Thursday, December 31, 2009

Short, but sweet...this life


the end of the book
one more page to turn
Then I begin again
snuggle near the fire
crack open another volume
of my life


Seeing Red,Blue and Green...through the camera's eye

 Photographer,David Perry, on his blog, challenged people to take photos of red,green and blue. Capture the color....

I love a challenge...and I have found I love the camera... here's the fun I had searching my home for colors

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a bit of writing

                                                        How Grandma Freed Us

When I was little I was ashamed of her
the smell of fish lingered around her always

When she smiled she never hid  her cavernous mouth
that revealed tough gums that had no memory of teeth

Her quilted,dark blue jacket frightened me
the smell of it made me want to runaway
from her

She always wore the same black cap
pulled over her head
one she knitted 
a long time ago

Ashamed I was
that this woman was my grandmother
this woman,with deeply lined skin, like leather
bushy eyebrows and oily gray hair

Ashamed, until one day
I saw her rescue a rabbit
while on our way home from the market

I had begged her to let me see Mr. Olsen's rabbits
But I pleaded and she yielded
waited by the gate while I went back
to see the rabbits

Grandma was right
he was a bad man

Dirty, crowded cages
piles and piles of dead rabbit
bodies behind a shed

My eye caught sight of a suffering rabbit
its foot almost shorn from frantic rubbing
back and forth trying to free itself

I screamed out to grandma
and with powerful hands she forced
that cage open and freed the suffering rabbit
wrapped him in her black knit cap

She folded me into her arms
and I wept into her smelly blue jacket

truth hidden behind and in a story


Saturday, December 26, 2009

I know I said I would try to write a post......what was I thinking? I did check everyone's on  my blog list...brave souls who snuck to the computer to have their say. I wasn't near a least not one they would let me touch..and at night...crash!
Truly it has been a whirlwind of visiting and baby holding and kid toy playing......phew!
Oh and my eating....grab one of these one of those.....hand in the chips...a cookie here and chocolate bites....Oh am I sorry
and oh am I tired.
But they will only be here for a short time and then they are gone....and I won't see them in person until spring...a lot of growing goes on in those short months...and I will miss it all.....:(
But I still have the little Finn......this one I can watch grow right before my eyes...yeah
But then there is the big elephant in the room.....weight gain...yes..there I said it...weight gain
you know how to do it SusieQ..what we need out of you is action...
I vow to get back to my fighting weight of 130 by February...there I said it
you are my witnesses
but for today....The Bulls game... with the Police Memorial Foundation....a function with the Gold Star Families...the kids get to go on the court and run around and meet some players and shoot some baskets....Thank you much excitement
So I'll see you later.....they want breakfast.......wish I had a cook


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

They left me all alone with the two did we ever do it?
So happy I ordered out for tomorrow...except for potato salad
and I'm not sure that will get done
oh bother
They're here.

 It's now midmight and I am still needed...or is it wanted....hehehe

"tomorrow,snow Grandma!"
I got them boots,snowsuits,gloves and hats....and a sled!!!!!!!
Yes,Reagan,tomorrow go to sleep


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hells Bells are coming today

Today my grandchildren from Laguna Beach are coming!
I'll step back and take a look at my nice, orderly, clean house...BECAUSE,by 6pm tonight all bets are,luggage,cups,Goldfish,clothes,bikes,trucks,dolls,..well, you get the picture..will be everywhere.
I just hope that this time that aren't sick. The last three visits they have been sick. Oh well,we'll roll with the punches.
I have some last minute fresh fruit to buy and "grandma I need Chocolate milk" to get. The presents are finally all wrapped, and now I have to hide them. I never thought my son would do the Santa thing....but I guess being a father changes a lot of your previous held thinking.
Baby Finn is being baptised this Sunday......I am so happy that he is being baptised so early in his life,unlike his cousins who I had to do the Archie Bunker thing to. When they finally told us they were being baptised...I said...I took care of that already. I didn't even get in trouble..can you believe it...They even laugh about it now. But they did get baptised in church with "real" water.
What is it about children that makes hoildays...especially Christmas so wonderful? Is it simply wonder itself? Or is it that we get to visit our own childhood again?
I hope to still blog all week..even if its' at I'll be checking all my favorite friends...that's fear not...someone out there will read if you post....If you don't post....have a wonderfilled,magical,Christ centered Christmas...and if you do not follow any religious practice....I wish you a family filled, warm...inside and with those you love!

