Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those Swingin' Sixties






I am a woman of a certain age and coming up on another changing of the decades soon. What concerns me most is maintaining my health, but what comes as a very close second is "What should I wear?" Just because a person can fit into certain clothes doesn't mean they should wear them. You know what I'm saying?

I don't want to look like I'm trying to be 20 years old again, but I don't want to look like a character from the Dinette Set. 

Some days it's hard.




I've been seeing ads for sites that send clothes for you to try on after filling out a questionnaire and giving information to a stylist and thought I would try it out. I went with Stitch Fix and got my first box last week. Expected to be disappointed, but all the pieces work with my wardrobe and what I need to wear for certain events.

Now, I'm not gonna lie, a couple of pieces I disliked when I saw them and had to try on a few times. There's not one clothing item I would have picked out for myself, which when you think about it is helpful since I'm looking for some changes.

From R to L, there's a wrap-style dress, a maxi skirt, a short summer dress, and a pair of cropped pants. There's a 5th piece, a black racer-back blouse pictured below, but already confiscated by my daughter. The. First. Night.

The wrap dress is a no-brainer. Fits well, love the colors, but wouldn't have thought it would look good on me. Purple and orange are not colors in my closet. "Orange may be the new black," but it's not a good color on me. That's what keeps me from my dream job as an international jewel thief and hanging with Pierce Brosnan. This dress though? Fabulous.




The maxi skirt is way outside anything I would wear, for one thing because I'm short and don't want to look stumpier. I immediately thought, "Nope." But, it's very comfortable and stretchy material, my hubby loves it, and it looks good with a short sleeveless jean shirt that I own. I've got 2 or 3 other tops that will work and I believe I can carry this over into the fall season. Wore it already to a friend singing Joni Mitchell's Blue album at a local Catholic church-turned-craft beer brewery.

I loved the print and the material on the summer dress and it looked great on the hanger, but thought a bit dumpy on me. Not enough of a waistline. I was going to use a belt and, again, the sleeveless jean shirt looked cute over it. Sweater and leggings in cooler temps...but, HoneyHaired will be taking this also and I think it will work well for her in San Fran.



These pants...HATED them. Didn't like the material. Not a cropped pants chick. Tried them on, felt weird, had a gap in the back. A definite send back. Tried them on again the next day, Hubby saw nothing wrong with them. No gapping. Went the extra step and tried them on with my own tops and shoes. These pants go with everything. Honestly. They dress up, they dress down. They're comfortable. Wore them in 90 degree heat and probably equal humidity to lunch with my mother&sister-in-law at a seafood restaurant. I ate and drank to my heart's content and these pants were still comfortable! Consider me a convert.

So, with all 5 items I'm looking at about $50/ item. Way pricier than what I usually pay. I get a lot of my stuff at Good-Will, second-hand stores or hand-me-downs from my girls, which is lovely though I've ended up with a lot of clothes that don't go with each other. And, they're all kind of similar. This Stitch Fix selection has been helpful to pull my things together and get more use out of clothes I already own.

I don't know if anyone else out there has this insecurity about dressing and what to wear as we're getting older, and wanting to still enjoy their clothes. There's lots else of much greater import to ruminate on after 60 trips around the sun. Some days though I simply think better if I like what I'm wearing.




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

From Blossoms

by Li-Young Lee





From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward   
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.


There's a cool breeze coming in through the window. The cicadas are singing. I'm 5 minutes away from going for a morning walk to stretch out muscles from Saturday morning Zumba and sitting at the opera for 3 hours last evening. Turandot. Didn't know the plot, but everyone would recognize the gorgeous piece of music in the third act. Brings tears to your eyes music.

Neurodramaville has been busy. The motor vehicle collisions, the unhelmeted motorcyclists, the driving while texting and the damaged that are left in their wake, the falls, the tumors, the broken blood vessels. So many lives on a different trajectory than when they woke up that day.

Hubby and I are checking out flights to the Pacific coast for September. MissNewOrleans is doing travel nursing and has her first assignment in Washington state & Miss HoneyHaired will be in California for her next co-op. Trying to figure out if we can see them both in the short amount of time we have off work.

Until then, we'll read the Sunday papers, eat some bagels and listen to the cicadas. Appreciate this day and that we still have both feet on our path for right now.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Evening at a Country Inn

by Jane Kenyon





From here I see a single red cloud
impaled on the Town Hall weather vane.
Now the horses are back in their stalls,
and the dogs are nowhere in sight
that made them run and buck
in the brittle morning light.

