Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am thankful my father continues to complain heatedly and often about the leaves in the gutters, the creeping charley in his lawn,  the last restaurant meal he ate.  A complaining German is a healthy German.

I am thankful my two sons are in love.

I am thankful my extrovert husband has finally stopped telling people at parties, "Dawn had a similar experience.  Dawn, would you like to tell us?" And he only grumbles a little when I write about him on this blog.

I am thankful my bedroom window faces east. I hang crystals in that window and wake to rainbow hues.

I am thankful for my daughter and her logic and clear headedness. She should be president.

I am thankful for my family full of hermits who understand our get-togethers need not be frequent.

I am grateful for my mother's handwritten instructions on my stuffing recipe card.

I am grateful for my few good friends who don't mind much when I don't call them back right away.

I am grateful for the ancient oak tree outside my window.  I know Native Americans camped beneath its boughs.

I am thankful for my swimming routine. It keeps me sane and allows me to be less impatient with other human beings.

And my grandchildren. Lord, they're all I need. Let the rest of the world withdraw, I am content.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

39 in a 25 zone

I hear the husband one level down in our townhouse talking to the phone. "Here," he says, "I'll let you talk to her."

Probably the worst thing he could utter. Usually he doesn't do this. Usually he will tell them I am unavailable, take a message and I don't have to get involved. He knows I hate phones and the people who use them. He knows this but he's still mad at me from the night before.

It started out innocently as do all marital squabbles.  I was sitting next to the five-year-old granddaughter in the back of my 2003 Chevy Impala because we were going to play Barbies while Grandpa drove us to the pizza place. Next thing I know blinding red and blue lights are pulsating through the rear window and the big guy is frantically digging through the glove compartment for the insurance card. The flashlight is shining directly on his face as Officer Jill explains she clocked him doing 39 in a 25 zone. I am trying to calm the child down, she is convinced this police person is going to shoot Grandpa, the woman does sound fierce and her gun is so big.

Back on the road Dave is hanging his head and moaning, "all my fault, all my fault, I wasn't paying attention," and after the twenty-fifth recital of this information I say this. "Yes, you seem to have a problem paying attention which is how the motor oil ended up in my radiator instead of the anti-freeze last week."  Well, you would think I just okayed the terrorist bombing of every preschool in our city, the tirade that came from his lips. I, of course, had to keep up with the pace and soon the child is laughing and yelling, "stop saying those dirty words, Grandma!" "Well, he's an asshole," I say.

I am always amazed when my kids allow me to watch their kids unsupervised.  There have been a few episodes over the years, not many but enough to make my children wary. It's probably best I not be allowed around anyone of youth or impressionability when I'm angry or driving, often the same situation. "Pick a lane, you you person you!" is so ineffective.

So this is how I find myself talking on the phone to Velma, the ancient secretary of our local hiking club. Two years ago I went on one of their hikes to please my father and now she calls me every few months to encourage me to rejoin the fold, come to our chili dinner, the potluck at the park, the duck dinner at the Chinese place.
 I probably just need to be nicer to my husband but that sounds like so much work.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

two hours

Abbie is in my inbox again and surprise, she wants me to work her weekend, four whole days so she can attend a wedding that suddenly sprung up. Abbie gets invited to a lot of weddings "suddenly" and she always needs four days off.  What kind of weddings are you attending, Indian perhaps? Don't they have three days of feasting and ceremonies with henna tattooing and lamb sacrifices? I can barely get through two hours of an American wedding reception and I'm looking longingly at the door almost panting with my desire to depart.

My own family is filled with misfits and we get together three holidays a year, my one sociable brother might throw in an extra picnic, drat, otherwise we stay at home and do social media like all the other nice introverts. We maintain this Spartan schedule just so we can tell people at work that yes, we had somewhere to go on Thanksgiving, somebody cooked us a turkey and we brought orange jello. My husband's family rents gymnasiums for holidays as they have grown huge and out-of-control.  I would think with their numbers being so large and daunting this would be a signal to them to cut back, have smaller more intimate gatherings but no one listens to me. I'm not even sure they like me, eh.

My husband knows two hours is my limit.

 Fifteen minutes to scope out the place and find where to put the gift card and where the john is, look for a table on the outskirts near an exit, somewhere with inadequate lighting.  Thirty minutes playing with the mints and cashews, folding and refolding the napkin, people find us, we beg off  joining them at their tables, husband complies, he knows.
 Twenty minutes standing in the buffet line, my back towards the tables of guests, taking a particular interest in the green bean casserole and how the salad dressings are lined up, look at those butter squares, staring up at the ceiling, waiting for the fat chick to stop spooning gravy on everything, I need to sit down, I'm on display.
Fifteen minutes eating, mouth full, don't need to speak.
Thank god, someone has a microphone, all heads swivel towards the front, there are toasts, a  DJ's attempts at jokes, garters and drunken groomsmen, fifty minutes pass, I'm sitting in the dark, occasionally applauding, I can do this.

I'm sweating, time to go. But he needs to say good-by to people, why? If you're not there, they'll know you're gone. I'll be out in the car and the night air hits me like an old friend.