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Today’s guest poet  –  Mary Oliver

Dogfish

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot,
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don’t you?

*

I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,

whoever I was, I was

alive
for a little while.

*

It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.

*

Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don’t we?

Slowly

*

the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.

*

You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – - -
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.

*

And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.

*

And probably,
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

Photo Title:  Behind The Blue Door

Cimarron, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daily gratitudes:
Shadows
Work at home days
Good teeth
Aging gracefully
Colorado peaches

Photo title: Along The Road In Colorado


Somewhere on the way to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Women don’t have halos built in.”  –  Lorraine Hines

Daily gratitudes:
A night in which I didn’t kick the covers off once
Howard Keel’s voice
Sunsets from high-up places
My brain
The Red Couch

Photo title: Making Your Own Path

Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”  –  J.R.R. Tolkein

Daily gratitudes:
The man in the purple slip dress and elbow length red gloves riding a bicycle
My time with Kelsea
Morning light
Quiet nights
Dogs in motorcycle sidecars

As a single working mom, the amount of time I get to spend with my daughter is limited to weekends, and even the weekends are often limited to a day and a night, if either of us wishes to have a social life, which we both do.  That’s really tough because we love each other and have fun together and each helps the other make sense out of life.  I know it’s the quality of time spent together more than the amount, but most of our time spent together is quality time – it just would be nice to have more of it.

So we had last night and today together.  We were both kind of tired last night – she was a little quiet, so we just hung and watched Jersey Shore and Ghost Adventures. She stretched out on God’s Cat.  I took a bath.  As I say, a quiet night.  Today, upon rising, we ate and then talked about life and compromises and how to live with difficult people and right/wrong conundrums and all sorts of things for an hour or more.   I think we both felt like we got a lot of value from our talk. Each time we have one of those really good talks, we seem to understand one another better.  So, no, this is NOT how to annoy your teenager. Or at least not how to annoy mine. We’re getting to that. Trust me.

Wanting to go out but not being sure what we wanted to do, we decided to hit Longmont and the flea markets. It’s a pretty good flea market town, and we like its Main Street.  So off we headed.  Our first stop was where we got God’s Cat, and we had been contemplating a second, but fortunately for my wallet, this flea market was closed on Sundays.  Across the highway, however, in their old location, was another flea market, with a parking lot sale going on.  Unfortunately, I did not realize the extent of the parking lot sale until I had actually placed my truck in the middle of the parking lot sale.  At that point, I realized that there was no place to park because there was a sale in the parking lot (see how I’m not picking up on the parking lot sale concept) and I had two choices:  run over people in their booths or squeeze between the cones indicating that I’m where I shouldn’t be. As Kelsea can tell you, I have extensive experience with putting my vehicle where it shouldn’t be. The people at Home Depot and at Camp Lejeune Marine Base can vouch for this as well.  We made as graceful an exit as possible and parked far away, hoping not to be recognized when we approached on foot.

We love flea markets.  We poked around to our heart’s content and found some things that were too expensive but too wonderful, such as PorkChop the metal boar:

$599 was a bit over my PorkChop budget.

An old freezer that had a buckle latch as opposed to an actual handle, and was in mint condition:

The freezer even had a name already!

China cats were nestled in the corners of your grandmother’s couch, staring at you psychotically for all eternity:

I love humans, I just can't eat a whole one. That's why I have so many little cat friends.

We both agreed that we would have to leave the house and never return were this to arrive at our door:

One of the creepiest things ever - or is it?

I revelled in a totally inappropriate sock monkey:

Totally inappropriate sock monkey

Made all the more inappropriate by its tag:

Yes, you read right.

As we exited, we encountered a life-sized nutcracker:

Open wide!

Kelsea looked askance at me when I said that you could fit a baby’s head in there.

We headed down to Main Street, and though most of the shops were closed on Sundays, because clearly any money spent on Sunday in Longmont should be going to the church, we did enjoy our window shopping experience.  We were also greeted by two gentlemen occupying a bench, who asked us if they could buy a cigarette from us, and when we said no, asked us for money to buy cigarettes, leading us to wonder how they intended to pay us for cigarettes had we had them to sell.

