For Thanksgiving, I Decided on Indian Food and Other Random Thoughts

rusty1I’m staying in one of the most popular sections of Indianapolis—Broad Ripple. ‘My’ condo is right on the Monon Trail, and when I say I am right on the trail I mean I get to watch the ‘traffic’ go by out of the front window. It’s an interesting cultural study to observe the runners and walkers and dog walkers and baby walkers and bikers. It is where I walk this cutie patootie named Crusty (name changed to protect his identity as usual) at least three times every day.

This location is FAB-U-LOUS!! One or two blocks to any kind of restaurant you’d want to eat at (or order take out). Little local grocery store? One block. Starbucks? 2 blocks. I’m not a drinker, but there are bars and brewpubs in big numbers. I signed up for the Drumstick Dash, the Thanksgiving morning race. The start of the race? 2 short blocks. The finish? 2 short blocks. I’m really excited; the weather is supposed to be beautiful tomorrow.

monon trailYesterday, as I was walking on the Monon with Crusty, I was imagining the trail when it was a railroad. I imagined women in a passenger car with huge, long dresses and coats to ward away the autumn cold. Their hats would be huge as they looked out the windows traveling to the big city—Indianapolis. I thought about how exciting it must have been to be coming to “the city.”

And then I wondered— how on earth did women PACK for trips back then? I mean…one outfit wouldn’t even fit in one suitcase!! I have at least one friend who would have loved living in that era. Not me. If I could live out of my backpack and have only two outfits to my name, I would love it. Hmmmm. That’s funny. I guess I’m kinda doing that now. HAHAHA. Sometimes I crack myself up.

river front stageOn another Monon walk this week, I walked through the grounds of the Broad Ripple Art Center and visited the tiny, rustic River Front Stage where I took the girls to (free) live Blues concerts in the first few summers when we moved to Indianapolis. 5 & 6-year-old Sierra would dance her little heart out in front of the stage…which was also in front of the whole audience sitting on the lawn. She danced with absolute abandon and a complete lack of inhibition, coming up with every wild move her little body and mind could concoct. I stood at the exact spot she used to dance and I might have shed a few tears. If only we all could stay as uninhibited as adults, life would be so amazing.

I had two things to get at Trader Joe’s today and as I drove into the parking lot, I thought “this is stupid…going into a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.” Yet there was a parking spot right in the front. And there they were!! The holiday evergreen swags that I buy every year for my front door. I was excited to be able to get one early! Wait for it…one second…two seconds…three seconds…oh, that’s right. I don’t have a front door any more. Sigh.

I picked up take-out Indian food (way better than that Pilgrim food any day–HA) and after the Drumstick Dash tomorrow morning, Crusty and I are going to nestle in for a day of Netflix bingeing and Palak Paneer. (Well, he gets to eat his regular doggie food. Sorry Dude.)

I can’t even begin to list all that I am thankful for, so I won’t even try. Life is great. Life is grand. Life is fluid. And that’s pretty exciting to me.

The Circle Game: Past Meet Present

Life can be softly circular sometimes. At other times it can be downright blatant. I’m going through a blatantly circular stage.

I unpacked a couple of my tubs last weekend. I have a sock and underwear drawer. My toiletries are in a drawer in the bathroom. I actually have some clothes hung up in a closet. I left my home on July 16th and for the first time in four months, I’ve settled in to a home for a smidgen of time. Why? I have only one pet-sitting gig (starting tonight for one week) during a 6-week period, so I took my friend Poppy up on her kind offer to move in with her for that period. Poppy has been a single mother/homeowner for as long as I have been and her place feels as close to home as is possible.

Poppy and I led parallel lives on so many fronts. We both came from large families. We lived in Boston at the same time in our lives. We lived in two coastal Maine towns that were right beside each other at the same time. We had our first daughters the same year. We woke our daughters up in the mornings by playing the same song (on a record) every single morning: Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell. Poppy was friends with a girl who grew up in the house that I just sold and played there often as a youngster. The list goes on and on. Poppy and I were introduced as adults about 15 years ago. We still enjoy discovering new parallel experiences. But here’s one of the best ones.

