Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A dear couple that I know through my work at a local non-profit stopped by today with a gift of FOUR pints of strawberries, freshly picked from a local grower. They are bright red with brilliant green tops and you can smell their sweetness before you ever bite into that delicious flesh. Abby and I have already gone through close to half of them.

This couple is no ordinary husband and wife. I met them before they retired, before they had time to pick strawberries in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. The Mrs. served on the finance council and was winding down a very productive career as a businesswoman. She was sharp, very sharp. The Mr. was getting set to retire from years of self-employment. Over the next few years, they indeed retired and settled into the quiet years of garden puttering, wood working, bike riding, trips to see children and grandchildren... and then the Mrs. was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Her husband has not let this diagnosis change who they are to a large extent. They still travel to see the children and grandchildren, even though the Mrs. can't always remember where they are going and whom they are going to see. Volunteer work (including strawberry deliveries!) is still undertaken. She is still neatly dressed and if he doesn't quite match things as she would have, or her hair isn't as precisely combed as it was before, no one would ever say. Most would never notice. You can't get past the gorgeous, child-like happy smile that is almost always on her face.

Watching him maintain, at what must be great sacrifice to himself, her safe, secure world is stunningly beautiful. She watches every move he makes, for he has become all that she can remember, her only touchstone and connection with what is real. Even if she doesn't know why, can't remember much of who she is, who they are, she knows she is loved. Sweetly, gently. Forever.

Everytime I fish a strawberry out of the basket, I think how wonderful that kind of love is. How beautiful to witness the sweetness of love, not in the blush of youth and joy when life rises up to meet you, but in the wane of life, as days grow shorter and life grows harder. How beautiful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Finish your supper

Put your plate in the sink

Stop picking on your brother/sister

Pack up your bookbag

Get in the tub

Brush your teeth

Put your clothes in the hamper

Wipe up the floor

Did you wash behind your ears

Turn the light off

I love you

Go to bed

Go to bed

Go. to. BED!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life is Like a Carton of Sour Milk

It smells and there are chunks.

Today was grocery shopping day. We go on Sunday mornings because it is the least crowded day to brave the superstore. When we arrive home with our groceries, we usually do a quick clean-out of the refrigerator. Out goes the last of the wilted produce, the leftovers that never got eaten, the milk that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Today I set the carton of milk out on the little table we have by the garage door, planning to take it out to the edge of the woods to be poured out. Only I got distracted by squabbling children and completely forgot it. I know. We're all really SHOCKED that Ms. ADD got distracted.

The dog, however, did NOT overlook my forgetfulness and was just too intrigued by the carton to leave it alone. He turned it over. Strong smell and lumpy texture notwithstanding, he drank/ate it. Rob discovered this when he went to the car to get something out. While I was getting a bucket of water, soap and a mop together, Abby ran in to inform us that Bob (the genius dog) had barfed. All over the garage. Which is how I discovered that Bob had also eaten an onion. And a strawberry. And a LOT of sour milk.

So the moral of the story is no good deed goes unpunished or don't delay pouring out the old milk or curiosity may have killed the cat, but it makes the dog throw up.... Choose your own moral.

The good news is that Monday doesn't look nearly so intimidating now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

She Dements Me

I love her. But boy oh boy does she drive me crazy sometimes!

Quirky can be endearing. Unless one of your "quirks" is that you like to open board games and take out all the cards and spread them out on the floor. All of the cards from all of the board games. Monopoly, Candyland, Head Bandz, Memory. At the same time. Hundreds of little rectangles, all mixed together like a giant card melting pot: "Draw Four" snuggling up with "Go Directly To Jail." It only takes her about three minutes to create this chaos. The clean-up is much longer and involves me alternately cajoling and demanding and finally yelling a bit.

It dements me. It really, really dements me. It also makes me want to give our games away. Because no matter what punishment is doled out for this crime, the rate of re-offense is 100%.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I lay spread-eagle on the trampoline, eyes closed.

Watching nothing.

Doing nothing.

Just being.

Letting the breeze cool my sun-warmed skin.

Listening as it flipped the pages of an abandoned book to and fro.

The distant thrum of a lawn mower.

A bird chirping from his limb on a River Birch.

Squealing kids playing under the water sprinkler.

The dog barking at a leaf.

No one and nothing calling my name.

In the moment.

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