Archive for the ‘joyous’ Category


June 2, 2013


…busy feathering my nest and being Springy.

In preparation for breaking up with the bedroom carpeting I weeded out a bunch of stuff and made multiple trips to the library, Humane Society Thrift Store and Goodwill. I just couldn’t work up the energy to have a garage sale. It’s so much work and so much easier to donate stuff.

Although I loved my cheery yellow bedroom I wanted a change. This time around  I painted my bedroom a lovely soft greenish-greyish-blue (Valspar Belle Grove Valley Fog). It was nice not to have to coordinate the wall color with the now faded blue carpeting.

Around this same time my daughter was moving into her first apartment – or at least the first one she is renting alone, without itinerant, filthy roommates. I planned a day off  for an Ikea Adventure which quickly turned into 2 days off because how can you buy all of Ikea in 1 day? And who cares about work? Not me.

Day 1 of the install, the crew of 2 arrived, the cats bolted,  and furniture was piling up  in my bathroom before I’d had a chance to gather what I’d need for the Great Ikea Adventure. I grabbed a couple of tshirts, and my toothbrush and took off for Winter Park. I admired the apartment then we snacked on chocolate croissants and coffee.

Ikea! I know everyone else has been shopping at Ikea and eating the meatballs for like 15 years, but what can I say? I live in that part of Florida with those kinds of people – the ones who shop at Beall’s Outlet and Rugs As Art. There are only 3 Ikeas in all of Florida, which is part of the allure.

I actually got a scratchy throat from oohing and aahing over everything. I know it’s geared toward young people who don’t have a lot of money. Well I fit that description except for the young part.  I’ve always liked doing things like shoving my furniture around and painting rooms and hanging things on the walls and just attempting to make life prettier.

We bought a bunch of stuff and then bought some more. All the stuff I should have had when I was a newlywed in my first apartment but didn’t because I had the hand me down gold fake french provincial chairs and the refrigerator with rooster decals on the front. What? Yeah. That’s another story.

We carried boxes – the ones that would fit in my car that is. Some things had to be delivered. We assembled chairs and a table and a dresser.We MacGyvered something that wasn’t quite right. We hammered and allen wrenched.  We made nouns into verbs. I bought a few things for my home too, and woke up early the next day to assemble the POÄNG chair I’m sitting in right now.

In other news, my cats have intentionally been pooping on the new floors. Guess they aren’t impressed with my eye for design.


Velvet and butlers and clotted cream oh my

January 15, 2012

Homemade apricot scones! Quite delicious and the perfect treat for Downton Abbey viewing. Mrs. Patmore might even approve – though I did use a recipe and an electric stove

Yes, I am one of the millions consumed with every detail of Downton Abbey. I re-watched Season 1 this past week. I re-watched Episode 1 of Season 2 at least 3 times.

Everything about this show is perfection. The music, the costumes, the cast, the writing, the lace & velvet, the locations, the accents, the relationships…the costumes. I can’t think of a single thing that could be improved upon.

I long for a red velvet dress like Lady Cora’s. Is it wrong to want to play dress up?


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.

The time I fell in love

October 11, 2010

After a long, hot, tedious summer we met. I was  tentative at first. I’ve been fooled before and  I have some trust issues.  Somehow this felt right. We made plans to have lunch that day. And every day after that we were together at the park for lunch, watching the ducks, or sitting together on a bench in the sun. While I read stories about love, he caressed the back of my neck with kisses as soft as a whisper.

We never had enough time together during the week. Cooped up in an office every day, I began to live for the time we spent together – the lunches, the rides to and from work and the few hours at the end of the day.

The weekends were ours. I woke  early and drank my coffee outside on the patio with him. We took walks and mowed the lawn. We planted seeds and watched the birds and counted the butterflies.

I know it can’t be this way forever. He’ll change. And he’ll have moods. There may be clouds and storms.

I  opened the door, and there he was offering himself to me, to love.


Rewards program

August 10, 2010

In the middle of a mundane after dinner chore, I realize the sky is blooming. I grab the camera and run outside in my bare feet.

I feel a light headed and maybe just a bit special.

Yes, Florida has big, big bugs and gators, and humidity so thick it can be sliced, toasted and spread with jam.
But it also has skies that triumph.

Skies that humbly say, “Um excuse me miss. Stop obsessing over poverty, disease and injustice for a moment and look what I can do. I’m trying to help you here.”

I am aglow.

