Monday, October 31, 2011


      You may recall - or not - that on October 29, I asked that you engage in a little 'make believe'.  We all donned our tin-foil-hats, thereby deflecting any alien rays which, if not deflected, might leave us vulnerable to mental aberrations such as mind control and all of its pathologic dangers to our person/thoughts.  So armed, we then read a hauntingly-crafted Halloween tale.  We did this on 10/29 because 10/31 was taken.  What follows is the jammed dance card that caused this untimely switcheroo.
      On Monday, 10/24, I had a doctor's appointment in Norfolk.  At the Medical Center downtown.  Said 'Center', I'd been alerted by 2 post cards, was temporarily across the street as the facility was getting a face lift.  BACKGROUND: I had already tended to the blood work necessary for Dr. #1 (post card #1) and would be doing the same for Dr. #2 (post card #2) for the following Monday.  END OF BACKGROUND.
      As driving to downtown Norfolk's medical center & paying their parking fees rates right up there with driving to Pittsburgh in the snow for 12 hours with a hungry, crying eleven month old child, a friend suggested I use our new Light Rail system - The Tide - leaving my car at the Newtown Rd. station in Virginia Beach and riding in quiet, $0.75 senior bliss on a beam-me-up-Scotty type glistening transport vessel which would speedily/scenically whisk me to the 'center' in 15 minutes whence I would stroll languidly to the pedestrian crossover - gazing down at the pitiably glazed/irked drivers - white knuckles to the wheel - processing inch by inch, sweat beads abounding to sundry, vacuous destinations - then descend, nary a lock a-muss, to amble 0.3 miles - as the pedestrian paces - to my appointment.  (Did I mention the FREE parking @ the Newtown Rd. station?)
      In an imperfect world there'd be at least one glitch.  Mine was that the 'newness' of the travel mode had me 'tiding' a tad late so with Andy at the ready, I called doctor 1's office to report potential tardiness.  And, ooops, lovely lady assured me there was no problem as my appointment was for the FOLLOWING Monday.  Indeed  But not to worry.  The blood work would still be OK.  The NOT OK department was the appointment I was missing with Dr. #2 whilst gliding toward her 'center' in shameful comfort.
      I frantically called to report my mix-up and the receptionist, serving up some icy shoulder with her 'advice', suggested I come in anyway.  I could AT LEAST get their blood work done and meet my new doctor (who had agreed to see me)  Which I did.  Blood pressure up. (REALLY?)  Blood draw by trainee smooth until I returned to examining room and noticed a trail of (still flowing) purple blood the rivulet of which had already Tye-dyed my cords, socks and Bircks, saturated my watch & rings & puddled along with me on my return to the lab across the hall.  No problem.  Dressing changed.  "Keep some pressure on that, honey." followed by "Peroxide? We don't have that here."
