last day


047A3341-766A-4372-A048-2DE15559C17EIt is 6:40 am and completely dark outside. Oh, this winter cocoon time. I can still be surprised by its intensity as it comes to take a huge bite out of my desire for complacency. It is not as cold outside as it usually is this time of year in Madison, although my Madison peeps are posting hiking and bike riding pictures. Yesterday in Newton, a storm gifted us damp, chilly rain, hail, thunder and lightening.  We ventured out for food shopping, and that only because it was necessary.

I started writing in bed and moved to my leather writing chair in the dining room.  I move about the house in the dark, a habit from when I shared a bedroom and did not want to disturb my sleeping mate.  I pull on my heavy pj pants and grab the shawl from Madison friends–blues and purples and memories. Tangible memories from friends punctuate my days—a Madison dish towel, knitted dish clothes, a bag of very fine cocoa mix, even the reusable bags I carry my groceries in.  In the lonely and trying moments of the last six months, these things have bought solace.  Continue reading

boxing day


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C8840884-8BEB-4F82-9CEB-86A3BF7B86D9Boxing Day.  Julia and I say ‘Happy Boxing Day’ to each other without any idea of what it means. So, I looked it up—It isn’t the day people make bonfires of the boxes that their Christmas presents came in. Neither is it the day to return all the boxes containing ill-fitting or ill-styled gifts. Those were pretty lame guesses but the best we could come up with. Google revealed (with some disagreement) that Boxing Day was British, which we knew, and traditionally a day off for servants. Servants received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the ‘master’ and then were allowed to go home to give the boxes to their families. Umm, but that’s not what happened on Downton Abbey, my British manor house reference point.  Having no servants to gift with boxes, we will read, write and draw, then go to the movies.  I miss friends who host game playing parties on this day. Maybe next year. Continue reading

holiday weekend


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F6C80BE0-6315-489F-B71E-2E4688C738C0Old December holiday styled header today.  Not this year’s at all; however, for how challenging the last few days have been, I want to claim December and celebrate cozy holidays.

Today, we put up and decorated our little fake tree.  Bought during a year that we were going to spend a long Christmas holiday with Cheshire and Julia still wanted a tree.  Since then, Julia has asked to put it up as soon as Thanksgiving is over and I could see no reason to say no.  It was on the schedule for Sunday, today is Wednesday, but the little tree is up.  As are a few decorations and a string of lights around the mantle.   Continue reading

late november catch-up


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IMG_6072Public Service Announcement: “Regularly used in text messages or online, the word/ letter /phrase /term, “K” really only means one thing: Fuck You. The use of a “K” should be reserved for very selective moments of frustration or annoyance, otherwise it sends the wrong impression.” Read more here.

Am I the last person in the cyber world to know this??  Perhaps.  I can definitely think of specific people who have used this with me.  If they meant it in any other way but a casual “okay,” I was clueless.  I think of myself as a relatively savvy-for-an-old-lady online participant—I do wonder where people get their gifs from and so quickly after I message them.  My older daughter has promised to show me.  But this, K stuff is perplexing.  Who told who and when and why did they leave me out? Continue reading

settling in some more


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NaNo_2019_-_Poster_Design_1024x1024So far I’ve written many, many words for 8 days straight for NaNaWriMo.  I would not vouch for the quality of most of them, but this is about getting words on the page and not fine literature or even hack pulp.  This month of writing is more about putting something of mine on the front burner which I have not done for a long while.  Arguably, a good deal of the last year, moving and settling into Newton, has been about me, but Julia is usually in the front burner pot.

For this month, I’m intending to add 50,000 words to a very old project that already has almost that number of words devoted to it.  It is an ambitious idea but it is a good time to try to do it.  Even after 4 months, I don’t have many connections here.  Community building is slow but sure, and I have time and energy to take on a solitary project.  I have two kinds of online support and I can go to the occasional write-in at my local library.  I spent October preparing an outline, reestablishing my meditation practice which has been slipping, applying myself at the gym and cooking large amounts of freezable foods.  I was going strong until last week. Continue reading

living into questions


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Cheshire coxing for a senior boat at Head of the Charles.

Believe it or not, I have been journal writing a lot this month and yet I’ve been unwilling to bring anything to the point of posting and publishing.  

