GRANDDAUGHTER. WITH PUPPY.

Family. You never know what’s going to happen, but you do know that whatever happens, it will be complicated.

A couple of days ago, my granddaughter arrived and moved into the southern end of our house, otherwise known as “downstairs.”

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

With Nitro, the puppy. And laundry. I will not go into any of the details of how this happened because I’m not entirely clear on them myself. It just happened. Like a meteor hitting the house or a flash flood. There we were, enjoying a quiet Sunday.

My son, the leading edge of the oncoming wave, explained that Kaity was on her way over.

“How nice. A Sunday visit,” says Granny Marilyn. Fifteen minutes later, she was moving in. With puppy. Nitro.

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Garry, who had gone into the shower a little before the arrival of the son, emerged to find himself in a new world order. Although I explained that it was just as much a surprise to me as to him, I suspect he thinks I’m holding out on him.

I’m not. Honest.

I don’t know how long this will last. It’s fine with me, however it shakes out. If anyone is going to live with us, my granddaughter would be my first choice. Garry’s too, though he is worried about finding himself in charge of Nitro. I understand his concern.

As long as she house breaks and trains the puppy properly (I think he may be growing in the general direction of pretty big) and she keeps the place reasonably tidy, I’m good. Kaity grew up in this house, so there are no surprises laying in wait. She is comfortable in the space, knows that autumn brings the mice and spring, the ants. Though I think Nitro will be a formidable force with which any invading critter will have to reckon. He grows as I watch.

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Everything else will sort itself out. This is probably a healthy move for Kaity. It’s time for her to separate from mommy. We all need to do it and it’s never easy. She can lead an independent life here, with little interference, but backup when and if needed.

I’m a bit pixellated by the rapid changes in life, so if I’m not writing as much, it’s because I’m busy absorbing a new reality. Keep in mind that Kaity could change her mind and leave tomorrow — be gone as fast as she arrived. I’m not quite sure how much to invest in this. I think I’ll keep my head low and let it sort itself out.

If I have learned nothing else in the past decade, it’s that young people need to make their own choices. Unless they ask for advice? Shut up, be supportive, be loving, and keep out of the line of fire.

HOPPING ON THAT SOUTHBOUND TRAIN

CHANGING PERSPECTIVE

Perspective

1 Corinthians

11   When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12   For now we see as in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I too am known.

I’m not usually big on quoting the bible, but sometimes — and this is one of those times — no place says it better.

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I was an “old” child. When I was very young, I talked like a much older person. I read “adult person” literature and thought of myself as very mature. I wasn’t. I was intellectually precocious, but still a child. Who used big words and almost understood many adult things.

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Almost. There are a whole lot of things that simply don’t make sense until you’ve lived a life. Reading about life isn’t living it. A child, no matter how smart, is never more mature than his or her years and experience. That’s perspective.

Perspective isn’t static. At 10, you see things through 10-year-old eyes. As years and decades roll on, you see the same things differently, sometimes extremely so. Perhaps you really do see through a glass darkly. Or you should. If decades of living don’t change your perspective, something is wrong — with you or the life you’ve lived. We are supposed to change. The only things that don’t change are dead.

I hear people my age or even younger saying “Well, that’s the way I am. I’m not going to change.”

Yeats' Grave

There’s a terrible finality in that statement. A sad finality, like a eulogy for “self.”

Someday, I’ll be too old or sick for change. The end comes to everyone. But until then, I hope my perspective keeps changing. I hope I revise my opinions often and contradict myself frequently.

Perspective.

GATHERING PEARLS – EPISODE 1

NO DRAWN BLANKS, NOT TODAY

I’ve been finding pearls of wisdom all over the place. A few from television and movies, others from fellow bloggers. Today’s gems (and I’m not kidding, I mean gems — no sarcasm) come from Cardinal Guzman.

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Let me start with the Cardinal. His “life game” guidelines resonated with me:

  • Take care of your loved one and loved ones.
  • Have fun, but don’t get addicted to it.
  • Their shit stinks too, so it doesn’t matter what they think.
  • Improvise.

Taking care. I take care of my loved ones — friends and family — to the extent that they allow me, and I am able. I no longer believe I can fix everyone’s problems — or mine. Within the limits of money, time, health, and distance, I do what I can. It’s pretty good. If I won the lottery … but that doesn’t look likely, especially considering I haven’t bought any tickets. (Maybe I should buy tickets.)

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Have fun. I do. It’s different fun than I had years ago, but it makes me smile and laugh. I get some good pictures too.

Their shit stinks too. Not only does other people shit stink, but some of those other people have bigger problems than me. None of us never knows how difficult someone else’s path is. If they are nice to me, the will have my support — even if I don’t have much beyond moral support to offer.

Improvise. He or she who cannot roll with the punches, change with the seasons of life, adapt to the stuff that is constantly assailing us from every direction, are doomed. If you don’t change, you ossify and die in place.

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Living means changing. Many people declare “they can’t change because they are what they are.” That’s never true. They are convinced not changing will save them from getting hurt or having to learn new and uncomfortable skills. Instead, ceasing to move in life becomes a recipe for death before burial. Only the dead are frozen in time.

Improvising also means reinventing oneself. Often. As we age, we don’t so much give up things, as we adapt to the limitations we encounter. If I can’t ride horses, I can take pictures of them. I can enjoy being around them.

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I can’t hike long distances, but I can walk shorter ones. I can take pictures, write, read, and talk. I can laugh. And I’d better do it now, because tomorrow has no guarantee. As far as I can know, this is tomorrow.

Grab a handful of life and get on with it.

