Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Smudge

Night falls gently

Night falls gently
Without fanfare
Draping earth in shadows

The night train’s whistle
Sings a lullaby
Down by the riverside

My cat comes creeping
Onto my warm lap
For a last evening cuddle

That was last night. My favorite time of day, and, as it happens, my last day of being 75 years old! I almost always spend a little time writing in my journal before I go to bed.

Last night I wrote this, among other things:

Smudge just visited me — sitting on my lap quietly, as though he needed one last cuddle. I can’t imagine the last 6 1/2 years without him. Thank you for this small reminder of how important he is in my life. Along with David and the rest of our family. Tomorrow I’ll be 76 years old — hard to believe.

So now 76 is upon me, and I feel more than a little lost. Not within the core of who I am, but out there, when I look up and around. Where do I belong in this sea of humanity?

Many markers for what’s considered good and true have morphed into something else. Sometimes this is good riddance. Still, I’m not sure what’s going on right now, especially within our nation. I feel more at sea than ever, more guarded when I talk or write about current events, and less certain how to make a difference.

One of my Emily Dickinson posts, There is a pain — so utter, has had more than 1,000 views since I posted it in February 2018. It’s about living in Trance. A state in which we in the USA seem caught in endless loops. We refuse to look at reality, choosing instead to step over and around it. Pretending all is well when the ground is shaking beneath our feet. And has been for unnumbered years.

The Good News is that we can live in Truth. Maybe not the full load all at once, but at least in small, potent doses that begin to wake us from our national Trance. The kind that blinds us to what’s happening in the present moment. Whether personal or national.

So here’s my wish for today: I want my life, including my writing, to be part of the solution, not part of perpetuating the problem.

Blessings to each of you.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 November 2019
Photo found at pinterest.com

Night belongs to You

Night belongs to You
And creatures of deep shadows
Encircling my heart
Kindly taking their places
Guardians sent from above

Sometimes during the night I hear Smudge making a commotion downstairs. He’s making sure stray crickets or mice are stopped dead in their tracks. Otherwise, you see, they might come up the stairs and invade our bedroom.

I’d even argue that Lucy Pacemaker (I Love Lucy!) is one of these night creatures. Most lively at night, kicking and kicking my slow heartbeat up to something resembling a live human being.

And then there are times during the night when words from a hymn I love come flooding in. Not exactly creatures, but definitely guardians sent from above.

Today was strange. No internet until now (late afternoon). Instead of writing, I got some chores done, read from a challenging book about white rage in the USA (White Rage, by Carol Anderson, PhD), and took a chilly, enjoyable walk around the neighborhood.

Hoping your night is visited by kindly guardians of all kinds, even though you may not feel at peace.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 November 2019
Image found at cottagelife.com

Progress!

Happy Monday, everybody! Two months ago (minus 5-6 days) our faithful waterbed sprang a nasty leak. We’ve been camping out in the house ever since. On Saturday, the construction crews finished their work. Getting the waterbed functioning and warm enough to sleep in was Number One on our to-do list the last few days.

The top photo shows our lovely kitty, Smudge, sitting in the middle of the waterbed’s bare bones. Below you can see the skeleton laid out for reassembly. The metal rails (above) are for under-the-bed drawers, two on each side. As shown here:

The central area beneath the mattress is open–though D later attached a sturdy cardboard door to the back entrance to foil you-know-who. But before he did that, the Inspector General had to check everything out!

Most exciting of all was a strange ‘hole’ in the wall (above). He stalked it like a pro and then went for the jugular! (Note his straight-back all-business tail.) Sadly, the mouse hole was just an electrical outlet set back a bit into the baseboards.

This morning D, with a bit of help from me, got the bed all put back together. The logo on the white mattress proclaims loudly, STAY PURE! Still scratching my head…..  In case you’re wondering, the two water bladders are zipped into this cushy white mattress. The green eye on the wall is our resident creature from outer space.

Here’s the bed all made up, minus our pillows. Right now the water is warming, and we should be in our own bed tonight. I turned on the overhead light for this one.

