Saturday, December 12, 2015

warmth

We had a new HVAC unit installed the other day. Central heat for the first time in six or seven years. We lost count because, being hardy Yankees, there weren't too  many days in a Georgia winter that didn't make us scoff at the locals moaning about the weather. It took me a long time and a good sale to make the commitment, choose a contractor and get it done. He would have been very pleased with the job, as I am.

When we were first married Jimmy worked installing woodstoves and aftermarket fireplaces. This was during the seventies oil crisis and he could have worked 24/7 and not met the demand. His work was all about helping families keeping warm and being safe.

Our first house together was a vacation cottage so drafty the curtains never stopped moving. The furnace heated one room - the furnace closet. Without consulting the landlord, he installed a fireplace into the corner of the living room and finished the face of it to look like adobe. It had a mantel and hearth and it was a complete miracle to me. I also learned that fireplaces were mostly about ambiance. For real heat, he put in a little boxy woodstove in the back room. We were cozy. And when we moved, we took it all with us.


I can't help but think he's resting in peace now that I've accomplished this huge step in getting our house back to being a home even if it never was a big deal to either of us when he was still alive.

The furnace comes on with a whisper and each time I hear it, I imagine him grinning and saying, "Fuckin' A!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

another day

I hate the way the calendar we use wobbles through time. Dates falling on different days, year in and year out. The sloppy flux of numbers on paper. Leap year. One day more or less in a whole month of days, so I'm not going to pin any crown of thorns on this one.

By some fool's measure of time, it's been two years since Jimmy had to leave us. On some days, it feels like forever; on others, just yesterday. It's been hard on all of us who counted on his love, his humor, his calm presence, and his confidence in all things.

He and I never talked about this day as if not believing it would come could hold it back. Yes, once or twice toward the end. We made our promises to each other and kept them. I know he's is proud.

We do what we must, what he would have us do. Live life and love it, joys and heartaches coming in all flavors, bitter to achingly sweet. I don't feel as if he is receding from me in time. Each day that passes brings me closer in time to where he is.


So here's to you my darling. All my love, all my life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

catnipped





It's been a while since I've had a good, pee your pants laugh.

This popped up on FB yesterday and I laughed til I cried and sent it in a private message to just about everyone I know.

Yeah, yeah vulgarity. Don't care. Made me laugh the way Jimmy used to.

We had a cat, Jinx, a chubby little tiger, who would do the same thing only she would make eye contact with you while she was shoving whatever off the counter or tabletop. It was always funny as hell. He spoiled us rotten with love.

(Jake just reminded me how she would get on top of the refrigerator and reach over the side to pluck magnets and the paperwork they were holding off  to fall into the garbage. There was a pair of concert tickets to see James Taylor at Chastain Park, at least one seatbelt summons, and things from school that were supposed to get signed and returned. It was not all amusing)

Friday, October 23, 2015

True Love Ways

Watching this with Charlie and remembering how much we liked it when it was new.I had never heard this song before the but Jimmy said that Gary Busey did a better job at it than Buddy Holly. He was right. One more for the long list of "our" songs.


Monday, October 12, 2015


Missing my Goodman this week a little more. Being good to myself for my birthday doesn't work all that well because there's no surprise in it. He was good at that. Knowing what I wanted before I did and putting a bow on it.

I will celebrate by getting back to work in the studio. Let the doing carry the feeling for a while.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

one last showtime

What may be my last solo show is opening tomorrow at the Phoenix & Dragon bookstore here in Atlanta.

I have a deep affinity for the place. When I first came to Atlanta ahead of Jim and the boys, I spent a lot of time wandering around just getting a feel for the city. My overall impression was not great. Then I found this place just a few miles from where I was working at the time and it fell like church to me. All these years it has  endured as a place of peace and contemplation for me and I'm deeply grateful for the re-invite to show my work. Jim used to tease me "She's off to the witch store."

This show is dedicated to Jimmy. Without his love, encouragement and support none of my art would ever have seen the light of day.

August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 30, 2015



Can we ever get enough love, comfort and tenderness?

Every day I have to remind myself how lucky I was and how rich I still am.



Monday, August 24, 2015

disconnect

A couple of months ago I bought a 60's era rotary phone off eBay. I was so delighted when it arrived and actually worked. I know people who get nostalgic over the hideous sound one got when trying to connect, via dial-up, to the internet like some kind of vocal robot with hiccups being sucked into a garbage disposal unit. For me, it was the sound of the dial tone and the ring.

