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life. dust laughing. [merely-a-thought monday]

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every time you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of poking fun at you, pulling the rug from underneath you, making you re-evaluate, maybe roll your eyes, maybe cry out and push back, maybe giggle in abandon.

the island players performed a short at TPAC from spoon river anthology (e. l. masters), a collection of epitaphs spoken as monologues by the deceased residents of the fictional town called spoon river.  it is gripping.  a not-so-subtle reminder of our brief time on this earth and the absolute into-thin-air-ness of our lives.  perspective-arranging, yes, as you listen to the tales of each person, ephemeral, transitory, all fleeting moments in a deep milky way of vast time.

one of the characters, a finely and properly dressed older woman, brags of renting a house in paris, entertaining the elite, dining at fine restaurants, taking the cure at baden-baden, a spa town in germany’s black forest.  she returns to her hometown of spoon river, only to realize that no one really cares about where she dined or what she ate or who she entertained or if she took the cure at baden-baden.  a sobering moment for her and, if you let it in, another one of those lessons.  the kind where you realize that what you do and what you have is – not – who you are.

instead, the dust of us will later snicker, laugh, out and out guffaw at how invested we all were in the things of life that didn’t really count, the things that will disappear into the outer atmosphere of the universe, never to be retrieved.  instead, we should chuckle now, realizing that indeed the best-laid plans are only that.  plans.  that doesn’t make them life.  life has its own ideas.  perhaps we should just remember that, cut ourselves a bit of slack and recognize how funny it really is that each of us, formed of zillions of random cells, somehow ended up here, right here, right now.  for this time.

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

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extraordinarily ordinary. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we watched the movie ABOUT TIME three times this week. it’s one of those movies. well, that and we have no wifi, internet or tv, so movies we borrow from the little island library are our late evening entertainment. even then, we don’t usually watch things multiple times during a one-week span. but this one drew us in.

how many times have you been reminded to live life like this? to live a day like you have come back to live it – the way you should have lived it the first time around….enjoying it, making it full, recognizing its brilliance, knowing that jewel of day will never again actually be repeated. too many lessons along the way teach us these things.

if i could wish upon a star and know that it would come true, it would be to live each day the way i would live it if i could do it over and “fix” anything that might have gone awry. to live it with absolute certainty that it was extraordinary, particularly in its ordinariness.

days. there are none to waste. during those days with moments of angry words, minutes are washing out to sea. in those times of drudgery when you are hoping for time to pass quickly, the hours vanish into thin air never to be lived again. in those times of grief, when pain washes over you and the minutes seemingly creep by, the chance to find any iota of joy co-existing with anguish passes by as you crawl into the next day, exhausted, depleted from losing the day before.

ABOUT TIME was a reminder: live each day like it was the full, final day. how would we choose to live on the full, final day? how would we treat people around us? what would we say to those we love? what would we do?

i remember my dear friend richie at the end of his life. each day he spent on this good earth he was a shining example of this. like all of us, he woke up never knowing which day would be the full and final day. and yet he woke up knowing it was close. people asked him how he did what he did, how he lived his days without regret. he just said, “everything’s going to be ok.” and he believed it. extraordinarily ordinary. every day.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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a familiar sight. [two artists tuesday]

jelly jars & sunset

this will become a familiar sight. sunset coloring the lake, an island populated by waterbirds in the distance, jelly jars in hand.  we have arrived.

fog dawned this day, which somehow seems apropos, considering.   dogdog and babycat are struggling to adjust – a different house – the “littlehouse” as opposed to “home”.  we are surrounded by bins and artwork and happy lights and a bulletin board full of photos. we have our picnic basket and our nespresso, office supplies and our peace signs. we’ve hung an old window frame and the chalkboard from our wedding. we have a vintage road-worn black suitcase just waiting to be filled with the stuff of this adventure. we have beach buckets with sunglasses and paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and a bottle of wine. we brought our cloth napkins, jelly jars and a set of our favorite bowls, our hydroflask coffee mugs and water thermoses, our lidded yeti wine tumblers. we have dogdog’s penguin, his lion, his candy cane and babycat’s chase-the-ball-in-the-circle plastic game. we have candles and clipboards, ukuleles, lawn games, and various devices that play music. we have threadied us up.

