One happy cat

My days have been far from still lately, yet I took a few moments to create a still life this morning after putting the kettle on the stove.

My inspiration?

The cat on my lap and the mug on the table.

The happy cat mug arrived in the mail yesterday.

My purring sweet cat, several years before.

The mug was carefully carried back from Japan by my dear friend Deb, and was mailed along with coconut mango tea and a warm note congratulating me on my new house. It was signed by others, just as kind, at a recent open house I was unable to attend.

I belong to a special group of creative souls assembled by writer Jon Katz of Bedlam Farm fame several years ago.

Each group member freely shares his gifts of writing, art, and music with each other, and the world beyond. They’re all fully supportive of their co-members’ creativity and over time have become supportive of the transitions different members have traveled.

Me, included.

Though I haven’t met all of the members in person, as we live in different states and countries, I feel I know many of them well through the sharing of our work.

As I look at each of the well wishers’ names, I wonder how many of them I’d recognize anyway from their unique and creative styles of handwriting, poetic words written, and loving hearts drawn.

So many of them have shared blessings with me in the card and I see one member, Donna, added, “I wish you all the happiness your heart can hold”.

Well, Donna, I believe it’s already overflowing with the loving card, comments, and my happy cat mug.

I get up to tend to my whistling tea kettle.

And I smile, knowing I’m whistling as well.

Mom was always right

So here’s the deal.

Mom used to tell me when I was a teenager that every year of life goes faster than the one before it.

“Go for the gusto,” she recommended. “And always give thanks for those around you”.

At the time my pimply, adolescent self mumbled the 70’s version of “whatever”.

But I now know Mom was right.

Pretty much like always.

Last week my sister mailed me at least a 40 year old photo of Mom and her three smiling best friends enjoying each other and the beach with their kids.

But two of the women recently passed on, and so now has Mom.

Then yesterday I had a November birthday brunch with two of my own long time buddies.

One of them kindly penned an appreciate note in my birthday card referencing our own “40 years of friendship”.

“Wow! How the heck did that happen?” I mumbled.

The thought of 40 years of friendship hit me harder than the impressively large milestone birthday number I’m about to get slapped with.

I’m sure we were just children ourselves four years ago, not forty.

But trudging slowly back to my car I shouted, “How cool is that?”

What an incredible gift to have life long friendships.

And what a blessing to be able to tell those in your life how special they are while they’re still here.

Like Mom’s remaining best friend I’ll be calling shortly.

That will be right after I add two more suggestions from my friends for next year’s ‘go for the gusto’ bucket list.

I know Mom would definitely approve.

Acts of kindness

I was ‘socked’ this week.

Meaning a wonderful friend in New York State mailed me a pair of bright and colorful socks as a gift.

There was no particular reason.

It wasn’t my birthday.

And this isn’t the first time she’s done so.

This New York friend did the same last winter and that thick pair of woolen socks felt pretty spectacular in our 30 below zero temps.

She’s one special lady.

And I’m lucky to know her.

I was also ‘jewelry-ed’ this week as well.

A co-worker had traveled back to her home country and upon return surprised me with a beautiful necklace and ring she’d purchased there.

Again, so unexpected and thoughtful.

And finally today I was ‘zuchini-ed”.

I’d visited briefly with a couple at a busy farmer’s market.

The husband carves handsome wooden birdhouses.

And the wife grows kale and makes jam for sale.

I’d already purchased both at a prior stand, but she insisted I just take one of her decorated and smiling zucchinis anyway.

I was happy to oblige and smiled right back.

Maybe surprise gifts come in threes?

If so, now it’s my turn.

I’m starting tomorrow.

And I know someone getting something very special.

In search of what blooms

I’m on the hunt.

Ready for the great escape.

Leaving task lists and emails behind to join the others.

It’s a larger crowd than normal, each craving a kind caress from the noon day sun on their shoulders.

And a cool breeze capable of painting smiles on tired faces.

We proceed in step to a street blocked for pedestrians, where it’s another market day.

Our initial greeting, eye candy, from an over flowing vendor stand of freshly picked sweet corn.

Each ear packed with yellow and white sparkling jewels in the light.

Seated on the sidewalk below, two guitar playing singers are strumming chords to “Let it Be”.

They nod as I add a bill to their battered case.

Walking further, my nose begins to tingle with the familiar smells of cinnamon laced almonds.

I know the vendor is good for a free sample as he places a warm spoonful in my hands.

The sugar coating, pure pleasure as I take my first bite.

I make a mental note to bring more money next week to buy a full bag.

Looking at my watch, I pick up my pace after purchasing my weekly kale staple.

Then I’m off to buy a flower bouquet.

My last stop.

But first, I pull my iPad from my bag to take pictures of the bouquets of blooms.

One after another, till the 1:00 church bell begins to chime.

I’m late.

And I rush back to my office tower.

Without my flowers.

I’m disappointed they’ll be no sweet fragrance for my desk, no bright colors for my psyche.

Returning to my cube, I log back into my computer to read even more emails

But I sense a co-worker coming up behind me.

I turn to find I’m being presented with half of her own bright bouquet.

She’d noticed my vase looked lonely.

I thanked her, thinking good friends bloom even brighter than flowers.