You laughed only once all day--
when the cat ate cucumbers
in Chekhov's story...and now you smoke
and pace the long hallway downstairs.

The cook is roasting meat for the evening meal,
and the smell rises to all the rooms.
Red-faced skiers stamp past you
on their way in; their hunger is Homeric.

I know you are thinking of the accident--
of picking the slivered glass from his hair.
Just now a truck loaded with hay
stopped at the village store to get gas.
I wish you would look at the hay--
the beautiful sane and solid bales of hay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Heavy Summer Rain

by Jane Kenyon



The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams's letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn. 


(Brutus, August 2001-July 2015)

Monday, April 20, 2015

In Praise of My Bed



By Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday in CinCity






Holy
The sound
The song 
The rise 
Cacophony of robin, finch 
and dove song. 
The rusty hinge of spring 
Blackbird with redwing.
Long spiteful winter
has lost her bony grip 
The red maples stiff upper lip 
is a burgeoning Cherokee red.
Mother Nature rolls out of her bed 
Like me she is sleepy and tired 
but so ready to lift her spirits high 
above the wires where the doves 
will soon align 
The best view of the sunset 
in this part of Highland county. 
And so goes the song of spring. 
Call and response
And also with you and 
also with you.

~Karin Bergquist
April 5, 2015
Easter Morning 
Porch Swing Poems


Have a visit with some of my favorite musicians and poets...

please note: photo from Melpo on her sand-grain.blog site

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday in CinCity

It's been a sad couple of weeks in CinCity. We've lost two of the city's finest--a firefighter trying to get residents out of a burning apartment building and a police officer T-boned on his motorcycle while leading a funeral procession. "Retired police officer" technically, but George spent a lot of years not being retired at serving and protecting the public and it was a job he loved. Daryl loved his job. His family said he chased after fire trucks as a kid; couldn't wait to be on one.

I know Daryl from our Mobile Care at BigFatTeaching Hospital. That's the transport team that brings critically ill patients from one hospital to another. George had been married to a friend and fellow nurse from "back in the day" until her death not even two years ago. Both of them great guys, funny, give you the shirt off their back-, never met a stranger- kind of men.

They left behind children, wives, friends, a lot of friends, broken hearts, and a city emptier without their two big hearts.




A Prayer among Friends

By John Daniels

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn't ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents




By Frances Cornford
The spirits of children are remote and wise,
They must go free
Like fishes in the sea
Or starlings in the skies,
Whilst you remain
The shore where casually they come again.
But when there falls the stalking shade of fear,
You must be suddenly near,
You, the unstable, must become a tree
In whose unending heights of flowering green
Hangs every fruit that grows, with silver bells;
Where heart-distracting magic birds are seen
And all the things a fairy-story tells;
Though still you should possess
Roots that go deep in ordinary earth,
And strong consoling bark
To love and to caress.
Last, when at dark
Safe on the pillow lies an up-gazing head
And drinking holy eyes
Are fixed on you,
When, from behind them, questions come to birth
Insistently,
On all the things that you have ever said
Of suns and snakes and parallelograms and flies,
And whether these are true,
Then for a while you'll need to be no more
That sheltering shore
Or legendary tree in safety spread,
No, then you must put on
The robes of Solomon,
Or simply be
Sir Isaac Newton sitting on the bed.


please note: art by Sue Wilson, "Tree Roots And Grasses"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Diner

By Louis Jenkins





The time has come to say goodbye, our plates empty except
for our greasy napkins. Comrades, you on my left, balding,
middle-aged guy with a ponytail, and you, Lefty, there on my
right, though we barely spoke I feel our kinship. You were
steadfast in passing the ketchup, the salt and pepper, no man
could ask for better companions. Lunch is over, the cheese-
burger and fries, the Denver sandwich, the counter nearly
empty. Now we must go our separate ways. Not a fond embrace,
but perhaps a hearty handshake. No? Well then, farewell. It is
unlikely I'll pass this way again. Unlikely we will all meet again
on this earth, to sit together beneath the neon and fluorescent
calmly sipping our coffee, like the sages sipping their tea
underneath the willow, sitting quietly, saying nothing. 

