Sunday, June 30, 2013

The writing...

This week I am making taking the time to write. Sitting for hour. Reading what is already put down and adding more to it. This is my writing week.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


What amazes me is this tuft of Jack in the Pulpit, an all time favorite flower, that I will seek and search for, is growing here on a moss and lichen covered rock ledge next to a dirt road. Amazing. In the toughest places, nature finds a way to bloom. Shouldn't we all be that way?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Life's pathways and byways

Which is the road less traveled? Can you tell by whether it's paved or packed dirt? What about passersby?  I went for a walk and coming to a fork, indeed, took the way less traveled. And I'm better for it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The school year is finally over. The girls' summer is officially here. Their plan is for 8 weeks of solid sleeping in and TV. My plan is much different. I'll let them relax for a week but then it will be summer school work, a summer exercise regime, and helping around the house all before their tired bones can plop down on the couch.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chapters 12 & 13

Chapter 12
Saturday morning we piled into our car, Mom, Molly, Jeff, Melody and me, just as if Mom hadn't been away for forever, and we visited Martha. It was as if we had never missed a week, or two, or more like five with Mom being away. We brought hot chocolate and croissants; two of Martha's favorites. We took turns hugging her and sitting next to her holding her bony hand with the knuckle captive wedding band. It was the person in that position that held Martha's attention. Like visiting a priest in the confessional. It was a very private directed conversation until you were excused and the chair vacated for the next in line. 
“Hi Martha,” I smiled. Relieved to be back on the visiting track. To be back to normal after so long.

“Sarah, I've been meaning to ask a favor of you.” Her skeletal grip on my hand tightened as she pulled me in close so her lips were brushing my ear.

Pulling back against her surprising strength, I looked her right in the eye. This was serious. “Anything, you know that.”

“Sarah,” she whispered. I looked around no one else seemed concerned by Martha's behavior. “Remember my box you found, in the attic?”


“Would you bring me the letters tied up with the red ribbon?”

Did she know I read them; all of them? Did it matter? “When?”

Her gazed scanned the room. “Next week, next Saturday. Don't let anyone know.”

I nodded, and then was released. Our conversation over. I relinquished the hot seat for Jeff. Still wondering about the letters and why Martha would want them now, after all the years that had pasted.
Saturday afternoon, and still no chat. I didn't push. I knew it would happen. It would have to. The school year would end and then... what?
Chapter 13
Late Night Texts
Melody: Allbright wants my transcripts
Me: Deciding between an orange and yogurt for snack. Refrigerator door wide open. Are you sure you want to go there? Sounds more like a military school than an arts camp for brainiacs. 
Ring! Ring! Ring! The landline. Caller ID showed UNKNOWN NAME. The only UNKNOWN NAME that called our house, worth talking to, was currently texting me.
Me: Is ur mom calling my mom?
Melody: At work
Me: Wait up

“Hello Sarah, it must be Sarah. This is Mrs. O'Brien from BI. Sorry to be calling so late, but with the time change and all. Is your mom available?”
“I'll find her,” and as I laid the receiver on the kitchen table it dawned on my I hadn't even asked how she was? Or how Carolyn was? I hadn't spoken to Mrs. O'Brien in at least two years. Why would she call now? Of course, why wouldn't she call now. Carolyn was living with her and Mom was her guardian. This ought to be good.

Me: M I have to go. Txt later.
Melody: K

Halfway up the back stairs, “Mom, Mrs. O'Brien in on the phone. MOM.”

The audible of scurrying feet in the upstairs hall, now on the stairs, made me think this was not a scheduled call. Mom, pushing past me on the stairs uttered a casual, “Thank you,” as she bee-lined for the receiver.
“Mrs. O'Brien, it's Margaret. Everything okay?”

Sitting down on the third step I watched as Mom's expression of surprise went to something along the lines of fear and shock. She steady herself against the table. “What? When? How?”

Mom give Mrs. O'Brien the opportunity to think.
“Will she be...? I'll call the hospital... Yes, I have the number...”

Squeezing past me on the stairs, Dad must've heard the commotion. He stood next to Mom. His hands steadying her shoulders.

