Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bring It On!

It took me all these years
to figure out that I'm a winter person.

Don't get me wrong-
I actually love summer.
But, let's face the facts here.
Summer was designed for
only two kinds of people:
The young
and the thin.

For those of you that don't know me-
I am truly not elephant size.
I just need to lose 10 20 30 pounds (or so)
to be considered healthy on
that stupid AMA chart.

Summer is meant for halter tops,
bikinis, mini dresses and short shorts.
It's meant for long, lean legs,
flat bellies,
and slender arms.
It is ideal for the graceful-
the sophisticated-
the elegant
and the five year old.
Summer people thrive on
iced tea,
sweet berry wine
and mascara.

I just don't fit in anymore.

Yes, I finally realize
that I am meant to be a winter girl.

Because winter is designed
for two kinds of people:
The big and the immobile.

I was meant for sweatshirts,
sloppy, long-sleeved tees
and bulky sweaters.
I was built for long pants,
fuzzy socks,
high neck blouses
and mittens.
I am best suited for
cups of hot coffee,
big chocolate chip cookies,
giant bowls of cheesy chili,
and daytime naps.

Sand volleyball?
Roller blading?
Swimming? Jogging? Dancing?
Nahhh...Not for me.

Try checkers, old movies,
reading fat novels,

If you think I'd be partial
to snow skiing,
or ice skating,
you'd be wrong.
Yet, once in awhile-
I get a wild hair
and build a snowman
or make a snow angel.

I just don't understand
why it took me all these years
to realize the truth.

I suppose I battled it bravely.
Each summer I fought to
get into that little suit,
bare my spider-veined legs,
and pull my boobs up
to the correct level.
I tried to like edamame,
and greasy suntan lotion.
I tried to pretend I wasn't sweating,
starving, hurting, or hopeless.

But I give up.
I am officially a winter person.

Bring it on!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Celebrating Two Years

In celebration of my second year of blogging,
I decided it was time for a little freshness.

My old blog title came from the column
that I used to write for the city newspaper.
I always felt it was a bit old-fashioned-
stuffy maybe-
and those crazy newspaper days
are behind me now.

Plus, it seems when you Google
"Porch" or "Pondering",
you get a lot of people that
ponder on their porches.

So, I opted for my blog subtitle
as my new heading.
Please make a note on your bookmarks.

I am still on a mini-vacation of sorts.
When my husband goes back to work,
I'll return here every morning
with something new to say.
I appreciate all those friends who have
continued to follow and comment
even through this lull.
Thank you.

Two years.....
How time flies
when you're having fun.

Thanks for joining me,
supporting me,
and being my best friends.

I'm peeping in from time to time
when I have internet access,
even though I may not always have time to comment.
I promise I will be back to visit you all soon.

For now, let's go have some cake
and celebrate!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting Old

Sometimes I hate the oldness of me.

Where once my face was smooth
like doll plastic
and the color of a ripe peach,
I now see leathered creases
along the sagging jawline
and branches of wrinkles
around my eyes.

My hair that was once long
and shiny
and vibrant,
now hangs in short tufts
of bleached blond
that remain untamed.

My body has wilted.
Sags like a old tent.
Padded with too-soft skin
that falls in folds
and flaps
and furrows.

My kids look at me differently.

It's as if they suddenly see
how time has swept over me.
They notice the withered hands,
the corrugated belly,
the tired feet that sometimes moan.

Can't they see
that my heart is still young?
That my soul laughs...
That in my mind, I run through fields of flowers
with starlight glistening in my hair...
That my skin is tan and taut
and never tired...
That I am young and pretty
and forever fascinating...

Time has only changed the outside.

I just hate
the oldness of me...

Dear Summer

(Pretend there's a nice picture here...)

Dear Summer,

We’ve known each other a long time, but we’ve always had one of those on and off relationships. You always show up at your convenience and leave right when I was beginning to get used to you. How many times have you suddenly disappeared and left me in the cold?

Oh, those early days were magical…We were children on an endless playground. We laughed and danced among the flowers. We would swing and run and lay out in the grass with huge abandon. We wished on stars and stayed out late…and those gentle days seemed to last forever.

I admit, you were hot. That’s what attracted me to you in the first place. Your arms around my shoulders and caressing my face was the ultimate in true love. You were fresh and clean and smelled wildly of chlorine and grass and barbecues.

Then you started making me lazy. I wore less clothing. I avoided my chores. I dropped everything just to be with you.