I wanted to share some of the interesting signs and displays from Main Street with you:

Yea for us! Tough luck for you.

I believe the torso on the right has a club foot. Who would do that to a (half a) mannequin? And both are going to wind up with yeast infections from wearing their jeans too tight.

A very clever window display for men’s clothing:

Just a friendly game.

With incredibly high stakes.

Longmont has lots of free and easily accessible public parking and numerous small public art installations:

Courtyard Mosaic

Incomprehensible Cheese-Covered Fork with Small Ball of (Apparent) Snot on the Third Tine

We did find Barbed Wire Books to be open. It claims to be the largest used bookstore in Longmont, and one we hadn’t yet visited, so we went in. I picked up a couple of mysteries.

Armchair in Barbed Wire Books.

Kelsea told me she was hungry enough to eat me, so we made our final stop The Pumphouse. The burgers were good and they had misters (those things that spray mist, not men – and when I say “not men”, I don’t mean that they don’t spray men, they WILL spray men, but men is not what they spray – oh, never mind) above the patio diners that sprayed just enough to cool, but not enough to dampen. Kelsea shared with me her most recent app acquisition:

Just say "moose". Just once. Just for me.

And so, we headed for home.

Now, you may be wondering about the “how to annoy my teenager” part of the day.  Well, that comes into play when I share with you what we bought at the flea market.

We found her a new army jacket from either the WWII or Korea era – I can’t tell which, but it’s in excellent shape, was only $10, and was a medic’s coat, so she is totally thrilled with that.  But sorry, no image.

We found a small $2 sign for the kitchen. It’s a reminder for me of a) how to cook, and b) how to live:

Can I take the advice of a tin plaque?

I discovered a 1960′s Ouija Board.  Previously, I have refused to have a Ouija Board in the house – perhaps because my Mother was so strongly opposed to them – but when I saw this one, I knew that it was the perfect time for it to arrive in my life.

Perhaps it will help me communicate with the Bungalow spirits.

And last, but so totally not least, I found Him.  I had been in the booth where He was before, and didn’t even see Him, but when I walked in again, He immediately caught my eye, and it was all over.  I had to have Him.

Him (or He)

And this is where I began to annoy my teenager.  She found Him terrifying.  Their initial meeting went something like this:

Me:  Look! I found the coolest thing ever!
Her: GAH! What IS that?
Me: I don’t know. Isn’t it awesome?
Her: NO!  You are NOT buying that.
Me: But He wants to come home with you.  Here, hold Him.
Her: Get that thing away from me.

Clearly, they did not have immediate chemistry.  So the rest of our afternoon played out along similar lines.

Me: He likes you. He’s looking at you.
Her: Well, make Him stop.
Me: Sorry, I can’t do that.  He does what He pleases.
Her: Mom, you’re sick.

Her: I’m hungry. Let’s go get a burger.
Me: Okay.  He likes burgers too.  And He thinks you’re pretty.
Her:  Mom, STOP IT.
Me: What? I’m just saying.

She offered to carry Him on her lap if she could keep the truck windows open, but I’m smarter than that.

He was apparently all the rage in the 1950s, with numerous other incarnations, and was highly collectible among housewives of the day.  Can you imagine coming home after a hard day at the office and being confronted by multiple versions of Him?  Kelsea would rather stick her head in a garbage disposal.

So I will keep Him until I sell Him on Ebay, or tire of annoying her, whichever comes first – and I think we know which one that will be.

I am so looking forward to the coming months with my daughter.

Photo title: Tracks In The Sand Are Permanently Temporary

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Heaven on earth is a choice you must make, not a place you must find.”  –  Dr. Wayne Dyer

Daily gratitudes:
Sara Bareilles
Clouds
Only two hot flashes last night
Bibber Sunday
The gentle breeze through the front door of the Bungalow
That Hurricane Irene was eased by prayers, intentions, and possibly, kittens

Photo title: Cool Clear Water of the Mind

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “If we allow ourselves to be present for the learning rather than hiding from the lesson – we can move forward more empowered.”  — Diana H.

