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BY Flow

07/01 Direct Link
Dear G. This message may come as an inconvenient truth: YOU OWE ME LOTS OF MONEY. We have both known that for some time. In our last conversation you said to me, "If you say I still owe you, then I do. Even if I thought I paid you." No G. I almost declined your request for loan TWO because you had completely forgotten about loan ONE. Now, I see that you've revised your memory making me the persecutor and you the victim! Wrong! Really, this is how you are terminating our friendship after twenty some years? Another relationship passed.
07/02 Direct Link
I'm spending less than I make. That's a key phrase I'm counting on right now. How can that lead me astray? Well here's the answer in the mail: In September, you owe $6K. Really? That's half my income! The other half is spent on trying to stay alive while paying medical insurance. This is what it costs to have a home, even if it doesn't need repair. Also the expense of being linked in with the rest of the global population via internet. That's another $1200 a year. Remember that visit to see your son you were planning on? NOT.
07/03 Direct Link
I have another new and delightful idea; a knock your socks off idea! I finally came up with the cohesive aspect of my store, the glue that ties my objectives together and defines the character of my work there. drum role: I gently encourage people to take on the expressive challenge of a prompt and use their art to express their responses. Instead of asking, do you want to paint a picture? or do you want to decoupage an animal? Contrast: "Fragility; What does it look like?" Novices can paint with symbols, as I used to do with great satisfaction.
07/04 Direct Link
The burden of celebrating another holiday alone was erased by an invitation the bestower could hardly know. Yeah! A party that thrived on inclusivity of races, ages, genders, all with the intent of gathering for social benefit and fun. After a potluck dinner, the word rang out: time for the fireworks! We all trooped down seven blocks to a golf course where the display would take place. The whole community was parading to the site. The fireworks were up close and neighborhood personal. I haven't experienced that for years. It was simple, easy, smiling experience for all, all around. Thanks!
07/05 Direct Link
This was retro day. I had no internet service. I kept experiencing little disappointed surprises each time I thought about its use. Then I just embraced it and went for a walk, a long walk. Instead of using my bicycle, I plotted a route to the store (where I could check emails) then to the garden, then to grocery store. Before wheels, everyone had time to reflect as they walked. A prescribed activity (walking, sitting for a sermon, swimming laps) that doesn't require concentration--frees the mind of the To Do list; lets it wander, unconstrained, for a time. Refreshing.
07/06 Direct Link
Today's the men's finals at Wimbledon. Every time a major sport event is broadcast nationwide, I know exactly what my sister and her husband will be doing. It's like a satellite, spy view arranged by their predictable patterns. My first response is a wince with heartbreak, but then I'm on to smugness about how small their lives are, being tethered to the TV in the den for the whole afternoon. Why are sports such a craze? I never understand it. Are we all just trying to connect through the experience of watching the game? Is that what it's all about?
07/07 Direct Link
Summer, alone. It is lonely. No one to sit on the front porch with and enjoy the perfect breeze with a bit of small talk. No one to call up and invite for a bike ride or out to dinner. Just me. Geez. Life would really suck if I didn't have the store. I think I could easily go insane. It's hard not to belong anywhere; have all your friends and family in different states. It makes me think about Dad in a compassionate way. He mapped out his week around one social event each day of the week. Survive.
07/08 Direct Link
We have a pesky bluejay hopping about the tree branches overhead. I say we, because Ronald the cat and I are out here on the patio. But Ronald is fast asleep on his cushion, so it's only me being bothered. The Jay must have a nest nearby? and is chirping out distress calls ? It doesn't quit. This is a real communication challenge. I'm not sure that I'd want to hear his words (HA! suddenly it's male.) Same with Ronald. It might be annoying and cause resentment if he could demand food with a "tone" in his voice! Who needs that?
07/09 Direct Link
I almost lost my cat today. Or more precisely, I had to experience the loss for a good 45 minutes; make my head wrap around the fact that all good things come to an end. Is he in the neighbor's garage? That he really had a great life, even if it was short. If I go for a walk and call his name, will someone come out and ask me if I lost a cat? Then describe where, on the road it was? And I'd ask if it had a little white fur on his abdomen, but mostly black? Meow!
07/10 Direct Link
I had THE talk with my son today. No, this isn't the sex talk. It's the no one else will say this to you-- so I will talk. You have a mental illness that needs treatment. It was a hard talk; there were recriminations and hang ups. But we muddled through it. We covered essential territory: responsibility for one's life, focusing on what you don't have will defeat you, you must do something different to get different results and the in a nutshell or a sentence: how to be happy: Learn the art of appreciating what you have. Pretty good.
07/11 Direct Link
Dream: I was with a group of friends. We were happily settling in for a month retreat. We were rearranging, moving stuff, hanging stuff. I brought with me my cat and my horse. The horse was a young, huge, shiny, chestnut brown stallion. It was as attached to me as my cat; would seek me out, come when called, etc. The first evening at the retreat, I was occupied with friends and didn't think about the horse. The next morning, driving to breakfast, I saw chestnut brown legs split on the road. NO! next the head, NO! Guilt overwhelmed me.
