Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Smudge

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

Farewell to Portland | Photos

Alas! All good things….and all that. Except for the photos, thanks to D. The holly tree above is from our daughter and her husband’s yard. We got home about midnight Saturday, and I’ve been jet-lagging until today. The weather was colder than toot, with pretty stiff wind most days.

No wandering in the arboretum, hikes through the forest, visits to the rose garden or day-trips into the Oregon wilderness. Instead, we relaxed, ate good food, listened to great music, and drank juice concoctions featuring fresh-picked kale and other healthy stuff like fresh ginger and apples. Below is a photo of kale that hasn’t stopped giving.

Just outside the kitchen sink window we could see a couple of bird feeders, including a hummingbird feeder. Here’s a tiny female Anna’s Hummingbird that hangs around every day, fending off all hummingbird intruders.

Our daughter and her husband have a screen-printing business, Olympic Screen Printing. I love this photo of some of her husband’s paint cans. A large, bright, cheery set of colors with which he works his magic. Click here to see examples of t-shirts they’ve printed over the years.

Below is a small pond designed and built by our son-in-law several years ago. It’s now fully functional, with its own ecosystem of water plants and water-loving insects and animals. In the second photo note the thin layer of ice on part of the surface. Another of D’s special impressionist water photos!

You might be wondering about the bamboo? They planted it several years ago when a construction crew came in and began putting up big-box housing with tiny back yards. Imagine going from a beautiful field around one house, to rows and rows of look-alike houses. The bamboo is now beginning to do its job–providing privacy as well as beauty.

Finally, here’s a look at one of their dozens of Japonica shrubs. Also planted a while back, up against the house and along some of the fencing.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see so many of their plans and hard work now paying off. And yes, it was very hard to leave and come back home.

Smudge, of course, wasn’t exactly thrilled to see us come barging into the house in the middle of the night. After several days of scolding us for abandoning him, he seems to have calmed down. Actually, our son looked in on him faithfully and sent photos to reassure us that all was well.

Cheers,
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 December 2018
Portland photos taken by DAFraser, December 2018; Photos of Smudge taken by SEFraser, December 2018

humid air invades

humid air invades
saturated lungs complain
a cardinal sings

suckers spring from trees
guzzling precious ground water
squirrels play hide and seek

cacophony reigns
beneath sun-drenched sky of blue
my cat waits at home

The agony and glory of this morning’s super-heated weather. Yes, we went for a walk and sweat a lot. The heat was as close to unbearable as I’ve felt all summer. I didn’t step out as lively or snappy as usual. All the same, I did it and it’s done for today!

Yesterday’s highlight was a trip to see Lucy Pacemaker’s doctor, my electro-physiologist. I got a friendly pass until my next checkup. They always take readings from my pacemaker, which relentlessly records every beat and every non-beat, for the record. Including what time and how long irregularities last. Ugh.

As usual, I’m open about more medication. Nonetheless, I’m not a fan of prescription drugs, and have had good success so far with other approaches. However, I’m now at that stage where ruling in one thing could mean ruling out something else.

I also know I must take full responsibility for my decisions. Nothing new there. Nonetheless, the possibility of this or that happening if I do or don’t take this or that pill is becoming more complicated than before.

So I’m back to reviewing and updating my top values for this period of my life. Which, of course, is no guarantee that nothing bad will happen. Hopefully it will clarify what I value most right now, so I can make informed decisions about my medical care.

Hoping your midweek is just the way you’d like it. Or at least a close second!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 August 2018
Photo found at pinterest.com

A little poem and some gorgeous photos

Sometimes I don’t know what to say. I just know there’s something inside that wants out. So here are bits and pieces that come to mind.

First, a little poem. Yesterday I went to see one of my doctors. As I was driving away, I saw an older couple making their way along the sidewalk across the street. I wrote this when I got home.

fragile and disheveled
the woman inches along
behind her walker —
sunlit hair gleams in the light
shining from her partner’s eyes

I hope I’m so happy when I’m that old. As for right now, I’m grateful for D who has done a lot of heavy lifting during the last three years. Often accompanied by one of his gorgeous smiles that begins in his eyes.

