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Focus by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Attention Span

/ Stories

When I think back on my professional life, I’m amazed and humbled by how I could concentrate on complex and intricate tasks that I couldn’t imagine doing now. I could laser focus and often have music or even talk radio in the background, for an hour at a time.

My current clients pay me to focus, which is a real incentive, and when I despair of my diminishing attention span, I think about the nice people (really) at one of my clients. They are millennials or Gen-Zers, and there is a lot of TLDR going on. The problem is, their business requires a lot of detailed technical information for reference. I review their marketing documents, and often I’m the only one who reads them word-for-word. They often thank me for such a “thorough reading” and wonder how I can do it.

However, sometimes my attention span runs out of steam, and in other parts of my life, my focus dims. Once I remember to get bills paid, etc, and there is leisure time, I find I can read a book for only 15 minutes or so, often mimicking the fragments of time the other tasks take. Now that I am taking on more caregiving responsibilities, being “interrupted” is often a factor as well. “Where is my … can you find my …”

And oops, my mother is coming in 10 minutes (for real as I write this), so are we set up for the family Zoom, and did I take out the chicken for lunch? Off to the next time fragment …

A Pie in the Hand … by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Mealtime

/ Stories

Mealtimes in my family changed with the years. When I was a small child, Jeffrey, the neighbor boy, and I would come home from school for lunch every day, alternating between our houses. His family’s housekeeper, Panchita, made the best French toast. For dinner, my brother Allan and I ate at a tiny, bright red enamel table in the kitchen. My father worked late and believed that kids shouldn’t be at the table unless they “behaved.” I think this attitude didn’t come out of strictness or lack of love, but exhaustion and the need for quiet on his part.

A pie in the hand is worth the fond memory.

By the time I turned seven, I was deemed old enough to eat with my parents in the dining room (Allan, being just three, had to wait a few more years). I did more listening than talking, although as I got older (and Allan joined us), dinner became more interactive. My mother was a really good cook, but Allan was a picky eater, but the rule was we ate what was served. The only exception was liver, which my dad hated. And naturally, we asked to be excused from the table. In my teens, I remember my dad doing a portion of the cleaning up, which might have been unusual for the time.

As a young single adult, mealtimes became more chaotic and ad hoc. For most of my 20s and 30s, I went to the gym after work, and dinner consisted of salad and yogurt. In the early 2000s, when I met Dick, I discovered he was into home-cooked dinners, big time. For years, he did most of the cooking, we ate at the table, and then I did the cleaning up. Since I’m not much of a cook, that was fine with me. Now, because of Dick’s mobility issues, I do nearly all the cooking, too. While this isn’t my favorite activity, there is something to be said for simply sitting down to dinner together.

However, my all-time favorite memory of a mealtime comes from my early teens, when my grandmother lived with us. We had moved to a larger home, where the five of us could eat at a round, white table in the kitchen. My grandmother’s command of English was limited, so she often spoke to all of us in Yiddish (oh, how I wish now that I’d made the effort to answer in Yiddish), which my mother spoke fluently.

We were at the end of the meal, getting ready for dessert, and my mother brought a blueberry pie to the table and was cutting it into slices, during which she was having an animated discussion, a borderline argument, in Yiddish, with my grandmother. I understood quite a bit at the the time, but I have no recollection of what the discussion was about.

My grandmother extended her hand to make a point, and my mother, without any idea she was doing it, plopped a slice a blueberry pie directly onto my grandmother’s open palm. Everything stopped, we all looked, and then promptly exploded with laughter, the argument forgotten. A most pleasant ending to that meal.

 

Booms, Dust, and Pathogens by
100
(142 Stories)

/ Stories

Still wearing masks but for a different reason

It started with a boom. A series of catastrophes surgically planned, as airplanes, small compared to skyscrapers, plow into and destroy buildings, lives, and our sense of security. First responders risk their lives as lungs burn from dusty debris.

It started with a boom ... it continues with a global pandemic ...

It continues with a global pandemic, its origin unknown and possibly random, exacerbated by our selfishness and lack of caring for the each other and the earth. Our bodies ravaged by viral invasion, stealthily transmitted by a cough, sneeze, or breath. Front-line workers risk their lives to save ours.

The infection of hate is the most dreadful consequence of these 20 years.

