Thursday, March 24, 2016

All Hail Epsom

When more than 15 inches of wet snow falls on your property and you feel compelled to shovel walks (front and back) and sidewalks and the area behind your garage so you can get your car out ... and move branches that have fallen over the sidewalk and back walk and the end of the alley . . . and you are well over – way over – retirement age but you can’t call anyone to help you because the electricity is out and your landline isn’t working and you could use your cellphone but the people you might call aren’t in your directory … you just do what you need to do.

And that evening, as if you ever had any doubt, you bless the existence of Epsom salts and bathtubs.

I even looked it up and here quote directly from Wikipedia:

Magnesium sulfate (or magnesium sulphate) is an inorganic salt (chemical compound) containing magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, with the formula MgSO4. It is often encountered as the heptahydrate sulfate mineralepsomite (MgSO4·7H2O), commonly called Epsom salt, taking its name from a bitter saline spring in Epsom in Surrey, England, where the salt was produced from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay.

So all hail Epsom. And sunshine. 
And the fact that it isn’t supposed to snow again until tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2016


When my mom used to visit us after our respective divorces, I could not help but notice how much time she spent playing solitaire. 

 I did not understand it then. 

I did know that when my dad divorced her (to marry his secretary) after 36 years of marriage, Mom almost committed suicide and almost certainly, lost her raison d’ĂȘtre. Or most of it. 

Although she could be funny and charming and graced my life and the lives of my kids with laughter, there was a bone-deep sadness about her that was almost palpable. 

She’s been dead more than 20 years. So why do I think about her – and her games of solitaire now? 

Because I’ve hit my own low ebb recently – saddened and hurt (and angry) about a recent personal experience. 

 And I have become keenly aware of how much computer solitaire I have been playing. 

It used to be a ‘break’ – a quick distraction from whatever I was working on. Then it got to be a bad habit – almost an obsession. Then when I hit an emotional bottom, it almost took over my life. 

At least I was aware enough to stop long enough to try to figure out what was going on. 

 I play four simple games and my computer tells me how many games I have played. Suspecting the worst, I added up the totals. And the total was more than 7,000. That’s over an extended period of time – certainly well over a year, maybe two. But still. 

If an average game takes about five minutes, then I have wasted the equivalent of 24 days of my life. And I don’t have that many days to waste. Indeed, who does? 

Have I become my mother, drifting in a morass of self-pity and loneliness? I don’t think so. Having become aware of what I was doing, I can stop. I will stop. And I will pull myself out of this particular hole. I’ve been in holes before. I know how to do this. 

And I will.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cat Sandwich

I awoke this morning, aware that a cat was snuggled along my right side, curved up under my arm. I suspected, correctly, that it was Herbie (the world’s cuddliest cat). 

On a prayerful hunch, I moved my left arm out. Sure enough, there was Guinness (not the world’s cuddliest cat) curled up against my side, toward my lower back. 

I was a cat sandwich. 

I spent about the next 15 minutes alternatively caressing my guys, generating sleepy purrs. 

What a lovely, gentle miracle. 

Especially since only 24 hours earlier I had awakened with sickening dread and sorrow believing that the vet would have to put Guinness to sleep because of an incurable, inoperable ailment. 

But when we got to the vet, he said Guinness was getting better, that he’d get a shot that day, then another in two days and be checked again on four days. 

So. I don’t know how much more time we have. Who does? 

But I do know that all lovely, gentle miracles should be acknowledged with gratitude. 

So thanks.