Sunday, November 27, 2011


      You know there's an ad on TV these days featuring a character called "Mayhem" which I used to find amusing.  Not so much - since he's moved into our house.  Ever feel like you're wildly spinning your wheels but getting nowhere?  I set specific days on which I'm to accomplish specific chores - NO diversions. Discipline. Just one-foot-after-the-other kind of lock-step organization. Then guess I didn't do enough 'focus work' or maybe just didn't plan ahead.  Because I'm barely approaching specific chore #1 and it's time to start dinner.  Feel like I'm losing my grip.  Too many distractions; too weak; subconsciously piqued because TR is relaxing with a book before dinner-walk-dog-sip-wine-put-talking-heads-sports-on-TV time.
      (And I refuse to be petty - who has time? - but as the restful eventide progresses for TR, the sound, no, cacophonic 60-cycle interference, increases.  TV volume: UP. Open-mouthed chip-crunching: louder. Not intentionally, of course.  But when that "Burrito Bandito" gets a'chompin', you need those visual quotes from the 'silents' or maybe a signing translator because you certainly can't HEAR the thing over the reclining rock-fall going on at the head of the bed. So big deal, you say.  Grab a book, do a crossword, whatever. Rest up before morning grabs you and catapults you into specific chore day # 2.  Better yet. Make a LIST. And I did.)
      I LOVE lists.  Actually, it's checking off a completed item that is pure nirvana.  It's gratifying and, just for emphasis - in case anyone NOT checking is taking a gaze break - I make it garishly dramatic. Use a squeaky fluorescent sharpie, pin an Italian flag - on cork board days - on the accomplished ONE, tap out a drum roll on the tile breakfast room floor.  And I've got two birds with one flourish.  I had success AND disturbed TR's ennui.  The ole one-two; or in his argot, the double play.  Yup.  I know some stuff, too.  In the athletic arena, if you will.  Even if you will not, that was the famous

Tinker to Evers to Chance
                                double play executed in 1910 when these three Chicago Cubs forced a New York Giant to hit into a double play. Symbolic today, like "smooth radio" or "fit as a fiddle" meaning a performance par excellance.  For me, it's just the ole 'chore-checkin'-chill'.  Now I don't have to tell you, dear reader, what you can get done when you know there's a giant, fat carrot waitin' for Mr. Ed when you've DONE it - if you get my drift.
      As productive as list-making, multi-tasking is yet another chore knocking-off enhancer.  And, unlike 'back in the day', we're given all manner of e-assists, like our smart phones and computers.  No more quills or carrier pigeons.  Just today I was working from my list AND multi-tasking simultaneously. Amazing!  
      (Well, there was one itsy snag.  I had finished packing two huge bags of clothes, shoes, etc. for the Veterans of the Vietnam War - a chore begun a month ago but I plugged - and reminded TR that tomorrow - 11/28 - was pick-up day. I was proud to see the effort he put into lugging these very heavy bags down the driveway and placing them on the road next to our mailbox. The boy's nothing if not patriotic.  Then he went off to watch beloved football with his sons, leaving the house blissfully unoccupied AND  quiet. 
      List check: fax doctor re: incomplete bone density report sent to ortho doc.  I scribbled a mini-list of info he'd need - dates especially - and got to the keyboard.  Calender at my side, I flipped back to October.  Appt. w/ him 10/27; bone density 11/08; appt. w/ ortho 11/10.  EYES TO BRAIN: Tomorrow is the 31st! Veterans' pick-up must have been Friday!  Have to call them. Number on the bags. I'll just walk out there and get the number. Another multi-task! Exercise plus airing out Mom's old winter car coat. It IS almost December.
      Back at my post, I called, leaving long, desperate-sounding message about getting pick-up day wrong-but-clothes-out-on-street-getting-cold-donees-need-them-p/s-call-for-special-pick-up. Back to doc's fax.  Typing the timeline, I double-checked the dates.  What ho! OCTOBER 31 was a MONDAY. Tomorrow is 11/28, the scheduled day.  Stop typing.  Dial, leaving a follow up 'silly-me' message instructing the sainted listener to just forget about my previous call.  Everything's jake. No joke, and I hung up SO thankful that TR wasn't going to hear "Would you mind bringing those bags back in?" Finishing the fax and making a copy for the ortho, I wondered what  listener thought of caller.)
      Somehow, putting all of this drivel on paper is therapeutic. There is no QUESTION but that daily life presents far more complicated 'to dos' than in the days of yore. And mine, too.  AND, I just heard from my dear friend KD yesterday - our B-day mother of seven, grandmother of seventeen?  She was a smidge melancholy because although Thanksgiving was wonderful, spent with her eldest and her offspring only, she missed 'the house' as she hung seventeen little stockings in their condo. No 'day at the beach'.  But she did add a chuckle-tag.  She and Will had gone up to Vermont, I think, to see one of their daughters receive the "Teacher of the Year" award.  At THE moment of presentation, Will jauntily whipped out his new i-phone for a 'Cell Phone Moment'.  Aim, click, shoot - a great image of Will's nose.  Where does it say "Turn the thing around, stupid!"?  I ask you.
      My Grandpa used to sing, "Ya gotta give a little, take a little", and my Dad's favorite saw was, "Ya live, ya learn, and ya die stupid."  So, I conclude that, as to priorities, I guess, "Everything old is new again." Think: "Plink!".
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving; Thanks Taking