//RetroFlash 100 words

Home Ahead of my Time by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Going to Work

/ Stories

I wish my home office was as uncluttered as this one.

I’ve always hated commuting–more so the idea of wasting precious time traveling to and from work. Maybe it’s because I saw my dad getting in the car in the dark of morning and returning in the dark of evening. I’ve been fortunate that, in most cases, I could arrange my life to live relatively close to work. There were tradeoffs to living in more convenient but expensive areas (roommates and studio apartments, for example), but it was worth the time saved.

I was ready to go on my own, with my office in my apartment--my studio apartment.

Only once did I have to take two modes of transportation to work, for my part-time job in graduate school. After class on the UC Berkeley campus, I hopped on a tram called Humphrey Go-BART (alas, no longer operating), which took me to the Shattuck Avenue BART station, where I took the train to 12th Street in Oakland. The next year, when I got a job in San Francisco, it was too expensive to move, so I took the AC Transit bus line B from Grand Avenue in Oakland to SF’s East Bay Terminal. There were many “regulars” on that bus and we made nice friendships. From the terminal, it was just a 15-minute walk to the office at California and Market Streets. No need for a gym, good exercise and relaxing decompression time.

After that job, I commuted by car, but not more than 15 minutes, and minimally on freeways. When I interviewed for my last full-time job in 2006, the stars aligned. We had recently moved to our house in Santa Clara, and the office was an easy 12-minute ride to San Jose on an expressway. Hallelujah, that sealed the deal.

Long before telecommuting became practical and COVID made it necessary, as a writer and editor who needs focus, I’d always wanted to work at home. In 1983 I was thrilled to be laid off from my employee job and ready to go on my own, with my office in my apartment–my studio apartment. I used my kitchen/dining table by a window and set up my typewriter, and later my portable PC (a heavy piece of equipment the size of a microwave that I called a luggable PC), and sometimes squeezed in a daisy wheel printer.

In the ensuing 20+ years, in various homes and apartments, I worked in kitchens where I used cabinets as office storage, and later, in larger places, in spare bedrooms. Because no one came to my office (I would visit clients, but I don’t consider that commuting), my accoutrements were not glamorous. In my Menlo Park house, which I’ve written about in several stories, I used a tiny bedroom that was intended as a nursery. My then brother-in-law worked for the state of California facilities department and “liberated” a metal desk that was tagged for destruction. It was the ugliest monster imaginable but free of charge.

My cute condo, which I bought in 2000, had a small den-like room with a tiny closet, where I stored office supplies. A few months later I got a large retainer from a client (very unusual for a writer), and encouraged by my then boyfriend, treated myself to a huge Scandinavian-style L-shaped desk and matching set of file drawers. I love the desk and files, and they are solid wood and indestructible. However, they are really heavy, in fact, the heaviest pieces of furniture we had when we moved to our current house. Now I have a comfortable office in an upstairs bedroom.

Although I went back to work for a company from 2006 to 2017, I kept my home office, and it made the once-weekly permitted telecommuting very easy. When I transitioned back to my own business, it was seamless. And with COVID and all the Zooms, it’s useful to have a room where I am not bothering others. Do I miss offices away from home? Not at all, although I miss the people sometimes.

I must remind myself of the immense privilege of having the type of career that permits me to work at home, unlike so many whose jobs depend on a specific location. However, the powers that be have learned through necessity that working, rather than going to work, is most important and can be very productive from home. Bottom line, knowledge work can be wherever your skills are, no matter where your derriere sits.

Reluctant Remodeler by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Home Repair

/ Stories

My parents were very handy as far as home repair. I grew up in a household where my parents fixed nearly everything. My father did a lot of interior and exterior painting, repairs, and electrical work. When my parents decided to add a second bath onto their main bedroom in our 1950s split level, as a licensed mechanical engineer, my dad even stamped the inspection papers. The building process was a lot more relaxed back then. I am not handy, but more than skills, I lack self confidence, although I’ve improved. I belong to the Hippocrates (do no harm) school of thought for home repair, which has served me well.

The house being located in Palo Alto, one of the pickiest cities in California, the restoration process was far from relaxed.