When we moved from Tennessee into this house in the early 1980s, we had no bed for several weeks. Instead, we camped out on the living room floor on the mattress we’d slept on for years (yes, on the floor) in South Carolina, California, and Tennessee. Our current house was built by a local carpenter for his family of 10 children. The huge attic (transformed a year ago) was for his boys. I think there were 5. And yes, there were several sisters, too.

At any rate, our first major furniture purchase when we moved to Pennsylvania was this waterbed. We’ve never regretted it.

Happy Monday, again, and peace, especially for everyone going through tough, sad, disorienting or lonely times.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 September 2019
Photos taken by me, with my iPad,
22 and 23 September 2019

Parting is such sweet sorrow….

Tomorrow we’re driving to our son and daughter-in-law’s house for a last chance to see our granddaughters for a while. They’ll celebrate their 19th birthdays later this month. However, by then they’ll be enrolled in their colleges, far from home. In the photo above they’re modeling their new, handmade sweaters–a Christmas gift, as I recall.

Grandma/Queen Elouise (that would be me) has been feeling a bit nostalgic today. I don’t usually post pictures of our granddaughters, but below are a few of my favorites from way back. Plus one Smudge treasures dearly.

About six years ago our  granddaughters and their Mom rescued Smudge from a state park. He was about 4-6 weeks old–soaking wet, skin and bones, bedraggled and frightened. On their first birthday after the rescue, Smudge sent them a birthday card. As you can see, he freely edited my carefully worded note from him to them. I still crack up when I read it.

Here are several photos, all from way back when they (and we!) were very young. D and I are in the first photo; our son and daughter-in-law show up further down. Along with Carolina and Eliza, of course!

Thanks for indulging my bit of nostalgia! Hoping you’re having a great weekend.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 August 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser and Scott Fraser, 2000-2001

Living on the edge

Living on the edge
of disaster or boredom
Throwing myself into
waves of hope
Rising to occasions
ripe with possibilities
Daring everything
at each turn
Forgetting yesterday
in favor of now
Life moves on
without fanfare

Ticking each day off
as if the whole
were more than it is
I take heart from
the carefree nature
of my beautiful cat
showing me how it’s done —
This thing called
living in the present
and loving it to death

Question:
What does it look like to live and die one day at a time?

Answer:
Just enough strategic motion to get through today
With a bit of excitement, boredom and mystery
Followed by firm commitment to letting it all go
Clearing body and brain for more of the same, or not, tomorrow.

Hoping your day is moving along with grace, grit and unexpected beauty.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 August 2019
Photo taken by ERFraser, Summer 2019

Yesterday evening’s storms

Yesterday evening’s storms
Raged chasing downdrafts
Through lashing treetops
Caught off guard too late
For Hail Mary’s drowned by
Torrents of rain and thunder
Setting teeth and bodies
On edge

Racing to the attic
Our cat takes refuge
Beneath the bed and
Crouches wide-eyed
Between boxes of blankets
And soft pillows the stuff
Of comfort

Pink peonies flail in the
Back yard ripe for blooming
Yet tumble prostrate to the
Ground defeated without
Dancing in spring breezes
That arrived this morning
With bright sun and blue skies
As though nothing happened
Last night

Today was a quiet day spent on as few tasks as possible. My body thanks me. I fell asleep at the kitchen table this morning while pondering the poor peonies. To say nothing of thousands caught up in this spring’s wild tornado and flooding season, and last year’s fire storms on the West Coast.

No matter what you call it, we’re being challenged to think differently about our relationship to this planet. In my (sometimes) humble opinion, the planet we call home is talking to us bigtime right now.

Hoping for a less dramatic evening and night,
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 May 2019

Sunday afternoon walk and my heart

Spring air hangs breathless and damp
Broken by chirping bird songs
And children’s muffled voices
Clouds roll in silent and gray
Saturated with sprinkles
Gathering for a shower

The gathering shower turned into a ferocious thunder and lightning storm–over 500 lightning strikes last night in Philly! I slept through every moment of it. Astonishing. Today the storm is over the Atlantic, and blustery wind has moved in. Temperatures drop by the hour.

Nonetheless, beautiful green leaves, colorful flowering trees and shrubs, and small wildflowers are taking over! No turning back the clock.

