Archive for the ‘I have no life but this’ Category

In which I dress up like a barrista for Halloween

November 1, 2013

I’m reading some Thomas Merton these days and thinking maybe it will somehow rub off. Maybe I’ll become a nicer person – more at peace – less pissed off.

And there’s a sweet little old lady waiting for her ride in the lobby. So I say “Can I get you anything? Would you like a cup of coffee?” And she says she would – she’d like half a cup. Can I do that? So I say “I can make a full cup and pour half out!” And I say it with enthusiasm too, like I really am excited to do this for her. I say it as if I’ve been waiting all day for someone to ask me to do just this.

As I head back to the kitchen she says “And I like it weak.” And I’m all like “What the fuck?” What’s the point of weak coffee? Just drink tea then, or water. But then the ghost of Thomas Merton floats before me because after all it’s Halloween.

I look in the cupboard where someone has successfully been hoarding K-cups. I see dark bold, donut house, half caf, vanilla biscotti, chocolate donut. I pick the least offensive one, a mild roast, brew it up and take it to her with a little napkin and she says again how she likes it weak.

“Well, we have a Keurig,” I say.  She says “I hate those. I got rid of mine. That coffee is too strong.” I say “Well you might not like this then. ” She tastes it and says “Wow! That will put hair on your chest. The way my son makes it is he makes the coffee and adds hot water to it.” And instead of throwing the scalding coffee in her face, the ghost of Thomas Merton makes me say “Do you want me to do that? I can add hot water to it. ”   “Oh would you? Do you like coffee? I like coffee.” But of course really she doesn’t. She likes water mixed with a little coffee.

I take the coffee back to the kitchen, pour half of it out and add hot water. It still looks like black coffee but I know it tastes like water dredged up from the bottom of a river.  I take it back to her and she’s still being all tiny and sweet and I notice she can hardly even move because she’s so old. I smile and laugh a lot and say she’s lucky to have a son who knows how to make perfect coffee the way she likes it (God bless him).

A little while later she leaves. I go  pick up the cup and it’s still half full of coffee. And it was only half full to begin with because she specifically asked for only half a cup. She didn’t drink any of it. I’ll never know if it’s because the coffee was still too strong and not watery enough, or it it’s because her son came before she had a chance to drink it. And I guess it doesn’t really matter.


November 18, 2012


Where is the list of things I’m thankful for? The shelter, food, family, job, darling kitties. Check, check, check, check and check The butterflies. Moss on a post. Kind strangers. I am thankful  for many things yet overwhelmed by the burden of recalling them. I think the word is despondent.  I feel like an old work horse, not quite put out to pasture and not quite good enough to be of real value.

I’m standing, frail and battered.

Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Yet another title

July 14, 2012

Do you see what’s going on here? There’s a chair, and it’s in front of a green wall, and there’s a knitted blanket casually draped over the back of the chair. Do you know why? Because I made it. I like to make things, then stand back and look at them and say “Hey, I made that.”

Point of contention: it’s not really a blanket, it’s a shawl -for my church’s prayer shawl ministry. But it could just as easily be called a prayer blanket ministry.  Or a prayer shlanket ministry. In any event I made something that actually serves a purpose and has zero calories. It has borders of YO, K2tog. Heh, heh. That’s knitter talk.

Now that I’ve knitted a few things, can I add fiber artist to my resume?

3 Part tale

September 30, 2011

Part I

In a moment of inertia I went on one of those dating websites – the one that has a 40 page questionnaire and costs a lot of money.  It’s free to complete the scientific profile and find out who your matches are. In the process you may learn something about yourself. I love to learn.

Part II

Apparently I am matchable with only 3 people in the entire state.

Match#1 in response to things he can’t live without:

  • sex
  • honesty
  • an attractive women
  • a great relationship with a women
  • sex
You know what I can’t live without? A great relationship with a men who can write. And grilled cheese sandwiches.
Match #2 was a Promise Keeper and mentioned that he only tolerates cats. That’s not very promising to my way of thinking.
Match #3 was going on and on about his daughter, so he should probably just date her.
Other matches are scattered about the country having colonoscopies and collecting social security. According to the scientific method I am very compatible with the 64-68 year olds, even though I am only 51.
Part III
The results of my questionnaire are called my profile. My profile says I’m a cross between Eleanor Dashwood and a Vulcan.
  • Fair
  • Considered
  • Collaborative
  • Calm
  • Sensible
  • Diplomatic
  • Contemplative
  • Indulgent
  • Rational
  • Thoughtful
  • Restrained
  • Reserved
  • Careful
Your social encounters balance out the side of you that likes your own company and having enough time to think and reflect.
But you do find that life has a better rhythm for you when there is enough quiet time to deliberate on your own so that you
are refreshed for your next encounter with friends and colleagues.

You are accepting of others, flexible in your own intellectual commitments, well-informed in areas that matter to you, and comfortably aware of who you are and where you stand. This combination will make you a desirable companion on the intellectual journey for many, many people.