      The pace.  It's the pace at which we must do this 'thing' of living that obviates the very need/desire to live well.  It follows, then, that, if 'living well' is a noble and good goal, we must remove any obstacles to its achievement.  We are, it would seem, due - actually ethically bound - to effect a change of pace.
      During this time of year, while we focus on being thankful for our blessings, our good fortunes, we must also focus on our 'wish lists' and disappointments.  Just as we acknowledge our capabilities, we must accept our limitations.  Only then, can we begin our journey toward 'wholeness' or, for a woman, completeness.  As a woman, wife, mother, citizen, I pray and hope for wholeness, contentment, for those whom I love.  This day, my reflections are wrapped around a very special loved one.  My daughter Robyn, wife of my son and mother of their children, is not at peace.  Indeed, she is in emotional and spiritual pain.  I dedicate this entry to her and the initiation of her journey back to good feelings - contentment, shared pleasures, the knowledge that she NEVER walks alone por in darkness.  Come.  Come with me to Robyn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


     Not too long ago - what's two weeks? - we celebrated an "un-happy" Halloween.  Of course, we did not do it on October 31.  Rather, due to scheduling constraints, my Halloween missive was posted on October 29.  Ergo, "un", found its way, as I'm certain you have surmised, into the title.  I think the time has come, dear reader, given the honesty and candor that are the hallmarks of our relationship - such as it is - to reveal the literary Hoochie Coochie lurking in the wings whilst Halloween played itself out center stage.
        (In fact - and hindsight, the clarity of which is legend - I NOW realize that the collage of images that left us with that 'happy-ever-after' glow, emanated from the warm, crackling, dancing flames of ALL the 'happies' in our lifetime of Halloween 'play-acting'.  But that's another story - which we'll not hear today.  No.  I'll just refrain, be disciplined; ZIP IT.)
      You see a delightful, creative gal in a writers' group to which I belong - we'll call her Janet, because that's her name - suggested we 'play' a writing Trick or Treat game.  She had us warming up at the barre for weeks until the choreographic rules were set.  PLACES!  We would each enter a challenge/assignment; execute it on 10/31; include concise, instructions and - ENCORE! - offer a "Treat" to the best contenders.  Enthusiasm ran high as did the entrants.  That is, there were an impressive NUMBER of players - in case you were picturing besotted writers jogging aimlessly and amok.
      I fretted over my 'treat' as the competition was stiff - autographed books, free professionally-illustrated book covers, thousands of edited pages of an inchoate manuscript - you know, grown-up stuff.  I finally decided to offer 5" by 7" collages of my favorite Halloween photos over the past 50 or so yrs.  The lucky recipients needed only to visit my blog, leaving a comment on Halloween and be one of the ten pluckiest/most riveting of said comments.
      (Through no fault of mine, I feel a zipper sliding open.  Blame it on faulty technology, overbearing Catholic guilt that haunts the liar, that ole Jungian feminine quest for completion, the weather - whatever.  But here's what happened.  Having assembled 33 photos - circa 1950 through 2011 - I 'plugged' them into my handy collage-maker and received the condemning news that only 26 made the cut - as they say.
