Tuesday, December 31, 2013

some direction

I went to bed and cried myself to sleep last night. It happens some days and I just roll with it and wake up looking like I've been mugged. This whole "Happy New Year" thing has left me cold as a bucket of clams.

All the empty hours of my day couldn't tempt me to do anything fruitful. Instead I kept fretting over the future, a pastime that only breeds deeper anxiety. I remember whining to myself "I don't know what to do" without ever even making a list of options. It was a full blown pity party.

After a few hours I woke up and, like the majority of the civilized world, groped for my phone and tried to bring my blurry vision into close focus. Six something but there, under the time, was a little icon that I had forgotten about. 

It was a little tarot app that I hadn't even fooled with since I installed it months ago when Jimmy first gave me the phone. He had to buy this smart phone for his last job and used it two weeks but was so frustrated with it that as soon as he could, he bought a straight forward flip phone and a small digital camera and I gleefully inherited his *$%@! "Stupid phone". 

I poked at the tarot icon and there were several options but the one I wanted was the single card draw - I call it the signpost - a great learning tool and the only real spiritual practice I've had for many years.

The Queen of Wands floated onto the screen and I didn't have to read the description to know that my Angel had answered my question..not what I should do but how I should do it. Boldly. Thank you sweetheart. I will stay tuned. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Lives They Loved

The NY Sunday Times magazine runs a feature at the end of each year called "The Lives They Loved". If you go there prepare to lose a lot of time and be deeply moved.

 I don't know if my submittal made the cut, they must receive thousands, but here is what I sent. It was very hard to keep it to the two hundred word limit.

"Jimmy made me laugh and I'm a tough comedy customer.

From the first day we met his mission was to make me happy, to hear me laugh. He wasn't a joke teller – it was all lightning wit and the gift of knowing just which funny bone to tickle. He would whisper something bawdy in my ear just to see me pretend to be a prude all the while peeing myself with laughter.

People were always glad to see or hear from him because they knew that at some point in the conversation there would be genuine laughter. He was a construction superintendent, the guy who is caught between management and labor. He always took pride in his ability to bring everyone around to his way of seeing and doing things. I think they wanted to share in his boundless sense of fun and good humor.

He was a wonderful father to our sons Colin and Jake and I'm so glad that he passed on his amazing gift of laughter to them both. Now, whenever I really laugh at something I hear his booming laughter in my heart I'm sure that he sent that moment my way with his love."  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

my personal pirate

This was the very first picture I ever took of my husband. We were both always staring at each other while the other pretended not to notice like we couldn't quite believe what was happening to us.

We took my nephew and Jimmy's little brother Chris on a short trip to Mystic Seaport in CT. Why? Any excuse to spend a night in a motel I'm thinking. Yes, we did let two five year olds split a Foster's Lager -the better to be alone as the two of them snored in the dry bathtub.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

this close

Our families both did a lot of picnics. The one above was at Jims folks place in Red Mills, NY and below, my parents house in Goldens Bridge. Sprawling yard parties where everyone brought food and drink to share; family, friends and neighbors. Birthdays, national holidays any excuse to get together.

People were always taking pictures of us, like they still couldn't believe we were together. Going through the pictures, I'm struck by how we were so often just within reach; not clinging but not more than a reach and whisper apart.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Posted on  12.16.13 on the other blog...

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day . Acknowledging condolences, piles of paperwork, digging through personal archaeology were all contributing factors to the extra melancholy. Thanks to both my sons for rescuing the day. Jake came by midmorning and they needed feeding so I made a hearty soup and biscuits and when Colin returned from the Laundromat they took the dead clothes dryer up to the street (where it was grabbed up by scrappers in minutes!) and hooked up a used but working one that Jake had in storage under the house. Needful, useful things to deal with, pass the time and remember.  I'm better today.

When Jimmy and I were first married, like many newlyweds, we were p-o-o-r. A week with Swiss to go on the baloney sandwiches was a really good one. That first year together we waited until 7 or 8 on Christmas eve to go the tree lot and see what was left. (We both came from family traditions of not putting up or decorating a tree until Christmas Eve.) You knew you were grown up when Mom let you help decorate.

The lot was closed and line of scraggly, forlorn-looking leftover trees leaned up against the front of the hardware store where a hand-lettered sign said "FREE".  We had been ready to pay a whole five dollars!  

(This picture was taken years later when I always had to restrain him from getting a tree that was taller than I could reach the top of since decorating was my assignment.)

We stuffed the Charlie Brown Christmas tree through one window on the Dart and pulled it out through the opposite door when we got back to our first apartment together at Skyview Cottages in Mohegan Lake, NY. The place was so small we had to set the tree up in a corner of the kitchen and block it off with the two chairs to keep Shag from knocking it over (again). 

We had been living together since July and never discussed getting married. He told me he bought the ring in the fall and unwrapped it to show his sisters and Mom several times. I had no clue. When I dumped out my Christmas stocking, stuck in the bottom was a little plastic turtle with a diamond ring tied around its neck with a pink ribbon. I looked at it and didn't get what it meant. Then he went all formal on me and cleared up my confusion, but not my amazement. He was just twenty, I was twenty-six.

Here we are at my family's house later that day showing off my ring and making our wild intentions known.