I called a few old friends, people that I haven't spoken to since there was no internet and made my ear and throat sore. The connections were clear, almost intimate. If you stopped talking, you could actually hear the other person breathing. It's astonishing how much quality we have sacrificed. Still, the novelty wore off because, frankly, I just didn't have that much to say. When you talk with old friends about old times there is no escaping tales of sorrow and loss.

The novelty wore off and I unplugged it and it gathered dust on the shelf. I tried again when I reorganized my way out of the office and to my sadness found that my landline provider had done something to the service and I was no longer able to dial out. I could receive calls, but how frickin' sad was that?

Fast forward a few months to my days with Charlie in a place where my cell phone just will not work. Unacceptable. They had a land line and I brought the old black beast over and plugged it in. The first time it rang Charlie was astonished. It was Unka calling and it was funny watching him trying to figure out that the voice only came from one end of this clumsy device and he was not quite ready to say anything to a heavy lump of black plastic, but, after that first call, every time it would ring he would point at it and say "Mama." It was clear who he wanted to hear from. I imagined a day when he would be holding the phone to his ear, not speaking, just listening to the sound of someone he loved breathing. Idle fantasy.

Before too long I found myself staring at the thing and feeling generally down. It took a while before I realized that I was waiting for a call that would never come. Jimmy and I didn't carry on much over the phone back in the beginning. There were two or three days, after I left my boyfriend and before Jim picked me up for the last time from my mother's house when we spent hours on the phone. I don't remember anything he said because I was just listening to the sound of his voice. Mostly, it was just a way to find out when and where we could be together, face to face. Time on the phone, time apart, was time wasted.

The phone is too much temptation for a little one, cords, wires and no high place to put it where it can't be pulled down dangerously. I'll bring it home this week and probably put it back on eBay for someone else's memory lane stroll.

Friday, August 14, 2015

a grandson


We had hardly gotten used to thinking about our youngest as a married man.

Today I was trying to choose a first birthday card for our grandson and I was quite overcome. I thought about the dozens of times Jim stood in that very aisle pondering the choices while I was always more inclined to buy blank cards and scrawl something hasty and generic. Mickey Mouse will have to do.

It's a miracle how much Charlie looks like Jake at the same age.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

the happiest 4th

The 4th of July was very special for us. Jimmy said, "It's like Christmas without the shopping".  July 4th, 1976 was the first time we went out in public as a couple and didn't care who knew about it. We sat on the back lawn at Phelps Memorial Hospital and watched the Bicentennial firework displays from all the little towns that lined the Hudson River from Tarrytown south to Manhattan. Mostly. I was just thrilled to be beside him. He brought my car up from where we had left it parked and the back seat of the VW was completely filled with potted azaleas snatched from the hospital grounds.
...
Once we moved to Georgia, we missed NY style celebrations. The towns just didn't do fireworks the way they did in NY. And no place on earth did it like NY in '76.

The Inn at Crystal Beach in Destin was one of Jimmy's proudest accomplishments. He was Superintendent of interiors and was posted there for six months in 1997. Every other weekend the boys and I would drive six hours and spend the weekend with him, but on July 4th the boys stayed with friends and I flew down. He met me at the airport with a bunch of boxes under tarps in the back of the truck and mischief in his eyes.
the boxes turned out to be fireworks.The kind you generally don't set off in your backyard..He dragged the boxes down to the foreground of this picture and, by sunset, we had a bunker dug and the fireworks arrayed just above the high water mark. You could see up and down the beach. 

As the sun settled into the ocean people began setting off their displays and the crowds applauding approval. Jim waited until it was just past  this blue hour to start setting things off. It was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. When it was over he took me up on the roof of the building where we could see all the displays put on by the local municipalities up and down the coast and make some celebration of our own.
...(these are borrowed shots, but so close to how it was).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summertime

It was always about having fun and keeping cool.

Although he never said, I like to think that having a pool was a city boy's dream.

He got me this one before Colin was born so I could keep cool like all the other gestating belugas. June in 1980 was brutally hot and we had no AC.

He would get home from work and bring the mail, snacks and drinks down to the back yard, get in with me and we'd hash over the day until the skeeters drove us inside.

              There's no doubt in my mind that he built this one for me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Let the good times roll.

Tomorrow would have been our 39th wedding anniversary.  Somehow this picture shows that we knew exactly what we were getting into. A lifetime deal.

