This Blue Fairy’s Life

Random stuff…straight from my head to your computer.

Sad and Free October 30, 2012

Filed under: Family,Life,Poetry,Writing — merrywether @ 8:17 pm

I wrote this poem a few months ago, after the death of my grandfather this past March. What started out to be a poem about the “new” grandma that I met post-grandpa (more of her personality, without the worry, stress, and anxiety of caring for a senile octogenarian has come to the surface), turned into my take on watching her care for my grandfather, and how everything she wanted took a back seat to her one true love’s needs. If you and I are personally acquainted, please be advised that I have not shared this with my grandmother; it’s too soon for her to see it. It may never be time for her to see it, but it was important that I write it.

Sad and Free

You have been

so angry,

so anguished,

so alone with your thoughts for

so long.

 

“Lena, get me a coffee”

“Lena, I need to go”

“Lena, where’s my dinner?”

 

A slave to your beloved sailor’s needs,

You instinctively ready your legs to move at the littlest cough;

The choking scares you witless.

You explode when the plate is pushed away after a few bites.

“But at least he ate something” we soothe.

You take it personally.

He never disliked your cooking before.

Now he wants grilled cheese or bologna.

He wants ice cream.

He has more in common with his great-grandchildren than he does with you now.

 

We see you are weary.

Your insistence on keeping him home pleases him

but wreaks havoc on your body and mind

Until he falls for the third time.

Three strikes and you’re out.

 

Sixty-five years of marriage

in a teary renewal of wedding vows,

surrounded by family,

In the nursing home.

 

Every day we bring you

to sit in his room.

You take walks.

You watch television.

“When the hell can I get out of this damned place?”

 

The new laptop gathers dust and is brought home.

The new cribbage set is tucked away in a drawer.

“We’ll play when we get home”, you say.

You know and we know that isn’t in the cards.

 

Seven months is a long time of begging – you bring him home.

For one week

You give him grilled cheese and bologna.

You give him ice cream.

He drinks his favorite Taster’s Choice coffee

 

“Lena, get me a coffee”

“Lena, I need to go”

“Lena, where’s my dinner?”

For one week.

 

Pneumonia.

 

“Lena”, he whispers now.

No more ice cream,

Coffee,

Grilled cheese,

Or bologna.

You both are gaunt and exhausted.

It’s time to say goodbye

To your even keel.

 

You are like a child as we hold you

And each other.

The stars and stripes

Laid in your arms

And a single trumpet

Herald the final sendoff

For your sailor’s final voyage back

To his Commanding Officer.

 

And you, grandma, as you always have

Stay and keep the home fires burning.

Sad and Free.

 

What If…With a Nod to Thoreau

Filed under: Life,Writing — merrywether @ 8:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

Thoreau could very well be my hero – two years of solitude and reflection on life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, faith, sense of self, living in the moment, within one’s means, one with the land. I doubt I could do it for two years, but I wonder how I would be changed if I could manage two weeks. I say “would” because I can’t see how any extended time with no one but yourself, God, and the trees could produce anything but a dramatic change in one’s thinking. Would I fall to slumber earlier in the evenings? Would I rise much earlier? The primitive and useful tasks of gathering wood, creating fire, foraging for sustenance and maintaining safe haven would surely be vitamin for body and soul and make for deep, restorative rest. What words would my mind bring to the pages of my notebook as I fish for dinner or feed the fire? Would I be satisfied, satiated, content with myself and my space, with natural air conditioning from a summer breeze, paper and pen, and the chatter of chipmunks, squirrels, wild turkeys and deer as the only world wide web in my vicinity?

 

Angel Girl March 2, 2011

Filed under: Family,Life,Poetry,Writing — merrywether @ 11:15 pm

It’s my mom’s birthday today. I wrote her a poem last summer – she loved it. I thought I could do better. Of course I could draft it a thousand times and still find it’s incomplete, or somehow lacking, because let’s face it, my mom rocks. There’s no one I admire more or respect greater. So I made a revision, and I offer it here as a virtual gift to my mom, an angel on earth.

 

Angel Girl

From humble beginnings and early loss

Angel Girl lives between Hyde Street

and Eastern Avenue

raised by godparents

with father’s help

and mother’s heavenly blessing

 

Mount St. Mary’s girl,

Miss Congeniality

youthful exuberance, fun-loving.

I wish I had known you then.

Would we have been friends?

 

Angel Girl becomes Cape Cod college girl in love

dreams and plans in place,

suddenly derailed.

Soldier boy fiancé writes home with trepidation

 

Wedding called off.

Angel Girl deflated.

Returns home.

 

Old neighborhood friend tends to

wounded angel heart –

“Marry me – I’ve always loved you”.

She always knew.

 

To the priest she seeks to change the date…

 

and the groom.

 

That’s Angel Girl – pure moxie!

