Category Archives: 19 years on a farm

I thought I saw my friend Regina Rolle

IMG_7246the other day.   I was so sure that I started looking online to see if she had moved back to the area.  I haven’t talked to her since soon after 9 11, when she called me to see how things were over here in upstate NY.  She had moved out to Phoenix to become a Montessori teacher after we worked together in a doctor’s office.

Since our last call, I think maybe we touched base once on Facebook.  I started thinking about how much I hoped she was back in town, how much fun it would be to go to Friendlys again with her and have a really gritty conversation about life over turkey and mashed potatoes.  I thought about how real and how color blind she was and most importantly, how hopeful.

I recalled helping Regina on a few of her projects.  She decided one year to create and host a party for children at the Ithaca Southside Community Center.  Many people came and it was a success.

I thought about how she had lost her parents when she was just a child and how sad that made her feel, how different perhaps her life might have been.  Regina was not bitter, she easily could have been.

Not only was she not bitter, I thought she had a wisdom in seeing things most people miss.  She told me once how sad it is that the  black folk and white folk have so much damaging conflict.  She thought it ironic since they have so much in common:  economic disenfranchisement among many things.

Regina wanted to be a teacher.  She loved children and loved taking them under her wing.  She was good at it, often babysitting a relative’s four little ones who had lost their mother.  So Regina decided to go back to school in mid-life to become a Montessori teacher.

I remember her packing up…going through her things…what to take, what to dump. I looked on amazed that she had old Tiger Beats!  She hated to throw them out and for some reason, I think she insisted on taking them with her.  I like to think it was because they represented a happy time for her.

My husband and I gave Regina’s relative a computer we weren’t using.  Soon after we gave it to her cousin, it died.  I apologized to her later…she said, “Oh no, that is ok, because that was the beginning of more and better computers for my cousin.”

We had so many laughs and heart to hearts at the office where we worked, that one year, on my birthday, I was surprised that of all the people who forgot, she did.  But then, toward the end of my day, Regina showed up, gift in hand.  It was the coffee mug pictured here.  I was delighted.  I get it out often when I want to put a smile on my face.

It never occurred to me I would not see Regina again.  So when I thought I saw her three weeks ago, I had to call her.  I’m way too late, she passed on in 2012!.  She was only in her late 50s, a sure sign that only the good die young.

 

 

 

Between the then and now

img_5765there can be few sadder sites than to stand helpless and watch your beloved dog have a seizure

to watch his uncontrollable flayling and the frothy foam and say gently from the corner of the yard, Macadew you can do this, we love you

to pray…to hope…to wish that the first time, it had just been the bad milk…but knowing now, it probably wasn’t.

and what to do with that…we hope that the medicine will control what nature is willfully allowing and to love with pure abandon

the big brown doe eyes…the leaps and bounds…the power in the gazelle…the boundless majesty

Macadew…between now and then, everyday a treasure…may there be many

-soulful living – side by side with the power of nature

claireaperez@gmail.com

 

 

 

to bridge the space

there are two things
which I have found to 

bridge the space between dusk and dawn

between alone and not so alone

they whistle, these two

within the confines of their silent passage

to  solitary souls who

join their ears in unison to hear them:

the train and the radio!

THE PIZZA

One day.Untitled-9dasfsdfafdsaf

You wake up and you are retired.  That is how life is.  And you are thinking pizza, the kind you would make if you had the recipe for the perfect crust.

Only a few people on the planet have that recipe, the one for the perfect crust. You had it once in New York City but you can’t remember where or in what decade.

You know though that the pizza shop you discovered on the way to your wife’s job has the crust recipe. You also think, on this particular day, that you really want pizza.  Not too much cheese (the cholesterol, the gallbladder), a little sausage, a little pepperoni, some veggies … you can see the perfect pie and so you leave early for your destination to order it.

A bright young man takes your order…he pays attention, he gets it, as they say.  You have an uplifting talk and proceed to pick your wife up.  The pizza tantalizes you with its smell, you only glimpsed it as it slid from the wood tray to the box, but you saw its crispy edges.

You reach for your cell phone, call your wife (Still in her office), and share the good news: “Hurry up, I’ve got the pizza.”

Home, you open the box…what a picture…a mandala Mona Lisa.  Grateful, you think of the young man, the art, and how great it is to get that one perfect pizza pie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

©claireaperez@gmail.com

What Dreams May Come…inspired by my husband w/love

What Dreams May Come
What Dreams May Come

what lies beneath … art blogging/journaling

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” 
― Pablo Picasso
what lies beneath
what lies beneath

There is a company, Stampington Press, which produces many magazines about art and blogging and journaling.

This is the process I use and I find it a great escape, but check out the many magazines they offer online and in many stores, and see what process you want to design for yourself.

First, I pick some materials.  In this case a photograph from 2008 of a Magnolia tree in bloom.