Just interesting.

I read a poem every morning curtesy of Joe Riley  and his email list called Panhala.  (I can’t find a working link for the site but a subscription request might be here:  I took up this habit about 8 years ago because I never liked reading poetry and it seemed that all the work I was doing and the people that I was working with valued poetry and always had something inspirational to read to begin meetings.  At that time, I also remembered that I had promised myself to read poetry (and also Proust) in my old age, assuming as I did when I was very young and callow, that deep understanding would be mine by the time I reached oldladyhood. Somehow I came across Joe Riley’s work of sending out daily poems and I subscribed.  I deleted many without even a read when my email inbox got overwhelmingly full and I stopped in the middle of reading many times because I just didn’t get it; however, little by little, over the years, I have come to some understanding of poetry.  And I now envy poets, like painters, who can say so much, move so deeply with a minimum of words.  It is not my talent, as this long paragraph attests to, but my appreciation grows with every verse I read.   Continue reading

catching joy



Time to celebrate and throw confetti!  Cheshire and Justin are going to be married.


Two weeks ago, Cheshire’s boyfriend, Justin, came over to talk about their future.  Their future together.  It was with so much joy that I gave him the ring that was worn by Cheshire’s grandmother, Inez Sarvetnick Schanker, and after Cheshire was born, by me. Completely serendipitously, Justin came to talk to me on David’s birthday, what would have been his 65th birthday.  David’s birthday is not one of those special days that register with me but this one did as I wrote about.  Having this special conversation on David’s birthday made it sweeter still, if that was possible.

Justin proposed last Friday and his parents with Julia and I joined Justin and Cheshire for a celebratory brunch after a ferry ride on Sunday.  We are all very happy.

Planning is underway. Julia, who has discovered Pinterest, texted Cheshire a cake with bride and groom cats on the top and little paw prints going up the sides of the three layers. I am so very tickled that I will not be a long distance mother-of-the-bride.

right here



A short note on grief: To anyone who has silently complained about a friend grieving too long, or who has wondered WHEN their own grieving would cease and themselves back to their old self, I have learned that grieving is a process without end.  You grow the rest of your life around it, it doesn’t disappear.  At some time, you will or you might do everything you would have done before losing your beloved.  You might do more than your pre-grieving life could have imagined but at any moment, the everyday round can side swipe you.

Today, a Mary Oliver poem popped in my inbox and I read:

“It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know

where to drop the knife of
separation.  And what does this have to do
with love, except


Nine years disappeared and I was right there wondering about the me who considered myself so independent through out all of my marriage and who found breathing almost impossible after David stopped breathing. 

And it is with so many feelings, including gratitude, that I find myself back there.  Or rather, right here.




Cheshire coxing her senior boat last weekend

The week’s notes. Morning. I live on a quiet street although . . . contractors are always working on someone’s home. Today, power saw, power staplers (nailers?) and hammer blows—re-shingling, I think. And there is the sound of traffic from a few streets over.  And the garbage men.

I am studying the light in my rooms at various times of the day.  My bedroom is very dark at night which is much appreciated.  The Madison house, on the corner, had a street light that shined into my bedroom.  Julia’s room, less dark here, needs some heavy curtains. I put up blinds for her which help a bit. I don’t like blinds.  I used to say I hated blinds, but I’m getting used to them here. I remind myself that this is a rental and will never conform completely to my wishes.   Continue reading

apples, prejudice & bao



img_5756The week opened into this new season.  I moved to Newton in the middle of summer but I am experiencing every bit of this new season as it rolls in.  Skies are blue except when they are not; dusky greens are just beginning to show color and we need more than our summer blankets at night.  

Last weekend, we picked apples in Stow, MA.  Saturday began with clouds and I was betting we could make it to the farm, pick apples and leave before the rain set in.  However, the rain began in earnest as we crossed the border into Stow.  So, we found a cafe in Maynard, the next town over, where we ate grilled cheese and I had a good coffee.  We parked next to a Harry Potter shop, found out that there is a Wizard’s Con in November, and looked at a lot of cool stuff.  Then the rain stopped and we were able to squish around in the apple orchard and bring home a bag of apples.   Continue reading