Sunday, June 7, 2020

Smacksy Sunday Links


The Equal Justice Initiative works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment and racial inequality in the United States. They provide legal representation to the most vulnerable people in American society, including prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes and prisoners who cannot afford effective representation.

Black-owned restaurants organized by city.

Black-authored cookbooks to add to your shelf.

This Poem:

Engage in the long, faithful work.
Surrender the need of striving
to be the best or always right
and focus instead on leaning into Light,
that reveals all things.
All that is good
and all that stands to be corrected,
and redirected.

And as you lean into Light,
be gentle with the word “darkness.”
For more than it merely means wrong or bad,
it is also the color of a full, starless night sky,
and actual bodies
of human beings
who have been overlooked
too many times.

Many, many words
hold more than one meaning.

Language on “light” and “dark” may have its place,
and this is also true,
this very language has been used to say,
“You are a threat. I am not. I am worth more than you.” It takes kindness to understand this, for
even though kindness is a beautiful word.
it does not mean that nothing gets disrupted.
Sometimes a way of thinking must be interrupted
in order for kindness to truly thrive.

For as sure as kindness
leans into what is good,
it also speaks about what isn’t right.
It is compassionate and gentle
when long histories are pulled from mourning into morning.

Engage in the long, faithful work
of awakening
with your heart and mind open to the possibility
that things are more complex than they once seemed.

And as hard as it is to hold all of this,
you are still free to dream:
you do not have to be who you used to be.
You do not have to think the way you used to think.
You are free to take hopeful, thoughtful action
in pursuit of better things.

So here’s to new beginnings,
knowing it is impossible to ignore the long history,
opening up to the mystery
that grace still finds you here.

And grace is unmerited favor
but it might not always look the way you want it to.
It will invite you out in the open
and it will also reveal what has been broken.
You might have to unlearn the way you thought things would be.
You might find that being undone
is the best way to move on, humbly, mindfully, wholly.

For how liberating it is
to pursue wholeness over perfection,
finding that grace is more than a beautiful word,
but a daily act of being undone, an awakening, a direction.

- Morgan Harper Nichols


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Another Graduation


I saw this little mourning dove hiding behind an azalea in the backyard.  She wasn't able to fly but did a good deal of hopping and flapping when she saw me. I thought she might be hurt so I consulted with The Google, and found out that she's a fledgling. Doves leave the nest at around twelve-days-old. Fledglings will spend about four days on the ground before they learn to fly. They are still fed by their bird parents, but are left alone the rest of the time. It's the fledgling equivalent of backpacking through Europe during their gap year. This hostel is a mess.

Fledglings are vulnerable to predators during this grounding time. I will keep an eye on her, and not let the dogs in the backyard for a few days, lest they see her as a fun, feathery snack option. I put a small saucer of water near her because she is a guest, and I her hostess. She denied the chips and onion dip.

I will check her out every couple of hours partly because I have a crush on her and partly because I have literally nothing else going on these days.





Sunday, May 17, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Constant Ted


We think we're rolling along here doing a-okay, and I guess we are. Teddy, however, seems to be absorbing the low hum of something in the house. Anxiety? Uncertainty? Always-home-ness? Constant dish washing? Restlessness? Maybe all of that? Whatever it is, has parked itself in Ted's noggin. In short, my man is feeling off.

He'll follow me into the bathroom and attempt to scratch the door down if he gets left out. Same if I head to the back porch without him. He is my constant shadow in the house, aiming to stand between me and the sink and laying down in front of the washer when I attempt to do laundry. When I take a bath he sits with his chin on the edge of the tub. It's his thunderstorm behavior but the weather is sunny and warm.

I get it, Ted. I do. Times are weird and your people are weird and everything's weird. The best I can do is let you do your own weird thing, stuck to me like these quarantine yoga pants.




Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Time Is a Meaningless Construct


Time is just different now. Do you feel it too? Days are hours and months are weeks except when it's 3:00 AM when minutes are years.

Anyway.