Daily gratitudes:
Sunlight streaming through storm clouds in Eldorado Canyon
Air conditioning when you have hot flashes
Touch
Trying to heal
Okra pickles

 

As Hurricane Irene (aptly named after my late aunt, I’m sure) bears down on my beloved North Carolina coast, I have been obsessively checking weather websites, the Weather Channel, online NC newspapers, Topsail’s Facebook pages, and whatever other source of information I can think of.  I think some part of me imagines that if I am on top of the storm minute-by-minute, I can somehow relate to her, and thus, somehow exercise an element of control over her.  This is what we call magical thinking, people.  That dog just won’t hunt.

Magical thinking image from (somewhat ironically if you ask me) http://www.forbes.com

I am suspicious that another part of me thrives on this kind of drama. It’s almost the opposite my empath nature, although I don’t think I have words to describe that.  It’s like a horrific accident – I can’t look away.  If I absorb the images completely into my spirit, perhaps they’ll make sense.  More magical thinking.  I know what’s going on – the images just do damage to my soul.

Irene is huge (and my aunt was no little peach either, by the by).  I remember how massive Katrina looked from the radar images, and I’m surprised no one has drawn a comparison.  Thankfully, she has weakened – if you recall, there was the potential for her to turn to a Category 4, which would truly have been devastating, given her size.  Most of the reports are from New Jersey and New York, I suppose because those are the most populated areas, but still, it niggles me a little, because she’s heading right for “my” house at Topsail.  And nobody’s reporting from Topsail, are they?  The house can sometimes feel like it is floating when the tide is high and the waterline reaches the bottom of the dunes.  So as you might imagine, the storm surge is worrying.

The view from "my" porch at Topsail at low tide.

I do love the people on the Carolina coast that newsfolk have been interviewing. Most are locals.  A lot of them are just sitting on the sand, looking at the horizon, watching the storm come.  Sort of like watching a movie.  Or how we all just sit silently and look at the sea after breakfast at Sandcastle.  Those who have lived on the barrier islands their whole life are perfectly content to ride out yet another storm. I suspect that would be me.  Yes, she’s big, but she’s not a Cat 3.

The Weather Channel has been emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness.  I cannot agree with them more.  If you do choose to rock and roll through a hurricane, you should be prepared with frozen bags of ice water, a full bathtub, batteries, food, gas, flashlights, candles, a knife, and perhaps the Zombie Survival Guide (just in case things get worse, because yes, things could be worse).

I’m really truly not minimizing the gravity of this situation.  We saw the damage in the Bahamas, and I still have prayers going to Patty’s house in the Abacos.  I send safe blessings to those of you who choose to go through it, and peace to those of you who are scared.

But when TWC was talking about emergency preparedness, I would have sworn that Jim Cantore (you know the buff bald guy who is always standing in the most dangerous of places, telling YOU to go inside?) said, “Have a kitten.”  Upon further reflection, I realized he said, “Have a KIT.”  But kitten is what I heard, and kitten is what I’m sticking with.  Beside I love kittens (and I know a few of you are thinking, ‘Yea, me too, I could eat a whole one,’ and to you I say, ‘Stop that.’)

So here, Irene – have a kitten.  It will make you calm down.  I promise.

Photo title: Centerpiece

Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.”  –  Barbara DeAngelis

Daily gratitudes:
The hot air balloons outside my house in the mornings
Fans, fans, and more fans
Today
Two days of cooking and not burning anything
My co-workers

Photo title: Jetsam

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

(for QHR again, and I hope the photo title is better for Delana42)

Quote of the day: “When you trip over love, it is easy to get up. But when you fall in love, it is impossible to stand again.”  –  Albert Einstein

Daily gratitudes:
Motorcylists with helmets that have little gladiator mohawks
That I actually needed a blanket once or twice last night
Having time to cook yesterday
Music
Dreams that mean I am working on things
My new 1930s round mirror

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