      But, having lots of time to kill & Perrier (Dr. #1 is kidney guy so I'd been hydrating for the previous hour for my not-needed-this-week donation), I emptied their canister of cotton balls & a bottle of bubbly & went to work on the wardrobe & jewelry.  My new Dr. @2 was SO sweet - and concerned about the pallor from the back spasms caused by doing the "bend-and-scrub" - so she suggested I rest a bit & slowly, carefully start my homeward voyage.  Oh, and "Your blood work is great!". (Been there so long, they'd had the time to do all 9 orders AND generate a printout).
      Of course the truly UPSIDE was that today, I got to kidney guy in a timely fashion on my new best friend - The Tide - and received a glowing report from him as well.  All of which put me in the best of moods as we motored at break-neck speed to Portsmouth for Trick-or-Treating with the peeps.  Felt SO New Age.  "Appointments went very well.  And I just love that light rail."
      In between the two fateful Mondays, there were lots of other surprises.  And me without my tin-foil-hat.  Tuesday, 10/25, marked the 8th anniversary of Jen and Ross' 'burning trolley' wedding.  And surprise! NONE of the confirmed-delivery-by-Tuesday gifts arrived.  (Actually one arrived, but contained the wrong item)
      So, partly because of THIS let-down, we said "Sure." when they unexpectedly asked if we could extend our baby-sitting afternoon at their house to an overnight at ours.  And, surprise!  Emma - 4 - and Charlie - 18 mos - and their bags - 10 or so, give of take - arrived at 11:00 AM Saturday.  They were SO excited.  We would play ball, ride around in the red Mustang  rag top, music blaring, get to play with rubber duckie in the hot tub before nite-nite, walk our beagle, Bridie - and give her treats (like the 8 year-old milk bone carrier I'd found & had out to empty & wash to give Declan as he's train- ing Max) AND have ravioli & french toast in the morning.
      They had a ball.  And we had them packed & delivered home Sunday in time for Molly and I to go to lunch & then see "The Mighty Macs" while the guys watched football.  I cheated apres the movie and had some WONDERFUL "cheesecake delight" ice cream with Molly. (can't have sugar)  Once back at their house, I promptly passed out on the sofa. (hypoglycemia).  But it was still a fun-packed weekend.  Once home, Phil walked Bridie whilst I went room to room, discovering, disposing and disinfecting the MANY results of her feast of 'aged' treats. 
      The evenin
      Friday afternoon, thought I'd spend some time with Emma.  Mommy was all a-dervish with Halloween decorations PLUS preparing for the Sunday Football gathering which she was hosting.  Steelers (all of the guests) v. Patriots (the Matt-Julie-Mia renegades in Boston).  So Em and I went to see "The Mighty Macs".  She was adorable in her matching garnet headband and slippers (adorned with huge garnet gems).  That the 'slippers' slid off every 20 steps or so - because they are inside 'slippers' - was of no moment.  We popped into Barnes & Noble & got 2 silk rope bookmarks with red hearts at either end and tied them around the slippers ala ballet shoes.  Worked.  Kinda.  But the warm embrace of the theater seat for 2 plus hours worked even better.

