Sunday, March 30, 2008

Of fog and limoncello

Home-made limoncello is a wonderful thing. Sweet, fragrant, refreshing and all vodka. More than a little leaves those imbibing in a wonderful fog of well being and happiness. In a soft-focus world, everything is inviting, everyone is accepting, we are pretty and witty and charmed, oh my!

But beware the limoncello. Like those Long Island Teas I used to swill after a horrible day at work, you won't know what hit you until it's too late. I am a postergirl for the cause. Some, I'm sure, would say I have a problem. Mostly though, my friends and I just liked to escape once in a while, making memories dappled in fog and bright. Nights at the drive-in, sharing and sampling. All night band practice wrap-up at 4am. Concerts at an oft-visited venue where the bar-keep saw you at the door and had your drink ready before your hand was even stamped. Winery picnics on grass and patios with a single, perfect strawberry in every glass of champagne. Cooking six course meals with friends in some bizarre suicide-less recreation the The Big Chill. Sipping port and eating cheese, pears, dark chocolate and walnuts while openly weeping over the annual December airing of It's A Wonderful Life. With foggy memories so rich and sweet, why not enjoy the limoncello?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Outdoors with the trees again

Growing up, we did not have air conditioning. We had window fans or we had the shade of the great outdoors. The front yard had three Chinese elms, which often had clothesline strung between and blankets spread beneath. On the other side of the driveway, by the hand-pump well, was the sycamore tree. An immense giant shedding thin strips of bark and fuzzy balls galore. There were more, a silver maple down the drive and another outside my bedroom window, another elm by the barn, a line of poplars marching by the half acre garden and of course, the peach trees. Much of the summer was spent under the trees. Even the mending, washing and snapping of beans were hauled out to the shade. But the best use of shade was recreational. Reading, writing, playing guitar, drawing, napping.... no better place than beneath a shady tree. Until about mid-July when everything is parched and begging for mercy. Get out and enjoy some quality tree time while you can.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wish I was more like Sinead

I wish I did not want what I haven't got.

There is no reason on earth for me to have a Martin D-41. But, oh, how I want it. Every justification imaginable has passed my thirsty lips. An investment. Resale value is killer. Wanted one since I was 14; that's 41 backwards, so fate is telling me something. The last guitar I'll ever buy. Such a deal on this used one, might never run across such a deal again. Interest sucks so bad right now that I'd make more money on the guitar's appreciation than I'm making on it in the bank. My husband has vowed not to kill me if I buy it. My truck will last at least two more years. Not much makes me happy, this would make me happy. I lost 40 lbs, here's a reward with no calories. Fits my playing style better than a D-28 or a D-35. Swear. Would not be afraid to play it like some people. Still kickin' myself hard for not pulling the trigger on the last used D-41 I passed on. Coulda, shoulda, woulda is for people who don't dream.

It makes me intensely angry that I desire a material thing this badly. Here I am trying desperately to unclutter my life and yet my greed is palatable. I am ashamed.

But I still want it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Easter is as early as anyone living will ever see it again, so they say. The first day of spring has come and gone. Daffodils are about to burst into bloom, redbuds, forsythia and saucer magnolias are right behind. Right behind in the cold.

Tomorrow churches will be filled with little girls shivering in cute spring dresses and sandals. Overflow brunchers won't be milling about outside waiting for their table. Like a 60 degree Christmas without snow, Easter just won't seem right this year.

The spot where I had the best Easter ever is currently under water. Flood waters have engulfed the picnic grounds at Meramec State Park. The first Easter I spent with my husband, long before we married, he thought he'd take me to his church. It was a huge congregation and there was no room to attend except via closed circuit TV in the church's already packed basement. No, I said, not gonna do it. So we swung back by the house and grabbed charcoal and a cooler, tossed in wine, little baby filet mignons, beer, potato salad, chips & dip and some other stuff, and headed out to MSP. Here we were in our church clothes, drinkin' and grillin', KSHE's "Easter with the folks" blarin', frisbee flyin'. It was beautiful and warm; I kicked off my shoes, stripped off my hose and ran through the grass like a child. He told me the story of his friends' nearly doomed Easter float trip. I told him about dying eggs with onion skins, coffee, tea and beet and spinach juice. We sang with the radio, watched the river and napped on a blanket in the shade. Ever since then, I have wanted to relive that Easter. Nothing has ever come close.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

C'mon, Darlin', let's go home.

