Sunday, October 31, 2010


The birds have not yet found the thistle seed feeders. One chickadee expressed a bit of interest. Just a long curious look... but he wondered at it. For it had appeared suddenly and was worthy of a brief survey.
Another Q has been asked. "Which US president would you invite to dinner?" I would ask Pres. Franklin D Roosevelt... but not without Eleanore.
I just found out that Gary Snyder wrote a poem about "The dead by the side of the road." He'd found a fawn hit by a truck, took it home and made stew for Halloween.
One day as I drove to Cass Lake to visit my mother the car in front of me hit a partridge. I stopped, picked it up and took it to Mom. She cleaned it, cooked it and we at it thankfully.
Pablo Neruda tells us what we always knew. "Love is so short, forgetting is so long." Love has so many beautiful faces. It carries us to such incredible places. Love swims, it flies, it dances and it sings. But I have also discovered it weeping in the dark corners of sour dreams.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Our bright and fragrant day has darkened and great clouds have gathered over Deer River MN. But somewhere within I have hoarded enough sunshine to warm my spirit. It casts a golden glow around me. I take it with me through the day.
KAXE asked a Q. "What would you bring back from your past?" After an amazingly brief consideration I said, "My roller skate key." Why? It helped me get away from my mother's watchful eye. It locked my shoes to the magic wheels that carried me down the block, around the corner, across the street and away. It was my personal key to adventure.
This evening we went to Tom and Missy's annual Halloween party. Who was there? Beauty, Spiderman, The Princess Fairy, The Tooth Fairy, The Corpse Bride, The Elegant Lady, Mortessia Addams, a witch, a teenage vampire, a doctor, a nerd, a punk hoodlum and a chip 'n' dale dancer,
We played Bingo until everyone had won a prize. Then we played a cover-all and Marcellus was the big winner. Later the pinata was shattered by the teenage vampire.
Barton Sutter has a "Halloween on Hennepin" poem in his collection, page 49. I read it once and agreed to feel sorry for Father Hennepin because "He thought the Indians were pagan."

Friday, October 29, 2010


I've put Mary Oliver aside and have opened "The Book of Names", Barton Sutter. I found a compelling image of a man kneeling at the water's edge drinking his reflection. "When I am done. I am still there." Of course, the reflection I drink is my own... just as you drink yours.
Just now I am enjoying Johan Strauss but Mozart is waiting his turn.
I gave Wallis the felt 'feathered' cape that Brandon used to fly about in. I'm giving his bird mask to Maddie. Wallis will give the cape to Marcellus. I'm sending the Fog Woman mask to Flo H. I'll keep Crow's ankle bells for a bit longer.
Many years ago Brandon gave his beaded velvet vest to Sandy Gotchie and he wore it to all the pow-wows. It was wonderful to see the vest being danced. Now Sandy is gone to the other side, too. So I wonder who will dance the vest or will it be packed way and forgotten?
Wallis and I left early for errands in Grand Rapids. We also visited the library. Then home I hurried to meet Cedar's bus. As she relaxed beside me I read "The Little Match Girl". I told her it was written by Hans Christian Anderson and asked if she remembered another story by HCA. Before I filled my lungs she replied, "The Ugly Duckling".
Later Pearl and I went to the Lion's hamburger supper at the Vet's Club. It was fun for us to get out together. We took an extra meal to Evelyn, who had been feeling poorly and stayed home. After she'd eaten and showered we all met at Pearls for 3 hands of Skip Bo. It was swell! Sometimes we'd all talk at the same time. Then we'd all stop talking and laugh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have seen the small white stones waiting alone under the moon. They turn their pale faces upward as I pass. They have scattered themselves down the gravel road. They are frequently seen on the edge of the lake where the waters wash away their sharpness. It is a gentle process... this seeking to be round.
Stephanie called early with a question which I answered by telling two stories from my past.
It happened one day that I fell asleep in the middle of Rabbit's dinner. I was awakened by snow falling on my face. I opened my eyes to find myself surrounded by hungry rabbits. I wondered at their fearlessness. But just then they fled in unison and disappeared as quickly as a sneeze.
On another occasion I sat in a deer bed trying to act like a deer. Two curious does stepped from the trees to watch me. One came closer and closer on her shining black hooves. Step by step she advanced. Then the other doe stamped her foot and made such a fuss that Stepping Deer turned and walked slowly back to the trees. Soon I was alone again.
This morning I dreamed that I had gone to a domestic violence event at a large gloomy building in a crowded community on a cold wet night. Inside the building I became confused and asked various people for direction. No one seemed to know what I was talking about. At last I discovered a small hand printed note on a dark wall which directed me to the proper lobby. Several information booths had been set up. I took many posters and handouts to pass on to those who could not attend. Inside the auditorium I found a small gathering of women. I put the posters on a seat. Then I removed my iridescent mauve robe and spread it on a seat to dry. I sat down expecting to hear a parade of speakers. A woman rose from the front row and took center stage. She was somehow familiar but her face was out of focus. She was not tall. She was slightly overweight and poorly clothed. In fact, she was wearing my navy blue sweater. She looked out at us and I was filled with a profound sorrow. Then she began to sing. Her voice rose above us then fell upon us in great scalding drops. Then the drops cooled to a gentle rain. At last her voice crumbled like old roses and petals tumbled all around. I wanted to stand and shout, "Bravo!" But I could not move. I could not speak. I woke up slowly with the beautiful opera still in my ears and the fragrance of roses covering my bed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Pablo Neruda asks, "Is a dictionary a sepulchre or a sealed honeycomb?" Just a sliver of a thought from Mary O, " be wild and perfect for a moment..." If I pluck those moments from a lifetime, will they fill a boxcar, a barrel or a thimble?