With all of the weirdness of being locked out of my blog for ten days and the whole upside down time situation of the world, I ran right past my blog anniversary. Last Saturday, May 9,  marked eleven years of Smacksy.

Maybe you've heard me talk about how this space has been life changing. I've been introduced to friends I don't know how I could live without. I've generated a writing practice. I've had to notice the seemingly small moments and conversations of my life in order to find themes and topics to write about. My time is measured here in words and pictures.  It's all one big gift to me and I thank you for being a part of it, a part of my time.



Friday, May 8, 2020

And Just Like That, It Was Gone



A week and a half ago, Karen called to let me know Smacksy was down. Not sad down, more omg-where-the-hell-did-all-my-writing-from-the-last-eleven-years-go down. This site has never been down.

During the first ten years of Smacksy, when I posted every day, if I was late with a post, I would get emails and messages asking if I was okay. For the past year, I've eased off a little and my posting has been spottier but I still post multiple times a week, with a photo, a piece of writing, a video, a something. Smacksy is my home, of sorts, and this felt as if I came home from Von's one day to find that my family had moved and forgotten to tell me.

Where my site had been, there was a page listing my domain name as lapsed. I will spare you the details of the hours Mr. Rosenberg spent on the phone with GoDaddy. Just know that it was a week and a half of not knowing if Smacksy was dead or alive. The problem was ultimately solved, obviously, because here we are. I am grateful to be back. Having a live-in internet technology expert is fantastic. I highly recommend it.

If you missed Smacksy - Hey! We're back!
If you hadn't missed Smacksy - Hey! We're back!

We're back.  Thank you for still being here.




Sunday, May 3, 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Thing I Made Today For a Friend


He likes to bake.

There has been an issue with my domain name for the past few days. Hopefully it will be back soon. In the meantime, I'm here at smacksy.blogspot.com


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Smacksy Sunday Links


On home.

The brain fog you're feeling is perfectly normal.

Side effect of the pandemic - reading got a lot harder.

What weird things do you do to make yourself feel better?

This is the special occasion you've been waiting for. A good reminder.

All the ways you can help.

Living through a pandemic

Artists capture a surreal New York.

And platypus babies.

Happy Sunday.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Staples


When I was growing up, my mom always kept a bag of Gold Medal flour and six packets of Fleischman yeast in our freezer. When the flour got low in the copper canister on the counter, she filled it back up with the freezer flour and then a new bag of Gold Medal quickly took its place. I never questioned why the back up flour lived in the freezer, I just continued the tradition as an adult.  It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned keeping flour in the fridge was to keep out the bugs they had in the panhandle of Texas, where my mom grew up. Flour was a staple, along with rice and beans and you needed them in the house. at all times, just in case. Her mother did it, and her grandmother did it. It's how it was done.

I like to bake, maybe not as much as my mom did, but I can work my way around a recipe. Back in the 1980s when I got sober, I spent my first few months of sobriety methodically, obsessively, baking bread. It was a deliberate exercise with a beginning, middle, and an end. When my process was finished, there was a tangible result. It kept me busy. One afternoon, I went to the movies with some friends. Because my dough needed to be punched down at a certain time that conflicted with the movie schedule, I brought the bowl of dough with me to a matinee of Less Than Zero at the Beverly Center. Yes I did.

Now, during this uncertain time where we are all locked in our homes, many people have turned to baking bread for solace. Baking is holding many of us together. Loaves of all shapes and sizes are turning up in pictures on social media. I understand this on a deep level. When Mr. Rosenberg turned toward baking bread a few weeks ago, he went through the ingredients quickly and supplies were scarce at the markets. Of course, we had the back up flour and yeast waiting next to the ice trays and the frozen peas. That just in case moment is upon us and we're ready. It's how it's done.






Monday, April 20, 2020

May 24, 1944


May 24, 1944
England

Hello Melva,
We have at last returned from the southern part of England and are about to get things straightened around again. It certainly takes a lot of work to move around and operate. While down there I saw several places that were 600 years-old and some were a great deal older. It included a few castles and such. The houses are built with stone, many with slate roofs. They use wooden pegs to hold the crossbeams in the stone. I got one of these wooden pegs and I'm enclosing it in the letter. It came from an empty farm house down in Wales.

