Monday, May 24, 2010

It is very, VERY important right now that I believe the light at the end of the tunnel is a rainbow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Feeling Sad & Snarky

Is depression something I've had all my life? Mood swings have always been my forte, from giddy with delight at a sunbeam to teary-eyed with loneliness. It is hard to imagine being on an even keel for any length of time. Lately the extremes have seemed extremier, especially at a downward angle. I've always been able to function, have prided myself on pulling myself up and getting on with things. It is getting harder.

Medication? Not as long as I can see my way through without. There are plenty of other tools at my disposal and thus far I've been able to utilize them.

Friends: The basic lifeline. Good people who listen without judging and hear without needing to fix what is mine to fix.

Sunshine & music: Some of my down mood is Seasonal Affective Disorder so every sunbeam counts. Music tends to catch me and I have a playlist of tunes that set me hip-wiggling.

Time: This is on my side since I've had sixty-three years to see how this whole scenario operates, to notice what I do to embrace it. Mantra = This Too Shall Pass.

I know I'm lucky that my depression doesn't fall over the edge. It teeters precariously at times but hasn't buried me into total immobility. I just get semi-hinged and the downest times make me cranky. Cranky turns to stubborn and somehow that motivates resistance. As long as the roads runs that direction it is possible to cope.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


It is a tough gig trying to learn to be a writer when you second
guess yourself and are so lacking in confidence that you widdle doubt
and self-judgement on your feet every time you share a piece. Mondays
are hard days for me. Monday morning is when our local writers group

I strongly consider beginning each meeting by declaring: "Hi, I'm
Martha and I'm a writer-wannabe. I've been bereft of inspiration for
three weeks now." I walked in to this week's meeting with the
confession that I'd fallen off the wagon and committed poetry.
Actually I slunk in hoping there would be enough of us attending that
I could mumble an excuse and get passed over. We often have more than
a dozen writers eager to share their stories. When mine is fiction
I'm happy to elbow my way into line. Poetry? I keep attempting it
because the spare, bones-only emotional impact staggers me with its
power. And I also like making clever little ditties.

My poem was soul-baring and close to home. That made me suspect is
was too the first, too the second, and therefore too personal to be
too good. The amount of discussion engendered was encouraging. If
readers find a poem worth talking over, worth sharing their
impressions about, it has communicated: an elementary reason we
write. If they find something in the piece I didn't necessarily put
there, something of their own rather than of mine, that is wonderful.
It means what began as me had horizons that encompassed them. When
that happens, I begin to think perhaps there is a chance to earn the
name: author. Not yet, but someday?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The AM Show

I just got back to my computer after a morning "sit outside". With rain due over the next three or more days it is wise to take advantage of a mild morning. There is cloud cover but that made it easier to watch the activity at the bird feeders.

The cloth sack we fill with niger seed had a hole so I mended and refilled it. We put it up last year to treat the seasonal infestation of Goldfinches but this year it has been discovered by the Evening Grosbeaks. When I left the porch a few minutes ago the feeder tree held a trio of female and two males. plus a liberal application of the finches - a dozen or more. The fabric feeder sported one grosbeak and half a dozen Goldfinches and resembled some fantastic Dale Chihuly chandelier, colorful wings, heads, and tails sprouting in every direction.

There was music to accompany the bird ballet. A male Goldfinch did an aria from a branch. A swallow on a wire overhead added a treble line, and the percussion was provided by our rooster and from out in the field somewhere the gobble of a wild turkey. I think maybe birds invented rap/hip-hop and most certainly punk music.

(The picture is sans Grosbeak. They aren't as trusting as the finches.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Let the sunshine in!

It isn't summer yet. It is barely spring here. The apple trees are forcing out a few reluctant blossoms, the daytime temperatures top off around 60 deg.F, and rain keeps showing up to keep things soggy. But Silly me, I woke feeling optimistic and when I got dressed opted for shorts and a light blouse. Okay, quit that hysterical laughter!

There are mornings here when shorts and blouse are adequate and appropriate attire. This isn't one of them. The fog is stuck overhead and there is no sign of sunshine. I'm currently sporting a set of goosebumps that make the Alps look like minor ripples in the landscape. My feet are bare - and freezing. An intelligent person would surrender and make a dash for the closet, for jeans and flannel. Now if only someone intelligent was around here.

No, I'm stubborning it out. The sun HAS to come out eventually, right? The air WILL get warmer, won't it?

