Tag: togetherness (Page 1 of 2)

Babymoon, Day 1

Come February 2023, I’ll be Bubbles (my grandmother name) to a third Sprite! I’m calling her Junior for now ‘cause she’ll be named after me, though my daughter doesn’t plan to call her Jeanne. In case you’re wondering, I’m named after an uncle I never met.

New parents apparently celebrate upcoming arrivals by dedicating a weekend to a babymoon- a play on “honeymoon” – enjoying a last fling of freedom and gaiety before a life of diapers, feedings, and sleep deprivation begins. Since Alison is a single parent, I get to enjoy this special weekend with her, and it started yesterday. I’m telling you about it in past tense because by the time we got to our hotel room last night, I was too tired to open my computer.

a reserved space!

We kicked the day off with a 2-hour glamor shot photo shoot (a.k.a. sonogram) because to date, Junior insists on refusing to give the medical professionals the views they desire. They want to see her cleft palate, and she insists on putting her foot not in (that’ll come later), but in front of her face. They want to see her spine, she lays on her back. You get the, well, picture. Frustrating as it is, I can’t help but be a teensy little bit tickled by the early signs of Junior’s independent streak and authority issues. I sense her arrival will be more of a “buckle up” than birth event.

 

After photos and a bite of breakfast, Alison and I made our way to an old Charleston building now serving as offices for several attorneys. On a car-ined street, there was one available parking space right in front (and I do mean RIGHT IN FRONT) of the building. We we made our way to the back of the building, I enjoyed the old, old bricks and the determined green plant life – mostly ferns and dandelions – poking their heads out of tiny little nooks and crannies.

The conversation on the drive went something like this . . .
Alison: Mom, you know to be quiet, right. Don’t say anything.

Jeanne: Alison, you don’t have to worry about me. This isn’t my first psychic reading. Every September in the Way Back When, Mrs Fincher and I would buckle you, Kipp, and Blake up on the merry mixer at the Kiwanis Club Fayette County Fair, and go have a reading done by the woman with a card table set up in the parking lot.

Yes, my friends, behind the door we entered was the most delightful, inviting room where the most delightful Andrea conducted our psychic reading. The first word out of Andrea’s mouth was “mom”, and I felt it was wrong not to tell her that Alison is pregnant, but she’d gone to such great lengths to hide her pregnant belly, I knew things would go badly if I so much as looked in Alison’s direction, so I zipped my lips and let Andrea focus on me as the obvious mom. Daddy came to call first, wanting me to apologize to Mother for something, and honestly, y’all, I silently whispered to him that since I was paying for this, I’d sure appreciate it if he’d talk to and about me. He must’ve heard me ‘cause he shifted to another lane and talked a good long time about how he trusts me and how I’ve taken such good care of somebody (who is obviously Mother), that now it’s time for me to spread my wings and fly – spread my wings, he said multiple times, always with Andrea doing hand motions –  to work on something that’s important to me – which I choose to interpret as this book I’ve been writing on for umpteen plus one years now. He said he trusts me implicitly, and Andrea offered that he meant that it’s okay for me to take intuitive leaps in whatever it is I’m working on (cause thought i might have thought about the book, I knew better than to say anything about writing a book)!

The Engineer’s mother shocked the stew out of Alison and me by coming in with great fanfare (that’s not the shocking part. That she came at all is the surprising part.) She seems just as excited over Junior’s birth as she was over Alison’s birth. Andrea rather emphatically conveyed to us that there is something Grammaw (Mrs. Chambers’ grandmother name) really wants Junior to have – something she made or purchased, something that has been handed down. [She bought Alison a christening gown to wear home from the hospital when Alison was born. I’d never heard of such a thing or such a tradition, but Alison wore that dress home as did my son Kipp as did Kipp and Marnie’s 2 children who were born in Colorado. And that christening gown is in a box somewhere in the chaos that is their new and almost-remodeled home in Colorado. Amid everything else they’re doing, they’re searching for that little white gown and bringing it to  Alison at Christmas.] Yep, gotta be the christening gown.

There were many other things that came through via Andrea, including one female wearing a hat who died and traveled across the Atlantic before her death. Alison and I have an idea of who that could be until we get to the part about traveling across the Atlantic. Thank goodness we recorded the entire session.

