In a week that did not at all turn out as I hoped or even in my wildest dreams imagined this poem from last Friday has been my lifeline.
At some point, Elizabeth Bishop renamed the poem… but I found her original name, Early Sorrow, to be so profound for me. But, the new name… Sestina… has stuck in my head and the words of the poem keep echoing there as well. It is a good time to plant tears… not very bright or cheery for a Monday but every day can’t be all sunshine and rainbows…
Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop:
September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,
It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac
on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.
Elizabeth Bishop ©
I learned last week that my years-estranged sister has been evicted (yet again) and has spiraled down to the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the mental health ocean. There are volumes to this story that I am just not ready to share and my Monday is going to be full of making calls, asking lots of questions and I am hopeful that I will find an answer or two. I am sorry, but I have closed comments for this post… I hope you all understand.
See you all back here on Wednesday.
It was a random week, punctuated by a few maddening moments.
With the latest update from my daughter… the tooth is still wiggly. Or at least it was on Monday! My daughter is back at work, which means Winston is in daycare and has had one illness after another. While we were there she shared how stressful being a “single parent” is (which I sadly know about all too well!) She is exhausted and I really wish I lived closer to be able to help her more! This is maddening moment number one for the week.
I sat down to begin the Great Advent Calendar project and as I read through the instructions again. I realized I need some ribbon… maddening moment number two because I made a list and got “everything” I needed… or so I thought. I will be making a trip to JoAnn’s today to get a spool of ribbon.
I have been valiantly trying to do Stitching In Hand and failing miserably, which brought maddening moment number three. I tried to give myself a bit of a grace period… you know, learning something new can be a challenge to the brain as well as the hands! It seemed easier to go in one direction… or so I thought, until I found that I was not going over enough threads on one row. I have ripped out all the “new” stitches put my hoop back on and went back to my tried and true method. Sometimes you cannot teach and old dog new tricks… or perhaps I need to practice on larger spaced cloth!
Being gone for several days at the beginning of October meant I did not get my act together to do any “Halloween” decorating until this week. I hauled the boxes upstairs from the garage (This is Pittsburgh… our garage is in our basement!) and then contemplated what to put out with less than 2 weeks left in the month. I pulled out my “Fall” decorations that can stay up through November and just got out a couple of things for Halloween. Some is better than none… right? Now I just need to make a decision about some kind of outside lights for Halloween night itself… None of which is maddening, thank goodness! lol
Have a great weekend everyone! I will see you all back here on Monday with my October Word update! (fun times!)
I usually write Monday’s post on Sunday afternoon… usually. Yesterday no inspiration struck at all so Monday morning arriving sans blog post is leaving me feeling a bit like the kid who did not do *any* of their homework over the weekend. Hoo boy…
Welcome to the Monday-est Monday! LOL
Sadly, I don’t have any cohesive thoughts but I do have some odds and ends that might be share-worthy! So here we go!
It has been a most un-fall-like fall in these parts. We were still running the air last week. And can I tell you about the volume of mosquitoes outside? As a result, I have begun paying closer attention to the Dark Sky app with hopes of a bug killing frost heading my way SOON because I am so over having a gajillion mosquito bites on my arms and legs! They are even making Sherman miserable so we tried a salve that someone recommended… and it works well! (Bonus in that it has really helped make my hands feel softer too! lol)
Speaking of hands… it has been eons since I went to get manicures at a salon. And for a time I was trying to paint my nails on the regular… but I really missed how nice my nails looked having them done professionally, not to mention that Salon Nails lasted way longer than Home Nails. I know I am late to the Olive and June crowd, but wow. Way back in September I got a start up kit…which I thought was kind of spendy but it had 5 bottles of polish and some other gadgets. I added in the nail primer and can I tell you all how blown away I am?!! Today I am on day 15 of a polish… and it is still going strong! I don’t get the whole Poppy thing and I am not doing “Manicure Bootcamp” but for a long lasting polish they are winners!
My To-Do List today includes filling out my ballot for the November election and get it mailed in pronto. I have been an avid poll worker since moving to PA but I am taking a hard pass this time around. The vitriol at the past two elections has been unsettling and that vitriol… well it has ramped up significantly in my neighborhood. It was not an easy decision, but once I made it I knew it was the right one… at least for the time being. If you go to vote in person in November… please take a moment to thank the people working there. They don’t hear it often enough!
As I mentioned on Friday, I got my flu shot last week and I also got my third COVID booster as well. That Double Whammy did me in… I did not move far from the sofa on Saturday. But by Sunday I was feeling much better and had a bit of a weekend! But that sofa time on Saturday? Well, I watched and re-watched (and maybe made Steve watch it with me for a third time!) the Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct! If you have not played for a bit… some FUN things are coming in November!