I think it can. I think it can. I think it can!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Looking Up

Does anybody else miss the old library card catalogues? I used to love looking up a subject, then discovering the cards nearby with short descriptions of books that beckoned and intrigued. Sometimes I'd be attracted by a subject my fingers passed over, and I'd stop and meander around, reading here and there. If it seemed interesting enough I'd be off into the stacks to look at the books, perhaps checking out one to read on a topic I'd not been looking for when I arrived.

I loved all the little wooden drawers. There were days I'd pick one at random, open it, and find a card to peruse. Then another, and another... Maybe it was just me? I recall opening the dictionary in unmethodical fashion to read definitions. I'd do much the same with an encyclopedia volume.

Surfing the internet has some similarities but it lacks the tactile response. Remember the slightly dusty, musty smell of those old cards? The stiff, yellowed paper? The internet is faster and vaster but perhaps not so... archeological.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The "M"word

(Mom, Gramma, My daughter & Me - 39 years ago)

Mother, as in today is Mother's Day. Everybody is thinking mother thoughts. I may as well join the multitude. Mother is a subject hard to avoid though some of us have given it a real attempt.

My relationship with my mother was very close when I was a kid. My father was in the Navy, frequently gone, emotionally distant, and mostly a stranger when he was around. Mom was essentially a single-parent. Her own mother had her as the last of seven children, seven years younger then the next older child and very likely an "Oops"! I never saw any fondness between them.

Mom tried her best to be a good parent but she lacked a role-model. We were more like siblings when I was a teen, with me sometimes mothering her. It worked, but wasn't a very healthy bond. I was lonely and used food to compensate for what was missing in my life - a pattern that continues to this day. I got the message that if only I would (fill in the blank) life would be perfect. Interpreted through child-logic that meant IT was all my fault, whatever IT was.

My post-teen rebellion sent our tricky relationship to hell. I blamed my mother for all things wrong and distanced myself from her. When she suffered an aneurism, she lived, but the mother I knew was gone and so were my chances for finding peace with her.

It has only been the past five or ten years that I've come to some understanding of the dynamics between my mother and me. I've learned how little I really knew her and how self-centered my interpretation of the events around us. Regrets? Quite a few. Those are what remain to be dealt with, and lived through.

I love you Mom. I did all along though I tried hard not to show it. I wish I'd learned a little faster to forgive us both. Wherever you are: Happy Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Looking Up

The immediate failure of any commitment to blog every day this month was actually a bit of a relief. You should also see it that way. No month is to come of you reading this blog and finding me desperately searching for something to write on the May topic, which by the way is: Looking Up.

There are days when looking up seems the only possibility. Those are the Down Days when listening to the news is depressing in the extreme and personal life is the pits. As I start to mutter "Things couldn't get any worse," I strangle on the words and quickly clench my teeth to keep them in, because, of course, they always can. And I'm sure the wags on the other side are just waiting for a statement like that. "It can't get any worse?" Just watch this! They swing into action with snickers and giggles to prove exactly how wrong that can be.

It can get worse. And it might... or not. But I'm trying to avoid waving any flags to catch the attention of those heavenly imps. Volcano? Okay. Terrorists? It happens. Floods, plague, broken bones, taxes, pain, whatever, I'll cope as best I may. Let the universe just not pause to single me out for special attention, please?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Food Labyrinth

I was going to sign up at NaBloPoMo to blog every day in May, but it seems I already missed the goal. Yesterday I spaced it - first day! I had what I consider a somewhat decent excuse. I was volunteering with friends Paulianne and Nancy at an event for World Labyrinth Day. This is their second year of creating a walkable labyrinth from food donations which are afterwards shared with the local food pantries in Port Orford and Langlois. The picture above is Paulianne setting up the basic structure.

Curry County in southwest Oregon is a "drive through" place. Folks from California go through as they head north to vacation in Canada. Folks in BC and Washington head south in fall to over-winter in Arizona. It is a year round stream of land yachts going somewhere else. This area is populated by ranchers and fisherman eking out a living from the land and ocean, and increasingly by retired folks seeking a less expensive place to live. That combination leaves us with many people who are barely managing financially and that means hungry people.

I was raised in a comfortable middle-class environment and lived most of my life in a similar, self-satisfied middle-class way. Being poor, homeless, and hungry was seen as a fault of laziness and bad judgement, not a result of economics or ill health. Compassion and understanding took a long time to arrive. They are still getting here but I'm learning from those around me how quickly middle-class serenity can be blasted away.

Giving food to those in need is a small thing for most of us. The equivalent of the purchase on one extra can of food a week, negligible to most of our wallets, could mean over 50 lbs. of food from each of us per year to a food bank. Try it. It feels good!