Becoming Brynna

We pull into the parking lot of the Old Saybrook train station. "Oh no!" I moan, looking at the full lot. "We'll never find a parking spot." Rosemary reminds me that when we first got together, I used to visualize parking spaces for her. She is right. Why have I become so pessimistic in my old age? I try my old visualization skills. It works! As we round the last corner, a parking space appears. ... [Click on TItle to read more]

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To Virtual Friendship

For several years now, I have started most days with a glance at my friend Scott’s puns of the day: “Pigs are stymied,” or “Beginning campers do it intentionally.” Sometimes, our mutual friend Rick posted a pun in reply and it seemed just like when we used to be in English class together. When Scott wasn’t well enough to post, I missed him, and I guess others did too, because when he showed up on Facebook after an absence, there would be comments, “Glad you’re back!” “Missed you!” “Welcome back!’ I didn’t know, until I read his obituary, that he had published several books of puns. [To read the whole piece, click on the title.]

So Little Time

“How did I ever find time to work?” I often hear friends who no longer spend their hours at a regular job lament. “What did I do when I had to do all this – and work too?” My calendar is filled with regular tasks and events – haircuts, dental cleanings, yoga classes, book group, writing group, errands, social engagements. But I did these when I was working. I thought it would be different without a full-time work assignment. For one thing, I thought I would have more time to write! [Click on Title to Read Full Post]

A Christmas Story

It was Christmas morning, early, and I sat in the sunroom, hoping to watch the sun come up over the marshes, behind the North Cove, out beyond the distant river. The marsh grasses were brownish red and lifeless; in the distance, the leafless trees looked cold and friendless. The sailboats in the cove were all put away for the winter; a single barge stood at the mouth of the cove, its crane extended over the tree line, raised not in defiance, but in supplication. [Click on Title to Read the Whole Post.]

Some Days the Dragon Wins

It’s not easy to be positive. Some days I just want to curl up on the couch and Netflix binge on Gray’s Anatomy and play solitaire on my iPhone. Occasionally, I do just that. On those days, my only other alternative seems to be to sit in front of a blank screen, wishing I could think of something to write about. Since August, when Rosemary’s breast cancer recurred, it has been even more difficult to fight the dragons that life presents.  I read blog posts from the past and wonder, “Who was that person who took over my body and wrote all those upbeat things?” It’s not that the person who wrote them isn’t me. It’s just not me on my bleak days. [Click on the title to read the whole post.]

The Things I Didn’t Do

When Shannon was little and I was a single parent, I often wished that I had more time to cuddle and coddle her. She was an adorable and agreeable little girl and eager to please; she often took on adult tasks at an early age. She could read maps and acted as my navigator in the car almost as soon as she could read. She bought her own clothes within a very limited budget by the time she was in middle school. When Rosemary and I started living together and I wanted her daughter, Talmadge, to take on more household tasks, I would tell them how Shannon had assumed those responsibilities at a much earlier age. Rosemary and her daughter still tease me, "We know, we know, Shannon did her laundry when she was in the womb." [To read the whole post, click on the title]

The Only Day We Have

As a child, I looked at my beloved Nanna and wondered, “What does it feel like to be so old?” I tried to imagine how my grandmother could get through her days, knowing she was so close to death. (My grandmother was younger then, than I am now!) For me, now that I am Nanna, I have to say, I don’t think about death that often. Mostly, I think about my tasks for the day, whatever I am writing about, how my family and friends are doing, the state of the world, or what I will cook for dinner. On the other hand, I do think about dying more now than I did when I was my daughter’s age. But mostly, it feels like death is some distant future that I will pay more attention to later. I often visualize myself as being at a much younger age than my sometimes hesitant steps and banister-grasping hands give witness to. I go through my days as if I am immortal, imagining endless futures. [Click on the Title to read the rest of the post.]

Alpha Prime and Me

I hate the Newark Airport. Well, I kind of hate all airports. Airports are places designed, I am convinced, to remind me of my obsolescence.  We stop for breakfast at a restaurant on the way to our gate. I hesitate. The last time I ate in this restaurant, I left in tears because of what I saw as the dehumanization of society. There aren’t many options for better eating. We go in and sit down. After getting some help submitting our breakfast requests on the IPad, we face each other across the table. But all I can see of Rosemary is the top of her head. The IPad on which we place our orders flashes ads, opportunities for reading different papers, watching trailers for movies, playing games, and ordering more food. It is too distracting for me, and I try to shut it off, but all I can get is a screen that shows my own eyes staring back at me. I peer around the screen to see Rosemary. “What did you order?” I ask, since I can not see her plate. [Click on title to read the rest of the post.]

Cancer Redux

Rosemary’s cancer has recurred and is in her lymph nodes. We learned of the diagnosis on our second day of vacation in Maine. We returned immediately to the city for three weeks of doctor appointments, tests, and--even more stressful—waiting for test results. We cry, we laugh, we hold each other, we anguish at what lies ahead. She did everything right the first time; this is not fair. With each test result, we exult or sink into despair. With each doctor’s visit, we hope for a plan, a strategy as to how our lives will proceed for the next year. But the oncologist needs more data, more MRIs, ultrasounds, and biopsies. We wait. We wait. [Click on title to read the rest of the post.]

Turkeys and Loons

I'm awakened by the sound of a rowboat, hitting against the dock. I try to make sense of it, but I am not sure where I am. Our rowboat is up on dry land; it rarely goes in the water. It came with the house, aluminum, upside down, locked to a tree. Dan used it once when he came to visit. Dan is a tall man and the kayaks we have are more easily used by shorter people. He found the oars in the basement, turned it over, and took the rowboat out. We had never had it in the water and I wasn't sure if it really floated. Maybe there were holes in it. Once he got it out on the water, he looked like he belonged in it–a rugged lobsterman, rowing out to his traps.[Click on title to read full post.]

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