     Perhaps you're beginning to understand why the 10/29 switcheroo.  Busy is as busy does.  And I was busy doin' so that 10/31 would have a most memorable ending.  Think it worked out.  I mean, I'm just sayin'.

Lorane. . . .

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The Great Halloween
      As we all know, dear reader, 'fiction' asks us to suspend belief.  This evening's post does just that.  Imagine, if you will, that it is October 31, 2011 - Halloween.  And imagine that the photo to the left is properly aligned and clear.  surely, it is appropriate in that we are in garb especially selected to enjoy a costume Halloween party.  That it was taken before the six-pack was even cracked is but a tribute to our ineptness in the realm of photography.  That we actually wore these items cannot, by way of description, dare employ the use of the word "tribute".  The reasons requiring my composition of a Halloween story prematurely will be explained on October 31.  They, too are not worthy of tribute but DO tune in if only to say Boo this coming Monday.
      On an appropriately cool, dark night, damped with fog, a neighborhood of masked, midget marauders had prepared excitedly to march door-to-door seeking munchies and amusing assortments of fungibles in honor of All Hallows Eve. (They, however, had the date right.)  Unbeknownst to these little revelers, a group of miscreants, armed with retaliatory mischief for the non-compliant, thwart/tort/pillage and loot our costumed innocents to secure provisions for the anticipated long ice-age ahead.
      Their booty was to be stashed in an abandoned gazebo adjacent to the property that sported a marble likeness of King Neptune at the edge of its water-surrounded point.  Its owner/plotter (OP) prized the piece along with his pool and winterized lanais.  OP had a devious plan - indeed a tribute to HIS scientific acumen.  Helium-filled, giant, colorful replicas of the King Neptune statue, the whimsical (and plentiful) mounted mermaids which graced the port city of Norfolk and the equally magical mounted mustangs that dotted the Outer Banks of Dare and Currituck Counties in North Carolina had been assembled and were at the ready.
      When their 'originals had been safely enveloped within, nary a single costumed nubile would dare non-compliance if approached by these threateningly huge 'creatures'.  Just as these artful originals were proudly mounted beautifying their surroundings, so, too had OP 'mounted' the details of his plot to undermine the plot of fortune-acquisition by the Trick-or-Treaters.  Being the very soul of fairness, however, he planned to strip them of only half of their fun.  His 'ghouls' would be fetching just the Treats.
      The 'beauty'of this counter-plot was the beauty of these precious works of art plus the NICENESS of the NCIS detail which was already stealthily poking around the Hampton Roads area.  They would rather destroy Abby's dog collar than demolish, nay, even dent this special statuary.  Now, OP had created a potion that actually breathed life into statues, thus opening the door for OP to assemble his very own army of 'monument minions'.
      With a thirty-five foot tall King Neptune doing his bidding, those little ones would 'hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt'.  Talk about cooperation.  As Coach Kathy Rush once said of failure, "Get out the winter clothes."  In THIS instance, that would translate to "It will be a cold day in Hell if we ever let ourselves be so vulnerable that we have NO defense."  Talk Radio hosts like Nancy on "How Do You Roll?" were flooded with calls from hysterical parents without a clue once OP's plot began.  It was "tin-foil-hat" kind of stuff.
      Nobody was wearing their tin foil hat which deflects dangerous rays that can lead to mind control and other mental distortions.  That is why everyone believed they were seeing giant monument minions!
      And at six PM, King Neptune and Company had inflated a reptilian-hued replica of the Monitor using OP's handyman's top-of-the-line compressor, got in, attached an outboard and motored down the Lynkhorn Bay to the Lynnhaven Bay whence they disembarked and disseminated.  The mustangs hoofed along the city streets (land attack); the mermaids plunged in and swam through the maze of the perfectly-routed Tidewaters. (sea launch)  OP, having memorized the routes of the new light rail (The Tide) in place at the time of the caper, bought the most efficient round-trip tickets and secreted them in King Neptune's crown.
      King Nep was to ride The Tide and use his tine to pierce and nab booty as swiftly as his webbed feet would permit, securing it in his stash and carry, re-usable, 'green' net sac, then Tide back to rendezvous at the Gazebo point by nine PM before NCIS - now really rollin' to make good the kids' Halloween.
      Then, OP/Master-mind would get to the business of deflation - sapping the air from the many Cammi-colored, ruses constructed for the occasion.  BUT.  Some pieces of the puzzle were lining up - contoured edges smooth and flush;  traces of a mysterious contaminant were found and analyzed from the mustangs' droppings; spy photographs snapped the owner amid the rogue regiment at the gazebo executing mission orders: stockpile booty in gazebo storage trove.
      The Wrap-Up


      Return All statuary to proper homes
      Return to HQ
      Write, file and submit report

SEALS:  Dismiss:  No such regional rampage.  Prudent resolution in the face of a potential epic engagement. (Military town, after all.)  SEALS then trekked through the icy night to The Tide Newtown Road Station to stand stolid and strong, facing East until the light rail project is completed.

COUNTER-PLOTTERS:  Inspection of bounty
                                              Ingestion of one selection
                                              In bed at nine PM

PARENTS: Get out real winter clothes
                     Grope downstairs for exhausted treat
                     Go back upstairs:
"Honey, WHO lifted the kids' stuff?"
"Dunno.  Gotta catch 'Bones'."


(Slow, eerie noise)  "G-H-O-U-L  N-I-G-H-T. . . ."

Later, Lorane. . . .