During the last month I rearranged my daily routines to support what my heart wants and needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as postponing grocery shopping. Other times, it’s not so easy. Like staying home from church two of the last four Sundays after waking up with an unsteady heartbeat and the weakness that comes with it.

On the other hand, during the same time frame I visited with two of my woman friends, talked with at least two others on the phone, had email correspondence with a few others, enjoyed tea and conversation with our next-door neighbors, walked regularly with D, talked with our son and daughter via phone, and played with Smudge.

I’ve also posted from time to time, enjoyed hearing from some of you, and saw others peeking out from your gravatars!

So here’s to a thoughtful Holy Week, listening to all nature sing on and off-key, and staying in touch with ourselves and with the Great Shepherd of the sheep. Much we need Thy tender care.

Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 April 2019
Photo of Center City, Philadelphia; taken by Bill Cannon; found at fineartamerica.com
Photo of Smudge playing hide and seek, taken by me!

Catnap

Smudge sinks into my lap
Warm and content —
Lost in another world
Dreaming of cat treats and
Strategic warfare against
Careless mice and crickets
All the while twitching
Beneath his ermine coat
Claiming his royal throne
And capturing my heart

For Prince Oliver Smudge the Second, now 6 years old♥  I wrote this today after breakfast and a nice long lap-fest with Smudge. It’s difficult to imagine life without him–though I would still have D, of course! 

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 April 2019
Photo taken by DAFraser, Fall 2013, about a week after Smudge was rescued by our granddaughters and daughter-in-law. He’d been abandoned in a state park. A sad story with a happy ending.

A very good day

This morning’s leftovers
Drop like melting slushies
From weary evergreen bows

Lumpy mounds of snow
Coat driveways and porches
With cold mushy porridge

Like a weary movie score
The sound of water draining
Through gutters drones on and on

A waking dream haunts me
With images of three friends
Just beyond my grasp

I reach for my airplane ticket
Only to discover
I left it in my guest room

My heart is made happy
By half a cold banana
Now somewhere in my gut

This will be a very good day indeed.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. I think it’s about being alive, awake, functioning fairly well, and wondering what this day will bring. I took the photo at the top early this morning.

The cushion cover on the left was made by women refugees living in Nairobi. The cushion behind Smudge was made by a dear friend now gone from this life for many years. The round brown cushions are from D’s aunt who died several years ago. The cord peeking out on the left belongs to my blood pressure monitor.

As you can see, Smudge has taken over my reading sofa and cushions.  But that’s OK, since I still live in the Plaza! Thanks to D for sending this cartoon to remind me how privileged and Eloise-like he seems to think I am. The nerve…..

In case you can’t make out what Eloise is saying:

I am Eloise
I am forty-six
I still live at the Plaza
I don’t give a damn who owns it

I hope your day is filled with strange and unusual sightings that tickle your fancy and/or make you warmly nostalgic.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 February 2019
Photo of Smudge taken by ERF, 21 February 2019; old New Yorker cartoon compliments of DAFraser

a day unlike any other

It’s bitter cold outside my window
Venus rises in the Southeast
Smudge nuzzles my warm pajamas
The radiator pumps heat

Saturday
A day unlike any other
Quiet and laid back
Nonchalant

No busy imperious horns
Honking impatiently –
No braking trash trucks
Stopping at every other driveway
Tossing garbage into bins and driveways –
No yellow school buses halting traffic
To pick up almost-late scholars –
No buzz of chain saws
Or construction vehicles beeping
Their way backward down one-way lanes
Surrounded by shouts of men
Wearing noise-cancelling earpieces –
No screaming fire trucks, police cars
Or ambulances racing downhill
Toward the latest health emergency
Or freeway accident –
No droning news helicopters
Hungry to document rush-hour madness
At its worst

Only the chill quiet
Of a lazy Saturday morning

The sun is out, the temperature is down and the wind is up. A good day for indoor activities of the not-too-stressful sort. Such as reading, writing, eating, exercising when and where I choose, and maybe a teeny tiny bit of housecleaning. Just enough to feel happy, content and alive.

Cheers!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 February 2019
Photo of Venus and Jupiter taken by Dennis Schoenfelder in Alamosa, Colorado on 18 Jan 2019; found at en.es-static.us

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