Blessings and Merry Christmas

:) Susan
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Monday, December 21, 2009

A Quiet House

This afternoon I turned the radio TV. I sat in a house of silence. What a gift I have given to myself. I wasn't even going to meditate...I just wanted to hear what was.  My heart breath
Silence surrounded me like a thick warm blanket on a cold morning...comforting. ..Protective
But it can do none of this.......

then I remembered
Be still..
and know..
that I am God

How busy I have been lately hitting the bed at night and just falling asleep without one word to my Lord.
Briefly throughtout the day thoughts of God would sail past the store window of my mind and I would turn my head for a brief look then go on about my day...vowing to return. But I haven't been by for a few days.  God forbid he has a sale to get me in and I fight my way to His storehouse.....
From a little girl I was taught to pray without ceasing. Meaning...that every thought should be prayer to God...a daily communication....not an emergency meeting.  I confess that I have been too busy...God forbid
But something inside of me today needed silence.
and He came to me
and I didn't even know that I needed His presence
I'm happy...tired..but happy
bills paid, grandchildren coming
everyone fights
plenty of food,warmth,clothing
presents under the tree
I love and I am loved...
But I must have needed Him
'cause He came

Sunday, December 20, 2009

She said I was a Mench

I reference my friend from my posting of Sept.4,2009. She called me a Mench. This woman had woven in and out of my life through various classes and workshops. She was there from the beginning of my infamous poem "The Rabbits"  She was there when it first appeared right out of my a free flow session of writing of which we were to pull lines to form into a poem. Somehow it was time for that memory to be released. It was about a long buried memory from childhood. Needless to say there are folks who hate strong emotion and there are those struggling to keep their's tightly capped.
She is the one who encouraged me to write on,when one day I overheard a very tightly wound woman in the class say "I hope we don't hear anymore about rabbits this afternoon." Those words just about killed the emerging poet in me. My friend came to me when she saw me sitting alone on the council ring overlooking Lake Michigan. She befriended me that day and many days afterward. Most times a kind word,a hug,an encouragement.."you are a powerful writer,that is given to must keep writing..hone your skills..but keep writing and forget about cowards like her. You dare to look where most will not even peek. She called me a mench. I didn't ask her what it meant..but she said it with a smile so I figured it meant I was a character.  I have since learned that it means a human being,upright,honorable,decent,someone to admire. I could cry just thinking about her calling me that. Bless her.
 She also called me a writer. Bless her for that.
So that day when I walked the Labyrinth with her (see Sept 4th posting) little did she know that she had changed the trajectory of my life by knowing her....a Mench
I have learned to be a gatherer. Many reach out to us and we don't see. She set that right with me. Now I listen with the keanest ear. I admire and honor the wisdom of wise women who have walked before me. Everything we need to know to live a beautiful life is out there for our taking .... seizing.
I have learned to flutter around beautiful healthy flowers,not wasting my time on dying or dead ones..they have no sustenance for me. Being with them I will die of starvation,my wings slowly ceasing their flutter..closing up....a dead beautiful butterfly..but dead nontheless
I like Menches....I am always on the lookout for them....but usually they find me.
Thank you, Judith.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Little Choir Girl....

Remember this story? version below

Sally Brown was always first in line eager to sit in the front row where Mr. Schumann, the choir director,could see her. She liked him and wanted him to hear her sing. Mr. Schumann's wife picked her up that night so she could attend Christmas Eve service. It was important to her that she do her best tonight.

When Mr. Schumann signaled for all to rise she shot straight up and on his command began to sing at the top of her lungs. Sally wanted to please her teacher, but she also wanted very much to please God. She had paid attention in Sunday school. She knew that God liked singing; that's why He had the angels sing for the baby Jesus,filling the sky with glory to God. And who had taught the angels to sing? Why it had to be God, she thought. Yes, she wanted God to hear her, so she sang as loudly as she could and with all her heart.

When the service was over, she smiled at Mr. Schumann who smiled back at her. Sally then rushed to the church basement to hang up her choir robe. She looked around for her parents as excitement filled her entire body. She couldn't wait to tell them that she was sure that God had heard her sing and that she was sure He was pleased that she had done her very best. Twenty minutes passed before she decided to go back up to the church to see if they were waiting there for her.

""Do you need a ride home?" Mr. Schumann asked her, about to leave.
"No, they're coming," she said smiling,"They're always late."
He patted her on the head. "Merry Christmas, Sally."
"Merry Christmas,Mr. Shumann. Mr. Schumann,do you think God hears us sing?"
"Of course He does Sally," Mr. Schumann said before leaving.

Sally looked around the church and when she hadn't found them she went to the coat rack and pulled down her white rabbit coat that her neighbor Miss Simms had given her,put it on and went outside. No one was around and it was very cold and dark,only the stars sparkled in the night sky. She didn't have boots or mittens,mother had told her that she hadn't had time or money to get her any. Maybe,Sally thought,Santa had come and she would have them under the tree. It started to snow and she didn't know what to do all alone,so she sat on the church steps and waited. The snow fell like fairy dust on her red hair. She was scared and looked up at the dark, starfilled sky,and pretended to look for the Star of Bethlehem. Her lips were chapped,but she managed to ask God if He wanted to hear her sing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. It was one of her favorites. She fell asleep singing.

