Tag Archives: Parenting

A Kind of Kindling

All relationships need kindling

It’s too easy to become wrapped up
in the monotony of daily life
and think things will fix themselves
with the drying of the plastic dishes on the counter

But sometimes gotta get out of the kitchen
go to a place where there are no dishes to wash
no routines to keep
a different perspective and air to breathe

We played in the field after dinner
and it was not planned
I saw you smile in the dunes
and make jokes while pedaling the surrey

It wasn’t you and I arguing
or me wishing you were 8 again

We were just ourselves
and there was no animosity
or harsh words or sadness

There are new memories on the beach now
a twinkle in my eye when I look southward
and see the city where we spent a weekend

A much-needed weekend
spontaneous and free

The you and me that always has been
and hopefully always will be.

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Filed under Sunday Night Sonnet

A Rare Cold Day

It’s a rare cold day here
one meant for staying close in
and keeping the biting breeze out
Or perhaps to face the bite
let it rattle your bones for a bit
then come inside and take a warm sip

There’s tea on the stove
coffee in the carafe
Sun is gleaming on the chilly
palm fronds outside
But my couch is empty
too many cups in the cupboard

January can be an icy stare
smoke-filled rooms with nowhere
to breathe
Resolutions already falling away
A need for connection
but the line is dead

Suit up and carry on
it’s just one more day
one rare cold day
But with the birds flight
south-wind, still
a struggle to let go within.

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The Summer of 12

Soaked in cold spring water
engulfed in it
I want to paddle against the current again

River rocks
you helped me walk over their slippery path

A mountain’s bald peak
grass as soft as cotton
No stress there

Can we go back
on days like these
where life has sucked out
all the marrow of zen
and time is on fast-forward

The summer of 12
the best in my life

You 12, me 42
But among those swaying pines
and silly laughter
I was the same as you

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Spirograph and Worn Antiques

I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother lately. The one who is deceased, not the one who is alive. Granny is still dipping snuff and listening to country music in her ranch-style home. Nana is somewhere with that great spirit in the sky, perhaps noshing on walnuts and dancing to Glenn Miller.

But I have felt her presence lately. I’m not sure why she has decided to visit but I will welcome it nevertheless.

The other day I was sitting at the dining room table, a worn 1920’s set I inherited from Nana’s mother. For a moment I was ten again, or rather wished I was. I could hear echoes of my cousin’s laughter and smell the buttered toast Nana would broil for us every morning. I could see her spinning in the front room to the sound of the jazz album. I could feel the spongy firmness of the big eraser I used to delete scattered lines from my latest Spirograph design.

There was always something to do at Nana and Papa’s. Whether it was trudging and scavenging and playing among Papa’s junk yard or dancing to the music from the turn table and playing “Office” in the living room or being a guinea pig in one of my older cousin’s traps or home-made haunted houses in the basement.

Sometimes it feels like those times were a hundred years ago. But thank god I have those memories at least.

I love that my own son now plays around that worn antique set. Does his homework there. Builds Legos. Has chatty weeknight dinners with me there. I bought him a Spirograph set a while back. He didn’t quite take to it like I thought he would.

I think my Nana would be proud of me for the most part. Maybe that’s why she visits from time to time. Just to let me know.

And to remind me to keep dancing.

glenn miller dancing

 

 

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Not Just Grey Matter

We’re sun-kissed and
exposed
not just grey matter
Hopeless romantics and dreamers
Keepers of secrets
collectors of quartz and jasper

We listen to guitar and synth
and violin

Take out the garbage
bring some in

On this plane we have evolved
no more screaming in the driveway
all is calm

No we are not just grey matter
We are of the same blood
forever connected
unremittingly.

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I Feel Strongly About Saturn

I’ve always been a proponent of vacations. Every vacation I ever took left me with a newfound sense of zen, an inspiration to tweak things in my life, and an altered way of looking at my surroundings.

I just got back from a three week road trip (tour de South) with the boy, who is twelve years old- that splendid minute between childhood and adolescence. He still sleeps with his stuffed animal Snuggles yet he forgot I existed once on our trip when a fellow 21 Pilots fan with long dark hair and a braided choker necklace entered his world.

Besides my glorious trips overseas in my teens and twenties I have not been away from home for this length of time. I can be a cave-dweller. When not at work or grocery shopping at Walmart I stick to my minute radius, often ignoring the slight nag to interact with humanity on a physical level.

Vacations pluck you out of your comfort zone, plop you into the unknown, and enlighten your sense of self. I learned I can keep up with preteens on a floating obstacle course (although I could barely lift my arms the next day). I realized I am pretty good at being a chameleon when it comes to cohabitating with various families and groups of people (although I had to slink away at small intervals to get away from the tiresome chatter I’d rather replace with a good book or staring at the tops of the trees).

I urinated in several outdoor locations without soaking my feet. I got lost in the banjo-echoed boonies without becoming completely inconsolable. I drove through thunderstorms and along winding mountain roads and alongside Live Oaks draped in Spanish moss.

I sang aloud to Boz Scaggs and Jimmy Hendrix and Weezer. I sipped coffee with my brother. I read fairy tales to my nephew. I poured my grandmother a glass of milk. I floated down rivers with friends I hope I have forever.

And all this with my son.

When we pulled into our driveway I was a bit dejected. Reality. Chores. Bills. Work. Homework. But if I can tackle these things with the zen I felt on the mountain, the freedom I felt on the open road, the happiness I felt surrounded by friends and family, then maybe these mundane tasks won’t be so stressful.

“I feel strongly about Saturn” was written in marker on a wooden bed in a cabin in the north Florida woods. It made me think of all the travelers who came there before me. And the dreams of stellar travels to come.

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1982 Called

Quintessential 80's

 

This photograph encapsulates so much of what I remember-and miss- about the ’80s. This is a real photograph (as if you couldn’t tell from the faded color and hideous retro wallpaper) of me, my bro, and some neighbor kids in the kitchen where I ate many of my meals from 1979 to 1995.

This kitchen went through several make-overs over the decades but this is what it looked like for many of my young childhood years. That damn telephone cord ticked me off more than a few times as it either coiled up in a way even Houdini would have a difficult time unraveling the thing or it choked me or my brother as my mom methodically raced around the kitchen prepping hobo dinners and fried apricot pies.

But there was always a surprise to who may be on the other end of the line when it loudly rang until you picked it up. And during phone conversations there was not really anywhere to go but stretch the cord beyond its limits into the dining room to have a “private” conversation.

And that Tupperware. I don’t know how but I have that olive-green bowl I’m eating from in the photograph resting on a shelf in my own kitchen now. Don’t know what happened to the others. I suppose they are in Tupperware heaven, reuniting with their lids. I take my Greek yogurt to school in mine and the kids look at it as if it’s a relic from an ancient civilization. God knows how many PBAs have mutated inside. But I love it because it reminds me of this time. The ’80s. A time I will forever be nostalgic about.

Look how happy we are eating our ice cream. At first glance I thought it might be cottage cheese because we did eat that with canned pineapple at times but what kids would be that excited about curdled cheese?

My brother was always goofy. I was the overachiever who loved him making me laugh.  Though now he is 700 miles away from me I can hear a line from a movie or song from our childhood and burst out in laughter thinking how he would mimic it.

There are hundreds more nostalgic memories I have from those years but right now I’ll just leave it at this one photograph.

Even though most everything in that kitchen is now in a landfill (except the rustic fall scene painting- my Granny has it) that is how the kitchen always looks in my dreams.

 

What did your childhood kitchen look like? Is there anything you wish you still had from it?

 

 

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