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I don’t know. But I feel that there are people I love waiting there – people and animals. And there were people waiting for all of those who arrived so suddenly yesterday. I imagine that when I get there, I’ll see something like this. Peaceful. Beautiful. Tranquil.

Somewhere over the sea.

Quote of the day: “As the rose-tree is composed of the sweetest flowers and the sharpest thorns, as the heavens are sometimes overcast—alternately tempestuous and serene—so is the life of man intermingled with hopes and fears, with joys and sorrows, with pleasure and pain.” — Edmund Burke

Daily gratitudes:
The concept of Bolivia
The man listening very intently to the pillar on the corner of 15th and Wynkoop
A little girl in the dancing waters
That Kelsea is (still) on her way home
How beautiful my cousin looks

What side of the bed do you sleep on?

When you’re young and you have a twin bed, this is not really an issue – there’s only one side of a twin bed.  If you have tried to share a twin bed with someone, you will probably have discovered that, if you are the one sleeping next to a wall, when you roll over you CAN break your nose on said wall.  Trust me on this.

At some age, perhaps early teens, many of us graduate to a double bed. 

And if you try to go back to sleeping in a twin bed for any length of time after you move to a double bed, you run a very high risk of falling out of bed.  Trust me on this one too.  And believe me when I tell you that hitting the floor as a dead weight in the middle of the night is a distrubing way to wake up.

It seems, and maybe it’s just my perception, that the size of every bed has changed over the last 48 years.  Kelsea’s twin bed seems much larger to me than my twin bed growing up, or the twin beds in the room we share at the beach for that matter.  Double beds seem smaller – queen beds seem more like what I remember double beds to be.  And king-size beds seem huge, with the California King being huger than huge.  I’ve always wondered why they named it California King.  If it’s a description of size, then shouldn’t it have been named Texas King?

During my entire married life, I slept on my husband’s right.  I don’t know why.  He was left-handed, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it.  On the rare occasions when we tried to change sides, it just felt so wrong.  And now that I am single, the idea of sleeping on anyone else’s right side feels wrong.  I imagine I would wake up in a confused fog, thinking that Pat was the person next to me, and that’s really not an episode any courtship needs.  But I could deal with sleeping on someone else’s left side.

When Kelsea and I took road trips last year, we sometimes had to share a bed, and it didn’t matter what side I was on.  Thinking back, it was her right side in Tucumcari and Cheyenne, her left side in Cimarron and Durham.  Apparently, when it’s not a romantic partner, it makes no difference, although with her, I tend to take the side closest to the door, in order to protect her from intruders (which really makes no sense at all).

In my own massive bed, I sleep on the left side (as viewed from my position lying on my back in the bed).  The right side is a dark territory into which I rarely venture, like the wilds of the Amazon, as yet fully unexplored.  Every so often, I’ll wake up lying sideways or diagonally across the bed, but I never start out of the right side, and I never wake up there.  I’m sure part of the reason is because the light switch is on the left side, but I know that’s not all of it. 

It’s truly a psychological thing.  When I moved out, I wanted to change everything.  Since I took almost nothing from the family home, since Kelsea (and of course, Pat) were still living there, I bought furniture.  (Thank heavens I was working at the time.)  Everything was new to me, which fit well with the idea of leaving my old life behind and making a fresh start.  So I deliberately chose to sleep on the opposite side of the bed from that which I’d slept on for the past 24 years. 

And now, here I am, on the other side of the bed.  I dislike the fact that the side to my right is empty, but I hope that will change in time.  It certainly leaves a lot of room for exploration in the future.

When I fall in love, I am inspired to buy lingerie.  Not (usually) Frederick’s of Hollywood stuff.  But lovely flowing vintage silk pieces.  Ebay becomes my friend.  I buy more of it than I could ever possibly wear, and picture myself floating around some elegant tropical location in it like a 1940’s movie star.  Someday, if I ever fall in love again, I’ll write more about my long-standing passion for these passionate pieces.

But when I am single, it’s a different story.  The lingerie is still there, hanging on its hooks, but not to be worn again for a long, long time.  Instead, when night falls, I reach for the animals.

I may not be able to have pets in Cottage, but there’s a menagerie in every room regardless.  And in the boudoir, the menagerie lives on pajamas.  There are pink elephants, yellow ducks, lobsters in Santa hats, moose, and bears (and a yeti).  (And there are two pairs of bunny slippers.)  They have absolutely no sex appeal. 