We were so lucky for so long. I miss him minute by minute.

June 4, 1976

Right after all the ceremonial stuff, we changed and got comfy to enjoy the party and our guests, but I spent most of the evening hiding behind my new husband because the top that I bought turned out to be very sheer and I had no backup.

Jimmy thought it was funny and kept circling around behind me saying
"Yep, you can see right through it." I got over myself pretty fast.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

82nd Air.



He was in it for the thrill of jumping and getting away from the usual father-son conflicts, but he came away with a greater sense of self, of his capabilities and strengths.


His service made it possible for us to get a VA mortgage for the house. I doubt he was thinking about that when he was seventeen, but I'll always be grateful for his leap of faith.

Friday, May 1, 2015

make me laugh

We had just seen "Field of Dreams"


 it was mostly forgettable.


I found an advertisement for this bed in the NY Times Sunday magazine and I coveted it, but they were asking some crazy price for it. Like, more money than a decent used car!

I asked Jimmy if he could build something like this. He took the picture from me and studied it earnestly and then turned to me and intoned, all sage-like...
"If I build it, we will come." We laughed until we cried. I don't know anyone in my life as funny as he was.


things I miss

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

signs


One of the many reasons why I loved
my husband. He always knew what
delighted me.

When I stumbled down the stairs to the
kitchen this morning this was on the table.
Darling, the coffee was weak this
morning, but the magic was strong.
 thank you.




An overnight guest entertained the cat
posse from a safe resting spot on the
 kitchen ceiling.



I took her outside where 
she shivered in my hand 
for a long minute reading 
the lines on my palm with
apparent excitement....

and then flew away to get
on with her Luna day. 


Saturday, April 11, 2015

A better view into the past

I bought a new printer scanner today..I should have known that the one I've been using for four or five years was so outdated. This was the first picture I ever took of Jim. He got used to me and my camera pretty quickly.
Labor Day,1976   Mystic Seaport

Saturday, March 21, 2015

the house

.
I'm really missing my Goodman lately.All this potential construction stuff makes me itchy. Whenever he planned to do something with hammers or saws he would send me out of town for the duration. All I ever had to do was come home and admire his handiwork. I am spoiled rotten.

Jimmy loved his work, especially before he became a supervisor, when he got to design and build the projects.  Nothing was impossible.

Our house is full of his touches, built-in bookcases, my beautiful sewing table,  all the decking, windows where there were none. He put a bathroom in on the main level because my Mom had trouble climbing the stairs.

I've been troubled lately about handling the responsibilities that would have been his. The thought of hiring someone to do the things left undone gives me the kind of anxiety that leads to paralysis, but some of this stuff can't wait.

Babe, I'll do the best I can to NOT get us ripped off. I will consult the hell out of this job and not throw it to the lowest bidder.


Monday, March 2, 2015

the line

Jimmy & Jake '87













Jake and Charlie dropped by for a visit yesterday. The continuity of life and love continues to amaze me.

Jake & Charlie 3.1.15


Friday, February 20, 2015

Baker Street Winter

We moved into the cottage in Mohegan Lake just in time for a half foot of snow.
We quickly discovered that there was no insulation in the walls and the furnace barely worked.
Jim installed both a wood burning stove and a gorgeous fireplace..without consulting the landlord. We were Freezing!
I cleared the tiny front porch with a saucepan and Jimmy did the cars with a broom.


Friday, February 13, 2015

carmel





Colin is cleaning out the garage..seriously. These were in a box along with the trophy.


Messages of love continue to arrive.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

sadland


I don't live there anymore, but I can find myself there without warning.

I can choose to go inside or sit with my back to the cool stones and  think about how blessed we were, how very lucky, so many ways, for so long. To remember the good times, the laughter, the music and the love.

I close my eyes and the wise gatekeeper, a handsome fellow with brown eyes, winks at me and says "Busy yourself babe. There's time enough, in time."


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

play



I read someplace recently that a man playing, really playing, with his kids is sexy.

Well, duh. Where do you think they keep coming from?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

summer 77 ...because Jake asked me to keep going.

I'll have to get with Rob and ask him where this was. Some biker thing in Middletown I think. It has to be around the time of our wedding because this same girl was Rob's guest at the wedding. Despite the "yeah, yeah keep yapping, woman" look on Jimmy's face he was listening to and remembering every thing I was saying. It took a while for me to learn that about him. I could get away with nothing.