Saturday, December 31, 2011

The sun peeked out early this morning while I was washing the breakfast dishes.
Just outside my window are some white pines. One winter morning, about 3 years ago, I was doing the same thing,looking out of the window while doing dishes....and there in the pines were 3 long-eared owls.

This morning I thought of them,
 in fact, every winter morning I think of them...please come back...
I hope in my heart....but they have never returned.
I went for my camera to take a walk outside in the garden
to think a bit..to feel the sun on my face
But by time I got on my coat, found my camera and grabbed the bag of sunflower seeds
to fill the feeder...the sunlight had disappeared behind a sky of clouds
..so fast...in an instant...the light was gone...the sun had hidden its face
and the day looked different to me...and my anticipation waned
The deck boards were wet and the hulls of yesterdays seeds stuck to them like
debris....and the path was muddy and in some places squishy
and paper had blown around my beds...not a pretty sight
The temperature was pretty mild for the 31st of December
I remember some New Year's Eves it was almost 0
As I finished my walk around the yard, I looked up and saw the sunlight
trying desperately to break through
and I felt a rush of gladness.....the sun is always there even when I can't see it
I remembered the days of my youth sitting at the beach on a cloudy day...going home burnt to crisp
yes the sun is powerful and a constant of the day whether I see it or not
2011 is leaving....may your days be sunny...even when you can't see its light
may it warm you with its rising faithfully throughout this new year
and for Uma:

NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDE
...Jane Kenyon

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God ,as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

I wish you all a blessed New Year
full of love and peace

Friday, December 30, 2011

They say the gift to give is land....lakefront? :)

I  turned 61 recently
Last year I turned that decade of 60 and the earth didn't fall away
and the sun still came up, glorious as ever
And now, today, it is our 41st anniversary
Well I have to tell you ...that number- 41- looks good
youthful
Wish I had turned 41....the things I would do differently
If I had only known I could have.
Wonderful thing...knowledge

Last night I wrote down the things I wanted to let go of
I almost forgot to do this as I was hooked on watching Project Runway marathon
yes, I can be shallow....actually I say this is balance
I used to drink a glass of wine while doing this...now at 61...meds
sucks
Anyway....the first thing I did was to light the fire,then I sat and stared at it
thinking of all the loss I experienced this year and of the sorrow I felt for so many friends
who lost greatly
Take care of them God......and then I tossed this into the fire
Next I thought about the failures .... even at my age...failure
......and this I tossed into the fire
and of course I had to think of the times I couldn't keep my mouth shut
and said that extra word...sometimes words that stung just right...but so wrong
this I don't do often.....I have learned this lesson mostly...but even I can be pushed
even I stand on ice and stomp......this I threw into the fire with much repentance
and then there are the goals I failed to reach...
and the hurt I had to free...to depower
and of course the ordinary weight of things like:
 the failures in the garden
the drawers and closets I failed to clear out completely
the dinners I failed to host
the exercise I let slip away
the friends I failed to see
the novel I haven't finished
the poems that I failed to write down
the books..oh the books I haven't finished
so much to let go of
burn the regret
For tomorrow... I welcome in a new year
and a new start.... begin it with a happy heart
not a heart weighed down by life
clean clean clean
clear clear clear
A swept heart is ready for opportunity
to love, to live, to laugh, to give,to see joy
to have a kind word
a kind smile
a comforting manner
a compassionate hand
A swept heart is always ready
Glad I swept mine last night....
Now to enjoy my anniversary.....
and my husband's whistle clean heart
joy






Thursday, December 29, 2011

It was a blue sky with whispers of pink that I awoke to,
how magnificient
So moved was I by this painting above that I stepped outside to stand under it
to look up and get lost in thought about its beauty
and then my neighbor dragged out his garbage cans
disturbing my joy
he waved
I pointed to the sky
he looked up and smiled,certain he had not seen what I was pointing to
It is a cultivated thing
this wu wei way of living
going with the flow of things,unpurposefully
becoming
Soon the pink gave way to gold rays
and I heard a school bus' squealing breaks just beyond my vision
and the moment was gone

Yesterday I spent the day putting away the christmas things
intent on focusing on the new year ahead
I used to belong to a group of women that I met with at this time of year
we would get together to talk about the year past
its regrets,its mistakes,its sadness
its failures....we would write them all on paper
then we would light a fire and toss them in
watch them vanish....begin a new year ...wiped clean
That is what I am going to do today....write these things down and in the evening
I will toss them in into the fire... and begin again
there is no other way
but this....begin again

