Monthly Archives: November 2015

Waiting for Morning


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Exhausted from travel, multiple appointments and shopping, and sick with a sinus infection, I barely made it through Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy last evening before collapsing into bed.

Aunt Katie stayed up for a while. I woke up a few times, noting that the television was still on, that she was still sitting on the end of her bed, that lights were still on, and that the heat in the room was still a blazing seventy-eight degrees. I’d throw off a cover, roll the other way and fall back asleep.

Until I didn’t.

Sometime in the night, I woke up, fully alert. Aunt Katie was in the next bed, breathing softly in her sleep. The bathroom light was casting a bright glow from her side of the room. Two trees, bedecked in Christmas lights, shined through the window on the other side. The room was still uncomfortably warm.

I tried rolling over…flipping the pillow to a fresh side…counting sheep…nothing worked. I was wide awake.

I could not use any of my usual remedies for sleeplessness. If I put on a light to read, it would disturb my aunt’s sleep. I couldn’t set up the computer for the same reason. I couldn’t even brew a cup of chamomile tea!

No matter how hard I tried, I could not fall back asleep.

I knew the motel employees would start putting the continental breakfast together at 5:30. It had to be close to that time. I could carefully put back on the clothes I’d worn yesterday, quietly sneak a book out of my bag, silently slide out the door and down the hall to the lobby to read until the coffee was ready…

A great plan!

I retrieved my eyeglasses…looked at the clock.



That was the beginning of a long night of waiting for morning.

A very, very long night.

I mercifully fell asleep at some point, because the alarm woke me up…but I sure didn’t feel very rested.

Waiting for morning is a terrible way to spend the night!




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This blurry image, taken at dusk , from the door of the Super 8 Motel is the best I’ve got to offer tonight. The white picket fence is hiding the traffic from view, as M31 is just the other side of it. If it were clearer, and if there were no obstructions, Lake Michigan would be off in the distance.

This has been a long day!

I was up at six, to make coffee and give Rosa Parks lots of love and attention. I had loaded all the suitcases but one in the car last night. After I showered and dressed, I dropped a few last minute items into that bag – deodorant, toothpaste and make-up, after I used them – and it was ready to go, too. The little dog came with me while I ran a couple errands and brought my luggage to the airport. Then to the kennel for Rosa Parks, who did me the good service of wagging her tail all the way in, and settling right down on the fleecy rug. Back to the airport, then, to meet Aunt Katie for our flight.

What a flight it was!

When the winds of November are blowing hard, and folks ask me whether they should take the (2 hour) ferry boat ride or the airplane, I always say, “Oh, definitely the plane! That’s twenty minutes of absolute terror, rather than two hours of it!”

Well, it was terrifying today!

I’ve been on worse flights, granted.

However, Aunt Katie and I were in the very back of the plane, in the last seat. The seat that would usually have been in front of us (that I could usually grab on to, when the ride was bumpy) had been removed, leaving a wide expanse between us and the next seat. I think that made the turbulence seem more extreme.

I actually called out twice, in terror, as we tossed and tumbled our way through the sky. Even over the water, where a bumpy flight is usually calmer, we leaned one way and seemed to slide through the sky to the left, then leaned the other way, and slid to the right. Aunt Katie was trying to instruct me about the shopping list. I said, “I can’t listen right now, Aunt Katie, I am concentrating on keeping this plane in the air!”

Which made her smile.

On the ground, I got Aunt Katie situated in the passenger seat of the car, collected our luggage, a quick pit stop and we were off. First to LinCare, to pick up an oxygen concentrating machine and the necessary tubes and connectors. Then to Petoskey, to see the first of three doctors on the agenda for this trip.

“Go! Shop! You don’t have to wait,” Aunt Katie told me, “I’ll be here for hours!”

The one and only time I did that, she was out in record time, and standing outside waiting for me…on her wobbly legs…with a big scowl on her face when I got back from shopping.

