Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Cold

It's as cold as metal in this small valley. I also, have a cold, just the common kind. It's a drippy, miserable kind of existence, morbid with tissues and bottles of tonic. Small trashcans follow me around the apartment, begging to be filled with the tissues, used. My left eyelid is droopy, and water runs from both my eyes at any provocation.

My goal for this day is to make it to the local grocery store for greek yogurt and bread and dogfood. But at least, I am writing. I drink large glasses of water, and take my allergy medicine as if it were a new religion. Every once in a while, a storm of sneezing takes hold of me. I feel particularly stupid, but my head is full.

The cats snuggle around me, and hang upside down from the ceiling to get my attention. But I know I can be replaced with a 'stacked' feeder, and the electric blanket. And a dripping faucet.

Walking the dog, Max, is torture.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I feel particularly grumpy today. If you couldn't count, you would be grumpy, too.

It is beautifully cold and spring-like here, in this small valley, this morning. The man I love, who loves me, is recovering from a hernia operation. And I think deep and disturbing thoughts this morning. It's a good thing, that the first thing to do in the day, is walk Max, the dog.

I have left off my regular routine while tending the man I love, for the past several weeks. Some days I feel the need to write, other days pass by in a whirl.

The Christmas tree is still up, and can be viewed at my 50th birthday party.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Only the Best

It's still warm in this valley, but that should change soon. Big winds are coming; it's a typical March. It will be nice to have just a rain day...just one day when it doesn't snow or ice. It is overcast today, and I wake to empty cat bowls. It doesn't matter how much I put in their bowls, and they are free-feeders, it has disappeared by the next day. It does work out; they get 'fresh' food, everyday. They like it 'fresh'. Georgia eats it out of the bag. It's a bit like someone secretly snacking on chocolate. There is a crinkle, as she uses her paws to push down on the edge of the 20 lb. bag of food, and then, small lip-smacking, crunching sounds.

Before and after, she is like a will-o-the-wisp. Silent as the grave. Just, all of a sudden, these crinkly, crunchy sounds, out of the dark of the pantry, where the food is stored. Max doesn't eat his food like that, out of the bag. But, I have found that now and again, he will sneak their food like that. He has to be very pissed at me to do that.

Small buds form on the trees we visit on our morning walk. Fire hydrant, and flag poles aside, Max must pee on every tree we pass; he seeks them out. He likes digging in the dirt as much as I do. The weather makes me think about the container garden I want, this year. At least several tomato plants, and some flowers, zinnia springs to mind. What do you have in your garden?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There Are Places Where the Cat Hair Congregates

You know it's true. I have wood floors, which I love, by the way; and there are places where the cat hair likes to go, to die. It has something to do with the forced-air furnace, and the large wind patterns established when it cuts on. Every corner in the hallway, which is also the warmest spot in the house, stays filled with blond cat hair, in small balls. They drift with the wind, mimicking tumbleweeds. Then, there is a collection of drifting cat hair balls along the wall in the living room.

I notice these things, when it comes time to vacuum them up.

There is nothing louder than a vacuum trundling along a wood floor. Unless it's a 40 lb. dog barking its head off at a vacuum trundling along a wood floor. Max loves to bark, like a bundle of fury, at the vacuum, but only when it's running. Now, Max is part hound, part corgi. He def got the hound voice, and a good set of lungs to go with it. Usually, I just pull out the broom. He doesn't bark at it.

I have been thinking, a lot, about my inspiration and motivation to write. I write because I am a writer; I have been as long as I can remember. I remember learning to read, and the overwhelming urge to read everything. I remember thinking, "This is heaven." I can recall the struggle, and thinking that I would never succeed in learning how to read. I know I asked my Dad, "So, I just have to memorize every word that is?" And Dad telling me that it was something like that.

The Christmas tree still shines all day, and all night. I thought I would get tired of it, but I haven't yet. But this year, I decorated it with all my favorite ornaments, the cat figures carved from wood, the jingle bells designed to attract a cat's attention, one or two of the oyster shell ornaments that Mom made, long ago. So, it's a tree full of lovely memories.

It is Spring, in this small corner of the world. My tattoo, a large dog paw print on my arm, has hives. I imagine it was the ink used. It happens every year, when I start sneezing. The other arm breaks out too, but not like the tattoo does.

I am waking early every day again. It's not really my chemicals doing it, but a desire to hear the voice of the man who loves me, before he goes to work. Anyway, I adore this time of day.

I had a lovely friend from high school come to lunch with me. Her name is Penny, and she brought me a hostess gift of Girl Scout cookies. I love them. Penny was sweet in school, and she remains so, to this day. She has a personality that reminds me that, after all, not everything in the world is dreariness and despair. I think she would strike you that way, as well. And she's a cat person. Who can beat that?

Back to writing. I have insisted in post after post, that the forest and the field are in your heart and mind, the same as they exist in some corner of this world, and perhaps others. I suppose I have been pining for a physical forest, but I know, good and well, where my forest is, both here and in that other world.

For a while, after I moved, I couldn't go back to that forest. I felt dislocated, and separate. But now, I can stand in the field, and follow the path to the forest. Soon, buds will form and open, and Tinker Creek will turn green. The ducks and the cranes will come back, and it will be time to walk on Hollins University campus again. The grass will take on a lovely, loamy scent, and cold wind will blow above the creek. The sumac will turn from violent, bloody red, to the innocuous green. The ground will spring underfoot, and the brown, dead leaves will blow away. Silver green mists will soon hover over the fields of corn that are planted in this corner of the world.