 

Daughter number one arrives

Shirley Temple curls and sensitive demeanor –

Angel Girl’s sweet, little one.

 

Daughter number two follows;

Angel Girl’s doppelganger

with blonde hair, skinned knees,

and love of bugs and dirt.

Mother’s moxie, revisited.

 

Angel dad moves in.

Lives long enough

to know

his granddaughters.

Passes knowing

Angel Girl

is safe,

loved,

and needed.

He can rest now.

His legacy lives in her life well-lived.

 

Daughters grow,

daughters love,

daughters make Angel Girl proud.

 

Angel Girl creates,

inspires

loves.

 

Crafty

generous

resilient

loyal

strong

 

Forty three years later,

still madly in love.

Everything          happens             for          a             reason.

 

Fruits of life

grow and divide

 

Divine grace enters

 

Three wild and wooly grandsons

sprung from daughters’ wombs,

spread brilliant, lively wings

 

and transform my Angel Girl Mother

into their Angel Girl Gram.

 

Kim Sutherland

rev 3/2/11

 

 

Changes February 7, 2011

Filed under: Family,Life,Writing — merrywether @ 10:44 pm

 

Shirley Temple - my nickname as a child

The new year – usually it arrives unceremoniously. This year things were different. I’m a January baby. Elvis, David Bowie and I share a birthday. I turned 40 this time ’round the sun. I’m normally not wont to scrutinize age, but still found myself telling people that I was 30 with 10 years experience upon the blessed day. I notice that I’m not alone in my minor anxiety-riddled thoughts brought on by the slipping away of my youth. Every week at least one or another of my high school and college classmates is lamenting the ominous orb of the zero in its role as clinger-on to the four. As my friend Erin quipped, “I had a ‘moment’ when I had to click on the age 40-49 button of a survey I was taking”.  I hear ya, Erin. What’s that song say? The first cut is the deepest. I sit here typing and note that the skin is just maybe a tad bit looser on my dishpan-dry hands…and the volume on the TV is just a shade too loud. It’s odd – I knew forty was coming. What I didn’t know, is that a need for introspection would accompany it. I’m not horrified, nor am I depressed. I think I’m just kinda surprised that I am now the age my parents were when I was graduating from high school. It’s bewildering. So I think back and see all that has changed in the last decade of my life. I know who I am now. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I call children “honey” and “sweetheart”. Since having a school-aged child, I attend parent-teacher conferences from the other side of the desk now. I worry less about the superficial things that used to consume me and save my worry for the serious issues that deserve my attention. Even those seem easier to manage since I pray more. I look at my career and see how my professional choices and hard work have shaped me and given me opportunities. I have no idea what my career will bring to me in the future and I’m all right with that. Ten years ago that uncertainty would have put me in a tailspin. I guess I grew up, and I guess I gained enough wisdom to know that I’m constantly learning about myself, those I love, and my world and that commitment to lifelong learning is what makes each of my days worth living. I can look matter-of-factly now at what is important. My family, my work, my writing – the things that warm my soul. For a woman who values order and organization, I have learned that changes can be good.

 

Online Dating August 27, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Life — merrywether @ 8:17 pm

During the writing institute this summer, a discussion regarding online dating came up in our writing response group. I had mentioned that in my earlier days, I had been a beta tester for a very popular online dating site that was still going strong today – and as such, I had a free basic membership. Over the course of a few years, I probably went on about two dozen blind dates borne from connections made on this particular site. Some were bland, some were odd, and a few were extremely absurd. My colleagues were intrigued and wanted to know more. I promised to share the most absurd of all my online dating experiences at the end of the institute. Here is the all-time worst blind date I ever had (and my very last online date – I cancelled my free membership after this one) for your amusement, sorrow, and pity!

The Spitter

“Yep, they call me Bitale from Italy”, he boasted as he threw his shoulders back, patted his roundish belly, and laughed heartily. Some spittle flew out the side of his mouth and landed on the edge of his bushy mustache. I smiled wanly as I prayed for locusts, a kitchen fire, or the second coming of Christ – anything that would have saved me from the horror of this first, soon to be only date at the Taunton Galleria Bertucci’s. The dining room was not at all crowded for a Saturday afternoon, and this was a mixed blessing. It meant that the food would be out shortly, but also gave the other diners full view of my misery.

Bitale from Italy and I had met online in the late 1990s. He was in his mid thirties, from the Boston area, and lived with his parents. I should’ve known. However, in my late twenties, I was getting desperate to find a nice guy, and I figured that one date couldn’t be that bad – at least I was getting out there and meeting new people! His picture was decent – he wasn’t classically handsome, but wasn’t repulsive either, so I decided to give it a go! Well, the man on my date was a bit older than his picture, which he admitted was taken years ago – before the bushy mustache and the Santa Claus physique.

