4 January 2017

Visiting Connie

Visiting Connie

We went to visit Connie today, she asked if Maria was along, but I said Maria was in her studio working on a new quilt idea. She smiled. I told her about our Getaway last night to Vermont, and she smiled. She said it sounded like fun, but I thought she might think me a little mad. She lights up at the sight of Red, and he rushes in to see her. They have a ritual: they touched noses, she rubs his neck, his back, she scratches his side.

He seems to revel in this attention. Sometimes, I just leave these two alone – breaking a firm rule of mine in therapy work – and so sit on a bench in the hallway. I think Connie might sometimes want to feel free to just focus on the dog.

I am thinking of ways to keep the supporters of the Mansion from burning out, and one way is to focus on holidays and other special events. I am thinking about Valentine's Day, Tuesday, February 14. I think that is a difficult day at the Mansion in many ways, it would be lovely for them to know they also are loved and thought of.

I'm thinking of some dark chocolates, but I think cards and messages and puzzles and games or modest gifts would be welcome. The address at the Mansion is 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

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At The Mansion: Peggy’s Lively New Year

Peggy's New Year

We ran into Peggy in a hallway of the Mansion Assisted Care Facility (11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816) this afternoon, she was happy to see Red. Peggy said she is doing to have her hair dyed red again tomorrow, she would love to have her picture taken afterwards. She said she had a fine time New Year's Eve, she winked and said she had a couple of beers to bring in the New Year.

I told her some people were thinking of sending some Valentine's messages to the Mansion for Valentine's Day in February, and she thought that would be wonderful. Dinner at the Mansion is served at 5 p.m. and we try to be done with our visiting by then.

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We Met Jean Today

We Met Jean

At the Mansion today, we met Jean, who has only been at the Mansion for a few weeks, quietly working on a puzzle in the Activity Room. Jean is quiet, a dog lover, a puzzle lover. She is hard at work at a 550 piece puzzle showing a cat in the middle of some flowers.  She would love to see Red again.

(Note to some of the good people sending messages. The Mansion is a fluid place, people sometimes come and go for different reasons – a visit with family, a trip to the hospital. Sometimes they forward messages elsewhere, sometimes they read them quickly, sometimes they wait. Sometimes they are gone.  I can't follow the fate of each message, and don't wish to. Some of the r residents have memory or other physical issues. The gift is in the giving, as most of you know. You are making a huge difference. Thanks.)

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Barn As Canvas

Barn As Canvas

The days have been snowy and gray here this week, I am hurting for color, but i found this photograph I took last week on one of the sun days. I see barn walls as big open canvasses, all kinds of beautiful shadows and paintings appear on them. In the late afternoon, the big old white birth tree paints it's beautiful shadows on the side of the barn and it's red walls. So much feeling in a painting like this.

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Happy New Year, Kelly, And The Beautiful, Strong Women Of The World

Rabbis And Priests

I never got along with teachers or rabbis or priests, I was told early on I have serious authority issues. When I was ten or eleven, I was dragged against my violent protests to Hebrew School for a few weeks before the very exasperated rabbi threatened to toss me out of class, and I jumped up and said "when?," and raised my hands in victory.

The rabbi seized the notebook I had been writing in while he was talking in response and found a love letter to Susie (I can't recall her last name) stuck in there. In the letter, I told Susie how boring the class was and how wrong it was to imprison young children and brainwash them.

She had winked back at me and nodded and passed the note back to me.

When my parents were called in to hear that I had successfully been expelled, the rabbi turned to my father with a dire look and shake of his head, and said "watch out for this one. He loves women more than he loves his studies and his God."

Well, I thought as I was marched out in shame, he finally got something right.

Susie was one of the first strong women I met, and I thought she was beautiful, even though I doubt she was by most societal standards. She was beautiful to me, she stood up for herself and tormented the rabbi with impertinent questions about the Bible and faith. She had a keen instinct for posturing and equivocation.

Susie also liked me and invited to get some ice cream with her at Rigney's. My heart went crazy.

I thought I would be punished severely for my rebellious behavior, but it turned out my parents didn't care much about Hebrew School or me, either, for that matter. The whole thing was forgotten, I was on my own,  and I began my own spiritual journey, which continues to this day and even has had some rabbis in it.

But I admit that that first rabbi was correct, I love strong and beautiful women more than I love my studies or anyone else's idea of God In a way, they are God.

They are holy to me. I haven't seen Kelly the past few weeks, but I wanted to think of her this New Year and wish her and all the strong and beautiful women of the world their moment in time their due. I don't know why I love strong women so much, they have always seemed the most radiant of living things.

Kelly has never once looked away from my camera, balked at my photographing her, or wearied of sending her smile out into the world. I have a lot of strong women around me, and beautiful ones. My daughter Emma, her daughter Robin. And some strong animals also – Lulu, Fanny, Zelda the sheep, the Romney Gang Of Four, the fearsome barn cats Minnie and Flo, and the very empowered pony Chloe.

I live with Maria, an especially strong and beautiful women, she is radiant and has a smile the equal of Kelly's, it simply lights up the world around it, and my own life. These women are very powerful and willful, like Susie, they all seem to cut through the chaff.

So I wish the Strong And Beautiful Women Of The World the New Year they deserve. If the rabbi were still around me, I would tell him that I believe God has great plans for these women, in fact, I believe they will save the world and restore it to health and harmony.

That is my New Year's wish and my projection. That goes for you, too, Susie, wherever you are.

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