Saturday, February 20, 2016

Today's poem by Susan Moorhead

I've read Susan Moorhead's blog for a long time, and when I learned she had a book of poetry coming out, I immediately bought it. It is a wonderful collection that you may buy at Finishing Line Press.

The one I'll share today is called:

I need the dog tonight

It's a night of worries fretting me like old bones
malformed by years of disease, the dull aching
pain flaring up when it threatens to rain. I wander

through the house, everyone asleep, checking
door knobs and window locks, but it's the thing
in me that can't get out after years of trying

to leave it behind. I walk the rooms turning off lights
I have just turned on, not restless but looking
for direction, just the old whirrings of a mind stirred

up with no ease in it, no place to curl up and rest.
I need the dog tonight. I find her, the furry snoring coil
at the foot of my daughter's bed, a bit of fluff and canine

neurosis that my sleeping child feels can guard her
from harm. The dog looks up, quizzical, waiting for my call,
but I see the peace of my daughter's outstretched arm,

the slack of her mouth, her long dark hair careless
on the white pillowcase, and I bid the dog goodnight.

Susan Moorhead

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment

Heroic Measures
by Jill Ciment
fiction 2009
finished 2/3/16

What a little gem this book is. 

Heroic Measures covers a weekend in the lives of Alex and Ruth, who are in their late seventies, and their elderly dachshund, Dorothy. They have been thinking for a while that they should give up their co-op because it is a five-flight walk-up. It would be nice to have an elevator, but they feel conflicted about moving, just as anyone would who has lived in the same place for a long time. Ruth is a retired teacher, and Alex is an artist. He is currently at work on a very special project.
As monks once illuminated the Bible with gold leaf and devotion, he is illuminating the seven-hundred-and-fifty-page file that the FBI had kept on Ruth and him during the heyday of the cold war.
Another alternative would be to do as Ruth’s sister recommends and move to Florida where she is. But Ruth
tries to imagine her and Alex in Fort Myers, clad in their dark New York clothes, and Dorothy with her bad back, crossing six lanes of traffic and then miles of sun-blistering parking lots just to have a bite out or to pick up some milk and bread.
This is a very full weekend for this couple who usually lead a quiet life. The realtor shows the co-op to many people, Alex and Ruth look for new home, Dorothy is suddenly paralyzed, and there is a crisis in the city. It is just a few years since 9/11, and a truck has stopped in a tunnel. It isn’t known if the driver is a suicide bomber or not. The book is told from the points of view of Alex, Ruth, and Dorothy! It is quite enjoyable, and believable, to see the world from a dog's eyes. 

The book has humor and warmth and a great sense of place. And I'll tell you a little secret. No one dies. The book has a happy ending. Such a treat.

In the acknowledgments, Jill Ciment says
The illuminated manuscript series attributed to my character, Alex, is based on The FBI Files, a Collage Series by Arnold Mesches.
I looked him up, and discovered that the author is married to the artist. You may read more here.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Christmas Eve Wedding

I have been meaning to write for weeks and tell you that our daughter Margaret was married to Matthew on Christmas Eve at their house. Michael and Estée and their boys weren't able to be there, but all of Matt's family was there, and Tom and I. The service was performed by their good friend.

Another friend of Matthew and Margaret's makes great things with paper mache, and we commissioned her to create a cake for their wedding present. She had this terrific idea to put photos on it, so I spent an evening finding all the photos I had from when they first got together in 2007 to the present and then emailing them to her. This is the amazing result

The beautiful flowers were done by a local woman, and the delicious, incredible cake was made by a woman they've known all their lives.



Tom, Margaret, Me, Matthew, Hazel

I love Hazel's expression in this!

The family

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Quote du jour/Ruth Stout

There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you … Only in winter…can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself. 

Ruth Stout