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 WILL NOT STAND TO THE SIDE


              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. 
                                                                           Our
CHARLIE WATCHES THE ELEPHANTS SNACK

             
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

LOVE IS A VERB

       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

WOW

       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.)
         

 
       

Friday, February 28, 2014

What Was That?

       Sharing the last post with my has been a decided extrovert was most constructive. Therapeutic even.  For me.  His role was clearly uncomfortable.  Since by psychological nature his "way" is to act rather than to react, questions like, "Why do you think I wrote about that? I mean, what was the point?", clearly throw him. 
Had I posed the question before I began writing, asking for direction or inspiration his role would have been clear,

His ideas at the ready.  Like  any good life coach:  "What should you write about? Why this? Well clearly you're at a juncture in life where there is time for reflection and analysis - two of your favorite main courses - why not reflect on the past as you would audit a story after you closed the book, finishing a chapter.
       Choose a time frame - crisis, celebration whatever - and re-tell it with enough distance and experience to also see what it meant for you or us.  Perhaps it could develop into a tutorial - "Honey Dos and Don't Lists - and Why".  Then back to watching the Olympics, a ballgame, the lawn not being mowed or raked.  Safe.  Comfy.

Unfortunately, I was switching roles - asking him to re-act, NOT act.  Not comfy.  Irritating.  Borderline, "There she goes again", sigh.  Because my second most dominant function is intuition, I saw the potential approaching the threshold and going on to action so I intervened with some clues.
       "Out of nowhere, considering the really jolting experiences we've lived through, I dipped my quill into the 'hard-to-open-because-it-is-so-rarely-used-jar of ink and scrawled several pages all about early chapters of our marriage, parents of only one child, professional neonates, social misfits as well as  using an insignificant social event as the vehicle to present this ineptitude to possibly three or so readers (who are probably scratching their heads wondering "A glimpse into the book she's 'not writing'?", "Evidence that I missed a few posts?", "An ominous hint at a split with Phil?", Somebody slip her some Ouzo?". What?")
       Relieved, and thinking "that was close", he'd rush full speed into a-c-t-i-o-n mode: "You don't need a 'why' to explain something you've written.  This is not rocket science here.  You're just reiterating thoughts about what you've learned over time about people and relationships.  It was a simple but very important lesson-sharing session. (Hint of a smile.  Acting.  Doing.  Makes the man giddy.).
A casual is you have a avuncularr pat on the shoulder
and he it was on his way to the fridge to stock up for a few more runs of skeleton or maybe a hockey game.  Overcome with the sheer weight of this comforting conversation, I am charged with continuing, carrying on as they say.
       He raids the fridge.  I scan my blog posts.  That there is no particular pattern is a fact driven by decision not serendipity today.  I write what moves me.  And this day I am driven by two things, both of which fell out during the answer to my query.
A chapter ends.  What was it about? (topic selection in the prior post would seem to imply that life - as a story - poses questions the answers to which are in the past.)
That people are not always what they seem to be might be a lesson we must learn for future chapters to be smooth and told with candor.


There must be a reason for this preamble; a door that has to open in order for me to tell my story.  Instinct tells me that the answer lies in my having shortchanged the facts.  So let's go back and fill in the some of the blanks that surrounded the early part of our marriage.
       I spoke of living in a flat while the navy had my husband in the Mideast.  After his return it wasn't until our little guy was almost three years old when we found our first home.(That would be the little white Dutch colonial on "The Days of our Lives".) The adjustment to having daddy home was both a challenge and a joy.
       Philip was a very imaginative and spirited little guy.  I guess I was a rather lenient and easily amused mom.  So, when he decided that like his dog Max, he too would have his meals on the floor and bark rather than speak, it really didn't concern me.  Dr. First Lieutenant was not as amused.  Fortunately, Philip was a dog for only two weeks.  He easily reverted back to being a happy little boy. 
Perhapstomorrow, we will see where things were not always going so smoothly
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hello, My Name is. . .

