who is who || week 43

“I am living my real life, this is it. Now is now, and if I waited to be happier, waited to have fun, waited to do the things that I know I ought to do, I might never get the chance.” 
― Gretchen Rubin

the week is a lovely balance between busy and slowing down.
we have company for dinner one night and i make an effort to not go crazy with the food.
i fix a good, but easy, nourishing dinner and consciously work to place just as much
nourishment on friendship. our conversations extend way beyond the last bite. 
later, he does the dishes. 

“Walking, talking, reading, drawing, praying, telling stories: the nourishment is there, as close as our own breath. We only have to pause a moment, notice, and enjoy.” 
― Christian McEwen, World Enough & Time, On Creativity and Slowing Down

we have a impromptu brunch with some of the kids
where i do the same and we slip right into it, because
we are good at it. i understand this is us. this is the real me.
once again i mentally make a note to let go of "what will others think" 
and embrace us.

“Laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity...When people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.” 
― Gretchen Rubin

three things ::
i did a 45 minute rowing class at the gym
we listen to this together in the car and agree it is good
my daughter-in-law starts a new online shop with natural beauty products! i am so excited for her! 

we meet out-of-town friends for breakfast on monday.
we talk about boxes of old photographs without labels and how we now wonder who is who. 
we discuss how digital photos now live online, in the cloud or on external hard drives;
wondering if this next generation will also struggle with who is who? i think not. .  
just in case, i send away for 48 new 4x4's for the fridge. 

“There are some old photographs from where if you take anything out, even a chicken or a little bird, the magic will disappear.” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

come tuesday, the week slows into our normal routine;
walks with the dog between rain squalls, a visit from Justin, reading, errands and chores, 
a big pot of spaghetti, flu shots and joy. . .  

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” 
― Gretchen Rubin

who is who? 
how was your week? 

three on tuesday || glittering mica

"Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live." 
— Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life

he arranges a gathering, something i don't think he has ever done
in our whole married life, unless you count soccer practices.
he does it with a group text message and somehow mine don't come through
until everyone is committed and food is being discussed and. . . 
at this point he turns it over to me. 
later that night my phone "lights up" and the messages all
roll in at once, and i feel loved and blessed and seen
all over again. 

"Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness because if you do you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived." 
— Anna Quindlen

we pitch in and make a meal, 
each of us contributing a little bit here and there.
even the non-cooks can pour a bit of OJ into the champagne.
we eat outside on the newlyweds deck on the table he made for them
and we laugh and talk and make holiday plans and i am so grateful
for these spontaneous hours which are such an unexpected gift. 

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” 
― Anna Quindlen

we all tell him "great idea pops!" and he smiles,
feeling pretty smug and proud of himself. later in the car, i tell him thank you.
and, i smile all the way home, while the dog sleeps in my lap. 

"It’s great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." 
— Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

loved || week 42

“For me, everything's too much and nothing's enough.” 
― Mary Karr, Lit

the week is full of rain, everyday normal and subtle revelations.
i ponder the idea of what next? coupled with self induced
restrictions. same story, new story line.
i listen to this, twice. i laugh and say yes, over and over in my head;
and this line . . .
 “What is your source of information?” And 99 percent of the time it was, “I thought it up.”
strikes such a chord inside of my being that i decide to make a few small adjustments,
try it out, i tell myself, because what have i got to lose? 

“Faith is not a feeling, she says. It's a set of actions. By taking the actions, you demonstrate more faith than somebody who actually has experienced the rewards of prayer and so feels hope.” 
― Mary Karr

i wake on sunday, with that familiar rooted darkness
trying to take hold deep inside me. i refuse to let it grow and
tell him i am off to the beach for a bit. i am pleased he decides
to come with me. however the trip is for me and i turn the dog
over to him and wander the beach with my camera and before long
i feel the salt water doing its thing.  
i come home replenished and fortified. 

“The fact that we experience anxiety and annoyance is the certain sign that, in the unconscious, there is an emotional program for happiness that has just been frustrated.” 
― Thomas Keating, The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation

i spend time purging the kitchen (yet again) while he drills holes in the wall
for wires criss-crossing his office. i poke my head outside one day
to find him cutting back one of the flower beds, aware that
i told him the day before the job overwhelmed me so. i join him and the fresh air,
along with him by my side, makes the job gratifying in so many ways. 
he tackles another bed, alone, one night while i fix dinner. 
his awareness and kindness towards me,
astonishes me at times and i see so clearly that he hears and sees me
and is paying attention. i learn from him and work hard to do the same. 

“Who would have thought at this time in our lives that we’d still have something like this. That it turns out we’re not finished with changes and excitements. And not all dried up in body and spirit.” 
― Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night

three things ::
• i have her playing a lot lately on spotify
this is the best book i have read in awhile
• roasted sage leaves are amazing

“Literature makes us better noticers of life; we get to practice on life itself; which in turn makes us better readers of detail in literature; which in turn makes us better readers of life.” 
― Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir

i find the simpler my life is the more abundant it is.
i see life gently nudging me to give way to what i find is truly important.
i practice over and over a few simple actions:
i pray aloud, i take a few minutes to empty my mind, i get outside, 
i practice kindness and i love with a full heart. 

