Saturday, April 23, 2011

and then the winds blew

As I sit here at my desk, I see the Western clouds building up in the sky and the winds are blowing flower petals and frenetic birds across the front yard.

I feel a bit like the birds and petals today--blown around by this week's events. I am going to keep this short so that my loyal readers won't decide it's not worth a quick read, so here's a list of the week:

1. Met with my financial advisor who didn't quite fire me for not taking her investment advice for a variable annuity but did cut the conversation short when I pushed back about it.

2. Had multiple Imagine Greater Tucson meetings where our diverse perspectives on the work, even as we are all committed to the end goal, is definitely an example of how tough it is to "herd cats."

3. My hubby found out that he has until the end of July for UA employment in his current position. Thank yous to the Arizona State Legislature for their massive cuts to education and to "those who shall not be named" who made this decision for a loyal employee, only a few months away from state retirement.

4. A close friend and colleague had a breast biopsy and she has to wait for a week for the results. And this is the "best medical system in the world?" My dog's biopsy took 24 hours and her tissue sample was sent to California!

5. Another close friend, whom I call my one of my two sister-friends, has multiple challenges in her professional and personal life. One example, her sister's house was foreclosed this week. Thank yous to Wall Street, matched by the public who were greedy partners in causing the real estate bubble to explode like a torpedo into the lives of millions of hard-working Americans.

This is why I am feeling blown about as, at the same time, I can lose my gloom in today's "iris show" at Harlow's Nursery. I could never imagine such fragile loveliness, diversity of stem, leaf, petal shape and color in the iris groupings. One of the gardeners told me "even if you mix the seeds together, you never come out with two plants that are alike."

How do the winds blow for you this week? What examples of life's richness can you savor amidst the challenges and losses?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

open studios

After working our butts off yesterday, including sending off the taxes (yes, we used Turbo Tax this year and probably will next year, too, now that we have rediscovered our capacities), today was a "play day." We went to Church in the a.m. (I like to go on the third thursday of the month, because it is mostly music, in high style, with trumpets and bell ringers, piana, organ and sometimes string instruments) and thus I get filled up with "big Methodist music."

After that, we went to RinCon Market and leisurely read parts of the NY Times while savoring eggs, turkey sausage and a decadent cinammon role. Another musical treat was a cellist playing Vivaldi so we really had a lovely morning.

One of my colleagues from a previous consulting job was going to be at the 7th Ave. Studios for Open Studio weekend ( I have been wanting to go to this event for the past three years, and so I made it today.

While I was there, I reconnected with an artist from the 1970s who is a weaver, Crane Day ( I bought a pancho from him in 1976 that I just recently wore in Philly when we went there for my niece's bat mitzvah. The pancho got many raves while we walked Philly's chilly streets.

I met a new artist, K. Loren Dawn ( does collages that struck me as whimsical as well as affordable. She has a genre called "nomadic artist" where she puts watercolors and small collages into a plastic stationery envelope that can be easily tacked onto a wall. I bought one of those and put aside a larger one with glass shards and pastel brush strokes that seemed to strike my fancy today, entitled "chips fall as they may". Even with just modest support, it's good to be a "patron of the arts."

We ended the afternoon on with a trip to the newly opened Costco on the southside of Tucson. We needed lamb chops for a small Seder dinner tomorrow and they have a good meat selection but it's almost not worth it to me to have to snake my way through the mountains of retail goods that fill the floors. I try to make the best of it by watching young families herding through the aisles with babies in carrier packs and toddlers in the basket seats. But the experience always leaves me feeling depleted and a bit ragged in the brain.

So it was good to get home, review all of the artist's cards I picked up from their studios and tack up my small nomadic art collage on my wall to remind me of the artistic spirits swathed in their warehouse studios on 7th Avenue.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

a year ago, an idiosyncracy of life and more to come

It was a year ago today that I walked back from the neighborhood mailboxes with a note from my radiologist saying the my follow-up mammo showed "no evidence of cancer." I remember bounding over the rocks in my front yard and with mindful determination coming into the house to "take charge" of my day. I was going to repot plants, by golly, and get on with my life after having in hang in suspension for the past ten days.

I came out to the patio and glanced up as Mark was taking a couple of steps on the lower rung of the expandable ladder, on his way up to the roof to prune the euchalyptus branches. I went to the potting table and heard Mark holler: "Look out!". I looked up and caught a glimpse of him jumping off the ladder as it tumbled like slivers of frozen water toward the potting table and then onto me. I crossed my arms over my chest as I fell downward, bracing my back and head against a fall to the concrete. I felt a tug on my leg as I curled backward.

In the next few moments, Mark rushed to my side, peeling away the layers of broken pottery, cracked table and ladder. As he pulled away the ladder, I held up my leg and saw my foot looking foolish as it turned ninety degrees sideways. "This is bad," Mark said, and I just looked at the foot with splayed toes, amazed at the incongruity. My shoulder ached, my neck ached as I held myself in semi-prone position, but I felt nothing in my foot or ankle.

Mark called 911 and checked my eyes and breathing as they suggested. Then I began to feel some anxiety. A trip to the Emergency Room and then what? This was my Saturday, and what about tomorrow?

Thus starts an idiosyncracy of life when moments of change cascade into our lives whether we are ready for them or not.

Twelve months later, I have slivers of scars hiding screws and a plate in my ankle. I have a new physical therapy support system to help me "strengthen my core" as well as my ankle, calf, and thigh. I go regularly for a massage which tended my back muscles through the weeks of crutches, walker and black boot. I have a new work community because of a younger colleague who was one of three non-family members to drive me where I needed to go. I walk with a different stride--shorter and more measured, slowed a bit by necessity and practice. I have this blog and over 300 days of writing entries.

Yesterday,the eve of this "anniversary", I shared hysterical laughter with Mark over the ridiculous occurrences of the day: a car battery that needed replaced, signaled by a car clock that kept resetting (think "Groundhog Day" for a car); a missed birthday party of a friend because I received a phone text that said "Hi, Anita, we are canceling our party due to weather" and found out later, it was a "wrong number" text by someone who also had a friend with my name, also had a birthday party they were cancelling due to the freakish winter storm which dropped snow on rose petals all over the Tucson valley; a series of 11th hour emails from our accountant (or, we suspect, a member of his staff), over necessary documents to complete our taxes and the tax filing of my 92 year old dad who had given me the tax envelope--which I didn't check, assuming, mistakenly, that my 92 year old father was functioning as the 91 year old he was last year--without the documents he thought he had put in there and needing pages of medical, dental and prescription costs info that I had to get from over the Internet (this required one hour's worth of phone calls to Secure Horizons and another 30 mins, including on-line "chatting" with Walgreens, and a new email address in order to get this info in a timely manner) which still resulted, Mark and I are guessing, in our accountant and/or his staff possibly "firing" us as customers because we expressed frustration at getting the request for this info one week before the filing deadline!!!!

How absurd life continues to be: so we laughed and laughed and drank white wine that glistened in our glasses half full.

If you have read all of this post--have a glass of wine on us and celebrate the idiosyncracies of life and laugh until you think you cannot stop laughing. It's the only way, sometimes, to get ready to go to bed and live another day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

storm a-comin'

As I sit at my window, I am looking westward and I see a storm a-comin'. The rose bush leaves are swaying back and forth, skies are greying and birds are trilling tunes for rain.

I remember my Grandad Dice, on cool Spring mornings, going out from the farmhouse, past the gooseberry bushes, through the fenced yard for chickens and the lonely pony who boarded on their farm--into the garden to look at the black soil mounds and gaze at the sky. "I feel a storm a-comin'", he would say, rubbing his right hip which ached with the barometer dropping. He loved those storms because they brought rains for the fields and, as a farmer, without rain, life isn't worth much.

I have the same ache in my right hip which I tried to loosen up in my 8 a.m. swim today. We need the rain so badly that I hope it comes today and sends fragrance of the newly-yellowed flowers on creyosote into the air. No other smell compares than than of rain in the desert.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

poetic asides

I am sharing this link because I am trying to do the April Poetry Month's poem-a-day challenge and other readers might want to do it too.

For now, I am writing the poems into my tan journal booklet I keep next to the computer but I may post a few of the best either on my blog, my website and/or the Poetry Asides blog. Last fall I submitted quite a few to the Poetry Asides chapbook but I have been disappointed by the lack of followup to that effort, even though I contacted the site several times. Still, the prompts get me to write and it's worth the effort to harvest a few poems.

My entry today will be brief because breakfast beckons and it may get warm today while chores still have to be done. Yesterday, I went full out and my calf stiffened by the evening so I pushed it too much.

Before I sign off, I want to recommend a lovely, poem-like movie we watched last nite: Ondine, 2009, starrting Colin Farrell. The critics liked it but it didn't do well at the box office. Once you can translate the heavy Irish dialects (it took me the first five minutes or so), the movie flows like the Irish seas majestically photographed in many of the scenes. The young actress who plays his daughter is a delight and the young woman he "captures" in his fishing net kept my husband's usual evening dozing to zero as he propped himself up to stay abreast of the story. So find it through Netflex or your local classic movie rental space--it's worth the effort to find and view.