“Yes, I'll get out there as soon as I can. Yes...” With that she ended the call. And turning towards Dad with tears streaming down her face announced, “Carolyn's in the hospital. She swallowed a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol PM. Mrs. O'Brien thinks she tried to kill herself.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

And then it clicks

A month ago I started a new job, involving terminology, concepts and techniques I had never in my life used, seen or done. The woman I was replacing told me, "It will click. You'll get this."  Heading home that first week with a constant headache, I truly wondered if she was correct. Wondered if this job was really for me.

But now a month later, and having been clicked for a while now, I see her point. It's not rocket science for the scientifically challenged. I can do it, unquestioningly, and thankfully without error; as it involves money and exact record keeping.

But what about church and faith. I watched my girls today. Typical teens, going to Mass because Mom (me) says, "It's time. Let's go." I watch them in church. Waiting for the the priest to say, "Go in the peace of the Risen Lord." And then they are gone. Out in the parking lot waiting for me to finish catching up with dear friends with whom we worship weekly.

And I wonder when will it click? When do teenagers in general, my girls in particular, see the gift that is laid before them every week, without fail. The blessings bestowed, and freely given, for them to say, "I accept."

I was a teen. I remember those days of going to church and waiting for the end. But now that I see all that happens, the end of Mass always comes too soon.  And I've been lucky to participate at World Youth Days, where there were three hour Masses with a message so strong the blessings so deep, time flies by.  And you are left wanting more. When does all this click? 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's just one butt

But it's a big butt from an ants perspective. What little things do we all disregard that are truly huge? Or better yet: What small acts do we accomplish that have world changing consequences for good or bad?

One word of kindness can change someone's whole day. Perhaps affecting their whole life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yesterday's Blessing

Thursdays are long days. I work two jobs then have a Girl Scout meeting. And over each commitment I have anxiety. But yesterday, at all three, blessings abounded.

Thursdays are turning out to be the best day of the week, not the most hectic. Not the day to dread but the greatest day to embrace. Lucky me; very lucky me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chapter 11

Chapter 11
The next day after school as promised Melody and Jeff camped out at our house right through dinner. Which was expected for Jeff, but very unexpected for Melody. Usually she and her mom had dinner at 5:30. You could set your clock by their dinner seating. 
Despite sitting at the kitchen table for more than five hours, including dinner, the rule about doing homework was apparently laid aside. There were more stories than science, more mischief than math. The tone was light, with no mention of Beverly, cancer, death, or Carolyn. At first I wasn't paying attention, really, just listening to the wonderful Bainbridge Island stories. And then it hit me, Mom's controlling the content. To test my theory I hit her big, “So Mom, did the sale of the Marché house go through while you were there?” 
Immediately conversations eased, as if everyone leaned in to hear her quietly answer, “No.”

“Will you have to go back to handle any more details, regarding the house?”

This time she let out a sigh before answering, “No, the lawyer will handle it.”

“But aren't you the Executor of Beverly's Estate?”

“Ummm.... Sarah, I really don't want to talk about this now.” Then smiling towards Jeff and Melody she continued, “Our friends are here. Let's enjoy their company.”

Shut down.What was she afraid to tell us? Did she think, that time would heal all wounds? Whatever the changes that were in the air, wouldn't it be better to plot and plan? While I stewed, the rest of the crew, even Molly, were chatting about beaches and ferries, seeing the Space Needle lit up at night and sighting Orca whales in the Sound. I was almost homesick. Almost.
Melody might have noticed when she asked, “Hey, what's wrong?”


“Nothing always means something,” added Jeff. The open Algebra book laid in front of him at the kitchen table, all but forgotten. 
“Maybe we should get to our homework?” I suggested. Thinking bringing the focus back to Stockbridge might help my mental state.

“Maybe we should eat more cookies?” was Jeff's response. Cookies would work too. Especially Mom's freshly baked chocolate chips, before dinner. Yes Mom was home. The house smelled of sugar and chocolate. Lucky us.

Cookies inhaled. Washed down with cold milk. Dinner, American chop suey, nibbled. Filling the little stomach space not occupied by sweets. It was time for Jeff and Melody to make their way home. For Jeff it was an easy half mile walk to the top of the road, a cul de sac that ended at his gated driveway. Melody was a different story. Dad offered to drive her. Actually he made the same offer to Jeff, but he decline. Opting to walk and work off a few cookies.

Hugs distributed, dad and Melody in the car backing down the driveway, I turned to Mom to get a few details. “Mom,” that was all I got out before being cut off.

