October 31, 2008
I found a wig like my hair used to be! It was a black elongated pixie with blonde bangs. Of course, mine was shaved at my neck and blonde back there, too. But, close enough! Well, if only you have an elephant sized head. Ok, exaggeration, but I do have a pea-sized head, so the wig didn’t work so well. My sister-in-law tried to doctor it for me by cutting the bangs so they wouldn’t poke me in the eyes – true to punk form, however, also extremely uncomfortable. Not sure how I survived the 80’s with my eyes in tact. Wait, could it be that maybe that's why I need bifocals, now? Anyway...
I ended up using my tiny noggin and went shopping for a child size wig. After all, the kid size ball caps are perfect for me. I put on one of Jeff’s hats once: the sides came down over my ears, and the bill rested on my nose. Somehow, though, even the child’s size wig was a bit loose. I read that your nose and ears never stop growing, so I now theorize that as I age my head must be shrinking, along with my brain.
A discussion about head size with my scissor wielding sister-in-law reminded me that I had a few small hats stashed away. I ended up choosing the denim, Punky Brewster style one – complete with denim flower on the front. Jammed over the wig, it made a nice fit and a real retro statement, too.
For effect, I added lace gloves with fingers cut off, over which I put three silver rings on each hand. The rings included my old set of the blue eye of god, two onyx rings, and some engraved bands that I used to wear every day. I also put on my Metallica 15 year anniversary t-shirt, a nicely seasoned green and black plaid zip-front jacket, cuffed jeans, my old maroon biker boots, some old grey and black 80’s style eye and lip make-up, and one more item: a silver-tone fake lip ring. As an after thought, I added some plain white stickers. The top one said “ME". The bottom one said “1993".
So that’s how about ½ of my office saw my costume, until I started thinking with what was left of my receding brain. 1993 didn’t sound quite right. I ended up doing some research. Yes, I actually needed to do some research on myself. Brain shrinkage; I’m serious. I did the right thing. I pulled up on my big girl biker boot straps and sent out the following email disclaimer:
Subject: Costume Correction
Just to set the record straight... I had a time-warp denial issue going on earlier today. I checked my resume because I started thinking about the 1993 date, and realized by then I was in living Nashville wearing florals and cowboy hats....
Correction: This is me in 1988.
Somehow that's a little worse...20 years ago! Just be glad I did not wear the mini skirt and fishnet stockings, too.
October 29, 2008
Spittle, ME News, Vol. 1, Issue 35
That’s what I call that stuff that was pelting me tonight, floating merrily around announcing that winter is coming, like it or not. A mixture of sleet, whitish snowy sort of stuff, and mini-mini pin size hail droppings, it’s not even really sure what it is. And it always seems to show up around the same time as that daylight savings time thing, which turns most of us into hibernating mushroom-people, coming and going in the dark, prepared not to see our neighbors for a few months. Or at least not recognize them when we do, for all the down-filled bundling, hats and ear muffs, gloves, scarves, and turtlenecks. You know, maybe next spring I’ll start studying my neighbors’ noses, so I won’t be left completely in the dark this time next year.
Yeah, I plead ignorance: I never realized there was actually a rule for when DST would occur. As far as I could tell, it changed every year and always seemed to surprise me. Although, I was aware that the official begin and end time of the DST season was changed a few years ago.
“Fall Back‿, everyone. Fondly,
October 27, 2008
October 27, 2008
It’s breaking my heart to know
that yours are breaking, too.
It’s beyond me.
I can’t fix it.
I can only offer you
Though it’s not what I want
and it’s not what I want for
either of you.
Friendship should never
out rank marriage.
That includes mine, too.
I won’t take sides.
I won’t report your confidences.
I won’t betray your trust.
I will share your tears.
I already have.
Love isn’t in the falling;
it’s in the staying there….
or going back if you’ve
Or going further in, even if
you’re scared of the depth.
Or agreeing to equal ground,
then balancing each other out.
Or starting over, renewing vows,
with real forgiveness
for a real future, together.
