Recent Posts

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Post Script Ever!

Herein amends a good story to
........ahem .......
the best story ever!!!
(quite possibly) 
Best post script
(at least)

And I shall make it a game!

To begin you must read (or re-read) this, one of my first blog posts from waaaay back in October:


Ok now, see if you can unravel yesterday's turn-of-events, shown here in pictures:



My doorbell!!

What's this??

It's from Jeanine Payer ....?

Umm ......???

Oh ....... 
(tears in eyes)


Can't speak.  Can't write. 

Except to say, this came as a gift yesterday,
from Jeanine .....after she read my October post. 

Happy New Year everyone! 
(be kind to one another)

Thank-you Jeanine ....for being kind to me

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa I see you

The Polar Express, the first gift of Christmas

It's not even a full memory; it's just a vague knowledge that I never liked to sit on Santa's lap. I don't remember crying but my mom figured it out early on, and consequently, there's not one picture of me sitting on Santa's lap in all the boxes of photographs my parents took of us growing up.

I was uncomfortable because I knew Santa, the one we saw in the department stores and on the streets, was not the real Santa.

There was the Santa with black eyebrows at Sears & Roebucks.  So, what about the Santa at Neiman Marcus ......who had white eyebrows? What about the Santa ringing the bell--with the real beard??? And how could Santa go from wrinkly to smooth to wrinkly?? And from tall to short? And fat to thin? In the same day?

There was one time when I saw the real Santa ......and it is a story that I will never forget.

It was Christmas Eve and we lived in Kingsville, Texas at the time. My bed was next to the window and Lisa was asleep in her bed next to mine. I was five and a half. Lisa was four and a half. Of course it was winter, but even the winters in Texas can get cold. I remember the windowpane, not ice-cold as in C. C. Moore's 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, but cold, and after awhile it made my fingers and my nose too cold to stay pressed there. I had to settle for hovering as close to the window as I could without fogging the pane. And I guarantee, if you go back and look it up, on December 24th, 1966; it was either a full moon or quite close because the moonlight over Texas that night lit everything in a blue-white glow.

And then I heard the bells. I saw the moon glinting off of them way up in the sky! I saw Santa's reindeer pulling the sleigh with their legs swimming gracefully. Swimming.  Gracefully.  I distinctly remember that. Graceful, but with purpose. And then I saw Santa's red coat! He was too far away to see anything other than that bright red speck in the sleigh. But he was coming and he was in the sky above my house!! I quickly laid down and pulled up the covers ........and waited.

Before too long, I heard reindeer hooves on the roof!! And then I thought I heard some rustling and a creak of the door, because in that house we didn't have a fireplace. Lisa and I were very concerned about not having a chimney, but mom & dad assured us that Santa knew how to get to children's stockings who live in houses without chimneys. And then, after more rustling, a long period of nothing.

I woke Lisa up and we tip-toed out to the living room where all four stockings, now fat and lumpy, were hanging off corners of various chairs. We couldn't believe how loud the slightest noise made! Lisa pulled the string on the doll that Santa had left her "MY MOMMY SAYS I TALK TOO MUCH!" Sssshhhhhhhh .........we looked at each other panic-stricken! We didn't want to wake up mom & dad. They wouldn't be happy if they knew we saw everything Santa had left us, before Christmas morning. But we had! Our hearts were pounding in our chests. Santa had just been here!


I've never gotten over the sureness that I saw Santa through the window that night. I was recently reminded of this one evening while making dinner. The Polar Express was on TV. With my back to the TV, chopping carrots, I heard Tom Hanks the conductor of The Polar Express tell the boy in the story:
"Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see ...”
My wish to you tonight is for a full surrender of adult reasoning, and for a child's innate embrace of what is really real even if you can't see it ...........remember?

Merry Christmas Eve!  And Lisa?  I love you. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Human Beings

I was just getting ready for work's three days before Christmas .......and my mind was occupied not with what I still have to do (which is plenty but I'm only going to do what I can do; am seriously not sweating the small stuff this year), but my mind was busy instead, with thinking how lucky I am to have so many wonderful, amazing, loving people in my life ..... 

To all of you who I know, a simple thank-you doesn't seem enough--but I am grateful to each and every one of you.  I am ridiculously happy that you are a part of my life and I count myself lucky that we have "encountered" one another!

To those of you who I don't know, well I can't wait to meet you!!!

Happy holidays everyone.  Don't sweat small stuff.  Love one another--we're our best presents.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cartoon Saturday #4

Holiday Theme! 

Thoughts: am incredibly tired--just got back from quick two-day trip to/from Virginia Tech to to bring Thing One home for Christmas (six hours each way); am showing great restraint by posting only one Tiger Woods cartoon--there are millions; am stretching holiday theme to include polar bears & penguins (they both live in cold places similar to the north pole=Christmas!) because have been trying to fit in hilarious Gary Larson cartoon that cracks me up for weeks now ...