       Wow.  As my father used to say, it's been a long time between drinks.  There is a reason.  In fact, it is more than one reason.  It just seems a waste of time and ink to recount them.  So I'll just dive in.
       I don't recall whether we discussed this before, but 'my way of being in the world', according to Dr. Carl Jung is as a true introvert.  By this he means that I observe what's going on in the world and respond or react to it.  The reaction is in no way passive or to be seen as negative.  Rather, many introverts are responsible for bringing about very positive change in their environment.
       Recently, a cluster of events involving friends and family caused me to reflect on the early days of our marriage.  My husband and I came from two entirely different backgrounds or worlds as they say.  His dad was a cardiologist and he was heading for the field of medicine following in his father's footsteps.  My Dad, bright but unfortunately not educated, had a very strong work ethic and labored tirelessly for the American Chicle Company in their printing department for 35 years.  I had one sibling, a brother, and my parents' main goal - mother also having been denied an education - was to ensure that their children would  have an education.
       When we married, then, we were a medical student and a nurse with a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University.  Our finances were such that the United States Navy was very helpful in my husband's attaining of his goal.  In return for this assistance he owed the Navy three years of his beginning medical career.  He had hoped to be assigned to the medical/surgical ship, Hope, treating the injured who were fighting the war in Vietnam.  At the completion of his officers' training in Rhode Island, the Hope was pulled back.  We were  pushed forward - in the eyes of the Navy - and  downward -  in our eyes - to Norfolk, Virginia.
       Three weeks after arrival doc Phil was deployed on the destroyer Harold J. Ellison to the Mideast on a "friendly mission".  All of this 'friendship' would take approximately 11 months.  During the deployment, I lived with our then 10 month-old son Philip, in comfortable navy officers' town houses.  You can only imagine our unblemished ebullience upon his return.  Imagine as well our craving to restart our marriage in our own first home.
       We were most fortunate in finding a small, white, Dutch Colonial in a neighborhood that was both close to the only catholic elementary school available as well as to the largest civilian hospital  in which my husband wished to work after discharge from the military.  Within weeks of our moving in, the diocese closed the school and sold the property to a condominium developer.  Contemporaneously, a phenomenon formerly alien to me - busing - was in its inchoate phase.  Therefore, Philip would walk two blocks where he would join youngsters who had been riding for over an hour to begin their preschool education at Taylor Elementary School.  A large stone building planted on tree-lined streets engendered awe in these tiny day travelers.
       I could strongly identify with these youngsters as I had attended elementary school in Brooklyn, New York where, rumor has it, trees do not grow.  Well you can scotch that rumor because they do.  Trees that is.  A more valid rumor extant when I was a kid in grade school was something called "segregation".  The main thrust was that white children and black children did not play or go to school together.  The prevalence of wise guys in Brooklyn told me that we little kids were having our chains jerked.
       Fast-forward us to June 1969 - 1970, plunk us down in Norfolk, Virginia sending our first little guy to preschool and you have the recipe for feeling sorry for these kids who were trundled back and forth like baggage every day to school.  It wasn't so much the traveling.  You get used to that.  I took two subways and a bus just to get high school.  It was more the force feeding of an alien culture to a child and telling him it was good and good for him.
       I also found myself feeling sorry for my parents.  They had worked so hard to give us the gift of being comfortable among the 'smart' people and now that we had an education, we found ourselves still having to prove ourselves and our 'smartness' to our colleagues and peers.  The right  loan and a steady job got us the house.  But what price acceptance?  Or friendship?  Or asparagus for that matter.
       It was tradition in our new neighborhood for one of the community leaders to host a welcoming party for new neighbors.  Preparing for the evening of this festivity, we were nervous all day long.  We memorized names and tested each other by describing their owners.  We practiced walking the half block to the party in our empty living room.  (The standard answer to any queries about this void was always "We're strong believers  minimalism.") And when the curtain actually went up, we could be seen standing in the driveway between two houses - one of which would be the correct address.  Smiling and admiring the sunset,  we argued about the house number.
       After what must have been an agreed-upon length of time for this misery, our host came bounding down the perfectly manicured lawn to lead us to his majestic front door and our potential future.  With revelers spilling into the entrance hall, we were each labeled with stick-on labels reading, "Hello, my name is" and with the gold metallic pens proffered, we each printed our first and last names (which caused amused giggling and winks the likes of which served to break the ice but confuse us completely.)
