My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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New look, same old me

Camille Pissarro, Les chataigniers a Osny (The Chestnut Trees at Osny), 1873

I'm changing up the look of my blog again. I knew my old design, which wasn't really old at all as I'd switched up the format just a few months ago, wouldn't last. I know myself. I get itchy, restless. Some women change their hair color. Others go shopping for a new pair of shoes. Me, when I get twitchy like this, I usually think about moving. Over the past month I've found myself looking in the windows of a vacant property I pass on my morning walk. I love the layout, the light that puddles across the hardwood floor, the glimpse of the stairway that disappears to who knows where. I go round back, peer in through the slats of the blinds at the patio door. The pull is nearly irresistible. But that fantasy won't fly. We can't move again. We simply can't. We've moved so many times, mostly when I get that itch. My husband would almost certainly—and rightfully—divorce me. 

Instead I retreat to our upstairs bedroom where a large window looks out over our courtyard. Open to the breeze and the faraway voices of toddlers at play drifting in, the window reveals some neighboring buildings but mainly the view is of the upper branches of the large Ficus tree outside, green and leafy, with the soft blue California sky behind.  The trunk disappears below the second story window, the leafy treetop lies somewhere up and beyond what's framed within my view, like a painting.  The tree branches, long outstretched fingers reaching upwards, bejeweled with dots of emerald and jade, every shade of green, from deepest forest to palest celadon.  

Taking a deep breath, I open my laptop and ponder the new template sample I've been toying with. It's nothing fancy, but like the view from my bedroom window, it feels light and airy.  The background, a pale shade of California sky, is the same color I use on Chapter1-Take1. A color I love. I don't have to move. All I have to do is press "apply to blog" and I can breathe again. I can own my little corner of the sky.

What do you think? Do you like the change? 

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