And finally ....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little Tree

Little Tree

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see     i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look     the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed,
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they will stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

                             --e. e. cummings

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Thing Two!!

Today is Thing Two's 16th birthday!  Happy birthday honey. I love you!  Oh, to be sixteen again ..........
not a kid--not an adult, driver's license! (fun ...but scary), bad skin, parents not understanding you, YOU not understanding you, teachers not as "nice" as they used to be, curfews, self-conscious--about everything, everyone bugging you about college--already, life in a fishbowl, bad grades? no concerts!, heartbreak (multiple) ......
Note to self: be nice to Thing Two this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Real Joys


All right, in the same vein as yesterday's Scroogy post, but on a lighter note .....I happened to pick up this little gem the other day from a gift shop on Colley Avenue here in Norfolk, VA, called Texture.  It's owned by a very cool artist/businesswoman, Gail Juren, and her shop is filled with all sorts of imaginative, helpful, interesting, beautiful, hilarious stuff.  This little book being one of them ....

(You can also get it from which has multitudes of hip, very funny gift ideas that are definitely worth checking out):

Back to the vein of things, at the end of Holiday Remarks & Replies (Pithy Proclamations For Correspondence, Entertaining, Shopping, Gift Giving, Loved Ones, & The Scrooge Within) are some quotes from Famous Scrooges which had me rolling around on the floor in true LMAOOTF style!  Enjoy!!

"Merry Christmas, nearly everybody!" --Ogden Nash
"Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April fifteenth of the next year." --P. J. O'Rourke
"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." --Garrison Keillor
"Nothing says holidays like a cheese log." --Ellen DeGeneres
"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas?  You know, the birth of Santa." --Matt Groening
"What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day." --Phyllis Diller

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six.  Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." --Shirley Temple

"Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call." --Richard Lewis

"Adults can take a simple holiday for children and screw it up.  What began as a presentation of simple gifts to delight and surprise children around the Christmas tree has culminated in a woman opening up six shrimp forks from her dog, who drew her name." --Erma Bombeck

And finally, Mr. Emerson, who says what I was trying to say yesterday, only much more eloquently not to mention succinctly .............
"You will think me very pedantic, gentlemen, but holiday though it may be, I have not the smallest interest in any holiday, except as it celebrates real and not pretended joys." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

So dear readers, my wish for you ....may your holidays be filled to the brim with real joys and totally devoid of pretended ones!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not Really Bah! Hum-bug!!

(Jim Carrey, as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, in this year's
reincarnation of A Christmas Carol)

And so begins what will likely be a very unpopular post but it's been nagging at me and I simply must write about it.  Note Scrooge .....put here 1) to beat you to the punch and 2) to indicate that I am aware I'm about to come across as Scrooge's modern day great-great-scroogy-grand-child.

George F. Will's recent column in The Washington Post called "The gift of not giving - Solid proof that Uncle Ralph wasted his money" was the first impetus in my thought-process for this post.  And a conversation I had with a respected friend yesterday was my second. 

No,  I take that back .........for some years now I've been struck ........  as I'm scrounging around store after store, after battling tedious traffic, after valiantly scoring a parking space ten miles from the mall--that while my mission is to find the perfect second, third, fourth, & even more (don't forget stocking stuffers!) presents for the same person (like you do for your children & your spouse & other close family & friends?  I totally know you do it too!!), that our Christmastime gift-giving tradition has become insanely stressful, not to mention ridiculous.  Whatever happened to ONE nice thoughtful gift at Christmas?  And Hanukkah for that matter.  Although, and I speak here from experience, at least Hanukkah has maintained a modicum of rationality in the gift-giving department and a primary allegiance to the religious reason it exists.

So that was my first impetus, Mr. Will's column my second, and the conversation with respected friend, third.  Three compelling impetuses (that is a word--I looked it up) equals one potentially controversial, may turn you off, not usually done in the nice little blogosphere I wander around in, post.  But try to retain an open mind as I postulate  .......

I've explained my first revelation about buying sackfuls of presents for each person on your list.  Now for Mr. Will's column: . 

The gist is "...the crux of Yuletide economics which common sense suggests and research confirms, is: Gifts that people buy for other people are usually poorly matched to the recipients' preferences.  What the recipients would willingly pay for the gifts is usually less than the givers paid."

Eminent professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton business school, Joel Waldfogel, author of  "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays" is cited in Will's column as saying that in his "conservative estimate (sic) in 2007, Americans spent $66 billion on gifts and produced $12 billion less satisfaction than would have been produced if the recipients had spent the $66 billion on themselves."  In other words, a well respected study found that we wasted approximately $12 billion in 2007 on homely sweaters and hideous ties.

