Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Mr. DWH is recuperating nicely, thank you.

A word about Mr. DWH:

He describes himself as a regular Joe who just works harder than anybody else.

That's what he says: I'm just a regular Joe. He shrugs his shoulders a big when he says this, a bit like a Clydesdale settling in at the plow. I just work harder than most.

This Miss DWH has found to be true. He seems to have near boundless energy when there are things to be done, ideas to be had, fun to be generated.

He says he wants the people around him to have happy lives, that he wants to help them achieve their goals, and that is the way he wants to be remembered.

More on the 'morrow,

Miss DWH

Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Surgery Waiting

Friday we wake up at 4 am. I'm not sure if I'm going to Easter sunrise services, driving to Florida, or to Chicago. But no, wait - it's to the hospital for Mr DWH's surgery.

During the big surgery, I'm in the hallway reception area, looking through a window at the stark chairs lined up in Family Surgery Waiting, whose space defined by bright red pillars. I see four women, all with long tresses in different arrangements, playing cards. Through the window I can see one player's hand - all low red cards, diamonds and hearts.

Behind them a young woman with olive skin and dark hair stands and adjusts her striped tube top. In a few moments she stands and adjust it again. Same place, her thumbs beside her breasts, and then she shimmies like she's getting dressed.

A resident in pale green scrubs comes into the hallway and looks up and down, as if he's looking for a rising tide. He doesn't see it.

It's about 11 a.m., time for Mr DWH to be finished. The time for meditation is over.

I hold my buzzer like I'm waiting for a reservation of fancy scalpels and tongs. When I'm called in to slot number 37, there is adhesive and band aids and a little blood on the sheet covering Mr. DWH's gurney. There are pencilled in numbers, too, 16 1/2 on one side and 32 on the other. Who knows what they mean. A doctor's ruminations?

Tony and Debi, the nurses in recovery, stand at computer screens and enter bp, heart rate; it's the after dinner dance of drop down menu, click; drop down menu, click; drop down menu, click.

I lift the straw to Mr DWH's lips and later he says this is what he remembers most about this trip, me delicately positioning the white straw so that he can sip. We have been through three surgeries now and about three trips to the emergency room. I am getting better at these trips. I am a "faint at the sight of blood" person. I have never told Mr. DWH this.

We all have our secrets.

Until we meet again --

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coming closer by going away

One way I move closer to my book and my creative self is by going away.

Life is full of such ironies, isn't it?

We go to Chicago for two days and being in the midst of towering buildings with filigree and arched windows energizes me. I could stare at the river from our 27th floor for ... a while, anyway.

We have dinner on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. As the city lights up at night it's as if we are in the heavens, looking down at the stars.

I'm at peace, for the first time in a long time.

Back at work, I notice two habits I have that are counterproductive to my creativity:

1) panicky at the items that need to be done
2) creating lists of tasks that should be done but I don't wanna do (not like list below of my book projects)

Well, love your hat and see you Friday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bat exorcism

Saturday is a day of small towns: Williston, Graytown, Lindsay, Berlin Heights, Vermilion.

We stop at a graduation party near Williston; Miss DWH gets hit in the face by a basketball, throwing iced tea from a transparent plastic glass on her left shoulder, as if she's making a wish; we travel to pick up my mother, unnerved by a bat that has flown into her house; then on to Vermilion, for the Fish Festival Parade of Boats with Lights. You'd think the decorations would be nautical, but no: there's Snoopy in his doghouse while "Red Baron" plays, and what looks like Moses Parting the Red Sea with a cross at the bow of the boat.

We stop at Granny Joe's for ice cream. Granny Joe's has a historical marker: it was formerly a funeral parlor and one of the first buildings in Vermilion, a low happy yellow house with a white porch.

And then back to do a bat exorcism.

The bat has sequestered itself in a roll up shade and emerges when Mr. DWH rolls down the shade. It's wing span is longer than Miss DWH's hand outstretched and when it flies towards her she thinks of earlier in the day, when she looked up and a basketball was a foot from my face and then slam, dunk. She can't watch.

Mr. DWH hits the bat with a broom three times and still it flies. Finally he pins it on the floor and it bares its teeth. He flings it outside.

It's hard not to think of a bat as some embodiment of evil or a harbinger of bad things. But there it is, it's just a bat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lemon Pucker

When Miss DWH arrives home last night she has a Lemon Pucker in hand. It's a lemon fizzy frozen drink from a small locally owned ice cream store in Haskins called Buzzys. Sometimes she and Mr. DWH buy a treat and walk down the street to the ball field and watch the little-leaguers.

But this year they haven't had time to do this. They have planted their garden, and when Miss DWH gets home last night, Mr DWH is circling his pond with his lasso - er, pond skimmer. He's wearing a white short sleeve polo shirt and navy slacks, looking very dapper.

Goodie Goodie gumdrop, Miss DWH says. She is so mushy sometimes. You are home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


This morning Miss DWH cannot find Mr DWH to ask help make the bed? or say goodbye before going to the office. Then she spies him outside, in grey shorts and t-shirt that says CHILL. He's in the garden, watering the corn he heard growing yesterday.

Miss DWH opens the garage door and steps out and he comes running, holding his covered coffee cup. Hustle hustle hustle, she laughs, because it's much too lovely of a morning to be hustling about before it's a requirement.