Second, one of D’s favorite things to do is record flowering shrubs around our yard. Here are some of his latest captures. Those are periwinkles at the top. Happily invasive, I wish they would completely over-run the ivy along our driveway.

blossoms outside my office window, Azalias below

Lilac blossoms below

and Spring Christmas cactus blossoms in our kitchen

Third, a photo I took this morning with my Ipad after I got back from an early morning walk. D had just finished mowing the yard, and the peonies were irresistible.

Finally, one more photo I took in the house. Smudge is sitting in his new (now old) favorite space, watching us clean things up in the kitchen. You can see his battered red birdie toys on the floor.

Gratitude. That’s what’s on my mind today. I’m grateful I’m alive and connected to so many people I never thought I’d meet in just this way. Blogging is part of what’s kept me going for the last four years. I could, I suppose, do it without you. But it wouldn’t be nearly so rewarding or life-changing for me.

Hoping you’re having a great weekend and Sabbath rest.
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 May 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser and ERFraser, Spring 2018

Attic Update with Photos

Whew! I can hardly believe we’re getting there. Our daughter and her husband arrive Saturday night, and will be our first guests in the new attic bedroom/sitting area! Except for Smudge and I. We’ve already stolen a little snooze or two on the new mattress.

The photo at the top and the following photo are painful reminders of What It Was Back When….after more than 30 years of living in this old house. The top photo looks Northeast, the one below Southwest. D took the top photo before we began clearing stuff out; below we’re well over halfway there, believe it or not.

And here’s what the contractors had to work with–almost ready for them to begin.

Below you’ll see the Northeast look, with everything but the floor finished. I loved the old checkerboard linoleum, though it was well past its prime. In these photos we still have carpet to go, plus furniture. The trim is white; the ceiling and walls are very light green with blue tint that complements the view from the attic windows–tree tops and blue sky. The third photo looks toward our back yard–Southwest. You can see the handrail we had added to the attic stairway. There were already skylights over the stairs and on the East side of the attic roof.

So here’s where we are today–still getting things put together and in place. Carpet all laid, with the painter due to return and put one more coat on the attic stairwell. The carpet is gray–a short, tight plush weave that’s supposed to resist cat claws.


Last but not least, I took some photos with my IPad to document the contributions of the two males most present in my life these days.



I’m surprised at how wonderful it feels to have this task well along the way to completion. I’ve dreaded the day when we would either die and leave the mess to our family members to clean up, or when we would finally grab the bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Actually, I have D to thank for wrestling it to the ground–though I’ll take my share of the bows, as well.

The rest of this week we’ll be getting things back to a bit of sanity downstairs and upstairs. I’ll post as I’m able, and take attic snoozes with Smudge whenever the urge hits me.

Thanks for stopping by today!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 April 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser and ERFraser

Monday Morning Sunshine

We had a cool front come through during the night, with blessed relief from 100% humidity day and night, cool breezes, and the slightest hint of sun behind those clouds which will, of course, dissipate in their own good time.

Still, I want some Monday morning sunshine. So here it is, beginning at the top with one of my favorite taken-by-me photos of D, my loyal partner, at Longwood Gardens on the day of our 52nd wedding anniversary. Isn’t he gorgeous? So is that sunshine, I might add.

Coming in a close second is the second main male in my life right now–Prince Oliver Smudge the Second. He’s perched on one of his thrones, alert as ever, loyally watching over my first main male to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep in front of the computer. Also taken by me, this time with my mini IPad (instead of D’s fancy camera).

Next we have one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips about the infamous Divide and Conquer Strategy. I debated using it for my last post, but decided it was too lighthearted for the subject matter. Still, it makes a great point, and the little stab at the end might help you keep your sanity and upbeat outlook at least alive, if not thriving.


Finally, a rousing rendition from Norman Blake in true Southern country music style, from the soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Sing along and don’t be bashful. It’s great fun!

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 October 2017
Photos taken by ERFraser, 11 Sept 2017 and October 2017
Cartoon found at
bloggingblue.com
Daily Prompt: Loyal

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