“I’m fine,” I told her, “I’m going to catch up on  People magazine.”

She was in and out in less than an hour, with a good report and her next appointment set for six months from now.

I picked up take-out from Subway, and cold beer from Rite-Aid. We checked in at the Super 8. I carried in all the necessities. Aunt Katie got settled in. We had lunch.

Shopping, next. I looked over the list Aunt Katie handed me. It was pretty specific, based on advertised specials. Notes in the margin said “4 for $3.00” or “$1.99 each.” “No substitutions!” was written boldly across the bottom. The only Spartan store in the area was quite a ways north, past Bay View. It was the oddest lay out of any grocery store I’ve ever been in! I wandered the store for two hours, before fulfilling the list.

Meanwhile, the rain continued, with dropping temperatures, then turned to an icy snow. I should have packed a winter coat!

I’m in for the night now. We had pizza delivered. I just opened a beer. I think I’ll get into pajamas and watch Jeopardy from the comfort of my bed. Tomorrow will be another long, busy day!











Things to Do


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I’m leaving the island tomorrow morning, to take my aunt to several medical appointments over the next two days.

The wind is blowing a gale, and I’m worried about a bumpy flight.If the rain continues, it will be an uncomfortable trip, in and out of planes, cars and doctor’s offices.

Rosa Parks has to be dropped off at the boarder’s at 8:30 tomorrow morning. She doesn’t know it yet. She is starting to get suspicious, though, about how freely I stop whatever I’m doing to give her attention this afternoon. By the time I get the suitcases out, she’ll be hanging her head and giving me the sad eye.

After getting the little dog settled in, I have to rush to the airport – where Aunt Katie will be waiting with my ticket – unload my luggage, park the car across the road in the lot, and run back across to get on the nine o’clock flight.

Things won’t be much easier when we get to the other side: I’ll run to get the mainland car from the lot, load up our luggage, pick up Aunt Katie from the terminal building, and be off. We have one stop in Charlevoix, first, to pick up oxygen tanks for her overnight stay, then on to Petoskey to make her first appointment. I haven’t been to any of the Petoskey offices with her before, so will be depending on Aunt Katie for directions. I can’t remember if there is another appointment tomorrow, or if both of the others are the next day. In between appointments, there is some shopping to do.

My plan is  – after all of that is taken care of – to get Aunt Katie safely back on the plane to come home, day after tomorrow, and to head downstate. I am meeting my daughter, in order for her to help me get a better understanding of the design software I use for the Beacon. I’m concerned that it will be too much work and not enough visit…or vise versa.

All of that worry is playing around on the outskirts of my mind, while the main focus of my present state of near hysteria is the whole mountain of stuff I have to get done before I can leave!

I have to pack what I need to wear, which involves trying to predict the weather and washing and drying at least one load of clothes. I need to remember medicine, vitamins, a few personal hygiene necessities, and make-up.

I have to pack for Rosa Parks: one zip lock bag with her special food, another with her treats, written instructions for dispensing each, her special dish, harness and leash.

I need to be able to work, which means unhooking this computer and packing it up with all it’s cords and surge protectors. I have to bring my big notebook, and my small one, past issues of the Beacon, and my address book for contacts.

I need to water the plants.  There are a couple things that are close to the edge in the refrigerator; they need to be dumped into the compost bucket. The compost bucket needs to be emptied into the bin outside, then rinsed out. I should finish off the macaroni and cheese left over from last night so that I can clean that dish.

I have to get this post written and say right out, I’m not sure where we’ll be staying tomorrow night, or if there will be internet access there. If you don’t here from me for a day or two, don’t be concerned: I’ll catch up as soon as I can.

Oh…well, there…I can check one item off my list. I feel better already!



















Happy Birthday to Amy



I don’t often make note of birthdays for my brothers and sisters.

