Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday--Ten Words

From Ten on Tuesday.

10 words people would use to describe you.

1. Dependable.
2. Organized.
3. Friendly.
4. Quiet.
5. Intellegent.
6. Kind.
7. Honest.
8. Seamstress.
9. Chef.
10. Crafty.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Five Blogs

And now, an attempt to return to regular blogging activity. This is a post I had in the works way back when, that I finally finished.

For today's Friday Five, I am stealing an old topic from an un-named blog which has good Friday Fives on occasion, but I can't really recommend otherwise. I'm sure it could be found if someone really wanted to. I'm probably breaking all kinds of bloggy rules here, but there you go. I'm a rebel.

The topic is five blogs you visit regularly and why you like them.

I'm not going to include family and friend blogs here because none of them know I blog, as of yet, and I don't want to make the connection. I will list what I call "public" blogs. Not sure I can limit it to five though.

1. Like Merchant Ships.This is the blog that made me fall in love with blogs. And it is through this blog that I found almost all of the other blogs I love. When I found it, I went back to the beginning and read every single post. The photography is beautiful, the writing is entertaining, and the subject matter is helpful and down to earth. I love reading about her projects and challenges and especially about her decorating. I also enjoy reading about the challenges of cooking for a diabetic husband because I have one, as well. She is my imaginary friend.

2. cjane. This is a very entertaining blog. And she lives in the same city where my daughter goes to college, 1600 miles away from me, so I feel a certain connection. Courtney (I can call her by her real name because if I knew her, we would so be friends...in my imagination) is a great writer. She can really turn a phrase. It is artistic writing. And she has great photos and lots of spice. Don't let that angel on the header fool you. She can bring the snark.

3. Like Mother, Like Daughter.This is a beautiful blog with gorgeous pictures and genuine wisdom. It is a family blog (and I want to be adopted. Maybe a distant cousin?) It is a little glimpse into a home in a different place and culture than mine but there is so much to learn here. Great values, sound advice, and a lot of love is what I see when I visit.

4. Happily Average. This is a great frugality blog about getting good shopping deals and using those skills to help others. The blog has a nice clean look and is happy. She has a very cheerful outlook and is encouraging to all who read. I really appreciate the emphasis she puts on helping others and being a responsible citizen. She has encouraged me to do better in this regard.

5. Say La Vee. I saw this blog listed at another blog I follow, and I read it a couple of times, but I was not going to put it on my list. It was not a blog I was going to read on a regular basis. It was not the "kind of blog" I was going to read. (I don't know. Sometimes I am just kind of dense that way.) But then I kept finding myself drawn back to it and find it very entertaining. This is someone who lives in a different part of the country than I do, experiences a different culture, and has a different perspective. I get the impression that we have somewhat similar jobs, but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Great writing, great eye for detail, and overall a great read.

See, I knew I couldn't limit it to five:

6. The Extraordinary Ordinary. This is another blog, that when I started reading blogs, I wasn't going to read. I wasn't going to read a lot of mommy blogs about people's cute little kidlets. Well, she's a mommy and she sometimes writes about her kids, but her blog is way more than that. It's not a cutesie "scrapbook" blog. The thing that keeps me reading is the quality of her writing. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it has become a part of me...She is wise and honest and enlightening. She is another one of my imaginary friends.


  • In the previous post I said that I had not talked to Jack about his military service. In the two months since I started that post, I did talk to him about that. He was drafted when he was 18 in 1953. By the time he was ready to be sent to Korea, the war ended, and he spent the rest of his two years working in the mailroom on a base in Georgia. It was during this time that he learned to golf and remembers it as an enjoyable time in his life.

  • I don't think it is a coincidence that my blog went dark around the time that Jack went into the hospital this last time. I had originally planned, once I got the post done about him, to back fill with Friday Fives, Ten on Tuesdays, and random posts to make it look like I was blogging all along. However, now I have decided to just leave the gap in posts, as a kind of tribute and a recognition that I had more important things to do.

  • They moved Jack to the Critical Care Unit on Sunday for a couple of days to try to get his blood pressure regulated. When they did this, he had his daughter bring one of his bouquets of flowers to me at my house. (Which is when she told me that he would not be coming home.) When I visited him in the CCU on Monday and thanked him for the flowers, he told me they were from family in Arizona but they were stuck up on a high shelf in his room and hard to get to to water. I also saw that they did not allow flowers in the CCU rooms. He told me that he wanted me to have them for Star's homecoming and that they were given with lots of love.

  • I talked to Jack's daughter last night. I had to hear her say what I already knew. I had to hear her say it. His heart is working at about 20%. He knows he is dying. He is depressed about it but he is coping. He could go at any time.

  • I have cried more tears this past month than I have for the last several years of my live put together. And they just keep coming.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been having a bit of a bloggy block. I had been determined to get this post done and posted before I moved on with other posts, but it has taken some time because I wanted to go back and reread the things that Jack has written to me. Before I got that done, however, Jack's health took a turn for the worse, and he has been in the hospital since March 31. I have tried to see him or be in touch every couple of days, so that has kept me busy along with juggling the rest of life's responsiblilites.

Jack is my neighbor across the street. He writes me letters. Really. Real pen to paper letters. I kid you not. He has a wonderful way with words. It makes my day when there is something from him in the post.

He is a widowed veteran (I am guessing Korean War era although I have never talked to him about his military service,) a retired personnel manager. And a wordsmith. Ah, the words...

When we first moved into this house, he visited with my husband at the mail box, telling him how happy he was that we had moved to the neighborhood, replacing the drug-dealing crackheads that used to live here.

That year at Christmas we gave him a plate of our homemade candies and cookies. He responded with a delightful thank you note. It left me agog, the way he wrote. It was amazing. An amazing thank you note. Seriously. The man is amazing. I mean, how many men do you know who write thank you notes? And use beautifully picturesque language?

And then after that, on occasion, he would write me funny little notes about my husband parking in my spot while I was at work or things going on in the neighborhood. And he would share magazines that he thought we would enjoy. And cartoons. And quotations. And clippings. I always wrote back to him, responding to his notes or thanking him for whatever he had sent over recently. He joked that we were having a “love affair” because of our letter writing. I think we had found in each other a kindred spirit. I think he kept writing to me because (a) he is a writer, a wordsmith and (b) I wrote back. (And, just for the record, there was nothing unseemly or improper in anything either one of us ever wrote.) He once commented that it was strange that he wrote to me, just across the street, more than he wrote to his relatives in Arizona. I think it was because I wrote back, because we recognized something in each other that we hadn’t found in anyone else.

As if the writing wasn't enough, he endeared himself to me early on when he yelled my name across the street by way of greeting. Like "Hello the house!" Except, my name. Cracked me up!

He is also very kind-hearted. Last winter (actually two winters ago now) we had a huge storm and Star and I were out shoveling. So was Jack. HE (the then 70-something year old man) tried to come over to help US (a then 17 year old girl and her...hmm...mom) shovel snow but it was too, too deep, deep for him to get across the street. But he wanted to help. Because he is just a nice, nice person.

When K left for college, for one thing, there was a lot less activity going on at our house, and for another thing, there was one more serving of soup left in the pot or one more dessert left on the plate. We started sharing soup (homemade, of course) and baked goods once in awhile and visited a little more often. This also led to more thank you notes and correspondence back and forth.

So this is where I would have written a pithy conclusion,and where this post was supposed to have ended when I started it over two months ago, just a regular blog post about an unusual relationship between neighbors. In the mean time, as I mentioned in the intro, Jack's health has taken a turn for the worse. It now appears unlikely that Jack will come home.

No words.