Pending further details

June 8, 2010
Hi Mary,
Jason confirmed you as a friend on Facebook.
Jason Lytle Jason Lytle
The Facebook Team

The guy that bagged my groceries

May 12, 2010

I stopped at the store after work to pick up a  few things I could no longer live without…soup, bread, cookies, cat food, bananas, lettuce, stamps. Just enough to make a trip through the express lane worthwhile. This guy comes up behind me, says “hi” to the cashier really enthusiastically like he knows her, puts his stuff  up on the counter, walks around me and asks me if I want paper or plastic.


So he gets out a paper bag and another, (double bagging!), and says he likes paper better, it’s easier to carry.  “I actually do too,” I say, “But whenever I ask for paper it seems to cause a problem. He says “Oh yeah it does. They don’t like to give paper. And they’re probably upset right now that I double bagged.”

He continues to put all my stuff in the bag all nice and neat. He even puts my frozen food item and lettuce  in a separate plastic bag. It’s possibly the most nicely packed bag of groceries I’ve ever had.

“Look at me. Acting like I know what I’m doing…like I work here,” he says.

“You mean you don’t?”

“No, I just figured I’d bag the groceries. I wasn’t doing anything else.”

I shoot the cashier a wtf look. She says “Yeah, I wasn’t  sure what he was doing. Didn’t you say plastic?”  She’s kind of old and dopey.

“I did, but paper’s better actually…but I thought he just got off work  and figured he’d bag one last bag. I thought you knew him.”

“Oh I know him because he comes in here. But he doesn’t work here,” she says. Again. dopey.

“I really like paper,” he says again. (It’s not like he’s the Rainman. He just prefers paper.) “Look how nice that is. You can actually carry it.”

“It is nice. Thank you for bagging.”

“It’s just that maybe if you do some little thing for someone, something nice will come back to you – if you believe that stuff. Which I don’t.”

I think I just fell in love with a stranger. I’ve been home sick for 2 days and my voice is all screwed up and I’m coughing and sniffing and this guy just bagged my groceries with care and affection.

I don’t remember what he even looked like but I’m pretty sure he was an artist or a writer or maybe a cowboy.

I miss that guy.

Grocery store guy – come back. We’ll get coffee and talk about our favorite books. We’ll eat Lucky Charms and then I’ll wash the dishes while you dry. We’ll listen to the Sophtware Slump. We’ll read newspaper articles to each other. We’ll count the stars.

Come back grocery store guy.

I am woman hear me swear

January 16, 2010

There is nothing quite like fixing a pocket door and drinking a gin and tonic afterwards.

Let me rephrase that.

Today I fixed the pocket door between my bedroom and bathroom and I rule the world.

For some time now this door has been getting more and more crooked and more and more difficult to open and close. The top of the door was flush with the jamb but there was about an inch gap at the bottom.

An inch is just enough for prying kitty eyes to peer in and enough for a quasi-perfectionist to freak out over.

So a few weeks ago I stood up on a chair and tried to figure out how to adjust the door. There was a plastic thing that rolled in the track and a screw and nut that were impossible to get at and some other wing-thing that stuck out. It didn’t seem possible to get any type of tool in there so I did what any normal homeowner would do.  I ignored it for a few more weeks.

After a discussion about screwed up pocket doors at work the other day however, I got all Olympian about it. ” I can do this. I can win the gold in this pocket door event. Or at least medal.”

So today I dragged the chair over again and tried a series of flat wrenches on the nut to see if I could raise the door. And I made it worse. So I tried turning the nut the other way. It was difficult because there’s no room to maneuver the wrench. Eventually however, I noticed the door hanging straighter and when I measured the bottom gap it was only 1/4 inch.

That’s when I made the announcement, “I’ve fixed the door. Come see it.”

My son came in, looked at the door, which was now almost flush, tried to open it, and it promptly fell off the track.

“Oh shit. Sorry, ” he said, and lumbered away.

“Oh!” I exclaimed, while thinking, “Well fuck me. ”

Back up on the chair, I try to shove the door in the track. “I’m fucked, ” I say. There’s no way to get this plastic thing back in the track. But then a miracle. The door is back in the track. Lovely.  I give it a few pushes and pulls for good luck, and it falls off again.

I examine the plastic piece. Is it broken? I shove it in the track again. Pull. Push. It falls off again.  Times 3.

I draw a diagram of the parts and drive down to Babe’s hardware. In my desperation I totally abandon my “never ask for help or directions” rule.

“My pocket door was crooked. I tried to fix it. Now it keeps falling off the track. This is what the parts look like,” I tell the salesman.