07/12 Direct Link
Dear G, For over 20 years we've been there for one another. I've loved that I can always tell you my pettiness and my not so savory opinions. Frankness is so refreshing. Also, I strive for balanced relationships. Your turn, my turn to need some assistance, or we both lay low if we can't be helpful. Now, I sense that you don't want anymore turns. This because when you thought I might be angry, you didn't try to resolve it. You were not going to call me. And, as I wait for you to initiate a call, it's silent. Goodbye.
07/13 Direct Link
What about my mounting irritation and boredom when speaking to my past husband on the phone? The obvious answer is to limit calls, at most... one per day! He's doing nothing. He has nothing to talk about. Stupid stuff like making the decision to go to the store...mindless stuff that aggravates me. I need to take charge. I need to be in control of my life, even those 10 minutes a day. My anger is at myself, because I keep allowing it. Stop being a doormat. Stop worrying about his feelings at the expense of yours. That's old paradigm.
07/14 Direct Link
Good day off. I swam for the first time in over 6 months; the usual half mile AND hoist my body out of the pool and take a shower without shaking. I'm in better shape than I thought. I paid all my bills, scheduled a medical test, called to bug my tax person, got a good estimate on buying a new furnace, went to a lecture about the beginnings of WW1 and now am sitting on my couch with my cat and drinking a little wine. I just love it when I get caught up with my to-do list.
07/15 Direct Link
I'm going to have a party. I've never hosted a party and it's high time I did. I think it's the epitome of creating community. I admire anyone who troubles themselves to invite, clean, cook and serve their neighbors for the purpose of getting to know them and honoring the relationships. That small gesture can make a difference in well being; knowing that one is part of a caring group. It's hard for me, because I'm lacking experience. All the years with an unpredictable, spiteful mate kept me from risking an embarrassing disparagement. That has been my excuse. Until now.
07/16 Direct Link
Could I ever accept a romance in my life again? Right now, interest in a man seems unlikely, dangerous to my soul, improbable. However, closing off an adventure seems cowardly. It seems like closing off a lot of doors. On the other hand, blocking those door seems comfortingly safe, in control, predictable, manageable. I just convinced myself to keep those doors closed. There is no need for romance. Life is grand enough, growth and discovery are grand enough. I've done romance already. Terrifically overrated. Honestly the biggest myth mother nature has ever offered up to keep the human species alive.
07/17 Direct Link
Ah, the thrill of company. I spent most of the day leisurely cleaning the extra bedrooms and super cleaning the bathroom tiles. When one has guests, one has a new pair of eyes; discerning eyes. So, I will house two teenage males for two nights as they visit my town and play a concert for the community. I responded to a plea via "Nextdoor" website to volunteer. I'm dismayed by the lack of vetting. I'd be outraged if these were my kids, casually dispersed into strange homes. Yuck. Anyway, house cleaned, an accomplishment unlikely to have ever begun without company.
07/18 Direct Link
The Ann Arbor Art Fair. Really? These things were juried to have artistic merit? Who is on the jury? You've got to ask the question, because visual grazing through the maze of white tents did little to satisfy. So many weeds and not enough talent. The artists were interactive, which was interesting and educational. The life of an artist is not as easy as one can make believe. It's not ONLY the impassioned creator, but the hawker of wares; on the road to this and that show. All to gamble your time and expense in sitting, waiting for a sale.
07/19 Direct Link
Where is everyone? I haven't seen a customer all today and it's already 3:30! There is no rhyme or reason; no predictability to this business! But, as I'm feeling a bit under the weather I'm secretly pleased to be by myself. I don't feel creative or emotionally motivated to do anything but sit. I might sit all day tomorrow too. There is something about couch parking that pleases me. It drastically lowers the expectation of achievement. Continued sitting seems like a virtue in that I already established my intention for the day. Permission to do nothing. Yes, carry on!
07/20 Direct Link
Well, today, after a year's divorce and being extremely patient with one another, we irritated the hell out of each other and were forced to cease and hang up. Actually, it was me, predictably, being more free to express my impatience--I couldn't stand to hear more of his nondescript descriptions about where he walked the dog today. What does it matter? Or the temperature in his living room, or outside, or tomorrow's forecast or the behavioral similarities between one cat or the other, or any of the things he can add to a conversation about hanging around his house.