Our daughters enrolled in a drama class in an extremely large high school and when my daughter heard the life-story introductory speech of Poppy’s daughter, she went up to her at the end of class and told her that they were going to be best friends. And then they were. They now both live in California—at opposite ends of the state. The most fascinating part of their story is that their friendship started at about the same time as Poppy’s and mine, but the two pairs didn’t know that we were mothers and daughters. Our relationships each developed independently. Some things just seem meant to be.

Last night Poppy and I reminisced about when our girls were young and how much fun we had raising them and how miraculous it was that they found each other the same time she and I found each other. We remembered the fabulous music by Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Carol King and Bonnie Raitt and how those female artists all played central roles in the raising of our girls.

Sierra's dresser[This is my daughter’s dresser top today. Carly Simon, Carol King, Linda Ronstadt. The influence lives on.]

However, the lyrics of Joni Mitchell provided such a strong musical (and artistic?) foundation for all of us. It provided a perspective of the circular nature of life. And as I last night snuggled in the bed of my daughter’s best friend, feeling warm and welcome, Joni’s lyrics (that both families sang hundreds of times) come to my mind.

“Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.”

crazy dollP.S. I found this crazy woman doll on a bookshelf in my room last night. My daughters and I always called ourselves the Wild and Wacky Weaver Women. I know that Poppy and her daughter lived on the crazy side of life as well. As Joni says, “we can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came.” I think I got to glance backwards a bit tonight. And I also have to say, I really, really love this wacky doll. Past: please meet Present.

Let Me Be On the Street Where You Live

CinnamonI cried last night. Cinnamon cried too when I left her. Pets are unbelievably adaptable. Of course, they always desperately miss their owners, but they learn very quickly that when they have a new caretaker, you are the one who feeds them and plays fetch and takes them for walks. So of course, they enjoy your presence. You can’t tell them that their Mom and Dad are coming back. You just have to make them happy while you are with them.

So last night while I was packing up my tubs of clothes, I let Cinnamon hang out in the back yard, coming in and out as I came in and out, packing up the car. She sensed what was going on and got quieter. I could tell she was worried.

The house where I stayed was located close to the Blind School which plays full songs with their chimes every hour on the hour. For the 10 days that I stayed with her, as often as we could, Cinnamon and I would hang out in the back yard to hear the hourly song. It was a particularly sweet and special experience for me. I’ve always loved chimes (although I didn’t keep my own Grandfather clock wound up…go figure). So at 6pm, we got to listen to My Favorite Things. I’ve always loved that song and considered it apropos to my current life, since I had to spend so much time sifting through my accumulated stuff to end up with only my very favorite things. I thought of some of the things I had to give up and some of my few favorite things I’ve saved for when I have my own home again.

Then at 7pm, we heard Moon River. “Two drifters, off to see the world; there’s such a lot of world to see….” I loved seeing the wider world as a Pan Am flight attendant and now I am LOVING seeing the more micro worlds of different peoples’ lives through living in their homes and living with their pets. Cinnamon and I then went for our last walk together. When we got back, she hid under the kitchen table, which she had not once done in the whole time I stayed with her. She clearly knew that I was leaving her. We were both sad.

I was ready to go. I put her in her crate with her peanut butter-laced Kong, left the key on the kitchen table, locked the door and sat on the back patio to wait for the 8pm song of chimes. [Mom and Dad were arriving home at 9pm.] Sadly, before the chimes started, Cinnamon started crying inside which I hadn’t heard before. My heart broke. I cried too. Then an owl in a nearby tree hooted at us both…a harbinger of what? I wondered. And then the 8pm song started: Nat King Cole.


People stop and stare
They don’t bother me
For there’s no where else on earth
That I would rather be
Let the time go by
I won’t care if I
Can be here on the street where you live
Let me be on the street where you live

Cinnamon cried, I cried, the owl hooted, and chimes sang about wanting to be on the street where someone else lives. I got in my packed car and drove to my next home.