Easter, friends, Jelly Beans

Pull Over.

This morning, at 5:21AM to be exact, the jelly beans got pulled over.

SeaTac airport was quiet, people were orderly, I went to the correct scanner with my fake hip. All was well until I saw my bag drop-kicked out of the conveyer belt and sent to detention. Knitting needles? Never happens. Food? A tidy legitimate turkey wrap in my handbag. Hand cream? Always check that I am under 3oz.

A very serious, perhaps end-of-shift TSA agent was slamming bins into a cart when he saw my small roller and marched — ominously — to my bag, looking neither left or right, while I hopped into my shoes and scuttled to his kiosk.

“Unzipping” he said, not looking at me. I had an urge to laugh.

I tend to run from snow and ice and skiing every year, at least for February and March, to the Pacific Northwest. To each their own and enjoy, but I prefer rain, early daffodils and the cascade of time change that has the migrating song birds shouting outside my window by mid-March at 4:45AM.

Today I head back, for an exciting spring of family events and my late garden, friends and catchups. My bags have less clothes and more thrift finds this time, secured curbside. I am as always sad and excited at the same time.

“Anything sharp’ he continued, not a question.

“I am a knitter” seems to be the best way to answer this I have learned. “Beware of needles” has been tried and translates a bit cheeky.

He pulled on blue rubber gloves and began to rummage. Immediately yarn teetered precariously on the edge, an eye crayon threatened to bolt, magazines commenced to slip. Then he pulled out the offender: an unopened, brand new bag of Brach’s black jelly beans.

A tender memory: every spring for the last uncountable years I have returned to the frozen land before Easter and my dear friend across the street has placed a bag on my kitchen island for me, sometimes in a bunny-themed bowl from Marshall’s. After she passed in 2020 I skipped them for a couple of years: as grief goes. When my cousin brought a bag home for me this week I savored the amazing that somehow the memo had been passed on to her. Thanks, Lou.

So I packed them, in my carry-on no less because jeez, no thanks a sniffer dog grabs and runs with it while inspecting downstairs in baggage transfer.

The agent, not a smile or a chuckle, meticulously massaged the bag — every last jelly bean — through the packaging. He replaced it, zipped (stuffed) the bag together and pushed it across the counter.

I thought: my friend is laughing her pants off somewhere.

What is the simplest, most pleasurable act you can do today, for you and for another?

It’s the tiny big things.

Choices, Christmas 2021, Family, friends, gratitude, Hands free, Retreat, self-care, time

Hands Free.


This morning the sleet was striking hard and the birds in hiding when, all cozy in my flannel pj’s, my digestive biscuit fell into the fresh cup of tea with a little ‘plop.’ It was a sign of today’s downslide mood: the book I am reading is too long, the tree is losing needles faster than I can vacuum, church was out of the question to stay clear of crowds and the new virus variant. ADaneKnits orders are done. The closets are cleaned of old coats, hats and mittens on their way to people who need them more. A mountain of cookies are bagged. Wrapping: check. Our long-anticipated Christmas Eve gathering was cancelled. Do you see where this is going?

My hands are too free; all wound up for my favorite holiday and grounded. This does not feel right.

It is right, on many levels, of course: hard decisions had to be made — retract and stay well (or meet outside ’round the solo stove) — so we could gather together the 24th with family, healthy for the holiday. But all this time alone is a dangerous slope for this type-A.

I want to spread joy, eggnog, body hugs SO MUCH. I want to see you. Instead, I watch Single All The Way on Netflix not once, but twice.

Yesterday it occurred to me that while I intended to be on holiday from writing, I could set the twinkle lights on ‘blink’ mode, clear my desk of wrapping paper, and sink into some more words. Unheard of in Christmas seasons past.

Isn’t time what I long for when ordinarily the season is a race to the finish?

I look at my hands that never stop and remind them that rest is good for all of me. No need to do anything but settle into the moment, be grateful for free. So this Sunday before Christmas, instead of bells and hymns, brunch and mimosas, crowding into shops, I will take a long walk. Later, I might even string lights around all the beds and take a long bath.

Because, you know, nothing but time is ok.

Thanks for reading, grateful for you, stay well.

Merry Christmas.


Yes, this cup.

friends, Sleepless


New to me, in the last twelve months; I wake up at all hours of the night, read randomly, worry about the health of my friends and family, walk around, do a down dog, look at the moon and night sky, read some more. I gave in yesterday and made tea at 3:45am with a couple of Digestive biscuits. There are millions of words are out there to distract me, spinning in the pandemic stratosphere; blogs, essays, op-eds, chapters; emails, texts, tweets; letters, Facebook, Instagram. We all have our own late-night covid rabbit holes. I, for one, am on social media way too much. But then, how else would I have seen the unexpected, random, late-night messages sent from people I knew forty-plus years ago?

“Thought of you today when I was going through old photos. Tell me about your life.”

“Where are you?”

“I regret we did not stay in touch.”

I am impressed — this takes courage, to send out a touch across time and space. Extra courage to not come off as a creep. Who hasn’t been thinking about life, the past, friends we miss, maybe have not seen in forever? Pre-pandemic I might have ignored or blocked a name that I barely remembered. Now, in lockdown, the acute sensory/tactile/visual deprivation has made this moment a wrinkle in time. I write back. I stare at my screen and think Hey there, I am thirty, forty, fifty years older and you remember me? Wow.

This is a covid-driven crash course in memory and communication. I have no reference to their spouses, children, parents, grey hair. Look, I say aloud to my laptop in surprise, what a brilliant human this guy has become! Hey, an inbox message reads the next day, I read all your blogs! One nemesis from grade school and I shared recipes across continents. One once-unapproachable shared his writing and we bantered editing and politics. One kindly reminded me what I laughed like in ninth grade. Oh help, I wore WHAT?

And then, the ultimate late-night exercise: can you summarize your life in a text? The Haiku of my life took some thought:

Mom, bicoastal, writer, knitter, consumes too much espresso, cancer happened, no longer blonde, wants puppy.

And even better, I don’t have to worry about what I look like when we meet up again; I am most often in my pajamas.

I have so many people to look forward to when we are all vaccinated. Though perhaps my new-old friends and I will not end up connecting-the-dots of our lives and calendars in person. Just maybe, the purpose was only to reach across the vastness of the dark, panicked universe to remind each other we are alive, and human, and good.

Thank you.

(Not in PJ’s)