Humble Pie

Humble pie! These days I eat a lot of this. Let me share with you from topic to topic how I might have once defined myself but now, not so much.

*Witty Conversationalist (or at least able to assemble full and lively sentences)

In my day, I spoke to crowds of several hundred people about cutting edge topics. Now I say things at dinner like, “Could someone cut my meat?” and “Look how I can wiggle my fingers.”


This time of year I usually have a pile of knitting on every seat in the house and a hot glue dispenser at my hip. This December, I am fighting with the cats over who gets to lounge on the clutter free sofas. The cats are as bewildered as me by this knit free world but just as determined as I am to claim the empty real estate.

*Never a Fashion Icon (but at least things matched and I could dress myself).

My standards are at an all time low. Take yesterday for example. Lizzy and baby Grace took me for a walk with my new BFF, a ski pole. I was quite a vision.

Earlier in the day, my valet, Jim, helped me dress as I still can’t do shirts very well by myself. Fortunately, he doesn’t have too much of a wardrobe to keep track of as his twelfth job. I have only one sweater that fits over the cast. It’s a kelly green cardigan with blue polka dots. I wear it 24/7. At the end of this adventure it will either be a beloved object like a blankie or I will burn it. Maybe I will need to hang onto it so baby Gracie recognizes her Grandma.

Of course this signature sweater was part of my assemblage. I have a couple big t-shirts to choose from that fit over the cast. On the top of the laundry pile (Jim’s ninth job) was a yellow pale yellow dingy, much washed, gray t-shirt. This looked spectacular with my pink and raspberry striped pajama bottoms (there for warmth) and olive green skirt. Voila! I was ready for fashion week.

Nota bene- Kelly green and olive don’t look as bad together as you might think but maybe that’s because the pajama bottoms commanded all the attention. My cast also drew the eye. It is now purple- replacing the last one that was a more restrained royal blue.

In any case, maybe it is a good thing to be garish- It certainly makes it less likely someone will add insult injury and hit me with a car because they don’t see me on the side of the road.

All in all, when imagining my fashion choices….Think bag lady. Think Fashion Police. Think “What Was She Thinking when she got dressed.” Very little apparently.

*In the Kitchen

I usually have a lot of items simmering, marinating, stewing and melding this time of year. On the shelves, there are usually a lot of peculiar ingredients for brittles, pane forte. biscotti, rugelash, preserved lemons or homemade vanilla extract- I say ridiculous things like, “Why buy puff pastry when we can make own.” or “Let’s hand grind our own micro-batch of honey mustard.” or “Do you think we can make our own pomegranate molasses?” Yes, usually I am an obnoxious, even smug, participant of our food nation.

This year I cannot open a can. I cannot unscrew a lid. Saran wrap is beyond me as is tearing open a cellophane bag. I cannot use scissors and teeth aren’t as good at opening things as I would have thought.

Thank goodness for wandering staffers who can cut things open for me during their lunch break. At breakfast and dinner, I gratefully eat whatever is put in front of me by Iron Chef James. About a month before my arm break, Iron Chef James said he wanted to increase his repertoire in the kitchen. Santa answered that request early.

*On the Road

My mother never did learn to drive. Wherever we took her we called it, “Driving Miss Betsy.” One memorable night she barked at designated driver, Jim, as we left a restaurant parking lot, “ Get out there and step on it.” This became a sort of sarcastic mantra of car travel for our family.

Twenty years later and chauffeur Jim is no longer “Driving Miss Betsy”. Now it’s “Driving Miss Molly.” Going on an errand is such excitement for Miss Molly that her new mantra is, “Start off slow then taper off.” I also beg for takeout because the round trip from our farm to civilization is so fascinating. Ahhhhhhhh the bright lights of Broadway West Lebanon, NH.

*Cat Whisperer

Now this is an arena where my skills might actually be improving. I have covered my bed in buckwheat pillows so the cats each have a nest for daytime visits. They come and go keeping me apprised of all Green Hope Farm gossip: squirrel census, chipmunk activity, dog misbehavior, who is sashaying around the neighborhood with what fellow cat.

But maybe I am not doing such a fabulous job at this either. I have just noticed that all the pillows are empty today. I think maybe I have become a bit needy, wanting them to help me feel I know the pulse of anything, anything at all even if it is squirrel gossip.