“Sweetheart, it's complicated. Can I have one more day to think before putting the cards on the table?” It was a question, but really it was a statement that we would talk about it tomorrow, Saturday.

Late Night Text
Melody: Great having your mom home.
Me: Yup
Did you guys talk?
No, tomorrow.
Why the delay?
Who knows... details so horrific that they can't be discussed. Frightening.
Jeff's happy your mom is home.
Oh yeah! He might actually pass algebra.
BTW ans to 3...
(2x + y)(3x + 7y)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Life's Storms

They do roll in. And they will roll out. Often cooling the air around us. The key is to weather them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why not use the good china all the time?

Blogging friend, jeff noel, asked, "Why not use the good china all the time?"

What would that say about meal time with family everyday? Why it would scream, my dear family being with you at this meal is special, everyday. It would shout, you are worth the extra effort and time to hand wash the dishes everyday,

And really, of all the people we sit with at table, family is the most precious.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Littlest of Things

The littlest touch of color takes this ordinary white flower to extraordinary. Same goes with our daily actions.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

When is special?

Back in February we had planned a multifamily combined Christmas, 50th birthday, anniversary celebration. The special menu planned. A bottle bought and chilled. Then the call came, the cancer. We planned again. Menu revisited, bottle still chilling and again canceled. Canceled now for good; but not to worry we will share the bottle at the next special event. Months fly by... The bottle remains chilled. For when?What's special?

Saving the bottle is like reserving the good china for really celebratory meals. A lifetime goes by; the dishes never used. Passed on to the younger generation to be stored in their cupboard, until that special meal.

Celebrate, use the good china, share the nice bottle. Live.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's half of an ice cream cake.

This is not a facebook highlight sharable moment.

Getting ready to eat dinner the recent birthday recipient asked, "Since it's my birthday cake, do I have to share it?"

Well let's assess who is home, and with whom she would be sharing. Looking around the table it was only her younger sister and myself. My response, knowing there are at least four large servings of ice cream cake left in the freezer, or at least there were after dinner last night, "Really? It's half of an ice cream cake."

Her unabashed answer, "Yes, it's my cake."

"Well darling, I cooked that dinner."

With that she stood up and left the table. Retreating to her room. Door closed.

Despite relating this heart stopping event here, I'm speechless. It's not like I was forcing the sharing down to the last frozen molecule to take place on the curbside. Handing out slices of delicious cake to passing strangers. Her younger sister and I... aren't we worth a slice... okay maybe two. It is very good after all.

Praying these selfish years leave us quickly.

Letting go

Our work, our passion, our product are like our children. We work, tirelessly. Until one day they leave our arms. Setting out into the world on their own.

My dear Fields of Spain, cleaned and polished up, heads out today for Arkansas. Soon to hang out in a sunny Hot Springs window.

I 'm delighted and sad. For chances are I'll never see this window again.

Still, Fields of Spain, bring joy to all those who gaze upon you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


When life gets tense, I get crafty. My brain on problem solving overload I add to the mix figuring out new artsy techniques I've always wanted to conquer. They give me a psychological step up.

Somewhere deep in the grey matter recesses I tell myself, well you figured out a decreasing double crochet, solving what's really plaguing you can't be much more difficult.

It's funny how the mind works. In this case posing and solving smaller problems; exercising towards bigger ones.

Speaking of exercising, I better get going.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The world at our disposal

With the wealth of knowledge supported by the scaffolding known as the Internet there truly is no limit to what we can learn.

We make of life, what we learn in life.

Monday, June 10, 2013

This Window

This window is very interesting in the fact that too much light washes out the color of the glass. To the point, the sections appear clear.

I didn't realize this would happen when I started this project with our parish's antique glass. But it is for the parish kitchen, to hang against a white wall. So, in the end, it should fit right in.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Saturday, June 08, 2013

"This is a lot of work."

Fridays are billing/payment days for many companies like my second job. Before the woman who trained me retired, she did the b/p for over 13 years. Unquestioning, unassisted, without a second thought by the owner. She was a miracle worker. Really she was top shelf.

I'm the new kid.... At 52. Yesterday the boss asked if he could help me. I was up against a deadline for school pick up. I accepted and asked if we could run the numbers and then stuff envelopes with invoices.

Understandably he is a bit nervous as with the change in office help he realized he had lost touch with this aspect of his business. For he didn't have to worry with his tried and true employee at the office helm. Up until 2 years ago the boss and secretary were the only employees.