       Thusly adorned, we entered the exquisitely- appointed living room.  Color-coded napkins and coasters, printed stirrers and miniature banners - "AND NOW, THE LEAVYS!" were sprinkled about.  We were led to the bar, generously supplied, and I dare say we sprinted to its offerings.  Next on to a completely covered groaning board.  Our hostess, Olga, the neighborhood's cherished and accomplished chef, had really outdone herself.  (Or so we were told as we had no knowledge of Olga when she was 'in'- doing.)
       Muted classical music swimming in the background, the evening proceeded smoothly, abounding with greetings - "Welcome, dears", "We've heard so much about you.", until at one point I thought I heard our host call/whisper my name.  Turning in curiosity, I did indeed see our host crooking his finger at me in a fetching manner.  I approached cautiously, trying to arrange my face into something of a "You called?" expression.  After meticulously wiping no crumbs from each side of his smirk, he said simply, "We all know the kind of woman you are." Intrigued, I allowed my eyes to plead for the definition.
       By way of response, I was treated to a monologue the focus of which was my leaving the house in the evening with my young son and returning rather late with my son alone.  These  excursions apparently took place only when my husband was working at the hospital.  He went on, un-invited, to add, "By contrast, my wife, Olga, is standing by our open living room door with our two children at her side when I arrive home each evening.  And she is completely ready to give me anything - and I mean anything - I want at that moment." Popping a cheese ball into my mouth, I turned focused intently.  His eyes followed my gaze.  We both then enjoyed the vision of Olga making her way across the room with at least 10 "Hello, my name is" labels affixed to her derriere.  A male name was neatly printed on each label.
       Brushing the no crumbs off both of my covered shoulders, I proceeded gracefully to the cloak closet.  Having seen but not heard the exchange, I felt my husband in tow.  With an expression exuding pleasant exhaustion, I waived  kisses to the assemblage, allowing my shawl to be draped on my shoulders and preceded my husband across the meticulously manicured but now punctured lawn to the sidewalk.  Ambling back to "Castle Leavy", I wondered aloud whether the moat would be chilly as there seemed to be an unusual frost in the air.
       Irish anger having subsided, we spoke mostly of correcting/healing any wounds.  It had been one week since Mr. Simon's play, "Prisoner of Second Avenue", had opened to raves at the local dinner theater. I was fortunate to be cast in the lead as Edna.  We decided to treat all of our new neighbors to an evening of dinner and the show.  It was important to both of us that while waiting for child number two, I was very involved in community theater, especially in productions that lifted people's spirits.  I have always felt laughter is a wonderful medicine and the genius of Mr. Simon is found  not only in his wit and through his quill but in the message one ultimately leaves the theater feeling. 
       In this case I truly believed that seeing the performance would be therapeutic for all involved.  At the opening a middle aged couples'  apartment has been robbed and Edna, the wife, is calling the police.  She then calls Mel, her husband, who, as only a husband can inquire, says, "Robbed?  Whaddya mean, 'robbed'?" Her response is just as typical.  "Robbed.  Robbed.  They come in. They take things out.  Robbed." The playwright then walks the audience through the response of each of the marriage partners.
       Egalitarian  as Simon is, he allows each character to crash and burn and then to recover.  In my mind, the two stars of the performance are the recovery and the fact that they recover together.  These are both very positive and necessary things in a marriage.  For my husband and I, we had been wronged but after discussion, we not only got over it, we got over it together and we reached out to those who had wronged us.  It was our sincere hope that as a little neighborhood community, the response would be the same.  At curtain call, dressed in pajamas and a terry cloth robe, I looked up and was staring into six sets of steely eyes.
       The following morning I visited Hillary, a young gal with whom I really thought I had bonded.  Sitting in the living room waiting for Hillary to get her coffee mug, my eyes were fixed on her husband's bronzed kicking shoe that his parents had given their son when he graduated from UVA.  (Looking back, seeing that little spectacle would have put most sensible women on their guard with regard to its owner.) Hillary returned, wearing her terry cloth robe, and sat, hugging her coffee mug as if to protect it from my attempt at stealing it.  "Was there something special on your mind because I'm running late," she said.  (That she would be running at all, let alone in a robe, never crossed my mind.  Pretty Hillary, a docent at our local museum, could have used a Jane Fonda tape for Christmas.)
      Fast forward four months.  Ironically, she did start jogging.  She joined a group that met each morning at 6:00 AM then jogged for an hour.  The effect was most dramatic.  She looked fantastic and had an affair with a young man - father of seven - who had also decided to become a strider.  Thus began an avalanche of broken hearts and marriages that became viral in our 'smart' little community. Does this story have a ring to it? (Or a point, you're probably asking yourself. Fair game.) Or does it only have morbidity?
       Yes, we've been robbed.  We can crash and burn but don't even try to fix it - let alone together.  It's all about, "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates; you've got a brand new key.  Let's see if we can get together and try them out and see. I've been lookin' around allot. You've got somethin' for me." (Dory Previn)  Nobody even HAS to know your name. 
Later, Lorane. . . .
      