October 22, 2008
Heat, ME News, Vol. 1, Issue 34
Well, I flicked on the heat for the first time this year. It was ceremoniously sad, but my toes appreciated it. So did my fingers. I am no longer making it home with enough time to sit out on the porch in what’s left of daylight. I realize I live in Michigan, and should expect this sort of thing, but I don’t actually have to like it, do I?
Here’s another seemingly disconnected newsletter. Kermit, albuterol inhalers, using palm pilots to order hospital food, rhubarb cream pie, and ecologically & environmentally sound cleaner ideas. I challenge you to figure out the connection!
May you be blessed with as much sunshine as possible this week!
October 21, 2008
Rhubarb Cream Pie: Wauseon, OH 2008
I accompanied a friend of mine who designs and makes jewelry on a trip to the Gem & Rock Show at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The Ohio show is a big one, and she’d asked me to go down with her to help with sales. Her store used to be next to our store, Michigan Hot Sauce Club, in Tecumseh. That made me a lucky gal – there was always plenty of jewelry available for gifts.
Truth is I was leaning toward going with her anyway, when she tried to sweeten the deal. “Tomorrow," she said is a near reverent tone, “there will be rhubarb pie." I loved Nannee Vincze, my husband’s maternal grandmother, but I had never met a pie I didn’t like until I was served a piece of her strawberry-rhubarb pie.
I can’t remember how it turned out this way, but my brother from Lansing and my husband pretty much polished off what was left of that pie, while I stood by scrunching up my nose in distaste.
With that in mind, I told my friend, “Sorry, that’s a deterrent not an enticement!" “What?" she choked. “You don’t like rhubarb cream pie?" Now, I’d never had rhubarb cream pie, but since it was rhubarb, and I only had one rhubarb experience to judge on, I imagined the worst.
At lunch time, out came the pies. At the lunch counter, my friend was first in line. She carefully and lovingly carried a significantly sized piece of pie through the crowd to back to our booth, and ceremoniously offered me a taste. I declined. She insisted. I declined. She insisted. For the sake of our friendship, I eventually gave in. Fork in one hand and a diet coke in the other, I was expecting the worse and I was prepared for it.
Wow whee! That pie wasn’t good. It was awesome. I sprang up, grabbed my purse and set off in search of my own piece. There were only 2 pieces left. I shifted from foot to foot, waiting in line, hoping no one else walked off with “my" piece. One was finally mine. I had to give my friend back the bite I took off hers. I tried to eat it slowly, savoring the thick sweet custard and the back-bite of the rhubarb. Cheeks soured-in, tongue tingling, I had found a new divine treat. I remember thinking, “It’s a very good thing that there aren’t any more pieces of that pie left."
Round about supper time, my friend headed off to the lunch counter (dinner counter, whatever) for a sandwich, and came back with a piece of... wait! Could that really be another piece of rhubarb cream pie? Yes, I practically knocked her over trying to get out of the booth. A neighboring dealer wanted to know what the fuss was about, so my friend let her try bite. Our new friend loudly declared the pie to be “like sex on a plate!"
Soon, there was a swarm – a line of dealers not so patiently waiting for pie. I was lucky enough to get another. About ½ way through that piece, my tongue started to smart, and I got that way-to-sweet kind of feeling in my tummy. Didn’t stop me, though. It was quite unusual for me, but I ate the whole thing.
Somehow we got to discussing how many pieces of pie my husband Jeff might have eaten if he had the pleasure of the “RCP experience." “Pieces?" I laughed, “Jeff’d been up there buying a whole pie to take home. And if he didn’t do it on his own, I would have made him do it."
PS.I found out that paticular pie comes from the Historic Sauder Village in OH. Never been there, but I’m thinking about going before the holidays.
October 15, 2008
Indian Summer, ME News, Vol. 1, Issue 33
It was nice to come home to a surprisingly warm Michigan Indian Summer. I was lovin’ Louisiana though, warm, breezy, a bit humid, but delightful. Nine days seemed like a long time to be away, until I found myself back in my real life. I could have used a few more days of ugly, sweaty, unfashionable clothing, and hard physical work. That stuff’s addictive. As is the joy of serving the LORD, watching scenarios unfold, and thanking HIM over and over for letting me be there.