Gloria and I have got Halloween fever and have been decorating the corridor into something ghoulish. We are already making our T-day plans and talking about Christmas.
I made a blueberry wheat bran coffee cake today and listened to Patty Kakac sing her wonderful songs. Her lyrics are exceptional and well-chosen. I have several of her CDs.
When we went to White Earth long ago for a Camp Justice reunion no one knew how to operate the can opener. We would have starved if B-C had not arrived and showed us how to operate the contraption. Many of those old justice seekers are gone now. Yes, and many more to follow.
I carried the garbage out and found the night was good for walking. So I carried a care package over to Kathy's. Well, it was very dark, wet, windy and cold. It was a bit more of a test than I was looking for. But I am home now and dry and warm and cozy, too.
I watched that "Maverick" movie. It's pretty old but I'd never seen it before. It was sooo funny.
Marlene is going to Sandy Gotchie's funeral tomorrow. He and his son drowned while setting net in Ball Club Lake. One of my school friends made the journey a couple weeks ago. Margaret Robinson. I saw her last at the LL Vet P-W. I didn't know it was our goodbye kiss. We had a good laugh that day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Wallis had an appointment in Cass Lake. Then we visited the USFS and asked Ronnie H if she had anything for free. She graciously rolled out the treasures and we got a wonderful selection of fun stuff for Cedar, Lamaya and Marcellus. We got posters, too. I put mine out in the hall for all us 2nd floor residents of Deer Crest Manor to enjoy.
Pablo Neruda wants to know, "Is it true that swallows are going to settle on the moon?" Then he wonders if the moon swallows will migrate in autumn. Where would such fantastic birds spend the winter? I ask myself.
Mary O also has questions. "Now that I am free to be myself, who am I?"
Last night as Mel and I returned to Deer River in the dark I confessed my addiction to cranberry sauce. She offered me her opinion. "This is not an addiction. It just happens that you are very fond of cranberries." "But wait!" I cried. "There's more. Every night at 8PM I crave chocolate. I pace the flat like a starving beast. I don't dare keep a bag of in my flat. I will devour it with ugly greed." She replied, "A bit of chocolate does no harm." "I cannot be satisfied with just a bit. Furthermore, the craving never arrives in the morning or at noon. But only at night." "You should not deprive yourself of such a small pleasure. You must purchase a generous bag and give it to someone in the building to keep. At 8PM you will go to them and request a single piece of chocolate... no more." "Yes, yes," I agreed. "I shall designate someone to be the keeper of the chocolate. Each night I shall request and receive one kiss of chocolate and I shall be satisfied!" Then she turned to me, her pale face shining in the darkness and said, "In my closet I keep a bag of chocolate chips. Three will make one chocolate kiss." Oh, we laughed the miles away.
But at 4:30 today as I waited alone in my car a terrible sorrow came upon me. The fierce wind rocked the car, the rain slapped hard against the glass and the foggy windows seemed to isolate me from the world of joy. There was something ominous in the heavy clouds pressing over me. It was as though a lifetime of grief had been rolled up in a cloth and an unseen hand was pressing it into my throat. For just one horrible moment I was choking on all my old forgotten heartache. Then it was gone... as suddenly as it had come. I was left to wonder.... and at 7:30PM I am wondering still.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Pablo Neruda asks darkly, "Do you believe that ahead of you grief carries the flag of your destiny?" In some old stories destiny was carried in the mouth of a fish, a glass slipper or a streetcar named desire. Remember the blind street vendor in "Stones for Ibarra"? He sold lottery tickets. He waved them against the sky and said, "Here is your future. Here in my hand."
Mary O wants to know, "What happens to the singing birds when they can't sing anymore? What happens to their quick wings?" Such difficult questions for this gloomy morning. Yesterday these trees were full of singing birds but their quick wings have carried them away.
Verlyn K saw "the way the season swells within us."
In PM Mel and I off to the Rief in Grand Rapids to hear the Vienna Boys Choir - Shubert Choir. It was quite lovely from first note to last. The choir leader is from Peru and seemed naturally warm and respectful toward the boys. It happened that such concerts had been reserved for royalty. Now they are here in Grand Rapids singing for a less than regal group which included at least one Ojibwe grandmother. A white moth danced over us. From lamp to lamp it fluttered.