Wait there’s more…

You say what you believe, live by what you say, and are as consistent as the sunrise. This clarity will make you easy to be with for those who are comfortable with an orderly, somewhat predictable world.

There are a lot more adjectives but by this point I get it. I learned that I am a perfect match for my cats. They like predictability. They like emotional stability and share my respect for personal boundaries. We are on a jurnee. We will continue to date – my cats and I. And one day they might even pick up the check.

Protagonist realizes she can’t go back home

September 13, 2011

This is the creek across the street from my childhood home in the tiny hamlet of  South Otselic, New York. I like to call it a tiny hamlet. It sounds enchanting. In truth it was/is a podunk, cow town. “A Godforsaken hellhole,” as my dad liked to call it, especially after he’d shoveled snow for the fourth time in as many hours.

Hellhole, podunk and cow town are relative terms though. It had its own unique charms, situated in a valley surrounded by rolling hills and farmland. And how many people get to grow up with a creek practically in their front yard?

I saw a beaver once, right under that little footbridge. He slapped his tail on the water, proclaiming that mischief and nonsense would not be tolerated.

 In the summer the creek would about dry up. A-yuh. (That’s valley talk for yes indeed.) We could walk up the gorge through the creek bed, hopping from rock to rock, being careful to avoid the slippery, mossy rocks. Sometimes we’d see a glimmer of a trout, hiding out in a hidden, deep pool. 

Old Esther Brown lived in the house that would have been on the right in this photo. Some time after she died, the property was sold and the new owners tore her old plank house down. Now it’s a smallish park. Or just a lawn if you’re not living in JaneAustenWorld.

Esther once dumped an almost full bag of toasted coconut marshmallows into my Halloween sack, saying “There. Now I can turn off my porch light and go to bed.” I imagine she usually turned in around 8, but I could be wrong. I think I was dressed as a squaw that year, complete with a papoose doll tied to my back. Best trick or treat score ever, next to the home baked cookes made by another sweet elderly neighbor named Adelaide.   

Esther had a thing for Lawrence Welk. The story goes, she was telling my dad what a wonderful, brilliant man old Lawrence was. My dad said something disrespectful like “Lawrence Welk? He’s terrible!” This was not a comment to be taken lightly by his Number One Fan, Esther. She is said to have replied, “Well if you don’t like Lawrence Welk there must be something wrong with your head!” I like to think that she turned swiftly on her heel and maybe slammed the screen door, but that’s probably just the storyteller in me.

It’s funny how you can live in a place and maybe not really respect or honor it, and then one day 30 years later you can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe it’s just because your daughter sent you a bag of coconut marshmallows, but maybe it’s also because the town is a part of you and if you won the lottery you would seriously consider moving back there to live a quiet life of berry picking and pies. Everything that was so ordinary and dull and annoying when you were an 18 year old suddenly seems like it must have been perfect and heartbreakingly beautiful.

I suppose  I’ve got a bit of a Thomas Wolfey thing going on. A longing for the innocence of childhood and  simpler times. But of course, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time — back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

But you can sit and ponder, and relive it…the cool breeze coming down the gorge in the evening, Patches – the world’s smartest beagle performing leaps of faith through the hula hoop, woodsmoke, the stained glass window, the creaky barn floor and  climbing the steps to the top of the garden where a cornfield stretches for acres.

A-yuh. I think I’ve made myself cry.

All the famous people

July 25, 2011

I passed Gloria Swanson on Tamiami Trail. She had on a white turban and sunglasses and she was driving a lime green Vibe.

And she was driving really slowly – probably because she’s been dead for almost 30 years.

It’s not every day you see a dead actress driving down the road. I feel special.

The freak people

January 20, 2011

The air is soft and warm and full of hope. I have to put my hand over my chest, pledge of allegiance-style, to keep my heart from floating away.

I could really live out some fantasies on a day like this…horseback riding on the beach with Viggo Mortensen, a walk around Pemberly with Mr. Darcy, eating a whole strawberry-rhubarb pie…

Instead, after my errand at the bank, I decide to pop in to Winn Dixie, formerly known by the slogan “The Beef People,”now known by the slogan “Fresh Checked Every Day.”

There is something super creepy about the North Port Winn Dixie. It doesn’t look “Fresh Checked Every Day.” Quite frankly it’s a seedy freak magnet, but being the adrenalin junkie I am, I go in.

I pick up some ccf – canned catfood – for those who don’t know the lingo. Then I wander on down the Cookie Aisle – just to see. And that’s when the angels begin singing o’er the plains, and the mountains echo their joyous strains.

The Elusive Archway Dutch Cocoa Cookie with brownie-like flavor, chewy texture and glistening sugar crystals.

I grab two (2) packages. And then, after wiping a bead of saliva from the corner of my mouth, I put one back. Greed isn’t becoming. Mr. I-Am- Looking-For-My-Archway-Dutch-Cocoa-Soulmate-In-The-Creepiest-Store-In-Town could be watching. I don’t want to turn him off.

 And besides, I’ve been thinking about living life a little more on the edge. Regular trips to Winn Dixie could be the first step.