After college I became a renter for about a decade, until I married and moved into one of my architect husband’s homes, an 1897 Victorian that he intended, with professional help, to restore. Although a small place, this was no home for beginner DIY-ers, the home having been transformed into a duplex and then somewhat trashed, the plaster and lath walls turning to powder. Fortunately the builders and plumbers were the best, having worked with my husband’s clients. That said, money was always an issue, so progress was slow and filled with drama. I witnessed a carpenter’s foot going through our ceiling, and the shower regurgitating strange substances reminiscent of The Exorcist, among other dramas.

The house being located in Palo Alto, one of the pickiest cities in California, the restoration process was far from relaxed. The city tried to fine us for not painting the exterior (their frustration with the previous absentee owner boiling over), until we demonstrated that we were restoring the interior first. They then disputed our plumbing plan for our antique bathtub fixtures until I wrote out a protest and proved the near impossibility of the scenario cited: if someone left the tub faucets running AND the water reached the tap level, AND at the exact same instant a fire broke out in town AND the fire department maximized the water pressure, it was theoretically possible that “gray” water could be sucked from the bathtub into the city water system. The probability did seem rather ridiculous, even to the city code enforcer, so he backed down.

My major task during this restoration, other than gritting my teeth, was to be the color expert. This was not a trivial task for a Victorian home, with complex sets of walls, moldings, and trims, both interior and exterior. My then husband was severely color blind. (So much so that in his other home, to surprise me he repainted the wood trim around the kitchen cabinets and countertops blood red. When I walked in, I began screaming because it looked like an axe murder scene.) After a failed test attempt at a color scheme on my own, we hired a designer friend, who came up with a lovely gray exterior scheme, and an interior palette of pale blue, aqua, and vanilla.

Michael, our wonderful painter, was doing the interior trim one day when I walked in. It positively glowed, looking beautiful. Michael was proud, he told me, of his secret recipe for the shine. While I was talking with him, I started feeling dizzy, then started to see double. “Michael,” I asked, “does your secret recipe involve a solvent? Did you put something in the paint?” as I sank to the floor.

“Oh, my god, yeah!” he replied. The solvent extracted chemicals in the paint, making them easier to inhale, and I was highly allergic to them. After a visit to the ER, I was fine, but told not to hang around inside when buildings were being restored, or, god forbid, live in a house while it was being remodeled. My DYI potential was now limited. I need to be careful about paint, carpeting, and the like to this day.

Speaking of god, she wreaked her revenge on the painters, when a few days later, the roofers were in process of replacing part of the roof, and a freak rainstorm blew off their tarp. Water soaked the newly painted walls in the living room, drizzling down to the floor. I inspected the damage and ended up on a sofa in a fetal position for a few minutes. Fortunately insurance covered the rework.

The last house my husband and I bought was a small postwar dwelling in a transitional neighborhood in Menlo Park. I’ve written about this home in several Retrospect stories. My now ex-husband got the 1897 Victorian and I got the the Menlo Park house in the divorce. One of the first things I did was buy a home repair book. It said it was for the equivalent of dummies, but no dice. I’d never seen most of the tools pictured, and it assumed you knew how to take apart a toilet before providing guidance on reseating it. This was 1994, with no YouTube videos to help, so I prayed a lot, and the house largely cooperated.

By the time I bought my condo in 2000, I was delighted to have fewer home responsibilities. I’d had enough experience to know I needed an electrician to add 220 voltage for a clothes dryer I was having delivered, but other than that, projects were absent. Once I met Dick and we decided to buy a house together, we agreed to get a brand new home. I was ecstatic to move into our present house, where everything worked. What a delight.

Now the house is 18 years old, and Dick isn’t able to do much maintenance, so, ironically, a lot falls on me. I’ve stepped up where I can, helping to replace toilet flushing mechanisms, recaulking the undermount sink in the kitchen, and recently repairing a loose sweeper seal on a shower door. And, I remember to take the old parts to the hardware store so I can get the proper replacements. With the current shortage of tradespeople, I’ll have to step up to the extent I can.

 

Foiled by Finkel and Foyle by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Senior Moments

/ Stories

I have noticed a subtle decline in my mental powers over about the last decade. While my editing remains excellent, I cannot multitask and need to concentrate harder, taking more time with my clients’ work. I marvel at how, just a few years ago at my last full-time job, I edited, managed, and trafficked thousands of projects per year. Occasionally I lose track of my glasses or cell phone, and walk into a room and wonder why I went there, but nothing terrible. My sense of direction used to be adequate; now it’s abysmal without Google maps. And, I’ve always been hopeless with dates.

