Roots, syncronicity and Frank Zappa…

Since the weather was beautiful Saturday we took Chester back to Pete’s Pond. Friday had been a turmoil of sadness; not only 9/11 and coronavirus, but I have people in California that I’m worried about and something happened at work that was tragic. Actually a couple things. It felt like the week had been building up, with the world throwing things at us and finally on Friday it came to a head. So Saturday, I had to get out.

I wrote of Pete’s Pond before. The pond has sort of dried, but it was no less beautiful. Chester was such a good boy! He was not reactive at all around the other dogs on the trail. We saw plenty of squirrels and chipmunks and some beautiful dragonflies. I included a picture of one. One of the things I noticed was how a gorge of sorts was cut out alongside the path in the woods. We could see the roots of the trees (hee hee I first typed foots, that would be really cool). No, it was roots, hanging down on the side. Luckily that tree had enough roots deep into the soil to remain standing. We were surrounded by many more that did not have the strength.

Friday was a day of sorrow. I thought of people enduring events that just rock them to the core. I picture the tree standing with half it’s ground missing. But it had deep roots. It may stay there for another 20 years like that, with a wound to its foundation but still providing a perch for birds and a place for squirrels. I know people like that. Some wounds don’t heal but the person finds a way to go on. Maybe they firm up the roots that remain. If someone were to build up the side, it may help. Or, sadly It may not make it, falling like so many of the other trees. I have pretty strong roots. I have a pretty big capacity to absorb sadness and keep going. I hope you are able to weather the events that chip at your foundation and stay standing. If not, reach out to someone, shore up your root system. If so, reach out and shore up someone else’s. Or both.

Switching gears, I may have mentioned my clean out the house mission one or two or fifty times. My two youngest children who have lived in Brooklyn for over 5 years now came back for Labor Day weekend. I think it was mostly to go to our grandson’s birthday party (and it was a wonderful party), but what could be more enjoyable after driving 10 hours than to go through CDs and old clothing? I have planted the CDs are in four separate areas:

  1. Box number one is the CDs that are in their correct cases. About half are mine and half my son’s.
  2. Box number two is the CD cases that have no CDs.
  3. On the spindles are the CDs with no cases, and
  4. On the floor in a pile are the CDs that my son and I and the Riverside High School Bands and Choirs were the artists on. They are mostly his, with different rock or other bands. I was not in a band but wrote a couple musicals so my contribution was less. He has been in about seven bands total, and we have CDs for all. Plus, the high school band and choir CDs.

Surprisingly, he graciously agreed to look at them and tell me what he wanted to keep. He was going through them when I showed him a pile of about 8 Frank Zappa CDs. They were fairly old, with titles like, “Shut up ‘N Play Yer Guitar”, “Burnt Weenie Sandwich,” and of course, “Uncle Meat.” I was a bit flummoxed…I didn’t know he liked Frank Zappa and it was kind of before his time. I asked and he said he bought someone’s CD/record collection and the person was a big Frank Zappa fan. I said oh, then can I give them away or take them to Record Den? He said sure.

While walking Chester a couple nights ago I stopped to talk with our side-fence neighbors. Chester absolutely loves the neighbors, and especially their little girl doggie. So we stopped to chat and while the girl doggie gave Chester the evil eye I mentioned going through CDs. I told them about Frank Zappa and that I was going to sell them to Record Den. The wife said, and I kid you not, that her uncle played with Frank Zappa. Keep in mind I didn’t even know there was a Frank Zappa anything in my house! But yes, her uncle was on a couple of the CDs. So, I happily gave her all of them.  Of course, today I found one more that I had missed.