I’d like to add that the entire experience of living would be greatly improved by people being kind to one another. By not walking around so fearful of getting hurt that they hurt everyone else. Self-protection is overrated.

Be nice, be kind. Help where you can. It’s free. It’s easy. It makes you a better person and the world a better place.

RAMBLINGS ON CHANGE AND LIFE

SHOULD I CHANGE ME?

This is one of those disorganized, rambling posts that we all write sometimes. Sorry about that. I had a few things to say and this seemed a good place to say them.

No one is perfect, least of all me

I should be more patient. I’m patient with tedious, repetitive work. Kids and animals get a long lead. Adults? Not so much.

DO NOT CONFUSE ME WITH FACTS

Raymond Reddington on “The Blacklist” dropped this pearl the other night:

“They say youth is wasted on the young. I disagree. I say wisdom is wasted on the old. No one wants it. In fact, everyone hates it.

With that in mind, here’s a little list:

characteristics of very important people
  1. They know everything. They have an opinion about everything, but no facts — or as they say in the west, “All hat, no cattle.”
  2. They never admit they are, were, or could be, wrong.
  3. They reject change. They will not revise an opinion or change their way of doing something because “this is the way I am and have always done it.”
  4. They are self-destructive and self-defeating.
  5. They expect sympathy when they do themselves in. Again.
  6. They blame everyone else for their problems. The whole world is out to get them (a sure sign of great importance).
  7. They are proud of being ignorant.
  8. They don’t read books or newspapers.
  9. They believe their opinion is “as good any anyone else’s.” (No, it isn’t.)
  10. They brag about their achievements, but you never see any evidence of these achievements.
CHANGE IS LIFE

All living things change, even if slowly. Only death is unchanging. If I seem to be of a different opinion than I was the other day, it’s probably true. When I learn something new, or see a better way to do something old, I try it.

I’m never sure I’m right, but I know when I’m wrong.

The rumor about old people is that we’re more patient than the young. Not exactly. More tired, yes. More patient? Not really. The older we are, the harder it is to suffer fools — and the better we are at recognizing fools.

Don’t there seem to be more fools than there used to be?

I want to trust people, so I assume they’re well-meaning, even if wrong-headed. I’ve been mistaken many times. You’d think I’d learn, but I don’t.

Even if it works out badly, I’d rather get hurt than give up.

WHAT IT SAID

EVERYTHING CHANGES. THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE ITSELF.

People are always throwing trash out of their passing cars. It’s hard to believe, in this day and age,that anyone could be that rude, that careless of the environment. Especially around here, where nature is in charge.

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We live among the trees and flowing rivers. We need to respect our environment. Take care of it. Which doesn’t include throwing junk out of moving cars.

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Each time I go to the mailbox, there’s garbage strewn about. Fast food wrappers, discarded junk mail. The detritus of modern living. I try not to get unnecessarily angry because there’s nothing I can do except reach down, carefully, and pick it up. Stuff it in the bag I carry with me because there’s always something.

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That afternoon, it was foggy. Really foggy. We get mist in the morning around here, but rarely do we got a thick fog for more than a few minutes. This one had started with a morning mist, but become quite dense by mid-afternoon.

Everything is ephemeral. Anything pictured today, anything you capture with your camera, is forever frozen in time. Even if change is minimal and even though it may seem invisible, nothing remains the same.

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I picked up the paper. I read it. I shook my head in disbelief. Pondered what it meant. Then, I began to laugh. Stuffed it in the trash bag with everything else.

Whatever it meant, I would never know. I didn’t learn Sanskrit in school.

I tossed the bag into the big bin on my way down the driveway. There was no “going back.” The moment was gone, forever out of reach.

CHANGING SEASONS AT THE DAM

Change: This week, show us a change in progress. This can be done in one or multiple photos — we’ll let you decide!

ice at the dam

In the middle of town, there is a dam and a bridge. The river is the Mumford, which is one of the larger tributaries of the Blackstone River and the bridge is just the overpass where Route 16 turns towards Mendon, Milford and other points southeast of Uxbridge.

This is the middle of town, through the seasons, from December through the following November.

Mumford Dam

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path woods golden november at the dam

JUST AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE

Long Exposure — Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?


Garry and I at President Clinton's party on Martha's Vineyard

Garry and I at President Clinton’s party on Martha’s Vineyard

All the people I’ve known a long time have changed, me and my husband in particular. Better? For whom?

I am far less sociable and hugely less outgoing. I was quite the party-maker with a wild and crazy social life and now I’m a virtual recluse.

1970

1970

Much of my life centered around work … and I don’t work any more. I’ve gone from being gregarious to being a loner, being work-centric to being survival-centric.

Good? Not good? If I hadn’t changed in response to the realities of life, I’d probably be dead or living on the street. I guess that makes them good, right? I read less, write more.

I keep taking pictures. It’s now more than forty years of photography. That’s consistent, anyhow.

Garry was shy, solitary. He was so driven by career and work he didn’t have time for anything, anyone else. Like making friends, building a personal life. Yet … when I came back into his life, he began to emerge. He started to pull back from work, become more sociable. Now, he couldn’t be paid enough to go back to work.

1990 in Ireland

1990 in Ireland with Author Gordon Winter

He used to be the kind of guy who always looked like he’d just stepped out of the pages of GQ. Now, he wears sloppy shorts and old tee shirts or pajama bottoms and sweatshirts.

He remains passionate about sports, but can miss the game and watch a movie without having a crisis.

Both of us eat less, don’t drink at all. Our world centers around each other and a few close friends and family.

You know what? I think it’s good. And appropriate.