What about you? What odds and ends are part of your Monday?
Oh… and that sunset? That was the ending of my day last Thursday. It was too gorgeous not to share!
Whew! Re-entry week almost over and it feels like “normal” life is more normal!
My day started out incredibly when Steve sent me this link for my listening pleasure! (Adele’s new album drops Nov. 19 and I.can’t.wait!!)
The Loose Tooth is still hanging in there! (Heidi is a much more patient mom than I ever was, I would have pulled the sucker out by now! lol)
We had such strange weather in Michigan… practically no wind any day! Which meant no waves at the beach. It was so strange to stand on the Frankfort Beach and have Lake Michigan be like glass!
I get my flu shot this morning… yay!
My knitting mojo has RETURNED! Thanks to Gnorwen! LOL Today is all about Arm Knitting and I am eager to finish the things on my list so I can sit down and knit!
Finally (so I can get started on my list!) I heard a poem by Connie Wanek this week and I have not stopped thinking about it since. I think there is some incredible wisdom on her words which had me nodding my head frequently. (And I had no idea that Connie has a collection of Mrs. God poems!)
by Connie Wanek
Someone had to do the dirty work,
spading the garden, moving mountains,
keeping the darkness out of the light,
and she took every imperfection personally.
Mr. Big Ideas, sure,
but someone had to run the numbers.
Then talk about babies: he never imagined
That was part of his charm, of course,
his frank amazement at consequences.
The pretty songs he gave the finches:
those spoke to his
innocence, his ability to regard
every moment as fresh. “Let’s give them
free will and see what happens.”
he said, ever the optimist.
Connie Wanek, “Mrs. God” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems.
Have a great weekend everyone! I will see you all back here on Monday!
It feels like Autumn turned off the summer switch and plunged us directly into fall here in Western PA. Late Wednesday afternoon some storms pushed through bringing rain, winds, and much cooler temperatures. Thursday morning was all about the layers for Sherman’s morning constitutional. I was so happy to have a cozy sweater to put on!
Fall brings the return of some of my favorite things (besides cooler days, that is!) I made a happy discovery on Monday morning when I opened my podcast queue to see that The Slowdown has returned! Yes, it is back with a lovely new host… Ada Limón. (today’s episode is especially moving!) And for all of you Pádraig Ó Tuama fans, he returns with Poetry Unbound on Monday!
I was fortunate to watch Nadia Bolz-Weber interview Pádraig about In the Shelter this week and it was such a lively, fun, beautiful conversation. I have since started re-reading In the Shelter with new eyes and it is helping with those feelings of discomfort, angst, etc that I have been feeling. (The Chapel has been the best thing I decided to do this year. It has brought a renewal of joy to my life. And it is decidedly “un-church-y” and is missing all of that Uber-religious-sanctimonious-fake bs that I have zero tolerance for.)
I might have stumbled on they key to returning my missing Knitting Mojo… I had been talking to Steve about Sherman needing a new sweater … a lighter weight layer rather than the “winter wooly” he has for those super cold mornings. And then, serendipitously, I saw this on IG Wednesday night. I am purchasing the pattern today and I have some well-aged hand-dyed red sock yarn in my stash that I think will make the perfect Fall Sweater for Sherms!
In the realm of Completely Weird and Definitely Wrong I need to talk about my lilac bush. In the middle of August it started dropping a few leaves and then as the month progressed more leaves dropped and it started getting some dark brown spots on the leaves. I did a bit of a Google search and decided that it might have bacterial blight… except that the branches did not wither or die at all so I figured I would solve this problem *after* we returned home from our little vacay. Fast forward to our return from Erie and my entirely de-leafed lilac had a plethora of new green leaves on the top 12-inches of all the branches… like ALL the branches. And this week it began blooming. Dozens and dozens and dozens of blooms. Seriously, easily 6 dozen lilac blooms. It looks like some strange Seussian plant with pale green leaves and a riot of pale purple booms on a long stick. I have no idea what on earth is wrong with it… but if you have any ideas please share! Lilac blooms in October is something I never ever imagined. lol
Finally, I have this urge to bake.all.the.things. and have been looking with longing at all you who have sourdough starters you are reviving for the fall. Sigh. I have never had sourdough starter success. Ever. And I have tried. But I reminded myself that I have successfully baked very good bread… so instead of wishing for something I am not likely to be successful with, I have put “bake bread” on my Monday To Do list and I am excited to renew my relationship with Peter Reinhart. (and some freshly baked bread will be the perfect accompianment to the left over chicken soup I made yesterday!)
That is all I have for this week… I will see you all back here on Monday with my September update for my word. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!