Well, Bitale from Italy was certainly a social fellow. He had a lot to say – a real lot. He liked to tell stories, this guy. With every story, his arms waved in the air and his boisterous laugh echoed in the dining room, and he shared his enthusiasm with me, and my lunch, which he sprinkled with spit every time he enunciated words with an S or P in them. Despite my best efforts to shield my plate with my napkin, and unintentionally with my arm, this guy’s saliva was like a guided missile – straight to my pasta.

I was granted a stay of execution when Bitale from Italy had to visit the little Italians’ room, and I sat at that table with a clear choice to be made. My fight or flight instinct was handing down directives and I was being urged by just about every fiber of my being to quietly get up, grab my coat, and depart immediately. My conscience, however, was having none of it and I acquiesced and waited for my tormenter to return to the table. Wallowing in my resignation, I glanced to the left where a mom, dad, and two young children were seated, waiting for their bill to arrive. The parents were staring at me and this look of horror mixed with sympathy filled both their faces. The mother mouthed to me, “I’m so sorry – you poor thing”. I nodded my thanks for their pity on my soul as my lunch date returned to his seat.

“So”, he states. “I was just thinking – why is it that you cut your hair so short?” It took me a moment to register the question, as it was asked so bluntly, so randomly, and it was the first thing he had asked me about myself all afternoon. “Excuse me?” I replied.

“Your hair – it’s really short. How come?”

“Uh, because I like it,” I stammered. He wore a look of surprise on his face, which then softened into a smile, and he leaned in and said conspiratorially, “Ok, I’ll let you keep it that way”, as he placed his hand on my thigh.

My fight or flight instinct was screaming “I TOLD YOU SO” a million times in my head and was beating my conscience into oblivion as I quickly grabbed for my purse and told Bitale from Italy that I really did have to be going. I fished ten dollars out of my purse and placed it on the table. He accepted it. Somehow I knew he would! He stood up and kissed me on the cheek with that disgustingly damp mop of a mustache and asked me if he could see me again. I’m not sure how I made it out of there, as by that point, the screaming in my head was holding the rest of my body hostage. I think I said something like “we’ll talk later” and left.

Upon returning to my apartment, I promptly walked to the computer, logged into the online dating site that matched me with the human sprinkler, and cancelled my membership, which I had for free for several years since I was a beta tester. “Are you sure you want to cancel?” the screen flashed. I took a deep breath, clicked “Yes”, and washed Bitale from Italy off my body in the shower, thereby pouring my world of online dating down the drain once and for all.

Kim Sutherland 7/25/10

 

Control Freak August 7, 2010

Filed under: Life,Poetry,Uncategorized — merrywether @ 11:26 pm

One of the readings in the summer institute was a poem by Mary Oliver entitled West Wind #2. A great strategy for obtaining writing material is to share readings with one another. The reading might evoke some sort of memory, thought, opinion, idea, etc… that can be used to craft our own pieces. Mary Oliver’s piece had nothing to do with being a Control Freak, but that’s where the poem inspired me to go. I’ve printed it below. Read West Wind #2 here if you wish: http://www.panhala.net/Archive/West_Wind.html

Response to Mary Oliver’s West Wind #2

Control Freak

Life is messy. That’s just the way it is. Glass breaks, car engines stall, and dinner overlooked burns in the oven. The mess, however, is important – necessary even, in creating an existence worth the constant beating of the heart in your chest. Control is an illusion one uses to create order – order which will never reach your high standards. The cat won’t stop clawing at your sofa, your daughter won’t choose the college you want her to attend, and your husband won’t stop leaving his clothes in a heap on the floor of your bedroom. Despite these glitches in your master plan, you will live. You will shrug your shoulders at your skinned knee, your son’s ripped sweatshirt, your lover’s affinity for atrociously foul-smelling pork rinds, and you will surrender yourself to this life that spins beyond your control.

Kim Sutherland 7/20/10

 

I’m baaaack…

Filed under: Life — merrywether @ 11:20 pm

Bad Kim – I’ve been away far too long. I’m going to try to do better. The school year ended quite late this year and there was no time to rest after snow and flood days extended my obligations before Buzzards Bay Writing Project’s Summer Institute (which I co-facilitate) began. One glorious month of writing with other teachers in the area has now come and gone and I do have some writing to share, inspired by my time at the Institute. Yeah, August! I’ll not concern myself with the back to school ads already playing on the television and instead focus on my summer goals – reading as many books for pleasure that I can, and putting the finishing touches on my home office reorganization in an attempt to make my writing space more conducive and comfortable. I just read a fun Janet Evanovitch mystery –One for the Money, which was recommended to me by the very friendly insurance agent with whom I spent over an hour on the phone a couple of weeks ago. She’s getting ready to publish her first novel. Saved me over $200 on my insurance, and gives great book tips – who knew the nice folks at insurance.com were so full-service!