The lilacs will bloom on the Hollins campus, and I will go by Tina Rolen's last office, on my stroll. She was the head of the career development center at Hollins for a long time, and died of cancer several years ago. I remember that Eddie was alive. That poor woman suffered at my hands long enough. I have lovely memories of her.

The dogwoods will bloom in the Chapel garden, and the sand path will be neatly swept between its rock borders. The weeping willows will trail pale green buds from their crowns to the ground, in a sweeping bow.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Still Cold

This is a cold start to Spring, but a start, nonetheless. My day rather collapsed, yesterday. I ended up not going anywhere. Today is different. I feel better, despite poor sleep, and I am more mobile.

I have hung the spring time wreath on the wall. It's a basket of lilacs, and I love them, even more than the Fall wreath.

I find that I socialize more, and feel more comfortable 'in my own skin' if I get out early in the day, for a noon 12 Step program meeting.

I don't have much to say today, as well. Lack of sleep will do that. But, like the daffodils, I begin to stir, and look for warmth, and more sunshine...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ordinary Day

Still chilly out today. If I am not awake when I strap Max, the dog, into his harness, I certainly am after a vigorous walk around the block. Today is group therapy day. It's a lot like rehashing your life and all the terrible things that have happened, combined with a class about how to deal with it. It drains. The only reason I go back is the other women, some of whom are now dear friends. It's not the journey, it's the people you take it with...

Ratty has determined that the best time to love on me, is when the laptop opens. He lies under my right arm, almost 'standing' on his head, to take advantage of this time when I am, for all practical purposes, immobile. It's not so bad once I get used to it...I have to blow off the keyboard every once in a while, and scratch his head. But other than that...

My new medication, Risperdal, is certainly helping me to sleep well. As I have said in previous blog posts, I am very happy right now, but I know there is another side to that coin.

There is a blue band of sky behind the trees in the distance, and sun on the mountains. There is a promise of warmth from the robins' song. There are few winters anymore in this small valley, that are so cold that the robins leave. I don't know where they went during the Arctic blasts we have been hosting, but they are back, and twitter and chirp in the branches of the forsythia. I have no garden this year, but plan a container garden. Of course there will be a geranium or two, and I will have to find a window planter for some zinnia...

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Cold Marble

It is snowy in this small valley. I took Max out at 3 a.m. because it was warm then. It is snowing now, and supposed to get much colder. The unicorn meat eating cats have decided that it is a nap day. Their taste, as always, is exquisite. I will have to get some window seats for them. Or window-height stools.

I have 2 quilts and an afghan piled on a chair against the wall. At my time of life, I keep the apartment cool, quite cool, and cover up. I love this time of year. Something is blooming, my allergies are kicking up, and the snow falls to fertilize the ground. The trees are grateful, and their branches hang like clouds about their faces.

The dog, Max, sleeps under the star quilt, my favorite, that covers my legs as well. He never sleeps well with the light in his eyes. The man who loves me, does not like the cold, nor do a few of my guests. But most of my friends are, of course, women of my own age. They love the cool as much as I do. It's refreshing in a way that springtime is.

I will have to adjust, in time, to the heat that will come. I haven't lived without air conditioning since 1976. It is not going to be pretty. I see a window unit, in my future, at least to sleep in.

I will never forget the first night in the Old House. We had worked a 12 hour day, moving. I came home to see which bedroom was picked for me. My brother and I hadn't worked that out between us, so I had left it to my parents to decide. They gave me the large room downstairs, and had set my childhood bed up. It was a cream-colored, painted wood, with intricate scrollwork decked out in gold paint. My Mother had turned the air on, very cool. I settled into the bed with a sigh that let out all the pent up energy that had accumulated since birth.

I had never slept in air conditioning before. I remember very clearly now, the sense of heat that left me. I felt as if I could conquer the world. Such, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the place of technology in our lives. Think of how many wars would be avoided if the world could sleep in air conditioning. Mars would be colonized by now. Warp drive would be a reality. Paradise is air conditioned.

I fell asleep that night, with the same feeling that I had when I had a fever, and Mom laid a cold bath cloth on my forehead. I awoke the next morning, young.

But for now, it snows past the window in front of the Christmas tree. Max sleeps.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Early Morning

I wake this morning to full blown mania. One cup of coffee and I try not to clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush (it's been known to happen.) I am not thrilled with this development. It's so bad, I went ahead and took my night time medication. It's a new mood stabilizer that my shrink put me on, yesterday.

Later on this morning, I will start back up on my anti-depressant. Depression lurks behind mania, grinning with its skeleton eyes. Far from feeling creative this morning, I feel rattled, and my feet are cold. I drink lots of water, and think about yogurt.

I would like to attend a women's breakfast this morning, but will have to wait and see what this pill does. It's rispardone, for those who care.

My niece turned 15 yesterday. She doesn't make me feel old, she makes me feel young.

Yesterday was too cold, but very spring-like. And a neighbor left a frownie-face note on the car of the man who loves me. They are unhappy he parks in front of their building, because I have no parking. No yard for Max, and no parking for the man who loves me. The only demerits this apartment has.

Last night, about 2 o'clock, the man I love and I woke to a 7-11 parking lot full of people. Where had they come from? Where were they going? We are not to know. Just one of the small mysteries of life encompassed by life in the City.

The sky is still dark, at this hour, although that will change Saturday night/Sunday morning, as the time changes. The main drag out front is quiet, and car-less. Early morning construction crews and people hurrying to work will fill 7-11 in just moments.

Max is asleep. I shake with energy.