Friday, May 28, 2010

We Ask Too Much

There is a lot going on this Memorial weekend.
Lots of festivals, entertainments, activities to choose from.
To celebrate friends, family, 3 days off and,
oh yes,
a salute to those who have served our country.

What do they think of us?

Some served voluntarily,
Others served by random draw.
Some gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Some returned home with maimed bodies.
Others with maimed souls.

Thank you, welcome home, here is your flag.

My prayer is they will look around and see
the best there is to see of America.
That they will see the good not the bad.
I earnestly hope they will look around and not feel despair
for having served a nation which now forfeits
what they sacrificed to protect and provide.
I hope they will spend these days surrounded by beauty,
joyous loved ones
the gift of a peaceful spirit.

For those serving far from home:
I will remember you.
I will pray for you.
I will thank you.
I will wonder how you carry that giant load.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visual Haiku: Destinations

Gondola Art
Transportation Art
Neighborhood as Art
Railing Art

Exploratory Art

Travel Art
Pastry Art
Carnevalle Art
Leisure Arts
Presentation Art
Design Art

Dad, "Europe's Sewer"
Mom, "Prettiest Place On Earth"
Fishy Research Trip!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vacation Haiku Visual

Haiku Thursday:


Bosphorus calling
Ancient yali offering
Aesthetic comfort

I've been thinking it might be fun if we expanded our Haiku Thursdays to sort of be a combination of the haiku and a visual post on the same subject ala Mute Mondays. That way if you want to write a haiku, great!
Not eager to count syllables? Do a visual post.
Feeling expansive? Do em together. Might be fun.

In Istanbul it is very hot in the summers. The lucky ones retreat to their beautiful " yali"
( villa) on the river to high ceilings, open windows and cooling waterfront breezes. Many of the yali are available for lease for the summer months. They come with servants and a chef. Now that is a vacation a Fishy could love.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Fire Talker

About 2 weeks ago I made an appointment to take very custom designs and bolts of expensive textiles to the commercial fabricators workroom. They are in a big old building on the short side of the square downtown. This place does lots of high end custom bedding ensembles, window treatments and the like. Whatever designers envision and produce fabrication drawings or specifications for these folks can make. Big name designers from Hilton Head, Atlanta, Charlotte,
Savannah and all the tres expensive developments of the lake-mountain-golf gated communities scattered across the borders of North and South Carolina use these fabricators.

They are in the third generation of the family business. They are accomplished pros.

A few years ago one of the daughters , "BeBe", went back to university to earn a business degree. She grew up in this business so she knew how to run the workrooms and the installation schedules, etc. She felt a bit under qualified to take over as the new CEO so she went forth to prepare. She also has a daughter, "CeCe" about two and a half years old. This child has a playroom area within the workroom and is looked after by pretty much all the staff and her Granny. Most of us who use this workroom have watched this child grow from about 2 weeks old to the present. She is a delightful little girl with a spritely personality.

So on the appointed day I wrestled fabric bolts though the front door only to encounter lots of screaming and chaos. It seems Granny had just boiled up some chicken noodle soup for CeCe's lunch. She had put the steaming bowl on the table before getting her settled in her highchair. Somehow the bowl of soup got turned over onto the child's foot where the boiling hot noodles stuck to the flesh and oozed between her toes . Tender flesh burns easily and this child's entire foot was scalded red and the top of the arch was forming into one huge blister. And she was screaming.

I would scream too.

Rightfully, this emergency was going to bump my appointment. So I stacked the bolts in a bay and went on back to the breakroom where Bebe was waving to me like a traffic cop. I always interact with this child when I am at their business, we have a fun, silly, playful relationship. I like kids and generally they like me back. If her mother thought I would be a diversion she was certainly mistaken. CeCe just looked at me and howled louder. I got close enough to take a good look at the foot and asked,

" BeBe, do you need me to drive y'all to the doctor or the ER?"

" No, I think we will be fine here"

" Bebe, this is a first degree burn and between her toes, I think second degree.
Clearly she is in a lot of pain so come on I'll be happy to drive while you hold the baby."

