Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My cat is stalking me...

I have a reason to get up at dawn every day. My cat tell me so! She jumps on the bed to nuzzle with me, and after five minutes of calm time, she stands by the door and meows loudly. It's time to freshen up the food bowl, she calls. If I pretend to be asleep, she jumps up on the bed and hovers over me. Now!!!!!!!!!!!she howls!

She pretends to sleep
closing her eyes
turning her body away so I can't tell what it is she is doing and waits for me to do something else.

Meow, she says after a minute or so and plops herself down in front of me and stretches out demanding to be brushed. I can continue my typing, but her sounds are quite disturbing. Brush both sides a couple of times; brush under the chin, more here; more there. Suddenly, she's up and out of sight, trying out a new hiding place.

But the minute I get up and move, there she goes, ahead of me, down the hall and to the room where she has anticipated I would go. Many times, I find her outside the bathroom waiting for me to resume my position at the computer, even if she had gone outdoor a few minutes before.

She knows what I'm up to, and tracks my every step.

When I leave the house for a walk, she waits by the door until I return. Or, jumps out the window and walks me to the end of the driveway where she waits for the entire time that I'm out of her sight. (I like to think of her as my mama cat!)

The couch she is sitting on is her favorite perching place, right behind me as I type this. Soon, she'll jump on the arm of my seat and walk across the computer keys, demanding lap times.
Like right now!!!,e-dlc;,,,,,,

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm a blogger and proud of it!

I finally purchased a printed copy of one year's writing, the first year of Sixtyfivewhatnow, my first blog. I anticipated purchasing more books to cover the five years the blog was running, but I chose just one year.

I wanted to see the product before investing more time and energy and resources. The book sits on my coffee table announcing its benevolent intentions. Yet, when I study it carefully, diligently, I notice many errors, multiple problems with layout, copy, photos, themes and concepts. Ouch!!!!

Yet, even with all those flaws, the book looks great. I have a book with my thoughts, my instincts, my photos. I have a memory book not just of things and single events, but how I felt, what I thought, how I encountered the world on those days.

When I talk to my friends about blogging, most of them don't understand. Blogging is not a habit most old folks like me pick up easily.  Most old folks don't want to be bothered with frustrating details such as loading and uploading photos. I remember asking for help on that very same thing. The first posts of mine had no photos at all. After many attempts, and defeats, I finally figured out the skill of uploading photos, copy and paste, and even re-post on Facebook.

This is what blogging has done for me:

1. Opened the world. My first accidental connection was with a photographer/journalist in Australia who became a most interesting companion through the world of blogging. As of my last post, sixtyfivewhatnow had 890+followers world-wide thanks to the nod from Blogger when they nominated it as "Blog of Note".

2. Re-connected me with my hometown, with Italy, with natives and expatriates, with recipes and sites and events I had forgotten about.

3. Introduced me to experts in design, composition, food, style, politics, news...

4. Helped me find my own voice, more open and more complex than the one I had been for the last sixty five years.

5. Introduced me to poetry writing, story writing, personal writing. Until blogging came along, I had no confidence in my abilities to express my thoughts. After the first foray, I began new endeavors with a memoir blog, a language acquisition blog, a food blog, a hodgepodge blog-which is this one, and one just to capture the memories of my son who died suddenly a year and a half ago.

To say that blogging has changed my life is a bit of a hyperbole. It has given my life new meaning.

How has blogging changed your life?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our skin and juice.

Are we all under 
a heavy
that packs us down
shrinks us
changes our form
gets rid of our plumpness
dries our skin
saps our juices and

We used to roll on the counter
adding zest
and vigor  to the crowd
just by our presence
conjuring far-away places
and sunny beaches.

Oh hell is not too far
when your skin rubs off
and your bones ache
and hot nights 
are nothing but 
fever chills.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rules of the day from Newkie the Cat.

1.Every new corner has surprises.

2. Wait for the weather to change; it will.

3. Find new places to nap, where nobody will find you.

4. Play when you're awake.

5. As often as possible, ask for a back rub.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moments of color.

(downloaded from the internet-origin unknown)

I just need one moment when the path
ahead is full of light
when the footing is sure
destination anticipated
with joy.

All I see are spiders over
and legs
and barnacles
up to more
numbers than birthdays
cake dreams
nobody splurges in anymore.

All I need is a moment of light.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What doesn't kill you tells you you're stupid.

I used to have a big house, with plenty of storage. When it collapsed, and had to be removed, the asbestos people were called first. Nobody knew we lived under asbestos; nobody suspected that mold and invisible particles were easily ingested with every bowl of yogurt and berries I served.
I won't bother with other difficulties found among the debris.

I can't quite understand this complex world.
This boat I sit in, can sway gently, or suddenly capsize with an errant wave.
My ignorance covers the camel's back.
My knowledge, the last feather that can spook the poor camel.

Houses come and go.
So do gardens.
And commodities.
And heroes too.

I used to trust books, and TV actors when they pitched insurance plans, and my neighbor who sold me my house in the first place, the same house built on fill that collapsed on MLK's birthday of January 1994, at four in the morning, temperatures in the low forties, unusually cold for sunny California.

There must be a trick to this living that my parents didn't know about; and my teachers; and all the books I read; all the people I consulted. There must be a trick!

Maybe  I need to change my brand of yogurt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Everything around me speaks of loss.

What is it about
today, not yet laid down flat,
going through its fretful fits
dreaming of this
and that
one thing
listed on the to do list
taking the place of another
cleaning, driving
paying bills
opening and closing doors
lying through punctuation marks
begging-what makes it
interchangeable with any
other day
on this day,
(a year plus one half)
on this day
you were still alive.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

That arc of ours.

something in us fights hard
covering with blankets
with fur
with breath
with utter desire:
Please, Pretty Please, Ohhh
produce fruit 
give me a taste
of all 
I desired
from the time i
too was so small
i couldn't count to ten
and thought letters
were scribbles
and sounds
captured in the radio
were evil spirits
watching me
in the night
in case... 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dotted with meals.