It had been the worst day of his life
Beaten, without sleep, alone
His head on the table, tears would not come
Hallucinating the touch of a lost lover
As she brushed aside his hair
Gracing his neck with a forgotten kiss
As her hands teased the worry from his shoulders
He knew this was not a dream
"C'mon, Darlin', let's go home."
The anger, frustration, shame and fear
Finally flowed from his bloodshot eyes
Fists pounded, he could not shout
Save to list his failings in delirium
She grabbed the fists and held them
"Don't. Don't do this to yourself."
Gently she uncurled each clenched hand
Softly kissing first one palm, then the next
And held them to her breast.
Her gaze was absolution, her touch, redemption
"C'mon, Darlin', let's go home."
It became the best day of his life.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Someplace Else I'd Rather Be

We are prisoners of our own making. Fueled by necessity, social mores, greed and yes, even fear. As a child I was acutely aware that we were only a paycheck or two away from real poverty. This unfortunately instilled in me a need for security, much to my soul's detriment. Reliable housing, health insurance, a steady job with benefits, enough take-home pay to live without carrying credit cards balances, these are all very sensible things. All very admirable accomplishments. Still, there's someplace else I'd rather be. Security leaves very little room to take a chance. It leaves very little room for dreams. Little time for travel. Little time for living.

So I gave away my clothes.

Not all my clothes. My business wardrobe. A small step, but a first step. I finally realized that I don't ever want a job again where I have to wear suits, hose and pumps. Ever. "Business casual" is bad enough. I do not desire a career path. I desire my own path. Too bad I desire health insurance for myself and my spouse as well. Someday I hope to reconcile my conflicting desires. Until then, slog onward.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heavy Blankets Cover Lonely Girl

The windows have been open, the days are warming. Nights are still cold, but enjoyably so. Blankets, quilts and afghans pile on the bed. As my Dad used to say, it "makes for good sleepin'." My Mom used to tell about sleeping between two feather beds at her aunt's farm. As a child my bedroom window was rarely closed, even in the deepest of winter. The night air smells of chill, earth and the river. It calms me. The layers of heavy blankets are a comfort. A friend of mine who works with special youth says that weighted blankets are a technique used to calm and settle the agitated. I can see that. I can feel that. Yes.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Finally......Spring! (Almost)

This winter has been long. Depressing. Unsettling. And now, just maybe, now it is almost over. As I was loading the bird feeders this afternoon, I almost stepped on the crocus popping up out of the snow. The sun was bright, the birds were doing that territorial singing thing, my parsley and chives showed greening in the herb garden and here stood the crocus, defiant in the face of the melting snow. Thank God.

Sure, I still have an almost irrepressible urge to call in sick from work for good, grab my guitar and run away from this life as I know it. Yes, I'm still likely to crawl into a bottle of Norton and drink myself into an evening of oblivion. And probably I've not cried my last tear for lack of knowing why. But finally, spring seems imminent. Finally, daylight savings time is here. Finally, I might write a song that's not in a minor key. Finally..... it's spring. Almost.

The Odyssean Nightmare of Plumbing

Under the sink, under the car, behind any machine, for any home repair that involves more than putty and paint I am all for hiring someone who knows what they are doing. You'd think we'd learn our lesson after 10 trips to the hardware store and days of not speaking in civil tones, but no. Every home repair, no matter how simple, turns into an Odyssean nightmare. First you fix the original problem, then the fix doesn't quite work, then you get that part figured out and in the mean time another issue uncovers itself and the process begins again. Skip the Starbucks or McDonalds for a couple of weeks and the money for the plumber will magically appear. And no one has to get mad at you for no good reason.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Now I like orchids

Being a hapless houseplant killer, I never thought much of orchids. Didn't dislike them, just never thought about them much at all. I'd see them in the indoor plant section of the garden center and say to myself, "Gee, that's pretty; wonder how long it'd take me to kill it?" But this weekend I stumbled upon the Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden. WHAT on earth was I thinking? Or not thinking? Why had I not fallen in love with orchids until now? They are fascinating. All the more so coz I know I can't grow them. I can, however, shoot them. Check out some of the enchanting flowers from the display here: Eye Spye