Behind closed eyes I savored The rise and fall of young voices Swelled against expanding walls And high to heaven ceiling. Around me a thousand hands Burst into exuberant applause. A small white moth With wings too thin to shadow The bright faces below, Fluttered from lamp to lamp Dancing her silent tribute To Mozart, Shubert and Icochea.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Yesterday I went through my theater box again. It's been a long, step by step process but it's nearly empty now. I'm having trouble giving up the masks and wigs. They seem more personal because they are such intimate beings. They were each created to reflect a certain character. Although a few if them were quite adaptable.
Ellie and Karen brought a VHS player and a bag of tapes. So today I am going to fit that into my small flat. The jungle chair has got to go. I pulled the AC out and replaced the insulation.
Went after Wallis. Then out to Annie's for barn chores.
Pablo Neruda wants to know, "Where can you find a bell that rings in your dreams?" I want to know how would such a bell be transported into a dream?
Mary O wrote a poem for "October". Keats wrote a poem to "Autumn". I am so glad for the words they put to paper. Because this morning when I opened my eyes and found myself still alive... I wondered "Why?" But Keats and Oliver have shattered my strange melancholy with their gracious words. I had been been living like a dead woman! Mary O, "Look, I want to love this world as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get to be alive and know it." Just think... you can be alive and not even know it! That's how it was this morning.
Today Gloria and I arranged a seating/lounge area at the west end of our hall. She has plants and I added the jungle chair. It's lovely. Her husband Ed was the first to try it out.
But wait! There's more! Today is Gloria's birthday and I gave her my Liberace jacket. She loves it! I'm feeling very splendid now. The jungle chair is happy and Liberace rejoices.
I have changed the furniture about in the living room and turned the desk toward the window. I also finished the prayer ties. Tomorrow I must do something about the paper clutter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Pablo Neruda asks, "How old is November?" I measure my years from one Nov to the next. But I have never wondered how old is Nov.
May S writes, "The sky over the ocean was almost black... and I liked it. It suited my mood, which was not rosy." Now I am wondering how many rosy days are in Nov?
"The king is out hunting, the queen is expecting a child, and so things could not be better." But I wonder what the fetus actually thinks about being born into such a family. And does the queen really enjoy being pregnant?
Karen and Ellie stopped in on their way to Bemidji. Then Gloria came over and together we went to visit Evelyn. I've had several social hours today. Sometimes I can't tell the difference between a solitary day, a lonely day and a day alone. But today was social.
Still at work on prayer bundles. I watched Sidney Poitier in "To Sir With Love" and recognized one of the other teachers. It was Patricia Routledge who plays Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping up Appearances.
Wallis and I spent a pleasant hours doing barn chores for Annie. She and kids have not returned from visit to Charles and family #3 in Hayward WI.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Yesterday as I sat at the fire I recalled a couple of elder male patients in the hospital at Eagle Butte SD where I was working in the early 1960s. They shared a room and had begun calling me "Chicago". When I asked they why, they said, "Every day you come to work and walk the halls all day long." Yes, from room to room I went answering calls for assistance from the bed ridden men and women in my care. But I still didn't know why they called me Chicago. They explained further. "In three days you could walk to Chicago." I'm sure they overestimated me but I always was a good walker... until now.
May S wrote, "I believe that our chief responsibility is not to change others for the better but to change ourselves." We are all changing... more than we know. But are we better? Are we going in the right direction?
Pablo Neruda asks, "How many bees are there in a day?" Not as many as in yesteryear. Why? There are many theories but one truth. Man has pulled Earth out of balance and so we have lost our harmony.
Mary Oliver urges us to "visit the sunflowers. they are shy but want to be friends; they have wonderful stories of when they were young..." Are you a sunflower? Am I? Can we be friends?
After Wallis and I returned from Annie's it was already dark. But I walked a bag of food over to Marlene's. It's about a 4-5 block walk RT. She was not at home so I left it near her door. I walked slowly back under a beautiful full moon. As I approached the apt bldg I was stopped by a police officer and questioned. After he decided that I really did live in the bldg he explained that there had been intruders and 2 units had been robbed. One of the intruders was an Indian woman with missing teeth and a short pony tail. So of course I was suspect. Then I was told to check my apt and see if anything was missing. My 2nd floor apt had not been entered, nor had Gloria's, but Randy had lost money. On 1st floor 2 units had been entered and one robbed.
We are going to request more security.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


May S had written to a friend who had lost her father. The friend said, "...a piece of my identity pulled away." Yes, that is so. When a loved one makes that journey to the other side we lose part of our SELF. We are always lonely for the one that has left us behind. But looking toward a great reunion when we make our crossing.
Today is the 5th anniversary of Brandon's departure. He'd be 22 now.
Verlyn Klinkenborg writes, "The air wears the tannic acidity of decaying leaves." I still have a small collection of leaves from his last autumn. I have some prayer ties I made as I sat beside his young and brutalized body at his wake.
I don't remember who said it and must paraphrase, too. But these words are in my thoughts again. "The dead rise up to walk the fields of memory."
