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!
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. . . .

Sunday, April 20, 2014


              I knew I wanted to write today but my last seven days have been rather a varied but jammed dance card and I fretted over topic.  As you may know today is Sunday.  More specifically it is Easter Sunday.  (I say this lest the reader infer that these posts are of little or no moment.  Rather, they do include significant facts.)  On this day, Christians world-wide celebrate today as one of victory and peace.  After a whirlwind of a week, having been greeted with paradoxically co-existent and unbounded awe and adoration seven days previous on Palm Sunday, (having arrived majestically on his ass) things went south as the days paraded forth.  The tidal rapture morphed into popular doubt and ultimate rejection culminating, as these downward trending spirals do -  in condemnation, accusation and mob wailing/shrieking demands for his crucifixion and death.
       But please know that this opening paragraph in no way implies - nor should you infer - that I'd just had one of those "Jesus weeks". It was nothing more than 'reportorial orientation' as it were.  Viewed as one of the trusted journalistic "W"s, it was a 'when'.  Easter Sunday.
       Still the topic remained my "bete noire".  Therefore I relied on my old friend serendipity.  I keep a particular book beside my bed - "Dance While You Can" - an anthology of saws that remind one to live life to the fullest.  (Let's face it, we all have days when we'd rather stay in beddie-bye.) So I decided to open the book in a desultory fashion and let the words on this random page guide my quill.  (Just kidding.  I recently bought a pencil.  Let's hope I didn't also need an eraser.)  Here we go:
VISUAL:  Feet in white Keds, first position, ballet.
WORDS:  I will not stand to the side
                 And allow the music in my heart
                To fade away and die.
                         I will dance to my own life's song.
       This past week was spring break for two of my grandchildren.  With the exception of Tuesday, we had made great plans to have lots of fun.  The happiness began on Monday with our trip to the zoo. 

seven year old Emma and three year old Charlie love animals.  I was told at the last minute that we were to be joined by our best friends, seven year old twins, as well as a third friend, a female.  Undaunted, off we went.
       Naturally, the assembled group was able to move along and view the furry end feathered creatures with greater speed than was the grandmother.  Nevertheless as they buggied, I waltzed.  (dancing to my own life's song as it were) And as one of my daughter's type A dear friends insisted on moving the group along at a steeple chase pace, I paused at will to capture the beauty of some of the more graceful though less exciting animals.
Graceful Ostrich
       Parting at a long day's end, we shoveled some soft yogurt smothered in toppings, into our tired faces and returned to our respective homes. For me, Tuesday was all about Dr. Appointments, errands and rest.  (I daresay I arrived at Tuesday on a very weary, non-majestic ass.)  This because on Wednesday we'd be heading north to Hampton.  There we went to tour the Air and Space Museum and enjoy an IMax performance of the "The Island of the Lemurs", narrated by Morgan Freeman. My passing up the opportunity to experience astronautical gravitational pull disappointed the children.  Stuff happens was the lesson.  Gastronomical pull won me over.  I chose to go home with my French-fried Funnel cake intact and in my GI tract.
Emma gettin' ready to do the "Lemur Hop"
       Even at their tender years, they understood the history of aviation's birth.  Having visited the Wright Brother's Museum on the Outer Banks, they were far more interested in the warp, speed, and drag of modern jets.  In that there was no dearth of the latter, I amused myself admiring the submitted art work of very young children in our area depicting air and space.  (The highlight of this day, I must point out, was the complete enjoyment by everyone of an extremely unusual dance performed by the real lemurs in Madagascar (the 'ring-tails', I believe) in the movie.  Eat your heart out, Bob Fosse - although I believe his was drugged out of existence.)
       All was said and done, but for the last outing.  We went to see Rio 2.  It seemed to bring color, light, smile, flight, quiet and speed together in a lively Latin finale.  In the end, they were always all together.  Lemur music in your heart, joy moving your feet and rhythm living in your soul, life is a never ending calliope.  Later, Lorane. . . .


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bill de WHO?

       How hard did William De Vane work and doing what?  I pose this question not from idle curiosity but because 'I wanna be like Bill' - cantering around the estate when NOT stuffing tactfully delivered precious metals - cleverly packaged in FTD boxes, to my front door.