Brenda and I celebrate our birthdays together, in the summer when the sisters are here on vacation. The others receive a card from me most years, usually late. Once in a great while I happen to be where one of them are, on or around their birthday. When that happens, they get a gift.  I know when each of their birthdays are; when that day comes around on the calendar, I think, “Oh, I should have sent a card!” They are always very generous with gifts and cards and bottles of wine for my birthday celebration; I should try to do better for theirs. I could at the very least write about each of them on their birthday…but so far, no.

Except for Amy, whose birthday happens to fall in the middle of November, when I am writing every day. What else would I write about today, on my baby sister’s birthday?

Especially this year, when she’s celebrating one of those “milestone” birthdays. Or maybe not; she may be ignoring it.

My parents were good friends with Karl and Amy. The couple had met and married when Karl was stationed overseas. Amy was a beautiful blonde, of German descent; Dad loved to tease her about her broken English. Karl and Amy owned the Lake Nepessing Hotel, which was actually no longer a hotel, but a tavern. They lived in the rooms above the bar. Usually, they were busy running their business, but occasionally, they got away. Sometimes they ended up at our house, having cocktails and playing pinochle with Mom and Dad.

Once, after a few drinks, Amy started going on about all of the beautiful children in our house, mourning the fact that she had none. Mom, pregnant at the time, soothed her by telling her that if this baby were a girl, she would name it after her. Amy was flattered, and always paid special attention to our baby, Amy, sending gifts and stopping in for hugs. For Mom, who had eleven children and always struggled to come up with baby names, it was an easy gift.

Being the youngest in our family, Amy was adored by all of us. She responded by loving each of us wholeheartedly. Of all of us brothers and sisters, I continue to think of Amy as “the nicest one.” And, though she’s all grown up, with children and grandchildren of her own, I still think of her as “the baby.”

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Crazy Lady


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My friend, Red, refers to his wife as “Crazy Lady,” though she’s as sharp as a tack, and he knows it. It sounds like a compliment when he says it.

I’ve been called crazy more than a few times in my life; it wasn’t meant as flattery.

It doesn’t matter; I take it as a positive assessment.

A woman can be labelled crazy for showing strength, determination, stubbornness…or humor.

I’ll accept it.

Most times, I work a little too hard at being in agreement…or at least not flouting my contrary point of view.

I used to be more argumentative. I think we all go through that stage, when we are forming opinions based on our own knowledge and experience, rather than simply what we were taught or told.

It felt powerful, at the time, to challenge ideas that were comfortably in place, in order to assert my own.

It started in Catholic school, questioning  the nuns about rules of dress that determined the length of skirt or the type of sweater allowed. It continued into public high school, where my class staged a successful protest to allow girls to wear slacks. Into young adulthood, I took on bigger issues.

I marched for peace. I joined the National Organization for Women and marched for the Equal Rights Amendment. I wrote dozens of letters to Congressmen with grievances large and small. I boycotted sugar, then meat, then all Nestle products. I quit buying aerosol sprays. I stopped using herbicides.

My actions weren’t outrageous, but my bent toward convincing everyone else was. I was haughty in my righteousness, judgmental, argumentative and crazy in my pursuit of changing minds. Not enough that I choose my own way, it seemed important that I convince others that any other way was wrong.

I shudder to think of that self-righteous loud-mouth now.

It was my wise Aunt Katie that showed me a different way.

My Dad was here on Beaver Island for a visit, and we were arguing. There was no end in sight. I was sure I was being as generous as possible, allowing for his age, and different life experience while holding to my principles. He was sure that I was wrong, and putting on airs to boot. We’d sit down to dinner; something would be said – maybe just a comment on the news from the little TV – and Dad would say, in his most conciliatory voice, inviting my agreement, “See, and you think you’re so gol-damned smart…” and we’d be off again, on our never-ending debate over whatever nonsensical, minor issue seemed so important at the time.

“I know he’s stubborn,” Aunt Katie said, “I grew up with him…and three other brothers.”