This is why I don’t want to just pitch the empty CD cases, what if I find a CD and I threw out the case??? How can I throw out the cases?? (You have just peeked into the mindset of a hoarder…) I will probably put all the cases in the newly cleaned out closet. Then after a couple months go through them again and after this recurs about 20 times, then throw them out. I suspect some CDs minus cases are with the Christmas stuff. And the CDs on the spindles, well if I don’t listen to them in a couple months they will go too unless I find another box of CD cases.  But I digress…

The Frank Zappa incident reminded me of my younger years when we listened to “Dark Side of the Moon” and watched “The Wizard of Oz.” If you haven’t done so, do it. It’s an example of synchronicity plus it’s a very good album and a very good movie so it’s a win-win. According to the internet dictionary, the definition of synchronicity is, “synchronism. Coincidence of events that appear meaningfully related but do not seem to be causally connected, taken by Jungian psychoanalytic theory to be evidence of a connection between the mind and material objects.”

Breaking this down, do I have a mental connection to the Frank Zappa CDs? Or maybe to Frank Zappa? Or maybe our neighbor was thinking about it and I was just the conduit.  What made me stop and visit with the neighbors, especially when I looked like six miles of bad road at the time? What on God’s green earth made me mention Frank Zappa? AM I SEVEN STEPS FROM FRANK ZAPPA??? Whoa. As my husband says, some things are unknowable. But the CDs are in the right place now.

Below are three pictures. The first is the tree with roots, and the third is a happy Chester. The second is what I call a dragonfly but could very well be a damselfly. I will rely on my sister to tell me which it is. It’s pretty either way! Have a good week! Shut up ‘N nurture yer roots! 😊

Happy Chester the dog

Why I want to be Harley Quinn and other random thoughts…

I want to be Harley Quinn. I know she’s got more mental health issues than I could shake a stick at but she shakes a baseball bat so whatever. I have some mental health issues too, probably more than one would think. In my outer self I can keep them at bay but my inner self wants to be Harley Quinn. Here’s why, along with some random thoughts I had while walking Chester.

Harley wears her hair in pigtails. I love pigtails. Since the shutdown I decided to let my hair grow as long as it wants to, and turn grey. Part of it is turning grey, part is not. It looks like hell. It’s also hot as hell in August. I can’t handle hair on my neck in August. Usually a ponytail is OK but when it’s really hot nothing beats the pigtails. And, like Harley, my hair is multiple colors. I’m rocking it.

Harley enters new situations boldly with gusto. I don’t. I get very nervous about meeting people and invariably say something incredibly dumb or freeze. Even when I was little I was a shy kid. The first day of kindergarten was torture. I cried the whole half of a day we were there, even during the nap time. Yes, we had half day kindergarten AND nap time. The teacher had a magic wand, and each day someone would be chosen as the magic prince or princess. That lucky sprite was to gently tap each child to wake them. It was marvelous to walk among the children, most of whom were not sleeping and really wanted to get up, knowing that if you were the sprite you had the power to make the ones who were mean to you stay asleep longer. But I digress…

Harley is the life of the party. She’s popular, smart and beautiful. I was a little bit smart but that’s about it. I wasn’t fat but I was a little overweight. In about 5th grade I grew taller, and my dresses became a little short. I remember standing in line when two girls pointed at me and said “oooh, sexy” then exploded with giggles. I wanted to disappear and put on a robe. I never wore that dress again. A year later, some girls were talking in class. The teacher asked them what they were talking about and they said a birthday party they were going to. It was going to have horseback riding. To this day I don’t know why but the teacher turned to me in front of the class and asked me if I was going. I said no. She asked why and I said I wasn’t invited. My face turned red but I didn’t cry. That’s probably the only way I really am like Harley.

The guys love Harley and want her until she hits them with her baseball bat. As a young teen I was a comic book fan, especially Archie, and Betty and Veronica. Betty and Veronica were always competing for Archie’s attention. I remember being so excited to get a new comic book and find out what cool girls were doing to get a boy. My first date was fixed up by my mom and a teacher friend’s’ son. I had won tickets to Ice Capades on the radio call in and had nobody to go with. I think his name was Paul. I wore velvet bell bottoms. He was nice enough but halfway through he went down the rows to visit someone he knew. We spoke about 50 words the whole time and watched the Ice Capades. Our moms were in cahoots but we didn’t go out again. So, I decided to make myself a 15 year old version of sexy. I poured Sun In and lemon juice on my hair, baby oil on my skin and lay out in the sun with my sister for hours. She turned brown, I was a peeling lobster.  I just knew that blonde hair was the way to get a boy.  On me though, the blonde had this orange tint. Not what I planned.