Soon you began to smother me- burdened me with gardening and mowing and outdoor chores. I had to wash the car, trim the trees, weed the flowers, and wash the windows. The work never stopped. We rarely played anymore.You started bringing your pesky friends to every outdoor event. You became obnoxious and boring.

Summer, there is part of me that loves you more than any I have known. But there is also a part of me that yearns for change. I dream of romantic dinners in front of the fireplace. Woolen sweaters and snow falling beyond the window. Wine and yellow leaves and the smell of cinnamon. I dream of days just staying in bed under the covers-of no commitments to yard work or garage cleaning or the stickiness of your touch.

I want a cool breeze through my hair. I want my cheeks to sting, my hands to numb, my body to snuggle and bundle up with a new season.

Without trying to be cruel, I must say I am growing tired of you. I know, I know- it will be like all the other times we’ve broken up. I’ll be wanting you back in a few months. I’ll be wishing I could feel you again. I’ll be cold and abandoned and blue.

But, please- let me go. Just for awhile. Let me loose from your humidity and staleness and burdensome heat. Let me enjoy the sunshine and the rain and dancing again. I want to sing and grow and be free.

We can meet again soon. It’s not like you don’t know where I live. I’m sure six or seven months apart will only cause me to love you more.

But I have to be sure.

Thanks for the flowers. The fresh vegetables. The picnics. The moonlit strolls. The fireflies and song birds and days of clear blue skies.

I will never forget our moments together.

But please, un-smother me. Let me go. Tell me farewell soon. I just can’t stand it any longer.

Love Forever,


Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Hot, Hot, Hot!

Can you look back to the past
and remember what you were doing
on the hottest and the coldest days of the year?

Although I am not a meteorologist-
or an historian,
I remember those days very well.


Because those are the days that
my loving husband decided to tackle
extensive outdoor chores.

Now, I'm not talking about
watering the garden
or shoveling snow from the sidewalk.
I'm talking hours of intense labor
while battling the elements.

Take yesterday, for example.

I was minding my own business.
Trying to blog...
having a cup of coffee...
sitting in the cool house in my pj's...
comfy in my favorite chair...

"Get dressed," my husband said,
sitting down to tie his shoes.

Now, most women would see this as
an invitation to breakfast at Cracker Barrel,
a trip to local yard sales,
a sweet little road trip,
or the opportunity for an early matinee.

But, being married to this man
for coming up on 35 years,
I knew better than to be excited
or surprised.

"What?" I asked, curling my face
into an unattractive snarl.

"We are cleaning the garage today," he said.

"Ugh..the big garage? The barn?" I questioned.

This old garage/barn is big enough
to house a herd of horses,
a combine,
and a fleet of four wheelers.
(Well, almost.)
But what do we have in it?

And I wilted at the thought
of fighting my way through
shovels and screwdrivers
and lawnmowers and electrical cords
and pipes and posts and boards
and wasps and webs and
things that never, ever get thrown away
because someday he might use them.

Besides that,
the heat index was going to be 105.

Do the math, ladies.
If it feels like 105 degrees outside
and you happen to have a hot flash-
you're looking an approximate
body temperature of at least 145.

A person could melt.

But not a man.
Not my husband,
Not a super macho
I-can-never-sit-down-and-relax kind of guy.

So, began my Wednesday.
Armed with gloves and attitude,
I helped my husband
on the hottest day
of the freakin' year.

"It's hot," I complained.

"Oh, just think of it as an opportunity
to work on your tan," said Superman.

Call me strange.
But I tend not to think of
the bronze glow of my skin
when I'm
dying of heat stroke!!!

Yeah ,I'm just funny like that.


Eight hours,
two bug bites,
one broken nail,
and sixteen bottles of water later-
we were finished!

I admit, it did look good.
Kinda made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

No- wait.
False alarm.
It was just another hot flash.

My feet were throbbing,
my back was aching,
and I was as sweaty as a drowned rat-
(and just about as pretty).

It made me think about the winter
that we were building our house.
Tyvek insulation sheets
had to be stapled up before
the siding went on.

Coldest day of the year.
Below zero.
Here we are all bundled up
in the blizzard-like wind.
I have on two pair of socks
and two pair of gloves.
I look like a Weeble.
I feel like a pig-mummy.
I am so cold, I actually start crying.

I am a Popsicle.

I suppose I'm used to it by now-
those working conditions
fit for neither man nor beast.

Yesterday evening after my shower,
and sweet air conditioning ,
I plopped into my favorite chair
and reflected on the day.