It was morning before anyone found her. The temperature had dipped to 10 degrees that night. They said she looked like a snow-covered angel. It took almost five hours to find her parents passed out drunk at a friend's house. They had forgotten about her.

Sally,though,was happy. She was in the first row and everyone was smiling at her in her new robe. In front of her was a different choir director,one who seemed to shine like the Star of Bethlehem. As usual, Sally sang as loudly as she could. Only this time she hoped Mr. Schumann would hear her.

A new take on an old story. I found this in my writer's box. A box where you stash unfinished work. This had come from a class where we were to retell an old story in a different way. I'm not sure I did the assignment. I ditched it and wrote a different one,but I like this story anyway.  So I dusted it off and finished it. My husband hates it. But I see the greater message and it lifts my heart. I hope it does for you also.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Mom's creative outlet

What would Christmas be without my mom's handy work? Here are few samples of it throughout my house

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Her Pointsettia wall hanging in my kitchen

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Welcome to my home

Before the tornadoes arrive from California, I thought I would invite you into my home to take a look. I tried to keep the chaos of Christmas in the Family room and Kitchen.... My Christmas tree has special things hung on it. I couldn't show you everyone. But they are things hung on the tree from my loved ones who are no longer with me. I keep them with me every year by placing them on the tree. My dad's yellow cross made out of packing straps....My brother's shipping tag from his return from VietNam....My uncle's auntie's elephant ornament..
Christmas is a time to remember them....and to give thanks for them
I cherish the Advent wreath my dad made for me....although he made the candle cups a wee bit too small....but this is a cherished thing too
I love the mantle and electric logs in my kitchen that I could not believe my husband let me drag home from Wisconsin...
I love lanterns....they are a symbol of light and the way
I love nativity sets...
I have always wished that there really was a St.Nick that brought gifts to children .... because so many children have it so lousy...This one has cool boots...and I know he is Finnish
My camera pooped out on me before I could show you all the beautiful wall hangings my mom has made for me...tomorrow perhaps

Well that's it....hope you enjoyed the wee tour of my world of Christmas


Our first Nativity set

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This hangs on my tree every year...

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The cross is from my father

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My family room

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On my dining room table

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The Advent wreath my dad made

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Finnish Santa

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I love Christmas Cards

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My Kitchen mantel

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Christmas Lantern..I love lanterns

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Family room waiting for family

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I was 52 before
I found a gray hair
and thought I was special
I wasn't aging like my friends

Little did I know Mother Nature
plays no favorites
My time came
just as I began to change

my life
lost weight
cut my hair short
went blonde

Just as I pierced
my ears at 55
practiced Pilates
twice a week

Oh, yes, she waited
...a patient hag
While I was busy
saying Yes to life
she snuck by me

I was all tricked out
waiting for a party
but it never came
at least not how I wanted it

Instead, it was a quiet
tea,with soft music
and tasty little sandwiches

She walked in the door and poured me a cup


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Year

Don't bother yourself
reading someone else's year
Write our own
Twelve chapters
365 pages
Fill it with bold words
and plenty of action
Let your heroine walk out
not take it anymore
Leave 'em weeping
pleading for mercy
shaking in their boots
And when she's done
Lite up a smoke
Ride off into the sunset


Monday, December 14, 2009

Isn't this just too cute?


I found this little mouse in Cedarburg,Wisconsin last year. When I saw it at my daughter's house on Sunday, I had giver's remorse. Have you ever had that? It's not that I would really want to take it back..I just wish I had bought one for myself. Oh well, it went to a good home.
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click on it to enlarge to read the letter

Barbed Wire and Black Polish......a story I have been working on...

Ever since I cut my hair short and went blonde she stares at it everytime I'm in her checkout lane at Ralph's Market. Last week she tapped the printed sign in front of the register with a nasty smirk on her face,
"Nancy's Snack Cakes are today's special,buy one, get two free,are you interested?"
She knows darn well, like everyone else at Ralph's, that I have been dieting for the last six month.
Thankfully,Sally,the checker in the next lane leaned over and gushed
"Girl,love those chandelier earrings!"
I was about to say "Thank you" but was interrupted by an annoying throat clearing,
"Do you have coupons? Need Stamps?"

