Sunday, October 18, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty-Four

 Two pink zinnias and a yellow butterfly by Janet


Talking to Myself Forty-Four October 18, 2020

For Janet

In my mind’s eye a zinnia garden

outside my back door. Tall, large,

showy circles of pure color atop

branching stems: orange, red, yellow,

white, purple, even green. The frost

hovers and will kill them all. Not  yet! 

Not yet! Janet dug out the roots of

the spreading small sunflowers, 

found rich compost and dug that in,

scattered seeds and watched the

seedlings and the morning glory

weeds pop up. Brought me a photo

of the first bud, then bloom. Slowly

they gained height, branched to 

make room for dozens of blooms. 

We brought some in. She took 

some for friends. She guarded

her treasures and made photos for

me, So many photos, sometimes

with a butterfly. I’ll never forget

my zinnia garden. Let the hard

freeze wait!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty-Three


 Judy's zinnia garden, planted by Janet summer of 2020


Talking to Myself Forty -Three October 11, 2020

When you live in a pandemic

that gets worse when you so need

it to get better, to go away, in fact,

ordinary problems get magnified,

distorted, all out of proportion. 

A sick dog will keep you awake 

or even some especially good

news like finding a publisher

asking for the writings of a woman 

who is “courageous, innovative,

definition-defying.” You wonder:

how did he know what you were 

like? You queried him immediately

in the pre-dawn quiet house, but

no response came yet to this

magic call for poems, and you

lay awake wondering how long

it would take him. Of course,

your expectation was unreasonable.

But you’re eighty-three and 

already your options in this life–

your only life–are fewer each year.

You walk to improve your ability 

to walk. You proof old manuscripts 

which you want to enter the world

of published books. You search

for publishers and publish some 

books yourself. You’ve always been

yourself and no other. It was easy

to ignore you since you weren’t

seeking fame, but only readers.

You reached them not as mobs but

as thoughtful individuals. Fame can 

wait. I don’t need to be alive when 

it comes, but the books have to be 

out there somewhere readers can 

pick them up and enter my created 

world of peace, love, and sanity.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty-Two

 Hummingbird at Jordan Dam by Doc Ellen, DVM


Talking to Myself Forty-Two October 4, 2020

My main goals now are healing and

strengthening. Slowly, I do more

work in a day, leave home more often.

I saw my eye doctor, got my hair cut,

mailed out review and thank you 

copies of my new book, and will see

my dentist in ten days. I’m even

having a bookmark made. So far,

so good. I get tired, but I don’t get

sick. I made bread yesterday and

will make pizza today. I wake at

two a.m. but sleep later. I enjoy

my work of proofing and teaching. 

We live in strange times, yet I

read, write, and teach as per usual.

I forget more easily. Some people 

I used to see often, I miss. I see

them rarely or not at all. I reread

books I wrote years ago and aim

to publish. I like the life I’ve lived,

the courage I found, the stands I

took. Some of my enemies never

ceased to hate me, but some forgave

me when they knew me better. I

have been doing what I felt called

to do, and I’m quietly grateful I

have friends in far away places: 

China, Russia, Finland, Holland, 

Italy, England, Wales, 

Am I not blessed?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty-One

 Red zinnia from our flower garden, thanks to Janet for flowers and photos /summer 2020

Talking to Myself Forty-One September 27, 2020

The thing about aging is that it’s so slow.

Slow to get sick and slow to heal. I walk

slowly. I work slowly. It takes me longer 

to get dressed, to bathe, to eat, to gather

the trash or start the wash. And I put

off mopping the kitchen floor. I accept

help even when I don’t need it. Easier

than arguing, and then I know I won’t fall 

down. I didn’t used to worry about

falling, didn’t use a cane. I still don’t 

like it, but then I fell and got a black

eye. Another fall broke three toes. So

I use a cane. I still don’t like it, but it

might prevent a fall. At night I sleep

with the lights on and use a walker to

the bathroom. I did get a haircut so I 

don’t look as old as I am, and I think

it helps. Slowly, I can do more and

not get sick. Slowly I proof and

publish more books. The main thing

is to keep walking, keep working,

rest as needed, but don’t stop.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty

     A Teen's Christmas in Wales. Pub date: November 15, 2020

Talking to Myself Forty September 20, 2020

For Dr. Cohen

Some days are hard and wear me out.

Other days I float through, even though

I dreaded them. Going to the eye doctor

during a pandemic I’d delayed for three

months, but they gave me an appointment

right away, the same week, and Janet

said, “I’ll drive.” So driving home with

dilated eyes wouldn’t be a problem. I

said, “Yes, if you’re sure.” We waited

an hour. I love that Doctor Cohen, and

he remembered me. “Writing any books

lately?” I told him about The Teen’s

Christmas in Wales. “Good, good,” he

said. I said I was teaching, too. “Keep

it up,” he said. They took pictures of

the back of my eyes. He seemed to 

approve of what he saw. He looked

and looked for himself at the back of

my eyes. Then he said, “Your eyes

are good, and these glasses are okay,

too.” The ones that got bent when I

fell last November. True, I’d been reading

with them. Still, I’d worried. Janet

had waited and drove us home, gave

Wag a little time outside and then went

off to her next job. All the rest of the

day, I kept thinking: My eyes are good. 

My glasses are good.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Nine

 Thanks to Janet Wyatt, a white cosmos from our garden.

Talking to Myself Thirty-Nine September 13, 2020

I never know what’s going to 

keep me awake, but it’s usually

at two a.m. Maybe worrying

about the ballot. We’re doing it

absentee this year and witnessing

each other’s. I read all the instructions

twice, and we’re going to drive ours

right to the Board of Elections

because we don’t trust our president

not to cheat or try some other act

of the dictator, even more obvious

than trying to ruin the postal service.

Once I’m awake, there’s not

much I can do but get up and

make breakfast and then sleep

another hour or two later, and 

reread the directions. The main

things turned out to be simple,

and we did receive our ballots. 

Who would have thought ten years

ago that our president wouldn’t

want us to vote? If you’re a worrier, 

two a.m. is bound to be a problem

once in awhile. Except for that,

I sleep like a log.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Talking to Myself Thirty-Eight

    Naked Ladies/Tiger Lilies

Talking to Myself Thirty-Eight September 6, 2020

Summer is winding down. The naked

ladies have begun their rise as the air

cools. Some call them tiger lilies, but

I like naked ladies. They always 

surprise me. The zinnias hold their

own a few feet away, and some

determined cosmos. When you’re

eighty-three, you heal so slowly,

but my helpers confirm: I’m looking

better, I’m coming down the back

stairs with more ease and grace.

We’ve lost our heat index days.

I can work harder, longer. I rarely

fall. My body’s slow to heal, but

it does heal. My new book was

approved. And in the wider world

where it has become so hard to

hope, we have good news. The

big industrial polluters are being

slowed and even stopping. They

told us that all we have to do is

last one day longer, and we did.

In a pandemic it’s hard to believe

in any victory, any pause in 

pollution and devastation. Yet

quietly and without fanfare it

arrives, and the naked ladies

join in the zinnia chorus with its

pinks, oranges, multiple reds,

yellows and even greens.