Harley isn’t afraid of violence or hurting people. I am afraid of violence. If i wasn’t, I would have cracked those smirking girls’ heads together. But they wouldn’t have smirked at Harley. And if Harley wasn’t invited to a party, there would be no party. I would probably feel sorry for the stupid teacher or have empathy, my typical response. I can rationalize anything. Check this out…she probably grew up without friends and turned into this prunefaced simpering bully because she had a little power as a teacher and could make the popular girls talk to her when in her day they ignored her just like they ignored me. I’m pretty good at that, right? Truth is, I don’t really want to hurt anyone. I just want them to not hurt me.

Yes, I want to be Harley Quinn. But alas I am too old. Plus she isn’t real, but that’s a minor issue. Isn’t there something in us all though that wants to explode sometimes and just not care? Don’t we all want a bad ass moment or two? I think that’s why I like her; not because I really want to be her in real life, but I’m kind of tired of caring. Doesn’t that sound awful? Don’t worry, my inner Harley is staying in my imagination. Meanwhile…some random thoughts…

CVS was all out of hand soap except for this Yardley lavender kind. OMG it is phenominal. I love it! It’s smooth, silky, and smells divine. Try it!

Chester and I walked a long way this morning. We were able to watch the moon fade and the sun come up. The clouds were lit from the sides like waves. I always wish i had my phone/camera but I never do. It reminded me of a poem I memorized when I was obsessed with the book “The Outsiders” and still remember to this day. It’s called “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. It goes like this:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

but only so an hour.

then leaf subsides to leaf.

So, Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Have a beautiful week and here is a pic of Chester just because. He’s been a sort of bad boy because he went after Milo the cat. Milo pushed through the screen in the bedroom and escaped onto the roof. Chester is in the doghouse. But we still love him. He looks like he is sorry. Below that is a cruise in search of barn quilts and covered bridges we went on with our Model A group. We did not win the contest but had alot of (safe and social distancing) fun!

Model A line

Pete’s Pond and a time to change…

It has been a couple weeks since the Enzo debacle and Chester has been a particularly good dog. We went to a new park, called “Pete’s Pond”. Why Pete’s pond you ask? (I know you asked, I heard you). Well, let me tell you…there was a former landowner named Pete. There is a 19-acre pond in the middle of it. Got it? OK then, moving on. It was a Friday morning walk just before it rained. This really does have to be one of the best kept secrets near us. It was just beautiful. The May apples were in bloom along with wildflowers and cattails. The path is not paved but is well kept and easy to walk. The highlight reel would note the abundance of chipmunks. They were everywhere, just like at our house lately. Usually Chester would be going crazy, but he didn’t even see them. He had his nose to the ground the whole time. I was more excited than he was about the munks. I did not chase them through the mud and woods though. Below are some pictures of this new park. 30 plus years in Lake County and we never knew about it! Go figure.

I know this is a hard time in the world. I started to say “our” world then retyped it. It’s not “ours” any more than it belonged to people 100 years ago. We don’t own the world, if we did we would be able to control or eradicate COVID. We can’t and never will. A vaccine is our way of saying we are adapting to this new variable. We must be flexible, and fight for survival. We (as in humans) have to adapt because if we don’t, more will die. But it seems to take so long, doesn’t it? And do you feel like we are just way too slowly starting to learn more about it and how to change the statistics? We still have too many people dying but isn’t it true that we know so much more than we did? Yet we can’t seem to get where we need to be. Every action seems to be an agonizing decision because we don’t know if we will be safe or not. Should I go to the restaurant? Should I let Chester go to doggie day care? It wears us down.

