I spent a little time laying on the floor with my pup staring at trees from a different angle. (It did occur to me that trees are beautiful no matter what angle.). Yep. that was my lesson for the day. Oh, and it was about time I stood up and got on with things. Not to mention no matter how marvelously thorough we did our planning, somethings (or other people events circumstances etc) won’t automatically comply and maybe, just hopefully maybe, the new plans will work out better.
Today my area is basking in a break in the weather. No snow, a brilliant and beautiful sun, and a temperature of 37 f. The snow is melting, sidewalks drying, and my street, well, as you can see still a bit dicey but with completely dry main roads. With more doom and gloom being forecast for the rest of the week, I decided I must take advantage and air myself out this afternoon.
Now, normally I take full advantage of my time outside to enjoy watching squirrels and birds, and just to enjoy my environment. (and occasionally make a grocery list in my head). Today, a long lost memory popped into my head. It was swirly and unfocused, but after a bit of effort, I managed to reel the moment into view:
When I was in junior high/middle school, my family moved to Colorado. The school I attended was huge and new and wonderful. (I had come from a very narrow place. The elementary school I had attended was small – in every aspect of that word. I, and many others, were often bullied.) One wintery Monday morning, two blonde girls, (sisters, close in age but perhaps twins? still fuzzy…), were in the hallway with the oddest sunburns I’d ever seen. They saw me looking and gave me that sort of half smile and nod that you give when you pass someone you don’t know. That was surprising because these were Very Popular Girls. ( I asked my friend about the sunburns. ‘They go skiing almost every weekend.’ Ah. the white marks were goggles. got it. )
Sure, I had seen These Girls before, but never really thought twice about them. This time, they stayed in my mind. Popular yet they acknowledged my existence – unheard of in my prior experience. I remember I looked at them hard – not nasty not mean – but just, well baffled. Why were they The Very Popular Girls? They were cute enough, had The Look going on, good but not great grades, in short, once dissected, the sisters were a bit average. But then I got it. It was just them. An inner confidence, a strength, a poise, character, that comes from simple, fundamental self respect.
On my walk today, I remembered those girls. The dignity they possessed that belied their ages. Clearly, today I needed a reminder of the lesson I learned all those years ago. Yes, now is the time to strengthen from the inside out. And to be grateful. As for the sisters? I wonder what happened to them? I don’t remember their names. Hmm… the memory is again fading… Well. Wherever they are – I wish them well.
I am in a serious…not really depression…a bit blue?, maybe…at loose ends? aha!; a malaise.
Let’s pause for a moment and consider what a marvelous word. Malaise. A bit depressed, blue mood, a tad twitchy, not really unwell but definitely not right and terribly Edwardian (isn’t it? or maybe Victorian, at least in English.. much longer I’m sure for French – oh well – you get the point). Cranky but with style.
Back to the point: my little area of the world has had snow and bitter cold and the accompanying treacherous roads making one and all doubly housebound. (The first housebound (at least for me) is a really wild outbreak that is determined not to peak and fall.) No lovely sun – until today – but still too cold for enjoyment. I know. Grumpy. But with the sun putting in an appearance, I do feel a bet perkier and a bit guilty for complaining when I know there are many without to keep themselves warm. Hmm. Now I’m feeling guilty and cranky.
Okay. No more sulking. I’ll make a hot chocolate and read the silliest book on my shelves. And hope this passes quickly and/or I shake myself out of it. Oh my. a bad thought here… March is usually my malaise(y) month! I promise not to type anything in the month of March! Be cheery today for me!
I haven’t done this in years. I have always loved to cook. In my family, everyone participated in meal preparation. Over the years, one moved from fetching canned goods, to greasing the baking dish, cleaning veggies (chopping came much much later – possibly that was just me?), all the way through to the retirement ages – sitting at the table grating cheese, sipping wine, and maybe, having a bit of a gossip. Baking of course is different thing altogether.