" Thanks Fishy but we've already asked the Red Brothers to send for the Fire Talker"

" The what!"

" The Fire Talker"

" Well damn BeBe, lets us take the baby to get some help while they talk"

" Fishy, do you not know about Fire Talkers? They are God's healers and when someone is hurt like this they come and say their chants and talk the fire out of the flesh."

I looked at this smart, capable, lovely woman and wondered if she was having one of those brain shut downs that happens to some folks in an emergency. It IS the year 2010 . While we do live in an area that was once part of the great Cherokee Nation I think most everybody knows science and medicine have progressed a good bit over the centuries.

" BeBe, are you saying you will NOT be seeking emergency help for this child? That you, an educated woman is going to stand there and let this child suffer while you wait for someone to come thru the door and talk the fire out of her?"

'Yes Fishy, that's exactly what I am doing. Maybe it's best if you go on back to your office as I can see this upsets you. But Fishy, I know this works. They also have Blood Talkers and Poison Talkers too."

I was terribly conflicted. I wanted to call 911 but it was clear this family would refuse treatment.

" Bebe, PLEASE let me take you and Cece to a doctor."

" No Fishy, we'll be just fine and the Fire Talker shouldn't be too much longer".

So I left and went around the corner to the Red Brothers Produce stand to see Bub. He told me to stop my worrying cause his brother Stump had gone to fetch the Fire Talker and all would be fine directly. He went on to explain the Fire Talker would wave her hands in the air over CeCe's foot and say the chants God gave to her tongue and the fire would exit the foot.

If you have a bleeding problem or blood sickness you call the Blood Talker.
If you get afoul of Poison Ivy , Poison Oak, nasty insects or venomous reptiles you call the Poison Talker.

I got in my car and exited the Twilight Zone.
I did say some prayers for Cece but to tell you the truth I felt terrible.
Surely a responsible person would have called Social Services or the police.

So this morning I was back at the workroom to check on my project. Cece was not there. She stays home these days while Granny looks after her. Bebe tells me CeCe is fine. She explained how the Fire Talker came and had to work hard but after about 15 minutes of waving and chanting Cece quit screaming and then slept for about 2 hours. The Fire talker came three more times. Of course, BeBe explained, they had also " treated" her burns with neosporin and she was now able to walk again, the dead skin was sloughing off just fine and she'd be wearing a shoe again in another week or so.

I mumbled something about the "good news" and moved on to other subjects.

As I drove away I offered up another prayer, " Please Lord, protect me from ever being burned, poisoned or Heaven forbid, bleeding in this place!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Anniversary

It was 1979 when I first laid eyes on Blowfish.
I was a college student pursuing my dream to one day be an interior designer.

I had a three hour morning studio class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Midway through the class we had a 15 minute intermission. To get up and stretch, to walk around and see what was happening on the other drawing boards, to fetch a cup of caffeine. One of those mornings I walked out the back door of the resources room and saw a bunch of boys enjoying a pick up game of basketball half a quadrille away. One of those boys was amazing.
He could fake out the others and zoom dribble to the basket in a flash. He could block boys much bigger than he and he could steal the ball and head the other way almost quicker than the eye could follow. Amazingly, no matter how surprised the other players were there was no yelling, no cussing and a whole lot of laughing. I have no idea if he was the best player on the court but it was clear, even from a distance, he was the guy having the most fun. Watching the game was a nice diversion before the trip back inside to the drawing board.

Bout a week later, I was rushing to cross a street when around the corner came a little brown MG Midget , top down and with so many bodies in it I thought it was a clown car. I just missed getting smished but before I could yell out my wrath the driver was looking over his shoulder, saw I was fine, smiled ear to ear and blew me a kiss and a wave. Instead of feeling fury I laughed out loud at that basketball playing fool of a man. Go figure.

Later that same afternoon I was stopped in traffic with a full view of the tennis courts at a condo complex where a couple of men were having a major volley. One of them was the basketball guy I had seen on campus. As I was watching , his opponent hit the ball to a position I knew could not be returned. To my utter astonishment this guy threw the racket to his opposite hand hitting the ball to perfect position winning the set. I could hear the joy of his laughter above the traffic. So there he was smiling in the sunlight, hair shining like a commercial and really cute knees.