       I want to be able to smile impishly when a neighbor - as they always do - asks, "What do you have in your safe?". I simply refuse to rely on some 'fly-by-not' saving service when I fall, can't get up and am told to vacate the premises STAT because there's smoke coming from my kitchen window and the Fire Department has been summoned.  No.  Like Bill, I want 24/7, in-house 'angels' watching over my wall safe and me, ready and able to save all that is precious - my metals, me, any pets or grand peeps who happen to be about - the entire Gestalt of things marked "fragile", "Important", "personal", etc.  (They can evacuate the boxes marked "etc" last.)
       If you know, dear readers, DO share.  How did William DeVane get in a position to do 'on air' advertising for MONEY?  (Surely he's paid in doubloons, but I'm just sayin'.)
Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oh, Well

       Really thought you'd enjoy "Love is a Verb".  Of course you could only make that call had you read it.  But once again, or what has become de rigueur, in the wee hours I was loping through Facebook - which is NOT de rigueur, but rather it is the following - and chanced upon my site only to see the title plus a few enticing lines of the piece followed by the directive/info-crypt, "Me Only", with regard to the fortunate potential readership.
       Of course I robotically and manually changed the classification to "public" but have no way of knowing whether the Great Blog Genie felt like snaking up out of his cozy wish-granting vessel to honor the request.  More to the point.  If a person writes a post for her established blog, pays a service to have it managed and follow its readership effectiveness, why on earth would she then label it to be read by "Me Only"?  I mean, a hunter green, Moroccan leather-bound diary would be the container of choice for these personal-applied-to-current-events ponderings, no?  (Don't be shy.  Disagree if you wish.  It's just between "us" anyway.)
       So this evening, as I await a call from my traveling husband whose flight was twice cancelled and although he should soon be in Memphis, he may well be in Morocco, binding or playing it again with Sam, I chose to again spill some words on a page - just for fun/diversion.  Having walked our beagle twice today, I felt her third entreaty greedy and opportunistic and retaliatory, IE, "What have you done with my Daddy?  Hmmmm?", so I've sent her into the night alone.  I mean she is alone, NOT I made the decision myself. 
Do Tell was in total agreement, species notwithstanding.  (Although his commiseration with me was decidedly half-hearted as he is far more interested in the breaking news of some tsunami off the coast of Chile.  I believe he has family in the region or maybe just gets over-absorbed in "wet, potentially slimy" stories.)
       Yours truly will return to a fascinating story about daydreaming and how Dr. Singer's studies seem to indicate a direct relationship between this activity and a serious, cognitive, disciplined bringing-to-fruition of the daydreamer's future accomplishments.  This finding dashes the methodology of old-school teachers who actually punished the daydreaming student.  It also vindicates my stray thought way of being in the  world, introvert that I am, as it relates to my childhood predictions of someday being a widely-read and quality author.  (Thus far, the most significant missing element is a readership which is where we got started tonight.)
And just as you "don't pull on Superman's cape",
you don't mess with a caring, loving, role-model Grandmother.  A readership - so vividly dreamt and pondered - the lady shall have.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, March 31, 2014


       They say, ". . .breaking up is hard to do.". I say it's a matter of timing and perspective - in which decade was it said and what kind of 'breaking' was had.  In 2014, it's a cinch.  At least two of the most common breaking ups in my life.  I invariably miss the juiciest part of gossip being relayed via cell phone because that's when all those devilish little signals in cyberspace decide to 'go on break'.  And, more germane to our subject matter, while catching up on email today - replete with birthday greetings from those with whom I've walked through life, I cried me an ocean.
       To wit.  "On a silent night when friends are few, I close my eyes and think of you.  A silent night. A silent tear. A silent wish that you were here." - Unknown. This from a gal who has more spit and vinegar than Putin on a good day. (His). Sniveling un-bravely, I forced myself to compose and reflect.  I thought of ALL the crazy, wonderful people with whom I've walked, then the crazy, wonderful things I did for and with them.
