“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Stuck on Sensitive

Sunday morning taps me on the shoulder and says to wake up, the house is a mess and there is laundry to be done, and Maggie is hungry and you've just been fooled by the gray skies outside, it's really later than you think, and Sunday is right, it is later than I thought it was, but not just the fault of the gray skies, obviously rain coming, but also the fault of the bright-as-the-sun, I-think-God-is-coming-Memsahib back porch light of my neighbor, supposedly a motion light that gets stuck on sensitive and I have to block my bedroom windows at night with a Walmart camping blanket. I don't use an alarm clock - I haven't since Maggie's grown older, she wakes me every morning, or at least she tries - and sometimes we both sleep through the early no-sun-gray-skies-window-blocked mornings. So I am up at Sunday's prodding and re-rinsing the load of laundry in the washing machine (don't ask), and drying the load in the drier that needs just a bit more and staring at the piles of clothes and sheets on the floor awaiting their turn, and not knowing if I am up to an all day cleaning marathon, though God knows this place needs it desperately.

It is the ever-wonderful Michael's birthday today - happy birthday baby, if you read this, but I know you won't - and he is off deep sea fishing with buddies and hopefully there is sunshine where he is, and really, I am glad he isn't here; I am still dragging myself out of the Thanksgiving funk I fell into, and it is slow going, not helped by these gray skies this morning, and I know you are thinking my God, more of the same, I can't take it either, and I apologize, I am dragging, I am dragging, I will get out a bit today, I still have a birthday present to buy, but I know you know these days, when you look out of your now opened bedroom windows and you see brown dead vines on the entire length of the fence, where there used to be green vines and hidden climbing roses that would bloom every few years, but your neighbor, - yes, the same neighbor with that bright light, the same neighbor who painted the lovely blue house a horrible peach which you have not grown used to, you've grown, in fact, to dislike it even more, even though it peeks through only a few places, there is tons of stuff piled in the backyard, junk & lumber from a never-ever ending renovation, and which makes you no longer feel guilty that her view is your messy backyard - your neighbor has decided to kill them all and has done so without a word to you, without even thinking or caring that this dead brown-ness is now the view from your window, or that the bird feeder that used to be nestled amongst the vines, almost invisible, almost a part of the vines themselves, is down and the birds have found another place to eat. I know you know that feeling.

The lovely, lovely Katie and I were out and about Friday, spending money only on sand tarts and cokes (although she found a red chair I think she may buy), visiting Christmas stores, she already in the Christmas mood, me trying to find it - as if it exists in a box somewhere; I know it doesn't, but I was looking for inspiration, and I stood at a store in the midst of Christmas trees, one sweet, sweet little aqua blue baby, all lit up, all fairy land everywhere, a Santa Claus moon hanging overhead, and it was the closest I got, that and holding the squooshy fake snowballs, and it was pretty wonderful, it really was, and all day Katie and I said Oh My God! about a thousand times like we were 12 years old, and laughed at ourselves, but coming back to this messy house, this too small place, this too-changed neighborhood, seemed to overwhelm me, and it is just one of those times, it will pass, it will pass. So perhaps cleaning is not a bad idea - I will feel better, it will be like I've been sick and everyone knows I am better when I put on lipstick again. If it were an old black & white movie, the nurses would knowingly smile & nod at each other.

There used to be an awning over my front door, which was damaged a couple of years ago in a storm and removed. However, the piece of metal that attached it to the wall is still there and I noticed the other day there are 12 holes there. I think they're just waiting for Christmas ornaments. Big ones. Blue ones.

That will make me feel better.
I am smiling already.
now - laundry


  1. Even though November is my birth month it ranks in the top 2 as months I don't like. For all the reasons you describe so well.

    I smiled at another rinse in the washer and another tumble in the dryer...know that you are not alone in that department and honestly, in the scheme of life, does it matter if we have to re-do something like that? I think not!! :)

    I marvel at how we often try to force ourselves to find the spirit of the holidays...we do so much better when we find the small things that make us smile. One small thing leads to another and you will find your holiday spirit...you've already started...those holes, waiting for ornaments...you're on it! :)

  2. Lipstick...love that image.
    Cover that bedroom window with blue fabric just thick enough to make soft blue light...use it to your advantage.

  3. We all have moments like this...the gray too deep, the mess a bit too much, and the neighbors yard too overwhelming and sad. Perhaps a few big blue ornaments will do the trick. Sending you light and love... :)

  4. Sending you lots of positive vibes. Even in the darkest hours, I look forward to the light of morning. This too shall pass.

  5. Hey, I haven't been around in awhile. But I always love to read your words. So conversational and goes down smooth like cream. I stopped blogging at View From The Pines last May or so. I injured my foot in the carpenter's deck lumber. (Took six months to heal!) And started another blog on Blogger. (Didn't like Wordpress.) So I'm at Cozy Little House. http://cozylittlehouse.com if you want to see my new digs. Still gardening, lots of decorating and random thoughts in there too. Hey, I can't for the life of me get in the Christmas spirit!

  6. looking for christmas as if it could be found in a box.....oh lord, me too!

    I've been looking for inspiration...actually it's all around me, but it's doing nothing for me this year at all....

  7. BIG blue ones would be perfect! You sound much better.

  8. your such a descriptive writer ..i read the words in awe with my chin in my hands knowing that everything will be OK...

    love the title

  9. I feel your frustration with insensitive neighbors that move in and destroy. Last year, our neighbor decided he wanted a better view of the ocean and cut most of the lower limbs off the trees next to us (my view out the window from my couch...when storms roll in, I watch those trees rustle and bend and turn...and was devastated when I saw what had been changed..I felt cheated.) At least he didn't cut them down entirely!

    You must promise you will take a picture of those ornaments in the holes, ok? That sounds so whimsical!

    Michael doen't know me from a hole in the wall, but I wish him a happy birthday anyway!

    And can I ask you? What is a sand tart?


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