My daughter texted yesterday to tell me she and her fiance have lost a dear friend; a member of the small family of loved ones they have collected in New Orleans. And, like many deaths of those in their twenties, unnecessary. As one gets older and sees the winnowing of our tribes, you grow to learn that all the deaths seem unnecessary whether it's age twenty-five, fifty-five, or eighty-five. Why now? Why not one more day? One more conversation.

 One more chance.

please note: photograph by Nadia Lukic

Monday, March 23, 2015

"It was one of those March days...






...when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


please note: photo from the Common Gettys Collection

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday in CinCity







the hookers, the madmen and the doomed

By Charles Bukowski
today at the track
2 or 3 days after
the death of the
jock
came this voice
over the speaker
asking us all to stand
and observe
a few moments
of silence. well,
that's a tired
formula and
I don't like it
but I do like
silence. so we
all stood: the
hookers and the
madmen and the
doomed. I was
set to be dis-
pleased but then
I looked up at the
TV screen
and there
standing silently
in the paddock
waiting to mount
up
stood the other jocks
along with
the officials and
the trainers:
quiet and thinking
of death and the
one gone,
they stood
in a semi-circle
the brave little
men in boots and
silks,
the legions of death
appeared and
vanished, the sun
blinked once
I thought of love
with its head ripped
off
still trying to
sing and
then the announcer
said, thank you
and we all went on about
our business.



The Cincinnati Ballet had their spring performance this weekend, Mozart's Requiem. It's a gorgeous and moving experience, especially with the full chorale from Xavier University, and very Spring-like in its transition from darkness to light. Beautifully done.


If you care to see a minute or two...


please note: photo of the Cincinnati Ballet by the Cincy Ballet


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Mornings

By Jane Hirshfield




In Istanbul, my ears
three mornings heard the early call to prayer.
At fuller light, heard birds then,
water birds and tree birds, birds of migration.
Like three knowledges,
I heard them: incomprehension,
sweetened distance, longing.
When the body dies, where will they go,
those migrant birds and prayer calls,
as heat from sheets when taken from a dryer?
With voices of the ones I loved,
great loves and small loves, train wheels,
crickets, clock-ticks, thunder-where will they,
when in fragrant, tumbled heat they also leave?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Father and Daughter



By Amanda Strand





The wedding ring I took off myself,
his wife wasn’t up to it.
I brought the nurse into the room
in case he jumped or anything.
“Can we turn his head?
He looks so uncomfortable.”
She looked straight at me,
patiently waiting for it to sink in.

The snow fell.
His truck in the barn,
his boots by the door,
flagpoles empty.
It took a long time for the taxi to come.
“Where to?” he said.
“My father just died,” I said.
As if it were a destination.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

Every year when we watch the Oscar ceremonies we see the nominations for the short films and documentaries and say out loud, "WTH??  Who gets to see these films?" And then, the next day or even by the end of the program we've forgotten the whole matter.




This year after a particularly cabin-fever inducing snow fall we booted our way up to the village to check out civilization and noticed a flyer on Sitwell's Coffee Shop window with a date and a theater location to watch the Oscar Shorts. Serendipity!! The Cincinnati World Cinema has been doing it for the last 14 years and we're nothing but clueless morons to have missed it all these years. I think you can also buy it on Amazon for instant viewing on your device. But again, techno idjits are we with the attention span of a moth.

So short films work well with our distracted brains. The longest film was 39 minutes I believe. The shortest, 3 minutes, give or take a minute or so. Seven films the first day, or the first half of one day depending on how you arranged your tickets for the two day viewing. We split the days up so we could mull over the films of one day before taking in the next batch...no chance to slide through the cracks of memory before we can make it home.

The films are a mixture with live action and animation, funny and somber. All are fascinating.


Our first afternoon started with The Dam Keeper and it's been hard to keep it from being my favorite with the story and the artwork. 



But, there's The Single Life and The Phone Call and Powder Keg...All of them jewels. To keep it all things CinCity, the winner of this year's Oscar was Feast directed by a hometown artsy genius, Patrick Osborne.


