Practice – using what I have and what I can

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is another exercise in practice for me. I don't blog because I'd rather look at and/or read other blogs. Then I get re-inspired when I find new to me blogs that are a welcome change from the mainstream bloggers I get disillusioned with. By mainstream I mean the blogs of folks promoting the blogs of the bloggers that echo their "schtick." I get lost because I wonder where I would fit in if I blogged. And as I type this I think why do I have to fit in anywhere? I mean, if the intention of this blog is for my own self truly -- to land my thoughts and ramblings, to-do's and not-to-do's , then I don't have to fit in anywhere. But, then again, like most female humans, I am a pack animal and I want to hang somewhere. I don't always want to be that lone wolf on the periphery. So, every once in a while, I pop back in to this here space to sort it out. Sort of.

I've explored posts with no photos (because I don't feel like buying the cable enabling me to download from my SLR to the iPad -- there's only so much I want to feed that machine called Apple, and this here is it). About an iPhone -- I'd love an outdated one solely if I could use it as a camera (keeping my fingers crossed that if someone I know upgrades, they'll send their old one my way for some of the best granola they'll ever have -- mine! And that I can actually use the device as a camera without having to get a big plan of some kind), thereby not needing a special cable to sync it with this.

But, in the meantime, I thought, why not use my iPad camera? I've already admitted that I'm no photographer, but sometimes a visual is just a lovely prop for the words (in case no one reads them).

So here I go, my pal Bob hanging out with me, cuz we hang with the same pack. Together like, here, at the Dry Swamp Academy.

The Girl Who Married a Bear

Lately, I’ve been re-inspired to try blogging again. I’m not kidding anyone but myself to say I wouldn’t like to engage in conversation with a kindred community. I love it in the real world, but I realize it can also be enjoyable in the virtual world. However, finding bloggers who resonate with me is sometimes difficult. There’s really only a handful. And sometimes, the ones I once liked I outgrow, usually because I find the writing voice becomes hollower, echoing more and more as their popularity soars with a particular audience’s voices, until soon, they all start sounding the same. I get bored quickly (and somewhat uncomfortable) with too much of that. I love sharing the things I get excited about, be it a book, a blog, British comedy, local travel, women’s history, life. Which brings me to Milla. She’s a Finnish girl who married a Bear and lives with him out in the great northwest woods. She’s a real person, writing about all the things I like — basically just sharing the sh*t friends share without getting into marketing what is essentially the role friends once played in our lives. What I wore, what I baked, where I went, oh the stars are beautiful on this brilliant winter eve, what I believe, what I read, listened to, thought. All that was real and true before it became about a brand and money. Because, unlike what the title of the book proclaims, I do care what my friend had for lunch (but more especially, breakfast, because, you know, I like breakfast more). I might not remember it by tonight, but I do care.

The time flew, the time crawled

“What you preserve is the cheeriest memento mori. It is a way to say and mean: of everything that passes, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there for the tasting, of where and when and how you have lived.”

Suzanne’s been gone a month today. She was my daughter’s boyfriend’s mom. A person who loved well and who was well loved. I think of her daily. I think of her boys daily, my girl and all the people heartbroken by her loss. When she was on the last leg of her dying journey I would turn for solace to one of my favorite bloggers, Hannah, from Inherit the Spoon. In between writing about food, her boys, and home, she writes of memories…in the making, and those made, of her mom, who died a few years ago, a lady who sounds like she was also about 59, same as Suzanne.

Recently, Hannah posted the above quote from a book I enjoyed reading a while back, An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. It made me think of Danny, Brian’s older brother, Suzanne’s firstborn. Both boys left work last March to come home to care for their mom. Danny left San Francisco, where he was a chef at Outerlands, Brian took a leave of absence from his job in Boston. Time seemed to crawl for me as I held my breath, hoping, praying for miracles.

And when the miracle didn’t happen, the time that was left for them seems like it flew. A whole lifetime. Not nearly enough for any of us, glib as we may want to be with our easy platitudes about grief and loss. I just try to remember the Dr. Seuss quote Suzanne included in her obituary, “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” So like her to want to comfort from beyond. Suzanne, wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying an everlasting meal. We miss you.

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Just a Hello and thinking of you

Hello Suzanne,

Perhaps you’ll have a chance to read this, no reply necessary. Just know that you are in my constant thoughts and however things turn out, I think of your kindness, Grace, love, dignity, courage and spirit…this is what I endeavor to share of the people who have been a part of my life, perhaps what most of us remember — the little things, the little glimpses and stories of a day in the life. Should we have grandchildren together, wherever you are I will make sure to include you so that they know their other grandmama well. We will set a place for you at our table always.

Much love for you .
Patricia

P.S. You have raised some remarkable boys, and your tribe will gather to embrace and support them however we can.

New Cape/Old Cape

This is and isn’t the cape I left back in the 70′s. The pace is much faster, while the characters and drama in local politics remain static. Kind of like a remake of an old Hollywood movie, not necessarily any better than the original. Same roles, different names and faces.

It’s interesting how the vision and culture seem to mirror the topography. Thankfully we are surrounded by ocean, sky, and horizon…the broad expanse helps balance the narrow land. Nature imposes a balance on our culture and community one way or another.

The dominant culture here changed dramatically while I was in Vermont. Or perhaps, I had changed? most likely, a little of both. The cape felt more conservative and stifled to me. Gone were the hippies and bohemians of the past, replaced with retirees and nouveau riche. Or so it appeared to me on the surface. According to Ana, I needed to create what I most needed to find here, and she was right. Something I’d done unconsciously in Vermont for years and had to learn to do here. And in discovering that I could do it here, remembering that I’d actually been doing this all my life. I was a military kid used to bases and the unique bonds forged with other military families. We were gypsies, vagabonds and I learned early what Darshan was about even though I didn’t have a name for it then.