I knew I'd crossed a threshold when I drew my first real blank on a name.

However, my memory for words and names used to be terrific, and while still strong, retrieval takes longer. In writing this story, I wonder why it is that I remember so vividly what I didn’t remember during my first true senior moments. I knew I’d crossed a threshold when, in about 2015 (those pesky dates again), I drew my first real blank on a name. The story began on a transatlantic cruise that Dick and I took, starting in Fort Lauderdale, stopping in the Canary Islands, and ending in Barcelona. During the years before and after, we took a lot of cruises, but I’ve concluded that the incident must have happened on this particular cruise because the person with the name in question died in 2016.

Without port stops during the Atlantic crossing, the cruise entertainment had to be good and varied. One of the evening entertainers was a pianist named Elliot Finkel, a tall man with a strong presence. He mentioned something about his father during the banter between piano pieces. The following afternoon, I ran into him at lunch, and we struck up a conversation when something occurred to me. “Elliot, somehow I’m thinking about another man named Finkel. Your father? By any chance was he in the Yiddish theater? I saw someone interviewed on a PBS special about the Thomashevkys in the Yiddish theater. He must be very old.”

“Yes,” Elliot replied. “He’s still going strong, and I call him every day when I’m not on a ship.” There we left it.

A few weeks later, back home in California, for some reason I mentioned the PBS special to Dick, and my conversation with Elliot Finkel. “Remember we saw that special on the Thomashevskys? While you were at the pool on the cruise, I talked to Elliot Finkel, and guess who his father is?  F.. F…”

A complete blank. Finkel was clearly there, but no first name would come at all, just the phonetic F sound. OK, I thought, relax and just pause for a while. A few minutes later, nothing. A few hours later, nothing. Right before I went to bed, I willed myself to dream the name. Nothing the next morning. Of course I could Google the man, but I wasn’t ready to give up. A few days passed while I fretted, and finally I gave in and consulted Google. Aha, Fyvush! Fyvush Finkel! I burned the name into my brain.

Fyvush Finkel in later years. He was also in American movies and television.

Of course there was no essential reason to remember the name, but nevertheless I was disturbed, because just a couple of years before I would have remembered it. It didn’t help when, within a few weeks of forgetting Fyvush Finkel, I blanked out on another name. This name, too, I had no strong reason to remember, although I’d seen it several times.

Dick is a huge basketball fan, and basketball seems to be available about nine months of the year. At times there are two or three games a day on TV in our house. While I like the occasional game, I find the buzzers and whistles distracting and mostly avoid the TV. I’m familiar with some of the commentators I occasionally come across, such as Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. On NBC at this time, there was a third gigantic man on the half-time show whose name appeared on the bottom of the screen as a credit. The name was very odd, and I certainly hadn’t heard of this man. About a day after I wondered who he was, I asked Dick. “You know that guy on NBC’s NBA half-time show, the one who sits next to Shaq? I assume he was a player but don’t know him. What can you tell me?”

“Who are you asking about?” responded Dick. “Uh, you know, uh, uh …” Nothing, no first name, no surname. Just as with Fyvush Finkel, I spent an agonizing day trying to recall the name, this time getting phonetically somewhat closer, thinking the first name started with a vowel and the last name with an F. No more luck. Finally, I Googled something like “NBC’s NBA half-time show commentator” and out came Adonal Foyle. This man with the odd name (which is probably what struck me when I read it on screen) had been an NBA player, which I could have guessed (the featured image shows him in his NBA player days).

Why I had such dramatic senior moments, practically one after another, at that time, I have no idea. Maybe the neurons that store last names beginning with “F” died, who knows? I think I remember these moments so clearly because they were the first, and therefore novel. Now that an occasional lapse doesn’t bother me as much, names normally come back to me within a few minutes–distinctly slower than in my 30s–but they do come back. Fyvush Finkel and Adonal Foyle now bring a smile to my face, as I encounter any new senior moments with greater equanimity than those first two.

A Numbers Game by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Dating

/ Stories

I never dated in high school, and since meeting my sweetheart almost 20 years ago, haven’t dated as an “older” person. But in between, I spent a lot of time in the singles world, dating in various ways. Some ways appealed to me more than others, but all worked to an extent.