Enjoy your week. Blessings.
October 08, 2008
From Slidell, ME News Vol 1, Issue 32
Ha! I’ve made some technological advances of which I am extremely proud. I connected to a WI-FI something or other to bring you this pretty tech-laden newsletter.
There are approximately 35 volunteers in our group/housing location this week, and about 150 volunteers in all in Slidell. It’s a slow time of year for volunteers: jobs, school, economics are all playing parts in that. Still, after three years of recovery work, the fact that 150 people showed up is pretty amazing. Within our group we have two teams: Get In The Car and STEM. (More about STEM next newsletter.) Within those two teams are representatives from California, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin.
Please check the website for updates: www.getinthecar.org
REDUX: Yup, midnight madness again… Here is the actual newsletter. Hope you found the info about Aldersgate interesting, too…
Good night, or good morning…
October 01, 2008
2 years, ME News, Vol. 1, Issue 31
Is it just me or do Wednesdays seem to come around faster now?
I’m off again at the end of the week for Louisiana. We’ll be returning to Slidell, where there is still work to be done. Can you believe it is three years after Hurricane Katrina and there are still roofs that need repair? Homes that need drywall? People who need help and healing?
Can you believe that tomorrow will be two years since Jeff has been gone? As many of you know, I am not happy about the situation. But I am peaceful now, in ways that cannot readily be described in a few words or a million words. I know how he suffered, I know how he loved, and I know that he did not want any of us to see him weaken. He wanted us all to have the brilliant memory of his laugh, his quick and frequent smile, and the knowledge that his heart was big enough to hold everyone, and still does.
PS. You might get a newsletter next week from Louisiana, but then again you might not…. Guess we’ll both be surprised to see how that turns out.
Moved, Used, Set Apart
Cemetery: talk about being used. I didn’t like it. It made me shake physically and shook me to the core. There have been times I’ve been “moved” to do something. Mostly, write letters. There was no letting the spirit move me this time. And that scared me.
Tuesday night, September 30.
Well, tomorrow is the 2 year mark of Jeff’s death. I know that Wednesday there will be visitors. I won’t run in to any of them, most likely. Leaving home at 5:30 am and not returning until 6:30 pm makes that unlikely. I wanted to be there even though I couldn’t. So, I left gifts for whomever to take away with them; cross etched stones. A token to put in a pocket or leave on a desk, to remind whomever visited that Jeff believed, and encourage their belief. I also left a laminated a note: Please Take One.
I wasn’t driving the commuter van; my trusted co-pilot was. It was a sunny day, bright and clear for September. Sunglasses required. I didn’t ask her to, and she didn’t get out of the vehicle, just waited patiently for me. I was glad she was there with me. I don’t know if I even registered my surroundings, at first.
Sometimes things like visiting the cemetery come across a bit unreal to me. It can be like that commercial for allergy medication, where a fog overlays my presence. Don’t know if it’s shutting down or short circuiting, but it happens a lot when I’m at Brookside. I stand at my husband’s grave, neatly tucked between his mother and his grandparents and it doesn’t seem like I’m really there in my body. It’s a weird elevation.
Maybe 10 seconds, maybe 15 seconds is all it took to place the stones. I didn’t linger. I didn’t see any reason to. As I straightened from the bent position of placing the stones, I noticed a car. Halfway down the aisle, on the opposite side; it was a bright red, brand new Challenger. “Pretty car,” I thought. I registered there was a man at a gravesite near the red car. It looked as if he was dead-heading flower arrangements. I gathered they were a few days old; there was no marker. “Recent,” I thought. “Sad.” I got back in the van and thought for a second that perhaps I should bring him a stone. “No.” I told myself. “No.”