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blaze...Magpie tale #96

how deeply she sought 
so deeply that she got lost
in diamonds,tycoons
a baseball hero,
and other women's husbands
burning her life's light
in sex and drugs
until crash and burn
leaving a debris field
as large as life
 her legacy a gouge in American life
 36 years long
and she never even liked the name
Marilyn


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas was always Christmas Eve
to us growing up
Mom was busy all day
dad sharpened the carving knife and got out the chairs
my brothers and I could hardly contain our excitement
for that night we knew the magic of Christmas happened
when we dressed in our costumes for the Nativity pageant
and the church was filled with wonder
candles all aglow everywhere
and the real 12 foot Christmas trees on each side of the altar
were decked out in large ornaments that dazzled our little hearts
and then the organ would play and Christmas became so real
a celebration and remembrance of the Christ child's birth
and as a little girl I remember
my heart swelling with tenderness
and a tear would sit at the rims of my eyes
so happy was I to be there
and then home....
a made dash to the tree
to see what Santa had brought
As the rest of the family merried around the house
One eve every year that was wonder incarnate
Merry Christmas
and to those who wait until Christmas Day
may your tomorrow be joyful
And to those who do not celebrate Christmas
may your day today and tomorrow be filled with light and joy
for it is a day which the Lord has given
blessings to you all
my blogger friends
and Happy Hanukkah

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

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hunting






On a whim, with a heart full of whimsy
I headed to our local thrift store
I needed to hunt
I have a method when I go there
First the glassware
I love old glasses
then I wind my way to the back to the old furniture
and finally I take a glance at the junk room of misc
but I savor the best for last
the BOOKS
I always know
when someone has died recently
when they have cleaned out someones house...
they come in droves...that's how I got a Ms swanson collection of books on Van Gogh

Such was yesterday's stash of cookbooks..no name in any of them
Gold in dem dare woods
So with a nod of respect for the former owner
I grabbed a few and sat and looked through them
I look for the ones that have writing in them
I cherish these.....I found this one on leftovers
Not only did "she" write in it...noting favorites
but she had stashed numerous articles of recipes from old magazines
joy....I paid my $1 and headed home
along with a few other pieces of stuff that spoke to me
Don't you just love folded corners on a cookbook
a map of sorts
Whoever you were......know that I found your map
and I will indeed
Try this
after all you did mark it
very good 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shadow Man...Magpietale # 96

I found this photo in a locked box
shoved in the back of my father's bureau.
I recognized the watch right away....he left it to my oldest son
and the raincoat was my mother's.
But who was the man standing, arms crossed protectively
over his chest,long black hair hitting his shoulders in a perky flip?
my father...my father...my father

The shadow
of the man
 I never knew
It was locked away
                       locked away
                                            ....locked away


Friday, December 16, 2011


 This photo was in our local PAWS shelter newsletter
Perked up my day
Now I hope someone sees a kitty in the clouds
just to keep it even

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

IT IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS...
ever have one?
when you fear saying the wrong thing
to the wrong person
at the wrong time
but you wished you could......!
A day when you can hear the very ice that you stand on
crack?
Have you ever had one of those days
when you just go ahead anyway
and stomp away
watch the crack spread like screeching fingers under your feet
...watch yourself slip
into the abyss....

and it felt good
despite everything?
Well
I'M having one of those days


Sunday, December 11, 2011

magpie tale #95

 This morning, on my way into the hospital, I saw a hawk swoop down, talons out.
He dropped onto the ground
wings spread
and just as quickly, I saw him ascend into the large burr oak,
rabbit dangling from his claws
and I cried inside for the end of this life
even knowing it brought life to another
I despise pain...especially in others
I felt as helpless as a man sunk in sand up to his armpits
Rescue boat in sight
sand swirling around me drawing me in deeper



