Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early Morning

mist rises into the quiet sky
drawn by a silent sun;
the earth sleeps on.

a bird drops notes like dew
on grass, gently, softly.
flowers sing muted songs

trees are green leafed statues.
I could be all alone in the world
save for the sounds

of early morning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Slight Pause Before Naptime

School ended today. I was dreading hug withdrawal but I'm off to see the grandchildren for a few days. Hugs will abound! Naps, however, are on hold until I return.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

While I've Been Gone

The fruit bat
Two weeks ago:
I arrive at my brother's house to dog sit while he and his wife travel. The dog is a Chihuahua pup, untrained, looks like a fruit bat. Sweet little thing but yappy and hyper beyond belief. She's like a two year old, constantly into things she shouldn't be. She needs a vigilant caretaker. Thank goodness for my two teenage grand-nieces who want to stay with me and help. They play with the fruit bat, remind me to take the garage door opener when we leave each morning, and check to make sure the two inner doors are left unlocked as there are no keys for them.

One week ago:
The fruit bat goes to bed at 9 and wakes at 4:30. She yaps incessantly. She needs a dental bone each morning, a treat each afternoon. She knows when to expect such things and if they are not forthcoming, she climbs whatever leg is available and screeches. While we are gone for the day, she chews shoes, loose paper, pillows, blankets, rug edges, curtains, pencils, the cat. The high pitch of her voice echoes in my fillings. I am beyond exhaustion. I am counting the days until her owners return.

Last night: 10:30 pm
The girls are taking a break to visit their dad. I am on my own for the weekend. I throw the bouncy ball for the fruit bat to fetch, make dinner, hold one end of the old necktie while the fruit bat tries wresting it from my grip, clean the kitchen, throw the rubber bone for the fruit bat to fetch, put out the cat, throw the squeaky toy for the fruit bat to fetch, tidy the house, throw the rag doll for the fruit bat to fetch, try to read. Finally it's time to put the fruit bat in her crate and go to bed. I brush my teeth, turn out the lights, lock the outer doors and fall into bed.

I lay thinking. Those two unlocked doors bother me. What if the outer doors are breached? What if the cat is still in the garage? What if... I get out of bed, check the garage for the cat and lock the inner door behind me. I go upstairs and turn the lock on the second inner door. A little voice in my ear says, "Oh boy! The last time you did this you locked yourself out of the house. You had to make an embarrassing phone call to Maine to ask where the spare key was hidden. You better leave these doors unlocked."

I scoff. "I'll just write myself a note that the doors are locked and unlock them before I go out in the morning," I tell the voice. UNLOCK INNER DOORS I scrawl and put the note in the middle of the kitchen counter where I'll see it first thing. I climb back in bed and sleep peacefully until the fruit bat wakes me at 4:15 a.m.

Saturday: 4:30 a.m.
I stumble into the kitchen and turn on the kettle. I scoop some cat food and step out into the garage to fill the dish. I close the door carefully behind me so the fruit bat won't escape. I turn to go back into the house. The door is locked.

Saturday: 4:35 a.m.
It's still fairly dim outside. There's a fog that drifted in last evening after the rain and the garage floor is damp and chilly on my bare feet. I can't believe I've done it again. I am good and truly locked out. The fruit bat is locked in. Along with my car keys, the spare key, the phone, my purse... I say every curse word I know.

Saturday, 4:47 a.m.
I look around the garage for something with which to pry open the lock when my eyes fall on my bicycle. My bike! I pause. I am a 65 year old woman wearing nothing but a thigh length nightshirt. It is only five o'clock in the morning. My hair  is not combed. But my niece has a spare key and her house is only a mile and a half away. She will surely be asleep but I'm desperate. So is the fruit bat. I can hear her little claws ticking on the floor. I can hear her yipping. I pray that the rest of the neighborhood is still sleeping. I don't want anyone who knows me to see what I'm about to do.

Saturday 5:00 a.m.
I pass house after sleeping house. I hold the handlebar with one hand and tug my nightshirt down with the other as I pedal furiously along the road. I have no hands left to slap mosquitoes. I leave the side street and turn onto the main road. I bend my head, pedal as fast as I can and hope feverishly that no one who knows me will drive by.

