Happy Thanksgiving!

My brain has been feeling like a pot of chili that’s been forgotten on the back burner, so accept my apologies for a long absence.  Sometimes the small things yank your gray matter into gear, and today it was a piece of biscotti getting stuck in my keyboard.  The down key wouldn’t work.  I’m old enough that I learned to use a computer before the mouse came along, and so I use my arrow keys alot to navigate around.  No down key?  Total meltdown.  But it got me thinking about how small things can push you over the edge.  Forget the big things for now.  We all have a backpack full of life tragedies.  What little thing has pushed over the edge lately?  What little crumb has gotten stuck in your keyboard and messed up your counted-on flow?

14 responses to “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Oh Ann, you’re so in tune with my emotional swing this time.

    Yesterday was a blue sky day and the temperature was a balmy fifty-seven degrees. I went up to the loft to get a book. On my way down, I made the mistake of looking out over the living room at the huge triangular windows that follow the steep roof line of the house. The southern exposure normally looks like a drawing from a Lang calendar, a little village of houses along winding roads with a couple of barns in the distance. But yesterday I was seeing it through a thick fog of dirt covering the windows inside and out. Funny how you can pass by something every day and not actually see it until you suddenly see it in far too much detail. Of course the weather was too nice to get Bruce to even think about window washing. He was absorbed with cleaning up his gardens and putting them to bed for the winter. I could not get it out of my mind, though. It’s in the center of the house, so there is no way to escape passing it. Every time I walked from room to room, it loomed over me like a heavy gray cloud. How did it ever get to be that filthy without me noticing it? Do the neighbors see it when they look at the house? It’s really, truly awful. It’s bad enough for them to wonder whether we’ve moved away and abandoned the place. If it weren’t for Bruce and Alex hauling cartloads of yard debris into the woods, they’d probably be over here on the front porch peering into the windows expecting to see sheets draped over all the furniture.

    By this morning, I’d worked myself into a real snit. Of course today is gray and a bit drizzly, so no point in tackling it now. I have his solemn promise that it will be next on his list for the weekend, however, when the weather is promised to be sunnier, but considerably chillier and he will no doubt kvetch about the cold. Meanwhile, I’m trying to direct my thoughts elsewhere to more constructive things…like writing about that *!!%* window!

    • What’s so terrible about dirty windows? As long as I can still see through the glass, it doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s not like we eat off of them, right?

      What’s worse, having a dirty window or an injury from climbing a ladder to clean the dirt off the glass?

      It’s crazy. I truly don’t see the dirt when it settles on our windows. Lon will notice it while I don’t.

      Guess who washes windows at our house?

      • Another thing, I’m usually so preoccupied that when I look out the windows I’m not seeing what’s right there in front of my face, my mind’s eye is doing all the looking and not at what’s on the other side of the glass.

        P.S. I ain’t proud of the fact that I can tolerate dirty windows; but not ashamed enough to do anything about them!

        I love making faces at Lon while he’s out there doing what I don’t.

  2. P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I’m not having the celebration here, so no one in the family will see the window…unless of course it was that bad the last time the kids were here. But then my daughter-in-law would be too polite to mention it. Oh my gosh what she must think. They’ll be lining up elder care for us before the season’s out!

    • I’m sure your daughter-in-law appreciates the sparkle in your eye and doesn’t give a hoot whether your windows glisten or not.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  3. Hi all,

    There’s a Thanksgiving greeting for you at

    And Ann?? A 500 word final piece called Flying with Egrets is there for you. No critique necessary.

  4. Live it up, shake it up, pick it up and most importantly, EAT IT UP!

    Happy Turkey Day to y’all.

  5. Navigating with Crumbs

    A friend recently wrote that she was frustrated with her computer because a crumb of biscotti landed on her keyboard and wedged itself under the down key, making navigation with the arrow keys difficult. Then she asked about the crumbs that fall into our lives and jam up the works.

    Each day as I walk along the narrow park just outside the rear gate of the El Cid resort complex in Mazatlan, I pause and watch tiny reddish-brown ants at work. Grain by grain they haul out crumbs of hard-packed dirt, climb the ever-growing bulwarks around their excavation, and place their burdens on the outer slope of the mound. Then they scurry back to the opening, bypass the ants coming out, and fetch another grain. Each grain is placed on the outer slope, never on the inner one.

