Monthly Archives: September 2012

Touching the Moon

I hold her little hand as we walk the four blocks to the park.  My cat, Tigress, follows us part way until I tell her to go home. Tigress sits on the grass and watches us cross the street.

“Stay home, Tigress,” she admonishes. It’s 6:30 in the evening and the birds are chirping. A whistling symphony seems to be coming from the trees themselves.

“Listen to the birds,” I say.

She looks up and scans the treetops. “The birds,” is all she says in her tiny little voice.

We turn the corner and cross another street.

“Your mommy went to this school,” I tell her, as we walk alongside the Elementary.

“My mommy’s school,” she says.

We reach the park and make our way to the playground. Her eyes light up when she sees the jungle gym. I find myself shadowing her every move. I was never such a mother hen with my own kids.

“Let’s go on the swing.” There I will have her in a confined, safe place.

“The slide?”

“No, the swing. Come, I’ll show you.”

We slog through the sandpit that is the playground and I lift her into a baby swing. She grabs on with a death grip. I get her going and then sit on a regular swing. I stick my legs straight out and lean back as far as I can, so that I’m horizontal as I stare up at the blue sky. I’m amazed at how quickly I feel like a little girl again. We swing until darkness surrounds us.

“Time to go home now.” I reluctantly get off the swing.

“I want to slide.”

“Tomorrow. We’ll come back tomorrow.”

We shake the sand out of our shoes and cross the parking lot on our way to the sidewalk. She points at a burgundy minivan parked close to the park entrance.

“I want a car.”

“What?” I bend toward her not sure I heard right.

“I want a caaaar.”

“You want a car?


“That’s not our car.” I can’t help laughing.

We walk half a block in silence.

“I want a car.” Her little finger points at a gray sedan in the school parking lot.

I start laughing again. I understand now; she doesn’t want to walk. She wants a ride.

“But, that’s not our car either. Are you tired?”


She is walking nimbly, her little hand in mine. But, I will carry her if need be. The moon is a translucent ball straight ahead.

“Look, let’s go touch the moon.”

“Touch the moon?”

“Yes, we’ll touch the moon.”

She concentrates on the moon as we walk again in silence. Rounding the school we pass a black F-150.

“I want a car.” Her tiny finger points toward the truck.

This time I don’t answer. I can’t. I’m laughing too hard. She thinks you can just take any vehicle if you don’t want to walk anymore.

I’m about to pick her up when she looks around concerned.

“Hey, where’d the moon go?”

“It’s right over there.” I point to our left. Her little face relaxes and she settles back into an easy stride. Someone is walking toward us and she becomes absorbed with the woman and her dog.

We turn the corner to our street and as we walk toward my house we pass by three cars parked near the sidewalk. Each time we near one, her little finger points and she makes her demand again. I haven’t laughed this much in years.

Finally we reach my driveway and she marches straight to my car. “I want a car,” she states.

I unlock it and open the back door. She climbs in and settles herself behind the passenger seat.

“Get in the car,” she says, pointing to the driver’s seat.

“But, we’re home now. It’s time for your bubble bath.”

She shakes her head and pulls the seat belt around her. Her face is resolute; I’m to get in the car. I only meant to let her sit in the car for a moment, to satisfy her want; I hadn’t expected that she would order me in as well.

I have no car seat so a drive around the block is not an option. Besides, I’m too much of a worrywart to chance these crazy roads with my precious grandchild. I have to come up with something much more attractive than a car ride.

My car is parked near the front door on our circular drive. I unlock it and turn around to find her still struggling to buckle the seat belt. I know she is as hot and sweaty as I am.

“Hey, let’s go inside and have some juice.”

Her head snaps up. “OK,” she says.


Just thought I’d celebrate 1500 hits on this blog.

That is so wonderful!

I want to thank my followers and my readers, you’re awesome.

This is a powerful medium to connect or attempt to connect. I hope I do, at least in the smallest way. I want to try to  look at the positive. Life has its challenges; a series of straight, and sometimes not so straight, steps to climb. But, together we can fly over them on our way to something better. Always and all ways.

On the Good Ship Chocolate

I find myself needing to turn to comfort food. You know those times when life leaves you feeling drifting, listing. Times when life’s guardrail is seemingly floating too far from your grasp. In those moments, you instinctively reach for what’s near, for what can stay you and satisfy you, at least temporarily.

And what can satisfy that well within you? What can fill the void better than food?

Of all the foods that I might crave, I am instinctively drawn to the one that both fills and fulfills. Chocolate. For what else can send those sensory impulses of purest pleasure to the brain quicker than chocolate?

I don’t recall the very first time I had chocolate, but I do remember the first time I introduced my first-born to an Oreo cookie. I have the photograph of his chocolate grin stretched from ear to ear, but I don’t really need it. That bonding moment is ingrained in my brain.

When I was young, my mother would make hot chocolate for my father using the hard, dry sheets of chocolate they frequently purchased. After heating a small pan of water, she would break off and add several squares, stirring as they melted. I was never tempted to drink it, but I would sneak into the fridge and break off a little piece when she wasn’t looking. The bitterness turned sweet as it melted in my mouth.

My childhood memories include running to the neighborhood store to buy a chocolate bar whenever I had a few pennies in my pocket. After passing the time with friends, I would head back home to curl up on my single bed with my book of the moment, to savor both the story and the chocolate. The candy somehow seemed to enhance my reading experience.

Eating chocolate has always been a soothing experience. A treat that never disappoints or fails to live up to its expectations. Unless, it is the wish that it last longer. In my quest to control my illness with diet as much as possible, I have jokingly referred to chocolate as my “medicine.”

Apparently, my thinking wasn’t entirely facetious. I’ve been reading how researchers are discovering that dark chocolate may have many beneficial properties. They state it can help protect your skin, quiet coughs and may even increase blood flow to the brain making you more awake and alert. So it could be I was right; the story did become more interesting to read while eating that chocolate bar.

But, what makes chocolate worth its weight in gold to me is that it enhances my mood. How can I feel bad while eating chocolate? For that little sliver of time, my ship is righted. I can hold fast and let my stresses dissolve along with the velvety stuff in my mouth. The only thing better than eating chocolate is eating it with someone you love.


A shout out to Ariesgrl23, who nominated this blog for an award.

I’m stoked, grl; you made my day! And I’m soaring.

Yesterday was a sad day for me and you gave me something else to remember it by. Thank you so much for this honor. And I agree with you, we should make lemonade out of the lemons life throws our way. And we can, with a little help from our friends.

As they say, tomorrow is another day, and with your recognition, it’s an even better day.

Check out her blog,  Ariesgrl Book Reviews.

It’s awesome!

Soft and Sweet

Why is it that Mother Nature makes something so good for you and yet so hard for you? And I mean literally hard. Rock solid, almost. I refer to the sweet potato.

Lately I’ve been on a quest, though my rheumatologist doesn’t encourage me. Western medicine, being what it is, relies more on chemicals than natural substances. And that’s fine up to a point; I prefer to control my RA with diet and exercise as much as possible.

From the research I’ve done, I’ve discovered that the sweet potato is especially nutritious, and after eating them I’ve found that they are especially delicious. But, and it’s a big but, after preparing them I also know they can take a toll on my hands and wrists.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to slice through the bamboo cutting board.

Here they are dressed in salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and olive oil, ready to go into the oven. I gave up struggling to cut them the size of French Fries and accepted that leaving them in larger pieces would be kinder and gentler on my hands. After the struggle of cutting them, it’s almost a pleasure to dig my hands into them and toss them around in the spices. Take that!

And after their metamorphosis, having gone from orange to almost red to golden. Soft and sweet after 20 minutes in the oven, give or take a few. They are so pliable now you can smoosh them with the lightest touch of the finger.

I make them about once a week and they go with everything. This time they accompanied the mahi-mahi, yum. But I am nothing if not a realist and if my wrists or hands are acting up, the sweet potatoes stay in the fridge for another day.

It just makes me wonder why a little tuber makes us work so hard. Maybe it’s to let us know that Mother Nature rules.

Needless Feelings?

They say writing is a lonely business and I suppose perforce it is. The same could be said about reading. It is you, the book and your thoughts, and what you read often makes you wonder, takes you in different directions all at once. Recently, I read that you must write with the door shut and re-write with the door open, (On Writing by Stephen King). I take it he means it literally, but I also see it figuratively.

When you write, you go into your own little world and create what you see and what you hear. You imagine all sorts of things, things that may or may not be real. For that moment, they are all too real for you.

But when you re-write, you are forced to stand back and take an objective view of what you have subjectively spilt onto the page. You must stand back and take a scalpel to unnecessary words, get those paragraphs into shape, make what you write sound plausible. More plausible than life itself.

I truly believe that works with writing, but does it work with writers too? As tough as self-editing can be, it’s much easier to chuck needless words than it is to chuck needless feelings. Can you be ruthless and excise your worries with nary a backward thought? Can it ever be as simple as hitting delete?

I find myself faced with that dilemma. My child has joined the homeless. Couch surfing she calls it. Armed with a fresh-from-the-press journalism degree, she is looking for her niche. A job she has, but not in her field and not one that will pay all the bills.

She agonized for weeks over her decision, stay or go. I wanted her to come home and she made arrangements to do so, but only as a fallback. In the end, she proved too reasonable, too logical, too goal-oriented. Coming home meant straying too far from her target, a job in The Big Apple.

I realize that her staying in the area makes more sense than coming back all the way across the country. But when the door shuts on logic, I still see her as my little girl and imagine all sorts of things, both real and unreal. And it fills me with dread.

I know I must force open the door to reason and see her as she is, a woman grown. One that fills me with pride and admiration knowing she has the drive and the determination to not give up her dream, to work and strive for it, and maybe even go hungry for it.

Her not going hungry is the one thing I have control over and I won’t allow that to happen, as I am thrust into this new adventure with her. Deep in the night, the door will slam shut on me and I will be surrounded with fearful scenarios that rob me of my sleep. But I know that in the morning, I will make myself kick it open wide. Both for her and for me.

For we all know that stress is an opportunist and I refuse to open my door to it. It is not welcome and I will unhesitatingly perform a daily stress-ectomy while I chill and give my Wandering Waldo time.

In the meantime, I will write myself a note: Couch surfing ain’t so bad.