The numbers proven to be correct is less than a minute. Stuffing envelopes took almost 15... With the boss concluding that doing the billing is a lot of work.

In the end all the paperwork completed except some filing left for Monday and school pick up right on time.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

I've never had a weekly wrap up post, but these latest weeks are a whirlwind. Second week of work on my own. Second time doing the billing. I like it. It's all numbers with a very real paper trail. I also enjoy inquiring about past due invoices. Have spoken with some lovely people.

Stained glass almost ready to solder. Making progress on my knitting. But writing comes up with the big goose egg. Maybe once the stained glass is done; for sure.

House looks like a lived in bomb exploded.

Don't have the free time to lunch or walk with friends. Sadly. Still have my one client who I see on Thursdays.

Girls healthy. I'll call it all good. Despite the rain.

So, am I writing?

In a word: No.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Don't give up on the little things.

Question: If your Christmas cactus lost a leaf would you root it? Thus giving it a chance to grow under its own terms.

What do you do with rogue ideas or children? Sweep them up to be discarded or let them try on their own to flourish?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Right Message. Wrong Venue

Seize Your Day. Make it a healthy one. One choice at a time.

Saw this piece of litter while out for a walk.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A Thought To Ponder

A dear friends's wife passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  At the wake there was a beautiful poster made by her wonderful family. Stunning photos depicting the love that they shared. But what caught my eye was the title: She's in the Hands of the Angels. Interesting.

There won't be a church service. And though my friend and I worked together at our parish, I had never met his wife. Did she not believe in God, any god? For I'm thinking, though angels are prayer filled, loving and comforting, being in God's hands would be the most comforting place of all.

Thomasine, my prayers are with you, wherever you find peace.

Monday, June 03, 2013

I'm 50 and I'm FAT!

We were at church and a friend with whom we have shared a pew with for over 8 years made a harsh comment about someone else in our parish. I was shocked and disappointed but I wasn't unfortunately surprised.

He is quite opinionated and judgmental. Still, I told him I was shocked that he would even think that about someone else, especially someone as nice, and sweet and talented as the subject of his comment.  Our conversation ended there.

But the thoughts carried on, at least for me. The title of this post: I'm 50 and I'm fat is not entirely correct, for I am over 50. But I am indeed fat. I'm not inactive. I don't eat an unbalanced diet. I do exercise and notice when my life has become unbalanced so that exercise has taken a back seat. And probably I do eat more than I metabolically should. But should I be judged for this? Or the results of this?

Of course you will answer: No.  But society as a whole and myself as me judge me this harshly. I catch my reflection in a mirror; I see FAT. Watch me walk down the street and what do you see? FAT! I must watch TV as much as my children. Hardly... 

It's too late for me to think differently about myself. I've been brain washed by marketing specialists for over 50 years to believe Barbie is God. Even though I know she is not...  That if I'm not a single digit size, that I might as well wear a burlap bag. That I will never look good in (or out of for that matter) clothes again.  But hopefully it's not too late for generations to come.

There is more to ourselves than our weight. And of course, this is not an excuse to stop trying to be fit and healthy. Just because "women gain weight at this time of their lives" doesn't mean we break out the chips and dip.

But really we are more than our waist size.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Can you give until you smile?

 The expression, "Give until it hurts," came to mind the other day. I was visiting my former clients at their new facility and I was loving every moment of our visit. Loving, loving, loving. There were numerous kisses and hugs exchanged. We talked about their good old days. I was introduced as a member of the family. I'm their niece. :-) We spoke Italian. I was happy. They were happy. Life was good.

There was no pain on my part to bring them, and myself, some happiness, some laughter; to be company.

Giving doesn't always require pain and sacrifice. Sometimes all it requires is a smile.

Two Camps

Which are you?

While working on some stained glass I realized that my space in the house was quiet. No radio, music or TV. I'm like that. When I'm home, I'm busy without the benefit of background noise.

While others, when busy need to have something on either in the foreground or background.

I wonder why? I know for me the quiet is calming and content.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


But today I finished step 2 out of 5. Thank God.

1. Cut
2. Grind and shape
3, Foil
4. Solder
5. Frame

Red Light Green Light

Some times even when the light is green you can't GO. The way is blocked or there is a gridlock.

Maybe this is your golden opportunity to pause.