September sneaked up on me. I just had a few mini vacations: Vermont, NY, Massachusetts. And I got to walk on the beach this past summer. Now I understand that this is the last Autumn my Maple will drop leaves. It’s marked for murder. Every day the treecutters are closer and closer. September and February are big household cleaning times around here. Dust bunnies are given the old heave-ho. Crannies are attended to and niches are decluttered. This past week it was time for the Autumnal cleaning. A semi-annual cleaning of the Buddhas was had.

My aunt used to say ‘rubbing their bellies’ was good luck. I did a whole lot of that, whilst cleaning them; so we shall see. Since the Buddha cleaning, I did see my porch spider enjoying a wrapped fly, so that’s a moment I felt lucky to witness.

Also, a cute little puppy with the bluest of eyes came for an impromptu visit and- peed on me. I really never saw that coming, (both the visit and the pee) and truly it was the best part of my week. I love holding puppies.

Other news this past week: I was offered to be on the Board of Directors for Art of Autism. I said yes. After my conversation with Keri, I hung up the phone and literally said to Al, “Wow I did not see that coming!”

I look forward to sharing ideas and writing regularly for Art of Autism. They are a good group of people.

There’s a project in the works I’ve been praying/meditating on, that I still cannot share. Can’t wait to share this bit of news because honestly I think it’ll make many people happy, but have to wait till it’s a definite go– so to speak. I can only say this: even with my aching eyes, I’m up for the challenge and quite lucky and blessed to have this out of the blue opportunity. Won’t you send some positive thoughts my way on that?

Since I’ve been having sore eyes a lot, I’ve cut down on my reading from 30 or more hours a week to about half that now. Last week I read a book called Dangerous Ground by William Phelps. I just adore this passage, which is about William’s visit to a psychiatrist to address his feelings on turning 50:

“I’d just turned 49, on my way to 50, a scary milestone for a guy who considers himself young at heart, body, mind and soul. When I was a kid, a man of 50 had grey hair, wore a thick sweater, and sat in his living room recliner doing crosswords, his reading glasses down on the tip of his nose like Mother Goose. He took naps, smelled medicinal, and stunk up the house with BENGAY. He took hour-long shits with the newspaper, went to bed after Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. That was not me. Strange I was stressing over this – I know age is just a number! – and I never saw it coming. ”

There are a lot of things you don’t see coming. Age is just one of them.

Like the paper cut that’s driving me crazy. When did this happen?! It produced no blood, but pain receptors open to the air, hurt. Sometimes it is the little things that are the most painful. Being in a department store and turning your head with full attention because you heard “Mommy!” It’s a little thing you get programmed to do over time and then with a pang you “remember” your kids are grown. It stings a little. But you remember your new normal. The episode prompts you to text a silly message to your grown son, just to connect, and he answers in a snarky (quite adult) manner. You smile and think when did that happen?

That’s my colorful lifeline. I got something in the mail today of the colorful red, white and green variety: Today I got a Christmas junk catalog in the mail (one of so many more to follow I am certain, jammed with things like caroling snowmen decorations and chrysanthemum shower curtains)… Because of the aforementioned Autumnal cleaning, I haven’t had time for much creative outlet, a necessary part of my existence. My power light is flickering. Being creative is a recharge.. Because having night terrors, which I did recently (out of the blue-first one in a month) waking up with a scream caught in my muted throat, is an expression of too much anxiety, not enough creative output.

But back to the catalog. I saw a Santa in the catalog in fabrics of blue and white and adorned on its person~ white twinkle lights. How my mother will love this! That is the first time in a long time I thought of her in the present tense, because sometimes it’s easy to forget someone’s passed away, when they spring so easily to mind like that. I didn’t see that coming. The sudden forgetting she wasn’t here anymore. Grief is funny like that.

Something else that isn’t here anymore. My mother’s father (a carpenter) made these reindeer and sleigh of good solid wood but it is lost now over the time that has passed. Here I am sitting in the sleigh, in front of the grey house of my youth, now torn down and paved over. I remember when they painted this grey house green, and if you have read my book, then you know I never ever ever saw THAT coming. And I wasn’t happy about it either. I was a happy kid, but sensitive yes, and not openly expressive the way my parents were.

My mother had tons more serotonin than me. She laughed all the time. My brain’s a bit more persnicketty than that…

There are low levels of dopamine receptors in the thalamus’ of “highly creative” types. (says research by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden). Think of ‘mad’ scientists, ‘eccentric’ artists, ‘depressed and reclusive’ writers… It’s Dopamine’s job to filter the amount of information that reaches the cortex. And so it’s theorized, that “a torrent of uncensored information ignites the creative spark.”

Who would take their sailboat out onto a lake precisely because on that particular day; at that particular moment there is NO wind. No breeze for the sails. Einstein did.

He said, “I like the challenge.”

Thinking about the multi-book project I’m bursting to tell y’all about, I keep telling me just that. How will I juggle another project, perhaps the most important one I’ve ever been trusted with? Solutions unveil themselves to inquiring minds? When you stop and think that Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old, you get the idea he was always thinking.

One day he suddenly broke the silence by saying, “This soup is too hot!” Well yeah- they did not see that coming. Everyone around him; understandably were shocked. Someone asked why he hadn’t spoken before. He replied simply, “Because up to now, everything was in order.” What a wry wit! He was a sensitive soul too. Music brought Einstein to tears. But he wasn’t overly sensitive… I mean he was once observed picking up a grasshopper, popping it in his mouth and eating it. A peaceful man, Einstein loved bird watching and was himself a rare bird indeed.

But for all his brilliance, he never drove a car.

He walked or rode a bike.

Interestingly enough, he was dyslexic and very insecure.

Pulled out of school early, his mother would often say to him, “Albert my dummy…”

Mark Twain: “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side he never shows to anybody.”

This is true. I recently had a person return to my life-a person I thought would be estranged from me forever. I could never have seen this coming- this person’s return from the dark side and into the light. I realize now of course, it was never my job to rescue, save, or otherwise change this person. That was up to them. It was my responsibility to be like a rock. It was on them to butt their head and bleed or hold on.

Hopefully this weekend I can do some collage. I’ve got boxes, tins, baggies and bins filled with cut-outs. Sometimes I surprise myself and create something that truly means something to somebody. Like my lady-tree painting. A woman emailed me out of the blue and said she had fallen in love with the lady and couldn’t get the painting, did I have a print? I did. She wrote me a very nice thank you and sent me a picture of the print in her house.

I’m going to go have some pistachio ice cream now. Go forth. Rub a Buddha belly. Hug a puppy. I’m no Einstein but sailing a boat with no wind makes perfect sense.