Friday, March 30, 2012

Recent Kickle Sighting

We had life, cameras and action here last Saturday. The OC was home, a brief twenty four hour stop on his way to Chile. Lily, Son-in-Law and the Spinny Kickles, heading back from their beach week,

stopped in for a visit; the Bean was back for the w.e.; and the Girlfriend came over.  Rather than torturing the Kickles by visiting the Prince in his castle, where they would have to remove shoes, and sit like little girls with hands in laps, and make no loud noises or boisterous movements, the Prince came here.  And got reaquainted with his darling grand-daughter and great grandsons. His eyes lit up when they fell on Son-in-Law, a perfect victim for the Threadbare Tales! So the boys were free to romp while their Dad took it in the ears with his usual grace and aplomb!

The OC and Son-in-law manned the grill and nobody left the table [outside, glorious weather] hungry, though youngest Kickle hesitated over his Brat Wrap, pushing it aside and munching on greens and pasta salad instead. Finally, he chanced a nibble. And found, to his surprise, that "it wasn't as bad as he expected!"

With a long road ahead, the travelers left early, the Prince returned to his still-pristine castle, mollified to have been invited, and having an opportunity to give the Tales an airing, and the OC fell asleep on the couch. By daybreak on Sunday he'd already taken to the skies, en route to Santiago, where he landed safely, in spite of the earthquake they'd arranged to welcome him!

Bright and early tomorrow the OC lands here again for a few days of relaxation [perchance].....Though he will be in hyper-efficient, tax return preparation mode..............Hmmmm. To stay or find a quilt shop to visit?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St Patrick Said I Could...Eat Cookies for Dinner

Note: I tried to post this on Sunday evening but blogger wanted to have a fight instead.....The fact that I'm able to post it now, three days too late, is a testament, if not to my technical savvy, to my stubbornness....So there Blogger! MB

Ireland scenic by Larry Gaskill
Ireland scenic, a photo by Larry Gaskill on Flickr.

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?"

This quote, from Vita Sackville-West, someone long dead, popped up somewhere during the week and caught my eye. Necessary indeed, but what if nothing but rubbish flows from my pen....? What if no butterflies inhabit my moments? Keep writing, the sages say! At this moment there are several half-baked blatherations stacked in a teetering pile in my drafts, and not a one of them worth a tinker's curse. As a schoolgirl I always had secret notebooks in which I'd start stories. There were lots of starts, but not too many finishes. I came to the sad conclusion that I would have to put my stories on hold 'til I'd lived a little longer and had some kind of idea how life actually happens when one is released from the clutches of the nuns, with all their "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." Not realizing at the time that, long after the nuns were no longer a physical presence, the "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" would be indelibly imprinted on my brain.

Besides, stories written by other people were so tidy! There was a beginning, a middle and an end. The plot was developed early, it thickened 'round the mid-point, and all conflicts were satisfactorily resolved before, or on, the last page. Was it me, I wondered? My life didn't seem very tidy. All kinds of threads seemed to hang in mid-air, indefinitely, unresolved. How to stitch them all into the seams so I'd have a clear beginning, middle and end? Because of course, when you're fifteen, it's all autobiographical . It's all about you, thinly disguised as "fiction!" And now, even though so many years have gone by, and I have experienced beginnings and middles, I'm still waiting to find out "What happens next?"

Reading another book by Maggie O'Farrell, "After You'd Gone, " I noticed no frayed edges there! She takes her loose, seemingly disconnected threads and magically weaves them into a complicated, but coherent tale with a beginning, a middle and an end, though her beginning is likely to be in the middle, her middle at the beginning, and her end, at least, at the end, where it belongs! And as she flits between the three, building suspense, layer by layer, and every bone in your body is screaming for "Sleep!" you have to keep those pages turning 'til you reach the last one because how could you sleep without knowing "What happens?"

She left me mesmerized, again, wondering what kind of living she had to do to come up with such ingenious plot twists and turns......Or could it be that she was born knowing? Or was she "here before," as they say in Ireland of children suspected of having been brought by the fairies? That and heaping helpings of talent and imagination.....Whatever it is, may I have some please? Meanwhile, I'm half way through "The Hand That First Held Mine."