I rarely drink coffee, I like my tea just so, and you’d better be an exceptional baker if you’re selling because if I can do it better at home…then I will. I am not your typical consumer. It’s an experience I’m seeking, more than a commodity. And imperfection? I love to tolerate it if you have the Darshan I seek.

The cafe, the garden, the work of art, the library, the bike path, the market or shop? That’s just the vehicle to get me to the experience. It’s the people or the trees, the color, or the thrill of the discovery I encounter when I arrive that matters to me.
It’s what Rumer Godden in “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep” says is a Hindu belief that people will travel miles to see, touch, taste, sense, smell the presence or essence of a person, place or thing, with the belief that they will catch some of its spirit or soul to carry with them – this is what I seek in my journey. Darshan. Connection. The need to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I walk to the Caribbean Market in my downtown neighborhood, I am not just going to buy the ginger tea that reminds me of a place in Amherst from my daughter’s college days. I am also going to hear the musical singsong of Patois speakers, to smell the sharp spices of Jamaican cooking, to pretend I’m in the South Carolina of my birth, to remember my own immigrant grandparents and how hard people work to make a new life for themselves, to create a new home. So, all this being said, I will share with you some of my favorite places on Cape Cod where I experience Darshan. This may include places that aren’t perfect but they always have good people, vision, and the feeling that that place is loved.

This is and isn’t about a place called Cape Cod, how it’s changing, how I’m changing…it’s about home…the home we make for ourselves wherever we are, because it’s about us and the people. It’s my guide to recognizing that home is right where I am.

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The Cottage on the Beach

“D” for Dinky. We landed in East Sandwich off Ploughed Neck Road in a wee cottage with a big “D” on it for identification. “D” for dinky we said. How were we, a family of six to fit into such a tiny shack at the edge of the ocean? For a whole week!
Well, we did and we ate taffy, ran in and out of ice cold ocean water (it was June), and we bought sweatshirts at King’s Department Store in Hyannis to combat the gray chill damp drizzle that foreshadowed the weather to come that entire summer and fall.

We went into Hyannis to “People Watch,” a favorite past time, checking out the hippies and the obvious tourists (it’s always the men and their socks that makes them easy to spot).
We went to the Doll and Glass museums in Sandwich Village.

Next thing I knew, my parents had bought a house in Hyannis from Joe Coughlin, and we weren’t going “home” to Virginia.

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Sandwich, as in a Place, Not on a Plate

Sandwich was where my Cape Cod life began. Easter 1967, my dad took me for a walk and told me he would be going to Vietnam. He explained Vietnam to me; I asked him why the people who make the wars don’t fight them (some things don’t change). It was his job he said. Pretty much the end of the discussion, other than my fear “will you be killed?” He would be leaving in July. In the meantime, he would have some time with the family. Later that spring he told me we were going on vacation. He was very excited and told me to guess where as he gave me a hint, “Cape…” “Canaveral!” I cried. No, not quite. Cape Cod. Never heard of it. “Where the heck is that?” I asked. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. We took plenty of trips to Massachusetts to visit my Irish family, so Massachusetts wasn’t such a big whoop for a vacation to me, even if it wasn’t at my gran’s.

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Cork Love

The lyrics from Sinead Lohan’s song “No Mermaid” have been running through my head for a while. So I googled it and imagine my surprise and delight to find out she’s from Cork City. One more reason to be proud of my rebel Irish roots. My revolutionary American roots are a whole ‘nother story.

No Mermaid by Sinead Lohan
We went down to the edge of the water
You were afraid to go in
You said there might be sharks out there in the ocean
And I said i’m only going for a swim

I was swimming around in a circle
I wasn’t always in view
You said we might get into red flag danger
And I am alone when i’m not with you

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the waves

We were swinging from the centre of the ceiling
You were afraid to give in
I said I know i’ll always live for this feeling
And you closed your eyes you said never again

We were dancing in the middle of the desert
You said we’ll burn under the hot sun
I said i’d rather be the colour of pleasure
Than watch like you from under the thumb

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the waves

We went down to the edge of the water
You were afraid to go in
You said there might be sharks out there in the ocean
And I said i’m only going for a swim

I was living around in a circle
I wasn’t always in view
You said we might get into red flag danger
And I am alone when I’m not with you

But I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
And I am no fisherman’s slave
I am no mermaid
I am no mermaid
I keep my head above the wave

*sigh* she writes and sings so beautifully. I hope I am not infringing on her copyright by posting her lyrics.

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House

Marty and I sit here in our house every day and express our thanks to each other (and to my father who helped make it happen), we love this little house so. As did Leona, her previous owner who dreamed of returning here for more than a decade, finally succumbing at the age of 96 to selling it to me. I’d written to Leona almost 15 years ago, back when I was still raising my kids and longing for a house that could be our home again — a place to grow roots, yet not become root bound. And here it is. At the epicenter of the transportation center of Cape Cod that is Hyannis, where planes buzz overhead, cars rumble in the distance, the trains screech into the station (along with the buses), and the ferry horn sounds for the last boat to the islands every evening. Bliss.

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Guilt

There is no rhyme or reason to guilt. No point in figuring it out. It just is. Trying to make sense of it is tiresome and depletes energy best used for moving beyond it; not questioning it, but accepting it. Call it Catholic, Jewish, Irish Catholic, maternal; it’s all still guilt. And it’s a part of my psyche the way love is.

Guilt. It’s what’s for dinner. With a side of forgiveness.

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