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sweet sleep. [d.r. thursday]

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i write this with a sound-asleep babycat tucked up next to me.  he is snoring, deeply sleeping, curled up, his paws tucked in, one under his little head.  it is sweet and i savor this moment of his complete trust.  he is obviously in bliss.

i envy his blissful slumber.  i am not as good a sleeper as he.  this middle-age-menopause thing wakes me every night.  and every night, despite my urging to the contrary, my brain, clearly wildly uncontrolled, starts to think.  lists accumulate, calendars form in my mind, my worry starts.  and that’s it.  i am lost in the weeds of insomnia.

after we had spoken about it a day or so prior, dan told me one morning that he had been awake thinking of our under-the-sink plumbing problem at 2am (!) and had, at that hour, come up with a solution.  truth be told, he didn’t really have to wait under the next day; i’m quite sure i was awake and could have had a plumbing-solution-guru-text chat in the wee hours.  wendy and 20 have both teased about texting me in the middle of the night when they are awake.  i am not alone in sleep deprivation.

this painting is like looking at babycat.  a sleep that is uninterrupted, peaceful.  it evokes younger images of small children on mats during naptime.  it is serene.

babycat stretches and rolls onto his back.  he is tucked under the computer cord, laying on top of papers.  but he is content.  and back to sleep.  sweet sleep.

babycat sleeps

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coffee. without fail. [two artists tuesday]

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coffee is how we start the day.  hot bold black coffee.  columbus says it’s way too strong, but this is from a man who makes coffee that his son says tastes like ‘sockwater’.  our coffee must be an acquired taste.

when we travel we seek out starbucks (and, to be honest, small independent coffee cafes as well) to stop and have a double espresso.  now that we are a teeny weeny bit older, it’s not as smart to have huge cups of coffee while driving long distances.  there’s a teeny weeny bit of an issue with not enough rest areas now.  so we try to be smart.

every single time we stop for a double espresso we take a picture and then we send it to 20.  we have pictures of double espressos in illinois and indiana, in colorado and wisconsin, in florida and georgia, in north and south carolina, in kentucky and tennessee, in connecticut and massachusetts, in new hampshire and rhode island, in new york and pennsylvania, in washington and idaho, in iowa and kansas, in montana and north dakota and minnesota, in missouri and california, in amsterdam and brussels, in paris.

coffee has always been one of our touchstones.  from the very beginning d and i spoke about and revered coffee, together.  i learned early on from my sweet momma and my poppo how to coffee-sit and it is with them in my heart, coffee in hand, we continue the tradition.

as each day ends and d sets up the coffeemaker for the next morning, dogdog listens for all the familiar sounds he knows that signal the end of the day.  he waits on the bed for his bellybelly and then time for sleep.  and he knows, too, that when he wakes we will sit with our hot black bold coffee the next morning.  without fail.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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little did i know. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in junior high i wrote a piece for an english class titled “old age is not a disease.”  i’m pretty sure if i searched high and low for it i could find it in a bin somewhere, but, suffice it to say, i have other things on my docket to get done and, heaven knows, i don’t want to even attempt to go near those bins.

when i was in junior high i’m quite convinced that i would have thought 60 was “old age”.  as we know, it’s all relative.  you know, “60 is the new 40” or (i’m hoping) some such faaabulous idiom.

when i was in junior high i’m betting i thought that life slowed down at 60, that people did less and rested more.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i would think i, errantly, believed that getting older also meant less engagement with unknown things, less learning, less involvement.  perhaps i assumed that getting older was a time for fewer challenges, more relaxation, less thinking, less new.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high maybe i thought that most people who were older thought inside the box; their lives and their activities were conservative and tight, protected and quiet.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high it would be my guess that i thought most older people were secure, maybe retired, with essentially predictable lives and not much to really worry about.  little did i know.

when i was in junior high i’m sure i, like most junior-highers, looked at people who were 60 and thought, “wow!  that person looks old!”  i probably never considered how their spirit played into their look, how life experience added to their wise eyes and kind smile.  little did i know.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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missing. [k.s. friday]

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it comes in waves.  in less than two weeks i will be 60.  i’m not a consumed-with-my-age-person, but this particular birthday is proving me different.  without any prompts, i find myself sorting through my life, the six decades that lead me to right now.   memories flow in and ebb out like the tide on a surfboard of emotions.  trying not to resist, i ride the wave as it brings me growing up times on long island…my nuclear family all together, all alive, gathered in our dining room on abby drive or up in the catskills in a rustic state park cabin….bike hikes and carvel….simple times of arguing for john denver over bob dylan….time walking or sitting or playing frisbee on crab meadow beach…late sunday morning mc-arnson sandwiches or waffles and ice cream around my sweet momma and poppo’s table in florida…the time of building the first home i ever bought, a big choice for us as a young couple…the sheep farm in new hampshire….moving to wisconsin away from family and the challenges that raised…celebrating the amazing birth of our daughter and son and watching them grow into the people they are….recording my first album and what that meant….letting go of the day-to-day mothering as my children became adults and still being an every-single-day mother….balancing the impact of good decisions and bad decisions….times of intense grief….choosing love….starting over….wondering what is coming next….

