This Strange Whiteness

Hello everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is AFRAID. A word with so many shades, from embarrassed to reluctant to a bit fearful to terrified.

I’m afraid — somewhat embarrassed, that is — that I’ve been very slow to respond. Today I’ve been occupied with a sewing project. And I’m afraid — reluctant to admit and say — that I won’t be doing much blogging for a couple of weeks, as I MUST attend to other important things that have been piling up.

As long as nothing goes “BUMP” in the night, I’m not seriously fearful about anything right now.

Here’s a poem about fear, and how fearful folks with dementia sometimes feel. They know something’s wrong; they sense that their mind isn’t working like it should; and (if they’re still with it enough) they wonder how much more confused they’re going to get.

My verse probably needs some help and I’m open to suggestions how I can improve it.

Wandering in a strange whiteness
I’ve lost my mind in a snowbank,
I’m half frozen — and the wind
has blotted out what I should know;
memories buried in snow.

Perhaps I know you, but the blur
drifting across my eyes today
has made vague shrouds
of the familiar. I can’t recall
in these grey, blinding clouds,
who I once was, or how…
I’m related to you, you say?
I’m afraid I’ve forgotten.

How I wish some breeze
could blow this fog out of my mind;
melt this snow, warm my bones,
show me where I should be,
I hate to have to sit here
half the day, blind and frozen.

Modern Times & Grandma

THE MODERN GRANDMA

The old rocking-chair will be empty today
for Grandma no longer is in it.
She’s off in her car to her office or shop;
she buzzes around every minute.
You won’t see her trundling off early to bed
from her chair in a warm chimney nook;
her typewriter’s clicking far into the night,
for Grandma is writing a book!

Our heroine never allows backward looks
to slow down her steady advancing;
there ‘s no baby-sitting for her anymore—
for Grandma has taken up dancing.
She isn’t content with her thoughts of old times,
with meager and second-hand knowledge.
So don’t bring your mending for Grandma to do
for Grandma has gone back to college!

🙂

I’ve Googled and found this poem listed as “Author Anonymous” in several books, with a few variations. I found this version in the 1976 Friendship Book of Francis Gay. None of them mentioned Grandma running for office, but modern grandparents are doing that, too.

Yes, the lot of grandparents has changed very much my grandparents’ day. We’ve lost some important connections and probably thrown too much wisdom “out with the bathwater,” as Grandma would say. But in many ways I’m very thankful for the freedom seniors have today.

At the Villa one day over dinner we talked about some of the changes that make it possible for handicapped people to get out and about, like walkers, motorized wheelchairs, sidewalk ramps. And then there are health benefits like cataract surgery and macular degeneration treatment to prevent blindness and various medications to regulate the heart and keep people active longer. So Grandma can go back to college. 🙂

I think of my Grandma, who went from home to home visiting her children, not often appreciated by the grands. She had basically no interaction with us except to reprove bad behaviour. The mentality back in her childhood would have been “children should be seen and not heard”; it was not for parents to have a rapport with their children.

One older man told his son, “I envy you that, that you young fathers are encouraged to be close with, and affectionate to, your children. When I was young, fathers were to represent Authority, be stern and dole out correction.”

Some widowed grandmothers a century ago were simply “taken in” by whoever of the children had the most room or time to care for her. I would—and I  think most grandmothers now would—far rather have their own small quarters in a senior’s residence than be the “fifth wheel” in a busy family.

Back on Track

We have a beautiful spring-like afternoon here in Saskatchewan. Our temperatures have risen above 0 C and the cats are loitering outside in the sunshine. A sweet promise of days to come.

After December’s side-track, I’m again working at my ATCUSS* goal. This week I’ve been doing more cleaning/tossing out in my sewing room, as well as some minor mending. (*ATCUSS: A Total Clean-Up of my Sewing Space.)
We live in a mobile home and there’s just not much room to store things — never mind half-finished things. Ungrateful soul that I am, some days I look around and think:
Stuff, stuff, stuff!
Where to save it?
Where to store it?
No, stuff it. Stuff it!
Blessing from Heaven:
those green garbage bags!

The Pinch of Winter

Good morning everyone.
My journal entry for today will to be “Cold, Cold, and Dry.”

The moon’s almost full but sadly gives us no warmth. The thermometer reads -27 C at 5:30 am. I woke up early from a silly dream, so decided to get up and feed the cats, finish addressing Christmas cards, and now check out internet world.

The first thing I discovered is that we have no water. Not a drop from our taps. We get our water from a local well, so did the pump freeze up? Is it afflicted with some mechanical failure? I doubt the water line has frozen overnight; that hasn’t happened yet and it’s been colder than this.