I made a pot of jalapeno bean soup for Brandon's memorial feast then went to Cass Lake with Annie and kids. On our way we stopped to pick cedar leaves for the sunrise-sunset fire. LL day labor had delivered a load of wood. Gene was the firekeeper. When we got to Gene and Chey's house I hung the last bundle of prayer ties in one of the old box elder trees. The tree was shorter than me 55 years ago but raised itself high above the house by the time Brandon was born. It sheltered his childhood and now the tree is dying. Annie sat in the smoke turning jingles for Cedar's new dance dress. Chey and Lamaya had gone to a pumpkin patch near Park Rapids with Headstart.
By 5:30 we had a big crowd waiting for food. Everyone brought something and there was a lot of leftovers. Faith made the spirit dish. Terry offered a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for our wonderful Brandon. Wallis spoke of his journey. Shirley read a poem. Esther B told a very nice story. When I told about Brandon on the mountain, Justice came and stood beside me.
About 7:30 it was cold and dark so many had left. The tables had been cleared and dishes washed when we began to smell propane gas. Faith called the fire dept. We opened the house doors and tried to get everyone outside. We had to douse the fire, too. Soon we heard the siren and saw the flashing lights. The firemen did not find a problem with Chey's tank. They checked out Laurie's, too. Then they crossed the street. We could see the red light flashing on their gas detector. They turned off the gas, notified the homeowners of the situation and left.
Later we hurried home through a moon bright night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Well, it finally happened. I got a phone call from Elvis! He was having a party for his biggest fans. A car would pick me up. "Bring your swim suit," he said. The phone was still in my hand when the car arrived. I thought, "It will be a small party. There can't be too many of us still alive. We can talk." Suddenly we were at Graceland. There were people everywhere! I could not believe it. Then the car door opened and the driver helped me out. But the magic of dream time had happened and I was about 17. I was wearing a turquoise dress with a full skirt held out with several crinoline petticoats. The blouse had short sleeves and a Peter Pan collar. The waist was cinched and I wore white patent leather ballerinas. My hair was short but thick and curly. I didn't see Elvis or anyone I recognized. I wondered if Natalie Wood was there. It was a noisy bunch. I found the food but I wasn't hungry. The pool was so crowded no one could move. I decided to leave. The big gates were open so I left. No one said goodbye. I was still young and walking through the woods. It was bright and fragrant. I was still walking when the phone rang. It was Cedar. I haven't seen her for two days so she wants to come over after school. We can have a party! She'll want to hear about my dream.
May S had ghastly news. "Brown pelicans had been found dead... some fiend had sawed off the upper bill, so they starved to death." Why would anyone do such a horrible thing? She thought fishermen had done it to reduce competition. When B-C and I were in California we found a sick pelican. She called her brother, he called the proper authorities and the bird was rescued. I don't know if the birds was restored to health.
Gladys T wrote, "Beautiful October, I wish it could last for a year." If I could choose a month that would last all year what would I choose? I like the seasons the way they are... always changing.
J Crow had been walking through several days of rain and cold and sleet. He'd been gone for 12 years. Now he was going home. He told himself, "It won't be the way you remember it. Things will be changed. People will have died. Trees would have fallen."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


In the parcel from Steph I found a pair of exquisite silver feather earrings in a small leather pouch. I've seen a lot of this style but none so very fine. They are quite detailed and truly handsome. I wore them the day they came to me.
Last night I packed a parcel for Angeline. I don't want to stuff it with old newsprint so I am sending one of my Johnny Depp t-shirts. She loves two American men... Johnny D and Clint E.
I am also trying to find a home for my Liberace jacket. It's really too elegant for fashion in Deer River. It even raised eyebrows at White Earth.
I've begun plucking my eyebrows for Halloween. I want the Mortesia Addams look of the surprised vampiress. If I can't get them shaped correctly I'll shave my brows off and pencil them in. Do not attempt to dissuade me for I am determined!
May S was haunted by a poem written by Elinor Wylie. May had been thrust "back in the country of (emotional) pain." The poem is entitled "All Souls". Gladys T was quoting Rupert Brooks. He began, "I shall desire and I shall find the best of my desires; the autumn road, the mellow wind..."
Four black bananas have been transformed into a fragrant loaf of banana bread. Perhaps I will carry it door to door tonight. I'm assured of a welcome. I have never met anyone who didn't like something fresh from the oven and homemade.
Wallis and I had supper at the Community Cafe. Annie met us there. Wallis has moved just about everything to the Redd Shedd for storage. I tied 19 prayer bundles today.
Julian H asked me to wear purple tomorrow to demonstrate support for the human/civil rights of the gay community. I have made a lavender ribbon boutonniere tied with a long violet ribbon sewn to a large green ribbon. I added a glass button to hide the stitches. It's awfully cute. I wore it today and will wear it tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I heard a loud knocking on the door. Got up to see who it was. I saw 3 out of focus shadows. I knew it was a dream. The 2 men remained fuzzy and silent but the woman was clear and vocal. It was my daughter Esther. She began screaming at me with insane rage. She was so angry her hair stood on end. She has long lovely hair but as it stood out around her head she became hideous and bizarre. As she shouted I began to see her attire and recognized that she was some kind of a law enforcement official. I think it was a visit from the Gestapo.
