Sunday, August 26, 2018


Walked in ever-present mist,
 Amidst thatched-roofed, stone cottages, 
Between brightly painted buildings,
Beneath aged stained glass windows,
Bundled against the biting wind,
Along steep cliffs,
Around sheep, cows, 
Watched the white capped waves,
Listened to Molly Malone,
Thought of Maeve Binchy,
Wondered about ancestors, decisions, emigration,
Reflected on family, culture, loss,
Pondered the future,
Not quite ready, yet ready,
To return to real life,
To go home.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Moated Castle High On the Hill

Amazing to think...
Long, long time ago....
I do not remember when.....
In the age of knights and princesses....
Moated castles high on hilltops.....
Some family called this drafty castle,
Made of rock....
Without heat, running water...
Perched on a rocky cliff....
With windy steps to its turret....
Amazing to think....

#sol18 This Old House

I've been out of the writing routine this summer, so two posts in two days may overwhelm my 10s of readers....but like exercise, once I start writing, it gets easier.....

After decades of This Old House viewing and after embracing Chip and Joanna Gaines ship-lapped miracles in Texas, I know you can take an old house and make it "new" again.   I also know that sometimes, when you open a wall/floor/vent/ might find that parts of the house were held together with old gum/baseball cards/rusted bolts......

So it was when the plumbers came to repair a leaky toilet tank.....I was optimistic it was not a huge job....and it wasn't...but the partner asked casually, "Is there any other job you need us to look at?"

I hesitated, fully aware of the Pandora Box I might be opening.  Yet they seemed nice enough and had come out as soon as I called in about my emergency leak!  So, I mentioned the tub drain that was SLOWWWW at best even with regular visits from the likes of Draino.  And, I mentioned the kitchen sink that was also SLOWWWW at best even with regular visits from the gallon jug of Draino.

And they moved it seemed....for two hours they kept bringing in supplies.....I was thinking I would need to serve up a meal!  They went up and down the stairs....."Check this out, Mam.  It looks like someone put screws in to hold this pipe together.....It's really soft....that's not good..."

I knew it wasn't good because I recognized the handiwork of a former owner who also used screws to hold the heating pipe together.  Holes filled with screws and bolts eventually blow...

I knew it wasn't good because I recognized the tone and hidden grin.  My dentist has the same look when he looks at a broken crown and says, "That's really soft.  That's not good."

I suspect at lease one of the trips to the truck was to ask his secretary/partner to order a new Beemer or to book the trip to Aruba.  He might have also called my dentist to share the good news.....

Then, he presented me with a bill and the "news" that we would need another appointment to finish the job.  It was clearly reminiscent of the dentist office...and their hourly rate is about the same....

Monday, August 20, 2018

Purple Soup

I bought purple carrots at the local farmer's market. They looked and tasted like carrots, but their rich purple color was more powerful as food coloring!

I started a soup base in the usual way with a whole chicken that simmered for a few hours.  Then, in a pot next door, I sauteed a leek or two, a pepper or two, a stalk of celery or two, and a bunch of now infamous purple carrots.  As I added the kale, a few minutes later, I saw a sight I never expected to see: the carrots turned EVERYTHING purple!
I wondered if the purple color would impact my enjoyment of the chicken soup even if it didn't impact the taste?  Looks are powerful and can influence how we think things taste/are.

I thought about the power of "one" small ingredient (or one small person) to change the course of events!

My mind wandered to a long ago memorized poem....
I never saw a Purple Cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one!

and thought of its next stanza

I did not plan Purple Soup
But at first I thought it fun.
But that purple threw my soup for a loop
I'd rather see than eat one!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

New Year! New Car!

The back to school ads filled last week's papers and filled my soul with smiles and dread and thoughts and questions and fears and and wonders and concerns and promise and reminded me that this new chapter of life was real. I don't need to make a pilgrimage to Lake Shore nor to Staples. I don't need to buy 10 marble notebooks with sassy covers - one for each of my reading groups. I don't to buy new shoes and a back-to-school dress. This year.

However, in this new chapter I do need to either fix up my still-young-but-high-mileage-Mazda and figure out what that current whine indicates (calipers!?!?) or splurge on a new-to-me-car as I prepare for this chapter as teacher of teachers and mentor to many! I do not have the skill-set to maintain an aging (mileage-wise) car.  I do not have a back-up car when this one decides to deal with the ravages of high mileage. So, "get a newer car" was high on my summer "to-do" list.

I'd looked at new and gently used cars....Mazdas, Hondas, Fords, Toyotas, Volkswagons... I'd been to dealers where I felt gentle put downs and one where I could not find the exit door fast enough. I actually had one dealership where they asked me if my "husband"  knew I was buying a car?  I politely headed to the door and did not look back!

Buying a car  is not for the faint of heart nor is it a task for those of us who tend to over-think and over-analyse! Plus, gender-age-bias is alive and well in America!

So, today, when deep inside I knew I wanted to be celebrating with someone who "really likes cars," I ventured into a car dealership because I had noticed many local license plate holders with the name emblazoned on them and because it was raining too hard to do much else!!  The sales-person was fresh out of college, but spewed facts and comparisons about his cars that lined up precisely with those I had found through internet research. He volunteered tidbits and comparisons between models without pressuring me to buy anything,

Then, in the warehouse - literally- I sat in her.  Gray-like-me-yet-brand-new and waiting for someone to adopt her to have adventures.  It took a bit of negotiations and it took a few phone  calls to make the deal a reality....but it happened as the storm raged outside and the rain poured onto the dealership's roof and caused flooding on local roads.

I still had some concerns/worries/anxiety after leaving a deposit and arranging for a trade time as I found my old faithful car - literally buried behind many other shoppers in the parking lot as the rain continued to pour from the sky. But as I recalled those three-point-turn strategies it emerged,,,,a double rainbow just as my phone died.....

I'm not yet sure of her name....but I am sure she is part of my back-to-school-shopping experience this year. I am sure she cost more than those 10 marble notebooks at Walmart!  

If only I had bought shares in Tesla? If only I was buying a Tesla?,,,,,,this would have been an an easier purchase! sigh.....perhaps?.......