There was skinny dipping here today! Two live-wire, incredibly tall [since I saw them last] "Spinny Kickles"* blew in on the early morning breeze, looking for pancakes. They were en route to The Beach for Spring Break, and since they're not yet old enough to drive [9 and 7] they brought mom and dad along. Having driven through the night, mom and dad were a little frayed around the edges....Which is why we keep pillows and beds around. The reason we keep sofas around is so that canny cats can retreat thereunder at the first boy-sterous shout, the sight of swiftly flashing boyish limbs and ---hurry! dash!---the loud and extremely wet splash of water!

I was restless when they left and thought they should live closer to me, or I to them, as my grandmother did, twenty five miles out the road.....I wonder if Karma is catching up with me? Because of choices I made, my own mother rarely saw her grandchildren..........and then she died. Which, I'm beginning to realize, could be in the cards for me! "And miles to go before I sleep!"

How to drive out those twin snakes---Sad and Lonely? And it St. Patrick's Day, for pity's sake! I hauled out a big coffee table book of photos of Ireland. That didn't exactly help, though it was soothing, looking at all those photos of familiar places. And to read snatches of familiar poetry-----

Scenic Ireland by iwinatcookie
Scenic Ireland, a photo by iwinatcookie on Flickr.

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee.
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."                  By W. B. Yeats

And some not so familiar---

"We are the music makers,
And we are dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams..."             by Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Obviously this was not improving my mood. I was becoming more maudlin by the minute. What I needed was some music; some jigs and reels to keep my toes tapping while I..........baked something! That's what I'd do! Soda bread maybe? It being St Paddy's Day and all? But I wasn't in the mood for soda bread. Maybe later in the week. For now I decided on chocolate chip cookies, because how can you be sad when there are home made chocolate chip cookies in the house?

I even added oatmeal as a virtuous nod to nutrition. And since we'd had a barbecue before the beach goers departed, I didn't see anything wrong with having chocolate chip cookies for dinner---one as an appetizer, two for the main course, one in place of salad and one for dessert. With a tall glass of milk, because, if you never drink milk on any other occasion, you must drink milk with chocolate chip cookies. Otherwise they don't go down right! I may have to have one more as a snack before bed, along with another serving of Irish music, played loudly...............

And when I wake up tomorrow it'll no longer be St. Patrick's Day, and, God willing, I won't have a bellyache, and I can shake off this homesick melancholy and figure out "what happens next."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Grandma, What Big Teeth You have!

Wolf as Grandma by Mona Besharati
Wolf as Grandma, a photo by Mona Besharati on Flickr.

Out running errands this afternoon I found myself in step behind a young woman and her little daughter. A tiny, sweet-face child of about three with dark tumbling curls. She was clutching a banana. Childbirth had left mom rather chunky, but she was nonetheless dressed in the current popular fashion of clothing that looks like it was painted on. Never mind that it emphasized all her bulges, leaving nothing much to the imagination. She was impatient with the child, urging her roughly to hurry up, refusing to open the banana for the little girl, saying it was easy, she could do it herself. And I thought how often I use a knife to make a nick in the banana skin to make it easier to open!. The mother continued complaining at the little girl, saying she should have waited 'til they got to Target where the banana would have been cheaper. The little girl kept pleading for her mother to open the banana, and her mother continued to churlishly refuse. I would have offered to open it for the little one but that probably wouldn't have gone over too well with mom, so I passed them on the sidewalk and kept going.....

But they stayed in my head. I found myself wondering how the woman felt when she was pregnant. Was she excited? Was she in awe of the fact that a little stranger was growing and developing inside her? Was it impossible to imagine what the child would be like? Did she wonder if it would be a boy or a girl? Did she daydream for hours about names, about how she would play with her child, teach her songs, read to her, dress her in pretty clothes, put ribbons in her hair?

What happened between then and now? What happened to turn her sweet-faced little girl from a miracle into an irritation? What happened to make her refuse to open a banana, expecting the little girl, with her tiny bird-like bones, to do it herself?

A little nine year old girl's death was in the news recently. Her grandmother is being charged with her murder She died from extreme dehydration after being punished for eating chocolate by being made to run continuously for several hours. By her grandmother. If I was to be thusly punished for eating chocolate when I shouldn't, I'd have had to "put my affairs in order" a long time ago. Grandmama will cool her heels in prison for a long time but that poor little girl's life is over. All because she ate some chocolate she wasn't supposed to. That and the small matter of having a witch for a grandmother.

Anyone who has had children knows that the little darlings can push you to the brink of insanity. I'm just wondering what happens in your head to push you over that brink?