       Now the waterfall was of the bubbling sort.  Do tears ever giggle?  (It's not a test.  If you don't know the answer, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay will still be calm on the morrow.) Free associate/stray thought gardener that I am, I put that passage and Putin and a cartoon of "The First Day of Zen Gardening School" together and lingered on one particular wonderful crazy with whom I'd worked in community theater ages ago.
       Actually, I began to tell you this story not long ago and the cyberspace dervish just cut it off.  In mid-sentence, which was cantering to the really good part.  So.  From the top boys and girls.  Five, six, seven, eight. . .
       One day, while we were still living in our starter mansion on "As the World Turns" Street, a good friend from our little actors' group called.  Stan was all excited.  Panicked, really. (He always wore a bandanna around too-long hair.  I could feel the cloth drenching with sweat as he babbled.). He was basking in the honor of hosting a famous Polish acting company as it debuted an original script that would tour the US after leaving Norfolk.  Stan Fedyszyn knew that I was of Polish extraction.  (Stop that 'so that's it' nodding of the head, guys.  Unwarranted and rude.)
       He therefore assumed I spoke the language. (His name: Fedyszyn.  Mine: Leavy. You do the math. And now you can nod.  Briefly.). He told me to 'get to the theater' (we were using Norfolk's transformed-by-Stan historical library to mount our shows at the time) STAT because all the local media were coming to meet the international event-causing Polish director and Stan insisted that I conduct the shot-for-the-six-o'clock-news interview.  Telling him that my comprehensive Polish vocabulary was sketchy and my expressive non-existent was no deterrent.
       We all loved Stan.  He was a wild and brilliant director and true Renaissance Man.  That it was one o'clock, I had a four year-old son in my care was also of no moment.  I'd be expected in fifteen minutes - tops.  I was young.  Larks were looked upon as 'campy' - except by my neighbors who all used the same laundry to stuff their shirts - and Philip was an easy-going-to-the-theater-with-Mommy kid.  Now I was in adventure mode.  I donned a 'Mary Tyler Moore'-type white pants suit, grabbed a shoulder bag, notebook and pen, Philip, box cars and snacks and we were off.
       Turning onto cobble-stoned, Freemason Street, I was struck by the line-up of huge moving van trucks, hastily labeled with the touring company's name, parked curbside in front of the majestic Library.  The remote trucks from our local stations were already filming that scene, shrugging shoulders.  Parking in the makeshift driveway, I collected my son and our gear and marched up the many steps to the huge double doored entrance. Frantic Stan was just inside, grabbing my arm and placing Philip in the capable hands of his oldest daughter.
       As we trundled up to the green room, he went on about how charming the Polish talented visitor was, the importance, therefore, of a sterling performance on my part and the obvious boon to The Actors' Theatre if this caper went well.  I made no promises,  checked to see if my 'Mary' look was in place, and entered.  (They say, "One minute you're standing in the wings and the next, you're wearing them." I feared this fate.  Truly.)
       And then the imposing, effusive Man stood before me, grinning approvingly.  Unfortunately, he interrupted his grin with speech.  Concerned that whatever he was saying might require a response, I busied myself digging around in my purse for my prop (note pad), eventually fixing my gaze in something of an arranged 'awe' expression in an effort to buy more time.  I then understood enough to know he was talking about the play, its playwright and the all important "set".
       Lucky for me, he preferred show to tell and he placed a meaty hand on my elbow to guide me into the theater.  Our stage was designed by Stan to be 'theater-in-the-square' and it wasn't there.  Rather, the stage area was a square of dark brown dirt.  Recovering somewhat, I looked questioningly at the director as the news guys tip-toed in dragging equipment and lights.  The director's affect transformed into one of reverence as he explained with words and gestures that the "set" had been shipped to the states, loaded onto the vans and carted into the library.  I was about to 'experience' Polish soil.
       With the speed and grace of ocelot, he jumped down onto the 'soil', lithely lifting me, white heels and suit plus props, down with him.  And there we stood.  (Brain to Lorane: Think before just saying 'yes' to a Stan caper.). I could hear the cameras rolling, feel the mikes pointed at us.  I went with the bowed-head-lids-half-mast posture for as long as I could, then another gaze - this time at the soil which felt safe because I'd never known dirt to speak.  Suddenly, he knelt on one knee, grabbed a handful of this Polish gold, rose and ceremoniously took one of my hands, placed his prize into it and dramatically folded my fingers closed over what was now my special 'gift'.