I think we both kept Starbucks in business by having our first "meet for coffee" dates there.

In my 20s I met men at work, checking them out in person. As I approached my 30s, social and activity groups became more important, because by then I had my own business and didn’t want to date my clients. There were groups that held large dances, but as an introvert, I could last about an hour before I saw spots in front of my eyes and there was roaring in my head, so I gave up on them.

In the 1980s there were many groups for young(er) Jewish singles, and although the stated objective in the community was to get us married off, which I didn’t like, the groups were fertile ground for dates. Despite there being more women than men in these groups (and the women doing all the organizing work), I felt I must have dated every man who showed up at an event. After dating at least 20 men, I ended up meeting my former husband at a singles group sponsored by a local Jewish community center.

The most challenging time for dating was after my divorce, when I was in my early 40s. By this time I was certain I didn’t want children, which eliminated men who did, and I didn’t want to raise someone else’s, which eliminated men with small children. The only men I was meeting were my clients. This created a numbers issue. Luckily one of my friends, “Nora,” who also was single, was extroverted and introduced me to some new options: voicemail personals and dining clubs.

Voicemail personals were great, and I mentioned them in one of my other stories. I wish online dating hadn’t obsoleted them. I liked the fact that you didn’t know what the person looked like initially. You heard their voice first. Here’s how it worked: first, you looked at classified-type small ads in the Palo Alto Weekly newspaper and in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin (now the “J”). Each ad had a code number, and by calling a 900 line, you could listen to the person giving more details about who they were and who they sought. If you were interested, you could leave a recorded reply and see if you could connect. Or you could reverse the process by placing an ad and recording your info. The major downside was the 900 number charges, which could add up.

This is when I learned that different people had different approaches to this type of dating. Nora would answer many, many ads. I was a lot more selective, answering two, perhaps three, each week, and put a lot of thought into my recorded replies. Nora did get calls back, but they were a low percentage of the ads she answered. Almost every person behind the ads I answered called me back. I think we both kept Starbucks in business by having our first “meet for coffee” dates there. Although most of my dates didn’t lead to romance, I did have some great male activity partners based on our common interests, and I did have one long-term relationship as a result of these personals.

Although Nora had to drag me to a dining club the first time, after that I found it rather fun. Two local women ran these “clubs” to help men and women from ages 30 to 50-something connect. Nice dinners were held at local restaurants, where four women and four men sat at tables for a single course, and then one gender moved to a another table for the next course. The women were fortunate, in this case, because the scenario enforced a gender balance, and because we were in Silicon Valley, where there were a lot of single men, this was possible. We overcame a numbers disadvantage.

I learned quickly not to compare myself to other women as they were asked for their phone numbers and I wasn’t. Nora and I had different experiences. She got lots of business cards and requests for her phone number, and I considered getting one “ask” a good evening, and two excellent. But, as with the phone personals, nearly all of the men I gave my number to called. I met two really nice men through these clubs, but our timing, given divorces and life, wasn’t right, so I eventually moved on.

In my mid 40s I had one serious relationship for a few years, but by the time I was close to 50, it had broken up. The internet was taking hold, and I tried match.com, only to find it overwhelming and rather shallow. It probably would seem more natural now. Between my business and helping care for my ill father, I had no time for dating. After a few months, I volunteered to help at an event for my small synagogue, which is about 80% women–the last place I would go to meet someone. A man who had seen an announcement of the event online came up to me and started talking, and … almost 20 years later, here we are.

All the dating experiences taught me that you have no control over exactly whom you meet, or when, and timing means a lot. However, there is “luck” in numbers, and whatever methods you use, being out there, virtually or preferably in person, will make you luckier.

 

 

Beach Haven Heaven by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By That Summer

/ Stories

It was the summer of 1963, and as a 10-year-old, I couldn’t wait to go to Beach Haven for an entire month. School had been full of teasing and bullies, home life was tense, and a respite for everyone was in order.

It was the summer of 1963, and as a 10-year-old, I couldn't wait to go to Beach Haven for an entire month.

Ah, the beach every day, just swim and relax, the salt water, sand, and sun healthy for the skin. No one cared how I looked. Endless card and Monopoly games in the tiny cottage without the distraction of television. Good fatigue from exercise and play, and then sleep hard every night in the cot-like bed, with all good dreams.