It is said ‘bakers are born, not made’.
My Grandma was a born baker and no-one can match Mom’s flaky pie crust. Me. I can’t say my baking skills come anywhere close to Mom’s or Grandma’s, but I can hold my own with most recipes. But…I haven’t baked in years.
Over this past holiday season, I received a King Arthur’s Baking Company catalog. It was beautiful. I said, I’m on a diet or at least watching my sugar intake and I put it on the pile with the other catalogs. Another one arrived. I said, I’m trying not eat all that much and watching umm my um…Drat. So… yesterday, I made The King Arthur Baking Company’s Gluten Free Scone Mix. (The adorable mini scone baking dish is sold separately and was on sale when I placed my order.). It was perfect! I can highly recommend this mix and I can’t wait to try their other mixes. But not too soon ’cause I am sort of umm…still on that um diet thing….
Anyway, thanks for reading!
I awoke to find out it is January 14. I feel like my accustomed sense of time has all but evaporated. Instead of progressing in a sort of one foot in front of the other orderly fashion, I seem to be living in a kind of severely abbreviated Rip Van Wrinkle reality.
Case in point. I took the above the photo two (or was it three? no, definitely two) days ago. My area had a break in frigid temperatures and our warming mid 30s day inspired me to get out for a walk. Just a nice airing out. The sun trying just as hard as it could but it never quite developed into a ‘sunny’ day. Be that as it may, my walk was exhilarating. Brisk air, and long enough to feel cold and then, as muscles (such as they are) stretched and flexed, feeling warmed and fluid. Even had time to chat to a dog or two.
So why the time reference? As I sat to coffee this morning, I picked up my phone, and ‘found’ the above photo. I honestly could not place the when of the thing. In that moment, two days could have been two decades. I shook myself free of that moment and reflected on its implications. I’m sure there are numerous psychological, philosophical, metaphysical, and physical reasonings behind such happenings. Maybe maybe…. As I sat in silent contemplation of the complexities of life and the very nature of time, my mother’s voice piped up (that internal one), ‘why all the fuss? this too shall pass. maybe like kidney stones but it will pass. enjoy your coffee.’. hmmmm She does have a point. and it is really good coffee.
Enjoy your mid January.
Last Spring. It was our brief period of hope and freedom. The vaccines were here and maybe a new sort of normal was a’comin’. So that didn’t turn out exactly as anticipated – but – It was a breather. A time to run about and accomplish tasks and get that very excellent coffee at that little shop and see people and sometimes, take a long trip to see those people.
Successfully fully vaccinated, I booked myself on a lengthy flight to see my sister. A nonstop four hour flight in a jammed plane in a non cushioned plastic seat that did not recline whist wearing a mask. Being gluten free (celiac), I had brought my own snacks and a bottle of water – which was good since passengers needed go to the attendants for water. Not that that was unreasonable given the pandemic, just that after… hmmm my goodness it must have at least five (or was it six?) hours in my seat, I was questioning my potential mobility.
But I seem to be fixating on such a minor point.
The major point, of course, was an extra long weekend spent seeing family members I thought I’d might not see again. Their company was an utter delight. We had agreed to build a little personal time into the trip, so off in my rental I went. And that was when I saw a moment of magic. Or hope. Maybe inspiration.
Remember the reports that came in early in the pandemic about wild animals strolling about city streets? Well. I had a chance to see long horn rams enjoying the sun. People who lived in the area had never seen a wild ram anywhere let alone in a heavily visited park. While their appearance does have all sorts human/planet implications, and yes I have considered all of them, in that moment, to me, these rams were nothing short of little bit magic.
I hope to return this coming spring. I doubt if the rams will be there. And I think I’ll avoid the seven hour nonstop on unpadded seats. Or not. I’ll decide later.
…or my ongoing attempt to read tarot.
As I wrote about last year (! I can’t believe it is another year), I had begun to learn tarot. After a rather frustrating beginning, I, with the reassurance of a dachshund tarot deck had started to make a wee bit of progress. Sort of.