“Do you want to know how to win an argument?” she asked.

Did I?! “Yes!”

This is what she told me:

Let him talk. Let him put out his entire argument. Don’t interrupt. Don’t shake your head or even so much as raise an eyebrow. Listen. Let him finish. Lift your arms and let them fall. Bow your head slightly. Look him in the eye. Without a hint of sarcasm, say, “You are absolutely right.”

“But, Aunt Katie, he’s not!”

You will never get him to admit he’s not right. You could argue with him for the rest of your life, he’s not going to be wrong. Even if you express doubt, even if you say “You might have a point,” or “You could be right,” he’ll keep right on arguing. Do what I said, and the argument is over. Then go on and think how you want to anyway. He doesn’t need to know. That’s how I got along with four brothers!

Well, it worked! And it stands to this day as some of the best advice I’ve ever received.

Crazy smart!



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Yesterday, I imagined my house on fire; I was able to save five things.

I changed the rules to save all of my houseplants, then chose two photographs, two laptops and a scanner, one book of poems and a big purse. I know that’s more than five items, but it all made sense yesterday.

Today, the question is this:

What things do you most regret leaving behind when the house burned, and why?

With the opportunity to start fresh, I’d have only a few regrets, but they are important ones:

  1. Diaries and Journals: One low shelf in my bedroom is dedicated to these old writings. I almost never look at them, but when I do, it becomes an all day activity filled with giggles, tears and the reliving of old memories. I wrote mostly of heartache and frustration, but also made note of cute things my daughters said, moments of absolute contentment and long lists of aspirations. I would regret not being able to revisit that younger version of myself.
  2. Books: The books I’m reading now,  the books I re-read on occasion, the books I refer to regularly for information and the books I hold onto  purely for sentimental reasons…all would be missed. Those are the items that I’d still be looking around for, then poignantly remembering their loss, for the rest of my life.
  3. My Dining Room Table: It’s old, scratched, stained, and the most valuable piece of furniture I own. Not for its monetary value, but because of its history. My father brought the table home about fifty years ago. It was used, of darkly stained wood with big rolled legs and a half-dozen leaves for expanding it. It was relegated to the back room, which – in our house – was a combination play room, guest room, den and laundry room. The table – except when used for overflow crowds at mealtime on Sundays and holidays – was used for folding clothes. As I was the child most often in charge of laundry, I became very familiar with it. Years later…maybe thirty years later…after all of us were grown and gone from home, after my Dad had passed away and family gatherings were not as big as they had once been, my mother told my brother David that he could move the table out to the garage, to use for projects or parties. “Mom, he will ruin that table,” I told her, “if you wanted to get rid of it, I’d be happy to take it.” “No,” she said, “I gave it to him. It’s just an old, beat-up table.” So that was that. Then, in quick succession, David died and my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Whenever I’d visit, she’d send me home with clothes that she never planned to wear again, and ask what I’d like, of her other belongings, when she died. I always said, first, that I’d like her to just stick around, so that questions like that didn’t have to be considered. When pressed, though, I did mention, once, that I’d like that table. “David’s table?” she asked, “Oh, I gave that to Sheila already.”  So that was that. Then, less than two weeks before Mom passed away, my sister Sheila died unexpectedly in her sleep. We all congregated at the house we grew up in, to say goodbye to our sister and to be with Mom for the balance of her life. My sister Brenda came upon some of her nieces one day, talking about how that old table should be sent with Sheila’s boyfriend “because nobody else would want it.” She stepped in and let them know that, in fact, I wanted it. So that was that. Now it’s mine, a relic of my childhood, carried home by my father, inherited from my brother David, my sister Sheila and  – finally  – my mother, thanks to the intervention of my sister Brenda. I really regret not saving it from yesterday’s fire!
  4. The bright pink, surfboard-shaped rug, that Rosa Parks likes to sit on, while eating her dinner. My little dog will have enough to adjust to already; she should keep something that will make her feel at home.
  5. My daybook. I’d be lost without it. If I’d been thinking, I would have shoved it into my big purse before leaving!