(If you are doing a hand piece, grab some paper, and a  few tools: magic markers, pens, colored pencils, stickers, bling, and/or whatever you like, but don’t feel you must have the whole art supply cabinet with you.  Once you have a few items, sit with them and see what emerges.)

Second, I pick some tools.  In this case, Photoshop.

Third, I start playing.  I work with this e-media in my day job, so to make it fun, I just try different filters and things I know how to do.  In this case I duplicated and cropped the picture 4xs to make the frame, which also has lighting adjustments made to it.

Then I played with the Magnolia photo itself, enlarging it and filtering it.

Finally, I saved it and then started layering the layers.  Then, all of a sudden:  this photo was done.

I named it what lies beneath because it reminds me of a time when I bought a picture only to find others underneath it.  A common experience for flea market investigators.  I thought it would be fun to find a quote to go with it so I googled art quotes and Goodreads showed the quote by Picasso at the top.  Serendipity, I guess.

@claireaperez@gmail.com

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Being held at the Lansing Community Libary…click for details.

 

 

Flowers, that is all

“God Bless America,” land that I love

kate-smith
Kate Smith…former house in the Adirondack…song: click here

In the Adirondacks, on Lake Placid,  a boat tour guide will tell you as you as he slows the engine and pauses in front of the house that was Kate Smith’s, that she would sing from the balcony.

In the stillness last summer, I heard her famous voice belting out God Bless America.  As if reverberating  through the decades to wrap me, and US, in soothing protection.

In the quiet with no cell phones buzzing, in my mind’s eye, I saw Kate Smith on her balcony. My mother’s mother, I am told, loved Smith’s famous “God Bless America,” she had three sons in World War II.  Perhaps that fact about my Grandmother made Kate Smith’s voice and spirit boom even louder for me that day.

They say your offspring will care about what you care about, and this, my grandmother’s love for Kate Smith and God Bless America is about the only thing I know about what rested in my grandmother’s soul. 

Today feels heavy, but I pray we keep Hope and our values alive…just as Kate Smith did during World War II.  

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President Obama believes in us…he proved his campaign slogan and he is not dying.  Obama has  led us, WE THE PEOPLE, to an inevitable tipping point.  That veiled line between justice and injustice, …   It is up to us now to keep dusting ourselves off  and hear his voice to participate, help each other out, and believe that YES WE CAN! 

Do you know how many…

that is how many a statistical revelation spues forth from my husband’s mouth.  We will be talking about some random topic and then, as the conversation ensues, Radames will hit me with it:  the statistic, the one to give me pause, think twice before I ever carry the laundry basket to the basement with my Birkenstocks on again.  Here is an example,
“Do you know how many people fall down the steps carrying laundry with Birkenstocks on?” I pause.  “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that, I better be careful.”

The nation’s number one worrier relieved as I proceed to replace my sandals with my sneakers, before proceeding to the basement.

About a year ago,  I realized data did not follow the inquiry. So I decided to start following up on all these random statistical innuendos that populate my dear husband’s head.

First, how was it that he knew so many statistics?  It is true that he could win: Who wants to be a millionaire without a lifeline BUT, did he really know that millions of people slip on banana peels that fall from the kitchen counter every year?

I began inquiries with every startling statistic reference as they rolled off his tongue with unquestionable authority.  I looked a lot of them up.  He is right about many of his statistical declarations but now, I am holding him a bit more, shall we say, accountable.

Saturday nights statistic was a doozy: mid way through a discussion of beavers, my dear Radames spewed out his best statistic ever.

At the end of a dinner party, he asked the guests:

” Do you know how many beavers are killed every year by the trees they cut down?

Just like me, the dinner guests paused and took note. I imagined them thinking, cause I used to do it, wow…hmm… this guys pretty smart, must be a large number. A kind of Colombo moment  settled over the dinner guests at that  moment.

But, aha, I piped in…”Now, really, are you sure this isn’t a Ramism…one of those stats you pull from the sky.” We all laughed.
Curious I looked it up tonight and a quick Goggle search revealed that one poor beaver did succumb to his own handiwork in 2015. One on record…leaving the billions and billions of other crushed beavers out there in never, never land…at the end of the question…do you know how many
?


After dinner

Pot roast in winter

2010-06-21-174
Doves on a wire many moons ago
jan 8 2017: It is the kind of day where you just want to make a pot roast and so you do…you buy the roast, you goggle a recipe and you decide to roast some vegetables too…but somehow, the recipe for the vegetables and the recipe for the roast, just don’t work together.

So about 1 hour after your designated dinner hour, you finally eat the pot roast and still the vegetables, which you have since put in a pot to boil, still aren’t soft.

You give up, you laugh, and you realize that all things in the new year, won’t be happy.  The pot roast is just one of them.