Have you ever been without water for some reason? One of the first things I notice is that I get really thirsty. I suddenly want to drink lots. Good thing we always keep a Brita-filtered pitcher of water in the fridge so I can accommodate my thirst. And a Keurig machine to supply my coffee — or hot chicken broth — needs.

It doesn’t help that I have a cold and sore throat. Brought on by my own carelessness, I’m afraid. I’ve had a jigsaw puzzle around for awhile; it’s been at my workplace for a long time and I wanted to do it here at home before passing it on. The picture on the box is really nice, a restaurant-front in some Latin land, with attractive big blue doors and a flowering vine draping over. But the puzzle, when I started it Sunday afternoon, proved to be really difficult. By bedtime we barely had the frame and part of the doors together.

I didn’t smell anything while working on it, but yesterday morning I woke up with sinus trouble and a sore throat, my usual reaction to something that carries a bit of mustiness. Slowly I’m learning that I have to be really careful and air out books, papers, fabrics, anything that could be musty. Fresh air is good for almost everything.

I set it outside awhile yesterday morning and worked on it a bit longer, but it was giving me no pleasure so I tossed it. If I were getting paid by the hour, that would be another matter, but life is too short to spend hours on a pastime project I’m not really enjoying.

So I’d best get prepared to face the day now. Unless the pump problem is fixed pronto, we’ll have to fetch water from somewhere — maybe intrude on our children’s routine.

a pale cold moon
over the frigid prairie
chicken soup morning

Yesterday

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is YESTERDAY. I can hardly miss this one, as I have lots to say about yesterday.

We were off to the city shortly after 9am yesterday; I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and we had a writers’ group get-together in the afternoon. Once a month some of us Christian writers in this area get together to catch up and keep in touch. It’s always an encouraging sharing session. One of our group, Darlene Polachic, has written several Christian romances. Here’s Amazon link for the first book in her Ever Green series, of which there are five so far.

Yesterday I finally finished a jigsaw puzzle I started Sunday. It was a toughie, a 1000- piece artwork picture, the artist’s depiction of some southern (Tuscan?) village with background vineyards and trees, which means the whole puzzle is mostly shades of green-grey-aqua. I was convinced quite a few pieces were missing until the very end, when it turned out only one was. Smack in the middle of the sky! Do you throw out jigsaw puzzles with one piece missing?

Yesterday while I was waiting for my husband I downloaded and started to read a cozy mystery, one of the Aunt Bessie series by Diana Xarissa. I finished it this afternoon, between excursions outdoors to clean up the flower beds and pots. We’ve had some serious frost that’s left my annuals looking pretty limp. Time to get the pots cleaned up and put away.

Overall the series feels mild and homey. Aunt Bessie lives in her little cottage by the sea, on the Isle of Man, and gets together often with her friends for meals and discussions about whodunit. She seems to have a knack for being on the scene when a crime’s discovered and it helps that her good friends are Inspector John Rockwell, Bessie’s friend Doona, who works at the Police Dept., and Hugh Waterson, a local bobby who loves his food. Lately they’re often joined by Hugh’s new girlfriend, Grace. (They marry later in the series.)

This story starts out well but the middle slows considerably as they go in a lengthy circle of who committed the crime and get nowhere. Plus it’s Christmas and they get lost in a rather long discussion and sampling of seasonal goodies. I feel a mystery should move fairly fast and this one definitely could speed up some. If readers are really interested in the various kinds of cookies made in the US and how they differ from the English biscuits, they may not mind this detour from the investigation, but 3/4 of the way through I was ready to skip ahead and find out who the guilty party was.

Still, for a cozy mystery series this one is quite good. I really don’t like the ones where an aggressive amateur sleuth gets in people’s faces, demanding answers. I read and enjoy the Markham Sisters Bed & Breakfast series, by the same author. It also moves sedately for the most part and the mysteries are minor ones, like what their guests might be up to, or who might be spreading counterfeit bills in the little village of Doveby Dale.

This series reminds me of the Miss Read books I used to read long ago, “Life in a small English village” type of stories. And one thing I can say about both these series is that the writing is improving and the characters are developing more, and more sensibly, as the series progresses. Nice to see the writer learning and improving her craft.

I wonder how many of you recalled that old Beatles tune, “Yesterday,” when you saw today’s word prompt? If you’re under forty you maybe never gave it a thought, but that was a big hit when I was a young teen. Dates me, right? 😉

And I think that’s enough said about yesterday.