Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Poop Notes #SOL

I hate when the kids leave.  I fight to keep the tears at bay.  I strive to stay productive.  However, a blanket of sadness usually wraps around me.

After returning from dropping my daughter off at the airport on Sunday, I immediately prepped my lunches for the week because I knew that my motivation would wane after hosting my TeachWrite writing group at 2:00 p.m.  

Not long after, I sat down at my desk to set up the Zoom meeting, and as I opened my computer, I saw a green sticky note with the word "poop" written on it on the inside of my candy jar.  I smiled as I knew that my son left it while he was home for Thanksgiving. 

I looked up at the lamp to switch it on and found another "poop" sticky note.  Everywhere my eye could rest was a "poop" note.  I opened the drawer and found another.  I leaned back in my chair and found one on the edge of the desk.  They were everywhere.

I texted my son ,"Thanks for the love notes."  

He texted back, "Hope you enjoy finding them all."  

Two days later, I found yet another.  

Every. Single. Time. I smiled.  Cam knows me well, and he knew just how to get me out from under that heavy blanket.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Fr-amily #SOL

A dear friend, or sister of my heart, called last night to deliver the most joyful news.  She "might" come to Thanksgiving dinner.  

I am not sure if I can fully express my joy enough for others to understand.  Whatever happens, these words, and her bravery, have stirred my heart.

It has been a long time since we have gathered.

Our fr-amily has been isolated
by diverging lives as 
our children have spread their wings
and have flown in different directions,
where once they were flying together.

Left behind,
we have all been trying to find 
our place, our purpose again,
and while one would think
this might bring us closer,
a different monster has us reeling, 
gauging, and treading a precarious landscape.

An enemy has invaded
and taken hostage one of our own,
and we are all navigating 
a new reality.
Slowly, we are finding our way
back together 
because together we can 
reclaim and celebrate the love
that has grown in this chosen family,
which will provide a respite 
from any force that might dare try
to separate us.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Cooking Is Emotional #SOL

Before Ashley left to start her nursing clinical rotations as a junior at UW Madison, we decided that we would meet over Zoom on Sunday evenings to prep a meal for the week.  We have had two sessions so far.

I sent 3 to 4 recipes for her to choose from a few days ahead and make sure she had the ingredient list before the weekend started.  Unfortunately, she waited to do her shopping the hour before our meetings, and each time there was a phone call from the store.

The first time:  "Mom, they like have no chicken!"  

This shopping experience resulted in the purchase of a rotisserie chicken, which should have made the work much easier.

The second time:  "Where do I find parmesan cheese?  What is poultry seasoning?"  

After discussion and pictures sent via text, she came home with a few things she should have been able to keep in her pantry for other recipes.

I thought that would have been the end of the problems as she had taken 4 different foods classes in high school. I never could have guessed that those cooking sessions would be so emotional.  There were tears, frustration, anger, and even violence.

In our first session, we prepared one of her favorite dishes - a Weight Watchers chicken and broccoli casserole.  I like to prepare all of the ingredient before we start the actual cooking.  The last ingredient we had to prepare was the chicken, and that should have been quick for her because she had a rotisserie chicken.

She took the chicken out of the container, looked at it, and said, "What do I do with this?  It's gross!"

After a couple of close ups of the chicken in front of the camera,  she had the chicken right side up, but she would not touch it.  She tried to cut the meat off the bones, but that did not seem to work.  She tried to take it off with her hands, but immediately started to complain.  

The next thing I knew she was crying - I mean literally crying.  

Eventually, she was able to get the meat off by hacking it with a chef's knife.

With a lot of patience and deep breaths on my end and tears and whining on her end, we created the casserole she loves.  

for our second session, she chose a recipe from Skinny Taste's new Simple cookbook.  All of the recipes include 7 or less ingredients.  This seemed like it would be much easier.

Very early in our preparation, she calls out, "I do not understand why people thinking cooking is relaxing!  I don't understand why people like cooking!"

After I explained that we were not cooking for relaxation but for preparation, she yelled, "I can't open the poultry seasoning!"  She continued to wrestle with it for a few minutes, and then she stated, "Well, I'm going to hack it apart with this knife!"  And that is just what she did.  She took her anger out on the container and destroyed it.

Eventually, both cooking experiences ended in smiles.  And I have to say that this time spent with her is worth all of those the emotions!  I get about almost two hours of one on one time with her, and I will take that even if it is through a screen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Changing Views #SOL

Our street was alive this morning with an enormous crane, a wood chipper, chainsaws, and a zippy Bobcat.  After 25 years, approximately 10 pine trees were removed from our neighbors' properties, seven of them were on edge of our land.  

Many people from the neighborhood were out watching five men skillfully removing trees along fences, next to houses, and against power lines.

At one point while inside the house, I could hear the chainsaw just outside the window.  I went outside to see the tree that was on our side being lifted above the fence. 


And then, it was floating high above our neighbor's house.  

Minutes later, it was being fed through a wood chipper.  

And now, our voices echo in the driveway, and the neighbor is getting burned by the sun through her window.  

The view from and of our older and developed street is now forever changed.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about this.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Keys Are Needed to Unlock Too Many Things #SOL

Just as I sat down to host my writing group, I received a call from my parents.  I assumed they were calling to tell me they got home safely, as they flew out of Connecticut earlier today to return to their home in Florida.   It was a short but wonderful visit with our small family.  

However,  the tone of my mother's voice imparted that they were definitely NOT where they wanted to be.  

She asked, "Heather, did your dad happen to leave our car keys at your house?"  

My shoulders sagged as I responded, "Oh no, you can't find your keys?"

Even if we had them, we certainly could not solve their problem today.  The keys are still missing, and I hope a friend can find the spare set at their home.  

As I wait I wrote a nonet.



doors, boxes, 

and other things

of value we aim

to keep safe from others,

but what is to be done when

we can't unlock the mind to find

the skeleton needed to go home?

Last minute update just as I was about to hit publish:  The keys were found! Um, they were found inside a suitcase they said they checked three times.  But hey, this gave me something to write about.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Too Many Seconds Missed #VerseLove

Thank you, Allison Berryhill, for the invitation to ponder what I've missed.  This idea was a topic of conversation over drinks with friends last night.  As a teacher, time off does not necessarily match up with the rest of the world.  I feel that I have missed many moments in my children's lives, and it is even harder now that they are adults and off on their own.  

I recently missed Mother's Weekend for my daughter's sorority.  She sent me pictures, attempting to keep me connected, but it hit my heart.  I am going to plan carefully so I can attend next year.  I only have so many more of these "mother" moments.

I missed
a weekend by your side
with your "sisters,"
instead a friend stepped in my place.

I missed 
making bouquet bunches,
our fingers arranging the beautiful blooms
in the same room and not through text.

I missed
too many seconds
because time is a treasure
that is difficult to find with you.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Finding Poetry #VerseLove

Thank you, Dave, for the invitation to find some poetry.  I took a page from Kate Quinn's The Alice Network.  I found two poems on two different pages, but this is the one I decided to share.  

That seemed to be the end.
I laid my head back,
the moon slid over the window--
I blinked.
My face
managed to 
the raw shocking night.
It was real--
just true horror,
but I didn't have any more tears.

Poop Notes #SOL

I hate when the kids leave.  I fight to keep the tears at bay.  I strive to stay productive.  However, a blanket of sadness usually wraps ar...