 

After hugging Andrea good bye, we needed to walk (something Grammaw encouraged Alison to do via Andrea), and there were 20 minutes left on the parking meter, so we started walking, and what do y’all think is the first thing we saw as our feet hit the Charleston sidewalk?  Right: our first found heart of the day!

Not knowing the area and having nowhere in particular to go, we just walked straight down the sidewalk, stopping at the first shop that caught our eye: the Old Whaling Store offering the most aromatic handmade soaps and lotions for sale. We left with lotion for me and lip balm for Alison. As we pulled away from our front-row parking spot, there was a line of cars waiting to take our place – ha.

Y’all look at this tree we parked beside and tell me what you see. At first I saw a tear because I have a thing for tears and see them as reliquaries. Then in a literal blink, I saw a womb cradling a cherub.

We then made our way to the Bye Bye Baby store, our first shopping spree, which turned out to be mostly a looking spree, though Alison found more things to add to her gift registry and  y’all know I found a few things . . .

a few must-have gifts for Junior, and

a little something to remember what Daddy repeatedly told me through Andrea. Oh wait. I thought those black lines were WINGS. Only now do I see them as eyelashes. Well, here’s how it’s gonna’ go down in the history books: those are wings, and wet macular degeneration or no, I absolutely love my vision. I mean Vision.

Moving on . . .

In the house between shopping and our next step at Urban Nirvana for facials and massages, my daughter-in-love Marnie called to tell Alison that she wants to host a baby shower for Alison and Junior! Alison is so touched and so excited, she actually cried a little bit . . . then got right to work on the invitation list.

 

I haven’t had a massage since they added an “e” to the word, and let me tell you, it was wonderful. Okay, it was beyond wonderful. Ditto that for the facial. (And it was 25% off thanks to the early Black Friday sale, so there’s that!) I want some of the cute and comfortable little sandals we wore at the spa, and i might actually want to go back to wearing robes after a multi-decades long absence. (Silly me, a former version of Jeanne decided that robes take up valuable closet space and besides, I need to get up, get dressed, and get to work ticking things off my (always massive) to do list. Jeanne 7.0 thinks Pfffft on that and will be shopping for a luxurious soft, fluffy robe in the Relative Soon time.)

We kicked off the weekend with Storm Hair, we closed out day one with Massage Hair.

Spying a Chili’s restaurant, we turned in, parked, walked up, and were seated promptly at a larger table for four instead of one of those tiny little tables for two. When we left the restaurant, the line of people waiting was way down the sidewalk.