I thought I was dealing with COVID pretty well when we learned of the death of George Floyd, and the subsequent riots. So far I have been unable to say much because I have nothing but sadness. I, usually one who will wait and see evidence, have nothing to wait for. It is what it is, and what it is, frankly sucks. There have been too many for too long killed unjustly. Each time it happens, I think maybe this is the time, the uncontroversial time that everyone will realize what is happening and change will happen. Even now I hope that finally, with this video evidence, there will be unanimity in the condemnation of racism and brutality. I’m not sure though. I thought that about firearms when Sandy Hook happened. I was wrong. I may be wrong again. I hope not, God I hope not.

Here’s the thing…there are events we cannot control and have to adapt to, like COVID. They take a long time to sort out, but we adapt and will learn new habits to keep us safe. We must figure out a way to adapt our country to prevent events like this event, the death of Mr. Floyd. We must learn new habits to keep people safe.  Right now are protests, (and I mean protests, not looting which is just stealing stuff). But deeper change has to come later. There just must be a collective effort to solve this. We don’t want to go back to the way we were, ignorant. Just like we are making changes because of COVID. We must develop a vaccine against racism and injustice. We must be able to change it like the flu vaccine when a new strain comes, because racism, like a germ, sneaks its way into situations and people.

I think we, or depending on our age, our children, will succeed. I think there will come a time when there are so many different skin colors that the old, race based ways of identifying ourselves will have no meaning. What is white? What is black? Think of it like a business—bigger businesses take longer to change. I remember working in a smaller company and my boss said the big business mentality and bureaucracy would drive her crazy because nothing gets done quickly. Well America is one giant business. From our start it has taken a long time to get things done. There often comes a boiling point, the final straw as it were.  I think or hope that we are at that point. We should have been at it long ago.

Anyway, I appreciate you sharing your time with me. If you get a chance and are in the area, check out Pete’s Pond. If not, go outside. We are at a point of change and it will be good. Welcome the change and let’s rise to a greater, healthier, kinder country. We are at the low point, but we have the opportunity to create a better way. To everything there is a season.

Don’t give up.

Pete's Pond
overlooking the famous pond
tired and happy!

This and That and no Corona…

Chester chased another bunny. This time he didn’t catch it, and it went under the fence before the hound from hell ate it. I purchased a plastic muzzle, size large, which was just too big. Apparently his body is larger than his snoot. I went back and tried a mesh one, hopeful that this would be the end of the great bunny massacre of 2020. I adjusted it and got it on him by straddling him and holding his mouth shut which was no small feat. He was shaking his head but I just kind of bumped him outside and figured he’d get past it. He stood with his legs splayed on the patio and looked up at me with horror so I shut the door. When I peeked out again he was still in the same spot on the patio. I took pity on him and took it off thinking that if there was a bunny out there, he would have chased it already. We did this for a couple days, then today I let him out with the muzzle on and he ran out into the yard, not just the patio. Feeling righteous I went back to the kitchen to make another cup of coffee. I glanced out the window at the sun shining on Chester. Chester with his muzzle hanging around his neck and his tongue flapping in the breeze. He was running around peeing on everything and the muzzle was waving like a scarf. Heavy sigh. Chester 1, me 0. Stay tuned.

Chester and I went for a walk today down a street we usually don’t go. There was a little white yappy dog tearing around the yard like a miniature teeth-filled tornado. It was barking the whole time. Pretty impressive, running and barking. I don’t think I could do that. When I say it was ¼ of Chester’s size that’s giving it the benefit of the doubt. Chester stopped, looked at the dog, turned around and pulled me back the way we came. He was not having it. We walked home and he got a biscuit which made him feel better.

A couple days ago it had just rained and while walking Chester I saw a worm the size of a garter snake. You have to respect a worm that big. Of course I tossed it into the grass. I’m still kind of humbled by such a kingly worm. Seriously impressive. That must be like Grandpa Worm. This inspired not a doggie song but a worm song…it goes like “Baby Shark” but substitute worm. And you wiggle instead of making shark mouths with your hands. And, since worms typically don’t hunt, although this one could have hunted the little yappy dog successfully, I substituted “Let’s go dig.” It kind of works.