(Just so you’re not left hanging, the menagerie in the living room consists of:

  • a rubber chicken
  • Dude, the armadillo
  • a white, wind-up, all-too-lifelike mouse (now Dude’s best bud)
  • a jointed deer in a striped shirt
  • a bejeweled goat head
  • a very tiny pig
  • a very tiny bull
  • a very tiny iguana
  • a pair of small silver giraffes
  • a rubber cockroach (courtesy of my ex-husband)
  • a pink Loofah dog

Moving into the kitchen, we find:

  • a chicken (the change bank)
  • a pig (the “found change” bank)
  • a cow (the timer)
  • a Bassett Hound (a serving dish)
  • a chubacabra (exactly what it is)
  • a pair of zebras (potholders)
  • a pair of moose (otherwise known as meese) (also potholders)
  • two elephants
  • a seagull
  • a penguin

And finally in the bathroom, there’s another penguin.)

(Believe me, none of this was planned.)  (Though it occurs to me that one of the things my Mother loved most was her Menagerie, but I can’t tell you who lived her zoo.)  (And by the way, donations will be taken for feeding.)

So now, the single girl is decked out in her pink elephant pajamas.  Those are the most cheerful ones I own (with the lobsters running a close second), and tonight was a rough night.  The good news is, it’s the first rough night I’ve had since I was away.  I was dumb enough to set myself up for it, and now I’m paying the price, but I forgive myself. 

Pink elephants always have a way of softening the tears.

I was walking back from the truck to the cottage tonight.  The black lace of the trees was silhouetted against the sunset.  The waxing moon was rising above the big pine trees.  It was cool – definitely fall.

I have lived essentially alone now for almost two years.  I say “essentially”, of course, because Kelsea lives with me about half the time.  At first, it was a relief.  Later, it felt scary sometimes.  Still later, it felt boring sometimes.  Now that I have been a bit busier and less depressed, it is a bit of a relief again.

But tonight, I remembered coming home late from work when I was in high school.  My parents always left the lights on outside.  I parked around the corner from the house, and walked to the front door.   My parents’ house had a light at the top of the first set of outside stairs, and a light above the front door at the top of the second flight of stairs. 

Seeing that warm, welcoming light let me feel loved, and made me know I was home.  They never failed to turn the light on for me.  Inside, there was always a living room light on, turned very low, so I could find my way around.  Even though I had lived there my whole life and could probably have found my way around blindfolded.

Whenever Pat was late, I left the light on for him – except when I was angry because he said he’d be home hours earlier, or because he hadn’t called, or because I knew he’d been out doing something I didn’t want him to do.  Leaving the light off was my own expression of my anger.  I don’t think he ever picked up on that.

Do you remember the Motel 6 commercials a couple of decades ago?

Their spokesman was Tom Bodett, and I have no idea who Tom Bodett is or was, but I feel as if I should.

Their slogan was “We’ll leave the light on for you.”  I always liked those commercials.  They reminded me of my parents’ home and made me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside.

At the cottage, if I turn the outside lights on, I also turn on the outside lights at the Big House, and so I don’t often turn them on, because I don’t want to disturb the Big House residents.  But lately, I’ve taken to leaving a light on in my living room if I know I’ll be coming home after dark.  With this single light, the cottage looks cozy, homey and welcoming when I approach from across the yard.

I know it’s not a responsible use of energy to leave a light on when I’m not home.  But I have made an executive decision that, living alone, it’s a small price to pay for a little glow of comfort.

Today’s guest poet – Jaime Sabines

The Moon

You can take the moon by the spoonful
or in capsules every two hours.
It’s useful as a hypnotic and sedative
and besides it relieves
those who have had too much philosophy.
A piece of moon in your purse
works better than a rabbit’s foot.
Helps you find a lover
or get rich without anyone knowing,
and it staves off doctors and clinics.
You can give it to children like candy
when they’ve not gone to sleep,
and a few drops of moon in the eyes of the old
helps them to die in peace.

Put a new leaf of moon
under your pillow
and you’ll see what you want to.
Always carry a little bottle of air of the moon
to keep you from drowning.
Give the key to the moon
to prisoners and the disappointed.
For those who are sentenced to death
and for those who are sentenced to life
there is no better tonic than the moon
in precise and regular doses.


September 2020


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