Thursday, June 28, 2018

the light all around me

this is what a Portland street poet made up and wrote for me today, typed on her vintage smith-corona:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

new ways to wait

today i experienced a new way to wait in the same old lines.

for example, last night i watched the movie "Dunkirk" (the scene of civilian boats showing up to rescue stranded soldiers bringing tears to my eyes) which relates here because in front of me today was an elderly couple, a man in a wheelchair being pushed by his wife.

noticing his Navy cap, i thanked him for his military service, referencing the movie. to this the wife added that one of her closest friends bears a tattoo from surviving the Holocaust.

"she must have only been a small child", i said. " yes," she answered, "none of her family survived and she doesn't like to talk about it". it was a less-than three minute interaction, and yet we saw each other and shared a moment that we may not have otherwise.

in another store a very classy older lady came in the door behind me. i happened to hear her talk about trying to get a job but being old. " i know you don't know me," i began, "but i hope you don't say that about yourself. there's only humans and we will all be where you are if we are lucky enough. i might add it seems you're really put together and we would do well to listen to you."

this surprised her and began what turned out to be a twenty minute visit, her telling me about the history of our town when you could come to the same building we were standing in, once a soda fountain, where they  bought treats for just fifteen cents.

she seemed to really enjoy telling me about the history of the land that had been in her family for over one hundred years (several acres of it now a school) as well as fond memories of eating summer berries with real cream at her grandmother's.

sure, it's not always like this, sometimes an errand's just an errand. but today's interactions have me rethinking the time we spend waiting in lines.

do you have a memorable waiting story?

Friday, June 22, 2018

martha stewart's calendar

i have to laugh when i read martha  stewart's *calendar in the front of Living magazine. Of course...

Monday: cardio, take twins to riding lessons, prepare asparagus grafts

Tuesday: weights, de-moss garden cottage roof, make celebrity
appearance on Food Network

Wednesday: yoga, oil change on Land rover, prune grapes and hand press for sangria

Thursday: cardio, fertilize Meyer lemons, host brunch for foreign diplomat

Friday: weights, hike with pure bred dogs, espalier apple orchard for fall cider...

*fictionalized by me, as opposed to an ordinary...

Monday: start workout DVD, get distracted by dust bunnies

Tuesday: stand in line at Target, weed garden

Wednesday: put dishes away from Sunday, try to finish workout video

Thursday:  the weeds have multiplied overnight

Friday: start laundry, donate workout video to local thrift store

what about your calendar makes you laugh the most?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

this i believe, part deux

i believe in neighbors.

like Mr. Rogers sang, "won't you be my neighbor?" ringing true demographically in a hospitality-starved world.

i live where i am fortunate enough to enjoy aspects of community that, did i not experience them, i might not believe still existed...

canning applesauce and carving pumpkins in the fall, Christmas caroling and light-lined driveways in the winter, tea and puzzles in spring until it is warm enough for endless summer meals and berry pies in the lavender field under party lights, laughing at outdoor movies until our sides ache.

just the other day i came home to freshly baked bread on my doorstep, celebrating another successful school year and start to vacation.

art lives on my fridge from coloring with the kids during our latest potluck.  "would you like to keep it!?" grinned the eldest daughter. "would i !? best art ever!" we think nothing of sharing books, eggs, or anything extra we have.

we help each other when water pumps wear out or we need a truck to transport furniture. we feed the rabbits, goats, or chickens when someone is out of town.  or we enjoy chatting, unhurried at the mailboxes, picking wild sweet peas. sometimes we stay up too late talking, because we know home is just a walk away.

i love my neighbors and can feel the love they have for me in return.

this i believe.

this i believe

inspired by reading "this i believe: the personal philosophies of remarkable men and women" (edited by jay allison and dan gediman in association with NPR) i decided, as the collection encourages, to write my own.

i believe in dirt. more properly termed soil, for all its aliveness from which life is sustained.

i remember being four years old, working alongside my parents in the greenhouse. my job was watering the disc-like seed starters until they swelled to three inches.  then i could put the seed in the opening at the top and push it down with my forefinger, my expression alternating between concentration and delight.

i'm named after my great grandma nettie who raised chickens and gorgeous flower gardens.  my favorite photo is of her standing beneath her ten foot sunflowers, squint-smiling into the sun.

another relative, who spent his life farming in Alberta, told me over coffee around the camp fire about his practice of letting the land rest, the importance of cover crops, and putting nitrogen back into the soil.

i've tasted the difference between an artificially ripened tomato (akin on the palate to what pale pink packing foam might taste like) as compared with one that bursts on my tongue with all the sweetness of sunshine. and there is nothing like eating a carrot straight from the garden.

when pouring for guests in the tasting room, they tell me they can taste the difference in wines from various levels of volcanic soil and elevation. "wine," i say, "is from the dirt and dirt keeps us humble."

the name Adam in Hebrew, for example, means "from the earth", a reminder of our own mineral-miraculous composition and place in a landscape bigger than ourselves.

it's this primal connection to the soil that reminds me nature needs no improvement.  she will continue to sustain us if we care for her.

this i believe.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

and the pursuit of happiness

this is such a fun book!  being that i am at the "looking at pictures" stage of reading (aka: magazines and other mindlessness) having just 2 days of school left, it was relaxing to savor this stroll through history over a cup of tea.

illustrator maira kalman is one of my favorites, and her whimsical style and laugh out loud humor was an enjoyable way to learn more about our founding fathers.

Monday, June 4, 2018

the central park effect

this is such a fun, one-hour documentary about all the bird life in central park!  it tracks migratory patterns through the four seasons and highlights at least three birdwatchers from varied walks of life.

i've been to central park and still had no idea the vastness of the bird species.  it makes sense, though, from an aerial view, when they are looking for a place to rest and feed, that they would choose this green space in the heart of new york.

call me old fashioned...

why is it people seem to appreciate a stamped letter in the mail or a paper invitation to an event so much?  is perhaps what used to be the norm now the exception?  i started to wonder and then observe some social trends to decide what practices i wanted to keep and these are my top ten:

i want to...

1) say "absolutely", "right away", or "you've got it" when serving someone (this instead of "no problem" because that makes it sound like there was a problem to be solved instead of a person to be served)

2)  count back people's change, both bills and coins

3)  tip well (it used to mean To Insure Prompt service and now is a reward) and RSVP (from the french Repondez-vous S'il-Vous Plait) whether i am able to attend or not

4) drive 55 mph and enjoy the ride

5) use stamps to send real thank you cards in the mail, same with party invitations as much as possible

6)  wait in lines without checking my phone and make eye contact and conversation with the clerk, ask them "how's your day?" and listen to their response

7)  grow fruit and vegetables/immerse myself in the birds and wildlife around me

8) make bespoke things for people by hand, from baked goods to art

9)  ask open-ended questions such as "what can i get for you?" instead of "can i get you anything?"

10) play *board games

*i was reading a magazine this week and the irony i saw made me laugh:  on one page was an add for the latest technology and a few pages later was an article about tech-detox family spa vacations where their internet access is blocked for them so they can reconnect to each other and play board games.  this only for an average of $5, 673.

what are some habits or practices you would like to keep alive?