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“…Bluebirds sing for nothing—and the shade comes free with a tree…” – Troy Jones & Shane Decker

I like money. I used to like working with it in my job. I liked paying bills and working out the best way to do it so that we’d have as much money as we had month—well, most of the time. Having more of it would be nice, I guess, but since we don’t really need more, that doesn’t really matter. I like what money can do, but not what it often does do.

Even though I like it, I don’t want it to become important. At least, I don’t want it to become more important than things that are free. When I wrote that, I thought it was sort of profound. I also thought some people reading it would just think it was goofy. And I’m good with that.

But this afternoon on Facebook, I saw pictures of some of our kids and grandkids on different beaches. The sky and the waters of Lake Michigan and the Atlantic Ocean were brilliant blue behind them. The sand was sparkling white. Another of the kids told me about a bicycle ride down the Virginia Creeper Trail. Seventeen miles almost all down-hill. I’m not sure I’ll ever make the ride, but it’s been fun thinking about it, visualizing our son and daughter-in-law riding it, remembering the conversation.

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The more things change...

This was written in January of 2011. As I too often say when about old things, very little has changed, although politeness and respect have gone so far out the proverbial window we can no longer see them even in the distance. I am appalled, not for the first time, that as a society we are all too eager to fix that which is not broken, but totally unwilling or unable to fix the things that are.

Criticism is just a really bad way of making a request.

No, I didn’t say it, but I wish I had. Diane Sawyer quoted it from someone she’d interviewed, then pointed a pistol finger at the side of her head and said, “Genius.” She was right.

For the nearly 40 years I’ve been married, I have hated television. Not because I think all TV is bad, but because in our house, it’s on every waking moment of the day. When the house was full of kids and noise, the TV was the loudest noise of all, because not only was it on, people were watching it. From my point of view, which is admittedly only half the equation now and was much less then, nothing that was said on TV was as important as anything that was said between us. This argument has been shot down for 40 years. I have complained about the one-eyed-monster that lives in three rooms of our house and criticized its watchers for…well, you know how long by now.

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I’ve written about grief before, about what a gift it is because of the love that came before the loss. I still mean that, but I left too much out of what I said before. While I didn’t make light of the pain of loss, I probably didn’t address it, either.

Grief is hard. I tried to think up some better words, to be more articulate, but there really isn’t a better one. It’s just hard.

When you’ve gotten through a day and you haven’t cried or had regrets or thought too long about how you’ll never see the person you lost again in this lifetime, you might think the worst is over. You sleep through the night and wake without the familiar feeling of dread that goes with mourning and you think it’s a brand new day. The sun still comes up. The first cup of coffee’s still the best one of the day. You will be strong today. You will laugh and mean it, be productive. You’ll be yourself again.

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I simply remember…

I made this list in 2015 when--like right now--I couldn't think of anything to write about and because I love the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. It was my favorite ten things right at that moment. I didn't include my husband or family because that went without saying. Still does.

When I found this, I thought I would make a new list, one that would reflect how much my feelings had altered in the past few years. They have, after all, been difficult years, with loss and unsettling changes making my cocoon of contentment really uncomfortable sometimes. Of course things would be different now, wouldn't they?

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Webster defines a father as “the male parent of a child.”

However, when one parent is absent, the parent who’s doing the raising must fulfil both roles. Single mothers learn more about sports and changing oil and that time in their sons’ lives when they become walking, talking hormones than they ever wanted to learn. Single fathers attend more dance recitals, buy more clothes with lace on them, and learn the hard way to keep their mouths shut when their daughters are “becoming women,” since anything they say is going to be wrong anyway.

Father’s Day, a very traditional day, isn’t always that traditional anymore. Sometimes the fancy card goes to Mom instead of to Dad. Or to a stepfather, grandfather, or family friend. Everything is changing, but the things a father does still have to be done by someone.

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“What day is it?"
“It's today," squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day," said Pooh.” ― A.A. Milne

Do you have days you look forward to...more than others, I mean?

My husband, the roommate, sits in wait from the day after Christmas until February 1st. Because then the longest, darkest month with the shortest, coldest days is over. Theoretically. According to his theory, that is. Because I know, of course, that Punxsutawney Phil is going to stick his head out the next day and haul it back inside rather than freeze to death in the darkness of his shadow.

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Let's talk about reading...

This is from 2010 when I got my first Kindle. I'm on my second one, now. It's smaller, lighter, and has hundreds of books on it. Sadly enough, there are a lot of them I haven't read. The free-book phenomenon struck soon after e-readers started gaining in popularity, and to borrow a phrase from a couple of movies and an old talk show, "They're everywhere! They're everywhere!" It isn't a credit to me that a writer has only about a chapter and a half to capture my attention, but it's true. I still miss brick-and-mortar bookstores. I miss the textures, the smell, and talking to other people in the aisles. Books-A-Million is still alive and well in Kokomo, but that's 35 miles one way and it doesn't feel the same as bookstores used to--can't explain that, but it's true.

So, anyway, do you have an e-reader or are you strictly paper and ink? Either way, happy reading.

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Sometimes you just think of words…well, of a word, and it stays with you because you like it so much. You’ll find yourself using it over and over. It might be a name—I’ve used Jack and Kate way too many times in stories. I have a real fondness for “excruciating” and have used it in the wrong way more than once, but it just…fit somehow.

So, anyway, this morning I looked out the office window at the drizzle and the birds flying dark and noisy against the sky. I thought “pewter” might be my word of the day—it has a nice sound and it looks good spelled out. Some of those clouds are definitely pewter. But then there was a male bluebird posing on the clothesline pole, so bright he was almost iridescent. The newly mown grass is gloriously green and Bambi’s descendants are walking across the yard.

I thought, oh, radiant.