    I was thinking about life today as I watched the ants, about the way each failure, heartache, disappointment, and rejection drops crumbs in our paths, crumbs that become ill-compacted slopes of ever-increasing danger. I recalled when I was in my early twenties, surrounded and suffocated by crumbs. While they were mostly of my own making, I could not see a way around them or over them or through them, and so I continued to let them pile up around me, like a mason walling himself in brick by brick, until I was secure in my fortress of failures and disappointments. Secure, where neither I nor anyone else no one could hurt me ever again.

    Years came and went, and I remained steadfast and safe in my fortification. When I wasn’t looking, I found a man who intrigued me, and I stuck my head above my defense works long enough to marry him. Twenty-five years passed, years during which I pushed away some of my grains of seclusion.

    Then a disease called Alzheimer’s arrived in a dump truck of behemoth proportions. For five and half years, it dumped lead-weighted crumbs and rocks and boulders. Late one night it all caved in upon me. I found myself slipping over the precipice from which all my life’s sorrows had been excavated. It looked bottomless to me, its vertical walls plunging into a darkness with such an absence of light, I thought I had lost my sight.

    Farther and farther I slipped into the nothingness. Crying and shaking, I dredged up every crumb that once had been a part of my ramparts, and placed them on my shoulders, thus increasing my speed into the void. Quite near the bottom, I reached at random into a shoe box of forty-year-old letters and began to read.

    Suddenly my decent jerked to a stop. I read another letter, and another and another and another. Some I read more than once, more than twice. One, the first one, I read again and again until I almost had memorized it. Finally, by 7 a.m., I had read all five dozen letters.

    These were my letters, letters I had written when I was twenty-three and mailed to a friend in another state, who many years later returned them to me. I avoided reading them once I saw the postmarked dates. I didn’t want to revisit those times, yet I was unable to dispose of them.

    I set the first letter down. Its proportions were of a size and weight so extreme it filled the black hole beneath me, and I climbed upon it. A second letter became a second step and so on, and I made my way towards the light above. When I ran out of letters, I began to use the crumbs and rocks and boulders, discovering that rather than stumbling blocks and barricades, I could turn them into stairs.

    When I reached the top and stepped onto the level, I set about cutting those crumbs and rocks and boulders down to a manageable size. I reconsidered, forgave, made amends, and reconnected. I put some into previously unconsidered perspectives. I cried, I laughed, I thought, I talked. I hugged a lot, too. Mostly though, I wrote. I wrote for hours and days and weeks and months. I wrote to make up for the forty years I hadn’t written. I wrote to learn and explore. I wrote for catharsis and for the pure joy if it.

    With each word, each sentence, each paragraph, I was cutting, shaping, sanding, and polishing those crumbs and rocks and boulders. I carried many of them up the ramparts and tossed them into the hinterlands on the other side, where I never need worry about them again. Others I used as foundations for my words to build upon. And others? Well, it’s a work in progress, as they say.

    Which brings me back to the friend with the biscotti crumb stuck under her down key.

    “That’s good,” I said. “Now you have nowhere to go but up.”

    • Gullie–what a fine story. I read it with pleasure and, yes, a few tears. “Up” right now feels like a dream, but that particular dream is fully formed, waiting on this $%@!# recession to end so we can zoom into wonderland–a place we had planned to be two years ago now and still can’t believe will happen. I shall ruminate on ants and crumbs today, but only if you will allow me to entertain you with a Youtube video I found yesterday. It made me laugh. You? Anybody?

    • Terrific writing, Gully.

  6. I am an excellent driver. A courteous driver. I follow the rules of the road such as first come, first go. If it’s a tie, the one to the right goes first, etc, etc, etc. So when someone breaks these rules, isn’t courteous, or pisses me off somehow, I get a little on the irate side.