And we all know the feeling, don't we? When you receive that gift where your first thought is OMG! What were you thinking? Don't you know me?? Don't you love me???  Replaced hopefully asap with, well I know they meant well nice so they know that I hate it like it!!  Add all these collective experiences up, and according to Mr. Waldfogel, it equals $12 billion. I'm surprised it's not more actually.  Although honestly once I get to a paltry $1 billion, I begin to lose perspective on that amount of money. So times that by twelve.

Oh, reading further, George says it much more hilariously than me: "Christmas etiquette involves composing one's face to feign pleasure when unwrapping an unwelcome windfall--say a sweater of an applling color and a style that went out in the 1940s--and murmering "Oh, you shouldn't have" without revealing that you mean exactly that.  Price of the sweater: $50.  Value to recipient: $0.  Actually, less than zero, considering the psychological cost of the forced smile."

Now, on to revelatory conversation with friend yesterday who commented that, really, he just loves having all his loved one's gathered together to "laugh & scratch" (I added that--one of my dad's best expressions) for awhile, have a great meal together, and tell everyone how much you love them.
(Not in a weird embarrassing way--in a lovely memorable way)  (Do we even know how to do that?) 
Now reread that and think about it for a minute.  It might seem lame upon the first run-through, and you might wonder how is that any different than Thanksgiving?  But if you keep thinking about it, at least for me, it becomes much, much more appealing.  It's so real & genuine.  And think how much less stress is involved?!  And as far as Thanksgiving goes, we gather then to be thankful, yes is a uniquely American holiday .......and surely it's implied that we all love each other in November, but the big push seems to be thankfulness and Yay for America! unity.  And eating of course.

So I'm not advocating a new, total hardcore no-presents-sit-around-the-tree-and-stare-at-each-other Christmas tradition.  But this I know: the current economy is hard on everyone, everywhere, and we've learned our gift-buying habits at Christmastime are largely a mind-boggling waste of money; we all know that almost everything we really want we can't ask for (unless someone out there is willing to buy me a new laptop with a nice big hard drive and a giant screen?); and this most especially .......we simply don't tell each other we love them enough.  In my opinion, I think we use gifts too much to do that job. 
Like all the wine & cheese I sent every single Christmas to my uncle and my aunt, both of whom passed away this year, probably was not as meaningful as if I had sincerely told them, even one time, 'I really love you and you've been an important part of my life'.
I know!  I know!  You're thinking, I tell certain people that I love them all the time!  But, speaking for myself, of all the people who currently people and in the past have-peopled my life, who I really and truly love and loved--I've not told the vast majority of them that simple fact.  And I don't think I'm alone in that regard.

Despite the profoundly religious reason we celebrate Christmas, whether we like it or not, Christmas has morphed into a lot more.  Some good.  But a lot bad.  I'm just thinking ......I'm going cut down on the bad parts and focus more on the good parts.  (Thing One and Thing Two must be having a fit right now!)(Don't worry T1 & T2) 

So dear friends in my life and dear family and dear anybody else, when I tell you how much I love you this Christmas, don't feel uncomfortable, just feel good and remember it for the rest of your life.  You'll get a gift too, but according to the experts, it will probably make you feel bad and you'll be hopefully forgetting about it as soon as I walk out the door and you toss it in the trash!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's SITSmas!

Holiday Wreath in Colonial Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
December 6, 2009

Merry SITSmas SITStas!

Happy Holidays
Each And Every One Of You!

Hi All!  Today is Merry SITSmas Day over at The Secret is in The Sauce (SITS) ....the SITStas!  SITS is an incredibly dynamic website dedicated to helping bloggers find and support one another.  Normally we link from The Secret is in The Sauce but today for Merry SITSmas all the SITStas make a special holiday card on their own blog that is linked back to SITS!  There are prizes on the hour, every hour, all day long. 

Click on The Secret is in The Sauce button below...we're overflowing with happy holiday spirit!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sometimes I Need A Caveman

I cast myself as the "modern, no nonsense, (invisibly) Z-snapping woman".  If I do say so myself.

I take no guff from no guy.  I tell him immediately, loudly if necessary, when I know he's behaving badly.  And at my medium-age (refuse to say middle-age--"medium-age" much better), I  know every  guy-trick in the book and may, possibly, be rather jaded.  All the boys and men in my life know not to cross me, but of course they do because they're guys, and when it happens they hear about it. 

Hmmph.  After re-reading, am now thinking of re-casting myself as the "b*tch"!