       Emily Post having passed without addressing the proper decorum under these special circumstances (No elbows on the table, Em.  How about Polish gift of revered dirt in hand.  Huh, Em?). Now he had tears in his beautiful blue eyes preventing him from appreciating the consternation and budding ire in mine.  Well, I slowly opened my purse (and with a note pad and pen in my other hand, this move was accomplished with the grace of a hippo emerging from a three inch drain pipe) and very carefully placed my treasure into an un-zipped (God is good) side pouch, being sure to not leave any morsels behind in hand, as it were.
       Stifling chuckles with great difficulty and not so great success, the news crew got it all.  He climbed out of the'dig' deftly, lifting me with him, all the while muttering words of gratitude and delight.  I was introduced to the seven actors who would emerge at strategic points in the performance.  The last thespian had the starring role (I guess) as he would slowly, first hand, then arm, then body become completely erect and speak the only line in the script: "Ja", which translates to "I".  Unfortunately, the star reviewer got that wrong, reporting instead that the climactic one word was a heart-felt "eye", the symbolism of which he implied was obvious.
       As for me, the director re-escorted and deposited me into the waiting, grinning Stan's hands as, now even more energized, he had to get back to final dress rehearsal.  After a few too many rounds of double-cheek kissing topped by a hand kissing, I whispered "Merde" - totally inappropriate but I'd never had to say "break a leg" in Polish so I decided 'universal continental' was the way to roll.  And he was gone.  Stan was beaming.  The news crews were packing up, laughing at some private joke.  On cue, Philip came bounding into the green room, his face still smeared with chocolate icing.  Given my situation, cleaning up seemed a bit much.  Getting out and home and figuring out what to say in response to the conversation that would ensue following, "Honey, I'm home!" was the way to go.
       What price friendship? International camaraderie?  Or asparagus , for that matter.  When you love someone, it must be demonstrated.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, March 30, 2014


       Far be it for me to EVER brag, as in 'in-your-face-so-there' commentary.  (Probably not very, truth be known. Or not.). But I just WISH I could share (What's up with the overuse of 'share', bye the bye?  When I was raising my offspring, it was a paramount issue.  Currently, offspring having reached acceptable if not admirable heights, I don't care to share.  I've reverted to "Mine!".  You can get your own, as I did.). Rather, I'd LOVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT my last seven days on our planet.  Ready?
       Scotch the rumors.  There really is a sub-set in our meagre society who enjoy views of this ilk -        
- blurs be damned - from the polished wood decks of the magnificent sailing vessel upon which they stand, playing off any semblance of imbalance - as it relates to standing - waving gaily to their imagined counterparts, also standing rail side, eager to begin their salty sojourn.  I know this because I took this photo a week ago with my handy-dandy cell phone camera.
       Then it was same old-same old.  A day "at sea" followed by exotic ports of call.  For me, it certainly was NOT all 'fun-and-games'.  Hardly.  My husband/traveling/generally unhappy companion and I attended daily intense lectures given by speakers of note and followed by invigorating 'Q&A' sessions geared toward solving the 'BIG' ones - world hunger, the Ukraine, missing large planes, the Ukraine, joblessness in the US, Food Stamps and the Ukraine.
Companion looking for lost plane
       We did, however, find SOME time to explore the geography of the Caribbean.  And found it to be not only still there but possessed of generosity and largess that would be seen as a shocking breach of taste were the offerings turned down.  And so it came to pass that, like armies of luxury lovers who have preceded us, we lounged - lizard-like - in its lap.  We were also fortunate to have a captain who went out of the itinerary's way to ensure a most COMPLETE experience.
       One evening he doubled back, fighting the gusts and grumps, to provide us the vision of the most unusual pair of volcanic Pitons reaching for the heavens.