the inner monologue chronicles through all of these years…i sit in quiet watching the slideshow in my mind’s eye and ponder.  what was most important, what is most important, what will be most important.  what it all means.  and it’s clear most of the time.  the people who have surrounded me, who have loved me, who i have loved.  the people i am missing – and will always miss – as well as the people who are right here.  the times i am missing – as well as the times -moments- i could miss right now were i to be too engrossed in something else.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, the track that i selected to follow MISSING is called CONNECTED.  because it all stays a part of the vast ocean that is each of our lives.  the missing and the now and the wondering, all part of the whole.  all waves to ride.

theocean

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hear you whisper. [k.s. friday]

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missing comes in many shapes and sizes.  colors too.  i’m now at that age that i hear this song in the context of too many people i know who have lost loved ones.  whether their beloved has moved on to a different dimension or a different life, it leaves behind someone grieving.  “you’re so here though you’re not here.” 

i occasionally browse through facebook and i am struck by the number of acquaintances or friends or family members who are remembering a loved one, this group of people unknown maybe to each other but bonded invisibly by a mutual intense emotion.  my heart responds to their pain, their determination to keep going, their day-by-day stepping back into the world.  it’s indeed a “crazy maze” that they are navigating, that i have navigated as well, that we each navigate at some point in time.

although moving on to a different life presents other extraordinary challenges to live through, losing someone to dying often leaves so many unspoken words, so much un-lived living-together.  “i hear you whisper, hear you cry, hear you call my name at night, over many miles and many distant skies.  i hear you whisper, hear you cry, hear you call my name at night, and i believe it’s not goodbye.”  like many of you, i, too, have listened intently to the universe, to the night, waiting to hear, believing that just-on-the-other-side is a whisper, on the wind, wafting its way to me.

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pay attention to nature… [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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ohmygosh.  this was my swan song every time we left the house when The Girl and The Boy were little.  this is our swan song before we leave the house now.  every time.  some things don’t change.  i know this has nothing to do with this flawed cartoon and the instincts of birds flying south (or the technology they pay attention to), but middle age and its challenges -and joys- dictate what i pay attention to.   and the common theme songs are hot flashes and restroom locations.  sheesh!

we have a group of friends that all go together to a winter festival up north a bit.  we literally PLAN where we are stopping for the “rest” stop and snacks.  and it’s only an hour and fifteen minutes away!  we don’t have devices to alert us.  they are not necessary.  besides, charlie refuses to have any of that confounded stuff.

yup. sometimes nature and people and even geese don’t really need technology.

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which way? [two artists tuesday]

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the moment i saw this trailmarker it made me laugh.  i was feeling exactlyyy this way, so this lightened my mood.  (yes, yes, i understand that the marker made sense, but if you flatten it out (as opposed to three-dimensional) it is admittedly funny and a little confusing.)

middle age (ohmygosh, yes, middle age) seems like a time of arrows every which way.  where we’ve been, where we are, where we are going…these questions are all different now…different from the striding times even a decade ago.  time is starting to mean something else; i recognize the scarcity of time-limitlessness.

i lost one of my very best friends from elementary school, junior high and high school last week.  kenny was brilliant and funny and courageous and a really good person.  together with his twin richard and i, we were often thought of as “triplets” in school, mostly because we were all platinum blond kids growing up.  i haven’t seen kenny for many years.  the last time i can remember was having coffee with him at the atlanta airport; he was an airline captain and based there so we met when i flew through with a tad bit of a layover.  he was thrilled to catch me up about his beautiful wife and son and he joked about how long it took him to find her.  even though i saw him rarely, there was something about knowing he was in the world that was comforting…a piece of my long-ago-past that i could still talk to or text with, maybe see from time to time, who knew me when i was little, when i was a preteen, when i was a teenager, when i loved calculus.  i tried to explain this to d…when certain people who connect me way back to my roots are no longer present on this earth, it is as if i can feel the earth tilt on its axis; it wobbles.  and nothing will ever be the same.  i can’t get to ken’s service, but i hope to carry with me – always – a piece of kenny and our growing-up history.  i hope to honor him somehow.

and the next time i wonder “which way” in angst, i hope to stand still, right where i am.  time is not unlimited.  i don’t want to waste it.

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