being a grinch.  I know he says it every year but it makes him feel good so give him a break."

Now that my partners have stolen my thunder, I don't know where to start.

BAGMAN (whispering in Butler's ear): "Thunder?"

Anyhow, I was going to avoid it because I couldn't really identify what special ways I celebrate the holidays.  It varies from year to year. 

And I don't have any really good photographs.  I'm expected to take a lot of pictures and every year I file away tons of pictures of people of all ages tearing paper off of boxes.  And holding up the present and smiling appropriately no matter what it was.  It seems fun at the time but with few exceptions... the year Brian got Sally...
...the other 56,748 snapshots have no use except as a cure for insomnia.
And, Butler is right, I was also going to avoid the post because the false impression that I like to give that I'm a grinch.   But the Universe (or as I like to call it, 'God's sense of humor) seems to have turned the tables on me and given me an annual tradition.  And not one that I'm happy about.
In 2011, I was suddenly attacked by some kind of incredible rash that covered my hands and feet with hundreds of agonizingly itchy welts. 
I figured it was just coincidence.  But this year, I was home alone, performing the annual Christmas ritual of hiding presents from curious grandchildren.  In our new house there is a locked entrance to the attic crawl space.  Behind the door is a space that is clear of blown insulation where I've been storing Christmas stuff as well as everything else that I don't have a place for and don't know what to do with but can't throw away.  
Note how neatly I store things
Also note baseball glove
Two gloves actually, smaller one for Noah tucked behind larger one for Conner.  I point this out because as I put these down, one of the baseballs slipped out and fell off to the right.  So I reached down to get it, stepping to my left so I could reach it and...
Concealed beneath the blown insulation was the edge of the supportive walk area
Note there is now a hole there just under the yellow thing
which I think is a sleeping bag that somehow got flung into the insulation
by my flailing arms as my foot went through the floor.
LESSON #1:  2 inch plasterboard will not hold 245 pounds of clumsy male flesh.
LESSON #2A:  If you are going to fall through a floor/ceiling, it is preferable to land on top of high cabinets rather than going all the way to the floor even if it is where we desplay Karen's collection of old bottles.
LESSON #2B:  If you are going to land on Karen's bottle collection, it is preferable to be wearing shoes (which, thankfully, I was).   
Note that this is not my real leg
LESSON #3  Even with ceilings, the exit wound is larger than the entrance wound. 
My first thought, of course, was that Karen was going to kill me!  That ceiling is less than three months old!  I'm in so much hot water!!
Then, with a rush of gratitude, I noticed the soft, warm feeling of blood dribbling down my arm.  Since it was my leg that went through, I couldn't understand what my arm had been doing but there were several superficial scratches on the arm and one really good gash in my left hand.  With a sign of relief, I immediately knew the gash would need stitches.  
I was relieved because Karen loves my hand more than she loves the ceiling and the hot water I would be considerably cooler. 
So I got to take my third annual Holiday outing to the Emergency Room.  It wasn't that bad and I was able to use a towel to keep from bleeding on the new floors or in my car.  I drove with my right hand while holding the towel-wrapped left one up to reduce the bleeding.  With my hand raised near the window, people I passed all thought I was waving to them.  They smiled and waved. 
Only 9 stitches and I'm as good as new.  A contractor friend has repaired the ceiling and we're back to normal.
But I can't wait to see what happens next year.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Shootout - Best Friend

I was planning to skip this one. 

BUTLER:  "How is that different from two months of not posting at all."

"During the last two months, I just blew off everything.  This week I actually considered it and then planned to skip it."

BAGMAN: "You're crazier than I am, dude."

BUTLER: "May I ask why you planned to skip this one?"

After considering for a moment, I respond, "I came to the conclusion that I don't have any best friends."

BAGMAN (mocking loudly): "Aw Boo Hoo!  Poor you!"

BUTLER (with subdued anger): "You are hitting a new low in making up justifications for self-pity."

Now it is my turn to be angry.  "No, dammit!  I knew I shouldn't try and explain this.  I don't feel the least bit unhappy about it.  I've always had all the friends I ever wanted but I'm an introvert and I am confortable with that aspect of myself.  I have friends all over the place because of blogging but if I had close friends in real life, I'd have to go and have lunch or coffee with them and, to be honest, that stuff doesn't excite me anymore.  I'd rather read a book or go walking in the woods."

BAGMAN:  "You're definitely crazier than I am, dude.  We need to party more!"

BUTLER: "Actually, Baggie, I can kind of understand him."

BAGMAN:  "So what are you going to post for the shoot out, Loner-Man."

"A couple of people that I considered to be "best friends" back when I was more extroverted."

BAGMAN:  "Yea!  Booze and pot sure did extrovert you!"

So anyway, this is Ley Armen.   We hung out together a lot in college and for a few years afterward.  We followed the folk music scene in Boston -- got stoned and drunk alot -- saw Bob Dylan when people still thought he was a kind of weird because his lyrics were hard to understand.  Lee and I had a pact whereby if either of us ever got stuck anywhere, we could call each other anytime and the other person would drop what they were doing and come get us unstuck.  

This was Ley during a partial eclipse of the sun in Provincetown.  We had a million great times together although I can't remember half of them and probably shouldn't document the other half.  But Ley was also an amazing soul.  He served two years as a hospital aide in lieu of service as a consciencious objector during Viet Nam.  Unlike most hippies who just dodged the draft, he went straight to the recruiters and met the requirements.  During spare time at the hospital overnight, he developed an amazing plan in a huge notebook -- to move into the wilderness, buy a spread of land with a steam he could use for a power source, and build a self-sufficient farm.   And lo and behold, he then married one of the most beautiful women I knew, moved to Maine near the Canadian border and did it.  Raised sheep, goats, chickens,and three - I think - boys.  Fought bears and blizzards.   We communicated for a while but drifted apart.   A few years ago, I learned that he had passed away from stomach cancer. 
BAGMAN: "Yeah.  Ley was my kind of guy!"
Then there was
Eddie John
Eddie was the exact opposite during the same approximate time -- college and somewhat beyond.  Eddie was assigned to the same dorm room in my Freshman year.  During the next six or seven years, we were roommates in more apartments than I can count.  I lived with Eddie in more places than any other person.  Eddie was a straight-arrow, tea-totaller.   He might have a beer once in a while but never tried pot.  But he was also the most non-judgemental person I ever knew and never once complained or questioned my actions or behavior.  Sometimes, he rolled his eyes.  
BUTLER:  "Yes, sir.  Eddie was really my kind of guy."
Heart disease ran in his family and he died of sudden cardiac arrest before he reached 30.  I spoke at his funeral. 
BAGMAN:  "So this is your post about best friends?!   Two guys from the distant past?  Both dead?  And you are trying to tell us that you're not pitiful?!"
I don't bat an eye.  "Yep.  I'm glad they were in my life.  I loved them.  I miss them.  But I'm perfectly happy to hang out at home either with my family or by myself."
BUTLER: "How do you bat an eye, anyway?  I might have to do some research on that.