Tag Archives: feelings

happy birthday to me

CIMG1835It has been a good birthday, and thanks to friends far and near, geographically and emotionally, for all your notes. It feels nice.

In the morning, my little niece, Frances, paid a surprise visit, bringing her “backup” birthday cake, the one not required for her own birthday yesterday. You know how I love salvage items, even a little roughed up in transit. While here, she helped water all the plants missed on our weekend away, and did her big-girl job in our bathroom facilities, the first time away from home, and proudly announced it, so it really is a special day.

Then I went to see the four-year-old I hang with on most Tuesdays, who, hearing it was my birthday, asked my age. A little fazed at first, he bounced back to tell me that “58 is not the last number.”

I hope not.


may April showers bring June, July and August showers

William just had another one of those events that come around annually, and like most modern folks, said he didn’t really want or need anything in the birthday gift category.  You’re the same way, I know.

But I wanted to do something. So in the merger of cheap and creative, the result of looking at the catalogs that come to the house and my love of the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store, we have an outdoor shower in the well to the basement door under the deck.

I bought these little hooks, found the working outlet for the power drill (my birthday present to myself when I turned 40 just the other day decade), and screwed them into the inside of the deck.


A showerhead on a hose will screw into the hose bib. Only William would have installed a hot water faucet for the outside water source, as you can see here by the red and blue knobs indicators.  That’s how he rolls.


Thrift store curtains were pretty cheap, if a little too bright red.  I stitched little rings to the top to hang on the hooks, and weights to the bottom edge, so that Shepherd St. neighbors Leslie and Carrie won’t have to see to much of William if a little breeze were to blow the curtains around.


He’s still dubious, thinking I wanted the shower more than he.  Well, maybe, but after biking, gardening, sweating on a construction site, or just because you can, an outdoor shower feels very nice.

Inaugural rinse is pending.




thanks for calling

thanks for calling

I thought the phone call was to review a wrong and give comfort, to share another moment in a long friendship with ups and downs, but mostly love and commitment.

But it was just to pass a few minutes until the car repair was ready.

photo: Andy Goldsworthy wall at Storm King Art Center, 2012.

a happy holiday

I find myself within this family that I have joined and the stuff that comes with it:  tsk-tsking about a family member who, alas, has become Christian, and what would the atheist parents say about that!; the family matriarch,  a retired Ivy-educated professional woman, whose every waking hour is dutifully prepping or cooking the next meal for her adult partner and other family members; my in-laws who after 30 years of marriage – the second for each of them – openly show affection; a “walk” in the woods that includes shears and shippers to make the trail as they go.

What the hell am I doing here?


You first, then me

You first, then me

This lovely sign at an urban intersection says let’s go one at a time; you go first, then I’ll go.

In William’s words

Dear Friends,

Lisa and I just returned from two days and one night in the northern Sierra Madre mountains, hiking between small towns.  We crossed the continental divide twice.  This morning, at ten thousand feet, we woke up in a cloud in the town of Latuvi.

I am starting to relax.  I am realizing that leaving one’s own society for an extended stay in another society is a meditation,  maybe like a monk in a monastery.  Deprive yourself of what you know and see what happens.  One thing that repeats for me is when I see new ways of building, like here in Oaxaca, I want to build with those new styles and materials.  Almost every building in town is one- or two-story and often through the street-level door is a compound with at least one open courtyard and many rooms.  I wanted one right away.  You know it never freezes here, right?  I have started to think that I am just building castles.  I feel powerful when I build, but I don’t feel that in other areas of my life.  The techniques are new, but the acquiring and desiring with no end, I am not so sure about.  My father has two complete castles.  I have one and a half.  Who is counting?  Maybe I am.  I cannot have two and one-quarter castles!  There have to be more important things for me to do, but what?  Spanish?!.

Both of us finished our two-week Spanish classes.  Classroom learning is really stressful for me.  I do now understand more of the Spanish I hear; I can’t get my mouth together for saying much though.  I am really resistant to studying.  I am lazy about using my mind.  I have always felt that classroom learning was like groping in the dark.  And I hate being in the dark.  Somehow the pain of using muscles was always preferable to the pain of using brain.  I have to learn how to study!

I have attached a picture of Nina [included also in Lisa’s post below].  She was tied up so as not to disturb lunch at a local restaurant.  I have not ever been able to tie a cat up successfully.  The owner of the cat and restaurant says that Nina knows she will be let off the rope after lunch so she cooperates.




Could be worse

I could complain, but my problems are small, and borne of a situation of my own choosing, not forced upon me:

— beautiful but old blue-and-white dishware in this rental house cracked and cracking (‘crackando’ in Spanish) and we’re losing some.  I’m using the plastic cup now.


— wearing the same two blouses and two skirts for a week. Do the simple math, 2 squared = 4 combos.

— just found out today that Spanish has 14 verbs tenses, waaaaaay more than anybody needs. But glad to see only two grammatical genders (German has three) and just two grammatical numbers (Arabic has three).  Just a little grumpy about the 16 noun cases in Finnish, but that has nothing to do with me now.