Thank goodness for baby Grace. She doesn’t care that I can’t pick her or anything else up. She likes our games with her favorite caterpillar toy as much as I do. She is not bored that I know nothing about anything. Funny noises and the same three songs seem to be sufficient to qualify as good conversation. She likes when my clothes clash or my hair looks like dreads. She is not expecting homemade designer crafts or snacks for the holidays; she has her mom’s round the clock milk bar and that’s enough.

Yep, Grace is the grace of this time for me. The whipped cream on my humble pie.


Diorama Destiny

Even obscure dreams have something to offer. Dreams that on first recall I can’t make much sense of often eventually give a nudge onward in one direction or another or some glimmer of encouragement or insight.

Yet it is hard not to be particularly grateful for big dreams that scream, “Listen close- this is SIGNIFICANT!”

In one of these PAY ATTENTION dreams many years ago, I dreamed I was in a room with this compact little diorama about the size of a dollhouse.

Okay, so most people might yawn when faced with a diorama, but I have always loved tiny things- dollhouses and the miniature Mexican pottery displays that contain whole little worlds. This diorama was like that, so in the dream I went right over to look at it more closely, and I saw that the title of the diorama was, “Molly’s Life.”

Half the charm of a miniature world is moving the pieces around so that is what I tried to do, but all the pieces were very, very hot. I realized I couldn’t move anything in the diorama.

As I stood back from the diorama, I saw that a figure was holding up the diorama, and I recognized the figure was God. I don’t know how I knew this exactly, but I just did- just like we recognize places in dreams even when they don’t look the same or we just know things in dreams that during daily life might feel hard to believe. In that now, I knew it was God and I felt so very glad that God was holding up the diorama of my life. Then God turned and winked at me, and my gladness changed to bliss.

That dream stuck with me. I wrote it down. I read it again and again. But it is probably all the things that have happened to me since that have made the dream even more precious to me.

Just like everyone else, many things have happened in my life that felt unexpected and completely out of my control. When things have veered from my idea of a good plan, I have often tried to solve and resolve things only to finally surrender to what is. Eventually I had to acknowledge that what happened was the plan for me whether my personality liked it or not.

The dream and these experiences of learning to surrender have encouraged me to pay more attention to my inner guidance about what I can do in a situation and what is not my business but God’s business. Fifteen years since this dream occurred and I am a little quicker to recognize furniture in the diorama that I can’t move before I waste years burning my fingers trying to move immovable objects.

Sometimes it is very painful not to be able to reset the stage and move that furniture. At times like this, the dream consoles me on several levels. Yes, I can’t move the pieces around as I wish, but God not only knows the best arrangement of the pieces but also has a sense of humor. There was something of, “This is a big funny game we are in together and I will see you through.” in the wink. Remembering the wink helps when the game lands me on “Go to Jail” not “Park Place”.

The dream invites me to play the game with my sense of humor too. In between my two weird arm breaks, I managed to fit in other fun stuff like getting disinherited and losing my share in the Adirondack camp we loved so much, but gosh no one could take my sense of humor from me.

I still get to choose my attitude in response to events.

Right now, as I look at the royal blue cast on my arm, covering hardware, stitches and a wilderness of mending bones. I slot my present circumstance under the header of “Things in the Diorama I could not change.”

When I tripped in the woods with Lizzy and Grace at my side, I broke this second arm in a very similar way as the other arm break four years ago. The surgeon who used an electric drill on my bones and everyone involved are quick to tell me it is no ordinary mess just a matching mess.

“Oops I did it again. “

According to Lizzy, I said this even before my arm hit the ground, and I must say the whole thing had a feeling of inevitability once it began. I am only grateful that I didn’t know this matching arm break was diorama destiny before it happened- that the four years in between breaks I wasn’t consciously waiting for this second fall-

It was bad enough to sit in the woods waiting to go to the hospital and flashing back on the parade of surgery, recuperation and rehab that had suddenly gone from being in my rear view mirror to the entire landscape ahead of me.

As I held my smashed arm, waiting for the ride that would begin this Groundhog Day, I tried to just have faith. My diorama and everyone else’s are held up by God. There is some complicated divine pattern at work for all our lives, and sometimes this pattern is a pretty difficult pill to swallow, but the plan is a good one and all of us are held up with infinite love and tenderness by loving hands.

Which means that for now and maybe for always, my job (besides taking tons of Flower Essences and asking for help and taking direction from those who are trying to help me mend and being as cheerful and as thankful as I can be to dear Jim and all loving family and friends and not taking myself too seriously) is to just trust or as they say, “Let go and let God.

And be grateful I don’t have a third arm.