Do hope that you'll keep right on praying for I'm going to need it before so very long. I will take care of myself but you be sure to do the same for I couldn't bear to have anything happen to you or Sandy. Don't get tired of waiting because when we do come back, it will all be worth the while. I just live for the day I can come home.

Love,
Lee (Here is another bear hug.)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

May 18, 1944


May 18, 1944
England

Hello Sugar Puss,
We have been on the move again and there has not been much time to sit down and write as I wanted to do. Your letter was good to get and it almost makes tears come to my eyes when you tell me about baby Sandra. I love to hear about her and the cute things she does. I look at the pictures often.

You know Puss, I write when I can so don't wait 'til you hear from me to write. Your letters are about the only thing that keep me going at times so don't let me down. Gets lonesome as hell over here after the joy we've known and anticipate knowing again in our own place. I miss you truly and when your letters come, it's just as if you are here talking to me. I loves you Puss.

Better go for now -- continued tomorrow if chances are right.
Again Puss, I love you.
Lee





Sunday, April 12, 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Happy Passover


I always think of my mom setting a celebratory dinner table, then taking a picture of it. We have many photos of tables ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday parties. Today's we celebrated Passover. Because we couldn't be with friends and family in person, we joined twenty-five of Jeff's extended family members from around the country. Like I'm sure many Jewish families, we shared our Seder on Zoom this year. We didn't have matzoh for the occasion so I toasted up some tortillas. Following tradition, I took a photo of our celebratory dinner table. Chag Sameach.




Sunday, April 5, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Wooby


Levi and his wooby. Do you call it a wooby? When I was very small, I had a wooby that was a torn up blue blanket named Fred. Named after my favorite person I had never met, Fred Rogers. I still have a tiny piece of Fred. I think most of us could use a Fred right about now. 




Sunday, March 29, 2020

Smacksy Sunday Links


Productive ways to stay positive during a quarantine.

Why mundane moments truly matter.

That discomfort you're feeling is grief.

When you're smiling.

The cloud appreciation society.

What to do with the beans you panic bought and other food questions, answered.

Dream about dressing up again with a century-old fashion magazine.

And swans.

Happy Healthy Sunday.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Stuck


I wish you could have seen these guys 3 seconds before I was able to snap this photo when these two knuckleheads Tried to both get through the space between the armoire and the bed at the same time. The got stuck and I was laughing a little too hard to get the shot. I'm sure you can use your imagination.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

May 21, 1944


May 21, 1944
England

Hello Puss,
Too bad about the cat - thought he was tops even tho' I didn't used to care for them.

I hope you got the wire I sent. You mentioned a package in your last letter and I think it is here in England but it will be a bit before I will be able to get it. Will let you know when I do. Thanks a million, Puss!I will always try to show you how very much I love and care for you, be it two years or fifty and I hope it will be fifty. If the army can't change my mind about you nothing can and I think I know whereof I speak for I have seen many things and many people since my entry in the service.

The army affects the boys in a different manner but it to me has only cut my desire to get ahead here. Over a period of four years it has made me want to get this business over with and come back to you - get a new business underway, do a bit of traveling together, have a home and bring up Sandra. But most of all it has shown me how grand you are and without your love how empty everything would be. I miss you and need you so much.
Lee


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Smacksy Sunday Links


Ways to ease your Coronavirus anxieties.

Embracing involuntary simplicity.

Free virtual tours of museums, parks, and more.

A master list of interchangeable ingredients.

The best way to cook pasta.

From Frida to Shakespeare - the amazing things done while social distancing.

Follow talented and hilarious olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on YouTube.

Another song to love.

And cats on the catwalk.

Happy We'll-Get-Through-All-This Sunday.



