Posts Tagged ‘live in the moment’

"She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin' out on the line."                     ~ sara evans

“She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin’ out on the line.”
~ sara evans


“I still loved Granny. It flowed out of my chest. With Granny gone, where would my love go?”
― Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Glow


“She looks so beautiful… so peaceful… her skin is so smooth and she has no wrinkles,” Tammy whispered softly about her grandmother, as the three of us stood quietly beside her on the day of her death.

Stacey called me and with faltering voice left a message…. “This is so hard to say, Sis, but I think you’d better come quickly.” I knew immediately what she meant. Among so many fears of mine was being with someone I loved so much when they died. So. .. I hesitated briefly, I’m ashamed to admit, and thought for a moment not to come. I could so easily say that I never got the message but in the end…. I didn’t.

In her youth my mother was a beautiful woman. In old age, her beauty shone through all the pages of history that was her story to tell.

I remember looking out the window of her room at the traffic passing so swiftly on the highway and thinking so clearly just after she took her last breath… ‘How can they all be carrying on with life as usual… my mother has just died.”


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Sunny breezy days are ideal for drying clothes and this particular Monday morning in late April offered up sheer bliss. Mom’s demeanor would lighten considerably when she stepped outside to greet such a day.

“It’s more important to have a good breeze than it is to have direct sunlight, Julie” she’d lecture me. “But, today we’re blessed with both and our clothes will dry quickly, without wrinkles and the need to iron.”

After all, it was the ‘fifties’ and, in our household anyway, a clothesline was still a necessity. And yes… we had electricity and Mom had an electric wringer washer which could nearly squeeze the life out of our jeans and towels and sheets but couldn’t quite get them dry enough. Mom’s laundry room was a small corner of the basement with a door leading outdoors to where the clothesline stood. Sequestered away in a small space under the stairwell which I called my ‘cave’, I’d idle away the hours it took for Mom to wash and wring dry Monday’s laundry by playing with all my dolls, until it was time to participate in this chore and help her hang them out to dry.

Marcel Proust reflected that “the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, ready to remind us…” If that’s true, and I do believe it is, then hanging laundry outdoors on a spring day is a veritable feast for the senses. Ever savor the taste of wooden clothes pins? I would dutifully follow Mom’s lead and place two or three woody pins in my mouth at once. Crushed clover beneath your feet emitting such sweetness in the air would bring admonitions galore…“Keep your shoes on, Julie. Bees love the sweet fragrance as much as we do.” The perfection of a sunny breezy day flapping those sheets and towels dry made you want to bury your face in their freshness.

Mother never had to bend to get those clothespins, as the bag she slung over her shoulder kept them within easy reach. We had one of those new-fangled clothes lines too, setting us just a bit apart from the neighbors who hung their clothes from lines strung from pole to pole or fence to fence or by whatever means were available. Mom had a ‘fancy’ four-sided, rotating clothesline that my father anchored with cement near the laundry room door so she wouldn’t have to go far carrying all those wet and heavy burdensome clothes. Nor did she have to move around the fancy structure …. she could simply spin the line and new space would be open for her.

In her silent way, she taught me the unspoken etiquette of hanging clothes on a rotating line. This kind of clothes line afforded you some dignity and saved the embarrassment of hanging certain articles of clothing ‘out there’ for God and everyone else to see. Sheets were on the outside lines, doubled up and attached with extra woody pins to keep them from falling to the ground. We’re working inward now and so shirts and towels and such came next, hung very close to one another so that one pin could attach two garments to the line. Lastly, came all those embarrassing undergarments on the very inside where even the clothespins might blush pink, if they were hung and left open to public view. There was a certain pride in hanging clothes neatly plus it saved time in ironing later because neatness helped prevent wrinkles.

“Never leave the pins on the line, Julie” she would instruct me. “They leave stains behind and can simply ruin our next laundry day.”