But I was in that town for a purpose and it did not have anything to do with ambidextrous
athletes with shining hair or cute knees or what was clearly a buoyant tendency towards joy.
The following morning he walked into my first class of the day and announced he would be the substitute instructor for the balance of the semester. And he wasn't a boy. He was a forty something who had not lost his joy. Go figure.

So that was a long time ago.
If you read the' Signs' post ( 05-07-09) you have a pretty good idea of how things worked out.

Now there is another anniversary to celebrate. And Blowfish, while certainly not unchanged,
has retained the ability to truly enjoy fully life's simple pleasures. Joy and knowledge continue on as his two most favorite things to share. He still needs to exercise the body to clear the mind. As a bonus, he still has hair shining in the sun, is well muscled, trim and those knees are still cute.
Go figure.

Good Morning & Good Night

"Good Morning Mama"
are often the first words I speak aloud each morning. My mother does not live with me, she is far away in a hospital bed.
In our Keeping Room, on a shelf adjacent to the first light I turn on each morning are Mama's birds. Maybe you have seen these. They came out a few years back, were fund raising items for a bird awareness group. They are correct representation of each species. Each has a motion detector and once that detection happens they sing out their individual songs. The motion of reaching for the lamp switch activates the birds and they sing forth their cheerful greeting. I usually respond with "Good Morning Mama. I sure do love you".
Sometimes the birds sing a response, sometimes not.

Over the years my mother has made
a series of transitions.
*From her home to live with a child.
*From child's home to a new construction handicap accessible house.
* From this last priceless home to an Assisted Living Residence.
* From Assisted Living to Long Term Care hospital bed.

During each of these transitions family members have all contributed. We have packed and hauled, weeded and cleaned, cried and laughed. All of Mama's things could not make the journey with her at each downsizing. Editing had to happen and I think we managed that with minimal friction. First was to identify which things could stay with Mama. Then general family disbursal happened. In some cases, the treasures went to specified individuals in accordance with Mama's directives. The upside of this is when I visit sibs or attend gatherings at the homes of the oldest of the grandchildren there are Mama treasures to be remembered, enjoyed, shared. A little bit of Mama in all of our homes . On occasion I will tease a brother in law about a treasure he has which I would have gladly taken. I do not begrudge him the treasure, the teasing is always in fun and never in angst. I do not complain, many of my most favorite treasures from Mama's life are here with me. One day, they will go to Mermaid's home to be enjoyed. I like the feeling of Mama's presence in all these locations. More importantly I like knowing she was so important to so many her treasures , like her, will be cherished.

There was a bit of a rush in packing up her apartment in the Assisted Living Residence.
Mama was in medical distress again, her future in question. There was no possibility of her improving enough to go "home" again. In the midst of all the horror and stress of these events there is always the economics to consider. We simply could not summon up thousands to buy time. We had to move her stuff before month's end or pay another months tariff. During that last rushed, terribly stressing "transition", the birds got packed in the go to Fishy's box.

So here they are. Some days, while the first cup of tea is steeping, I fetch the paper. I usually smile at the Pond birds singing their greetings and the pink roses waving good morning. I feel so grateful I have a mother who taught us all to treasure these gifts. I cannot quite determine if it is the auditory component of these little plastic birds which bring my mother to me each morning of if it is these birds are symbols of the wonderfulness of my mother. It does not matter why.
It is a fine way to start a day. Also a fine way to end a day . Because that first light turned on in the morning is the last downstairs light to be turned off at night. So before I head to bed there is one more birdsong to be enjoyed.
" Good Night Mama, Peace be With You."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

How is your Monday?

Monday rain beckons
Oh to be in my wellies
Playing in the rain!

First Monday in May
Administrative duties
Goodbye to money!

Appointment canceled
priorities reassigned
Maybe tomorrow

A cup of hot tea
Comforts weary designer
Attitude adjusts