So, having lost almost everything in this imaginary fire, I guess I have few enough imaginary regrets!

House on Fire


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Yesterday, I had nothing to talk about; today there’s too much.

Today, it seems that everyone is speaking up, collectively expressing grief and horror at the tragic events in Paris.

It is comforting to not be experiencing this alone.

But I recoil at many suggestions for what should happen next.

I am ashamed at my lack of knowledge when it comes to world politics. I don’t know how this conflict began, how it escalated, who is right, who is wrong. I am unqualified to agree or disagree with any statement at that level.

Still, it makes me afraid.

Yesterday, unable to think of something to write about, I consulted the “WordPress Writing Prompts Page.” This November could turn into a very difficult month, if I can’t come up with topics for my daily posts! Many of the suggestions I found there would have taken more energy than I have in any given day:

If you could master any skill in the world, what would it be and why?

Invent a definition for the word “flangiprop” and then write a post using it.

What is the most time you’ve spent away from your favorite person; what did it feel like?

A few of the ideas grabbed my attention, though.  One, called “Burning down the House” suggested this scenario:

Your house is on fire. You can save only five items. Assuming that all humans and animals are safe, tell what you would grab, and why.

First, I had to expand the “humans and animals” to include my houseplants, so that I wouldn’t be getting charred while debating which plants were most deserving. After that, it was easy.

It would be easy, too, because all of my choices are within a few steps of the back door. It would be just a few quick underhand tosses, and Rosa Parks and I would be out and safe.

  1. My big purse, handily hanging on the back of my desk chair. Because we all know how hard it is to replace driver’s license, credit cards and the like. The purse holds those, along with my cash and checkbook, a few dog treats, my camera, a couple shopping bags and – when I’m lucky – a bit of candy.
  2. An old photograph of my sister Brenda and myself, taken when we were maybe two and three years old. We have matching dresses and matching haircuts. Brenda mugs for the camera; I shyly look down and away. That represents a big step for me. In all the rest of my baby pictures, I am gazing adoringly at Brenda; in this one I am – albeit very meekly – asserting my independence. This picture has traveled with me from house to house; it always hangs where I can see it every day. I treasure it because I still adore Brenda, and because it reminds me of where I started out.
  3. A framed photo of my daughters, when they were three and six years old, running in the sand along the beach at Iron Ore Bay, here on Beaver Island. Of all of the ways I define myself, the most important, to me is “mother.” That’s not a designation I practice in my day-to-day life, now that my children are grown, but it’s still a big part of me. My little girls in the sunshine, arms all akimbo, with the waves and sand of this island…I’d have to save that picture.
  4. My computer. Because I’m taking this writing business seriously. With as many of the cords and connections as I can toss out with it. I’m counting both laptops and my laptop-sized scanner all together. Just one small stack…out the door. Because I am a writer.
  5. Poems by Emily Dickinson.  This well-loved, well-worn hardcover book, of all my books, would be most likely to bring me comfort after devastating loss. Turn to any page:

Had this one day not been / Or could it cease to be – / How smitten, how superfluous / Were every other day!

Lest Love should value less / What loss would value more / Had it the stricken privilege – / It cherishes before.

That’s my list…if my home were on fire.

As I look at the items I chose, I can see that they  each – in one way or another – hold the essence of my identity.

It’s not a bad exercise.

As we move forward in light of world events, I hope we are careful in our response. When the world is falling down around us, it’s most important to hold on to our identity. In reacting to inhuman acts, I hope we don’t leave behind the crucial essence of who we are.

I’ve Got Nothing


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On this thirteenth day of November…which just happens to be Friday the 13th, too…I have nothing to write about.

