Wednesday, April 16, 2014

miss it

I entered the Wee Quilt Challenge at McDougall Cottage again this year. It has become a spring tradition. A tradition is sort of like a habit isn't it? It's something you just DO because it is what you do.
This entering is such an anticipated part of my year now.
Each fall as the new theme is issued, I put it on the back burner of my mind and let it simmer.
As Christmas gives way to New Years, and January picks up steam, so do I.
I sketch and ponder.
I muse.
January is a happy blurr, a creative buzz.
In February I count the days and pick up my scissors.
I get serious.
I snip and stitch.
I mutter and pace.
I snip some more.
I stitch and bind and sigh happily.
Off goes my Wee quilt.
It's like sending a child to camp.
I know it will have a wonderful time, but I will miss it.

rise and shine

There's nothing like a sunny day to make me see the error of my ways. When the golden spring sunlight pierces the venetian blinds like a flashlight on high beam all is revealed.
All that is dusty.
Not tender little dust bunnies either.
Great jack rabbits of lint and dirt and crumb.
And the windows that have seemed such wide expanses of view on the winter world are suddenly something else entirely. Something that makes me squint and grimace.
It's not that Spring is a harsh taskmaster....Spring Clean or else.....
No, she's a long anticipated guest. She's all things fresh. The morning of a new year.
Rise and shine.
Rise and shine the windows.
And sweep out the dust.
Sweep out the tired, cloistered thoughts, the dim and the dark.
Good morning Spring.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

press one

I have a very old Air Miles card. I usually forget I have it when I arrive at last at the check out counter. I suppose that is why, twenty years on, I only have enough points to taxi down the runway.
Today I decided to seize the moment. I had shopped at Safeway and received a little card along with my receipt. One of those little cards with a magic number inside. I would likely have tossed it but my eye focused on a picture on the back.
A Pfaff sewing machine.
It was available for Air Miles Points.
Lots and lots of points.

The possibility to win 10,000 points was dangled like a carrot in front of my eyes.
I looked at the Pfaff and headed for the computer.
I clicked and clicked and clicked.
I typed in numbers and clicked again.
As is sometimes the case, a brick wall was encountered.
I didn't have a PIN for my Air Miles card.
I guess my card predates PINS.
I tried to create a new PIN, or update my PIN or change my PIN or find my forgotten PIN, but to no avail.
I clicked on HELP and repeated the previous steps.
At last I picked up the phone and called the 1-800 number.
Ah, help at last.
A recorded voice instructed me to key in my phone number, my date of birth, my card number.... but alas, my phone number has changed in twenty years and the system rejected me.
I tried again and selected the option for a call back.
Perhaps it would be a real person.
The phone rang a few minutes later but it was the same Robot Lady.
I tried pressing zero repeatedly, hopeful that a real person would recognize the pattern of desperation, not unlike a prisoner tapping on a wall.
It worked.
I was instructed to key in my phone number and date of birth and card number again. Changes were duly made.
I was instructed to enter my new PIN and follow the instructions.
There was a pause.
A recorded voice informed me crisply, that they were experiencing a higher volume of calls than usual and to call back.
The line went dead.
Amazingly, half an hour later, the phone rang, and it was Air Miles. The Robot Lady.
It was a Customer Satisfaction Survey.
I was instructed to press one which I did with a dizzying sense of disbelief.
The line went dead.
The phone rang again and I listened in disbelief to the same voice repeat the same message.
Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Press one.

I am not feeling satisfied.
I just thought I would tell someone that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

all around me

The sky is wide and blankly gray this morning. At first glance the street seems colorless as well, but two frothy pink cherry trees stand on either side like sentries.
The blue recycle boxes are waiting, a long wavering row, ever smaller as far as eye can see.
It has started to drizzle.
A chill mist is in the air.
Have you ever noticed that the weather outside can so closely mirror your inner climate.
I woke with a very gray soul this morning.
Blankly gray.
Almost colorless.
I realize that a sense of purpose is so essential to my well being.
Meaningful work.
It's all around me though, and likely as far as eye can see.

royal decree

I nearly got to be a queen.
I heard the royal decree with my own ears.
Queen Grandma.
But my granddaughter heard it too.
It seems she had a prior claim to the throne.
I was diplomatically transformed into a Very Tall Princess.
Peace reigned.
The new Queen seemed to glow with happiness as she gazed down at the knight kneeling in abject servitude at her feet.
He looked so earnest and loyal.
A gracious Queen and her courageous Knight;
May peace mark your joyous reign.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

test of time

This is a picture taken in the 40's of my mother. Look at that hair. She looks like a Breck girl. Remember those pictures on the back of magazines; the Breck girl all misty and golden with wonderful wavy tresses?
I'm not sure why photos of that time had people gazing off into a corner. What about eye contact. Oh well. It really is a pretty picture of her even if she's staring at the crown molding.
I didn't know she had a locket.
At least, I didn't know she had a locket until I found it.
And it was in the strangest place.
The fall my mother moved in with us was turbulent. I packed up her suite in fits and starts in the early morning or late in the evenings after work. I packed and sorted and packed and sorted. I always knew it was time to stop each night when I started to say things like, "Why!??" or "You've GOT to be kidding!"
My parents kept things.
Lots of things.
I could write an entire blog on that but suffice it to say, condensing another person's possessions, especially a parent's, is harrowing work.
Late one evening, I reached the back of a cupboard and lifted down a Blue Mountain goose vase. It was filled with the ancient remnants of a dried flower bouquet. I pulled them wearily out into the black bag at my feet and shook the vase. It rattled with seed pods and bits of bark.
I suppose I could have merely emptied it over the trash and been none the wiser, but something stopped me and I dumped the contents into my hand.
There, dully glowing, was a very old, dented locket.
I stared at it.
I lifted it up dazedly and opened it.
My young father smiled out at me.
I burst into tears.
I quit packing for the night.

It seems to me now, with the safe distance of time, such a metaphor. That locket represents a young woman I never knew. A girl in love with a soldier. She kept him next to her heart. The locket served its purpose and the realities of life, of motherhood and aging followed one after the other. It takes some sorting and editing and even discarding sometimes to see what really matters. To see what really is of lasting value. Their love stood the test of time.
It still does.

truer than true

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
Dr. Suess
I love Dr. Suess for saying that.
It is such a good reminder.
Especially in this very amazing and creative world where we may be tempted to wonder if our contribution is valuable.
There will always be room for one more book and one more painting and one more quilt and one more song.
And it is the very act of creating that has value.
Great value.
And joy.
Angst too mind you. That may seem like bad news, but it isn't really. It's good to strive and struggle and push through and try again.
It may actually be the very best part of creating.
The trying and trying and trying again.
Keep at it.
Keep doing something creative.
The joy is waiting in the wings.