*In this month of my father's birth and death I have been missing him. To counteract this longing for both of my parents I decided to get super busy with classes, exercise--pulling out my bag of tricks to keep depression at bay. I am taking a genealogy class. Yesterday I called a cousin who I have not seen since 1967. Today a second cousin returned my call. What fun and joy to hear family stories, impressions. I learned that my aunt's real first name was Wilma. And family history will come to me in the mail.
*An entire day of sunshine and warmth.
*Kate brought over my painting of sunflowers. For now I put it in my office and its oils permeate the room.
*Sitting in a barbeque joint. One lady walks by with a holstered gun on her hip and handcuffs tucked into her jeans. Three men walk by with holstered hand guns. All in plainclothes. = I feel safe while enjoying barbeque.
*I talked to a cousin for the first time since 1967. No difficulties between us, just busy lives.
*I finally decide to hang the ristra from the chandeleer.
*A knock on the red door. I wrap my yarn around the hand. "Can you come over for a minute?"
The wind and cold smack my face but it is a mere 5 steps before I am enveloped by warm air (furnace is on). Then I see---three sunflowers on canvas, their round seed centers a deep, rich brown-black. A partial leaf peeks out among the yellow petals. K has painted a canvas for me. How can I wait until it is dry so that I can hang it? (I know which wall already.)
*A first snow. Is it too early? The most common question from the people--adults and children--that I meet when I walk Khaki:"Does she like the snow?"
*In previous winters I've layered through the cold weather--sweaters, hoodies, scarves. Today I found a warm jacket with mitten pockets in the shop.
*I take K out in semi-darkness for her first potty of the day and giggle at the funny sartoritaltude of the other dog owners in this early time. Then I look down at what I am wearing. Fluffy pink socks shoved incompletely into too-small sandals. R's huge (pockets full) jeans held up by green suspenders (all my trousers are wet in the washer). A torn sleeved hoodie covering my pj top. I shudder to think what my hair looks like. Thank goodness for semi-dark. We walk in a different direction than usual, between the buildings, which presents a perfect open-ness to see the sun just beginning its crawl over the horizon and across the sky.
*A green facial mask which tightens my skin.
*Supplies purchased, the wine making begins tomorrow.
*Mumps. Arms around my driving father's neck. Singing at the top of my lungs. From Ohio to California. My father was mumpless.
I've decided that October will be a month when I mention one gem about my father per day. I feel particularly close to my father during Octobers because he was born in this month (18) and died in this month (24) (not in the same year of course!).
*One of the first memories I have of my father is him reading to me before bedtime. I would watch his lips form the words of "Goldilocks" especially liking the way they moved when he said "Papa Bear." Listening to him read began my life long enjoyment of books. Awakening at night from bad dreams, I would toddle to his lap as he sat in his easy chair and cuddle back to sleep while he silently read his big, heavy grown-up books.
*We take our coffees up to the ridge. On our left is the reservoir, now slowly shrinking to its wintertime size. Dotted with white caps I marvel at its colors--not just a uniform blue but all the shadings of blue and some green. And so cold, cold, cold it looks. On our right is the town. The aspens and cottonwoods are just beginning to add yellows to the green quilt of trees (thrashed by the wind) and streets. I used to be able to find our house just there by the red tiled roofs but it's not ours anymore. Ahead of us is smoke and we follow roads searching for its origins until I realized it may not be near a road (not many roads here). The smoke trails for miles in the fierce winds.