Straight back to the hotel we came, donning our pajamas and climbing into bed lest we fall asleep standing up. It was a day filled with the magic that comes from laughter, love, wonder, and loving, gleeful anticipation. What better way to spend Junior’s first all-girls three-generations outing, right?

~~~~~~~

Want to see more? Let’s get together on Instagram and Facebook.

Losses or Gains?

snow on trees

Snow on Christmas Eve
Icy roads before midnight.
Santa made it, though,
thanks to Rudolph’s fierce
determination.

Snow covered trees around the waterfall

snow covered trees around the waterfall

This morning,
the men are up
earlier than the tots
on Christmas morning,
out to do battle with nature
who’s proving a formidable foe
(just as I warned.)
(I mean foretold.)
In their crosshairs:
getting off our slick mountain road
with little if any regard
for all the other potentially hazardous roads
awaiting them.

While all scurry frantically,
in angst at plans disrupted,
their eagerness to leave
lands like families of porcupines on my heart.

Have they learned nothing from 2020,
The Great Teacher
who gave us so gave us so many
opportunities
to learn
and reframe?

At the knee of 2020,
we learn to
consider plans made as suggestions
or possibilities
to jot task lists in pencil
instead of ink,
to linger.

She gives us countless opportunities
to sample a slower-paced life,
our 2020,
to remember how it feels to
spend entire days letting books
be our planes, trains, and automobiles;
to replace text message with
pen, paper, envelopes, and stamps;
to reacquaint ourselves with
childlike wonder
enjoying games made from bits found
and food made from leftovers
and the awe of trees
newly-defined by snow.

snow covered trees and branches

Now I leave the fantasy land of my studio
and rejoin the chaos of angst –
noses pressed to the
panes in the door,
watching the thermometer,
willing it to reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit,
where –
in their own fantasy land –
the snow and ice will magically poof,
disappearing so they can
hit the road
hours after they’d planned,
moving a little faster
to make up for all the time lost.

Finding Smiles on Sheltering-in-Place Days 25 and 26

Saturday, 04 April 2020, Day 25

Gorgeous weather is the bearer of hope.

When we need more supplies to make masks, there is no choice but to go out. Before we enter the store, I give The Engineer a 4” x 44” strip of fabric with instructions to cover his nose and mouth then tie it in the back of his head, and I do the same. Next we both don gloves. Back in the truck, The Engineer says – and I quote – “I felt like an idiot when you made me wear that makeshift mask and gloves . . . and I think it’s the smartest thing you ever made me do.”

I choose yoga, sketching, and short poems for my 100 Day Project, and I start early with a Yoga Nidra this morning led by my amazing friend Nona Jordan. I haven’t adjectives to tell you how wonderful it was except to say that I am now looking forward to a spot of yoga in each day. Yoga will change my life. That much I’m sure of.

man pushing grocery cart

Small pleasures: walking through the grocery store downwind of the blue hyacinths that will soon grace our home.

a grandfather and grandson got out for a ride on the lawnmower

On the way home, we get behind a grandfather and his grandson who apparently decided to break the bindings of cabin fever by taking the lawnmower out for a spin.

There is much to smile about well before noon.

Sunday, 05 April 2020, Day 26

Handwritten sentences: I will not be cranky today.

Affirmations help some days.

fabrics and papers

Chore charts are set aside as we all pitch in to do what needs to be done while mask-making for friends and family continues full steam ahead. The floors are a  garden of thread and scraps of fabric. There’ll be plenty of time to sweep later.

47 Years Ago Today

Me, 10 days before meeting The Engineer

47 years ago today, The Engineer asked me to spend the rest of my life with  him. I’d been invited to a wedding shower and was voicing my reluctant enthusiasm about the prospect of attending. He tapped my nose with one finger and said, “You know, when we get married, you’ll have to go to wedding showers.”

“But you haven’t asked me,” I managed to blurt despite the somersaults of my heart.

Silence, 2, 3, 4 . . . then  “Well, will you?”

”Will I what?” I said, turning to look him squarely face-to-face. “If you want me to marry you, you’ll have to be clear in your proposal. I request and require clarity so there’s no misunderstanding.”

He slid off the sofa, took to one knee, held my hands while looking me straight in the irises and asked, ”Will you marry me?”

”I sure will!” I said on my way to planting a big fat kiss on his mouth.

Before he left that night, we sat outside in the swing, quietly reflecting on what happened earlier. “Let’s not tell anybody just yet,” he suggested – an idea with which I fully agreed. We both wanted to sleep on it, it turns out, to be quite sure in the light of day, and besides, it was April Fool’s Day, after all.

We met on Saturday, January 27, 1973
became engaged on April 1, 1973
said “You bet I will” (a.k.a. got married_ on July 31, 1973 – six months after we met.

It all happened quite fast, our togetherness, and I haven’t regretted my decision once (although if I knew then what I know today on Day 21 of The Great Sheltering-in-Place Adventure, I’d’ve asked him to study hairdressing on the side).