Thursday, October 13, 2011


        Don't ya just HATE gettin' sick?  You know - or perhaps you don't - or don't even care - that C. G. Jung, psychiatrist/analyst extraordinaire, wrote that one succumbs to physical illness at times because one's psyche is SO frustrated and hurt, even, about its being ignored by the conscious mind, it fiendishly causes your immune system to cave/dip/blink, if you will, thereby permitting physical illness serious enough to force bed rest.  Certainly not a protracted stay, but an amount of time to THINK, reflect, take stock of one's emotional health. 
        Thus it was that upon being visited by the 'flu' or whatever pathogen usually has its way with 'commoners', I did.  But before getting down to the business of listening to my inner self; to discovering and dealing with what must be the diabolic but dormant disturbances that are threatening my psychic equilibrium - in much the same way that arthritic joint pain threatens total immobility - I first meticulously set up 'psychic shop' in my bed. 
        I donned freshly-boiled PJ's and slid onto similarly-sanitized linens and perched - having first grabbed a yet-to-be-published manuscript written by a new friend, should enlightenment regarding potentially incipient neuroses not pounce post-haste, I reflexively hit the remote permitting an attack by purulent national and international NEWS.
        (I wish we could get into that manuscript - "A Spy at Home" by Joseph Rinaldo, something of a new friend to me but no literary parvenu to his readership.  In fact, our very meeting was somewhat 'threatening' - in a way that 'things that go bump in the night' can threaten total immobility secondary to emotional paralization.)
        On our national scene, NO movement seemed to have been made toward the discovery/recovery of that infant angel-child, Lisa.  This tragic story plods forward, a reminder of our vulnerability - in when in the supposed cocoon of our own home.  On a larger scale nationally, the convoluted circumstances surrounding "Operation Fast and Furious" is still being trotted about but the pace was moving toward canter, carting along its cargo of cold darkness and death as volatile as the barrels of the arsenal of long, metal guns aimed at ITS heart.
        (One day, not long ago, while quickly rifling through the messages on my Facebook site, a visual among them assaulted my erstwhile e-correspondence quietude.  There in the center of the list of missives from friends and fam, lurked a profile photo - strange to me and, more unsettling, taking the final shreds out of any belief I may have remaining in the 'kindness of strangers'.  This was no 'streetcar of desire'.  Rather it generated in me that ole threatening feeling - the way being thrown under a bus threatens cessation of all physical activity.
        Standing in profile was a trench coat-clad man; he was peering into a home through the front entrance door which seemed to have been rendered ajar by his advancing, silent leg; finally his intentions were as dark as the black revolver he held in his raised/poised hand.  The photo was accompaniment to the message-sender's identity - Joseph Rinaldo.  BRAIN:  'We do not know him'.  The 'icing' for me was the white, reversed-out print superimposed on the image: A Spy at Home.)
      Capping off the NEWS-NOT-TO-WATCH while one is abed, attempting to heal - physically AND emotionally, was an ominous olio of international intrigue set to be staged on 'home' ground.  The very same Attorney General Eric Holder, whose reputation for relaxed recollection had been alluded to earlier in connection with the 'Fast and Furious' debacle, called a press conference at around four in the afternoon - that coveted 'after-school/pre-dinner/homework-helping' family time - to announce that 'NOTHING HAPPENED'. BUT.  Were it not for a legion of cracker jack security/justice folks who follow HIS malapropisms and marching orders, the Israeli and Saudi embassies as well as the Ambassador from Saudi would have been 'Ashes-on-Embassy-Row'. 