Friday, March 20, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

May 13, 1944


May 13, 1944
Western Union Telegram

All my love and greetings on Mothers Day.
You are more than ever in my thoughts at this time.
All my love =
Robert L. Zimmerman.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

May 9, 1944


May 9, 1944
England

Hello Sugar Puss,
I have just finished eating some chocolate ice cream and it is the second I have had since leaving the States. So far I've had no fresh milk but have been promised all that I can drink when I say so. Oddly enough, I've never aid anything. Some of our boys made the ice cream and it was certainly good - don't know just what we would do without our cooks, bless their souls.

Had tea and spent the evening with a the manager of a bank who lives near Manchester. He was a jolly sort of fellow and to top the evening off with the elegance that he strived to show, they brought out some rhubarb wine that was a present to he and his wife on their wedding date and was six years old from that time so goodness know how old it really was. It was the smoothest ever. He said it was the first time in three years that he had even tasted it and that they saved it for only the most special of occasions. This guy that loves you must be making some kind of an impression and I don't think it is an adverse one.

All of the old gang is fine and I have showed them the pictures you've sent and they pull theirs out and we do a bit of reminiscing. I'll tell you how I feel even if you know so well already that I love you very much.
Lee


Monday, March 16, 2020

May 4, 1944


May 4, 1944
England

Hello Puss and Little Puss,
I've picked up a couple of expressions here. "I" means yes, "A" means what, and another very common yes is "um." "Ta" means thank you and "ta ta" means goodbye. Right now, the pound here is worth exactly $4.03 USD.

Post cards here are nearly impossible to get and of the place I'm in would be impossible to send because it is, of course, a military secret. I did manage to find a few of Scotland that I will send separately. High Street Berewick upon Tweed is a rather familiar scene in as much as the general appearance goes. Kings of the Broad Highway looks a lot like many of the things done in this country. The picture of the ships in the Pacific was a familiar one and the only way I could get the general idea of our voyage to you.

I'm saving all my love for you for when I return and I know you are doing the same. So please, Puss, take good care of yourself for me for we will be so happy together when I do get back.  I sincerely believe that by the will of God, I will come back to you.
Lee

Friday, March 13, 2020

In These Times of Uncertainty...


... It's nice to have a 65 pound dog hop up on your lap. Anytime.



Teddy In a Cone is All of Us Right Now


Teddy has a scratch on his bum that he's been worrying so we've got the cone on him to give it a chance to heal. The metaphors for all of us and this pandemic are obvious. Keep your head down, rest, take care of your self and don't worry your bum. Thinking of you all.



Saturday, March 7, 2020

I Will Block You


Someone is blocking me from leaving the bed. Nurses are rough characters.


Drive By


Found myself stuck in traffic in front of the place Mr. Rosenberg and I had dinner on our first date. Not much has happened since then. I kid!




Friday, March 6, 2020

My So Cal People!


My lovely and talented friend Chris has a show of his found object mosaic sculptures opening next Saturday, March 14. Don't miss out.



I'm Fine


I have a small, tiny, cold. I am taking small, tiny cold medicine. I'm staying in a big, comfy bed with my pal here. I'm fine.





Monday, March 2, 2020

Smacksy Sunday Links

Where I'm From/Middle School Writers Club


Last week I had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at the middle school writing class. I took the opportunity to talk to the kids about the importance of specificity in creative writing. The kids were terrific. I gave them a writing prompt I love called, "Where I'm From." They shared what they wrote and there was some beautiful writing. I wrote from the prompt too, as an example. Every time I write this it's different. This is mine.


Where I’m From
I’m from foggy mornings and the smell of fireplaces burning.
I’m from pueblo clay and bootleg whiskey.
I’m from fried okra, crocheted afghans, and glass jars in the storm cellar.
I’m from black coffee and Marlboro Lights.
I’m from painted pottery, shelter dogs, and wild parrots.
I’m from reading by flashlight under the blankets after bedtime.
I’m from dominoes, Jello molds, and bike rides to the beach.
I’m from make-believe.
I’m from starry New Mexican skies and the dust of the Texas panhandle.
I’m from spray-painted silver tap shoes.
I’m from lights, camera, action.
I’m from redwood trees and stony creeks and warm afternoons of slanting light.
I’m from crayons melting in the backseat.
I’m from hazel eyes.