Sheltering-in-Place Days 17, 18, 19, 20

Waterfalls, moss, boulders, plants

A view of a different part of the waterfall as we walk up the path, holding onto the handrail The Engineer built for me when I was first diagnosed with wet macular degeneration

Friday, Day 17 ~ 3.27.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

It’s 10 a.m. and we are just getting up. While I fantasize about sleeping late, actually doing it ruins the entire day for me. By 10 a.m. I should have much of my To Do List done. Then and only then do I earn time to stitch and write, says the dreaded Voice of Authority on the Committee of Jeanne. (The other COJ members are saving up for a firing squad. I just might create something to sell and contribute to the cause.) Daily accomplishment/productivity is important to my mental health and survival during times like this.

Planning book on red fabric

My weekly planner that functions more like a record/ledger

This year I’m using the Ink + Volt Planner.  I love the look and feel of the red book linen cover and the two ribbon markers, though I only use one so far. Weekly “planning” works better for me this year, though I don’t use the planner quite as it Is designed to be used. So far (and especially now) I use a sticky note (fear of commitment?) to create a Task Well – a list of things I would like to accomplish during the week. Once I’ve done something from the well, I note it in the day it was accomplished (in pencil – again, I ask: fear of commitment?), complete with a box that I then tick off in green ink.  I like structure and accomplishment –  I thrive on structure and accomplishment – I miss structure and accomplishment, but I find it incredibly hard to come by now when time is in plentiful supply. Is it grief or avoidance?

The NC governor issued the official shelter-in-place decree for NC, effective from 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2020 to April 29, 2020. We – Mother, Alison, The Engineer, and I – have already been at this for more than two weeks, but there’s something unsettling about it being official and applicable to everyone in the state.

Hosta, moss-covered tree stump

Hope (hosta reaching to the sun) and History (moss covered tree stump)

Saturday, Day 18 ~ 3.28.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC/Fayetteville, GA/Cashiers, NC

Last night Alison said she missed her jewelry, and that sparked an idea that The Engineer fortunately agreed with. We spent the day in the truck, driving to Georgia and back, giving Mother and Alison an hour in their homes to fetch creature comforts and necessities.  It still feels like we’re in a post-apocalyptic movie when we leave the house. They made their lists on the drive down, and they each forgot only one item.

The roads are eerily empty, and I am relieved that there are state patrol cars at the state line. Even though the governor’s decree doesn’t go into effect till Monday evening, it feels like we are doing something wrong, scary, dangerous.  In nearby Highlands, police are stationed at each end of Main Street because apparently people are renting cabins and coming up expecting to shop and dine as if on holiday. The governor as well as Jackson and Macon County officials add into their decree that any rentals less than a month in duration (unless for essential workers) must be canceled and anybody coming up to stay a while must bring enough food and medicine to get them through the two weeks they will spend in self-quarantine.

It was a good day. I close it out as I always do, with a list of Grins and Gratitudes.

Chore chart

Chore Chart V.2

Sunday, Day 19 ~ 3.29.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

It’s surprising how tiring 9 hours in the car can be. We sleep late, nap long, and continue  binge watching Downton Abbey late into the night.

During our waking hours, I hand out the new individualized Chore Charts I created – one for everybody – intended to keep everyone in their own lane, doing their own chores. Each chart has space for everyone to write in other things they want to accomplish (They’ll likely use it about as much as I use my store-bought planner.). I reduced the number of chores, deleting some and combining some, till I have 8 daily chores, two per person. Thursday will be out entire house day, so everybody adds one chore on Thursday. I write the chores on slips of paper, fold them, and let everybody draw – a DIY scheduling that relieves me of that thankless grumble-inducing task.

To sweeten the pot, I institute weekly challenges. This week it’s water intake. Whoever drinks the most water (measured in 8 oz increments) between Monday morning and Saturday night can hand off their 2 Sunday chores to the person of their choosing. (Even though I’m putting much back into their hands, I have a feeling I’ll be real busy on Sundays.) Another week it will be walking – whoever walks the most steps wins the challenge. That’s all I’ve been able to think of so far.

Small art quilt blocks

Small art quilts, lifelines during former dark days

Monday, Day 20 ~ 3.30.2020 ~ Cashiers, NC

I am cranky. I don’t want to be, and I try not to be, but I’m cranky, and I can list you reasons. I vow (again) to be kinder and friendlier, and even as I write that, I know that despite my best efforts, it won’t last. There’s simply not enough chocolate to carry me through. Should a chocolate shortage develop, you’ll find me eating bark and vines and howling at the sky from atop our chimney made of gravestones.