In the ‘old days’ your laundry was out there for the world to see and it talked. No gossip over the back fence when the laundry is hung out to dry. Extra towels on the line might mean guests in the house. No men’s shirts today might mean Dad’s away on a business trip and so forth and so on. On this particular Monday, my young brother had been ill over the week-end with a wretched bout of stomach flu and so extra sheets were on our clothesline that day offering up sure clues to our neighbors that someone in the household was ill.

When the phone rang, we were both startled out of our morning task. Mom knew she’d better dash inside to answer it, as she was worried about the well-being of my grandmother and wondered out loud if it might be her sister Aline with some news.

As memories go…. that morning was the first that I ever saw my mother cry. The news was bad and though quite young, I knew immediately that my grandmother had died. We were in the kitchen together and I was at a loss for what to do or say when our neighbor, Peggy, knocked on the back door. It was sheer coincidence that she chose that moment to appear but I was never so glad to see anyone. As it turned out, she’d been brought to our doorstep by the laundry that Mom and I had just hung out to dry. She surmised from the extra sheets that someone might be ill and came to see if she could help in some way. Mom just fell into her arms and Peggy was great consolation to both my mother and I on that Monday morning in April.

To be sure, the passing away of a loved one can be almost unendurable. That in the end it is endurable seems to be both its blessing and its curse. ~ Paula Spencer Scott



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"Don't  you know, Nana? Guys don't say 'cute!"

Don’t you know, Nana? Guys don’t say ‘cute!

So so sorry, Adam.

But girls, and especially proud Nanas, do say ‘cute’ when it comes to their adorable grandsons.

Oops! Have I just committed another faux pas?

Cute and adorable in the same sentence. Guess you’ll just have to ‘get over it!’ and live with your Nana’s flattery.

’cause you are so very cute!


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And Now for the Story…

( you just had to know that there’s a story waiting to be told. Didn’t you?)

Ghost theme image 3It was deep into the month of October on a dark and very stormy night.

Ethan, Adam and Nana decided to explore the neighborhood cemetery in hopes of finding a ghost or two or maybe even three.

But… EEKS! They never expected to see their own ghosts floating and wandering hither and thither. “Now what do we do?” they wondered out loud.

“We’re out of here!” shouted Adam at the top of his lungs.


Well now… would that those words were the beginning of the real story. How much more exciting than what really happened that late Saturday afternoon in Autumn.

Ah well!

It’s the “cuteness” of what follows that captured my heart and stuck in my memory banks to end up here on the family blog of memories and pictures galore.

As it was, Adam and I had several hours to spend together that afternoon. Dad and brother Ethan were off to an overnight camp (Adam was still too young for overnights) and Mom was off to a school fund-raiser for the evening. That left Adam in his Nana’s care and with some “mad money” in his pocket just waiting to be spent… his fondest wish was to head into town and visit Teri’s Toybox, our most favorite store. Since this Nana can hardly resist making fondest wishes come true, we did exactly that… take a walk into town before the stores closed that afternoon.

As it happens, our route took us past one of Nana’s favorite stores. Little did Adam know that Nana’s attachment to this store went way back to when Adam’s mother and his Aunt Allison worked there during their high school years. So, Nana couldn’t help but slow down and linger a bit and just window gaze ’cause The Papery is known for their pretty holiday windows and this time of year was no exception.

“Oh Adam, look!” she exclaimed. “Isn’t the window cute?”

The Papery Window

With furrowed brow and obviously a bit peeved at having to slow down and window gaze when Teri’s Toybox was just steps away, Adam responded quickly.

“Oh, Nana, don’t you know that boys don’t say cute?”

Nana’s funny bone was tickled! When did he get so smart, she wondered to herself. Or so already ‘grown up’ that he recognizes that real men don’t ‘eat quiche’ or say cute….

“Oh, you’re right, of course, Adam. What a shame that boys don’t say cute ’cause there’s so much in the world that is just that… cute! Including my kitty Sadie and, you, my dear grandson. But I’ll remember not to say cute. When you get all grown up into a young man…. may I say handsome when you are?”