So it pained me greatly when like an uninvited guest, a certain epiphany, knocked on my door last week.  It was actually not a horrible week--I had one night when I couldn't sleep, but I've more than made that up.  So what, then?

#1 Scenario involving guy friend who I've known since we were both 14 years-old--I'm not too good when something not-good happens unexpectedly.

Most people probably aren't great at dealing with the unexpected but I'm pretty sure I'm worse than most.  And this not-good thing that happened wasn't even that bad!  But it hit me wrong for fifty reasons and I reacted quickly and I got pretty upset.  It all went down in a "texting-storm":
me:  I am REALLY not happy with you me!
him: Can't talk now.  Why are you so upset?  You act like this was a life threatening event!
me: You could have at least told me about it!  It's worse than you're making it!  You promised me you would always tell me if something like this happened. I'm so far away ....(sniff)
him: Ugh! I'll try harder but you need to calm down        please.
"You need to calm down (space)(space)(space) please?"  "You'll try?"  I instantly did as I was told and calmed down!  All it took was that "space-space-space please" and I'm fine with you dragging me in my mini-leopard dress into the cave!!!!!!!

#2 Scenario involving boyfriend--I'm tired of fighting with adorable, annoying musician boyfriend who lives on the complete other side of the country.

We haven't seen each other since June which is just too long for a couple to be apart.  Of course long-distance relationships are far from ideal and this one is suffering under the circumstances.  So the other day we were bickering over something I don't even remember now, and he announces that:
"We are going to be ONLY NICE to each other for two weeks!  No resentments.  No annoying behavior.  And if either of us is resentful or annoying, the other one has to ignore it.  For two weeks!" 
Simple, huh?  Will it work?  Probably not.  But it might!  And man!  Boy.  Have I been nice ever since!!  And it's nice ......drag me into the cave and ravish me now, will you?

So what's the deal????  Why is a strong, clear-headed woman folding so easily and letting a (cave)man take charge?  I don't know.  But I know I'm tired of being in charge of everything, all the time.  And I know I'm not right about everything even though I believe I am, most of the time.  #1 scenario--you were right that I was overreacting and you told me politely.  And you didn't make it worse by getting mad  too.  Sensitive, respectful, & calm.  Thank-you.  #2 scenario--you were right that I have not been very nice for awhile and since you took charge and came up with a plan, I will genuinely give it a go.  Plus I love you.


The epiphany: every now and then ....especially when I'm behaving badly ....I just need a caveman.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can't Sleep ...

IT'S 4:55 IN THE MORNING and i can't sleep .......

So am composing check-list style letter to my life.

Think this is going to be a good day to get lost & go crazy!

(and sleep)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post-It Note Tuesday #3

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Poetry Girl Sunday #5

A few songs on my playlist come from the "Bridget Jones's Diary" soundtrack I bought after I first saw "Bridget Jones's Diary" shortly after I read "Bridget Jones's Diary" (!!!)

Listening to them has made me realize I hadn't seen it for a long time, so last night Thing Two & I watched "Bridget Jones's Diary".

Thing Two--my almost sixteen year-old headbanger--remember?  The one who listens to his iPod in the car with ear-pieces firmly-in-ears because he can't stand the music I listen to all fairness I'm not keen on whatever-metal-band-with-some-word-referring-to-death-in-its-name that he's listening to either.

So he shocked me by asking if he could watch it with me.  During the movie we both laughed our heads off.  BOTH of us, not just me.  I've always related to Bridget.  What woman doesn't?  But I realized, watching my too-cool-for-school teenager as he laughed at Bridget in her ridiculous moments and quietly felt for her in her painful ones, that we ALL relate to her. 

Doesn't it always come to this?  Don't we all just want to hear that people, in particular that certain "top person" ..............that they like us "just as we are"??  In all our ugliness & shortcomings & failures???  That they see also our beauty & our strengths & our moments of grace?

Van Morrison, Someone Like You
Mark Darcy: I like you, very much.
Bridget: Ah, apart from the smoking and the drinking, the vulgar mother and... ah, the verbal diarrhea.
Mark Darcy: No, I like you very much. Just as you are.
Mark Darcy: I don't think you're an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother's pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever's in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences... But the thing is, um, what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.

We all crave that kind of love.  Don't we?