Today while trying yet again to bring order to The Dissenter’s Chapel & Snug (my studio) (I believe physical environments enkindled and/or support emotional and mental environments, and I need all the help I can get!), I find the small blocks I made during some dark days I lived through in the Way Back When. Funny how many of them I remember. I immediately envision ways to bring them together in one art piece, but my heart settles on nothing yet. It will come, and I think it involves rope. That’s all I know for now.

Supper is at 6 p.m. every day, and for dessert, I stitch as we binge watch episodes of Downton Abbey. (We’re on season 6 and planning to watch the movie next.) Then I think we should make a list and watch movies featuring people who find themselves plucked from their normal everyday life and marooned in a new, surreal existence. Who knows? Maybe we’;ll find them motivational, maybe educational.

Maybe I’ll gift myself a couple of just-stitching days and that’ll be just the ticket I need to get me in productive motion again. Shoot, maybe I’ll even spend some serious time on that book I’m itching to write.

Day 16, an Outing

Bojangle’s sign

Lowe’s with mountains and clouds as a backdrop

Today was my day to cook breakfast, so we ventured out for a PICkuptruckNIC. Went to Bo’s for a biscuit, then – because he is showing withdrawal symptoms – a stop by Lowe’s. I admit it was more than a bit scary – after all, we haven’t been out of the house in two weeks. We never left the truck, though The Engineer and I did go into Lowe’s – he in search of supplies and me wanting to feed my Fitbit. People tended to make sure there was space in our togetherness, and most women wore gloves or kept their hands in their pockets. Why did I feel like holding my breath the entire time? A clear plastic panel was on his shopping list, and their supply’s was nil. When we went to the checkout, we discovered why: a panel of hard, clear plastic separated every cashier from the paying customers. Every aisle was marked off with big, colorful X’s on the floor and a sign asking next-in-line customers to wait here to maintain social distancing. The people behind us paid no heed.

Man and woman planting flowerpots

The weather was absolutely beautiful today, so once back home, Mother and The Engineer busied themselves outside planting colorful annuals in the deck pots while Alison and I worked on our computers indoors. If I told you Mother’s age, you’d be quite impressed at all she did today. But then if I told you her age, she’d kill me and spend the rest of her life wearing ill-fitted orange jumpsuits in prison, (a sentence she’d willingly endure for punishing me for the ultimate transgression. Our motto is Age is just a number, and mine’s unlisted.) I imagine we’ll all  sleep well from a day of good work (and no naps) with visions of Bo’s Biscuits dancing in our heads, though I’m not sure we’ll venture out again any time soon. I don’t like being fearful, but I don’t know how to quell it.

From the Mailbox

Thank you to Julie for sending a long list of quotes in response to my request on Day 14. She includes a quote at the end of every blog post, and she was kind enough to compile last year’s quotes and send them to me. I dare say Mother will enjoy these much more than the oracle cards.

I really enjoy hearing about how you’re getting on during this surreal time. My friend Becky writes of baking cookies and how she and her husband (who is now working from home) enjoy this slower lifestyle, including date night on the newly pressure-washed deck – now festooned with brightly colored plants – twice a week. She’s turned this into a delightful time of delightfully leisurely togetherness.

The Four-Legged Population Sheltering-in-Place With Us

An orange tabby kitten sleeps in the sunshine

Meet Flerkin

Black and white cat sleeping

And Jeeves

Did I mention that we have 8 – yes, e-i-g-h-t – cats staying with us, too? Why oh why does it sound so adorable when Tracy Coan posts of her feline’s antics? Ours are cute as buttons . . . When they’re asleep.

Day 15, The Determined Daffodil

Green plants growing in a pot

I am cranky.
I need space (physical and mental).
And order.

In this morning’s First Light of Day journal, I ask what I want my life to be because that seems a good starting point. The question “What do I want?” echoes when it hits the page.

I need a reset button, something to take my mind off the current situation and set me back on the path of cheerfulness and optimism. The only thing for it is to plead with Mother Nature to wrap her arms around me and whisper sweet parables to my heart and something positive to think about to my brain.

The sun has come to call today, so I go outside for a walk and there, in the flowerpot now filled with dead stems that were once colorful blooms celebrating daughter Alison’s graduation from college in our home-held ceremony, I spy a daffodil stretching and rubbing her eyes.

How did that happen?

In July this pot was filled with ham and egg lantana, not daffodils. Daffodils are spring flowers; lantana thrives in the summer. Daffodils enjoy the cool shade; lantanas are happiest in the hot, full sun.  I accept it as one of Mother Nature’s conundrums, something for me to ponder.