I was playing baseball with my grandsons and I got a little tired. The six year old never gets tired of baseball, but the two year old is usually up for anything so I called out “dance break” and started doing the chicken dance. Then I did the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song. After that I just yelled “dance break” every time I was tired. The six year old was generally offended and yelled “NOOO”, but the two year old kind of got into it, especially when we sang “Baby Shark.” He can’t resist Baby Shark but really, who can? I now will have to teach him “Baby Worm.”

Have you heard of this thing called Corona Virus? Me neither. I did however hear a good joke courtesy of my co-grammy: What goes with the Corona virus? Lyme disease. I’m not necessarily taking it lightly but me talking about it isn’t going to do any good. So I went with a “this and that” post today. Yes, I wash my hands. Yes, I maintain social distance when I can, but I’ll be damned if I don’t give someone a hug if they need one (after asking of course). Below is a picture of Chester waiting out the Corona virus and thinking about the atrocity that is the muzzle. Except for the muzzle, that’s pretty much what I have planned too.

Check in on each other now and then, and I’ll be walking Chester.  We are going to make up a Corona virus song…something like “My My My My Myyy Corona” Take care of yourselves! 

Lazing on a Sunday afternoon

Bagels, spring, and Elvis Costello…

Last Thursday morning I needed to mail some cards at the post office, so I drove to Painesville via the side roads. I was apprehensive, since we were in the middle of the third or fourth “blizzard of the century” according to the weather people. The schools were closed so I thought I’d be slipping and sliding. BUT

Some days things go my way! There was very little snow on the road, and I dropped the cards into the box, then realized that Dunkin Donuts was on the way to the highway. (I kind of planned this, let’s be honest)  Guess what? There was nobody in line at the drive through! It’s normally a wait, so  I decided to celebrate and live a little. I got a large iced coffee with cream instead of a medium, and a toasted sesame bagel with…get this….garden veggie cream cheese instead of regular! I was a risk-taking daredevil! I made a couple discoveries

1) A large coffee is a lot of coffee

2) Garden veggie cream cheese is tasty but messier than regular cream cheese

3) It’s kind of disconcerting to feel a chunk of something solid in your mouth when you’re eating cream cheese.

That was Thursday. Today is Sunday, March 1st. What a difference three days makes! It’s 47 degrees, aka flip-flop weather in Cleveland. Chester and I went to Lake Erie Bluffs for a long walk. Of course the snow had melted, and it was pretty muddy. So we went around the meadow trail—still muddy but a little higher ground. Below are some pictures. I discovered that mud, while not good for my tennies, is great for heel spurs. My foot didn’t hurt at all, so I had lots of time to think. This time, I thought about Elvis Costello.

When he was in high school, almost 20 years ago, my son created a portrait of Elvis Costello using round circles. I always liked Elvis Costello when I was younger. I thought he was the essence of honest cool. I did find out that he was born 5 years and 5 days before me, a meaningless but interesting fact. I thought, and still do, that he puts his heart in his music. Of course my theme song is “Watching the Detectives” since that’s basically what I do. So I thought about the Elvis Costello artwork and decided I should frame it and hang it up.

Why is it that some things on our to-do lists that seem so small are harder than they should be? I was happy that it was already matted. But Milo the cat had sneezed snot all over the matting, not so much the picture. I had a frame, and thought, hey why not just take off the matte and frame it? Sigh. The picture just didn’t look the same. So I tried a bigger frame, a different matte, and so on and so on. It’s still crooked. ARGH! Elvis is watching me type and looking like he’s disappointed in me. Not hung up yet but framed.

I have a long list of things like this that I want to do but each one takes forever. Maybe that is what retirement will be…all the little things. I let go of the little things when I am busy. But often the little things are what matter. I do like Elvis. I’m going to get some wire, and fix the matte so it’s not crooked, and hang it up. That should only take me another day, or year. Then I’ll move on to the next project. Have a good week, and if you are lucky enough, enjoy the spring weather. Chester and I did😊

Chester enjoying the high road
Lake Erie Bluffs
Elvis, almost ready.