Gladys T paints a pretty picture with words. "Nights are cold now. Twilight is brief. We eat supper by the fire." Wendell Berry turns me inward. "So help me, I heard the silence that stretched all the way from the ground underneath my window to the farthest stars, and the hair stood up on my head and a shiver came into me..."
I have found facebook the perfect tool for reuniting with family members, friends and the offspring of old friends. Connie is dear Elsie's daughter and Diane is the daughter of sweet Dana. We have already exchanged several messages and I feel truly blessed by the affection and respect of these two women from the generation of my children. Perhaps these are children who can say with Gordon Parks, "Momma's words refuse to die. Instead, they grow wings and soar. And their constant echo bleeds me dry. (Even the trees bent down to listen to her words.)"
A most remarkable and highly evolved nuthatch has been coming to the feeder. At first I thought he was daft because he pecked so vigorously at the side of the bottle feeder. But as I watched I saw that he did this to shake seeds out of the bottle and into the tray. None of the chickadees do this but they leave him alone so they can share the benefits of his extraordinary activity. So, they are all pretty smart.
I cut 62 leather circles today and will begin to make prayer bundles tomorrow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Last night I watched Tom Cruise play Col Claus Von Steffaunberg who master-minded one of 12 plots to assassinate Hitler. All these attempts on the brutal dictator's life were carried out by the loyal German underground. Not loyal to Hitler but to Germany and the people. One of the quotes was, "We did it so the world would know." Know what? That not all German's supported Hitler and his gang of murderers.
May S observed, "The leaves are falling fast." We are beyond the time of falling leaves here. Only a few tired leaves are holding on. I have lived here since May so I have witnessed the life history of these particular leaves. One day I heard the trees sigh... grateful to be relieved of the burden of leaves. But in the spring they will be happy to host another generation of leaves.
Gladys T, "I think nobody dies on the Cape except by accident, because of the fish they eat." Emma Bear told me that, too. She lived to be over 100. I think tuna and sardines count.
Today we had a b-day party reunion for Annie. She is 44! But I remember her as an infant, toddler and upward. There were 15 of us. I wore pants from Tibet. Thank you Helene. I wore earrings from Lebanon. Thank you Joyce.
I also watched 3 episodes of "God in America". I find it strange that religion (the many varied forms of Christianity) played such a vital role in the formation of the organized government of the invaders. I had thought all had been founded on the natural outcome of logic and reason driven by hate and greed. As for slavery it's impossible for me to believe that the immoral and brutal bondage of human beings could be viewed as in keeping with the biblical standards of a Holy God. I was appalled to hear the slave owner quote that if a slave did not please the master the slave must be lashed. A holy mandate!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Oh, I had the dearest dream! I was asleep in this flat and my bed. Someone was trying to wake me. Up and down and around me the small feet hurried. I peeked out and saw Sam's little hairy feet. I pretended to be asleep so he kept after me. Digging at my hair, poking his cold wet nose into my ear. It made me laugh. He got more excited and started whining. I didn't want him to bark so I said, "Okay Sam, I'm awake." He leaped off the bed and ran from the room. I got up and followed. My mother was standing in the living room. She was so young. She wore a pale rose dress with a white apron tied around her tiny waist. Her hair was short and curly. She wore no eye glasses. "Where is he?" I asked. She smiled but didn't speak. "Did you see him? She nodded. "Is he still here?" She said, "He's here but you can't see him if you don't go back to sleep." I turned and hurried back to bed. I was asleep instantly. My dreams were full of people but no more Sam.
May S offers her wisdom, "I must manage to have my real life here at whatever price..." An authentic life does not allow excess. Some activities must be abandoned. Some duties should be ignored.
Gladys T was still on the Cape. "The old weather-worn houses are silver, roses still bloom, the dark red ones against a split-rail fence have a jewel quality."
Steph H is on her way to visit Sharon S. I would have liked to go but a family reunion keeps me rooted. I am sending a gift to Steph at Sharon's address. It will be a great surprise. Shhhh.
The blue chambray skirt was dumpster bound when I reconsidered its future. The fabric is symbolic of the working class... blue collar. You know. I will save it for a project. Not a flag but a quilt... perhaps.
The package from Steph came today. It was bursting with gifts for me and Cedar.
I went out to visit the moon but had almost too much light for stars.

Friday, October 15, 2010


When I was down in Comm. Rm, at work on most recent puzzle, two pilliated woodpeckers arrived. When I returned to the flat a chickadee was enjoying breakfast at the beverage bottle feeder. May S saw birds, too. Sun. Oct. 17, 1982. "The other day I saw a ruffed grouse... the pheasant has vanished... the egrets have left the salt marsh." Gladys T enjoyed a visit to Cape Cod "to walk the great shining beaches, drive along the dune roads and watch the moon over the old unquiet ocean." Of the birds she wrote, "The gulls go over and drift on the bosom of the air and cry their piercing lovely cry."