Yours truly indicating proof positive of the spectacular pair's existence.  (Where is makeup when one truly NEEDS them, I ask you.). Forced to rise early - what with such a jammed dance card - we'd down our Eggs Benedict, tropical smoothies and croissants  in a two hour flash and race into the busiest of days.
       We celebrated my birthday on the briny with the generosity and skill of our chef extraordinaire.  (What that man could do with a rack of lamb was nothing short of obscene.)  But that, dear readers was the penultimate highlight of our wet trek.  Serendipity presented us with the International Sailing Regatta off St. Barth's on Saturday.  Braving the swells - and the water, too - in our tiny tenders, we saluted these brave, happy crews en route to the shoppes.
Don't know where the crew from the Red Bull hailed, but they cavalierly took time out to wave a jolly good "Ahoy" to us.
       I could go on but that's already been done.  And so to bed, perchance to dream or at least not roll over onto one of those giant chocolate-dipped strawberries that Steward Didi insists on artfully placing on the satin sheets.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Was That Part II

       A little review yesterday's multicolored might be in order just to get started.  Yesterday's colorful post ended with three questions or statements.  Life poses questions, the answers can sometimes be found in the past and  people are not always what they seem to be.  I had reached a point (in addition to frustration) where I was about to discuss times when things did not go quite so smoothly.
       For example, shortly before my husband was to be discharged from the navy, (and this is NOT  the "not quite so smoothly" part) he injured his leg and had to have a cast put on and worn for at least three months. His gait, therefore, was quite uneven in that he had to keep the injured leg stiff while the uninjured leg bent as usual when he walked.  Such was the adoration  of the son for the father, that Philip was able to perfectly mimic this gate for the entire three months.
       It was fascinating to watch.  Whether or not he knew he was being observed, the child never flexed his stiff right leg.  As you can well imagine, this made ordinary things like climbing stairs and bath time especially fun for Mommy and son.  Daddy, on the other hand, did not seem to want to play.  In fact, during a whispered after bedtime conference, daddy was very strong in suggesting that mommy make an appointment with the clinic pediatric psychologist who would observe Philip's behavior.
       Embarrassed though I was, I dutifully made the appointment.  Following brief greetings and introductions, doctor and child ambled away to a huge playroom, one wall of which was glass and actually a one-way mirror.  Our nervous noses glued to the cool service, Phil and I watched as the doctor led the boy to a table on which he had placed a colorful play telephone.  While the child  investigated his new table toys, the doctor quietly crossed the huge room and sat at a desk on which a real telephone sat.
       Within minutes the play telephone rang.  After scanning the room and noticing that the doctor was obviously busy with a call, Philip answered his play phone.  Very much to his surprise, he heard aloud and through the ear piece, "Hello, this is doctor Ex. Is Philip there?" We stared incredulously at each other.  Our son did the same at the doctor who responded with a questioning smile targeted at the boy-patient.
       Within seconds, the father flash-limped to the door banging loudly.  Very few hushed words were exchanged, our child was summoned and we made a brisk family exit.  On the ride home, we chattered on about what a funny and odd little fellow the doctor was.  We stopped for ice cream and when we got home, Philip shared his with Max while I asked my husband whose jacket he thought was straighter now.  We had no knowledge of this psychologist's technique and of course I thought we also had no reason to find out.
But.  People are not always what. . .
       This can also be said of animals.  You may recall the harrowing tale of the mix-up between Max and Fritz.  If you don't, please look back through last year's posts. Fritz was one of our Lemon-Haired ladies.
       Because of our profession, is this aberrant behavior phenomenon shines brightly in my memory through members of our coworkers and treaters.  A few years after starting our life in Norfolk (although these may not be cause and effect) I developed several gastric ulcers.  After several treatment modalities were tried and failed we were very excited to find out that the navy was the first Medical System to use what is known as endoscopy.  YES, the first long, wide, black tube through which the doctor can look down and see the inside of the patient's stomach, was presented for testing to Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
       Nervous for many reasons, I was absolutely panicked when I was wheeled in to the treatment room where the procedure would be performed.  Standing there too greet me was a tall, gangly, lab coat-clad Ichabod Crane-looking grinning physician.  He looked like a kid on Christmas morning.  Basking in the admiration of 20 or so interns and residents, he merrily explained every aspect of the scope's performance.  I had been given one 5 milligram tablet of Valium.  I was shivering but I listened as he prattled on for about 20 minutes about what we were all going to see.