      Panic consumed me.  Which 26? Were 'key', prized entries rejected? Was this daemonic "app" just out to get me?  Steeling myself, I squinted - a 'meanie' squint - as the chosen were paraded, in a perfect geometrical, circular reel-of-misfortune, on the monitor.  Selecting a 50% overlap with authority, I clicked "create".  Naturally, the 7 rejects were stellar components of the finished piece.  BUT.  "Foiled!", I shouted as my squinted visual acuity, now enhanced, perceived the absence of star-quality images I'd - in my excited haste - neglected to scan.  Ha.  Guilty Christians 1; App Lions 0.)
      Given the size of the field, visiting all entrants' blogs and accommodating the 'trick' was time-consuming.  Then printing, laminating and packaging my ten recipients brought me to 11/15.  That's what "two weeks" is.  I've been contacting them to extract snail mail addresses lo, these past 12 hours.  To be sure, the grown-up winners, by now, have read their prize books, approved their illustrations and changed their edited manuscripts.  Beware the 'seemingly simple'.
      (So be it.  I simply cannot/will not desecrate my treat by NOT including the entire pictorial story. Unfortunately, I was only able to find a segment of the image, but I give you Bill.  A new next-door neighbor in the 80's, Bill came over to inquire of my husband as to whether the parents wore costumes when escorting their kids Halloween night. Mom always used to say, "The Devil's always busy."  Now my impish, Irish husband always wore hand- painted boxer shorts, a t-shirt; bow tie, a Groucho Marx nose/mustache mask; a trench coat on this special night. He went, if you asked, as a "flasher".  So, to Bill's query, he said, "Why, of course."  Dear Bill, a brilliant lawyer & very kind friend/dad, spent en entire week meticulously building a perfect, multi-colored Rubik Cube which revealed only his head and legs - knees to shoes.  And such a good sport.  Had us over for ice cream sundaes that night.
The flasher, seen left, didn't ALWAYS present with such panache.  There were times when his son was the ONLY guy who would be seen with him - for obvious reasons.  His biker outfit was intended to be a costume.  The above has no justification.  Ironically,  only our (his) dog was left out.Bridie, as you can see, was NOT as willing a participant in looking-the-fool as some other folk. And our own children were often in agreement with her.

At age four, our oldest, Philip, announced he would not speak at the school Halloween party.  Therefore, he was clad in an absurd multi-color fro; clown suit and carried a horn.  "You needn't say a word," I admonished, escorting him to the bus, "Just honk." 
 Our youngest refused to speak at age 3, so she wore green tights and a leotard. Festooned with purple balloons, she went out as a bunch of grapes.  The following year, Mommy had the flu, the flasher was carving pumpkins and once again, Jennie decided she was not going to speak.  The tree to your right was the result.  Their children did not suffer the same afflictions.  Emma, Jen's daughter, was delighted to trot her royal stuff and although "Harpo's" daughter, Molly, was not a merry bumble bee, she loved her role as a toddler jockey and bounced right along to her conquering pirate this year.)


I believe the recipients in our writing performance will not only agree, but, hopefully, conjure up some happy nostalgia of their own.  Perhaps, you will as well.  Later, Lorane. . . .