I don’t even have a current photograph, as I’ve been arriving home after dark these days. We’ve had several days of strong winds here on Beaver Island, and most of the leaves are on the ground. The photo that I’m posting was taken two years ago, sometime in November of 2013.

I may not have admitted that, if I had more to say. Having been very shy for most of my life, silences in the middle of conversations are not comfortable for me. They bring me right back to childhood, to those long, excruciating voids when I knew I should speak, but didn’t know what to say. I knew that if i opened my mouth, I’d say something terribly stupid. Even if I had something planned, not completely foolish, to contribute, I often couldn’t force myself to speak.

I’ve overcome my shyness, mostly. Still, give me much of a pregnant pause and I’ll chatter on about almost anything, just to keep the conversation going. I’ll tell more than folks want to hear. I’ll tell things that are really nobody’s business. I’ll admit to things I could have kept hidden. I’ll state right out that the photo is a sham.

Maybe I am, too, only thirteen days in to this thirty-day challenge, and already nothing to write about.

Stubbornly, I forge on.

News about my job at the hardware store is not really “subject matter,” but self-indulgent chatter. If I had a husband, he would be duty-bound to listen to the minutiae of my day…no one else should feel obligated.The same goes for updates on my little dog, details about what foods I’m preparing and/or eating, and information about how busy, stressed, tired, sleepless or sleepy I am.

Let me just tell you, anyway, that I finally finished reorganizing the light bulbs at the hardware store. Whether the customer wants compact fluorescent bulbs, the old incandescent bulbs, the new halogen bulbs, or any manner of track, flood, fan, post  or Christmas light, we will now be able to find it with a lot less trouble than before!

Hunters are arriving on the island, to prepare for opening day of rifle season. They come to the hardware for propane cylinders, raffle tickets and other odds and ends. They seem good natured and happy to be here, in spite of the wind and cold rain. That, along with normal Friday business and a run on windshield wiper blades, kept us busy all day.

Allow me to report that my little dog is just as cute and smart as can be. She knows “sit,”  “give me paw” and “stay,” and will actually demonstrate, if there’s a treat in it for her. When she does something that she thinks is really good, like bark at the road truck or number two outside, she expects a reward. If I’m not right on top of it, she’ll dart her eyes back and forth expectantly, from the treat jar to me, and back again…just trying to help me “get it right” without making me feel foolish or forgetful.

As for dinner, I made a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. It took me forty years to learn how to make a less than “army-sized” pot of bean soup. Still, I’ve been eating it all week.

Beyond that, I am busy, stressed, tired, sleepless and sleepy, separately by turns or together in weird combinations. But mostly, I’m fine. Thanks for listening!

Time Out for Art: Continuing


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As hard as it is to start a creative project, it’s a breeze compared with continuing.

I have plenty of proof.

In an old suitcase in the back of the attic, I have needlepoint pillow  top. It is made up of a dozen squares of different colors. Eleven of the squares have names and birth dates in a complementary color, and a flower to represent that person. The last square holds a bouquet of all of the flowers. I plotted out the design myself, and planned it as a Christmas gift for my mother, sometime back in the early 1970s. The names are of each of her children. It’s still not finished.

It keeps company, in that old suitcase, with the beginnings of an embroidered quilt made up of squares cut from old blue jeans, several mitten halves cut from old sweaters, not yet blanket stitched together, and piles of crocheted granny squares. I have quite a collection of baby sized afghans (I call them lap-robes, now) that were intended to be full sized afghans.

In my studio, one slim drawer holds “finished works”, waiting to be matted or framed for display. Four others are labelled “work in progress,” and they are full to overflowing!

The middle of a project doesn’t grab and hold my attention as easily. Beginnings hold promise. Anything is possible! New ideas spark with energy! Continuing, the challenge is to maintain the vision, to keep the energy, to work out the kinks and solve problems as they come up.