“You are loved, someone said. Take that and eat it.” 
― Mary Karr
“I do love this physical world. I love this physical life with you. And the air and the country. The backyard, the gravel in the back alley. The grass. The cool nights. Lying in bed talking with you in the dark.” 
― Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night

how was your week? 

three on tuesday || filtering down

“Writing, regardless of the end result—whether good or bad, published or not, well reviewed or slammed—means celebrating beauty in an often ugly world.” 
― Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir

the stagnate air within the house, along
with my bottled up confusion
causes my emotions to run amok.
i feel self absorbed, estranged from the life around me
and very much on my own.

“When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

rivulets of rain run off the roof, overflow the gutters
and water gushes up around my shoes;
and yet, i grasp that getting
out of the house is crucial for my sanity.

“There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification of life is one of them.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

i take a wrong turn and suddenly feel the shortcomings of my age.
i watch the wipers fling the paper-thin sheets
of water off the windows effortlessly and i pause to regroup. 
i take a left and notice that overhead the sun is filtering down though
patches of blue sky hovering over the sound.  
i sense that i am headed in the right direction. 
i turn the wipers off and their rhythm is replaced
by the slow rolling waves of salt water. 
and there on the rocky shore, joy and awareness,
peace and calm, filter down though me at last. 

“I want first of all... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact--to borrow from the language of the saints--to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, "May the outward and inward man be one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.” 
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

light stealing || week 41

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." 
— Henry David Thoreau

we work at settling into a routine, which seems effortless
and natural and comfortable.
i try not to step on his toes, or fill his day
with my to-do list, allowing him to work out his new day to day
normal on his own and boy does he get things done. 

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. 
~Abe Lemons

we head to Cannon's football game and cheer, 
he eats a hotdog, i take photos    
and the boys win. 
i find the older i get the less enthusiasm
i have for organized sports and overzealous parents,
(and coaches!). 
but it is so fun to watch the kids. 

I ain't got nothing to say. I just wanna play football. 
~ Marshawn Lynch

saturday night an intimate group of us gather in Seattle where she cooks for us
and i finally get to meet Alison in real life. 
we laugh and talk photography a bit, but mostly we just talk.
i think countless times, throughout the night, how mind-boggling it is
that i find myself in the mix of these creative, talented woman. 
woman who inspired me and encourage me to take this art a bit further. 
i drive home in the dark pouring rain, full of goodness, awakening
and gratitude. 

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 
— Author Anais Nin.

the week gushes forth with glorious weather
and the dog and i head to the river one afternoon
to steal patches of light. 
he nonchalantly stops to smell fall and i am lucky enough to capture
his charming cuteness. . .  

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” 
― Dean Koontz, False Memory

three things:
i read this and love it so much
i watch this and think it might hold some promise
i listen to these Australians over and over 

Can I take you to a moment
Where the fields are painted gold
And the trees are filled with memories
Of the feelings never told?

When the evening pulls the sun down,
And the day is almost through,
Oh, the whole world it is sleeping,
But my world is you.
 ~ Paper Kites 

how was your week? 

three on tuesday || night fishing

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.”
— Ralph Hattersley

i wake in the dead of the night thinking of my dad.
memories gently float to the surface and i recall suddenly
how he would make a bed of ferns or moss beside
the curve of the river bank or shimmering lake
and there, he would line up the fish he had caught that day.
the color of their scales would sparkling in the sun
as he placed his rod or maybe his creel beside them.
when the scene was to his liking, he would step back and take a photo. . .  

i recall days when he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's,
and how i would set up the slide projector and unroll the cracked screen, 
pull the curtains tightly closed against the afternoon sun, 
and how the two of us would sit for hours and look at slides. 
there would be photos of me as a child, on camping trips or in snow so deep
i could barely walk. there were photos of my mother, hiking among
Indian paintbrush so vivid and alive, or wrapped up tightly against the wind
coming off the ocean. he would ask questions about the woman
and it would agitate him some, because he was sure he should know her. 
he would ask about the little girl and i would gently tell him,
being somewhat evasive because i could see how hard he was trying to remember. 
but those fish. . .  he would know where he caught those fish.
he would remember who he was with and sometimes even the year.

in the dead of the night it is all i can do to not get up and look
for the mishmash of the box full of slides, i was handed at his death.
i mentally go though every closest and the shelves in the garage, 
trying to recall when i saw the box last. . .  
finally sleep returns and at dawn i am heartbroken. . . 
because i cannot put my hands on them.
so today i will hunt and i will find them, one way or another
because somehow it seems so very important
to get one of those fish  photos in my hands and printed and up on my wall
for so many reasons. . . 

"Somehow it's hard to quit with an odd number of fish, so I wanted one more for four," 
— Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through It and Other Stories)