Bread from The Bakery

I’m sure there isn’t any aroma quite like this fresh baked bread straight into a brown paper bag. The the drive home surrounded by it.

But there is so much more in that bag, the nostalgia is even more overwhelming.

When we were growing up my mother made a pot of sauce every Thursday. I don’t remember how, I don’t remember the smell of it or the pot it was made in.

What I do remember is my father walking in the back door with this bag of bread. I remember putting my face in it to catch the aroma. I remember pulling the soft inside out so the meatballs fit just perfectly. I remember laying that soft inside in the pot on top of the sauce.

This bread is from a tiny little bakery in a tiny little town made by a lone baker. It was once a full service bakery in another part of town but that baker has long ago passed on.

Red Bud

This year marks the beginning of the next decade for this about to bloom red bud tree. I bought this as a shrub when I first moved to Stowe Lane ten, yes ten, years ago and it has thrived.

Shrubs don’t normally reach for the skies and become trees unless the stars align, they are properly pruned and fertilized with all the best nutrients. There is love involved and crossed fingers and sighs of relief when one realizes that the blizzards and winds, and blights have left you, I mean it, unscathed.

Of course there is no way to know what lies ahead in the upcoming decade, no way to know where one is in the ever faster unrolling of the toilet paper metaphor. And really does one need to know or just trust?

So as we move into our next decade I will rely on this beautiful red bud to continue to stop me in my tracks alerting me to spring each year and showing me the way. The way to reach for the skies, prune what is dead or no longer needed, and adjusting and adding more and better nutrients as time goes on.

All the while leaving our beautiful story behind on Stowe Lane.

The Almighty Dollar

It’s no secret that many people are motivated by the almighty dollar.  It can sometimes drive them to distraction, make their head spin, and keep them up at night.  Me too.  But I’m not talking about THAT almighty dollar.  I’m talking about the dollar I found in the parking lot of the mall during the Christmas return season.

Not kidding you…it seemed innocent enough on an incredibly bitter cold day hustling back to my car to just scoop down on the run and snatch that crumbled up dollar bill and throw it in my purse.  I was the only one in the parking lot because I am that kind of crazy when I need to just get something done.  Who cares if it’s 2 degrees?  I know 2 degrees is like summer in some parts of the world, frankly I don’t know why people live in those parts, but here it’s a bit unusual. Anyway I wanted my return out of my house because I had already moved it from one spot to the other fifty times. As I slammed the car door against the cold and started up the engine, heated seats, heated steering wheel  (I know I should stop my bitching right?)  I looked around to see if anyone was in the parking lot and it was practically deserted except for one of the small buses that usually come and go.

So I’m out of there.  But over the next couple of weeks I can’t stop thinking about this crumpled up dollar bill.  It was crumpled up so perfectly like someone had been clutching it.  Or perhaps it was stuffed in a pocket and when they pulled out their glove it fell without them even knowing it. Maybe it belonged to a child.  Or one of the many patrons that came to the friendly mall on the small bus.  Every time I went in for my keys my finger would brush up against this little dollar bill.  The scenarios in my head began to drive me to distraction, make my head spin and keep me up at night.  I know what you’re thinking, it’s completely irrational I agree.  There’s no way one can walk back in the mall and say did anyone lose a dollar bill?  It’s not like a bunch of keys for God sake…

So a few weeks go by and I start to forget about it, I never put it in my wallet it just found its way deeper into my bag.  Then one day I’m coming out of the grocery store and there are two boys collecting (begging) for the Northern Highlands baseball team.  I’m so embarrassed that I don’t have any cash, well only twenties from the ATM (love the team, not THAT much) so I apologize and move along to my car.  Half way there I remember the crumbled dollar bill…you best believe I ran it back to the boys and slept like a baby that night. Whew paid forward.


February 3rd

Today is our birthday.  No I don’t know exactly when they were born but the girls came to me on 11-3-08 at approximately 18-19 months old, or so the vet thought, so do the gizzintas… Now just Toti and I celebrate together.  She gets a special treat and I get to stay in my pajamas until 2 (even on a work day).

My text message alert, my IM alert, Facebook alert, email alert, IG alert all have different ring tones so this morning sounded like a symphony of love. Complete with crescendo, overture and finale. I am grateful for every one of those notes.

I get to hear people’s actual voices, on the phone, that I haven’t heard in a while.  My heart is bursting at the sound of Ki, and Bev, and of course, Rere, Terri, and Sandra.

Words are powerful, and poignant, and blessed and abundant.  For every word of love on this day (and during these weeks!) I am grateful.  The words came from near and far, from those I see every day or only once in a while. They came over social media and over dinner tables. They came with pictures and cartoons and gifs.  They came with reminders of where I’d been and what I’d accomplished and they came with the hope of another wonderful year ahead.

Google knows it’s my birthday.  It took me a minute to realize it, I don’t know how exactly (clearly I have my own algorithm), I’m not sure if I’m freaked out about it or not.  But they know…

I am officially of retirement age.  Oh don’t worry I’m not leaving the best gig in the company until they throw me out, tap me on the shoulder and tell me it’s over. They might very well think I’ve already retired, I’m that far under the radar.  Well if they sweetened the pot I might consider it but those days seem to be over.

Top it all off with dinner with those nearest and dearest and damn it was a day to remember.  Because February 3rd hasn’t always been the best day of my year, there have been times when I could have stayed in bed (fat chance of that now, thankfully) and not many would have noticed but if you do your life’s work well you’ll be rewarded with all of these wonderful reminders of how your legacy is shaping up.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this day so special. Ubuntu; I am because of you.

Saint Inertia

Patron Saint of those who have a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged… you know who you are. There could be any number of reasons for this but if you rely on physics:

…a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

You being the “matter” the external force well, a gentle kick in the ass comes to mind. For no other reason than you’re bitching about it, without ever once having made a move to change it.  Not seeking an external force in the way of, oh let’s call it HELP. Or change of scenery, or tweaking, or reading, or learning, or left turn, or exertion (there’s a patron saint for this too), or something other than what you’re doing now.

This seems to be testing my patience at an ever increasing rate and frankly I’m beginning to question the word patience as my guiding principle for this year. Somehow the universe is sending me situation after situation with a “let’s see what she does with this one” attitude.

But I’m not biting. Nope, can’t make me. Not gonna do it. What I am going to do is let go (see previous post) of all the people places and things I feel compelled to fix. Listen I have found myself at the altar of Saint Inertia on more than one occasion, once for almost eighteen years so I get it but it sucked. It took all those kinds of help listed above to break free and I’m still harnessing external forces because this Saint has some serious staying power if you let her in. She’s a force to be reckoned with but it’s worth the effort. My sister is using what she calls the GYST (get your shit together) method and it seems to be working for her.

Allowing yourself to remain in her grasp will kill you, it robs you of sleep, effects your finances, your performance in almost every aspect of your life, it puts on weight or takes it off too damn fast (I should only have that problem), it makes you believe this is where you’re supposed to be, and it’s NOT. It’s the equivalent of walking on thin ice every day of your life without realizing it. STOP IT before you fall through and drown.

So. When someone rolls their eyes at you, connect.  When someone asks you if they can help, let them. If someone pays you a compliment, believe them.  If anything happens other than your norm, give it a try. That’s called saying yes.

You might not have to go running back to the altar of Saint Inertia for forgiveness.  You might actually take a baby step. It’s true. It could happen. You might wind up changing…with the tiniest bit of help from Saint Exertion. Now she’s got GYST.