Monday, February 10, 2014

This and too much That

       You know regardless of what you say you may have in mind (or remnants therefrom), it seems that with each passing day your plans, dreams, activities (or avoidance thereof), relationships (or non) are in a process of RE-orchestration.
       When I was a child, nightmares (on occasion)  followed "scary stuff" - rumors of aliens taking over our world, threats of wars and the dropping of bombs, the prom invite NOT materializing.You remember.  That stuff.  Now, decades later, we can chill out.  Relax a bit. Because it all happened for real and we made it through.  And  because we made it through, we can have stuff 'in mind'.
       Those plans, dreams, activities - it's all there.  And it's ours. It's our turn.  Gotcha!  You forgot.   RE-orchestration is the CEO.  It's subtle - this process - and very well marketed.  But the bottom line remains - you are not running the show.  And there's no point whining about it.  Like rats in a Skinner Box, Simple Simon said and we did.  Nobody wants to be a misfit, odd-man out, not cool and up-to-date.  
      With social media at the helm, we get on board - Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube.  We connect, befriend, like - and quickly, because there will be more stuff to learn tomorrow - and lots of it.  All those dreams of sailing into the sunset came true.  Unfortunately, instead of boarding "Happily Ever After", I got on to the "Ship of Fools".
       Why just today, I learned that I am already history.  One of my granddaughters asked if I would help her with her Kindergarten project.  She called and requested that I answer several questions.
"Certainly," I said.
"When you were a little girl, did you use a tin tub or did you have a bathtub?"
"A tin what?"
"Tub. For your bath."
"Of course we had a bathtub," I said laughing.
"Did you have to pump your drinking water?"
"No, Emma.  We had faucets in the house.  Just like you.  But I did pump water to drink once.  We were visiting family who lived on a farm during vacation."
       "Poppy used to visit family in Mars, Pennsylvania all the time and they had to pump their water."
Our daughter had the speaker phone on.
"I'm sure the children will find that very interesting."
"And when he played baseball with his cousin, Phil, they made the little pillow bases out of cow droppings."
"They may not find that quite as interesting," Jennie added.
It was difficult to follow the interview because both my cell phone and my Surface tablet were on my desk.  Did I turn them off?  Of course.  But "(Tee, hee) we're here." Softly bonging whenever an email came or a voicemail registered in the phone.   
       "I'm sorry, Emma. What was that about houses?"
"Did you and Poppy live in your own house?"
"Well Poppy's family had their own house.  I lived in an apartment house.  It's a big house where several families live."
"Oh. Like Jay and Ashley's?" Jennie's brother in law and his wife live in an apartment so Emma had a frame of reference.  But she found it very hard to believe that we had only one telephone in the house and that sometimes other families used this same number.  I told her that we would be happy to answer any questions that her classmates may have after she gave her report. 
       Yesterday we were helping our oldest grandson with his project.  He was to be dressed as an Irish immigrant in the early 20th century just arriving in America.  He asked us whether we had an old trunk and perhaps an Irish, raggedy wool cap.  My husband told him every family that was Irish had raggedy caps and he was sure we had one.  I rushed to the garage to spray his father's army trunk with some muddy brown paint.  Just as I was dragging it outside to dry I was busted.  "You better be able to splain, Lucy,"  he said.
       What's to explain?  We spend our days learning new technology from the young children.  But when we are asked to be or to make an antique, we shine.  That's how we roll - holding each other in a death grip for fear of fracturing something on the way down. Later, Lorane

