Mother’s Day

My mother died on my birthday and in the weeks between Mother’s Day (the last time I saw her) and my birthday, she comes back to haunt me in the form of the Trickster. Things disappear; attention is diverted, plans thwarted. I trip over my own sense of reality and fall into a place beyond boundaries. My mother’s been dead for over twenty years so I’ve gotten used to this yearly disruption. I’m apprehensive but I look forward to it in a strange way.
My mother was very orderly and proper. There was no sign of the anarchist in her personality. But perhaps we never really know someone, no matter how much we think we do. Do we even know ourselves? The influence of a mother never ends. A bad influence can turn out good so don’t despair—I’ve seen it happen. A good influence (like my own) can expand to cosmic proportions. My mother has structured a season of mischief, but I never know what that mischief will consist of.
I live in a world of Uncertainty and Possibility. For this reason, I was never good at multiple choice, or true/false tests as a kid. Anything is possible in my world. There were times I thought I knew what the teacher wanted, but it seemed so dreary, so limited, so uninspiring. Give me an essay test (but don’t count off for misspelling) and I will soar. I think my mother checks in to remind me to get it together, that some control is necessary. One can’t take flight if they forget their wings. She reminds me of what real chaos is like.
Already clothes slide off their hooks and get lost in corners, hangers tangle, my bookmark slips out of place, and the good knife has run off with the teaspoons. Essential ingredients disappear and reappear after the dish has been improvised. I dodge phone trolls and there’s a glitch in our Netflix that causes it to flash onto a vintage Osmond concert just as the fiendish murderer is about to be revealed. Reality wavers.
Of course, these are little things that happen to everyone occasionally. But in these few weeks, they will come relentlessly for me. I hunker down and prepare to be embarrassed, frustrated, entertained and enlightened.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Oh, did I miss it?

Sketchbook Project

I was a bit doubtful when I first heard about this project–after all, I was laughed out of art class in the seventh grade. But I watched the TED talk and was encouraged by idea that you don’t have to be a “gallery” artist to want to create something, and by the instruction that I could do anything (which meant I could write in it too). So I wrote, I drew, I pasted in a few of my grandchildren’s drawings. I had fun doing it.

There will be an exhibition in 2018 and it will be digitized…stay tuned.

Adventures in Tidying

Last week I cleaned out two closets. This is a monumental accomplishment for me. It was perpetrated by the fact that we were away for most of the summer and unusually busy the rest. No time for Spring cleaning (not that I ever partook of this activity, cleaning is done on whim and windows of time). I was also inspired by a visit from my daughter, the most capable, organized woman I know. She juggles career, home, motherhood, and social life with ease. Well, I can’t imagine it’s with ease, but she manages—actually, she more than manages, she’s succeeds! Go figure. This innate talent for efficiency and control surely comes from a distant ancestor, as I’m certainly unworthy to take credit for it.
Nevertheless, motivated by her example, I dug into the horde that had collected in two closets, disposed of the useless and filled the trunk of the car with serviceable donations. Then I sat back in satisfaction—but not for long. Each day I’m forced to face a larger clothes closet in order to dress, stow clean clothing, remove and replace footwear. Also occupying this closet are my cloth shopping bags, past Halloween costumes, scarves, a safe, jewelry, makeup, assorted beads, tassels, clips and doodads that might come in handy someday…or not. Will a hatpin come in fashion in the future? Will I use the ten pairs of eyeglass frames I’ve taken from friends and family? Will grandchildren appreciate my Lone Ranger pocket watch? My Reddy Kilowatt earrings? My father’s Reddy Kilowatt tie clasp?
I have no idea of the value of the foreign currency from a dozen countries I’ve neglected to turn in after traveling, nor the jar of old coins. Who will appreciate my painted motorcycle jacket? Does holding on to my father’s wallet give me joy eighteen years after his death? Heck, yeah! The mini dress I saved from college in the 60’s—it still fits, though it can’t be worn outside in my dotage.
You see where I’m going with this…
A week’s gone by since my initial “surge to purge.” I open the doors of my two clean closets and my yet-to-be-cleaned closet, and stare but the fire is out. In an effort to motivate myself to finish the job (or, ok, evade the guilt of not finishing) I make a pilgrimage to a relevant site in my neighborhood, a monument to the dire effects of hoarding, Collyer Park, the site of the home of the infamous Collyer brothers ( ).
When I get home, I’m too tired to do any physical work, so in the course of looking up the story of the Collyers, I discover a site, with the same name, selling furniture. The irony frustrates me more and I retire to the sanctuary of Netflix.
I find contentment in the knowledge that my children (both) have surpassed me.
Maybe I’ll get around to that closet next week.
Anyone want to buy a motorcycle jacket?

My Summer Vacation

Day 0
Why am I planning a vacation? I live in New York City! Everyone else goes away and I have the city to myself (sort of). I hate airplanes.
Day 1
On the plane—Can’t sleep, iPad jumps when I try to read, no good movies, legs cramps.
Then we land, take our luggage on a bus, but the bus is a boat (vaporetto)! The boat is a bus! We’re in Venice! Canals, lagoon, pasta! Prosecco, gelato! Let me at it. Toilet paper in the hotel is gift wrapped! I’m not in Kansas any more.
Day 2 and…
Rialto bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Correr, Garabaldi St., gelato, Jewish Ghetto, Academia (May be most amazing museum ever! Bosch!), Murano (eh), St.. Marcos, Academe bridge at sunset, churches, churches, HEAT, museum of musical instruments, food!
I don’t want to leave…ever!
Day 6 Florence
Easy train ride. The hotel has given us a hand-held device with GPS and free international phone calls. “Hi, kids, eat your heart out.”
Day 7
Uffizi, David, museums, museums, HEAT, Galileo museum. Churches. Charlottsville 🙁
Day 8/9
Laundry day near Santa Maria Novella, loud smells. Museo del Bargello, walking, churches. Pitti palace, walking, shopping, eating.
Day 10
Tuscany, Siena, San Gimignano.
Day 11
Santa Croce, shopping, walking, eating. Did I mention HEAT.
Day 12
Train to Rome. Old hotel in back street below Spanish steps. Lovely. (see the view of cafes from our window)
Day 13 and…
Colosseum, Forum, HEAT, walking, eating, churches, flea market, ghetto, Kosher lunch (humus, baba, ahhhh), Borghese gardens (hot and dry 🙁 restful ), Piazza Popolo, Ara Pacis (slavery exhibit, oy!), Catacombs (bones removed because tourists steal them!), Borghese Gallery (Caravaggio, but we’re museumed out, can’t stop laughing, place is all marble like living in a [fancy] bathroom—where is the exit?) Last dinner—why am I yearning for fish tacos?
Day 17
Frantic message from our son at the airport, “R U OK? Heard there was an earthquake there.”