I have been watching Sherlock Holmes as enacted by Peter Cushing. It is a collection of the only 5 episodes of the BCC's 1960 series that have survived. He was a quiet and deliberate hero. I saw the Young Sherlock last winter. At the conclusion of the movie I was so battered and exhausted I feared I might have to be carried from the theater. But I staggered forth on my own two feet... leaning on the arm of friend Aina. Did you know that Sherlock died once! The public outcry caused Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to restore his life. Now Holmes has outlived his creator. Doyle died in 1930. Holmes is alive and well.
I made a very fine upside down cake but Cedar would not eat it. So I've been up and down the halls leaving cake with all my neighbors.
Now I will enjoy "The Poetry of Langston Hughes", read by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. I bought it at the friends of the library bookstore. It's on cassette.
Sat on the curb at the bus stop waiting for Cedar. I always have a book to read. Just now I am reading "Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry. When the bus stopped, the door opened and there she was. My little honey girl, Miss Pineapple. She showed me her school picture. "Oh, so pretty!" I exclaimed. Later she showed them to Gloria who confirmed that she was beautiful.
Later Wallis called and needed a ride to pick up meds and mail. Then Cedar and I came back to the flat. She watched "Watership Down" on DVD.
It's almost my b-day #70. Yesterday I visited a gathering of flowers on display in a cooler. I opened the door, touched a bouquet and pretended it was mind. Mel got 2 bouquets of bright blooms for her birthday. When I asked who sent them she looked at her hands, twisted her fingers and whispered, "I did." "Mel," I said, "that's wonderful!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The birds have found the feeder! First to arrive was a nuthatch. Then a chickadee checked it out. More feed needed! I think I can design a feeder to hang from the edge that holds the screen in place. I also have cut a wire clothes hanger that could hold a sack of thistle seeds. I haven't figured out how to attach it for optimal bird watching. Cedar doesn't know the birds have arrived at our window feeder. She'll see it tomorrow and be amazed.
I met Wallis at GR library. First I bought some stuff in the friends book room: "The Samurai's Garden", "The Poetry of Langston Hughes" (on cassette, read by Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis), and "The Locket" (on cassette, read by Richard Thomas).
Then I got myself an early birthday gift. A 2 CD set of "The Essential Carole King". Afterwards I took Wallis out for supper.
Wallis purchased food for Brandon's 5th memorial feast. He was murdered Oct 21, 2005.
This is the end of another journal! I will send to Lynnele Shire. Tomorrow I open the 9th and last journal of my seventh decade.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Oct 13. It's been another complicated morning. The med bill is still unpaid but hospital will resubmit it.
Got the White Earth paper and found obit for Carrie E (53) and Kathy G (69).
May S woke up "to see a silver net (of frost) over the lawn." She saw in that the end of many things. Later when friends arrived they told her of recent travel adventures. That caused her to write, "I felt dismayed by my ignorance. But it was fun to hear about it."Gladys T found her adventure closer to home. "George's cows stand in pleasant aimlessness... as we go by. A big buck rabbit goes lippety, lippety into the thicket. A wandering country cat pauses to eye us soberly, then sleeks away on her own serious business."
I packaged up a bundle of old PEP/TAP photos for Ann C. I know she'll cherish and enjoy them.
Gloria came over to see if we could alter Ed's dress pants. He's lost so much weight he can't fit them. We decided it would not be possible to make them small enough.
I watched an old western on Netflix. It starred Glen Ford and Jack Lemon. I felt like a cowboy riding the dusty trails. I slept under the stars and drank cowboy coffee, played poker and got into barroom brawls. By the time the movie was over I was pretty beat up and needed a good bath.
Oct. 14. Gladys T writes, "There is always one moment in a day when I think my heart will break... when all the meaning of life seems distilled and caught up and you feel you can never, never bear to leave it." Oh, yes! I know how that is. It is because we love something so much it hurts. Perhaps it is that we worship a sun drenched flower... and we know we are watching it fade. For one moment it can be our whole world. Whitman saw the earth in a grain of sand and an ocean in a rain drop.
Mary O. "Passion did it, called me forth, addled me, stripped me clean then covered me with the cloth of happiness."
Dawn S called to set up a library tour. I'll present at 9 Kitchigami regional libraries in Nov and Dec. We will set the calendar soon. I'm excited! It's an opportunity to dust off some of the old stories.

Monday, October 11, 2010


May S writes, "I am fully myself... only when I am creating something."
For Gladys T it was "time to go out in the woods for butternuts and hickory nuts and hazel nuts." Here it is too late for nuts. The busy squirrels have stripped the bushes weeks ago. Every nut is now in storage for winter fetes.
I did some hand sewing today. Embellished Cedar's Halloween dress and my Elvis doll's cape.
Pearl made a fabulous Chinese supper. I got the Comm Rm fixed up like a happy little cafe. There were ten of us. My Honey Girl Cedar stayed to eat with us. Evelyn said she is a nice little girls and has so many Deer Crest grandmothers now. Gloria and I carried things back to Pearl and Evie's flats. Pearl wiped down the counters. Annie carried the heavy coffee pots and then she took Cedar home. After that Pearl, Evie and I sat and chatted. I had worn my Mandarin Madame outfit. Evie and I tried to sing "My Rosemarie I love You"! It was fun.
I gave the t-shirt I won at yesterday's drawing to Annie and Cedar wore it home..