Since then, I have made definite strides in my understanding and enjoyment of the cards. At least the cards themselves. My enjoyment is discovering new decks. Seeing the artist’s interpretation of each card is truly fascinating. It is much like discovering a new author whose prose just ‘speaks’ to you. Okay, I will type out the truth: I fear, if I don’t take preventative measures immediately, I may become a deck collector – but not a tarot reader!
To be fair to myself, I have made a great deal of progress. I have a very (very and comparatively) basic grasp of the cards, but I have quite a way to travel before becoming an intuitive reader. And yes there cards that I get and others that – hmmm – just not clicking. An example:
The Moon card. (This one is from The Textured Tarot.). From the very start I liked this card. It is, to me, a card of mystery and strength. Of traversing the night bravely whilst staying on your path, of soaking in the energy of night and reaching a new understanding. I’ve never gotten the lobster. However, many many many (okay all of them) readers and writers of books hate/fear this card. They say the dark combined with the full moon symbolizes the unknown and having to rely on your intuition. To get this card means you are controlled by inner fears, paranoia, anxiety, and mental instability, and if you get this card stop what you are doing and run! One goes as far to say that if it appears in reverse you need to seek professional help. Yikes. I may be in trouble here. What am I missing? or…..I have discovered one reader who says this card means ‘stay on your path’. Hmmmm
So as you see, I am still facing a steep uphill climb. or am I? I can’t be sure but every so often, things do make sense. Sometimes a a couple of cards will make a sentence. But I haven’t given up. I am still muddling through!
I kinda feel it in the air, or perhaps my bones. As I sit typing while watching BBC America’s Whoathon, I realize I have started on the ever growing, endlessly nagging, internal list of things ‘I need to do for my own good’, or ’have always wanted to do’, and the ever popular ’damn it all, I will accomplish this before I die’. What have I begun? Well. I’ve started walking as frequently as the weather permits. And yoga. Minding what I eat. That sort of thing. And apparently, resuming my blog – which falls in the category of ’have always wanted to do’. So yay!
It occurs to me I haven’t been here for many a month. All I can say is oh my has a lot happened and yet absolutely nothing has. If that makes any sense at all. So while I sort that out, here’s my very best, very favorite happening:
My new friend, Bella, joined the household this past September. She is quite beautiful and smart, and standard dachshund stubborn. She has my heart.
To recap….. and to return to my actual topic, (before Miss Bella distracted me), I seem to have started on improving my diet and health without – well – telling myself first. Upon reflection, I think this is really quite good. No need for resolutions, oaths, and subsequent disappointments which is invariably accompanied with self recrimination. Hmmm. Works for me. I think this next year is already off to a better start than last year. I think. One step at a time etc.
Until next time!
Georges Simenon, 1903-1989, published seventy-novels featuring his Inspector Maigret. This fabulous character has been featured in several series, (in both English and French), and well as a recent two season remake which sometimes pops up on PBS/Create TV.
I first heard of Georges Simenon and his ‘Flying Squad’ while reading a novel written by Andrea Camilleri. Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano was reading a Simenon book in his book. (Wow does that sentence sound wrong…anyway..). I had never heard of Georges Simenon – I was curious of course, but life being what it was/is I promptly forgot about this author. Now life being what is/was, I recently remembered. And found the above book and loved it.
I think that the actual plot – which is quite good, dark and twisty and powerful – is secondary to the spare, elegant writing of Mr. Simenon. While this book, and the writing, is somewhat noir – it isn’t. True crime and gritty, sure, but with a casual depth not often seen. I recently read a discussion in which his writing was compared to Camus and Sartre. Okay, so I’ve never read Camus, and Sartre was college reading done eons ago – but you get the drift. George Simenon is definitely a genre defying – in writing at least – and his Inspector Maigret in a category of his own. Try one. or more.
Thank you for reading, and stay safe.