        And.  The engineer of THIS 'almost' was a car salesman from Texas who enjoys dual American-Iranian citizenship and HE would have 'driven his Chevy-to-this-levee' allegedly at the behest of IRAN.  The shores of the Potomac remained calm in the face of this averted action but our Secretary of State made it crystal clear that she was NOT pleased; this plotting business was NOT nice; Iran will most assuredly be hearing from her/US.  This news was followed by a spate of specious/sporadic speculation which expressed summarily OUR distaste/dislike of ANY such 'Cloak-and-Dagger' non-activity.
        (Feeling electronically violated by this 'Spy at Home' guy, I asked my husband - still reclining at the time - what to do.  "Delete it"  was HIS trigger-response/solution.  But first I checked with a few friends about security problems on the site.  My dear friend, KD immediately inquired RIGHT ON MY WALL, "what kind of security issues on facebook?"  Daunted, I deleted, reported and changed my password for the second time in ten days. 
        Yes, I'd been 'hacked' the previous week so naturally I was getting edgy.  Let's face it, dear reader, I still recall when 'hacking' was a participle - like demonstrating or working.  I seem also to recall a time when it was associated with a taxi.  Imagine, then, my consternation as to what evil motivates the 'hackerazzi' to elevate their intrusive/injurious pastime to the level of a sacrament.  Well.  I wasn't having any more to do with it.  Rather, I visited my secure social sites - one of my PERSONAL favs
        On the third such page of unusual hunting, I found the two common denominators, whom I DID know from another venture, but my wandering orb stumbled upon a third name that had a familiar ring - Joseph Rinaldo!  No photo.  Very LONG, RESPECTED career in Tennessee in the investment industry but - GULP - now WRITING international spy fiction!  OOOPS.  It was the very same 'author' whom I had 'reported' on facebook.  He - in THAT instance - had, I came to find out when he replied to my embarrassed apology - sent me a message at the suggestion of a fellow writer we know in common, asking me to review his new book: A Spy at Home.
Joe was working with an OLD VERSION of the cover when he'd sent what I've come to call 'Scary Man' as his profile picture with the message/request to me.  PRESENTLY, you'd be looking for the cover to the left when his book comes out.  Speaking of which - his book, not its cover - Joe spins a fascinating, extremely well-written yarn of international intrigue from the vantage point of his most kind/likable/albeit competent retired CIA operative.  Indeed, I will crawl right out on that literary limb and tell you that ONLY if Iran's foiled plot of this week is committed to brightly-wrapped hard-cover fiction, will his foray be trumped.)
        Joseph Rinaldo wields a tricky quill.  Watch it.  Be alert.  Even so, you'll be shocked in the end.  But.  Better to be shocked than 'spied on', I say.  And, in that the NEWS kept 'breaking'; my endeavors to hear MY 'inner voice' and thus heal the psyche rendered impossible;  I read - an activity in and of itself therapeutic inside and out.  At the end of THAT day, I felt rested, lost in Joe's imagination, able to shut the door on the 'bad-news-blues'.  I strongly recommend it - reading AND Rinaldo.  If you're going to suffer intrusion, DO bring THIS 'Spy' into your home.  Better by far than 'chicken s____ soup.  Later, Lorane. . . . .