No answer…. just a shrug of the shoulders and did I detect slightly pink cheeks?

Next stop… Teri’s Toybox and a new treasure to find.

Teri's Toybox

Teri’s Toybox

While we’ve found many a treasure at the Toybox, I do believe that you came home that afternoon with the sword and armor of a knight in shining…. armor that is! Not sure that the impending Halloween holiday had anything to do with your choice ’cause you seemed to be drawn like a magnet to the sword. You came home and swashbuckled all evening. We had a picnic dinner on the blanket and watched some videos and you told me more than once that “this is the best time ever, Nana.”

Well.. we all know by now that those words in one way or another became the ‘Adam mantra’ when he was having a splendid time and appreciating it for all it was worth. But, to my ears, those words were music… a virtual symphony of sound.

Thank you, Adam, for spending such a delightful few hours with your Nana and teaching me just when and when not to use the word cute. I’ve been realizing alot lately how just overused the word is and I’m making more of an effort to improve my vocabulary.

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“What day is it?”
“Why it’s today, of course” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.


My Favorite Day


Determined not to be shadowed by the past
nor overwhelmed by thoughts of the future,
I set off to be a child
who knows only the present moment.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Shy wildflowers fetched by moonbeams.
Swings and slides hatched by the willows.
Sidewalks skittered with honey.
Suzie Qs danced as if seen by no one… and
Silly old bears just doing nothing.

Should you happen to be sixteen and listening,
Know this above all else…
believe in the wonderment of life
embrace the quiet moments, look around in awareness,
for in this forest you shall be happy.

~ julie © september 2012

I’ve just spent the past few days in the magic kingdom of California with my son and his beautiful family who re-located there when a job change too good to be denied was offered and so he didn’t… deny it that is!

I just happened to be across the room from John and Micah when this beautiful moment occurred and I was fortunate enough to capture it. No need to guess that it was a Winnie the Pooh story they were sharing… the wheels started to turn in response to this week’s prompt on We Write Poems: Words of Wisdom

In poem form, answer the following question…If you could go back in time and impart a bit of wisdom to your sixteen year old self, what would it be?

Albeit a rather trite cliché I know, but the old saying that “this too shall pass” came to mind. Usually given as comfort to help us through trying times, it occurred to me that we take so for granted the wondrous moments and they too pass all too quickly. Cliché or not, if you pay close heed, the wisdom in those words abound. Can’t be said often enough to live in the moment and pay attention.

D.H. Lawrence “got it” when he wrote “I got the blues thinking of the future so I got off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”

So, whether it’s honey or marmalade, just go make some!!


Are you listening, son?

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“We ache to touch intimately what is real” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer




This is where I shall begin a new adventure… letting light pour through those windows that have remained tightly shut for what seems like endless days and nights. Okay! Perhaps said with a bit too much melodrama … but the prospect of all that fresh air fills me with great expectations.

Lucky you!

All who find me here shall be eyes to read and ears to “hear” the words I hope to share…… be they letters, essays, poems, mere ramblings….. perhaps a recipe or two… thoughts on my journey from mother to nana….. to my passion for fashion and design…oh, and cooking too.

A recent book purchase of mine contained the following vignette….”This is a space for dream words, love words, made up words, flying words, fall down and get up words. Get to know the sound of your own inner voice. Be creative! Be generous! Be bold!”

I’m excited!

And, just for clarification … I’m the “young one” up there in the arms of my mother.



In awe even at age one!

In awe… even at age one!    

And, speaking of young ones…. My first born darlin’ Amy stands alone before the mighty waves at the tender age of one and seems to understand her Mother’s love for the beauty of Oregon’s coastline. (1973)

Sisters behold the mighty waves

Hand in hand… sisters stand at water’s edge

And then there were two… Amy and Allison at about ages 4 and 2 stand in “awe” of the surf and sand…with pails in hand, ready to build their sand castles. How we all loved the Oregon Coast. Year after year we returned time and again to play, to walk, and just be happy! (1976)

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