Of shooting stars…

Photo courtesy of NASA

I sat on my front stoop alone last night straining to see any of the shooting stars in the sky. I don’t know if it was positioning on my part or the thin layer of cloud cover, but search as I might, none of the beautiful sky show graced my view.

I was not disappointed in my time spent on the porch though. The humidity dropped and a light summer breeze made my skin feel cool and gave music to the neighbors wind chimes. The crickets gave a gentle buzz instead of their normal shouted cacophony.  A bat or two fluttered by scooping up insects drawn by the street lamp on the corner. It was the perfect setting to as Pooh is want to say, “Think, think, think”.

Thoughts of how slowly and yet quickly the summer passed intertwined with visions of what is to come, as I listened to the starlings call out to each other. The night echoed with the summer’s first faint cries of “I’m bored” and the last plaintive whimpers of “I’m not ready for school to start” and all the voices in between those two moments.

We didn’t do anything big or go off on a extended trip like last year (see August 2011 entries). No we stayed close to home and created small, forever memories.

There was the disappointment at not being able to spend time with my daughter Nené on her 25th birthday (ye gads, 25th!). But there was comfort in knowing that we were able to speak to each other.

I loved the quiet, uninterrupted two hour conversation Bashert and I had on our anniversary (15 years, thank you). That was a gift from my Mom and sister Calico Nell who took Yoda with them on the ride down to Savannah for a visit.

I smiled at the memory of Yoda proudly piloting us out of the marina during that visit with my Aunt Spinning Jenny and Uncle Cliff Clavin. Cliff, who is not always that great with grown-ups, excels in bringing out confidence in kids. He had Yoda doing boat doughnuts in Turner Creek by the time our venture out ended.

I again marveled at Bashert’s bravery in conquering her own fears of thunderstorms in order to show Yoda that all was okay sitting on the screened porch while nature lashed all about. She held her own and we laughed and laughed, while Yoda challenged Cliff to yet another game of chess and I shared some Herman’s Hermits music memories with my sister.

Warm fuzzies surrounded me when I thought of the surprise birthday cake my Mom presented to Yoda and me that same weekend.  I love my Mom.

I relived Yoda’s birthday party of just a few days ago when stiff haired, tattooed rock stars invaded our home. Bashert slammed home another theme party with a karaoke madness/pool fête. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen five eight/nine year old boys getting down to LMAOF on plastic, blow-up guitars and keyboards. We now have enough video to grant several opportunities for teenage blackmail.

As I shifted to relieve the pressure on my bum, some sore muscles reminded me of the fulfilled birthday promise I made to Yoda. We spent the day at one of our local arcades – just the two of us. We sort of fudged his age so that he could drive the go-cart by himself. (I’d forgotten what a thrill it is to pretend to be older than you are.) The smile on his face as he zoomed past me was priceless.

That same smile lit up when he introduced me to laser tag. If you ever want a work out try half an hour of sneaking around in blacklight darkness trying to zap fast moving little kids. You automatically go into a half squat and scurry from hiding place to hiding place. Your thighs will thank you. Yoda won two out of the four games, racking up six digit points on the last round, which I found out later resulted mainly from him shooting me! I wondered where that sniper was.

As much as I had dreaded the noise and prospect of dealing with the foibles of other people’s children, I am glad we spent that day. It’s part of this summer I will never forget.

Thoughts of the coming day began to filter in after a bit. Yoda starting his first day of third grade, me returning to work, all the mundane things that need to be taken care of. I pulled my eyes from the night sky, gave a sigh and turned to go inside. Summer vacation was over.

I was saddened not to have seen a shooting star, but I believe I still gathered a pocket full of starlight. Each of this summer’s memories will act as a luminary for any dark days of struggle yet to come and will serve as beacons for the next round of times spent together. Like the song says:

“For when your troubles start multiplyin’
And they just might
It’s easy to forget them without tryin’
With just a pocketful of starlight.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day.”

quinquagesimus stilus! (sorry, I like Latin)

This entry marks my 50th blog entry.  I haven’t made the time to do some introspective, wildly amusing piece, but I do have a list of 50 about 50, that I have managed to collect from various and sundry sources.  I suppose a bit of rambling and intelligentia are suited for this momentous occasion.  So have at it my trusty few:




  1.  Me
  2. 50 is the smallest number that can be written as the sum of two squares, in two ways
  3. The atomic number of Tin
  4. In Kabbalah, there are 50 gates of Wisdom (or Understanding and 50 gate of Impurity
  5. In millimeters, 50 is the focal length of the normal lens in 35mm photography
  6. In Bingo, ball number 50 is called blind 50 or half of a century
  7. 50 is the score in the center of a dartboard (the bullseye)
  8. A mother hen turns her egg approximately 50 times a day.
  9. Taipan snakes have 50 times more venom than a cobra.
  10. The median number of text messages teenagers sent in 2010 was 50.
  11. The 25th even number is 50.
  12. In Greek, Pentecost means 50th.  Pentecost is a Jewish summer holiday celebrated on the 50th day after Pesach.
  13. The Roman numeral for 50 is L.
  14. The moon is 50 times smaller than the Earth.
  15. 50-move rule in chess:  if there have been 50 consecutive moves of white and black chess pieces without any piece taken or any pawn moved then a player can claim a draw.
  16. The premium for using all 7 letters in a game of Scrabble is 50.
  17. The critical speed in the movie “Speed” is 50mph.
  18. The ISO country code for Bangladesh is 050.
  19. The purpose of the number 50 is to promote fusion between body and soul, mind and spirit. (Numerology)
  20. 50 is the cardinal number equal to 5 x 10.
  21. Another name for the 50 dollar bill.
  22. Emory University in Atlanta, GA is listed as the 50th best college (
  23. Project 50 – 50 days, 50 photos with a 50mm lens (
  24. 50 in 50: Fifty stories for fifty years!,  Harry Harrison
  25. “Fifty/Fifty” (1992), directed by Charles Martin Smith
  26. The age one is eligible for AARP membership.
  27. Ongoing project:
  28. 1861: Three year $50 interest bearing notes issued that paid a cent of interest a day 7.3% (seven-thirties)
  29. Fifty Hats that Changed the World, (review –
  30. Song: “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, Paul Simon
  31. Movie: “50 First Dates”, (cute for an Adam Sandler vehicle)
  32. 50 United States of America
  33. 50 Chapters in the book of Genesis
  34. Its the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight.
  35. Its the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs.
  36. Europe has approximately 50 states.
  37. The Peace Corps is 50 this year.
  38. Its the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first performance at the Cavern Club.
  39. Six Flags Over Georgia is 50 this year.
  40. Asia has 50 countries. (Thank you Yoda.)
  41. The Volvo P1800 is 50 this year.
  42. The 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders.
  43. A volcano has enough power to shoot ash as high as 50 km high.
  44. The 50th anniversary of Penguin Classics
  45. The 50th anniversary of Radio Nord
  46. The 50th anniversary of Dr. Who
  47. The 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ “Snowy Day”
  48. “Throw Out 50 Things”, Gail Blanke
  49. Cai Lun, Chinese inventor of paper & papermaking process was born in 50CE.
  50. 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being built

Happy Anniversary

Bashert came into my life in 1995.  Sixteen years ago.

We met in college.

She was a young, brash, redheaded powerhouse who weaved her way into my weary world and breathed in new life.  I was an older ghost who brought calm to her turbulent soul.

We both admit it was a rocky start.  She thought I was weird and I thought she had issues.  We were both right.

I barely spoke above a whisper and kept to myself.  The result of years of imposed social separation and post traumatic stress.

Bashert didn’t know the meaning of personal space or the word no.

She kept after me, challenging me and pushing me back into the light.  Some days I resented the hell out of her and some days I was grateful there was someone who actually could see me.

When we went on a school trip to D.C., I brought a crossword puzzle book to occupy myself on the long ride. She would have none of it.  She kept up a nonstop conversation over those 500 or so miles.  I had never met anyone quite like her.

Bashert became my first friend in 11 years.

We did the things friends do.  I gave her rides in my car and she would buy me dinner. We took some classes together (She hated painting – my major track; I hated clay – her major track).  We went to the movies and laughed, boy did we laugh.

Our friendship grew and developed over the next two years.

We had picked up the habit of parking in the downstairs parking lot and talking into the deep of the night.  I think this is where the shift began.

In the spring of ’97 came the letter.

The letter that changed both of our lives forever.

She gave it to me and then ran.  She said she didn’t want an answer.

As I read the letter, I couldn’t believe my eyes or heart.  I couldn’t sleep that night.  I called her at 4 in the morning.  She picked up the phone before the first ring.  We talked until daylight and time to go to school.

I answered the letter.

She laughs and says that we were dating long before I really was aware of it.  I told you before I can be a bit dim witted about some things.

Apparently, I had been dating a professor and didn’t know that either.  Guess I should have known something was up when the prof got so angry when she saw me with Bashert.  Who knew?

Our courtship was full of laughter and silly things – talking crows, shadow puppets, playing hooky to the lake.

It felt incredible to play again.  Bashert had brought joy back into my life, something that had been missing for a very long time.

We’ve been together as a couple now for 14 years.  We had a commitment ceremony in 2002 with 50 of our closest friends.  Our daughter gave us to each other.

There have been some some wonderful times, including the addition of a beautiful little boy and some tough times, but the sense that we were always meant to be together still pervades our relationship. That’s what bashert means – meant to be.

Someday we will have another wedding, with our friends and the authority of the state, but until then we shall remain as we are – fully committed and true to each other, married in soul and heart.

Happy anniversary, MaLea.