When Will it End?
Mother’s Day Tribute to Aiti
Gunshots in the synagogue.
Screams resound, bones shatter, blood pools, worshipers lay dead.
Senseless in this holy place.
While we argue gun control in tweets and savor our lattes.
Bombs at the marathon.
Runners, bystanders maimed by ragged bits of steel
Lodged in bleeding legs and arms.
More security, more police, more cameras fill the world
While we vow to conquer terrorism and Isis and nosh on lunch.
Glamour of the Traveling Job: Part One
My grandmother not only taught me to love nature and to sew, but she also helped steer me into a career I enjoyed. She taught me about a Finnish construct called sisu that all Finns have in their souls. It is a combination of determination, courage, guts, resolve, and the ability to never waver or give up. Thank you Aiti for sisu. Aiti consistently used sisu in her life. She came to the United States in 1918 when Finland was in a terrible civil war. People were cold and starving. She was fortunate to board a ship for America where she met Waino, my grandfather, and later married him.
Gift From a Stranger
“None of our rooms have phones,” the desk agent replied. “There’s a public pay phone on the wall over there,” he indicated by pointing. At the same time, I noticed a young woman also behind the counter checking in a line of men who had just arrived. She seemed to recognize them and greeted them by name. She was very scantily clad for a November night.
I was overwhelmed by this gesture of kindness from a stranger. The feathers were soft and obviously cared for with gentle hands. In my mind, angels were wonderful story book images, inspired by imagination and creativity. I knew my friend would see them, not in a religious sense, but in a similar way. But whether angels are part of a heavenly sphere, or part of a creative imagination, those dark feathers, a gift from a stranger, symbolized empathy, caring, and love.
My Favorite Book
I was stalked by a tiger
Dark and golden fur on soft paws
Melting into grasses of camouflage.
A mouth of saber teeth tore apart my skull.
Christmas 1950: A Nostalgic Look Back
Set against the Depression era of the 1930’s poverty, unemployment, and the collapse of agriculture and industry, Brown paints a portrait of young men whose fathers were farmers, loggers, and fishermen rather than bankers, lawyers, and doctors of east coast Ivy League crew teams that traditionally won competitions. I felt like I knew the characters on the crew team. I loved Joe Rantz, the book’s main character because he overcame all the odds against him.
Oceans In Peril
The ribbon candy glistened in a bowl on the buffet table next to the electric bubbling candles. They were nestled in a bough of evergreen cut that morning from the forest behind my grandparents’ home. The spruce scent filled my head as I breathed in the aroma of Christmas. I was six years old, awaiting the arrival of Joulupukki, the Finnish word for Father Christmas. My grandparents kept their Finnish cultural traditions and incorporated new American ideas into the holiday the family loved.
Sun glints on sparkling morning sea. I walk the beach and spy a shrimp boat bobbing, Booms outstretched eager for the catch. Who controls the numbers seized? Menus filled with shrimp, fried, boiled, baked, will we eat them all?
Joggers and runners, ear buds in, red-faced, panting, sweating, enduring their mile, their five miles. Fanny packs and backpacks bounce, holding their devices. They listen: music, news, texts, emails. The splendid sound of waves, the shells, the sand, are lost.
So, You Have PTSD...
Eerie red light loomed as we approached our daughter’s haunted house. A huge spider terrified us as it lurched out of the bushes by the door, and a bloodcurdling scream ruled the night air. Get into the Halloween spirit as you peruse dramatic costumes, tasty goodies, and scary décor. Happy Halloween!
Scream in the Night
I notice that some leaned back in their chairs as if relieved. A few had more color in their cheeks than when we began—maybe an emotional reaction. Two kept one hand over their eyebrows shading their eyes as they seemed to continue to make notes. As I glanced around the room, I saw that some looked directly at me and nodded as if to say, thank you. Others could not make eye contact but looked out the window or at their notes. Maybe they were realizing that a career dealing with someone’s trauma would be very difficult.
Enchanted by the stillness of the evening, with ghost evergreens outlined in black against the glow of moonlight on the lake, we finally realized it was time to turn back. Not wanting to break the spell of the beauty before us, but drawing on my practical side, I whispered to my husband, “Dusk is when mountain lions prowl for dinner.”
Me Too: For My Daughter
Are these scenarios horrors or hassles? If you have anxiety, each one may seem to be a horror. Which of the above scenes is truly dangerous? Everyone experiences some anxiety as a part of normal life. People with an anxiety disorder are fearful and have persistent, excessive nervousness that can lead to intense dread and terror that gets in the way of everyday life. Sometimes anxiety may be related to childhood experiences.
The Three Bears Gone
During my undergraduate studies, my advisor suggested to me that girls didn’t usually take physics, that I would find the labs “dirty and gritty,” and my clothes would get “messed up,” and there would be no other girls in the class. She also pointed out that boys did not like girls who carried slide rules. I took physics despite them. I promised myself that if I had a daughter who had physics as part of her required course work, I would encourage and support her all the way, and I did.
Reaching for the Stars
But the toys were the hardest to deal with: a myriad of match-box cars, a felt sewing kit, a soft purple hippopotamus that our youngest granddaughter could not sleep without, lots of earth moving toys, and Barbies, stuffed animals, and finally the Three Teddy Bears, Mamma, Papa, and Baby. Tears came as I put all these memories into the Good-Will bag. I consoled myself with the image of another little child drifting off to sleep, hugging the soft brown fur of The Three Bears.
Dancing with the World
They advised them to take a path to making the world a better place, to listen, to care for others, to be curious, and to build on their current learning. None of these suggestions were surprising, but for me what stood out was that all the graduates were told that no matter how hard the struggle ahead, or how deep any disappointment might be, or how chaotic the world might become, there are always people who care and love them and will help them to reach for the stars.
Sunset Beach, North Carolina
Addison is a vivacious bundle of energy with a beautiful smile and always ready to take a ballet pose. After the hard work of training six days a week for four hours each day, Addison was living her dream, a dream of dancing with the best in the world in New York. She made friends with girls from Australia, England, Japan, Canada, and others. She also reveled in taking in all she could of NYC in between master classes and rehearsal for the Gala.
Airlie Gardens, Wilmington, NC
Sunset Beach, North Carolina is a barrier island separated from the mainland by the intercoastal waterway. Half of the island is a bird refuge with no development, the other half with narrow roads bounded by beach houses, no high rise development allowed. It is the perfect vacation spot for us as we invite east coast friends and relatives to visit, and as you have seen in previous blogs, enjoy the arrival of spring blooms.
Surviving with Flowers
Tulips and azaleas in Airlie Gardens take my breath away! My husband and I have rented a beach house in Sunset Beach North Carolina for the month of April for many years. After shivering for an unseasonably cold week, we ventured out to one of our favorite spots, Airlie Gardens, a large sprawling estate, now public, filled with many kinds of flowering shrubs such as azalea, dogwood, and snowball viburnum.
An Awesome Day
This morning I was delighted to find a single daffodil blooming and “dancing” in the wind in my garden. Spring arrived two days early, I thought. The first daffodil pushing up through grey and lifeless dirt was a promise that nature renews itself with regularity each year, a promise for my summer gardens of pink ice plant, purple salvia, and others to come later, and a promise that my life will be beautiful.
Faint early morning light peaked through spare tree branches, buds swelling with the promise of spring. My mountain view, snow covered still promising winter, completed a quiet, peaceful scene. Suddenly a fox, nose to the snow, darted this way and that through bits of light brown vegetation poking through a white drift. I stepped out on the balcony, four floors up, and saw the bushy tail trailing a body of reddish grey as it hunted for mice below the snow.