Monday, February 3, 2014

Turn, Turn, Turn

      It occurred to me today, which is a rather dreary, gray Monday, that it doesn't have to be.  Having made this decision, at the end my usual chores, after belting out a few verses of the Carpenters', "Rainy Days and Mondays always Get Me Down", I resolved to come up with some  resolutions (that do no involve 'belting' and 'down'.).
       Donning this new mindset with admirable resolve, I sat at my desk and began by turning the page of the calendar to the month of February.  And right before my eyes in glittering, exciting technicolor, I was faced with the vision of the most inspiring seascape I have ever experienced.  I was looking at very clear cyan blue water peopled with scurrying tropical fish and the centerpiece of what I was to learn was the Andaman Sea -  Andaman Island.
       Rising majestically from the pristine waters, an enormous, vertically trapezoidal, green moss-covered blade of earth dominates.  It could very well be a form of natural lighthouse set atop a huge undersea  mountain.  It was a vision that at once completely erased any thoughts of gray, of rainy, of sad Mondays.  Moreover, it heightened, punctuated my resolve to make changes.  Such is the power of natural beauty.  It awakens the spirit, stirs the soul.
       Propelled as I was on this lofty course, I decided that change number one would take the form of some type of follow through.  By way of example several days ago we spoke of job- seeking and of what I thought would be my guardian - a company called Thumbtack.  As that wheel of fortune turned, the guardian became one of anger rather than angel.
       Suffice it to say that (face it, we all want to catch the 11:00 news) Thumbtack presented one mislead after another.  My attempts at correcting errors went either unnoticed or ill- followed.  In the end, it was the end.  I refer of course, to the termination of our relationship, certainly not of my job seeking.  It was a 'miss-tack'.  I also spent some time talking about the indomitable spirit of our young in the face of what others might perceive as adversity.  No changes there.
       This morning I spent time catching up with emails and notifications.  Apres B-ball games on Saturday we lunched at a New York deli.  I guess that's put me in something of a Broadway mood. 
And that, in turn, led me to begin my catchup reading with friends from the theater. One of them must have been in something of a pithy mood as she shared with us a quote, to wit, "The poet sees what the philosopher thinks."
Unfamiliar with its author, I reserved comment.  I mean the guy could have been nearsighted or astigmatic.  We just don't know.
       The quote, however, put me in mind of a piercing query presented in one of the literary discussions to which I contribute.  A writer had asked, "Do you see the story through your own eyes or, like an actor, do you see it through the character's perspective?".  Putting the quote and the question together reminded me of something I had said to you, dear readers, recently.  "My 'stories' are the spate of observations regarding the activity in the world as it was spinning around me."
       I lay no claim to philosophical knowledge but can say with authority that the world has been spinning around me for lo these 60 plus years.(Had things gone in reverse, I probably would be the proud owner of quite a collection of brass rings by now.) I believe that all characters are in fact a composite of the writer's personality/ experience.  Therefore, any 'story' must be self revelatory.
      Very early on today (seems like years, doesn't it?) I mentioned my calendar art vision of the Andaman Sea and Island.  As it turns out they are located due west of Bangkok, Thailand, an area that took a few spins around me some years ago.  EN route to Hanoi with Operation Smile and plans to help with several weeks of cleft palate surgery, Bangkok had simply been a pit stop.  And what a pit it was.
       It was quite a surprise, then, to learn that so very close to this pit is what the recherche consider the 'pet' stop for leisure and fun.  (Special February deals at this very moment - five days and six nights - starting as low as $29,000.  But ya gotta hurry!) I'm afraid that's one spin I'm going to have to miss.
       So.  Poets see what philosophers think.  Beauty is probably still in the eyes of the beholder.  Stories are conglomerates of our split personalities.  And $29,000 is better spent on the transport and supplies needed by those who donate their time and talent to fixing deformed children.  I gotta tell you, though, if you still have that hankering to see Andaman and it's environs, this calendar does a sterling job.
Later, Lorane. . . .