We look at closet door parts. There is a discussion about the wheels in the track, whereupon I realize that I never saw  wheels but there was some unidentified piece at the end of the track. The screw and the plastic thing are supposed to be connected to the wheels, and they aren’t.

$15.50 later I head home with  a closet door 2 wheel hanger and an acme adjustable wrench.

Now I mean business so I get out the step ladder. I peer back up at the track, trying to figure out how I’m going to replace parts I can’t get to. There is a bracket that screws to the top of the door and no way to unscrew that bracket, and the wheels and screw and the plastic thing that fits in the track. And I think and I think and I play with the parts until I realize it comes apart. I can use the old bracket and slide the new wheels with the plastic thing onto the track and flick the wing thing and it will all lock in place.

In my excitement I install the new wheels and plastic thing easily before I realize the old wheels are still up in the track.

Old wheels off, new wheels on, trying to line the bolt up with the bracket and it’s not going well and the wheels keep moving.  I’m sweating. There’s grease all over my hands and greasy fingerprints all over the door and trim.

Son of a bitch! Why is this so difficult? This is a 2 person job and I am the only one at home.  The ladder’s not helping,  so I get back on the chair. As I’m pushing the chair slides on the tile floor and I almost take a tumble. My arm hurts and this is stupid, there’s got to be a way to do this and I’m bracing the nut with the wrench and pushing up on the door and trying to slide it in the bracket and shut this wing thing and then… oh glory. It worked. It fucking worked.

The door rolls forward and backward easily. The door smiles. I smile. I jump up and down a couple of times. I say a couple of swear words like “badass” and “you’re damn right. I fucking rule. ”

I call my mom and dad to tell them how badass I am.

I slide the door a couple more times just because I can.

I rule. I totally fucking rule.

I will remember this day for the rest of my life. I’m sure of it. Women will say things like, “I had to wait until my husband changed the lightbulb,” or “I couldn’t get the garage door up because the power was out and it’s too heavy so I had to wait for my husband to come home ” and I will be all like “Yeah, well … I fixed my crooked and broken pocket door.  I  fixed it and no one helped me. And I rule. So…”

And then I will show them my silver medal.

The part where the Dear Hunter saves me from starvation only to leave me hungry

October 22, 2009
mary & casey

I should have practiced looking casual & hip

I caught the Dear Hunter and a couple of other bands that I don’t care about at the State Theater last night with my beautiful daughter.

Midnight Masses from Brooklyn opened.  My thoughts were – I have no idea what they’re singing and they’re all about the drums. Besides the drummer doing his thing, the lead vocalist and the girl-pretending-to-be-a-guitar-player took turns banging on a drum. My guess is that they are fans of  taiko drumming.

Next my beloved Dear Hunter played. Their short set was akin to giving a starving person a piece of Godiva chocolate – delicious and mouth-watering but in the end you’re  left with gnawing hunger pangs. These guys are not only creative, technically proficient musicians but also gracious and humble. There were  so many more songs I wanted to hear live – and now I’m left with Dear Hunter pangs and only my ipod to satisfy me.

Fall of Troy screamed my soul to splinters.  Kids thrashed wildly around, bouncing off each other as the singer urged everyone to have fun. I fought the urge to join them. Kidding.

Thursday was the headlining band and they were head-throbbingly loud. My head throbbed through 2 songs until I was beckoned by gorgeous daughter to merch, where I met Casey and Josh, who seemed sincerely touched that their music touches me.

she wakes

September 30, 2009

She wakes in the middle of the night, delighted that her toes feel a tiny bit cold. Slivers of moonlight come through the window and rest on the bed. She arranges herself so that the moonlight falls on her face.

She dreams of spiders. Big spiders with legs like yellow wax beans. In her dreams she kills them easily.

She wakes and listens to the radio. She is tickled to see that her hair looks sassy. She listens to the Dear Hunter and eats her cereal and wonders what it would be like to be the true love of someone whose music leaves you speechless and floating near the ceiling.

She drives to work with the window down and waits eagerly for her chance to escape to the park at lunch.

It’s September but it’s the first day of Spring for one cooped up too long. There are ambient sounds and scents. It reminds her of nothing and a thousand little things. Emerald Lake, cornfields, stacking wood, pushing the stroller, armloads of books, Mendon Ponds, deer,  the Heart, gravelly roads, sweatshirts, miniature golf, beer, grilled mushrooms, rooftops.

She wakes.