Hubby remembers meals we've had, here and there, the mules frites in Nice, the crab in Bandon. His memory is connected to his olfactory gland, strong smells that bring back looks and tastes of a whole day.

I remember single scenes, the time at Moulin Rouge in Paris when a young girl in our tour bus traveling with her aunt, attending an evening performance was  chosen to go on stage. On the way back to our bus I noticed she did not have a camera or a souvenir program for that evening and gave her the one I had.

When we meet our children we spend so much time clarifying who was where and what happened when, and each of us brings something else to the scene. Some of us will remember faces; some will remember places; some will remember conversations; and some will remember food and drinks.

I took this picture of my husband in Bandon, next to Cathedral Rock, on a day when we walked for miles, and ended up eating crab sandwiches at Tony's Crab Shack. It graces the cover of my memoir, and it connects me with everything I've ever loved, my family, beaches, good food, and the longing for the past to be caught again in a still life. Notice that he's taking pictures too.

One day, when I've lost my memory, I hope I remember what great times these were.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How is everyone coping?

A flagger on the 101 Highway. Everyone fumes for a while; then, looking out, they don't mind at all. There is always something beautiful to see: a coastline and big waves on one side; forest and pastures on the other!

Everyone I know, retired, living a quiet life, everyone walks with their dog when the rain stops.
We walk too, Hubby and I. And, the very minute the rain stops my cat jumps out the window-where she's been pining for hours-and joins the rest of the world sniffing and ambulating in the neighborhood. We all get cabin fever after hours or days or weeks of rain. Especially a cat like mine who is used to constant sunshine from her previous Southern California residence.

Yesterday, Hubby and I shopped for a cat door.
The array is small. A hole with a flap. A hole with a trap. A hole with an automatic door that opens with a special magnet.
We ordered the automatic door/magnet contraption and will call a local carpenter to have a proper hole cut into one of our doors, and hopefully she will have on demand in-and-out experiences.

What if she refuses to wear the magnet? What then?

I know people who have made lots of accommodations for their animals. In our house, when we leave Newkie on her own, we leave a window open wide enough for her to jump in and out. An open window in a rainy environment is not a permanent solution!

 How is everyone else with pets coping with winter woes?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I read your holiday letter and...

I have read your holiday letter
and have nothing to say except
this too is another reminder.

I wish my life
was enough
not pricking
through early
hours before
the cat dares to wake me.

I don't wish for my life to be like yours
but to be rewound
to the place where I
was the one listing
how we all were most
grateful and lucky
on this earth together.

I've become smaller
my house, my car
my family.
My throat tightens and I can't speak anymore.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A lot of circling before declaring one's love.

My town in the rear-view mirror
and a major task
to get back to
as soon as the sun comes out
this rain stops
this knee heals
this shoulder stops twitching.

How I circle around what's really driving
me off
to and from
and in and out
of focus.
This is not fear, I declare
I'm just praying to
an unknown deity
to give me strength
that something else
I seem to lack
I seem not to know
enough words to name it properly.

How is it that we are afraid of so many things
we can't name?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


(apologies to the unknown owner of this picture I downloaded for inspiration!)

Remember how you used to collect rag dolls, or  miniature cars?
What did you do with those collections? What did you do with your dead relatives' collections? Did they go to charities, other relatives, the trash dump?

I had collected pictures from magazines. For years. One after another, pictures of  rooms, gardens, furnishings. I tore up the magazines that had been discarded by the library at the end of a season, and slowly built my collections. I organized them in colored folders, with tabs, easily accessible should the occasion arise for inspiration.

Each time we moved, these folders were discarded.
Thrown out with other discards.

In each new place, a new collection began to evolve.

I found a collection of interiors this morning as I was looking for something else.

This picture popped out and I'm amazed at how close it resembles  my sun room remodel finished just this summer. My new space has this size of table, a capacious one to feed ten or more! And the greenery and the light are similar as well.

I wonder how we build dreams, a picture here, a pillow there.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From a distance.

This is my neighborhood. A few houses around the lake, a few more on the hills, a strip of shops and services on the main road, small cottages here and there in the forest all around, bogs, farms and ranches, all inhabited by folks who came here to find paradise. The town started as a fort, protecting loggers from native tribes, when logging was the primary industry here,  before fishing.

There is even a road called Paradise Point Road.

To those who have lived here all their lives, the rhythm of the town circles the fishing season. Though we have just fifty or so fishing families, the industry is the only one left here, after logging disappeared. The original cottages are still here, built for fishermen or loggers, two bedrooms, a wood stove, a yard to store the boat off season, and a place to keep the cords of wood needed to keep warm during stormy days.

Our crab season was late this year. It missed the holidays, and everyone was panicking. It is during the holidays that crab moves. People pay top price to have a crab meal for Christmas or New Year!

The whole coast was anticipating  December 31st, opening  day for crab fishing, worrying that a bad first day would break most folks who make a living  here.  When boats returned with their catch, the town celebrated!

Crab will be on people's tables, only a bit late, and maybe even cheaper, because the catch is amazing!

The Port provides the last industry for young families. Without a healthy catch, families cannot afford living in this paradise. Enjoy your dungeness crab, wherever you are. Know that it is not a staple, but a luxury item. It is available only a few months of the year, when they are big and plump. Also, know that there is not a single fisherman who has become rich from fishing. Rather,  many have perished doing this job.