I figure I might have a good six months
before the coldest day of the year.

Wonder what I'll be doing that day?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summers of Snow Cones and Swimming

Years ago-
(omg! Has it really been over forty?!)
temporary relief from the summer heat
could only mean two things:

Snow cones
and Jean's pond.

Luckily, we were within walking distance to both-
so Linda and I made it part of our sunny-day ritual
to visit the two places on a regular basis.

Although money was tight,
Mom always managed to
round up a dime for each of us
so that we could have a snow cone at
Lena Wall's little red and white booth.

Lena would slide a giant block of ice
into an ancient metal crusher.
It looked a lot like our water pump at home.
It would chug-chug-chug,
and roll its wheels,
and spin its belts-
and finally cough out the finest crushed ice
ever found on this earth.

But the real deliciousness came
when she soaked our paper cones
full of flavored syrup
and passed them to us through the window
with a smile.

Choosing a flavor was always difficult.
Personally, I loved Pink Coconut,
Nectar, Spearmint, and Lemon-Lime.
My brothers always got Blue Eagle,
Black Cherry or Strawberry.

For an extra nickle, you could get Rainbow-
which was a combination of your four favorite flavors.
But, that rarely happened for us.
We learned to be satisfied and thankful
for the ten cent version.

And, boy, were they good!

Sometimes I think Lena gave us extra syrup
because she liked us-
or perhaps felt sorry for the vagabond-looking family
that peeped into her window on hot summer days-
The six of us holding hands-
and eyes wide with anticipation-
ready to feel the frostiness of a snow cone
on our parched lips.

I can imagine how we all looked-
walking down the sidewalk with (usually) bare feet-
our lips stained in shades of primary colors
and our bellies happy with cold treats.

On other days, Linda and I would go swimming.

Which is such a joke-
because neither of us can swim.
Basically, we waded in the water till it was up to our necks-
and then our guardian angels took over from there.

One of our best friends, Jean,
had a big muddy pond out behind her house-
complete with a little cabin
and lots of inner tubes.

We would wade through muck and muddy slime
and families of tiny tadpoles-
to immerse ourselves in the coolness of brown water.
(Did we not learn about snakes in Science class?!)

While other girls at the country club or rec club pool
were sipping chlorine
with each crystal clear breast stroke-
Linda and I were gulping huge breaths
of chocolate-milk-colored water
as we flopped off our inner tubes
or plunged into a murky drop-off.

Oh, don't pity us.
We had a blast!
And, to top it off, we managed to survive
every single summer at Jean's pond.

It seems like a lifetime ago...

Maybe that's because it was!

Snow cones
and Jean's pond...

How could a childhood summer
get any better than that?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Porch Couches

Lately I've been spending time
in southeast Missouri.
It's the land of natural springs and huge forests,
old history and clear rivers-
rafting and camping
and good home cooking.

And, I must add-
it is also the land of Porch Couches.

You can rarely go a mile or two
without seeing a porch
adorned with a very special sofa.

Sometimes it isn't a couch at all,
but a ragged recliner
which was so well loved
that the owners refused to part with it.

Or perhaps it just never quite made it
to the curb on trash day.

The thing is,
I hardly ever see anyone sitting
on their Porch Couch.
Usually it's a hound dog
or a roosting chicken
or the transmission from a pickup truck.

I think if I had a Porch Couch,
I would at least utilize it-
and maybe make it more attractive.
Cover up the holes
and push the stuffing back in
and refuse to let the cat give
birth to kittens on it.

My Porch Couch
would be long and wide
and just right for napping.
It would be soft-
and fat with fluffy pillows
and draped with a sweet old quilt
that smelled of lilacs.

It would be the perfect place for reading-
or having a cup of coffee and a donut.
A place for neighborly chats
and unbridled laughter
and for feeling the wind on my face.

Those people with Porch Couches
probably don't realize that they have
started a new fashion trend in England.

Concrete porch furniture
that looks like this!

It starts with a week long process
of casting a mold from an original leather sofa.
Though the cushions in the photo look very soft and pliable,
they are hard as a rock.
It is entirely concrete.

There is even a concrete coin
cast between the cushions!

So, folks- with one of these Porch Couches,
the family coon dog-
sloppy nachos,
spilled beer
and muddy overalls
couldn't ruin your special outdoor place
of relaxation.

And although I am a firm believer in
Porch Pondering,
I think some people just take it too far...