No Amount Of Money

would I take 
to sell away
the bowl of peach
blossoms, the snowy-
owl feather, the strands of hair you
tucked behind my ear,
the blunt stare
when I looked
which unnerved me but
sent small aches
to my toes and my fingers
and the tops of my ears--
the brush-moment 
your rough hand cupped 
my rib cage,

or the first kiss.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cartoon Saturday #3

On my hour-long "over the river and through the woods" drive to my parents house for Thanksgiving, I turned on the radio and happened upon this show, "The Gathering: A Modern Day Thanksgiving Story" hosted by Blair Brown on National Public Radio.  Here's a link if you'd like to check it out:

I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for a talk show ...I'm more inclined to listen to music in the car ....but on this day, Thanksgiving, the subject matter of the show became more interesting than any music I might listen to.  In a nutshell, The Gathering is about the glaring disconnect between the traditional ideals for which Thanksgiving was established and the way we continue to conduct our society in the face of many of those ideals.  Specifically, how we have treated and continue to treat the Native Americans who are a vital part of the Thanksgiving tapestry not to mention the Humanity tapestry.

The Gathering however is very constructive and very uplifting.  It is an enlightened, civilized endeavor.  I went back to find how Blair Brown closed the show because my mind keeps wanting to remember it:

"As we gather this Thanksgiving with family, neighbors, & friends, we should acknowledge that we've fallen short of the ideals we celebrate of tolerance, diversity, and community." ....

(those three words)(slay me)

 ...."The work of The Gathering should inspire us to recognize, however, that they are the right ideals and that we must work toward their fulfillment.  Not just every fourth Thursday in November, but every day of the year."


Oh yeah, but this is Cartoon Saturday!  So ta-da!  ......I also "happened" across a couple of perfectly perfect cartoons for the occasion!

And same song, different verse ......

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving .....where's the cake?

Monica's Burnt Sugar Cake

“Ok, here's the Thanksgiving menu so far: apple pie, pumpkin pie, blueberry tart, and ice-cream roll. What am I missing?... Cake. We need cake.”  Grace Adler, Will & Grace

Somewhere in blogland, I read that one blogger channels Lucy & Ethel. (Pioneer Woman, I think?)  This is how well I set priorities; ever since, I've been devoting more brain power than I care to admit to wondering who in TV land I channel so that I can report it to all of you in blogland. 

I wish I channeled Lucy & Ethel.  I would love to be so ditzy and adorable.  Except me-Lucy & Ethel would be spending every show plotting ways to kill all Ricky Ricardo male chauvinist pig-types who cross our paths (which is a lot, if you recall); not cramming our faces with chocolate at the candy factory or stalking innocent washing machine repairmen in our Sherlock Holmes get-ups just to get them to come to our apartments to fix our washing machines first. 

My friends would say I channel Phoebe from Friends but even they--on second thought--know that despite the fact they can totally see me strumming "Smelly Cat" in the coffee shop, I'm just plain bitchier (but only rarely and only at extremely provoked, very understandable moments).

No, I'm Grace.  Slightly bitchy now & then, almost always overwhelmed, overly sensitive, brain-addled Grace Adler--that's me.

And my wonderful parents have underscored that new epiphany by requiring that all I need to provide for Thanksgiving dinner at their house today, is dessert.  And yet I'm still overwhelmed ....sigh.  Oh, not really.  Well slightly .... 

Write back and tell me who YOU channel!  I want to hear!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Don't be overwhelmed!  Don't be bitchy!  Just eat!!

Love you, Grace

PS--The beautiful cake above was baked and photographed and blogged about by the exremely talented Monica over at Lick The Bowl Good. Take a moment to check-out her delicious food blog and her darling pets Autumn (doggie) & August (bunny) at: 
Thanks Monica for letting me use your pic!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Post-It Note Tuesday #2

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poetry Girl Sunday #4

I have lost two dear family members this year.   I am 48.  Although it is not the sole domain of my age group--it is a fact of life that the older we get the more people who have mattered in our lives will die.

We humans have a hard time completely grasping death.  In my uncle's case, I hadn't seen him for years.  Yet his death affected me greatly.  I found myself wondering if he had any idea what he really meant to me?  He was an engineer who helped develop the tiles that kept the Apollo capsules from becoming fireballs as they reentered the Earth's atmosphere.  He was a curious-minded inventor.  He was a fun uncle.  He always got down on our level, literally.  There's a picture of my sister & I, we look like we're four & five at the time, on the floor with Omar.  He's showing us something--one of us is pointing excitedly.  We're all three enraptured by the excitment of it all. 

When my boys were approximately the same ages as Lisa & I had been, Mil & Omar came for a visit.  At one point I couldn't find anyone.  Finally I heard noises in the downstairs coat closet.  Omar had the boys in there showing them something you could see only in the dark.  Now, I ask you, if you heard a story about a woman's uncle who had her two little boys in the closet with him, what would you think?  But now that you know Omar, you know.  The piece of titanium alloy that he brought all the way from Los Angeles, just to show the boys, still sits in a place of honor on Thing One's dresser.

Omar was married to my mom's sister.  We all knew that Omar was the most brilliant member of the family--the family he married in to.  In a cruel twist, Omar spent the last ten years of his life losing his mind to something like Alzheimer's.  I never knew exactly what it was.  It didn't matter.  When he died in June on Father's Day, I hadn't seen him for nearly six years.  My every day existence was not going to miss him.  But did he know how much I loved him?  Why didn't I just tell him that, emphatically if necessary, before the end?

Death is so strange.  One second you're there like you've always been.  The next you're not

Speaking for myself, I'm not very good at remembering this as I'm caught up in the throes of regular day-to-day living.  I take for granted that you are always going to be a breathing, heart-beating influence in my life. Plus I tend to dwell, stew, on the things and the people and the things about the people that bother me--and often, I have no doubt, I am quite right to be bothered by them.  But when you're gone and it's all over, what is left has little to do with those things I spent so much time stewing on.

I'm going to leave you with two poems today that may seem a little disparate, but if you give them time to simmer together perhaps they will become good food for thought as we gather with our loved ones for Thanksgiving this week.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze.  No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
                                  --Robert Hayden

from To Lou Andreas-Salome

.....For I don't think back; all that I am
stirs me because of you.  I don't invent you
at sadly cooled-off places from which
you've gone away; even your not being there
is warm with you and more real and more
than a privation.  Longing leads out too often
into vagueness.  Why should I cast myself,
when, for all I know, your influence falls on me,
gently, like moonlight on a window seat.
                                   Duino, late autumn 1911
                                   --Rainier Maria Rilke

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cartoon Saturday #2

Picking on Sarah Palin today! .......OH SO EASY ........

As Mr. Darcy inquired of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Predjudice,  "Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?"  I shall delicately twist dear Lizzy's retort and say this, "I never saw such a woman. I never saw such (in)capacity, and (bad) taste, and (poor) application, and (in)elegance, as you describe united."

This post is dedicated to my Mr. Darcy friends (you know who you are) who love to taunt me about that thing from Alaska.

I once heard a commentator refer to her speech pattern as a "Word Salad" .....I thought, now that is an analogy worthy of the analogy-academy-awards!  Perfect.  And this cartoon perfectly captures the tossed salad.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Golden Blogroll

Yay!  I've been blogging a month now (almost).  Day after tomorrow. 

I think this is gonna stick!  I'm not always the best at sticking with things .....but some things I stick to like super-glue!  I think blogging might be super-glue for me!! 

I never read a blog before I started writing a blog so I was clueless about blogging when I started.  In the meantime I've come across lots & lots of blogs.  Let me say this: there are an incredible number of extremely talented people out there in Blog Land.  It's intimidating.

The business at hand: for the one-month anniversary of this blog, I'm launching my Golden Blogroll.  It's gonna reside in the Right Side-Bar (it's there now ....go check it out!) and it's going to showcase my, so far, all-time super-favorite blogs.  These are the blogs that intimidate me the most.  That said, if you're on my Golden Blogroll, don't get a big head because that's something else I love about each and every one of you--your total humbleness.

Dear readers, I encourage you to check these blogs out .....and when you do ......please leave them a comment that I love them.  Maybe, then, they will be my friend??  hee hee I'm really not that pathetic.  Yes she is.  No I'm not!!  Yes you are .........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post-It Note Tuesday

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Lindsay's Waxy"

You know when you leave a comment on some blogs, or if you're ordering concert tickets, or other computer situations I can't think of at the moment--and you have to re-type the crazy made-up word or phrase they've left for you or else you can't proceed because you might be some evil computer trying to leave an evil comment or evilly purchase a ticket???

I know, it's a SPAM buster.  But lately I've noticed some of those made-up words are a riot.  (see title--yep! I got that one yesterday!)

Have decided am starting list of the best one's I get and will use them as character's names, or character's foibles, or character's sexually transmitted diseases in future as yet unwritten, not-thought-about-much-yet novel.

And, in addition, will create occasional blog feature called "Lindsay's Waxy" in honor of the first evil-computer-made-up-word-thingy that gave me the idea ....

I have already rejected several plain, dumb, or boring words or phrases.  My list will be comprised of only the most startling, odd words that possess a certain aplomb which enables them to roll off the tongue like they're totally legitimate words that have been pillars in Mr. Webster's dictionary since the first edition.

And then, too, it will be fun to comment (your job) on how best, in your opinion, it would be to use that word or phrase.  For example:

Lindsay's Waxy --could be "the name of Lindsay's new hairless lip" (vs. Lindsay's Whisker) or --"the dog breed that Lindsay created with two superb water dogs" or --maybe "The Town of Lindsay's do-it-yourself car wash"?

See?  Fun!

For this publication, I am also including a few other worthy Lindsay's Waxy "words":

Squite (a proper noun/name I presume?)

ington' klimpt (notice apostrophe!)

Leave funny comments and/or leave me some of your own favorite Lindsay's Waxy words ...we can laugh ourselves sliptVulv out of our wywoos!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Between the big picture at the top of my blog, and the picture in Sandbridge I posted earlier today in Poetry Girl #3--is simply 15 miles and 1 month & 2 days.  That's all.

Cool huh?  Scary and comforting at once.  Whatever higher power there is, it is awsome.

Poetry Girl Sunday #3

Heavy surf from the nor'easter makes its way up the beach access steps late in the afternoon in Sandbridge, Nov. 12, 2009. (L. Todd Spencer|The Virginian-Pilot)

O it has been a week--yesterday's paper screamed "NOR'BEASTER", today it bleats "It's Intense".  As I write this morning, it is sunny ...the not-proverbial "calm after the storm".  My little southeastern corner of Virginia has been battered by a sneak-attack Nor'easter now dubbed by our dazed commentators as The November Nor'easter.  "...Of ALL Time!" it seems like they want to add but they don't in case it comes off as too dramatic.  Even though it was dramatic.

I drove north to Washington D.C. in the midst of it.  A three to four hour drive. 

This part of Virginia is home to the cities/towns of Chesapeake/Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Portsmouth/Suffolk--all crowded together into an area we commonly refer to as "Tidewater" or "Hampton Roads".  Some of us know the origins of these two toponyms, most of us don't.  In fact ever since I've lived here for the past twenty-five years, a slow-burning controversy that flares up now & then simmers about what to call this place.

The point is that this part of Virginia was getting clobbered by the storm and, as life goes, something else was going on too--my aunt was being laid to rest in Washington D.C.  Despite the storm, I had to get myself and Thing 2 up there.  So we went.  We drove on through slanting rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph.  There was debris flying through the air, littering the road, battering my poor, but stalwart Honda Odyssey.  Mostly by pure luck, partly by good reflexes I narrowly missed a large tree that suddenly appeared out of the chaos, lying across the interstate.

Odyssey n., pl. -seys 1. A long adventurous voyage or trip. 2. An intellectual or spiritual quest. [After the ODYSSEY.]

How appropriate.

I had relatives flying and driving to DC for Meme's service and my mom & dad drove the same path I did from Williamsburg, Virginia (an hour NW of Tidewater).  But it was that hour that made all the difference.  The whole eastern seaboard had rain and wind but it was Tidewater that got the Nor'easter's particular wrath and I had to get out of Tidewater.  Hence they all looked at me rather flabbergasted when I arrived, appearing wide-eyed and announcing that my "odyssey" had been "brutal".  (I didn't really use the word "odyssey" but I did use the word "brutal")  Even Thing 2 looked at me askance because despite the buffeting rage of that first hour, he had slept through most of it.

I realized I had to put my white-knuckled, heart-hammering trip behind me and get down to the business of grieving for my dear aunt, and comforting, and being comforted by, dear relatives and friends.  It may in fact happen in the brain but this shift of emotions feels like it happens in the heart.  It is the heart that is confused and it is the brain telling the heart to get on with it.  It is now.  And now I find myself in the quiet bowels of an appropriately somber administrative building at Arlington National Cemetery refereeing this internal wrestling match as we gather and prepare to say good-bye to a life that has been a part of our lives.

It occurs to me that whether we care to admit it or not, life is dramatic and can be likened certainly to a long, adventurous voyage or trip that is certainly an intellectual, spiritual quest.

And my heart is saying, "Back off brain!  Leave me alone and let me feel for a little while".  Just let me feel it all ....

The Lives Of The Heart

Are ligneous, muscular, chemical.
Wear birch-colored feathers,
green tunnels of horse-tail reed.
Wear calcified spirals, Fibonaccian spheres.
Are edible; are glassy; are clay; blue schist.
Can be burned as tallow, as coal,
can be skinned for garnets, for shoes.
Cast shadows or light;
shuffle; snort; cry out in passion.
Are salt, are bitter,
tear sweet grass with their teeth.
Step silently into blue needle-fall at dawn.
Thrash in the net until hit.
Rise up as cities, as serpentined magma, as maples,
hiss lava-red into the sea.
Leave the strange kiss of their bodies
in Burgess Shale.  Can be found, can be lost,
can be carried, broken, sung.
Lie dormant until they are opened by ice,
by drought.  Go blind in the service of lace.
Are starving, are sated, indifferent, curious, mad.
Are stamped out in plastic, in tin.
Are stubborn, are careful, are slipshod,
are strung on the blue backs of flies
on the black backs of cows.
Wander the vacant whale-roads, the white thickets
heavy with slaughter.
Wander the fragrant carpets of alpine flowers.
Not one is not held in the arms of the rest, to blossom.
Not one is not given to ecstasy's lions.
Not one does not grieve.
Each of them opens and closes, closes and opens
the heavy gate--violent, serene, consenting, suffering it all.
                                                                 --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meme's Hollywood Rain

It's a furious day on the eastern seaboard.  Nor'easters usually barrel through mid-winter, not mid-November.  Today, if you must venture out, you physically wince and utter an oath when you open the front door.  I had to pay for this morning's appointment even if I didn't go, so quickly I decided to go before I changed my mind.  I threw on my coat and winced and oathed into the driving rain.

My umbrella turned inside-out five seconds after I stepped outside and three more times before I gave up and just allowed myself to get drenched.  On a day like this, getting from point A to point B requires you to lean forward at a 45 degree angle while, if you forgot to button up, your coat snaps behind you at a 90 degree angle flapping insanely like a flag in a hurricane.  This, I thought in the maelstrom, is Meme's "Hollywood rain". 

Meme (say Me-Me) is my mom's oldest sister.  And Meme has lived only twenty-five minutes away from me for the past twenty-five years.  Meme was also the first relative (besides my parents) on the scene when I was born.  I was born in Hawaii and my New England maternal grandparents sent Meme out as the Hendry family embassador, and helper, for Mom & Dad.  This of course I don't remember but I've seen pictures and heard the stories. 

Our relationship is as comfortable as an old chair.  Sometimes it's easier to get along with your aunt than with your own mom simply because it's a less complicated relationship.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm glad I got my mom.  Meme's demons made life difficult for her own children.  But Meme has mellowed with age and I'm her niece.  All she has to worry about with me is to save her old People magazines, meet me occasionally to hand over the pile of People's over a pleasant chit-chat lunch, and wait patiently for me since I'm almost always late to pick her up.  Meme is always patient with me.

Meme's Hollywood rain is any sort of drenching downpour that lasts for hours and hours that almost never happens in real life but always happens when it rains in the movies.  Think about it.  It never rains lightly or "sprinkles" in Hollywood productions.  In Hollywood, it's either a mean, mad rain, or an unrelenting, unsympathetic dousing.  Meme casually commented on this phenomenon once a number of years ago and it rang so true the minute she said it, I've never forgotten.

I found the perfect video on YouTube to illustrate (hope you like Ronnie Milsap):

Oh, this too from Son of Flubber--it's too cute to pass up:

I suppose then, it's appropriate that a Nor'easter will be wailing around us on Friday when we gather to say good-bye to Meme at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Today, after being splashed relentlessly by passing cars while I struggled with my umbrella at the curb, I ducked, finally, into my car and happened to catch my reflection in the rearview mirror--my hair is plastered to my dripping face, the car is fogging up, and I'm smiling.  This almost never happens in real life.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Poetry Girl Sunday #2

"On our earth, before writing was invented, before
the printing press was invented, poetry flourished.  That
is why we know that poetry is like bread; it should be
shared by all, by scholars and by peasants, by all our vast,
incredible, extraordinary family of humanity."
                                                       --Pablo Neruda

My beloved Pablo Neruda.  You will see more of his poems in Poetry Girl in the months ahead.  Born in 1904 in southern Chile he is often considered the 20th Century's best poet if you can say such a thing.  It goes against my grain to call any, single poet "the best" ...there are so many.  I'll have you consider that we are all poets and that poetry can "speak" to and from all of us.  I know it is a part of our DNA.  And it is Neruda who is "the best" at reminding us of this ...

This poem titled "Poetry" is from Memorial de Isla Negra/Isla Negra (1962 -64), from the chapter "Where The Rain Is Born".  As with much of Neruda's work, it simply speaks for itself. 

Click here to listen:

Click here to see:

" ...felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose on the wind." 
                              --Pablo Neruda

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cartoon Saturdays

But not the kind of cartoons you're thinking of .....Political Cartoons!! I love them. They're SO double-edged! What else can get the corners of your mouth to turn up while skewering the very society/world we're all a part of?

They can teach you things often see yourself in them.  They call attention in a very friendly format to things that need attention no matter which side you're on or how you feel about it.  "Hey," they say, "think about me!".

So I'm setting aside Saturday's for the week's best cartoons.

For now I'm sticking with Tom Toles, political cartoonist extraordinaire, who makes us laugh & think while we're reading the Washington Post:

Toles, Washington Post, 10/23/09

Toles, Washington Post,10/29/09

Toles, Washington Post,10/30/09

Toles, Washington Post, 11/4/09

Toles, Washington Post, 11/8/09

Happy it's-almost-over Saturday! (Hey, I just thought of this idea ten minutes ago ....)