Monday, November 24, 2008

My Birthday Hat


Denise gave me this luscious purple yarn for my birthday when we visited her in Chincoteague last May. I spent some quiet hours sitting on the screened-in porch of our beach house knitting this hat for myself. Now I'm wearing it when I walk Rupert or run off to do errands. It reminds me of my special friend, of a special vacation time, of the warmth of my world.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keep Your Pants On....

You've seen those young boys....the ones with the 52" waist jeans that hang down around their ankles and look so uncomfortable, if not just plain weird.

At a Neighborhood Watch meeting last night someone made a remark about this clothing fad. The policeman there gave us some statistics concerning our community:

.....in 2005, there were 278 purse snatching robberies
.....in 2008 there has been one

He suggested it's just possible that wearing such oversized pants makes it more difficult to snatch a purse and run away. So, I say, keep those pants on!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sleepin' In

I once was quite the morning person, arriving at work before 7:00 a.m. bright-eyed and ready to tackle whatever the day brought to me. Sometimes that meant furiously writing the poem that had been in my dreams the night before.....hurrying up before anyone else got in the office and caught me doing something other than the work I was paid to do.

Most days now I am walking Rupert at that time, often with Chris. There's a calmness to the neighborhood that is delightful in the early mornings. And I'm often on the computer early, updating my blogs or chatting with friends.

But lately -- and particularly this morning -- my favorite way to begin my day is to have my husband lean down and say, "Why don't you stay under the covers and let me walk the dog?"
Today I swallowed the guilt this sometimes makes me feel that he's out in the cold and I'm snuggled under the electric blanket. I actually went back to sleep until Rupert crawled back in bed with me. I could feel the cold morning lingering on his coat as he pawed his way under the covers and settled against my legs. We snoozed awhile before I got up and began my day.

Thank you, husband, for such a special gift.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Seems So Simple

Life. It should just be simple. Accept differences, embrace similarities. Try to make someone's life easier. Rejoice in the moment. Mourn when you need to. Dance even when people are watching. Be kind. It's really that simple.

And I think I hurt a friend's feelings today. Our writing group often goes to lunch after our meeting, as we did today, and there was an extremely awkward moment when I made a statement in an attempt to nudge one member into not acting as a buffoon and then another member became agitated.

All I can say is that I'm sincerely sorry if my comment was insensitive. That is definitely something I always try never to be.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Under the Weather

We are not feeling well today. I have my usual "after-the-seizure" stuff going on, Chris is fighting a cold, and Rupert is nursing a cut on one of the pads of his back paw.

Rupert was so wonderful at the vet's last night, even though we had to wait an hour while she took care of an emergency (a woman who had accidentally poisoned her cat with an over-the-counter flea medication). It may sound strange but I think Rupert knows when he goes in there that he ends up feeling better. He's had lots of practice -- we joke that they will name a wing after him at their facility because we've been there so often with him. His chart is easily over an inch thick. He loves them, even wags his tail as the thermometer is stuck in.

So we're hunkering down today in the kind of weather Syracuse often has that makes you never want to leave your house: cold rain, grey skies. It's almost bad enough for me to say, "Just snow, already! I've had enough of this!"

Well, maybe not just yet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catching Up on the Songwriters

I wanted to write more about the Songwriters group that met at Sparkytown on Election night. It was the second time Chris and I had attended as spectators. There were two new singers and a couple of the regulars couldn't make it.

It was obvious that the election was on everyone's minds....one of the artists let everyone know she supported McCain and another told her he liked her music even if her politics were wrong. My hubby, who was proudly wearing his "Mc Can't" t-shirt, graciously listened to her and laughed when someone else thought his shirt meant he supported the Republican candidate. One musician played a new song about elections, relating this to playing liar's poker. There was friendly debating, even though I have to say I was quite surprised at this woman's support of McCain.

And then there was the music. Each person has a particular style that's become obvious to us even after only two evenings with these very special musicians. A haunting melody accompanied by lyrics in Spanish began the evening; even though I don't remember much of the Spanish I once knew, the song was lovely. And I loved a somewhat lengthy tune called the Alkie's Lament; it reminded me of something Tom Paxton would write.

But two performances have stayed with me since that night. The first was a song about suicide by a new player in the group. When he wandered in, I imagined anything other than the amazing sound that we heard when he began singing and playing....he was mesmerizing. His song was simple yet compelling. His deliverance came from somewhere deep within him and resonated.

And the other one that has stayed with me was someone struggling to find the right tempo, the right word, the right mood, the right everything. His body language and performance spoke of his frustration. I identified with him. There's nothing worse than knowing what you want the end result to be and being lost in the path while finding your way there. I struggle with that, too, most critical of myself.

If I knew him better, I'd tell him to take some long walks in the woods (he can borrow my dog if he needs company) and think about something else and when you least expect it, the right words fall into your head. I am sure he has experienced this before, and will again. We can't lose faith in the muse. We just need to practice being patient.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Identity Crisis

I've been known as "Sunny" since I was a child and one of my older cousins christened me "Little Lucretia Sunshine". My on-line friends from various writing groups also call me that. My writing life is completely tied up in that identity. It's who I am!

And someone "borrowed" my screen name to send obnoxious and downright nasty e-mails out under my name. One subject line read: Bush Kills Michelle Obama. Certainly, if you know me or read my blog, you would know with absolute certainty that this is not something I would ever write. And the other subjects are just too nasty to repeat.....another clue that these e-mails just couldn't have come from me. My saving grace, so the experts said, was that I never opened those e-mails. Remember...if it looks weird, it probably is and curiosity can kill the hard drive.

So, I had to spend a couple of days "fixing" stuff in order to stop it from happening....with absolutely no assurance that it can't happen again. There are no guarantees that crap like that won't happen in the future, no matter what I do. So....I'm just going to hang in awhile longer and hope the numb nuts (my Dad's favorite expression for folks he disliked) who borrowed my sunny disposition for their perverse causes will cease and desist. Or at least pick on someone else for awhile, although I don't wish this violation on anyone else.

Bear with me. I'll be Sunny again soon. Until then....most of you know where to find me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

History Being Made

No, I'm not talking about the historic presidential election here. I'm much more self-absorbed today.

A seizure woke me at 1:27 AM. Chris was sleeping very soundly, so I tried not to wake him and sat on the edge of the bed for awhile. Rupert, of course, positioned himself over my legs (his way to keep me from moving following a seizure) and then went right back to sleep. I reviewed my day to try to pinpoint why I'd had a seizure on a rather stress-free day.

I'd remembered to eat during the day to keep my blood sugar levels even. The cake I made is finally gone, so I couldn't blame it on an overdose of refined sugar. Rupert and I had taken our normal three walks, so I'd had exercise. There had been no meetings during the day. I hadn't done any heavy cleaning or anything that would exhaust me. No creative meltdowns or family members calling with an update on the crisis of the day. In fact, I realized that I had stayed in my sweats and done very little yesterday.

Except......I watched television the entire day, glued to CNN and even tuning in Oprah Winfrey's Post Election show. I only left the Barcalounger to cook a meal, pee, and walk the dog.

I can honestly say I have NEVER done that in my life before, always finding something else to do before turning on the television. I have never watched an episode of "Cheers" or "Friends". Other than "Survivor", I don't care to watch much more than old movies and some news when the weather is changing. I often experience difficulties with increased audio levels of commercials and the quick, intense light changes that occur in many television shows. That's probably why I knit most of the time I'm keeping hubby company when we're watching TV at night; I can listen and keep up with what's going on, but don't have to close my eyes to the constant variations in lighting.

Yesterday, I was glued to the screen, no knitting needles in hand. And, let's face it, the CNN sets are vivid, stimulating, full of color and lights. Even during their commercials, data was scrolling here and flashing there.

I loved my TV day, but am paying the price for such indulgence today with a searing headache and that nausea in my belly. I'm back to listening to NPR for news and leaving the lights off as I do my morning chores.

But, you know what? I wouldn't have missed yesterday for anything. I learned so much and was able to feel a part of history being made.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ahhhhh

I could tell you about the erotic passage one of the writers read in our group yesterday morning, or about the kid who blew everyone's socks off with his song at the songwriters' group last night, or how Chris and I stayed up way past our bedtimes or how we watched fireworks around midnight over this city (we think they came from the University area) or how happy everyone on the street around here looks today, although we all have bags under our eyes.

But all I want to say is........gee, it feels no nice to be blue.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Election Day Memory

Let me pass along a gentle reminder to you all to vote, please. And here's a story some of you already know:

Election Day, 2004, I stood beside my father's bed in ICU. He would pass away two days later.
A month earlier, before he was hospitalized, he had called me with a question about his absentee ballot and we had a discussion about the candidates. I tried my best to deter him from voting for George Bush. He wouldn't budge.....an air force veteran who didn't believe you changed course while engaged in a war. My argument that we needed to not be at war and that would mean having to change course didn't change his mind.

The doctors were trying to determine his competency. I was to ask him if he knew what day it was, etc. He did. I asked if he remembered it was Election Day and he nodded his head.

"Do you remember that you voted for George W. Bush?" I asked. Again, he nodded. We had always engaged in spirited conversations about politics -- sometimes on the same page, but more lately, not so much.

"Don't worry, Dad," I said. "I voted for Kerry so your vote won't count."

And he flipped me off. My father, raised his middle finger, being sure to hold it high enough for me to see. It brought tears to my eyes.

The doctor standing by apologized for him, telling me that people as ill as he was often said weird things or did something they'd never do normally. He was aghast! And me? I was crying tears of joy for this told me more than anything else could have that he was more than competent.

This turned out to be the last "conversation" I had with him. It's one that still makes me tear up when I tell it, but it is also a gift from the man who raised me, who taught me to stand up for what I believe, who told me again and again that my opinions mattered, who urged me to always speak my mind.

I sure miss him today. How he would have loved this election! And I honestly believe that for this election, our votes would not have offset one another. My vote will count.

So will yours. Vote.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Please, Do Not Assume.....

Here it comes....my grandmothers' ghosts stand over me and urge me to remind everyone to vote.

Do not assume your vote does not count. It does. Exercise your right to vote. Polls don't tell the entire story. Let's not allow complacency to rule in this election: the Republicans are counting on Democrats staying home because of a mindset that "Obama's got it wrapped up."
It ain't over until the fat lady VOTES.....to paraphrase Yogi Berra. Don't assume it doesn't matter because it does matter, deeply. Vote. Please. And please consider voting for change.

Now, on NPR this morning I heard a story that isn't political by any means but certainly shines a light on not assuming that someone else is going to do something. Here's my recap of the story:

In Wales road signs are written in two languages: English and Welsh. The sign maker only speaks English and e-mails a translator when he needs to convert the English into Welsh. He does this assuming the translator will always provide the correct answer; the sign maker never checks for himself. And that is why there is a sign in Wales that reads Slow, Sharp Curve Ahead in English and in Welsh, I am away from my office and unable to assist you at the moment.