Saturday: 5:06 a.m.
I stand shivering on the doorstep, my hair plastered against my head, looking, I'm sure, like something raised from the dead, and pound on my niece's door. No sound from within. I pound again. Please, please open the door! She does, looking at me with alarm. "What's wrong?" she asks as I duck past her.

"I did it again," I say. "I locked myself out of your parent's house just like last year. Can I borrow your key?"

She looks me up and down. "Did you walk here?"

"I rode my bike," I say.

"In that?" She points to my nightshirt.

"Yup," I admit, "And I have to hurry back before traffic starts up."

She begins to chuckle. Then she snorts. She guffaws. Finally she leans over double, ha-ha-ing and hee-hee-ing as I shift from one bare foot to the other.

I hold out my hand and she puts the key into it. Nothing has made me this happy in a long time. I clench it in my fist, dash out the door and grab my bike. I can still hear my niece as I pedal off down the drive.

I hear a car behind me and as I dare to look up, I see another headed in my direction. I duck my head again just in case. Whoever it is gives a cheery toot. I have no free hand to wave. I just pedal on, turning down the street toward my brother's house. A dog barks as I fly past. Around the corner, up the slight incline and into the drive. The fruit bat is at the window, barking furiously. I drop the bike, lunge up the front steps and unlock the door, slipping inside just as the newspaper man turns into the drive. I hear the paper thud against the garage from the safety of the house. He toots as he drives away. My heart is racing.

Saturday: 5:13 a.m.
The fruit bat is so excited to see me she pees on the floor. Then she poops. I stand there panting. She dashes off for the kitchen and leaps at the treat bucket.

"Not a chance in hell," I tell her.

I clean up the mess, unlock the inner doors, make a cup of steaming tea and sit shakily down. The fruit bat hops into my lap. I think inanely that biker Lance Armstrong has nothing on me this morning. Who needs performance enhancing drugs when all one needs to do is own a Chihuahua pup and lock oneself out of the house now and then?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Looking Forward

Parker, my nap tutor and companion.
There are two and half weeks of school left. After ten months of spending the better part of every day with someone else's energetic children, of sudden deaths and over-the-top weather, I am dazed and tired and ready for summer with its somnolent days and fan-brushed nights. I will let the birds wake me (far earlier than any alarm clock ever did but much more naturally), let the lazy days trick me into thinking I'm on a permanent vacation, and let others make plans while I nap in the long afternoons. I will come here to read up on all of you now and then. Happy summer!

Friday, June 03, 2011

One June Day

Dawn always reminds me that nothing is as it seems. It would appear that the sun rises over a flat horizon when, in reality, I am held fast to the surface of a rotating ball that rolls around toward the light.

What better way to start the day than with a bowl of fresh berries?

June roses scent the air...
...and daisies nod from the roadside.
A muskrat swims lazily home toward sunset.
The day ends in dawn colors.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Memere and her Bean

My littlest granddaughter is becoming quite vocal. She has been babbling for some time, saying da-da-da and buh-buh-buh but this weekend I was introduced to a new sound - the Mighty Squeal. It came suddenly while she was lying on her back on the changing table. Never fond of the immobility required while being changed or dressed, she has added back arching, leg kicking and a loud voice to her repertoire of avoidance tactics. I was so startled by the Squeal that I picked her up diaper-less, the unbuttoned ends of her onesie flapping about her bare legs. The noise stopped as quickly as it started and the little Bean grinned widely.

Not ten minutes later she was seated in her highchair with a few itty bitty pancake pieces scattered over the tray. She likes to chase little bits of food around before pinching them tightly between her tiny thumb and forefinger and eating them. Between bites her Mama spoons mushy food into her little mouth. Bean's two bottom teeth are visible but her uppers are still making their way through the gums. She clamps onto the spoon and bites hard before letting it go for the next mouthful. When her belly is full, she arches her back, puffs out her cheeks and emits a deafening eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee until someone jumps up and unbuckles her. Despite some quiet admonishment from Mama and Papa, she grins her satisfied grin.

Her second mastery is the wave. Held securely in her Mama's arms, her cheeks still feeling my exuberant goodbye kisses, the Bean lifts her small arm and waves it in my direction. "Bye-bye Memere," my daughter says. The little arm waves, the serious little face watches me as I get in the car and roll down the window. "Bye-bye." My last glimpse is of the little hand raised in farewell. "She'll come back," I hear my daughter promise.

Yes, I will!