Saturday, December 10, 2011

 still on the mend
gripper socks for now
no tie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I remember very clearly the day I went over to my grandpa's house one December
expecting to see a Christmas tree in his tiny living room all decked out
in large colored lights,tinsel of the lead kind,and wonderful old glass and paper ornaments
I was shocked to see that it wasn't there.
"I'm tired of putting it up.." he said
Tired? of Christmas?
What will Christmas be without a well decorated tree??
And he never did put another one up.
Tradition......woe......gone in an instant and he had not a clue how this broke my heart
I just accepted it
Well, this year.....I had a flash of understanding
I was thinking of not putting up the tree....I do it all by myself..put up-take down
I'm tired and unfocused this year and we were not going to entertain at our house this year
(thank you daughters)
But my husband gave me a sideways glance when I told him all of this
So....being able to read his thoughts, and remembering that as a child he had none of that...I decided to put them up....two trees..despite myself
And low and behold.....we not only are celebrating Christmas here (a tad early)
but also 3 birthdays...and an anniversary
all because my husband unexpectedly had to have some work
 done on his heart last week and more tomorrow...
....not his emotional, loving heart...the muscle heart
he needed a good plumber

So there it was....a wonderful cheery Christmas tree and a nativity
and a house jammed with family and precious grandchildren
sharing...a comforting tradition
a reality that who knows if we all will gather next year
or ever again

I thought I had this lesson well learned

...but I wasn't going to put up the tree
 lesson put before me again
glad I did
 and all because of that one  glance

Monday, December 5, 2011

magpie tale #94.....

I watched as she glanced up and stared at herself in the lunchroom mirror,a brief realization
of self, and then she looked away downward, biting into her sandwich. She becoming one with the rest of the humans passing life away eating their lunch, lost somewhere in thought. Maybe they know that their fellow comrades in this endeavor are suffering loss,disillusionment,want,heartbreak or loneliness, and they have not one ounce of concern left to give to them, for their own plate at this meal of the spirit is full of fear and regret and a mounting heap of unpaid bills. Who has nourishment to share when ones own cupboard has only a morsel of dried bread?
 The occasional sounds of shifting waxed paper or the crushing of a paper bag are the only interruptions that bring a brief respite from all this gloom. I feel like an interloper as I scan the room looking for interaction of any kind...an opportunity to break into their solitary worlds..to ask if there is a Mr. Cronin in the room. No one looks up,and I am glad that he is not here...or if he is...I won't be the one to tell him that his wife has passed away. As I ask one more time...the woman that I saw look into the mirror for a brief second...  looks up another brief second at me..then looks back down. I think she knows something, but she prefers the world she was in.

#94

Amazed... how well we speak without words
it is in a smile, in a hug held just a second longer
than before,
it is in the quiet laughter at what little miss does...
little miss who thinks she is here for her 5th birthday,
it is in the extra hands that clear the table,
it is in the glances at dad as he sleeps quietly on the sofa
during the Bears game
Speaking without words
how did we learn it?
this
powerful language of the heart


Saturday, December 3, 2011

You made it happen
with your heart
a gathering of us all,
an unexpected flight home
We celebrated an anticipation
of another
we celebrated a milestone of a 2nd and 5th year,
and year 61
because of your heart we gathered
to acknowledge 41 years of being together
and someone's car broke down
and a tooth got knocked loose
and a foot cut
but because of your heart
we experienced this together
helping and caring for each other
the bond of family grew closer
and we saw that it could actually get closer
and we saw our granddaughter pray
and we saw them all together on the stairs
playing and sharing most of the time
because of your heart
all this happened
so suddenly
I'm glad you paid attention
and went to the ER
so all this could happen
We celebrated your beating heart





Monday, November 28, 2011

Discarded... joy

 Like a spring tulip, the discarded couch seemed to grow out of the dirty sidewalk
a bit of unintended joy on a city street
Many passed by,stopped to look at it, but kept walking
Even the street people seemed to be awed by its pinkness
Not used to seeing joy, they were confused by it
no one daring to be the first to claim it for the night
No, it stayed against the underpass wall, its feet planted in concrete
a shrine of the discarded 


#93



Thursday, November 24, 2011


Hope you all had a wonderful day

me?.....I did
and now it is goodnight...sleep tight
see you in the morning

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Boo

After rolling in catnip....a morning treat
Boo looked up to the patio door and spotted the stray kitty
who was eating a dish of tuna that I had put out for him while Boo was high
Now, in this altered state, Boo was looking for a rumble
oh yeah, he scared that interloper, that cad, outside on his deck.
Why... that kitty just shook in his puss n boots,
finished eating, and turned and left.
.....and Boo thought....yeah,I'm bad.





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Magpie tale # 92.......





