07 February 2021

I caused the pandemic . . .

. . . confessions of a person afflicted with OCD

On the workout bench, I finish 12 chest press reps. Then a thought drifts into my mind: "You didn't do a perfect 12 reps because the last rep was kind of iffy and doesn't count as a true rep". I have a strong need to do one more rep to make the count right . . .

But if I did one rep, I would have to do 4 reps, because maybe the rep I thought wrong was okay and should be counted. So if I did just one, I might have actually done 13. 13 is a forbidden number.

Why is 13 forbidden? I just know. I am afraid of doing 13. I like doing multiples of 4. They just are right.

I sit back on the workout bench to calm my brain. I take a few cleansing breaths to talk myself out of doing 4 more reps. "That is an obsession, let it flow away, do not do any more reps" is what I think to myself. This is me practicing CBT (cognitive behavior therapy).

I start to relax and accept my rep total. But then I think . . . "but what if I don't make it right by doing 4 more reps, what if something terrible happens?" And then "that's just silly", but then again . . .

. . . I have been really working on ignoring my obsessions. I am getting better at it. Then I think . . .

. . . during this last year, what if my ignoring my obsessions has led to something terrible . . . what if it led to the pandemic?"

Welcome to my world. Be glad - be ecstatic! - that you do not have OCD.

02 September 2019

Eht Teop

Gingerly, I open my ancient black binder. Loose pages fall out, and I set them aside. Bound pages remain, held together in sections with bobby pins. I read the first page . . .

“Eht Teop”

“Eht Teop!” I say aloud to myself. I remember this story! I wrote it when in the sixth grade, and 11 years old. Eht was my favorite character.

Eht Teop is “the poet” spelled backwards. I was into scary stories and poets and living in the forest at the time . . . and writing, as I still am now. I get a kick out out of Eht’s lists, like his posssessions: “one ax, one needle, one table, one chair, one comb, one pan, one dull knife, one fork, one spoon, one big, sharp knife, one pipe, three blankets, and one set of clothes”. (One dull knife, one sharp knife – of course.)

This week I typed this old story into Pages so I could save it on my computer. Click on Eht Teop for a pdf version of this sixth-grade story, written in 1961. The beginning of the story is the best part, later even I nearly get lost in the plot line.

If you have the time or inclination, below are some images of the original, handwritten version. And, my sixty-something thoughts on this story.
» read more

21 July 2018

president past

I was sitting in my favorite chair, and my 4 year old grandson crawled onto my lap. For some random reason, I lay his hand next to mine. I said, "Dzo (pronounced Joe), your skin has such a beautiful color, you are a such a handsome black boy". He said to me: " I am not" (he is).

He was in a quiet mood, so I went to get my "Obama" book of photographs. This is a large "coffee table" book of photographs of Obama in office, taken and compiled by Pete Souza. I started turning the pages, and on each one I said "this is Obama". And I said "your mommy is white, and your daddy is black, just like Obama's parents". I then gave Dzo a challenge as I turned the pages: "Dzo, find Obama in this photograph".

We kept turning pages. Each picture showed our ex-president Barrack Obama in a different situation. Dzo poked his figure correctly on Obama each time. Obama with his daughters. With his wife. Dancing. Enjoying music. Playing with kids in costumes. Playing with any kids at all. Walking with their dog. Covering his face with the horror of another terrorist or school shooting attack. Working with diplomats. In the Oval Office worrying about some terrible world situation. Playing basketball. Speaking in front of crowds.

I had to leave the room to attend to my other grandchild. I came back, and Dzo was carefully paging through my book.

I miss having a president like Obama. I cling to my grandson, loving his essence.

Dzo cooking

09 April 2017

How to turn an obsession into a quilt.

I admit it. I have trouble throwing things away. I am sort of a hoarder, and officially OCD.

I have always loved to sew. That means I've made hundreds of shirts, dresses, shorts, kids' clothes, and costumes. And I've saved the leftover fabric from each project. About 30 years ago, I decided to cut the leftover fabric into 4x4-inch squares, so that I could make a quilt "someday". When I retired, I spent several months going through more of my old material and cutting it into squares.