07/21 Direct Link
My ex-sister doesn't allow her family to contact me. This is an implicit fact. I haven't heard from either of my nieces, nor my brother-in-law since sis quit speaking to me a year ago. I think this says that they are enmeshed, as I often suspected. All the southern bells clang together. I hadn't anticipated losing my sister before dad died. I certainly didn't expect to lose my whole family, save my son. Pity. Such a long period of emotional investment; now, like my marriages--a waste of time and drama and emotion. Better now, it's over
07/22 Direct Link
Dear G, Thinking back, you haven't called me for what? 6 months? There was that complication with your work (the bastards!) and then the subsequent depression. I know that depressed people tend to isolate themselves, so I reached out to you--to show you support. I listened while you vented about your dire situation. I didn't bore you with my stuff. And now, last time I called you, all is well! (bravo!) But you don't call me. I glean we're no longer friends. (?) Maybe phone calls aren't enough to hold friendships together. And hey, you owe me $1800. See ya!
07/23 Direct Link
Who wants to do some art? Silence. This is the response I'm getting except for a few trickles of grandmas and tots. So I'm spending my days in the store hoping and then being disappointed that nothing is happening. Hope. prepare, nothing. This is the byline that should be tacked on my storefront window. Maybe the Chamber is snickering about how long will she pretend? I wish I had a crystal ball. I don't mind putting in my time if I'm not wasting my time. Then, what else would I really be doing with my time? I've got nothing else.
07/24 Direct Link
I'm wearing my little hostess cap tonight. I signed up to host 2 teenage boys as they travel through the country performing concerts. They've just returned from Europe tour. They have excited stories to tell. One of them, I predict, will become a writer. He likes to paint a picture of the settings he visited with his vivid descriptions. They took a movie break and sat with me for another story session this evening. I'm honored that they enjoy my company. A special group of kids, having to be challenged socially, traveling skills, coping skills and attitude shaping for positivity.
07/25 Direct Link
A young friend of mine is spending a fortune trying to get pregnant. Following the norm, fulfilling expectations of culture and family. It's the right thing to do, so it seems. I'd like to say to her, once you have a baby, all three of the following conditions have to be met before you, as a mother can find happiness: 1. the baby has to be healthy, 2. happy 3. and baby has to like you. Enjoy childlessness. You gave it your best shot. Now, forget about it. The world doesn't need another mouth to feed and neither do you.
07/26 Direct Link
I think I'm no longer a true American. I say that with the same stark recognition I once experienced when I came to the realization I wasn't a Christian. A foundational pillar of my persona collapsed. It's an injured feeling and an authentic feeling; like one might balance the other, yet awkwardly. The money influence in our elections is corrupt, the dissolution of unions leaves no power for the middle class to keep up with new costs for healthcare and for unregulated internet. There's no money for law and order (untested rape kits.) The schools stink. unemployment for the graduates.
07/27 Direct Link
I am a citizen of the world. I can go anywhere I want. I could live in Peru, Belize, or Iceland. Life's reported to be cheaper, simpler, more friendly, better quality. Of course there's the leaving...the store behind, the house, my cat, my son (interesting list order.) I once had a friend who was contemplating her move. She had a common houseplant with long tendrils: said she would leave when the plant's tendrils could reach around the room. And she did. If my cat goes, so do I. should take advantage of my freedom. Collect social security and travel.
07/28 Direct Link
I am weary of the news of war. Just the descriptions of casualties; Palestinians, Israelis body counts. And I'm on the other side of the globe, not experiencing the terror, the heart wrenching maiming of innocent people. I modulate my compassion because there's nothing I can do. If I were Queen of the USA, I'd cordon off the responsibilities of the country and become a neutral, isolationist state. War is pathetically stupid: The dynamic of body for a body, same thinking keeps perpetuating the same problem. Why can't they learn from a historical perspective? War doesn't solve anything! More misery!
07/29 Direct Link
A shocking day. My poor Ronald was struck by a car in the night. He didn't appear for breakfast. I cycled around the neighborhood calling. When I returned home he was by the back door, standing but stiffly. I got him to the vet and the xrays indicate a fractured pelvis. Dr. says if a cat's going to be hit, that's the most stable place to take a blow. Ronald will be OK. He's home now, comfortable in his cat bed. Vet thinks I should keep him constrained for 6 weeks! I'm exhausted now, from the anxiety of the day.
07/30 Direct Link
Day dream: We, meaning other stores in the area that are not part of the "in group," the Downtown Development Association, get together and create our own West Side Story. We generate motivation to cosmetically change and brand our area. We create a theme for monthly events, we expand into neighboring villages, cities and become cosmopolitan. We host soup nights so we can spread the word of innovations that need funding. We apply for block grants. We tackle the parking/vehicle problem (using the bike shop on the block?) We give our own bazooka concert at the A&W Lot!
07/31 Direct Link
My poor cat, Ronald is chipper until he moves, yet he strives to get close to me and lay across my lap, then he starts to shiver from the pain it caused him. He might be deformed for life. He has an extra curve in his spine, like he's half way into fight mode. I'm hoping it's just a protective stance to ease the pain in his little back. This morning he discovered he can use his front limbs and claws to grab hold of mattress placed on the floor and slide his hurt pelvis on the bare wood floor.