So into their love
they forgot they had children
and the children never learned
to have what they had,
but they searched all their loves
to fill that bucket that had no bottom


#92

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I was taught as a child to pray without ceasing

As a child I was guided by my teachers to not put prayer to an hour of the day
or to use it just in times of disaster,pain,wants,needs, loneliness or sorrow
no...prayer is a continuous communion with God
and it has been for all my life.....
So gratefulness is easy ....counting my blessings is like breathing
I am never without a listener....who knows before I speak

I am grateful that most Americans set aside this day to gather with their families
or with their friends or animals to stop and think of what blessings they have in their lives
A day to not count the lack
but to gladly bow their heads and say thank you

My daughter, Sarah, and her husband are doing the cooking this year
thank you
I will be making pies and a pumpkin cheesecake
I got off easy

So get out your notebooks,journals, scratch-paper
I am grateful for.....



Thursday, November 17, 2011

 
It is quiet in the house and I am about to make a small supper for my husband.
The sun is setting so wonderfully just outside the kitchen window,cheering me to a warmth
of  being. A purple finch is perched on the horsechestnut tree sunning himself...kindred spirit.
In the early years my husband and I were as poor as churchmice. We ate simply then,
and we eat simply now. One of his favorites is meatballs, rice and corn. I know...a bit too much starch,but it is one of those meals that brings a smile on his face when he lifts the lid.
His smiles have always been important. I am blessed with a partner who is grateful.
So as I mix the ground meat with breadcrumbs,seasoning,egg and onion
...I feel like the bird on the twig outside
...happy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

how quickly they grow


just bragging a little

boo hoo I miss them

#91 magpie tales

Life is a minefield of choices,
often opposites facing each other.
 It is with foggy vision that we trust
and sit or 
 keep going on ,fumbling and stumbling through.
And sometimes we run out of chairs and the music stops
and we have to sit on the only chair
 that is left


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

his name carved in stone
the maple leaves turned scarlet
there's death and there's death



#90

Friday, November 4, 2011

 typewriter and desk
a stack of crumbled paper
the frustration room


#89

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Harvest

comes in many ways

even without our knowing

and for this I give thanks

so much done for me

and mine  without our merit

it is only grace

and mystery

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

reflection is a B

glass ,mirror, window
yesterday, now, tomorrow
a reflection stew

http://magpietales.blogspot.com


Magpie Tale #88

Thursday, October 20, 2011

this time humans won
ducks  hung like war prisoners
some pigs more equal


magpie tale #87

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I have been so busy this week....all good things
and now...right now....their flight has landed from Laguna Beach, California
It is cold and very windy in Chicago
wind gusst of 50-60 mph
I hope they've brought their coats....
In kid life it has been ages since I last saw them..so many changes I'm sure
and my heart is swelling so much it hurts...I swear it does
it pinches with delight....in about an hour they will be here
How I have missed them

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are You Talkin' to Me?


Magpietale #86

     
       



When I awoke the room was illuminated by the harsh light of the overhead fixture dangling above the table in my one room cold water flat. A third floor cold water flat. I was still here. How could this be? I had eaten an entire king-sized bag of Gummy Bears...surely this should have been enough to end my misery, my pitiful existence.
But low and behold, on my kitchen table,on my folded New York Times, stood a tiny plump king with a royal red velvet robe and scepter that he held behind his back.
"Are you quite finished now,trying to off yourself with Gummy Bears?" I heard him ask.
I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and blinked to make sure that he was still there and not a remnant of my fractured mind. "Are you talkin' to me?" I stammered.
He motioned with the finger on his right finger while still holding the scepter in his left. First, he pointed to his chest,then he pointed two fingers to his eyes,and finally he pointed one finger right back to me.
"I'm watching you. Now, I want you to drink of this cup of hot coco. Do you know what you would have missed if you were successful at offing yourself?"
"No," I said sipping from the cup.
"Here,"put on these bunny slippers, your feet must be cold from all that sugar."
"Sure," I said,slipping them over my Batman socks. "What would I have missed?" I continued asking while blowing on my cup of hot coco.
"The end of the world."
I just sat there and looked at this tiny despot standing on my newspaper. "Oh, that's funny," I said, then flicked the little guy off of my newspaper and into the black void of the room. Suddenly,everything went into total darkness and images of my life flashed before me like lightening strikes.In the distance I could hear a howl ever increasing in decibels...coming from all corners of  my flat. Everything turned upside down and furniture slammed to the ground and I knew not up from down.
"Little King,Little King...save me!" I yelled into the abyss surrounding me.
"Are you ready to grow up? That is the price."
"Yes,yes, I'll grow up."
"No more gummy Bears to push down the pain?"
"No,no more Gummy Bears, I promise."
"Okay then,follow me...and a brilliant light opened up and I felt myself rising and dipping in waves of blue and I slipped under them, and as they separated,I tumbled over and over until I landed in a garden,naked as a jaybird and some guy leaned over me and breathed into my nostrils the breath of life ....and I became a living soul.