Green leaves, plants, and brown leaves underneath a green flower pot

Now I may be delighted with the notion that everything happens for a reason all in its perfect time, I may giggle gleefully with magic, but  The Engineer wants to know how and why things happen. Before I can stop him, he shoves the pot aside with his foot, and  lo and behold the pot is sitting in the middle of a small daffodil patch. This daffodil – the only one blooming – who found her path blocked, found a way to keep growing anyway. By golly she was meant to stretch, reach, grow. She was meant to live, and live she would. She was, after all, put on earth to bloom, and she let nothing – not even a heavy pot of wet soil and dead (or dormant) lantana stems stop her.

Daffodil in vase beside waterfall

The Determined Daffodil, now at home in a vase that belonged to my grandmother, the one I’m writing the book about.

She is not a victim, this daffodil. She doesn’t whine or wring her hands because her life is difficult and not at all the way she’d like it to be.  This is one Determined Daffodil, and she chooses lightness and smiles and positivity.

Now I REALLY have something to ponder.

Day 14

A meet cat with hand shading his eye. Text: “Hey, I can see my sanity from here. No wait, it’s just a rock.”

I saved this image but not the info telling me who to credit for it. If it’s you, please let me know, and I’ll add.

 

Pop quiz: 1 introvert + 3 social butterflies = ?

As the resident introvert, hearing “shelter-in-place” sounds like paradise. To the social butterflies I live with, not so much. For me, self=distancing brings on the excitement of having large blocks of time to myself to create with cloth and ink. To the 3 extroverts, it means they have to go more than 2 minutes without interrupting me.

I was a stay-at-home mom, which in those days, was the equivalent of gum on the bottom of your shoe. At last I’m feeling some respect, though, as next generation family members have the choice made for them to  be stay-at-home parents. “This is hard, Mom,” my son tells me. “How did you do it?” Wonder if he can hear me purring in response.

Every few days, I reach into my memory banks and sent my son and niece an email with “”low tech” activities they can do with children – things I did when my children were tots. (I am careful not to include any project requiring toilet paper.) I doubt they’ll use any of my ideas, but I’m itching to pull out the supplies and add a daily arts and crafts hour here at Camp Corona.

Creating Space in Our Togetherness

We – that would be my mother, our daughter, The Engineer, and I – have been sheltering-in-place since Tuesday 10 March  2020. You’d think by now we would have a daily routine, but in reality, not so much , though it’s not from lack of trying, and we are getting there. We spent Day 1 bringing beds up from the downstairs guest rooms and moving furniture in the gathering room to accommodate them. On Day 2 we went to the library to load up with books and to the grocery store. Day 3 we went out  for supper because I expected the restaurants to close. We kicked off Day 4 with me inviting everyone into my morning sacred practice. We read a randomly selected Blessing from this book written by a talented woman and dear friend Ashima Sarin who is  the  daughter of a dear friend. Then we draw an oracle card or 3 from my decks and take a few minutes to take the wisdom into our bodies. I’m not sure Mother has ever seen or heard of oracle cards, and I’m not sure they resonate with her. So last night when I couldn’t sleep, I came up with the idea of writing quotes on slips of paper, put them in a container, and she can draw one of those out every day. I think she’ll enjoy that and find it more meaningful. (If you have favorite positive, uplifting quotes and are willing to send them, I’d be much obliged.)

Knowing the value of structure and accomplishment, Day 5 found me introducing the Chore Chart. (It also keeps one person from having to do all the work.) Community Chores are listed, assigned, and everybody has their own signature color to make finding their daily duties even easier. Knowing how important it is to do something for others, I asked Mother to call at least 2 people every day (something she’s taken quite seriously and enjoyed immensely) and daughter Alison to post at least 2 funny kitty videos on her facebook timeline each day (something she’s not done with any regularity). Everyone is required to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day, with their feet on the earth and fresh air in their lungs. The Chore Chart seems such an easy thing to me – and it would be if everybody would stay in their own lane. Mother is bad to do other people’s chores (usually without mentioning it to them), and daughter (who seems quite comfortable in overage teen mode) is bad to do none of hers. On Day 6 we set a time for breakfast (9:30 a.m.), declared lunch on your own every day, and supper at 6 p.m. We binge-watched Turn and are now on the second season of Downton Abbey. There’s some comfort knowing that at 6, we’ll eat the flop in front of the tv (all) and hand-stitching (me).

Today I will create personal Daily Do sheets for people to add their own tasks needing to be accomplished. Chores take about 1 to 1.5 hours each day, leaving plenty of time for reading and making. I do this because we need to keep as normal a life as possible and (perhaps mostly) in the spirit of self defense so I don’t have to remember and remind.