This image is of a real lining of the inside of the gastro-intestinal tract.  (For the 'knock-out' savvy among you, I can feel you nodding your heads, smug in the knowledge of its being of an area rather distal to the stomach.  Whatever.  It's not likely to be found in one's average family album.   "Oh look!  Aunt Tillie.  She always was a tad twisted.")
       Finally, he unveiled what should have been some plumber's tool of torture and said, "Just open wide and before you know it you will have swallowed this scope and it will be inside of your stomach." I leave the next 5 minutes to anyone's gruesome imagination.  After much twisting and turning and grunts and giggles we hear, "Why look at that. I can see my own I eyeball!" Nobody looked and we can leave it at that.  Because.  People are not always what. . .
       Lest you depart from this exercise (Not soon enough, I'm sure.) with the notion that our experience with the unexpected is confined to things medical, I simply must serve up a soupcon of theatrical falderal.  While still in the 'Dutch colonial' period, I received a call from a director-friend whose normal modus operandum was borderline hysteria/idiosyncrasy.  On this day, the envelope was perilously perched at the proverbial edge.
       Stan, of Polish extraction and out-of-the-ordinary inclination, had worked himself into a lather over his perceived honor extraordinaire of hosting an international touring acting troupe from Poland. At the time, his "Actors' Theater" was calling an historical Southern library in the downtown historical Norfolk area 'home base'.  A credit to his ingenuity, the lecture hall had been transformed, the original speakers' podia now flanked by Greek-infused papier mache proscenia. For this unusual 'set', Stan had the crew (following the advance instructions of the guest director) tear out the flooring, leaving an excavation on/into which a 'stage' would be poured.
       Stan knew my Dad was Polish.  Therefore, in Stan's world, would have command of the language.  NOT.  Ignoring my protests/feeble attempts at sharing the fact that I may have retained a meagre comprehensive vocabulary and NO expressive ability, he had moved on from the embarrassing plight of having to produce an advance interview with this unusual visitor to confirming my arrival at the 'theater' in twenty minutes, prepared to conduct said interview while the local evening news cameras rolled.
       Frantically dashing around, muttering incoherently in English, I assembled a 'Mary-Tyler-Moore-ish' white pant suit and heels, stuffed a notepad and pen into a shoulder bag, and, with a shining pale face one can only elicit with Ivory soap, headed for the door.  Of course mental software picked up a child's query of OUR destination, so I reflexively shoved several box cars, an emergency baggie of cheerios and juice into the bag, this time taking my son along.
       Turning onto the ancient cobblestoned street, I noted it was lined with enormous parked moving vans, motors running, drivers smoking while waiting.  The ubiquitous caravan of local remote broadcast vehicles, occupants testing equipment, completed the impromptu "Cirque de Solei". Out of breath from bounding up the library steps, out of practice in wearing heels and out of balance and patience from the first two misadventures, I crashed right into Stan and 'Himself", attempting conversation in animated, broken Polish/English.

       Several grips grabbed my child and with lots of tickling and giggling, he was gone.  Feigning interest in his ultimate whereabouts, I regained composure while attempting a hair smoothing to better observe his exit.  Our Polish guest, feigning NOTHING, moved in deftly so that our arms were brushing when I turned back.  A beaming Stan was suddenly a memory and, alone with the stranger, I had no choice but to follow as he physically guided me into the 'stage' area, all the while delivering some annoyingly ebullient Polish rap.  Note to Self:  "Oozing grace from every pore, he oiled his way across the floor;. . .  Never leaving us alone, never have I ever known a rud-der pest." - My Fair Lady
       In a flash, I was perilously close to sliding into what I can only describe as loamy-smelling, dark, moist red earth - an entire filled-in excavation of it.  Beaming, the director hoisted himself down, demonstrating a three to four feet depth of this treasure while, with a gentle but firm tug, he lowered me to his side.  "Poland.  You stand now IN Poland."  (And this suit must burned, after I murder Stan, find my son and flee.)