and it all boils down to this one thing – in my pocket now every day since jen gave it to me – a silver token that says PEACE.

right now, these thready things embrace me. they help with that peace I’m reminded of by this little token.

but this will all become a familiar sight. i know that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the tide giggles. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

coffee cup dance

plan ahead, you say?   well, we thought we did.  we wanted a photograph to document our shore-sitting-sipping-on-bold-coffee moment that last morning on hilton head.  we carefully watched the waves and placed our mugs in the wet sand.  i stepped back to take a couple photos and voila!  the tide is a funny thing…something of which we have no control.  and so, the coffee cup dance became the moment and our laughter sated our need-for-coffee.

life, i suppose, is like that more often than not.  when i moved away from family to kenosha, the conversation went something like this:  “3-5 years and we will be moving on.”  it is now 30 years later.  30 years!  where did that time go?  what about the plan?  the tide seemed to have its own way and waves of joy and challenge, growth and grief, and simply TIME have washed over me.  the tide laughs in glee.

we try to plan.  my sweet momma had a great sign.  i wish i had it.  but it was something like this:

plan ahead

yet, despite our measuring, our strategizing, our calculating, our PLAN, life seems to take unexpected turns.  the waves roll in and the tide giggles.

why not giggle with it?

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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how does it matter? [d.r. thursday]

Studio Shot

the studio in our basement is full of beautiful paintings that haven’t yet found their proper home.  it is also full of boxes of cds that have been replicated and shrink-wrapped, ready for their new homes.  there is no shortage of completed work down there, no shortage of heart projects, no shortage of sweat and tears.  there is no shortage of work in progress, canvases prepped, notebooks of lyrics and melodic gestures.

we moved our 20’s father’s paintings last week.  today we will move the remainder.  as we carefully loaded big red, you could not help but feel wistful about these paintings moving away from their home, to be stored by 20.  duke was a prolific painter and his work is stunning; we wondered where and how these mostly large pieces would find a permanent home.  where does it go from here?

any artist, thinking about the impermanence of life, wonders that.  where does it go from here?  who will purchase it, hold onto it, look at it, listen to it, read it, ultimately – feel it?  will it matter later on?  does it matter now?

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

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

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HH. perfect. [d.r. thursday]

HH sketches

david’s sketches on hilton head

i researched.  for months.  looked at tons of sites and reviews.  i ordered brochures from the chamber of commerce (which, incidentally and almost predictably, arrived after we returned from the trip.)  i poured over other people’s adventures and stories, made lists of things to do and places to go.  it was a really important time for me and i wanted it to be perfect:  my-children-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  the perfect mom-gift.

always up for a roadtrip adventure, we drove to hilton head in our littlebabyscion.  first thing upon arrival, we opened the shades in the living room.  the dunes and the ocean exploded into view, the sunset beckoned us.  without unloading, we took two juice glasses of wine and a blanket down to the water’s edge and watched the sky relinquish day.  night arrived and it was perfect.

My Girl flew in the next morning and My Boy the very next day.  the sun was bright, the sky was blue, the sand hot, the ocean was a constant lure.  walks and conversation, games and homemade sangria, bold coffee and generous glasses of wine, watching crabs on the sandbar and googling jellyfish, chips and guac and kirsten-margaritas, eating out on the deck under the umbrella and time in the pool, watching kirsten or craig prepare a meal or two, relaxing on lounge chairs and a one-time bowling adventure.  this was the stuff.  it was hot; over 100 degrees with the heat index; a bit too hot for kayaking or standupboarding under a sunburning sun.  but time seemed to morph and days passed us by in the way time on the beach does.

later i wondered why i didn’t take out my lists, my research, my reviews, the brochures i got from the grocery store.  why i didn’t insist on an adventure-a-day, an activity.  but jen encouraged me to let that go.  she said she does that every time she is lucky enough to have her children all-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time as well. a mother’s brain (and heart) on overdrive.

it isn’t the activities or the adventures.  it’s simply the time.  when you are there and you are real and you share bits and snatches of life, joyful or trying.  when you catch your breath gazing at your children, beautiful human beings experiencing the wide spectrum that life offers.  and you love them beyond words, grateful that they have given you this time.  together.  under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  HH.  hilton head.  perfect.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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