//RetroFlash 100 words

Paisley at the Fair by
100
(142 Stories)

/ Stories

It was the late 1990s, probably the summer of 1999. When I think of Alameda county, California, I think of Oakland, with all its urban charm and grit. But Alameda county also has farmland, and a very large county fair. My good friends Joanie and Connie lived in the county (and still do), and we all had gone through drama with members of the opposite sex that summer. We needed a “girls’ day.” Joanie suggested going to the Alameda county fair, saying that an up-and-coming country singer was giving a concert there that Saturday night.

I wasn't thrilled at the idea of a concert by a country singer, and how good could someone be who was singing at a county fair?

A county fair wouldn’t have been my first choice. I remember going to only one other, in San Mateo county, and was more interested in the arts and crafts booths than anything else. However, this fair was a revelation. We had a blast walking around, just to see what we could see. The afternoon highlight was persuading the attendants to let us into the petting zoo, which was supposed to be for children–but we had arrived at a down time and were admitted. The animals relieved our stress, and the softest and most beautiful was a tiny joey (no mama kangaroo, though). After the past 18 months, more of us could use a petting zoo.

We had dinner and made our way to the concert stage. I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of a concert by a country singer, and how good could someone be who was singing at a county fair?

“I keep hearing great things about this Brad Paisley,” Joanie said. “Who?” I asked. “Never heard of him.”

Shortly a wiry, pleasant-looking man and his band took the stage. Brad was kind and engaging with the audience and gave interesting introductions to the songs, explaining that he wrote them all. As a writer of prose and poetry, though not songs, that perked me up.

As I listened, I thought, “These are good … no, really good.” And a few were exceptional. Brad Paisley gave a terrific concert, and he was building his reputation at lightning speed, putting out a hit album that year. Although I didn’t continue to follow his career closely, I gained a new appreciation for country music, and the day at the fair turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Needlepoint in Winter by
100
(142 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

/ Stories

I’ve never been any good at “hands-on” hobbies–those that involve coordination or spatial abilities. As I child I liked coloring books and Colorforms (remember them?) because I didn’t have to draw anything. I couldn’t learn to knit despite repeated tries. With a grandmother and mother who were professional seamstresses, sewing was out of the question, except for repairing buttons and taking up hems. I stuck to reading, drama, and a few individual sports all the way through high school.

I looked at the beautiful colors of the needlepoint yarn and sighed. "Maybe I could do that," I thought.

In 1972 I moved to California and started at Mills College, living in my family’s home in the Oakland suburbs that first year. Mills was on a 4-1-4 system at the time, with two standard semesters surrounding the “1,” a January month when we took a single in-depth course. For my January 1973 course, I took a fascinating class on linguistics. Even with the compressed schedule, the course didn’t take up a lot of time. That January was extremely wet. It rained nearly every day, making outdoor activities very limited.

My mother, who is excellent at any craft she tries, suggested I accompany her to a yarn shop to buy wool for a sweater she was making. The shop offered classes, and one for needlepoint for beginners was about to start. I looked at the beautiful colors of the needlepoint yarn and sighed, thinking this craft would be impossibly hard for me, until I noticed the canvas grids that formed the base of the projects. They would guide my stitching and keep it consistent. “Maybe I could do that,” I thought. My mother encouraged me to sign up for the class, and I took the plunge.

The class turned out to be delightful. We received supplies, canvas, needles, and yarn, plus a stitch book. Turns out there are many more stitching techniques than the ubiquitous cross stitch. I enjoyed learning tapestry stitches and making abstract designs, using the different color yarns, and even blending the strands to make additional colors. Stitching away during my free time, watching the rain come down outside, turned out to be extremely relaxing. I made designs that could be framed, pillow covers, and even a book cover.

By the end of the January class, I had to put away the needlepoint and get back to the more demanding semester of study, and alas, I didn’t pick up my needlepoint again. I soon moved on campus, leaving the few remaining needlepoint supplies in a closet at my parents’ home. Eventually I gave everything away.

Now that I’m “retired,” occasionally I think about taking up needlepoint again, and I’m amazed at so many of the other “distractions” available. I doubt my creaky finger joints and far sightedness would encourage me, either. But I do think with fondness of that one January when there was time to stitch and regard the winter rain.

 

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