It helps to have several projects going on, so that there’s a choice. Within those projects, it’s best if there are also options as to what aspect to work on, based on time and mood. It’s most helpful to have designated time to work, to hold on to the initial inspiration, and to have a particular end in sight.

Still, continuing can be hard.

This Night…


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I was up this morning and ready to write.

My computer was not cooperating.

I’m having technology issues.

Last week, my good computer – the newer one, that had been my sister Nita’s, and that has the design software loaded onto it – started beeping at me whenever I turned it on. It beeped rather than turn on. It continued to do it no matter how many times I turned it off and on.

“Count the beeps,” a friend told me, “That is part of Dell’s self-diagnostics. Then google it to find out what that number of beeps means. Could be something simple.”

Well! My emotions were all over the place, at hearing that! I was upset, of course, that something was wrong; I was hopeful that it would be something simple. I was relieved at having a second computer – the old one that had been my sister Amy’s – with which to google anything. Finally, I was pretty proud of having a computer that could diagnose its own problems!

I turned the computer on again, counted the beeps (7), and googled it. Yikes! Probably a motherboard issue…possibly could be repaired by carefully removing the back panel of the computer…I was getting woozy. Changing the batteries in my camera makes me nervous. Anything to do with a computer is a thousand times worse. I’m going to the mainland next week, with my aunt. It can wait until then. I’ll let a trained professional deal with the problem.

So, life went on. My old computer is not the best for watching Netflix: the screen seizes up every now and then, leaving all of the actors frozen in place for several minutes at a time. Even when the action is moving along, the movement of the mouths, the expressions and body language are several paces behind the sound. It’s okay, though. I’m not profoundly attached to Netflix. The old computer keeps me up to date with my writing and my Scrabble playing, so I’m good.

Or I was…until this morning.

When my wireless modem quit working.

I didn’t panic. This has happened before. I, in fact, have a spare modem that was sent to me the last time it happened. The original – after being unhooked from all of its connection and then hooked up again, miraculously started working again, so I just saved the new one. The question was, WHERE? No time to try to find it before work. It would have to wait.

I was thinking, on the way home, that I’d change clothes and spend some time in the studio…maybe bring a sandwich upstairs, put a movie in the old VHS player and work on some small things.

My blog! I’d forgotten all about it!

And, in order to post a blog, I had to fix the computer modem.

First, try everything one more time, just to make sure it hasn’t fixed itself while I was at work.

No luck there so, second, I had to find that modem. What followed was a search of one file drawer, two wicker totes, a cubby over the washing machine, the entry closet, one set of shelves and the old army trunk. Then it dawned on me – with a clarity that I wish had happened sooner – that of course it was on the cabinet that sits behind a sheer curtain in the hollow under the stairs.

And there it was.

Third, I had to hook it up. I was tempted to call my daughter, Jen. I called her yesterday, to help me do some terrifying copy and paste work with files that had to be forwarded. She laughs at me and says, “I love you, Mom,” and shows extreme patience at my ignorance, but…she is trying to move, and is sick with bronchitis, and I just took two hours of her time yesterday over that stupid file…I would manage alone.

I pulled out the desk and the the bookcase, so that I’d have access to all the wires and plugs. I laid out the old modem to use as an example. The yellow telephone line plugs in to this receptacle…now follow that line from the old modem…unplug the old one, plug in the new. Repeat that process with the line that plugs into the wall outlet. Now…turn it on.

A flash of lights, then nothing. Try again. And again. And again.

After several (maybe twenty-five) attempts at turning the modem on, I turned to the instruction pamphlet:

“While it’s updating, your modem may appear to be unresponsive for a few minutes. Do not turn it off or unplug it.”


Okay, so I’ll just turn it on and leave it alone.

Which I did and which – another miracle! – worked.

I fixed the problem! I tell you, I feel like Benjamin Franklin, out in the storm with his kite…like Thomas Edison when his light bulb lit…like Jewell Gillespie, bringing electrical service house by house to Beaver Island!

I did it!