Other things I’m considering: weekly book club or maybe weekly book reports; daily arts and crafts; and a round of daily calisthenics.

Adjustments are required on everybody’s part. Our house is totally rearranged with stuff everywhere, and I am not one who handles clutter – visual or physical – easily. Mother and Alison are in our house not theirs, so Mother, especially, has to ask where everything is and learn little idiosyncrasies like how much laundry detergent to put in the washing machine,  how you know if the dishwasher is on or not, and which light switch turns on the lights and which one turns off all the clocks, lamps, computers, and other things plugged into electrical outlets. Which reminds me: our first arts and crafts hour will be spent creating signs for rooms (occupied / vacant)  and the dishwasher (clean / dirty).

Meanwhile in the Dissenter’s Chapel and Snug

Red, yellow, blue, green, gray, and orange pieces of fabric sewn together into blocks

Over the weekend, while others napped, I treated myself to some much-needed, much-enjoyed studio time. Cut up some shirts The Engineer no longer wears, and mindlessly put them back together. Now that I think about it, this kinda’ parallels our current existence: putting the discombobulated familiar together in new ways.

How About You and Yours?

How are you and yours? What’s keeping you sane? Be well, y’all. Check in when you can.

46 Years and Counting!

man carries woman in wedding dress out of church

Selfies
GPS
Personal computers
Mobile phones
Credit cards
Drive-thru pharmacies
Online shopping
Social media
Blogs
Internet
Digital books
Teslas
Insulin pumps
Microwaves
Water dispensers in refrigerators
High speed copy machines
Electric scissors
Serger sewing machiens
Netflix
Uber and Lyft
“Smart” home gizmos
Air
Dirt
Bricks

So many things are now part of our everyday lives that didn’t exist 46 years ago when The Engineer (a.k.a. Andy) and I met at the altar and said “Oh hell yes, we will!” So much  has changed. Shoot, even our love has changed since that Tuesday night, 31 July 1973. But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed a bit in 46 years: my gratitude to the Sweet Spirit of Surprise for introducing me to Andy; to my Bones for having the good sense to know a good man from the get-go and being fearless in marrying him 6 months after we met; and to Andy because after this long, with so much water still flowing under the bridge, gratitude and love are quite interwoven and often indistinguishable.

We’re off for a play day now. Thanks for sharing the decades of (mostly) joy with us.

woman and man standing on beach at sunset

(Parts of) our love story in previous anniversary posts:
Love with 42 Years on the Odometer

The “Re” Nobody Tells You About

40 Years Through the OUR Glass

39 Years of Togetherness

Marking Time

36 Years and Counting

woman in red and man in blue stand before a black quilt with marks stitched in off white thread

If


If the Hong Kong flu hadn’t taken hold in the US,
If I hadn’t already spent my week in sick bay, wrestling the virus into the ground,
If they hadn’t closed the college because there was no more room to quarantine,
If I hadn’t been bored enough to go to the high school basketball game,
if my high school friend hadn’t been bored enough to go to the basketball game,
If we hadn’t gotten bored at the basketball game and decided to take our leave and head to  Underground Atlanta,
If a would-be boyfriend hadn’t passed out gone to sleep early and rendering him unable to follow through on his promise to call my daddy if I wasn’t back by midnight,
If we’d had enough money between us for one drink and two straws,
If she hadn’t remembered this guy she met the weekend before who was wearing a brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat and worked in Muhlenbrink’s Saloon,
If I hadn’t been thirsty enough to shove aside my intense crowd anxiety and join her to push our way to the bar through the throngs of drunk people listening to Rosebud,
If the guy drawing beers hadn’t borrowed the brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat from the guy mixing drinks at the other end of the bar,
If she hadn’t argued with the cute-as-all-get-out beer-drawing guy when he said he’d never seen her before in his life,
If she had listened to me and we had left right then,
If he hadn’t asked us to go to a party at the bouncer’s apartment when the bar closed,
If she hadn’t said “Yes” so quickly and enthusiastically,
If we hadn’t taken her car, leaving me no choice but to go along,
If the Sweet Spirit of Surprise hadn’t put the roommate in the car with her and me in the car with the beer guy,
If he hadn’t been so cute and charming and caused all kinds of climate conditions to change with the kaleidoscope of butterfly wings he set to flapping wildly when he kissed me . . .
I never would’ve met the guy who has never – not even once – had to call on his engineer training to turn my life’s lights on.

44 year ago today, my life changed forever when I met and instantly fell head-over-heels in deep, unwavering love with The Engineer.  Look at my long list called The Best Day Ever, and you’ll find January 27, 1973 at the very top.

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