And, like all two days with 14 movies should end...they all lived happily ever after.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Memory Revived by Citizen of the Month







From Our House to Your House

By Jack Ridl





It is 1959. It is the cusp of the coming revolution.
We still like Ike. We are still afraid of Sputnik.
We read Life magazine and Sports Illustrated
where the athletes grow up shooting hoops
in the driveway, playing catch in the backyard.
We sit on our sectional sofa. My mother loves
Danish modern. Our pants have cuffs. Our hair
is short. We are smiling and we mean it. I am
a guard. My father is my coach. I am sitting
next to him on the bench. I am ready to go in.
My sister will cheer. My mother will make
the pre-game meal from The Joy of Cooking.
Buster is a good dog. We are all at an angle.
We are a family at an angle. Our clothes are
pressed. We look into the eye of the camera.
“Look ‘em in the eye,” my father teaches us.
All we see ahead are wins, good grades,
Christmas. We believe in being happy. We
believe in mowing the lawn, a two-car garage,
a freezer, and what the teacher says. There is
nothing on the wall. We are facing away
from the wall. The jungle is far from home.
Hoses are for cleaning the car, watering
the gardens. My sister walks to school. My
father and I lean into the camera. My mother
and sister sit up straight. Ike has kept us
safe. In the spring, we will have a new car,
a Plymouth Fury with whitewalls and a vinyl top.


The blog to refer to...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All Things Being Austen


Sense and Sensibility
By Jane Austen


"The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home; for to supply her loss, he invited and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it. In the society of his nephew and niece, and their children, the old Gentleman's days were comfortably spent. His attachment to them all increased. The constant attention of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood to his wishes, which proceeded not merely from interest, but from goodness of heart, gave him every degree of solid comfort which his age could receive; and the cheerfulness of the children added a relish to his existence."




I have for many months now required escapist reading for immersion into a world not bordered by hospitals filled to capacity, or terror groups acting like scary crazy clowns in a bad B movie, or hysterical Storm Tracker Warnings with the inevitable shortage of milk and bread. Hey, I'm only here for the Maple Bacon Kettle Chips, kids. Priorities.

Some hours spent on Google otherworldly alignment of the stars brought this series of books by Stephanie Barrons to my attention. Jane Austen solving murders written in the style of Jane Austen with Jane Austen's family. It's total Austen awesome sauceness which makes me happy as a clam--one of the many, many foods I would avoid eating in JA's time.





Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Bow Man,







may your arrows fly straight and your aim be true."







please note: my photo at Spring Grove Cemetery, March 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happiness


There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon.
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

please note: photo of Uncle Fred

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

The Changing Light

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


The changing light

            at San Francisco

    is none of your East Coast light

           none of your

                   pearly light of Paris

The light of San Francisco

             is a sea light

                       an island light

And the light of fog

        blanketing the hills

    drifting in at night

           through the Golden Gate

                      to lie on the city at dawn

And then the halcyon late mornings

    after the fog burns off

      and the sun paints white houses

                     with the sea light of Greece

      with sharp clean shadows

       making the town look like

                             it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o'clock

                                    sweeping the hills


And then the veil of light of early evening


And then another scrim

           when the new night fog

                            floats in

And in that vale of light

                   the city drifts

                           anchorless upon the ocean


Losing an hour of sleep last night for Daylight Savings seems a small price for the promise of sunshine when I leave work after 12 hours. It's been a grim winter in many ways for too many of us.
Miss Honey-Haired was able to spend her winter in San Francisco for school. Chilly days there are 60 degrees and MissNewOrleans almost had to turn on the A/C for temps above 75. The struggle is apparently very real.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


The Invention of Heaven

                    By Dean Young


The mind becomes a field of snow
but then the snow melts and dandelions
blink on and you can walk through them,
your trousers plastered with dew.
They’re all waiting for you but first
here’s a booth where you can win
a peacock feather for bursting a balloon,
a man in huge stripes shouting about
a boy who is half swan, the biggest
pig in the world. Then you will pass
tractors pulling other tractors,
trees snagged with bright wrappers
and then you will come to a river
and then you will wash your face.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Dawn Revisited

By Rita Dove



Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don’t look back,
the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits –
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours
to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You’ll never know
who’s down there, frying those eggs,
if you don’t get up and see.

There's nothing like the sun crystallizing off the snow piles on each side of our driveway necessitating sunglasses, don't you know, to get a girl up and moving. The exile to the grey and frozen tundra of another CinCity winter is soon at an end. My money's down on seeing someone in shorts today. Outside. A six-pack of Ale 8 on the line.
I've taken a break from this blog for a while. Long story and plenty of time to tell it, but believe it's a good time to return. The world still needs poetry. Or mockery. Lucky me has both.