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I remember Merle Haggard singing about an old couple. He said they grew more fearful as they aged. I find elder hood is a time for courage. Someone said growing old is not for sissies. I feel I am becoming a new kind of warrior! One who cannot rely on strength and speed and physical grace.
May S wrote in her journal, "I don't know how I have managed to keep at this journal, a minor kind of creation, but I have...". And so have I!
Of her garden Gladys T had this to say, "...we appreciate more the few leftovers in the garden than we do the riotous plenty of summer."
Here beside the open window I sit and listen to small bird voices as they chip away the darkness and make way for the light.
Met three of my kids and two grands plus Charlie's girlfriend Chrissy and her two children for breakfast at the VFW. It was a fund raiser for the girl's volleyball team. We put $45 in the pot. I got a couple of raffle tickets and won a t-shirt.
Wallis and I went to GR for groceries. When I got home I found a bag of four small bath towels hanging on the door. Gloria put them there. I have a terry cloth robe that always feels too short. I think I can sew two of the towels to the robe and make it long enough.
I got facebook news from Mary H. She camped near Gordon WI this summer. and met some people we know. We used to live in Gordon many years ago. I told her that I found several unmarked graves in the woods. They were outlined with huge clam shells. They were indigenous graves from long ago. I'd forgotten about that until Mary joggled my memory.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Did you know there are 6,500 homeless female veterans? Why?
Two of May S friends had gone on a cruise and she wrote, "I feel marooned."
Gladys T is still praising autumn. "The oaks glow with a garnet fire, and all the thickets blaze with scarlet and pale gold and cinnamon. It is like the music of a trumpet."
"And I think my heart is white for its parlay with a star," Mary Cooper Black.
In the near bare trees of the aspen merry little leaves quiver in the morning chill. How excited they appear as if eager to greet the new day. The sun is not yet up but its fore glow touches the leaves with russet against a pearl gray sky.
I went to Annie's for breakfast. Son Charles, Chrissy and children were there. They were working on a jingle dress. It was a lovely day. I took a walk in the woods. Then sat on the deck with all the busy young people. Later I came home to get my sewing done. I had a project to complete for Gloria M.
Then off to Melanie's birthday party. She had a wonderful gathering of friends. I enjoyed myself so much. Mel walked me home. It was quite dark but balmy.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Oct 6. There's a cabbage shortage in Korea so some one can make a bit of money selling their surplus coveted heads.
May S had a fit of weeping on Monday "because the person it (World of Light) makes so vivid, the essence of what my life is all about, made me wildly hungry and desperate, for I have not been that person all summer. And shall I ever again?"
Gladys T reminds us, "Every season has its own glory..."
Ann O'Shaughnessy write that real art revealed, expressed and received "can be a powerful act of love."
The tall trees beyond the window are nearly leafless. Every breeze plucks a few more off the branches. They scatter below and have covered the lawn with tarnished gold.
On this delicious day I walked to the Bookmobile and checked it out. Terrific selection! I carried three movies and two books back to the flat.
Cedar lost my denim hat at school. It was hat day in first grade and I didn't want her to be out of uniform. I called the school about recovering it and I am afraid an inquisition has begun.
Oct 7. I began and completed reading "Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday Cafe Society and an early cry for civil rights". Now I wonder where I can find all the words as I think it has been whittled down to fit neatly into US political history.
May S had been out visiting and came home with "a little bottle of nasturtium vinegar". I never heard of this before. I will seek a recipe.
Gladys T found "The air is cool as an old coin teaspoon, and a faint tang of blue wood smoke spices the wind."
Spent about 1.5 hours at clinic with podiatrist. After 12 x-rays I was advised on how to improve my condition. Tomorrow I will see someone in physical therapy to be fitted for braces.
Afterwards I met Wallis at the Civic Center in GR.
A note on the mailbox said Fed-Ex had brought a package but could not leave it. Randy said he'd sign for it tomorrow.
Oct 8. May S was feeling dreary today in 1982. "A dismal rain, but it is fitting perhaps, as I am feeling emptied out and gloomy, filled with dismay at my ups and downs..." She felt constantly pulled in several directions by the needs of others. I too have left my Self behind hungry and neglected while I try to spread my energy around to others. Then something happens and I must care for my Self almost exclusively. The Self is nurtured, petted and allowed to rest and heal and be restored... for a while.
Gladys T is still enjoying autumn. "The color of the great sugar maples is so dazzling it seems I must have dreamed it."
The new laptop came today! Hooray! It is a wonderful instrument.
The denim hat has been returned.
Returned to clinic to have molds made so I can be fitted into braces for ankles. They won't fix me but will/may allow me to walk without pain. They will be ready in three weeks. I think dancing may be difficult.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Oct 4. May S had walked the beach with "fascination of the waves, curling in foam around the rocks, advancing and retreating in an endless dance." Gladys T remembered the home dressmaker who had already disappeared into the past. "The town dressmaker was a grand institution." Linda Hogan tied it together for me. "Even new, a day itself is ancient, old with earth's habit of turning over and over again."