And what of the book progress? Miss DWH carries it with her, in a black faux leather bag from Target that has worn handles. The bag gets heavier, but the book doesn't get weightier. Instead there are two pairs of shoes - kitten heels for the office, tennis shoes for walking at lunch.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How goes it, how goes it not

Saturday Miss DWH feeds chickens for the first time. The neighbors have asked her to put her weeds, sticks, and shrub cuttings through a hole in the fence she can't see. She's afraid of burying the chickens with her thorny greenery and cajoles Mr. DWH into helping her.

Later in the dark, Mr and Miss DWH watch fireworks at the state park.

Mr. DWH sends a note: This morning, I checked the status of our garden. I believe we are seeing spouts of corn peeking out of the soil.

As for the book, how goes it, how goes it not; how goes it, how goes it not.

Miss DWH has a fascination with letters, where writers divulge their deepest, most confidential selves. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, she spent Sunday afternoons moodling and writing these letters, herself. Strange things came from her, unexpected, surprising.

  1. Collect these letters
  2. Collect my first line - where did Miss DWH hide it? "I am throwing things away..."
  3. Collect my epigram - Rilke
  4. Collect old stories and entries, useful as bits and pieces in Lost Letters of Jane Austen
  5. Junk the useless journal entries, built when tired and guaranteed to crash when weight is put upon them
  6. Write about throwing things away
  7. Write write write

Friday, June 12, 2009

In the garden

Last night Mr DWH cups his hand to his ear and says he hears the corn growing. The tomato plants are up.

Miss DWH doesn't know what exactly is planted in her garden or what's going to come up or what exactly it is, even. She wants to "pigeon hole" it sometimes. The end product would be better if she could learn to live more comfortably with ambiguity, a bed sheet that conforms to her body.

Miss DWH shares her name with an organizational expert! This strikes her as wildly funny, for she tries to be organized, which is useful, but not at the cost of creativity. Sometimes it's good to be wild.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Planting a garden

Last night Miss DWH and Mr DWH planted the vegetable garden. Banana and bell peppers, tomatoes, green beans, personal seedless watermelon, cucumbers, and sweet corn.

She has an idea that's planted itself in her mind. Another one, besides Lost Letters of Jane Austen, but maybe that will be of value or a part of the new idea. She will see.

Meanwhile, around their home and in her mind, she pulls weeds and throws them in the burn pile.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The letters

Lately Miss DWH has been thinking of her typed letters - her best writing, her truest self.

Are they a gift she can give?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Too much HGTV

The first words Miss DWH's mother says when she sees the new house is: 'But it doesn't have any curb appeal!'


Miss DWH has been unpacking her books. She comes across White Oleander, a story about basically an orphan. How she feels connected to that theme! Starting with Black Beauty... will there be an orphan in her book? She comes across Vivian Gornick's The Situation and the Story: what could be more boring that a book about writing? (not)

And she thinks of the woman in khaki slacks and black tee who had excessively heavy eye liner, like she was climbing a mountain and wanted to keep the sun from her eyes. She was a woman who tries too hard.

On Golden Pond: Last night Miss DWH 'fishes' for algae. It's sunset, quite pleasant. The green stuff evaporates away from the net like a dream she's not sure she had.

Finally, a colleague tells her, I wonder if you ever have a bad day. I mean, I wonder that. Surely your desk doesn't look like this. Shomeow I look at you and think 'everything will be ok.' Miss DWH says: but it seems like I'm not human!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How I lost the Marilyn Monroe Look alike contest

It was just an innocent trip to the dermatologist's office, when a routine trip turned into a rather traumatic turn of events. The pearl like half globe that has graced Miss DWH's upper left lip for the duration of her lifetime grew wispy rivers of blood vessels, like a fortune teller's globe.

Unfortunately, the fortune wasn't too great.

The doc said this is usually the start of cancer, the slow growing, rarely metastasizing kind - but cancer nevertheless.

She said it should come off! A biopsy should be had! And so it did, and so it will, and now...but a band aid.

But Miss DWH feels a bit wounded, a plucked duck, different in some small but nevertheless significant way. She's lost something, some self definition.

Mr. DWH, upon arriving home, wants an explanation of how this happened, says he feels guilty for not being there.

Such is how life changes, in small ways.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pace thyself, woman

Miss DWH is unable to pace herself. She throws herself at her work - her work being her day job - throws her time and energy, effort, and thought processes meager though they may be - and there's nothing left at the end of the day for creative synergy.

How to pace herself?

Aye, that's today's question!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Developing the character of the narrator

Miss DWH misses the comfort that comes from being some place -- home -- a long time. The pattern of the carpet in the sunlight, the vague smell of the dog long gone, the sense of "coming home." Where are her letters? She is working hard to re-establish herself in her new home, unpack books, and make sense out of her notes.

And what progress has Miss DWH made on the book this week?

She finishes Julie and Julia, and has the desire to look up Julia Child's book. But bone a duck and bake in pastry? She thinks not!

The persona of Miss DWH knows what she should expose for public consumption, and what she shouldn't. She has a confidence, a gladheartedness, and lightness of foot and thought her creator does not sometimes feel. She is not susceptible to criticism.


What if I'm creating the narrator for a book and describing the process, and not aware of it as of yet?