Thursday, October 6, 2011


      It was never optional - having a job - in my youth.  Perhaps, when I began high school, and began needing, then wanting 'things' like dance lessons, an enhanced wardrobe, a slush fund for movies, snacks and such, and it was my dual-working parents were doing their intrepid dandiest to provide the mere basics, I lock-stepped into the vast marketplace provided by New York City and got me one - or two during summers.  My high school - two subways and a bus from our Brooklyn apartment - was convenient, thanks to this same transit system - to 'the city' or Manhattan.  Mid freshman year saw me filing applications in large department stores where the harried staff was less likely to over-scrutinize forms/notice the applicant had indeed NOT achieved that magic, legal hiring age of sixteen.  Consequently, I was hired the second evening I ventured across the East River. 
      Macy's - the main Herald Square, 34th Street store - occupied an entire square block, reaching eleven stories into the hazy heavens.  That year, some plucky sales exec made the seminal suggestion of selling cigarettes by the carton only - at very competitive prices - on the Eighth Floor. The genius of this plan would be realized when sales increased on the entire floor, dedicated exclusively prior to this inclusion of this addictive, oh-so-nicely-priced, plentiful and wide assortment of brown flora, to china, earthenware, flatware - silver and stainless - crystal, glass and "special event" Gifts. And how fortuitous for the young, hungry, needy needing-a-job student.  Doubtful such luck would befall today's student, marching business to business seeking employment.
      (Au contraire, if the media gets even a glance from THIS writer, dear reader, she is met with marching students, to be sure.  They seem to come in two main stripes - those in need of work and those in need of 'walk'.  The latter are 'demonstrating' on Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge - above the very same East River crossed by yours truly so many decades ago - seemingly rebelling without a cause. Now conceptually, demonstrations are useful, often effective, historically relevant -sometimes FUN even.  Lest you think that ALL of my ventures into the 'city' were serious, arduous tasking, please sit corrected.
      There was that memorable Sunday in 1960, having told my parents that I was going with some school chums the The Cloisters - an historical, beautifully-maintained monastery where one could hear Gregorian Chant concerts on Sundays - in Upper Manhattan, we somehow found ourselves in Greenwich Village, standing right under that famous arch.  And we were among a throng of like-minded young people, growing quickly to mob-size.  This because, what with Viet Nam brewing, guitars were strumming to greet Joan Baez, coming to lead us in - you guessed, I know - a DEMONSTRATION!  The thrill of it all.  Joan wafted into the crowd; crowd locking elbows in solidarity; and, with flowers in her hair, she's leading us in singing, "If-the-Cops-Get-In-Our-Way-We're-Gonna-Roll-Right-Over-Them,-Roll-Right-Over-Them-Roll-Right-Over-Them.-If-the. . . ."etc. to the tune of, what else, "His  truth goes marching on".  Then, flushed but two hours later, home by six.  And joining my parents in watching the news.  Who knew?  There I was.  Suffice it to say, Mom took a somewhat dim - nay fascistic - view of fibbing and flower children.  But we had a REASON.)
      Macy's was to serve the dual purpose of lending a major assist in the build-up of the college fund as well as providing something of an education as well.  On the evenings I did not work, I took dance classes at a studio recommended by a fellow worker.  The instructor, a very talented but crazed Russian immigrant, gave discounts to Macy employees, showing his approval for our work ethic.  We were diligent and punctual and in that we also worked all day on Saturdays, we were something of a ubiquitous fixture on the Eighth Floor, my friends/co-workers and I.  Therefore, our track records were soon rewarded and mid sophomore year, I was selling china - a commission department to boot.  No more dealing with the grubby little old street person who, EVERY Saturday at noon would amble up to the counter, lean on an elbow, toothlessly request, "Ships o' da desert, shweetie" then howl at his "joke".  He smoked Camels.  I sprayed Lysol.  Only in New York. 
      I now boned up on the history of china and earthenware;  learned to be patient, suffer a different brand of fool.  "No Ma'am.  Johnson & Johnson makes band-aids.  Johnson Bros. make the Blue Willow pattern you're thinking of."  Or spending almost three hours with Nancy Sinatra, helping her select her formal pattern.  In the end, I convinced her to get Richard Ginori - "It's Italian!" - the most expensive Macy's carried.  I got the best commission.   The groom got the worst deal when his bride's boots walked six months after the nuptials.  Didn't work out.
      But we were working.  Now, young people have the same tuition loans to pay back but are losing the means to pay them.  They have MB A's and Smart phones but are vacating their Wall Street offices at the behest of their former employers, whirling through those brass revolving doors for the last time only to hit the streets where they have to first get past unruly crowds of demonstrators before they can begin to pound the pavements, looking for a new job.
      (Fortunately for me, having achieved my goal of going to college, I had elected to study nursing.  During those summers I was back in NYC, the Holy Trinity of the alphabet for THIS abecedarianLexington with a college friend whose parents owned the place but "summered abroad".
      Meanwhile, many of my counterparts were "Marching on Washington", protesting the war.  Sadly, young men - the same age as those 'sitting in', who served in the National Guard, had the unhappy assignment of forcibly removing kids with whom they should have been playing tag football from the formerly beautifully-manicured malls of D.C.  It must be pointed out, these demonstrators ALSO believed in their cause.  They were acolytes of national believers who desperately wanted the killing to stop.)
      Now, all lettered up and graduated, I was still able to work.  I returned to my 'city' and developed my specialty while paying education debts and saving for a wedding pattern. 
      (The element of common denomination, it seems to me, about people who can wear that coveted 'name tag' - "Intelligent, Working Person" is they ran into Mr./Ms. Opportunity.  If that's YOU, 'demonstrate' it.  HIRE 'EM!)