On our way to Grand Rapids to pay bills Wallis saw a small dead deer on the shoulder. It brought to mind a story Esther Naganaub told me about the death of a young bear. A cub had been hit by a car near her home at Sawyer. The mother stayed with her dead child for three days and nights. Esther said the mother cried for her little one with audible grief. The mother continued to wash and groom the cub. She rolled it over and patted it gently. She slept beside it oblivious to passing traffic. Then one morning the mother was gone. It had been a three day wake.
Oct 5. Ruth Rosten wrote of writing, "Even a whisper... in the right creator's ear can flower into fables, cities, souls and seasons new on earth." I find this an exciting notion. Rosten also left these words, "I write to tell you how it is with me in the cold dark places of my mind." And also this, "I imitate, go house to house with an empty cup, borrow voices from a dozen poets."
Cedar and I put a recycled beverage bottle bird feeder on the window last night. Today we are waiting for birds to find it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Yesterday Cedar and I got 3 pages of those window decorations that cling to glass. We washed the inside of the big front window in the community room and made it as attractive as we could. We are quite satisfied with the results.
We watched "The Greatest Show on Earth" and Cedar went wild! She was doing toe stands on the chair arm, keeping a balloon aloft while dancing and singing, "Come to the circus".
On this bright and golden morning Cedar told me, "The clock keeps the time and the birds make the music." She knows about time as her mother is a musician.
We finished "Stuart Little". Cedar thought Margalo the bird was a great character because the bird was the reason Stuart left home and went north seeking adventure.
Good quotes: "Seek the joy of being alive", Tim Heinle. As Arthur said in Camelot, "Do not let me die bewildered."
Melanie invited us for lunch and served a wonderful chicken and rice soup. Geezis and Justice were also there to clean the yard and cut grass. So I left Cedar with them and went to help Wallis get boxes to pack as she is getting ready to move.
Did you know that while dolphins are being slaughtered in Japan they are protected from murder in Greece? We cannot depend on government or organizations to change anything for the better. All nations are worthy of respect... not vicious exploitation and brutality.
Tonight we listened to Back Porch harmony on KAXE and it had us up and dancing and tapping our toes to old time songs!
I set up the new/used stereo and we listened to Elvis sing about Christmas. Of course, I sang along. Cedar danced with my Elvis doll. She said she wished she was as small as the doll so they could really dance together.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Oct 1. Went to Cass Lake to get Wallis. I listened to MPR Classical Music. It rained all the way. The forest fragrance was wonderful and beauty was all around. On our return the day had cleared and it was blue sky all the way! We enjoyed a bright and glorious drive.
We had the election for the building mascot today. Six votes were cast. Hershey the cat got 4 votes. Coco the small dog is first runner up with 2. We also had a drawing and Evelyn won the feather mask so she is ready for tricks or treats.
Cedar had prepared a list of ten rules (I helped her put them into sentences). 1. No pushing or shoving to receive ballot. 2. If you need help or have Qs ask Cedar the election judge. 3. Don't throw things at other voters. 4. Voters must be fully dressed. 5. Voters must be at least 3 feet tall. 6. Eligible voters reside on premises 5 days a week and at least 4 hours per day. Weekends excepted. 7.Voters must be respectful. 8. Voters must have photo ID. 9. Voters must register at the polling place (comm. rm.). 10. No intoxicated persons will receive a ballot.
We also presented each voter with 2 balloons for participating.
Gladys T wrote of her mother, "She was plump as a partridge always."
While in CL Wallis and I went looking for Gene and Lottie C. She knew the general location and we drove around until I spotted their van. How surprised we were to them them moving. In fact, their rented mobile home was gone! A phone call from Lisa had saved them from homelessness!
Steve E was helping them move stuff from the storage shed. I hadn't seen Steve since he was a child but he remembered me. His sister Carrie had recently died from a blood clot in her brain. And what a wonderful brain... she was an artist.
Oct 2. Cedar must have dreamed. I heard her talking in her sleep. I dreamed that Max came back! I opened the door and he came running down the hall and leaped up into my arms! He was wiggling and whining and kissing me and licking my ears! I was mad with joy and so was he. "Max," I screamed and laughed as I held him. We played and had so much fun. There were other things happening and other people but Max took control of the dream and nothing else mattered. When he scratched at the door I opened it and he ran out into a strange wet street. I stood inside watching him but he ran out of sight. So I stepped out and called for him. Soon he came running back to me followed by four other small dogs. They all ran inside. I knew they couldn't stay so I put them out. When I woke up Max was gone, too. Gosh! It was great to see him again!
The trees are full of robins on their way south and the leaves are shining like Mayan gold.
While the clothes sloshed clean in the machine and Cedar sang in the tub, I read poetry. A poem by Ruth Rosten almost ruined my day. It was about a 61 year old woman who fell in love too easily. Rosten concluded it was due to mental illness. My friend Angeline once fell in love with 4 Greek men in one hour! She may be fickle but she is terribly sane. I was there. I saw the men and thought one was exceptionally handsome and his body wonderfully articulate. But I was unable to fall in love at that time... due to mental instability. I think I should write that into a poem.