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Fan

I lived most of my childhood without air conditioning.

On these humid days of mid-summer,
my sister Linda and I would play outside-
our long hair sticking to our foreheads and necks
in wet, sweaty tangles.

Of course, we were used it-
the dirt beads forming like muddy jewelry
in the creases of our skin
and our bare feet always dry and dusty.

Our friend Gwen was the only person we knew
who had an air conditioned house.
It was fun to play there.
We stayed clean and cool
and her mother served us Dr. Pepper over ice.

It was only at night when we tried to sleep
that we finally noticed the uncomfortable heat-
like a blanket that smothered our sweetest dreams-
like a hot fog that settled in the folds of our sheets
and our damp pillow cases.

The only thing that saved us was "The Fan".
A big, gray window fan that stuck out over the bed
like a metal cage-
it's blades like iron petals that whirred loudly in the night,
humming us into peaceful slumber.

This old fan had a timer.
A dial that Dad always allowed us to twist
to the "1 hour" position as we prepared for bed.
I think Linda and I always hurried to sleep-
knowing that if we were awake after an hour,
it would be muggy and silent in our room again.

There was nothing worse than waking up after midnight
and hearing only the crickets chirping outside the fan...
eventually feeling strands of damp hair strangling our faces.

We usually woke each other up-
trying to convince one another to flip the dial
to another half hour or so-
with the prayer that Dad was deep asleep
and would never know.

Sometimes we got by with it.

(Sometimes even Mom was in on it-
whispering a warning to us from the doorway
that we better not push our luck
and "hurry on to sleep".

Ahhh...another hour of coolness
breathing into our stale, summer room...

after we twisted the timer and curled
up beside each other,
the tiny red dot of Dad's Camel cigarette
would appear in the hallway-
floating as if by magic into our room.

And behind it came Dad-
his familiar tobacco and Old spice scent
reaching over our bed with a grunt
to turn the timer to "OFF"
and stop "The Fan".

so as not to go totally insane
from the brain-penetrating heat
and the dead silence that breeds imaginary monsters,
we laid there and talked.
Giggled, made up stories,
and sang church hymns and show tunes
in our quietest little girl voices.

There were those hot summer nights
when we thought we could never fall asleep again
without the hypnotizing spin of "The Fan".

But, somehow we did-
finally closed our sweaty eyelids
and dreamt of snowmen
and new Barbies
and Dr. Pepper on ice.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things I've Learned

I've been away from my regular routine
for over a month now.

The daily monotony of
get out of bed,
make coffee,
and eat-
has been replaced with the odd
pleasure of unscheduled moments.

I believe that everyone needs time away-
that small step back-
that gasp of fresh air-
that soft shedding of their familiar cocoon.

In a simple month I have learned:

1. That I don't miss the daily news-
prime time TV, or nightly talk shows.

2. That even in 98 degree weather,
you can put on a roof and paint a house.

3. That fresh cold water is the best drink ever.

4. That wet paint brushes will keep useful
for weeks if wrapped in zip-loc bags.

5. That I can use a table saw.

6. That red wasps will seek revenge
if you disturb their nests.

7. That there is a special beauty in
blue-tailed lizards, dung beetles,
pear trees and wild mint.

8. That air-conditioning was the invention
of a genius.

9. That I look like an old Hungarian woman
when I wear a bandanna.

10. That a bologna sandwich tastes
absolutely delicious after a hard day of work.

11. That silence is a special kind of music.

12. That my husband and I share the same dreams.

13. That time is short,
days fly by,
and years pass unknowingly.

14. That clearing your mind
is medicine for the heart.

15. That seed ticks, bees and spiders
adore the flavor of my skin.

16. That God is present in the pine trees,
the flow of the river, the song of a whippoorwill
and the glow of the moon.

17. That I miss my sisters more than I thought I would.

18. That I want to practice my artwork again.

19. That even though he yells because I
measured wrong, fetched the incorrect tool,
or mashed his finger accidentally-
my husband still loves me.

20. That I was forgetting the purpose of my blog
was to write what I felt from the heart- not to be part of
a popularity contest, a competition or a daily struggle.

I'm not back in my old, comfortable desk chair yet.
I'm still learning to enjoy these cool summer mornings
and parched sunsets.
My husbands laugh.
The hum of bees and the stir of clouds.

And the steady, unpredictable beat of time
that renews my appreciation for life.

This is a July 4th picture at the cabin
of my children-
their children,
their mates
and their pets.
I love these people!!!