    There is construction in front of my house. They are making a two lane street into a four lane. My street crosses what we call the Bypass. The Bypass is being worked on at the intersection of my street, so there are barriers, barrels and all sort of construction crap there making it a challenge to get onto the Bypass. The wonderful powers that approved the Bypass decided that the funds weren’t there to make it a four lane so it is a two lane. I could go into the stupidity of how the Bypass was constructed but that’s another story.

    One day I was sitting at the intersection, patiently waiting for a break in the traffic so I could safely get on the Bypass, when a pickup pulls up opposite me about the time the break in traffic comes. I’m turning left, turn signal on as it has been for about two minutes, and I start to go. I have to jam on my brakes because this idiot turns in front of me. He’s in a big hurry to drive ten miles below the speed limit. Before long there is a long line of people trying to get to work behind us.

    I have to follow this @$#%*&)& all the way to work when he pulls into the same parking lot as I do. I jump out and unload a barrel of whoopass on him when I noticed that he was one of the managers, so wanting to keep my job overcame the terrific urge to pile drive him into the ground. Now every time I see him, I shake his hand and squeeze it as hard as I can. For some reason, he seems to exit stage right when he see me coming.

    Mission accomplished.

  7. Not “decent,” that word I used.
    I knew what I meant,
    knew “appropriate” from “direction.”
    “Descent” is what I meant.

  8. Meisha (recent bww grad)

    HiAnn and Everyone

    I just completed the latest BWW class. Found this poking around the ‘net to see if Ann had other classes.

    Right now my biscotti crumb is a very nasty computer virus that shuts down any attempts at normal removal and is undetectable by Norton. Nice to know I’m getting my money’s worth there. After 3 days,several searches on the crackberry, and general Irish stubborness I think I have finally gotten rid of the bugger. Now I’m too pooped to write!

    Now this all could have been avoided if I backed up my PC on a regular basis (please refer to general Irish stubborness mentioned above) so I could have just done a system wipeout, but apparently I prefer the hard road. At least my first thought was to burn my writing folder to a CD before the virus really went gonzo. Priorities. Lol.

    I’m taking some time off to travel for the holidays and recover some creative energy so hope to meet you all again in the new year, Happy Holidays!

  9. Meisha (recent BWW grad)

    Hi Ann and Everyone,

    I’m a recent grad of BWW and found this site looking if Ann taught any other courses.

    My biscotti crumb is a very nasty computer virus. It looks like Antivirus software, it’s even called Antivirus Live and performs a ‘system scan’ to show all the ‘infected’ files. It’s quite impressive for a scam. This virus also shuts down every possible way to access recovery and real antivirus options.

    Why not just wipe clean the whole PC using the factory restore disks you ask? Mainly because I’m lazy. System back-up is the bane of my existence. I know I should yet I never seem to get around to completing the task. If I wiped out the PC I would lose all my music, pictures and various other sundries to the Island of Lost Data never to be seen again. I think the Island is next to the Bermuda Triangle and Ameila Earhart is President. However I did manage to burn my Writing folder to a CD before the virus went completely gonzo. I do have priorities.

    It’s been three days. Through the use of modern technology I’ve been able to find solutions online using my Blackberry. The past three evenings have comprised of me with the crackberry in one hand frantically attempting commands in the two minute window I have after start-up before the virus kicks in. These evenings have also been comprised of extensive swearing and reboots.

    But Meisha you say, why not have someone fix it for you? Well now your dealing with the old Irish/Italian stubborness. It’s the week of Christmas. Best Buy and the Geek Squad will be busy playing Santa and I want my PC to be writing ready when I travel in the next few days. Add to this my slightly competitive streak and I just want to beat this virus into the ground. Then I want to beat it some more. Then I want to find the guy that wrote it and beat him too. It’s on ’til the break of dawn Antivirus Live. You’ve been warned.

    I think I have finally won. After maneuvering my PC into downloading two programs to remove the parasite, I was able to access and run a System Restore. My computer is now in a pre-virus state, victory is mine…muhahahaha!! Unfortunately I’m now too pooped to write. Dammit, there’s always a catch.

    I’m taking some time off for the holidays to now reboot my creative energies (less the extensive swearing). Hope to speak with you all soon, happy holidays!

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