Friday, October 7, 2011

BUTT-ler

Oh my,
what I did yesterday...
What a wonderful afternoon
spending time with girlfriends
who are die-hard romantics
watching THIS movie
swoon
We took a vote
we all would have chosen the phantom
(based on abs and rear)
and that red outfit
Did I mention
that we are known to be shallow on some things?

It is hard sometimes to make plans
to get together....everyone having to be here or there
but we insist on it from time to time
and my wonderful friend, Karen,
is a fabulous cook....and she has the biggest TV
so she graciously hosts our gatherings
Bless her
What would a woman's life be
 without girlfriends?
I don't want to know.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011





I made a promise to myself that I will fully embrace
the coming seasons...no regret...no looking back...no longing held onto
I will jump right in and enjoy the things of THIS season
and her in Illinois we are lucky to have seasons.....in their entirety
My son prefers mild changes in season....like tis a bit chilly to sunbathe on the deck today
My husband and I were talking last night about how as children we experienced the seasons so much more,
why was that?
It was tactile. We walked everywhere.
Even when it rained....which it did often in spring...but we splashed in puddles and carried our little umbrellas while observing  bushes on our way... open up with fragrant flowers..more beautiful each day...and  birds singing in the trees.... and longer days of daylight
And I loved it when the sparrows gathered in a nicely clipped bush chattering away building condo nests...a heavenly sound to my little ears
 In summer we sweated in the hot sun playing outside...we got dirty....we cooled off with the hose and lemonade
we chased around and climbed trees and waded through creeks..we got wet in the lake and had sand in our toes....
In Fall we raked leaves and jumped in piles of them...we inhaled the wonderful smell of them burning...
We had to put on wonderful warm sweaters and ate homemade soup....walking home from school was a delight for the  senses.....brilliant colors of crimson and gold leaves twirled around us as we made our way home.... thoughts of the upcoming day of endless candy...what would we be?....a princess, a cowboy, a hobo,a ghost,a witch,....Dracula?...whichever one it was it was homemade. And going to Lutheran school we were directed to the historical facts of the Reformation
95 thesis nailed to the church door
 scripture,faith and grace alone
A Mighty Fortress is our God sung over and over
endless rehearsals for Reformation  service
I look back on that part of fall fondly....shocks many people that I do
I never experienced church as oppressive
only joyful....though it did interfere with candy begging on the 31st of October
But that is another topic.....I only wish to express how much season played a part
 in my life as a child

I think I'll take a long walk today
observe the season as it unfolds before me
It is going to be warm and sunny today
but the leaves have quickly turned colors and are already falling
the geese are forming v patterns above and are honking
the robins are quickly bathing for their long trip
and eating a lot of berries.....the hawk has returned to the garden
and the yard birds are waiting outside my window begging for a nash
in the feeders
I better get out there
soon there will be other things
of another season...and I don't want to miss any of it


Monday, October 3, 2011

a walk down Ravenswood



We went to an artwalk yesterday....beautiful day for it
good to get outside and explore
There was this poster that struck me as funny...being on a healthy program
yeah, I should think of food as art....savoring every last morsel
presentation emphasis




 This wall with ivy stretching across and up it was a delight for the wee artist in me

as was this street scene of parents
I love the look on the baby's face while his father is intense
busy creating art on the sidewalk with chalk.....





All in all a wonderful day with family
I came home with some wonderful pieces of re-purposed jewelry
and Finn came home with a wee chair purchased by grandpa


which he quickly used to sit and listen to the band

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trunk Down




There are times I wish to say
Cross that bridge when you come to it
and other times I just wade
 into rippling waves not fearing the drop off
but then this real thing happens and it could be
devastating if I ignore it
or push down its seriousness
All these burdens
being a grown up
old woman even
You would think by now life's choices
would be simple and divine
that I could wear purple when ever I please
but life is not a haiku or a short story
that you can direct...edit..or delete
Ah, if only this elephant would sprout wings
and fly


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