But dang! I ended up with a big bin of these squares! Now I am making quilts, and used the Hawaiian prints to make one. Still, I have tons of squares left, but now I prefer to buy new fabric to make quilts.

What to do?

Well, I bought a serger a couple weeks ago. An online video showed me how to make a quilt from scraps. The technique produces a quilt that is already reversible and does not need to be "quilted". I decided it was a good way to practice using the serger and using more of those 4x4-inch squares. Here is the project in progress:


Crazy, huh? Oh well. That's me.

28 June 2016

Little boy with cow.

Dzo in raft

My toddler grandson, asleep in the raft in the pool.

12 April 2016

film shot


This was shot 1n 1994 on a film camera. I found it while organizing the negatives that I scanned in years ago.

I like it. But I am a sucker for sunrises and sunsets - I have a rotating set of such photos on my cooking blog header. I thought about adding this one in there, but I would have had to crop off all the good stuff, like the rays coming up out of the clouds. I didn't touch the color settings. Maybe film caught and reproduced light differently from my digital DSLR. Maybe there is more to explore in that old medium: film.

06 October 2015

Dzo and the Pumpkin Patch

I couldn't resist slinging my good camera over my shoulder as we headed out the door to go to the Pumpkin Patch in Longmont, Colorado. After all, this is my first grandchild's first visit to a bit of Americana.

Dzo (pronounced "Jo") has been living with his mom, my daughter, in Colorado since late July. He will be two mid-December. Born in Togo, West Africa, cold weather is a bit of a new thing to him.

I lifted Dzo onto a haystack amidst multicolored gourds and pumpkins.


A bit of longing in his eyes for his dad, my son-in-law, who is still in Africa?


And who is Dzo reaching for?


Ah, a smooch from Mom. "Look at all the fun we are going to have!"


Wagons! Look at the pile of wagons! One of his favorite things.


And what do you do with an American Flyer wagon? Climb in, of course.


He went by wagon to the petting zoo, but the pile of goats was a bit much for him.


He put a pumpkin in the wagon (but I didn't get a photo). Then on to ringing a bell:


Mom and son have fun in the train.



Dzo loves anything with wheels, like cars. So his mom puts him in a little car on a track. He plays happily with the steering wheel.


But what's this? The car begins to move:



A bit disconcerted the first time around:


Last lap.


Guess that's not his favorite passtime. How about a nice stationary old farm truck to sit in?


Now that's one happy little boy! Time to leave the pumpkin patch, with plans to bring Daddy back in a couple weeks to show him the sights!


15 July 2015

Aging and acceptance.

Finally. I will accept something of my brain: I will never really understand the theory of relativity and space time physics. I started trying in sophomore college physics. Now I will "let it go".

But I know the answer to this question of time: "If I saw myself across a river, like a river of time, would I look myself in the eye, blink, or wave?"

Today I would look myself in the eye and smile and wave. Maybe jump up and down a bit.

This moment. I have met my dreams. They fill my days.

I love being retired.

This refers back to a previous post.

Guanacaste Costa Rica
photo from our spring trip to Costa Rica

15 March 2014


5:45 am. I close my audiobook and my eyes and roll my head sideways on the pillow. Should get up soon. Slowly my eyes open. Nearly-full moonlight fills my room. Sideways I look to the moon. I see a skeleton facing me in the sky, stretched lengthwise on top of the hills, elongated head reaching south, two legs reaching north, hands to the sides . . . the big moon sits in the pelvic bones, in the womb of the skeleton.

Sleepily I hold my gaze on the apparition. It slowly moves and metamorphoses into a bright moon shining above a silver-lined cloud. Innocent, normal, beautiful.

If I sort of unfocus my mind and stare through closed lids as I am about to fall asleep, I can see dream images form. If I don't think too much about it, I can watch them move around. Soon I am actually asleep and in their world. I have often pulled myself awake in the wee hours of the morning, shaking off images that leave me a bit shaky and unhappy. It all goes away when I fully wake.

That skeleton I saw in the sky this morning looked just like one of my lucid dream images.

Full moon tomorrow. I feel connected with mysteries.

12 August 2013


6 a.m. Sunday. August 4. Home in Colorado. The kitchen . . . that smell in the kitchen . . . I lean in close . . . peaches! It's that wonderful time of the year.