In order to leave Brookside, we had to drive forward, past the red car, past the lone man. Around the tall pine in the center circle, I glanced again towards the new grave. Two pictures, two sets of flowers, two graves. Just as we reached Jeff’s row, I said “Stop.” My van driver stopped. No questions; not so much as a blink. What happened next wasn’t real to me, at least not while it was happening.
I moved. I was moved. I jumped out of the van, walked quickly to Jeff’s site, and grabbed a stone from the pile. Back around the van, I watched myself head towards the man. I was two-thirds of the way there, when he looked up and began walking toward me. I’m not comfortable saying I was out of my body, but I was watching the scene unfold with fascination, wondering what was going to happen.
We met. I put out my hand with the stone, and he put out his hand to receive it. I can’t tell you for sure what I said to him. I think it was something like, “This is an anniversary for me. I brought extra stones and thought you might need one.” I suddenly noticed a lot of details. The Metallica t-shirt, starch-ironed jeans, the wedding ring, the fact that the stone ended up face up on his palm without my planning it that way. I missed a lot of details, too. His hair might have been black or brown, maybe a mustache, maybe not. And that’s all there was to it. I turned and walked away quickly, and slowly; deliberately not looking back.
Back in the van, my driver looked at over at me and drove us out of there. It took me a good mile or so before I could speak.
“I never took my sunglasses off,” I said
“I don’t know why I did that,” I said.
“I didn’t do that,” I said.
And I knew it was true. I don’t normally accost strangers in cemeteries and hand them cross stones on the eve preceding the anniversary of my husband’s death. I don’t even talk to strangers. I barely talk to acquaintances. I’m never bold. I’d never been moved. Until now. The realization shook me, shaking me. Hands trembling, tears stalled, I played the vignette over and over in silence. What did he think? I was in a marked van! Did he see where I came from? Would he read Jeff’s marker? “Don’t doubt your self,” my friend said. “You’re regretting it, aren’t you? Don’t over analyze it. Just accept it.”
It stayed on my mind for the night, the next morning, throughout the day. After work on Wednesday, I had some time between my last drop off and the beginning of bible study. I went to the cemetery. Actually, that’s not quite true. I headed for the cemetery, slowed to turn in, saw the red car in exactly that same spot it had been in the previous day, and panicked. I did not make the turn. I did notice that the man was inside the car. Was he waiting? Couldn’t be. I drove past the entrance, took a right and drove around the block to calm myself. I sat at a stop sign and considered my options. I decided to go back.
I parked on the cross path from the red Challenger. I sat for a few seconds. I heard the engine start and dared to look left as the car passed me on its way out. I wasn’t relieved. I felt like I had missed something. In being scared, and reluctant, had I missed an opportunity? I waited a few minutes, checked to see how many stones were left, and headed off to bible study. I had to round the circle tree again, and as I drove over where the red car had been parked, I looked again at the graves there. A new stuffed animal had been added. I wanted to get out of the car and investigate the site; maybe take away names I could pray for.
But again, I was scared. Suppose he came back and I was on “his” graves? It would feel like trespassing. In some ways it already did. I wanted to believe he didn’t believe I was some sort of weird cemetery stalker. I had a right to be there, especially on that day. Why had he waited? Or, was it just coincidence, again? Or was it a removed acknowledgment of my gift? To see if I had been real? To prove he was real?
I went to bible study. I wanted to share my story, but again, I was afraid. Afraid it would seem like boasting for affirmation, afraid that I would seem over-eager to be blessed, afraid that I would be marked as being used by GOD. In the end, I couldn’t help myself. I was disturbed, and needed reassurance. I felt the chill when I finished speaking. I felt the heated flush of embarrassment begin. I felt foolish and fool hardy.
“You let the spirit move you.” Pastor said firmly, quietly, deeply, when I paused. “But I fought it, too.” I replied. I finished telling the story. That got me all around silence. That made me uncomfortable. I’m still not sure sharing was the best idea. I received a few hugs after class. For my anniversary or for my distraught thoughts? Don’t know, but I no longer feel like I am part of that group. And that is making me very sad.