Now, here she is sitting across from me at VIP Nail salon getting a pedicure, too. I don't like her. Truthfully,I don't think she likes me. What's she doing here anyway, this is my salon.
Good heavens,she's rolling up her pant leg like she's auditioning for a porn film,and son of a gun she's got a badassed barbed wire tattoo around her ankle! I feel her eyeballs lasering in on me and look away,hand the nail tec black polish for my toenails:so happy I didn't go with the pink. I nonchalantly glance up and our eyes lock. We give each other a quick nod.

Topcoat finished, the nail girl not only helps me down off the chair,but calls me, Mam! "I'm fine" I say with steel in my voice,catching the glee in "Miss tattoo lady's" eyes. I slip my toes under the blue drying light and soon,she sits across from me acting like she hasn't seen me. Her hair is short and spikey...when did that happen?

Without looking up she utters.."You like it,don't you?" then gives her hair a quick touch with her fingers.
Startled,"Yeah," slips out of my mouth. Then quickly I say,"bitch" under my breath.
"You two friends?" asks the owner.
We both do a body shift,our toes touch.
I can only get out,"No,"
before she finishes,"we're sisters."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Making Magic

Yes, making magic is a burden. In the end it usually works out fine...except that we are exhausted. Good old fashioned tired. I'm already there. But not because of Christmas. Family in flux. That's it. We all are feeling it. But movement is good in a family,at least I see it that way. I know families that try to hold on to the exact way of doing things and the family is miserable...because they are not "family" anymore...they are "families". It takes a while to figure it out. But bless the families that take the time to grow as they should. I had a Swedish girlfriend years back,Sigrid. She was ten years older than me. My oldest was the age of her youngest. She gave me good advice. Hold on with loose reins. She was right. Let them go to live their own lives and they will always be part of your life. Wise Swede.
The good part also is to realize that these things are going on inside of me. Fortunatley, I have a few good friends that I can talk to. Saying it is often enough. That's what good friends are for...our witnesses. Not our fixers. Bless them for just listening.
Today I woke up with a sinus problem. Yeah! I am so happy that it wasn't that I was feeling old...which I wasn't ...but my face felt puffy and I felt so tired. Yeah...I'm sick.
I'm going to see my daughter,Sarah today. Going to check out a condo she and her hubby have been looking at. Nice that they still want our opinion. But I know they will do just exactly what they want to do fact, our opinion will just cement in their minds that they are right!
Oh well, I see that as a good sign too. Free to make their own mistakes and free to get it right. A mom and dad can only look on and hold out the net...which you can't let them see,of course.
So my dear Blogger friends,thanks for the ears you have lent me yesterday and today...for being my witnesses.....I'm fine
In fact I'm going to wear my red shoes today! And I put the ankle bracelets back on and my energy bell hangs around my neck on a siver chain....
I'm back

Saturday, December 12, 2009

and it's my birthday


My friend Ned gave me this picture a while ago. Today this is how I am feeling. Like a pooped out old hound dog...
Now, I shouldn't be feeling this way, I am, after all, the queen of feeling like a chick. Not today. I am worn out..been chasing my tail (again) trying to please way too many people...trying to fit everything in...and it's not over yet. This is not how I wanted to enter my 59th year of life. It sort of is like going backwards.
So I must begin again. I must be deliberate with my self.
Slow down. eat less...walk more....plan my alone.....take care of myself like I know how to do....get my mojo back.....wear those 3inch heels....jingle...look and feel like a woman did this slip away so fast....Pay attention girl! Begin Again!
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Friday, December 11, 2009

John's Christmas Trees

We thought it was a forest,this John's Trees on Kedzie Avenue. A forest with strung light bulbs that lit up all the Christmas trees. Rows and rows of them..for us to run through as daddy spent time on a few,picking them up and shaking off the snow,stomping it on the ground so it would open up. Oh,how cold we got hiding from each other,our noses getting bright red and sniffling,our fingers tingling,our toes frosting through our boots. But,we didn't was magic,this Tree Forest on a busy street.
When we saw dad holding up a tree in an aisle,we rushed over to him,knowing that our opinion was to be asked for,and with glee we nodded that this was the one to be our Christmas tree. We giggled as we piled in the back seat of the Chevy with our piece of the forest proudly tied with twine on the top of the car. We hurriedly wrote our names on the window glass as they steamed up from out breath. And then we began to squirm and wiggle,kicking each other for getting too close to our space on the seat,arguing about who would set up the manger under the tree,and who would be the first to put on the tinsel,and whom would dad lift up to put on The Star?
Oh,how I miss the forest and being small. But I miss my dad most of all.

I had the camera out

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It's always the light that stops me. What a miracle it is. We would be in darkness without it. But it is the shadows that helps us see the light that is already present. What a glorious bitter cold sunny day today...January weather.
Oh my, it's only December. Most days in winter are dull and today I went out and looked for something beautiful...I found a few things

Wah? Get Up? It's cold!

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Meeting Called to Order

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