Because it is now officially Spring where most of you are but officially Summer where I am and officially Fall somewhere else (March is weird!), there seems to be a lot of busy-ness around. I recently found this excerpt from a collection of essays about gardening. For those of us who are busy preparing for the weeks ahead — spring cleaning! taxes! graduations! the obligatory ‘vacation’ with the entire (extended) family at an out-of-town beach! (whew!) — it’s a gentle reminder to take a breather.
(I’ve been wanting to share this story with you. It’s a bit long but I feel it is worth telling.)
In 2004, my Dad suffered a massive stroke. Thankfully, he survived but it left him with the right side of his body paralyzed, thereby impairing his mobility to a huge extent.
That in itself is difficult enough, but I believe the worst part of it for my Dad was that the stroke also severely constrained his ability to communicate. You see, Dad loved words — he read a lot, wrote essays and articles for local newspapers, and had the easiest time speaking in public (he was a politician and a teacher and had a local radio talk show). He also loved to sing.
The stroke put a stop to all that. While Dad’s brain was unaffected (he can read and can recognize classmates from high school), it had become ‘disconnected’ from his ability to speak. As a result, his vocabulary basically became limited to yes, no, and OK. He often got them mixed up, too and would say ‘no’ when he meant ‘yes’. It caused a lot of confusion on our part and much frustration for Dad. He would yell and curse at us because we could not grasp the message he was trying desperately to get across.
From the depths of my keepsakes box, an old note from high school:
Written by a classmate and marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’, it was secretly passed hand to hand in class until it reached me, who as class president had the responsibility to resolve weighty matters such as:
When are we going to watch Betamax? Before YDT (P.E.) or after Chem?
Ah, the 80s. When 13-year-olds made a momentous event out of watching E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
There is no such thing as a thanksgiving day in the Philippines. What we have are separate fiestas that celebrate the bountiful harvest and produce of various towns. There’s also Eidul Fitr, a day of thanksgiving for our Muslim countrymen. But no national thanksgiving day.
And that’s too bad because we’d do well to have one. Most of us for most of the year are unforgiving of ourselves and of others, cynical about systems and what-have-yous, and suspicious of our government and that traffic light that turns red every time we’re almost at the intersection. Some even make a daily living out of being snarky (morning AM radio, anyone?). A day to break away from all that will be a blessed relief.
My niece Cassie on vacation in the Philippines.
You have to pardon the blurriness — it really was her first time seeing an avocado.
300 pairs of sneakers. That’s what a young actor recently claimed he already has in his collection. Not nearly Imeldific, of course, but it got me thinking: in varying degrees, most of us seem to be collectors of something. I don’t mean clutter or dustballs or cobwebs. I mean stuff. Things. Knicknacks.
Some of us may hoard books, old vinyl records, concert ticket stubs, movie posters. Maybe you have a thing for baseball caps, bottlecaps, figurines, vintage cars, show programmes or stuffed toys. Three women in my family collect refrigerator magnets. And who does not know at least one cousin who keeps a shelf-full of tsotchkes from every wedding, baptism and debut she ever went to?
When we were kids, my sisters and I collected stationery, preferably from Sanrio (or from Sanrio clones — I remember a notebook cover printed with “Oh my sadness. Lookiking out of those grey eyes.”). My eldest sister still has some of the Hello Kitty pencils from those days and they are part of a growing stockpile of colorful pencils. But her more showoff-able collection: tiny chairs. Continue reading
“The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you’d just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency.”
~ Susan Allen Toth in England For All Seasons
Cozy rainy Sundays are best, I think. The Mr. made chicken congee and it was so good, I had two bowlfuls of it. Now, I’m nursing a cup of coffee and might start on ‘Elizabeth Street’ as soon as I get the dogs to stop barking, heh.
How do you spend a rainy day like this?