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Earth Mother Tendencies

I retired in the middle of the week in the middle of the day last November. There was only so much grief I was willing to tolerate and so much more grief my employer was willing to heap upon me. Healthiest thing I’ve done in years was to retire. The back pain disappeared the first week. The second week I stopped needing sleeping pills in order to fall asleep.

Used to be, I cooked on the weekend. Now, I have time to cook during the week. The Earth Mother Tendencies come out and dance. Earth Mother Tendencies are something I had to bury deeply in order to be an attorney. At least I though I had to bury them deeply. I make all my own bread and have since I got married in 1972. I don’t buy deserts, I make them. From scratch. No boxes of mix. No soup from a can, either.

Although I did have parents, I was closest to my maternal grandmother. I think these Earth Mother Tendencies come from her past. She was born in 1912. In school, she was the very best at spelling and won every spelling bee. For one spelling bee, she won a prize of a length of pink fabric. She went home, gathered newspaper, drafted a pattern and made a dress. She entered the dress in a sewing competition at the Erie County Fair and won first prize – $3.00. At that time, that was nearly a week’s wages for a woman.

My grandmother grew up in a time when one either did for oneself or did without. She learned to be self-sufficient because that’s what girls learned at that time. She dreamed of being a home economics teacher because home economics teachers were the highest paid teachers when she was growing up. The Great Depression came along and that ended that dream.

And so I grew up with 1930’s values. I make all my clothes including lingerie. I make Jim’s shirts and boxers. I take clay and make my own pots, bowls, mugs. I can’t stand to buy what I can make myself.  I knit my socks and sweaters. My siblings, all younger and none close to our grandmother, go to the store and buy what they want.

Spring comes mid-March in southern New Mexico. Right now, I’m anxious because I can’t plant herb seeds in herb pots I made so I can grow fresh herbs. Yes, herbs grow in the house. Tinker and Cohen, the Deranged Cats, would eat the plants. I have to wait until it’s warm outside. I want to have a farm on the patio this year. It’s difficult to grow vegetables in the desert and I miss fresh, organic vegetables. Before we moved to New Mexico, we lived in western New York. For more than 20 years, we had a huge vegetable garden – a farm in the subdivision. I’ll settle for a small farm on the patio. Container farming. I’ve ordered seed potatoes, herb seeds, flower seeds. In a few weeks, I’ll buy some tomato plants and some sweet pepper plants. Now, I dream of containers of vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets.

The Earth Mother Tendencies want to come out and dance… but they have to wait until the weather changes. It’s okay; Earth Mother Tendencies understand the need for patience.

Until spring, I’ll turn bags of clay into herb pots and little pots to hold air plants. I’ll turn leftover fabric into placemats. I’ll turn leftover flannel into a flannel shirt of many colors.

I own a smart phone, a laptop, a food processor and a bread machine. My car has a backup camera, a place to plug in my iPod, and answers my phone if I get a call while driving.  Modern technology that I appreciate and use. I do research at the university library without ever leaving my home. I have movies and television shows streaming into my flat-screen TV.

I’m still stuck in the 1930s and the Earth Mother Tendencies still want to dance.



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: