Sunday, April 3, 2016

What Ever Happened to What'sername?

       By way of introduction to this evening's quill work, A REALLY BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY SON ROSS (DON'T USE PHRASE "IN-LAW") BECAUSE IT'S HIS BIRTHDAY!  HE'S A WONDERFUL, FUN GUY, MARRIED OUR YOUNGEST DAUGHTER AND WAITED AT THE CHURCH FOR OVER AN HOUR BECAUSE THE QUAINT, VINTAGE TROLLEY WE'D RENTED TO TAKE BRIDE, MAIDS AND FAM TO NEIGHBORING CITY CAUGHT FIRE ON THE HIGHWAY, NECESSITATING ASAP  EVACUATION. (PLEASE SEE, "THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS")
       A hardworking family man, he's the guy who's sit straight-faced, tolerating a guest speaker on Dream Interpretation when she says, "Consider your dream world as the true reality, and your ordinary waking life as a dream.", all the while thinking, And then see how popular you are in the corporate structure at board meetings when you admit to a cash flow problem but want to discuss instead a place in the Executive lot for your unicorn. This young man can 'work a situation'.  And at home - King of the BBQ and a rabid Bears fan. Fortunately, already beautiful wife, son and two daughters look great in navy and orange.  Blow it out, today, Ross!
       On to other, lesser matters at hand.  The eldest of our eight grandchildren has reached that 'world-is-my-oyster' age of fourteen.  Lately, family chats turn to issues of sustainess, stability a future success.  His goals are challenging - bloodless orthopedic surgery among them.  His younger sister by two years is set on oceanography.  My husband is a doc, I was a nurse then studied and practiced law and now want only to write (indeed, first love)
       When they see me struggling at the keys, they ask - in a kind way - why I remain one of the 'lesser literary lights'.  Indeed, indeed.  Time to launch into the relationship between talent and industry as they relate to success topped off with examples of some of the 'swells' who 'made it' and the 'could-have-beens' and why.  (This topic often comes up at class reunions and the discussion can get rather feisty.  "Did Whatshername, you know our valedictorian at Georgetown, do OK when she came back from 'camp'?  "Dunno."; "What's it matter?"  "Just saying."  Some sequiturs are perfectly logical and some are non.  Obviously, ole "Whatshername" really had a shot, also had a problem, sought help and got it and there is a classmate present who knows the outcome and isn't giving it up.   I say, "Pass the salt, puleez, and the tripe.)
       We are but sixteen years into this century; change abounds; these kids will have career opportunities in areas not yet discovered.  It is imperative that families and school systems not add stress by exacting a career preference prematurely.  Clearly competing/enjoying sports and the Arts in a coordinating outfit with clear, blushed skin and just the right color, waterproof eyeliner are primo now.  When the time comes to make life choices, success bubbles out of admixture of talent and INDUSTRY.
       While dating, my husband and I were fortunate to see a unique, rare, visiting Rodin exhibit at the Smithsonian.  The artist's industry could provide heat and light to the entire Midwest. A combination of his wife, Zelda and his addictions, contained F. Scott Fitzgerald to half the literary masterpieces within him.  During the same time period, Scribner's editor Sam Perkins handled Thomas Wolfe - a physical giant of a man whose habit, when on a writing streak, was to use a legal pad and the top of the refrigerator as a desk, tearing off pages in a desultory fashion, casting them to the floor.  Sam would diligently climb several flights of steps to Wolfe's unkempt apartment, collect the non-collated pile of yellow paper and return to his neat office so that we could have, Look Homeward, Angel.  A non-fail recipe - that, talent + industry.
       By definition, an introvert takes what the world impresses upon him and makes something of it.  An extrovert, contrastingly imposes his will upon a world situation/issue and makes something of it.  Nothing happened to Whatshername.  She did neither, apparently - either because she didn't have the ability, when opportunity knocked or she did but was lazy.  In a scene from the movie, The Turning Point, Shirley Maclaine, former prima ballerina, says to Anne Bancroft, reigning prima ballerina, of her character Didi's losing the part of Anna Karenina to Bancroft's character, Emma, "You got nineteen curtain calls.".  Emma replies, "You had a baby." Equally talented when the part (and their subsequent lives) were cast, this exchange revealed the point at which each of them knew who they were and what they wanted to be.  Successful.  Twenty years of daily, sweating, grueling work achieved that success for each.  You'll know the moment.
       Don't ask. I'm still working.  Flapper? Bohemian?  Writer?
Later, Lorane. . . .
Glad you waited Birthday Ross

Kindness of Strangers

      

Friday, March 25, 2016

This is Serious. . . and I'm Ready

       It's been rather WET around this 'burg' the past few days.  We're still in 'find-things-and-find-a-home-for-them' mode. One excursion down THAT bleak alley was rewarded by discovering three huge, black lawn'n'leaf bags - thought to contain the pillows to our wicker outdoor chairs but, "surprise!" they contained all of the linens for the two trundle beds we have for overnight visits by the grand peeps. (Of course when our best friends visited very soon after we moved in and my husband had unexpected open-heart surgery, en route to visit one of their kids in Florida, the bed linens were MIA.)(They were en route to Florida.  He had his surgery in Virginia.  I pictured you forming an image of 'drive-through' surgery. NOT!)
       So be it.  I daintily hauled the 'finds' out of the garage and through the house for a 'christening' visit to the laundry room.  (Had the washer and dryer been unionized, there would most assuredly been at least a demonstration.)  In the face of this seemingly endless 'moving in' activity, my husband decided to surprise me by getting the attachment necessary to fill and operate the hot tub we'd installed in the master bath for therapeutic back 'issues'.
       That exciting evening, as we watched all the fun goings on in the world news, I would dash to the master bathroom and  Check on the filling progress of my new best friend every ten minutes.  Things seemed to be progressing nicely until the fourth such check.  Where there had been eight or so inches of hot water occupying the base of the tub, said base was rapidly becoming empty having dispersed its contents to the tub's surrounding area (recently dry, new hard wood flooring) as if by a demonic variety of sorcery.  BRAIN: "Stop inflow of water." RIGHT HAND: "I'm ON IT."
       The remainder of the evening was spent playing mop, swear, take photos, speak-through-clenched-teeth 'calmly' so as not to sound alarmed/upset to the recovering cardiac patient.  I'm sure you know the drill.  And, once tolerance and energy were depleted, the new 'washer-dryer-with-an-attitude' was finally discharged of its duties for the night.  The next morning, once all involved were alerted and blamed, we took the logical course of action and returned to the store that had delivered the tub to discuss resolution and recovery.  (I tried to explain - while hubby was napping - how this was an extremely unusual course of events to the washer and dryer but they were serving 'frozen' shoulder and would have nothing of it. BRAIN: "What is it you are always telling your grandchildren about arguing/reasoning with inanimate objects?")
       Now, tomorrow happens to be the dreaded b-day, the cruel reminder of the passage of time and missed opportunities, iced off with the requirements of seeming to be merry and grateful and just itching to chuckle at every snappy little amusing remark.  It's a game I usually play with a semblance of pleasure but, and even "Do Tell" will back me up on this one, I'm tired and - ready? - wet, AGAIN!  Having just demonstrated to (a very tolerant) husband how staying on top of things and following the rules re: the 'care and feeding' of the new washer and dryer, I finished chores, got a shower and did what was to be today's last imposition on the laundry room inhabitants, only to discover in passing that water was freely flowing from the washing machine onto the just-cleaned tile floor.  And my phone was ringing.
       Taking the opportunity to answer it (after stopping the machine) to give myself time to calm down, hope it wasn't a neighbor wondering why there was water oozing out of all of our windows, I thought ANYone but my dear Mother - ensconced in heaven since '81 or my best friend Kathy (of the no linens when visiting)  is going to get a very unpleasant earful.  Well, it was yet another missed opportunity.  Apparently these limbs aren't traveling at a brusque enough speed these days because as I retrieved the cell phone it spitefully went silent.  And you know I missed Kathy's early b-day call.
       Haven't even listened to her message (Mopping, you know) but I am blissfully transformed.  I can't wait to call her back and just laugh at all of this nonsense.  The incredibly able mother of seven will, I know, see some bizarre humor in this drippy tale.  And I shall be grateful - for Kathy, the ability TO LAUGH AND THE ABILITY TO MOP.  INDEED.  I BELIEVE IT IS MY FOURTH ANNIVERSARY FROM THE GOOD FRIDAY ON WHICH THE WONDERFUL DR. DAVID OKONKWA PERFORMED 12 HOURS OF SURGERY ON MY BACK - THE RISKS WERE HIGH BUT THE RESULTS 'DIVINE'.
        So, a shout of gratitude and good will to Dr. David.  I can mop!  The alternative to the risky surgery - by now I'd be wheelchair-bound, on a morphine drip, a real death sentence - would have been no more mopping but lots of 'resting' in peace.  Sooo glad we opted for "Door Number Two" - hope you are, too.  Serious can be scary.  But 'ready' is good.  I try to balance them.  And I'll let you know what Kathy had to say.  You'll laugh.
Later, Lorane. . . .
 






















Sunday, March 20, 2016

LADIES, DON'T LISTEN UP

       There are days when you just have to bite the ole bullet of responsibility and really clean the frying pan in which you burned the grilled cheese sandwich that has been dutifully soaking for nine days, vacuum the Melba toast crumbs efficiently swept under the kitchen runner the last time your fourteen month-old granddaughter visited and actually put soap in the washing machine and start doing the filled tub of laundry.  I find that these overdo but necessities in life can be made less tedious if I have the TV on (volume very low) while making the beds and my life a tad more orderly.
       You may recall (and , to be sure you are a happier individual if you do not) that we recently moved.  We now live in a far more rural, pastoral even, area where driving along the side roads, you can 'take in' one bucolic scene after another, punctuated by haystacks, toothpick-in-your-mouth farmers and lazy grazers abounding.  (I could just kick myself because my parents weren't Holsteins!)
       Today, booming out between politically analytical commentaries, I was subjected to (Out here in the 'country', our servers broadcast mostly local advertising - matters and places presumably of interest to those of us who live in this prosaic zip code) a whining little young married's attempt at providing useful (to me) advice in the form of, "Ladies, are you tired of just not being able to find the perfect recliner for your man?"  (Pu-leez! Can we just get back to mundane but magical music?)  There were no options but to consider the query rhetorical or beyond un-believable.  This travesty was soon hooked and soon replaced by a pert but serious 'journalista', lip gloss teasingly nearing the head of her hand-held mike as she gave us the latest on Hulk Hogan's lawsuit
against Hawker Magazine` where the editor gave a green light to a two inch piece on the videotaping of the former wrestler's tryst with his best friend's wife - in said wifey's own bedroom. The Hulk was nattily attired in a long-sleeved, black shirt, open-collared and matching his black 'doo-rag' knotted at the nape as he tried for a semblance of indignance in the witness stand. 
       He staunchly put forth the irrefutable non-truism of Gawker's shocking breach of taste which had head-locked our First Amendment rights en route to flagrantly and irrefutably decimating the Hulkster's heretofor gleaming reputation in matters connubial.

[Uncharacteristically stepping out of character for a brief technical 'non-explanation', dear readers, I must confess my shared frustration over this unintentional, distracting and non-professional foray into the inane Land of Annoyingly Frequent Point Size Variation. Having given a directive for the insertion of an amusing and apt visual - which may yet appear at a cloyingly inappropriate juncture - I was rewarded instead with the visual of the computer's choosing.Mea Culpa.  But it would be far too costly to Carpe Computer.]

       On a similarly tasteless programming note, but wearing a more 'BMOC' look, William De Vane insists on knowing "What's in YOUR safe?", coveting ALL neighbors' goods.  Well, not ALL. Doubtless, he has NO interest in the 'goods' of that dear young lady, seen alternately popping up from her center theater seat, slouched and whispering embarrassed "excuse me"s on her trek to the aisle.  She seems to live at the bidding of the demanding grip of an animated, bloated and determined little bladder.  After enduring these frequent, untimely, follow-spotted exits in similarly crowded venues, she takes a stand (or presumably a seat) with, "That's it. We're going to the doctor.!"  (The specialty is never elaborated upon)  My guess is that however HER story ends, DeVane does not want ANY of her anatomy in HIS safe.  Her endurance is admirable, but, let's face it, in the end (no pun intended), she, like so MANY others is a 'settler'.  I'm sure by now you're familiar with THAT crusty, poorly presented species of humanity so we shan't go there.
       Of course, "Restroom Lady" is not alone in her choice of resolution.  The asthmatics, the overweight, the blood clotters, the forgetful, the joint achers, the joint takers, (did I mention the forgetful?), the complexion-pocked, the heartbeat-blocked, the sleep-understocked - all malingerers NOT - to the malady jocks flock - your friendly pharmacist. He's got the stuff that gels your feet so you can jump, that tells your heart how fast, slow or strong it should pump.  The MAN.
       The medication, information, cost for this remediation, whence you came (DNA) and where you're going, he slides so smoothly (you never see it coming)  he's done with the cheering, the 'good news' he's been auctioneering.  "Paper or plastic, Ma'am?"  He's sure the spoils of your fixed income will fit in your van.
       Yup.  His tongue came to the fork in the road and he took it - and us.  That 'yellow brick road was fun but don't kid yourself into thinking you came out ahead - or at all.  That road morphs to quick (very quick) sand and you are swallowed up almost wholly into the dire, overwhelming, fatal even, things that can - indeed already have - befallen the 'miracle-cure takers'. Buyers beware.  You can lose more than your hair.  Just as brevity is the soul of lingerie, long-windedness has taken our breath away.  To bite the bullet of responsibility, I wound up catching too many glimpses of insanity
       Soooo, I'll watch my step (never know what it's going to do).  Time to begin.  As long as I'm walking with Pop's dog - cute little pup -Assassin.  Ladies, men can pick out their own recliners.  You just try to be sure your 'workout tights' match your eyeliner.
  • Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

DANCE WITH THE DIVINE

      Soon it will be time to celebrate (or acknowledge) the passing of another year in the relentless passage of time in this saga of living.  I boldly requested a present for the occasion.  Dance is a life-long passion of mine.  Not so for my husband.  It came to my attention that our city will be hosting the 2016 performance of the richly inspiring and unique Shen Yun, the Chinese choreographic phenomenon which has its audience "enter the gates of a lost civilization where ancient legends come to life (certainly a goal of mine) and music connects heaven and earth."  (the birthday gift of perfection for one who is unable to stop her new , modern computer from drawing red lines through and under her limping verbiage, giving new and painful meaning to 'connect=the=dots'.
       I went to the limits of brashness in asking (no harm) this remarkable machine to share a sampling of this performance masterpiece with you, dear reader, potential listener, via linkage with a "You Tube" excerpt, "Dance with the Divine". (And I profer a premature apology should you hear, if anything, 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of company 'B'".)
       Apropos of nothing (why break my streak?), there is a TV commercial currently running which has a tag line of "Optometry humor.", thrown out snidely by an actress aptly-garbed in a white lab coat. Somehow, this little (VERY, thankfully) literary outing appears to stumble into that category.
       But I digress.  (surprised?) My birthday inching ever closer. THAT was our topic, it is hoped accompanied live or through the miracle of what is sure to be a 'Helen Keller' effort on your part (It is on MINE,  and I'm writing it. I would happily trade every jar of wrinkle cream this evening to have my hunter green, portable Underwood of college days for just one hour!) Birthdays - as a rule, in the Pythagorian, not twelve-inch sense - can be an occasion of 'stock-taking', an 'epiphany of significant or 'passing' largesse, a gathering/celebratory excuse or, perhaps, at some point, just another day - 'same-old, same-old', laundry, meal preps check the obits and, not finding your name, check the horoscopes.
       Given the insurmountable shortcomings of simply discussing the issue, I can only hope (fingers AND toes crossed) that the "big day" will come and go with more grace/less aggravation and desultorily throw out a 'postcard':
Later, Lorane. . . . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bear-Biting in 2015

       {Just an Aside.  Sometimes writing is automatic, I guess.}

Sandy's Life Song

Thrust from the fluid, undulating, warm liquid ambiance of his mother's womb,
Already feeling hammered and teleported into the OB's slippery, gloved hands by some act of sorcery,
This same kak's beefy hand delivered a remora-powered blow to Chandler's dolphin-smooth deriere,
grinning at the expectant wail reaction.
Mom's grin flatlined at the sound of her cherub's response-in-protest.
Medicine of the mundane exited.
And "Sandy-Pete-McGaw", the concerto - maestroed by Mother Marty by which her son's life would be known - bellowed, then mellowed into its rhythmic, tidal performance.
Ruled by the Moon Goddess, the sirens of the sea would softly, yet urgently, beckon to him lifelong.
His art was lived rather than created.
In many ways, life was an interloper between Sandy and his artistic muse.
We are formed by what we desire and Sandy's aquatic desire,
His penchant to be of the waters, vascillated between glass-smooth and blurred stormy.
But ever did it flow freely, soothing and at peace with itself.
He lived a life of generosity and praise to those who clung to that "Last Hurrah" mentality, the genre of HOPE.

******************************************

       "Some days you bite the bear and some days the bear bites you."  In my Freshman year at Georgetown, I dated (briefly) a midshipman whose cloying habit it was to drawl out this non-hallowed maxim as punctuation, summation, commentary to whatever event or experience we'd just endured.  I thought Annapolis was lovely, the parties and outings always a great time but what price sailing, cobblestoned historical surroundings, or asparagus, for that matter.  With little remorse, I soon forfeited the entire gestalt, electing instead to lead the Hoya Life with unabashed gusto - making the revered "Tombs" hangout my second home, learning every word of every "Chimes" song and keeping ONLY the wisdom of his far-too-oft-repeated maxim as a lifelong memento.

       You may recall, back in the paragraphs before you were applying for your Medicaire card, that I had come to a screeching halt upon arriving at the month of February in what would become that dastardly year of 2015.  I do believe the attitude

expressed on the little one's face
captures the overall mood of our family on that soggy Saturday that ensconced itself indoors as well as out.

       Daddy doc had been blissfully purchasing 'stock' in amounts abundant to supply ALL Habitats for Humanity from his buddy, 'Sam'.  I was doing indoor chores -  some of which brought me in very close proximity to the 'house side' of the garage door. (Did I mention the fact that on the ever-growing list of losses associated with the ageing process, auditory acuity has been a tough little tiger of resistance on mine.  Thus far.)

       Upon his mud-tracked return, laden with unnecessaries, there was an aura of urgency about his countenance which required investigating. 
"I'll start putting things away while you make your second . . .", I began.  (Affect and tone casual.)
"WE are heading for the garage - if it's still standing!"  (Affect and tone not UNlike 'Code Blue!')  Maintaining silence as we trundled down the steps to the 'Mother-in-Law-Suite', crossed the hardwood flooring, followed by the lush carpeting of his study, he yanked the garage door open to the now sloshy five steps leading to the car-less, storage filled double garage, water rising quickly and spiraling dervishly from the still standing golf bag - clubs with animal booties intact - such that its reach missed nary a millimeter of garage, the ceiling, floor and contents.

       The jetted stream of water had its origin above, beginning from a frozen, broken, exterior spigot that had at one time been the connection for the garden hose, the diameter of which was the causation of the force and 'dead-on' direction of the rapidly destructing, impossibly curtailing with any speed or efficiency, power-driven, structure eradicating flood - with obvious plans of following the path of least resistance - and most irreversible, possibly 'demolition status' outcome.

       Springing into action, he made the necessary calls and I salvaged as many critically important documents and irreplaceable items that I could carry up what was now the path of greatest (and most dangerous) resistance to dry/safe pastures.  USAA provided rapid, accurate and complete guidance.  Family, friends, neighbors and GOD got us through the remainder of the longest of OUR February days in forty-eight years of marriage.
(Unfortunately, there will be 12 more months to be continued.  Or we could call it a day and chat about pruning the calceolarias.  For now, I'm calling it a day  (and a more engaging olio of characters you'll never meet.  Honest.)
He couldn't wait to see how it ended. . .



Later, Lorane. . . . .              

      

      
 






Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wow. You Really Can't Make Some 'Reality' Up

       You know, if you've been 'following' (that's computer-speak for me) this blog, these past 16 months or so have been somewhat sketchy.  (ABSOLUTELY no pun intended.)  Now you know I've NEVER been described as punctual, regular or any other of those 'grown-up' words that are associated with reliability, predictability or good housekeeping even.  That said, you ALSO KNOW that these have been times that would try the staunchest of souls - to say nothing of how they could toy with any woman's complexion, full-bodied, shiny hair and at least NEATLY manicured nails.

       As I'm forced to borrow my husband's computer, the visual that screams "perfection!" at this juncture is unavailable for sharing..  (A dear and glorious Emergency Medicine physician he may be, but his collection of  'unusual' pierce and slashing wounds barely whispers the angst that a pic from MY assortment of  'Frenzy - Unabashed' would bellow your tidy existence into painful disorientation.  And 'alas', alack' and ALL appropriate 'et als', we must endure deprivation of sightly punctuation.

       Rather, we'll (with the frequency and abandon utilized in changing actors) run amuck with 'just the facts, Ma'am'.  Heaven knows it was enough to bring any semblance of my mental equilibrium to near wipe-out. 

       The decision had been made to downsize and move closer to six of our eight grandchildren.  That was January, 2015.  Realtor retained, signage spiked into the patchy lawn (visible from the road and the Linkhorn Bay in Virginia Beach, being a waterfront lot.)  In February, hubby doc trundled off to the highlight of his week (NOT golf), Sams, to stock up on grillables for our free-standing extra freezer for the merrily-anticipated Spring and Summer of cook-outs with the fam whilst we chattered excitedly about what we ALL wanted in the downsized new domicile that only Grams and Poppy would be purchasing.  (Having failed retirement with flourish - after several huge, heart-warming parties given by several staffs - I insisted he stand up, dress and interview because the hole in the sofa created by his read-a-thon was looking like a costly repair.)

       Glumly for him, he returned within days with a stash of repetitive, often ungrammatical queries to be answered ASAP and returned to the Hampton VA Hospital in anticipation of his starting his second - financially saving and skill-maintaining - medical career.  In two weeks.  Seems our veterans' hospitals are constantly in need of qualified, hungry, willing personnel who "hadn't heard" or "didn't believe" the rumors.  Fitting nicely into both categories, our boy was dressed out in his white chaps, stethoscope at the ready and set to :"Never is heard a discouraging word."

       Determined, equipped and enveloped by my new best friend, silence - save the occasional inspirational lyrics and melodies of "The Commitments" and "All that Jazz", I embarked on the recapture of Tuscany and Bari in my house-planning dreams, my jumbo box of colored pencils and my newly-printed (on transparency paper) scaled enlargements of the architect's blueprints.  What would be left behind, what came and the 'transformations' of treasures accumulated over 47 years became the focus of every waking moment NOT spent frolicking with one of our precious offspring - and theirs.

       Then came February.  The day of the rains coming (02/26/15), of 'Motherhood NOT smiling'.  A bit premature, I do believe 'prefaces' remain acceptable.  The foregoing, then, shall be so named.

        Till we meet again. 
Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Contagion of Comfort

       Although the motivation for my writing of the previous post was stunned grief, the responses - from Sandy's family, friends and people who know and read my blog - has been a force in my life that I know, feel will birth exultant change.  As life in the absence of change is mere existence, I admit to my enormous gratitude stemming from an enormous loss - to SO many.

         There are experiences in which we revel.  Those, too that we would rather have missed.   
Sandy was more than a loving friend for me.  Rather Sandy is an experience in which "revel" was ever the 'direction'.  The responses I received to my shared experience, abundant and caring, were 'directed' by an uncanny candor, a pouring out of feelings and memories that, perhaps, had been held captive in the dark corners of reverie for FAR too long.
 
       We all experience life's 'little gems', and pause to cherish them.  Sandy Gems are REALLY BIG and I hope we will ALL pause, reflect and LAUGH convulsively, as he did, as we re-live our "BIG SANDIES".  Take the time to enjoy the smiles, chuckles, smirks even (you've done it. C'mon.) because without the balm of humor, we can close the tomes, the "PDR's", the Farmers' Almanacs, and go home.  Once there, you'll not find therapy, just the couch, the trappings, as it were (Don't you just HATE overused tripe?  Sorry.) and silence.  You can find an empty, hollow stairwell and listen to its echoes or get very comfortable - feet up, lots of pillows - and relish in the knowledge that you are human and have LOTS of  'like kinds' just lounging around waiting to share the good, bad, happy, sad SANDIES!
       Abyssynnia,
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chandler (Sandy) McGaw - the art of living well. . . .

       A long time ago - or maybe it was yesterday - I was living in Norfolk, Virginia, raising kids, married to a busy doctor and maintaining a semblance of sanity by my commitment to and involvement in Community Theater.  Theater folks are a tight-knit, busy, competitive and, often very talented people.  As a former coronary care nurse and teacher from 'the North', mine was a daunting endeavor when it came to 'fitting in' with this crowd. It's always good to 'know someone' and I was fortunate via a casting decision to get to know Ms. Marty McGaw and then hubby, G.F. Rowe - sterling directors AND performers on the local boards.

       When not at the theater, theirs was the home to which we all gravitated to eat, drink, talk, LIVE theater.  A huge, old Georgian manse, encircled by a rambling wood porch, peopled by guests, family - and their friends - workmates/playmates all, seemed to always be a-buzz with activities, often unrelated but always in sync.  From this throbbing organ, one could see/follow branches leading to the rambling grounds, the pool, commanded by its house on which brightly-painted caricatures, trompes du l'oieus and witty commentary pleasantly assaulted the viewers senses.

       Beyond the pool surround, the property dropped off and ultimately landed at the base of its steep, brush-overgrown hillside - a ragged-edged rock and sand shoreline over which a long, tired-but-proudly-splintered, tar splashed dock where watercraft of all species, man or motor-powered, were tethered.  Here, too, one would usually find Chandler (Sandy) McGaw and friends planning or re-living a just enjoyed aquatic adventure. (A rangier, louder, more fun-loving band of 'Tom Sawyers' never to be found!)  Accomplished swimmers and boaters all, the gang was always at the ready to take the little people - visitors and family alike - on aquatic nature outings along the shores of the Lafayette River.  Lunches packed and skin slathered with protection, the merriment didn't stop until whatever 'vessel' returned, heralded by the shrieks of discovery and tales of history that went along with their slimy, muddy treasures.  Only THEN would "Cap'n Sandy" share the tales of the found water creatures as well!

       Blue eyes twinkling behind sun or regular glasses, Sandy was sure to cause laughter, inculcate life-lasting habits of kindness and comfort among all ages of listening ears, staring eyes and willing learners regardless of subject matter.  One learned how best to handle a Hawaiian sling to spear a lobster, when to time the shifting of body weight on a surf board to "catch the really big" waves on your board and I can only resort to the trite phrase of "mean game of poker" when talking about playing cards with our boy.

       Hard-working, harder-loving, Chandler McGaw was a true "GO TO" GUY. Of course, our first encounters were theater-centered with Sandy and our son, Philip, lending many a technical hand and tool.  But the relationship evolved into some small business endeavors during the Gulf War that were aimed at inspiring those who wait and those for whom they are waiting.  (A favorite was a white pillow case with an 11 by 17-inch photo of the military man or lady's family permanently painted on it.)

  Back at the theater 'ranch', he supported and encouraged his older brother, Parland (Parrr) and Honey and younger sister, Morgan ("born by the sea") in their acting careers.  His was a very natural, "Chevy Chase"-type sense of humor - an integral part of his personality which cannot be taught but certainly buoys the spirits of those in need when that need arises.  And he was extremely generous with his gift of pran ks and one-liners.

       "The McGaw House for Those in Need" - carved roughly on a rough-hewn sign over the front door, was a well-known neighborhood fact and many a passerby stayed a while, leaving feeling renewed.  While filming a movie in town, the Sheen brothers (who did stunts for Dad) wanted very much tom see the "Rock Church".  Marty and Jerry found it and off we all went.  On another occasion, we were doing a dinner theater show with Ray Walston.  He was dating a young lady who truly believed ina diet consisting solely of mayonnaise.  It was poker night and the young lady did not gamble.  Sandy and Philip kept her in four different kinds of mayonnaise - creating recipes ad lib - which had her amused all evening. (It seemed her IQ was rather close to the total fat in one tsp. of mayonnaise.)  For their efforts, "My Favorite Martian" gave each of them autographed martian head gear.  Made for great stories in later years.

       It was an unusual house.  Fitting.  The dining room table had been decoupaged with favorite Playbill covers painted by Marty.  She panicked when her own mother announced a Thanksgiving dinner visit.  Sandy had the table looking 'normal' with hours of sceraping, buffing and staining.  Marty's Mom was SO proud of her Vassser-grad daughter.  There was a huge poker tab,le in the game room with a marvelous view of the river.  It was also dubbed "THE EGO ROOM" as favorite scenes of Marty and Jerry from "The Lion in Winter" and "Dylan" adorned the walls.  Mysteriously, during the famous Thanksgiving dinner event, the door was locked and the key 'misplaced', later found in Sandy's boat.  All was well.

       Though our hearts will always swell with his largesse, the WORLD is a smaller, poorer place today as Chandler McGaw sped off its circumference in a motorcycle accident yesterday.  But we, Sandy's wife, kids and family will ALWAYS have him and the greatest of the lessons he taught - the Art of Living Well.
Later, Lorane. . . .

      

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It Really Happened. I found my blog & Think I'll Be Able to Write - on My Windows Phone!

Well, well and 'Howdy'. I can't TELL you how exciting it is when an old broad like myself interacts with today's technology and (it appear so far) has a cohesive if not stellar experience! (a punctuation sinfully overused, particularly by the inexperienced but this Happening is indeed special and, therefore, by association, worthy.)
As to news, we locals are living through (day 4) the dastardly hurricane, Joachim. At this juncture, any writer worth his quill would insert a visual of trees whirling dervishly, tides foaming over the rip rapped rim of our property perimeter and torqued vegetative debris having its way with the meagerly manicured 'grounds'. (And wouldn't you know today was the one arrangements had been made with a landscaping company manned by a band of Guatemalan tree-climbers to rid us of a dangerously dead, very tall oak whose acorn days most likely go back centuries. But come and climb they are and must also be filed with the non-visualized because downloading photos is assuredly risking this septuagenarian's apparent luck.)
It is hoped, however, that an opportunity to publish an anthology of "Wish you guys could have seen THIS shots from droplet - marred windows will present for capitalization. (And THAT'S just the Guatemalan performances. The raging storm imagery will knock your boots off.)
Also newsworthy is the ongoing saga of "Retired couple, after 47 years of connubial 'hiss', still can't discuss options, taste, function and need in a civil manner." Last week's installment had our youngest daughter interrupting her otherwise jammed dance card life to intervene, dealing with the builder and hot tub retailer such that a NEW tub, that fits in a corner as did the old-about-to-join-the -legion-of-in-extremis' tubs will be delivered to its new home, master bath designed by the architect to accommodate such a creature in the very near future. This because her parents, wearing their new "I'm over it; just-can't-cope" uniforms, were at yet another impasse halting all forward movement on construction.
Other updates include delivery of a POD of valuable and to date missing (as well as still contaminated with mold and mildew) by the original incompetents who improperly non-extricated the destructive flood waters emanating from a frozen, burst water hose spigot. They had been holding on to this POD of our possessions until WE PAID THEM FOR SERVICES RENDERED PLUS POD RENTAL FEES.
Why, you might ask with hungry curiosity, did you PAY them? Well, our insurance company - who have been wonderful throughout this debacle (thank you, USAA), advised us to play nice, don't run with scissors, etc. and ultimately we could very well experience normalcy. (This last is clearly interdependent with our respective life expectancy.)
This week on "As the Screw Turns" (the series running with unwavering regularity since 'date of loss', 02/26/2015) will contain elements of health re-evaluation, decontamination of mold/mildewed furniture, remaining decisions/selections at the NEW Winter Palace, trying to stay close and at least observe and record the developing, shining the lights and prisms through which we are enabled to soldier on and, it is hoped, stay in closer touch with you, dear reader.
Till we read again, later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Transition - AKA -" RIGHTS OF PASSAGE"

       It's that time of year: Happy Birthday
Kathleen Nora!
 
       Just a little footnote to my last post: I did not remember where the picture I USED CAME from.  I now know that it is of a very old clock on a street in Czechoslovakia. 
 
       It was time.  Could feel it in my bones.  Husband of 47 years and I are down sizing, as they say.  (And as you may recall my feelings  about that last phrase, I do and will keep my promise to tell you who these powerful, trend setting "they" are the nanosecond that I find out.)
       Out of context, of course, the word is meaningless.  Are we losing weight?  Cutting down on the number of group meetings we attend?  Having a spine disc removed?  What?  In the interest of clarity, I am using this feckless word in its "living quarters" application.  We reluctantly admitted that we simply cannot do what we did easily in the past.
       MIND: ultimate IRONY - when the productive, 'take-care-of-things', travel long distances by car with four children and a dog years are finally over and you have the time and spirit, this body with nothing but time and holds us captive, screams at the mention of motion.
       It made sense, then, to have a smaller house, less property, fewer 'things' and consequently more energy without physical complaints.  Lists were made - what stays, what goes; locations debated (where do the majority of grand kids live?); budgets discussed and a decision (with the help of a loan officer son-in-law) was made to build a ranch-style - tweaked with touches of Southern Italy - in Suffolk Virginia. I guess you might say it's the last development frontier in South Hampton Roads.  Or you could say, "what's a Suffolk"?  Or nothing. Probably the most sensible option.
       You are correct in surmising that all of the above activities were conducted while seated. Then, when "Let's make the list happen" time came, I, our beagle and, of course, Do Tell, my frog, were left with the happening.
       Just going through the 'what stays' was a protracted, bumbling trek down ole memory lane.  Organizing books provided a natural order of our life histories - pre and post marriage.  A true fan of the 20's, I relived all of my favorite buddies' worlds.  Still enamored of Dorothy Parker's humor and writing style, I also relived the frustration of never being able to master her 'story-within-a-story' technique.
       Had I been able to, I could  use this juncture to seamlessly slide into the reactions to  the "For Sale" sign erection by the neighbors as well as the neighbors themselves.  Some smiled wanly, murmuring expressions of sadness before dashing home for an evening of toasting cocktails, culminating in what must have been their shared erections.
       But, alas, I am constrained to the vagaries of meetings, glossing over a myriad of decorating books, and all of the other non-fun aspects of downsizing with the exception of our book, "The Tome of Plans for the Leavy Erection Residence".  Most of the decorating books stress the importance of a home having good bones.  More concerned with our bones, we invested healthily in plush carpeting and Cork wood plank flooring.
      It is hoped that the massage tubs will be entertaining rather than therapeutic.  If ever in our 'hood', you definitely have an invite - no, a RIGHT to pass into our little courtyard, share a transitional toast and a few laughs under the grapevine-covered pergolette.  Salute!
Later, Lorane. . . .
      
    

Friday, February 13, 2015

Intentional Cacophony

      Forest Hills, Queens, New York.  Picture it.  Already a physical misfit, the Forest Hills Tennis Complex seemed to have lost its way from Basil, Switzerland, debarking the IRT subway line and wending its way up the groaning escalator and emerging like a hippopotamus from an unlit, three inch drain pipe.  Power-wheeled feet of the 'locals', intent solely on finishing first in the human rat race remained unaware of this ambling amoeba save a flash of wonder as to the whereabouts of its recently-shed trappings of soot and cement.  Whatever.  No accountin' for taste in this burg.
       By the evening news, that it would be 'home' to TENNIS players, well, 'ther goss de nayborhoot', Madre Mia.'.  Fine athletes all, they ran to the beat of the cleat, already feeling the smooth, cool trophy that would cap at least a dozen family teeth.  But rackets were for the extra buck; white shorts could be used for first communion and you fished with nets for crabs at 
Sheepshead Bay.  
       When word got out that the stadium would also house concerts, the whole borough felt like wearing war paint and scalping a few 'folks'.
       Enter The Kingston Trio.  Three college guys in striped, long-sleeved shirts had just made it big with a single, "Tom Dooley". (About a guy about to be hanged), packed the Newport Jazz Festival the previous year and were about to sell out in Rhode Island again with The Newport Folk Festival.  Their key to success was singing and playing well on guitar, banjo and drums, being funny and avoiding the performing deathtrap of  politically controversial material.  (This was 1958-1959 and the 'Korean Conflict' was still bleeding.)
       A high school junior with a three day after school job at Macy's had some extra cash - at least enough to follow this witty, world-traveled, easy-on-the eyes fellas who  - just getting started - held the added attraction of cheap seats and the opportunity to 'hang' with college guys in the adjacent cheap seats.  I first saw them at Forest Hills (Brooklyn abuts Queens) and within two years, knew every word of every song they did.
       One of my favorites - political controversy be damned - was "A Merry Little Minuet".  It is a supremely sardonic, satire on international telations.  They did not write it, but performed it with exquisite charm and delicacy - qualities at the opposite spectrum of the commentary.  What is still striking to me today, lo these fifty plus years later, is its uncanny timeliness.  Yes.  It is both timely and frightening.  Not having the time to adequately research the tune, we shall have to rely on my memory, a very sketchy reliance of late - and in the early morn as well.  'Five, six, seven, eight. . . .
       They're rioting in Africa
They're thieving in Spain;
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.
 
The whole world is festering
with unhappy souls.
The French hate Germans
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don't like anybody very much.
 
But, we can be grateful and thankful and proud,
For man's been endowed with a mushroom- shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that one lovely day,
Someone will set the spark off,
And we will all be blown away.
 
They're rioting in Africa,
There's strife in Iran,
What nature doesn't do to us,
Will be done
By OUR felLOW   M-A-N. . .
 
This last line - and kindly forgive my awkward, hieroglyphically-rooted attempt at creating an audible impression using written symbols - was performed without regard for melody, tune, rhythm or acceptably-timed rendering.  It was a complete departure from its preceding, melodious and almost soothing regularity.  It sounded discordant and at once angry and sad, beaten.
       It was what I have dubbed, "Intentional cacophony".  The lyricist and musicions conspire to deliver what seems an inevitability from which there is no escape and toward which mankind was never intended - nor did he strive for - that is settling upon us.  I don't recall where I got this photo - probably DiAnne Ebejer - but it
expresses my feelings visually.  There
is no unity or order; the caricatures seem
non-thematic and of differing pur-
poses.  What was once unity and
intricate perfection, still developing
is disintegrating.

 
 
       To pause, reflect and attempt to devise alternative routes, preventable destruction is to be lured farther into the abyss.  Except this revisit will have for its escort more pain.
       The only escape from this widespread tragedy I see, therefore, is to edit out "Intentional".  We all can - and often must endure cacophony (You wouldn't want to hear my husband rejoice in his singing of "Danny Boy" but he wouldn't notice your moving away.)  Similarly, walk politely but swiftly past the mournful; know that looking back, some very funny things serendipidously happened during sad occasions and finally, there are ALWAYS occasions for re-writes.  It is given to us to always be on the lookout for those gifted ones who, should the occasion arise would and will become available to preclude disaster, change the ending, do that fine and timely re-write.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Truth be Told. Hmmm. Can't Say I've seen Much Lately

Truth be told. ..  Hmm. . . Can't Say's I've Heard Any Lately

       This lady walks into 2015 (running, even walking too brusquely may have caused suspicion, detention, delay) and with a resolved sense of determination to become 'more involved in mankind' precipitated by a hasty New Year's resolution - interrupts a private conversation between two people unknown to her who seem to be lost.  She asks whether she can be of assistance in helping them find their way.

       (Many - too many of her years have been wasted in pursuit of 'finding herself', ferreting out her personal karma, assuring herself that she had, indeed, 'arrived'.  She now knew with that unquestionable assurance one has at the start of what is going to be a bad evening as one smudges the polish on before completely tearing off a newly-manicured fingernail while jabbing for the spotless, shining brass doorknob the turning of which effects the entrance of a highly sought-after blind date, her 'way of being in the world', a 'way' that yields gratitude and a modicum of pride.  "But now," she thinks, it is given to me to negate Self for the higher, nobler purpose of helping others out of darkness into the bright light of confidence and comfort, trampling upon despair and deterrence en route.")
     The unfortunate strangers to her city had totally bollixed the "KEY" reference section on the street map they'd purchased and were therefore heading very much away from their desired destination and thus the event that had lured them this far would be history by the time their error was recognized, steps re-traced and proper goal achieved.
       She, seeing these ramifications instantly in the brief glance taken at the disoriented couple's map, trusted her surmise completely (thereby obviating the need to confer with these hapless losers and wasting more time - hers) instantly began issuing STAT orders to her personal driver, having snatched her cell phone from its ochre kid case, used speed dial and began her barks as four staring eyes became Keene-sized fear balls.
       (Just as the blanket of cozy satisfaction settled itself around her erstwhile cold shoulders, the first lap in her journey from 'Isolated Island' to 'Compatible Camaraderie' the sound of retreating, panicked, Dr. Scholl's-lined sturdy touring shoes running apace bombarded her ears.  The auditory, polluting assault shattered her sounds of peaceful silence renting the shoulder comforter into microscopic shards of rayon.
       This acute change in her surrounding constitutional ambiance shocked her into a discordance so severe as to permit her cell phone to plummet to the unyielding cement amid the fading pleas of a fearful servant now morphing into nightmare fragments.
       The 'about-to-be prototypes' of her new karma had fled.  Apparently  NOT finding "Interpersonal Salvation" as vital as finding the pre-paid seats to the opera.  She could still faintly make out their forms - your typical 'rat-in-a Skinner-Box', flinging themselves into the maze, caution to the wind, onto the first streetcar of kindness they thought they saw.)
       "Well", she thought, "2015 may not be at all timely for such a life-altering change."  Having done an about face, the lady continued her walk.  "Now where was I?  Ah, yes.  2015: Year of Personal  Discovery Leading to the Real Me and My Reason d'Etre. If it's a good read, perhaps next year I'll market the screenplay."
       (Oh what a tangled web we weave. . . Just considering effecting a  change that requires discipline; demands TRUTH.)
Later, Lorane. . . .

      




















       






  
      
      

Sunday, August 31, 2014

To Be Continued. . .

       A true introvert, I have reached this stage of what most people call 'life; rather than 'living' by continually observing, evaluating and then reacting to the people and activities presented to me.  On occasion, I can/am able to initiate, footprint or series of events, but, in large part, mine is a reactionary experience.
       The most salient and recent example of this phenomenon is the absence, indeed retreat from, the writing of this blog.  Stimuli abounded - personal, familial and circumstantial - but although there was no lack in response or resolution, there was a contemporaneous lack - nay, refusal - to record and share via the written word.
       Although my choice did not prevail unobserved, it's also true that the remainder of the "class-of-'66-ers", them my sketchy readership included, seemed, after at least one polite query - Run out of pens?, computer acting up?, Taking a well-earned break from that lonely 'writers' grind'? - continued to trundle along their respective (and respectable) life paths with well-earned vacas, eating right, getting enough exercise, having serious 'almost-at-the-age-of-retirement' age  chats regarding whether, and if so, to which life alert system they should  be bargaining with.  Or, what was in their safe or that clever Greg guy on The Five's bon mot of the day was.  (I'm just awful with names.  Can't tell you how many times I've introduced myself as Harry.)
       And we were discussing - ah, yes - the much-heralded, breaking news and its ranking among the genuine public services.  The good news: it could be just the ticket to cheering up a worry-weary general public; The bad news: 'Brain to L: it's your thing and can ONLY get better.  (Does she choose now to gift us with a, "to be continued", please God?)
       Truth be told, it's a need - right up there with the four basic food groups and discreet portable catheters - and as such, to some degree, self-fulfilling.  That it also has a modest following, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding: Numbers don't lie.  Nor does Linked In.  Those folks are consummately legit. But I digress.  (Surprise.)
       Today's entry is truly multi fold.  It was the last day of August - a month that bas been most celebratory over the years.  You may recall that two of the finest (and most-admired by yours truly) women I've ever known - my Mother Julia and dearest friend - and mother of seven - Kathleen Nora Dehler were August babies.  Grand peep Number Seven, Wesley, celebrated his first birthday on the seventeenth.




       And on this day in 1982, we were blessed with our fourth  child, Declan.  Tragically, at age seventeen months, he aspirated while giggling and ultimately had to return to his Creator shortly thereafter.  Wounded deeply but blessed with the strength to go on, we are.  And, my writing respite terminated, "Abyssinia"!
       Later, Lorane. . . .








































Friday, May 23, 2014

As They Say. . .

       " Elegance is a state of mind." - Oleg Cassini.  Noticed that quote the other day.  I sat down and squinted my eyes closed shut.  Real tight.  And I thought.  E-L-E-G-A-N-C-E.  After about an hour, satisfied that success was in the gilded-clasped evening bag - along with  and comfortable among the other newly acquired designer items in my closet - I bolted up and sprinted to my computer to (paperlessly) check the balance in my cheque-ing account.  There it was.
       The fixed and not so elegant but all too familiar orts of this month's government- generated contribution to said account.  It had obviously been artfully construed with Brand name purchasing in mind.  I was, as they say, loaded for Bayer, Kraft and Sunkist.  Seems that while Oleg may have lived in Elegance, I continue to maintain my Virginia zip code.
              Alternatively, one could say that my mind it is awash in abundance - of love, family and a  never-quenched thirst for knowledge of the old and new variety.  Take my Surface tablet - please Microsoft - and do your magic compatibility trick that will allow me to talk to all my friends on Blogger without losing font size, color, photos and entire paragraph chunks.
       Yes.  I have seen -and bought -the everything there is to know about Windows 8.1 olio of manuals, books and tile tips.  They are thorough and easily understood.  A gift (?Fathers' Day) for any user who wishes to understand his computer functionality and remedially.  As for me, I was thinking of something more along the lines of female-person-wife-mother-grandmother-writer- commentator.  "Windows 8.1 Whiz" just doesn't fit well.  Makes me look short, fat, stooped and dumb/ boring.
       My mind also fancies and is blessed with creativity.  When not writing - which is 90% of my free time lately due to this compatibility issue. (Have you noticed these days nobody has problems anymore.  Only "issues".) I paint, refinish furniture, grow food and flowers in catchy little containers, read (things written by the segment of the population without compatibility issues) and prepare unusual and color-coordinated meals.
       Since I am not averse to overflow or crowding, my mind also holds music, theater, dance, romping with children, laughing added to all things and a huge blanket of spirituality which can be decompressed in a blink down to rosary beads case size, giving me even more space to think - nay WONDER - at the beauty/genius of ever-evolving technology.
       Perhaps, then, Oleg and I are not at odds when it comes to state of mind.  Blessings, such as the above mentioned, transcend material elegance.  However, when speaking of his fashion designing, Mr. C's personal motto was: "Better than most.  Second to none."
       That one stumped me.  MIND: second to none  equals best of all.  If he is only better than most,  he loses his first place position.  I must conclude that whatever Mr. Cassini said was lost in translation.  After all, he spoke five languages fluently.  Rather than ending with a perplexed feeling, I shall move on.  Pablo Picasso said, "Everything you can imagine is real".  I am off to check my bank balance again.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, April 28, 2014

Let's Just Bot Say Anything

       I have always been a fan of Diane Keaton.  You might say we go way back.  This is because we are exactly the same age.  I have admired her work as well as Diane-the-person for many years.  Imagine, then, my delight at seeing an article  dedicated just to Diane in a magazine I'd never seen before.  The name of the magazine is MORE.  (Or LESS. You can decide if you read this to its conclusion.  I probably will.  You should, too.)  In this issue, the title was printed in bright Kelly green.  But what made it so special was a cover shot of my very own Diane Keaton - smiling impishly behind black-rimmed glasses, wearing a fashionably 'Diane' black and white plaid suit, crisp white shirt and black bow tie.  Making the image even more fetching, she had her hands clasped behind her head, elbows facing the sky, framing her glowing blond hair. (Did I mention the 'chiclet'- white smile?)
       The interview, "On the Art of Being Yourself", was crisply penned  by Margot Dougherty.  It begins, "'Hello!' Diane Keaton sings, walking into a beachside restaurant in Santa Monica."  Meticulously describing a very chic and tailored long sleeved white blouse over polka dot capris, bottomed off with telephone-climbing boots, she allows as how, looking fantastic, 68 year-old Diane Keaton ". . .owns it." (I daresay, I, for one, was happy to hear it.  Indeed, it is hoped that she is the sole proprietress.)
       Margot then announces the vehicle that will justify her article's title, Diane's new book, "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty".  Our reporter tells us the book "is an honest, moving, eloquent and sometimes funny pastiche of memories and contemplations of beauty and aging, family and friends." Keaton tells us that she wrote snatches at a time (And you'll see why I'll certainly not go there) because "I'm not a writer." (This statement  confirmed the 'honesty' aspect of the book's description.) Rather she likes to talk it and then  read the book over and over.  Somehow that statement turns the phrase proofreading into an oxymoron.
       This introduction is but prelude to the treat of an excerpt from Diane's book.  Unfortunately it speaks for itself and presumably in its final draft order. The sample begins with a shopping list of qualities that Diane admires in women: outspoken, eccentric, funny, flawed, inappropriate, sassy, strong, brilliant and having their own style or stamp are among them.  Perhaps, by way of illustration, this olio leads into a discussion of a shared experience Diane had with her daughter, Dexter.
       Reading a story, "Top 10 Female Celebrities Who Are Ugly No Matter What Hollywood Says", Dexter was shocked to see that number five was Diane Keaton.  The article author granted that she (Diane) was "old as dirt" but pointed out she was ugly even when young in the film The Godfather.  Diane immediately went to the mirror and reminded herself sternly of the many blessings, friends, family and gifts that she had. Along with her ability to "think, to a point. . .", she could see - "the gift that keeps giving".  By way of example, Diane tells us that seeing "is far more enriching than being seen." An odd comment to be made by a woman whose career is defined by the latter.  Don't you think?
       Diane then shares the fact that the favorite part of her body is her eyes.  She then quickly clarifies, explaining that this is because of what they can see, certainly not because of their color or shape.  The reader must then endure a smarmy and self serving paragraph about seaside cliff views, flaws that become animated and the "ineptness [sic] that makes you who you are." In an uncharacteristically dogmatic tone, she informs us, "I'm talking about women who make us see beauty where we never saw it." (After that, color me 'kept on point'.)
       In what has now become a typically unrelated segue, Ms. Keaton describes her living room wall as sharing space with 48 portraits of "men I've collected over 25 years.  I call them prisoners." A  lineup of modern and historical gentlemen of some notoriety then follows.  Departing from the mundane into the more dicey, she points out that Warren Beatty is not one of the prisoners.  She tells us that Warren was someone whom she loved in real life, "not reel life" and that he was  stunning, especially from the right side.  She sums up by saying that he was indeed a beauty, a fact that made their breakup even more poignant and painful.
       Moving along to what might just be her book's main schematic theme, she poses a "question for Warren and all of my prisoners on the wall." She is curious as to when they began to worry about the effect of time on their faces, if they worried at all.  After providing a brief selection of male actors who would be considered 'lookers', she provides as well the ages of those still on the screen and wonders "how they are handling the loss." Apparently from firsthand knowledge, Warren, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson have just let it go.  Diane feels this is probably the most gracious thing to do.
       Then, in an interesting bit of autobiography, she prattles on about how most women, herself included, handle the physical 'disappointments' of aging.  She admits to being a senior citizen, as am I (you will recall we are the same age.)  In fact, like Diane, over the years I have appeared as my normal self and have also enjoyed some 'Annie Hall' periods.
  
 
I said I was a fan, not that we looked alike.  But at Thirty-Five-ish, this was me.  Most likely, Diane was  Annie Hall in that era.  There have been times when I wished I were as well.  
Of course, Diane has maintained her Annie Hall looks - although she maintains that  "the most thrilling part of my face is its ability to express feelings.". This thrill quite logically leads us to her meeting and relationship with Al Pacino. 
       "Picture this.". (Well give it your best shot with YOUR eyes.). They met in a bar in New York.  (I think I've got that one.). She was feeling awkward and of course neither knew they were about to "make a movie that would be considered one of the greatest films in American cinema.". (Can't relate.)  There was nothing nice about her thoughts.  "His face, his nose and what about those eyes?". She just kept trying to figure out how she was going to make them hers.  (Pretty strong when you consider the 'thing' she had going with HER eyes.). But as it turned out, they never were.  That seems to be the lure of Al Pacino to Diane Keaton: "For the next thirty years I kept losing a man I never had."
       She spends a few more paragraphs in the present dropping names and in on Woody Allen one day when she had time to kill while filming in Connecticut.  (By now, though, she had concluded that for women like herself and her peers - who have been separated from reality by fame - each morning they grappled with this great leveling experience, getting up, looking in the mirror and sighing - being old.) 
       Having been friends with Woody for 43 years, it seemed fitting that the inclusion of him in this excerpt was most fitting.  She dropped in and they took a walk on Madison Avenue, a habit from days gone by.  Looking in shop windows, they also saw those who were looking at them.  After running into Paul McCartney and his new bride, they headed back.  The chance meeting, she felt, was sweeter because it would probably be their last one.  Diane was 67.  Woody, 77.  She tells us she could almost hear Jimmy Durante singing, "Oh, it's a long, long while from here to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."
       (Before you get all soppy about Diane and aging, know that she's just finished a movie with Michael Douglas and one with Morgan Freeman in which they kiss.  "I have a list of all the men I've kissed in movie affairs.". She recently mentioned the fact that the only leading man she 'missed' was Matthew McConaughey during an awards presentation.  Mathew was in the audience and came running up to the stage to render her list complete.  "It was so much fun!.  I'm going to use that trick a lot.")
       But getting back to Jimmy.  He didn't have 48 prisoners on his living room wall.  Nor did he keep a list of leading ladies whom he had kissed.  He had Mrs. Kalabash and that seemed to elicit a doffing of his hat every time the curtain came down.  Ms. Keaton wanted to say, "We've reached September, Wood.", but kept it as a thought.  Thoughtful of her, given she was moving on to Michael Douglas
       I'll be 'moving on' as well but do not feel I've "reached September.". I'll never stop 'reaching' - nor should you.  As for Diane Keaton, well, I've not yet read the entire book, but from the odd feeling I had reading the excerpt, I wish she HAD just SAID it wasn't pretty and kept us guessing - or not.  I don't believe her "days are short" but I DO believe she's "not a writer."
Later, Lorane. . . .