Saturday, December 29, 2012


       Wrapping it up is SO much easier when you know what you are 'wrapping', don't you think?  I do, so as we approach another 'passage' - of time, distance, a crowd - I ponder some of the 'big ones' but settle (gratefully) for the little - some might say insignificant - questions.
       Whatcha doin'?, for example, came to mind.  And before I could muster a response befitting my activities - such as they are - I was reminded of a wonderful re-telling of an experience had by Dory Previn.  She shared this event not too long after crafty little Mia Farrow, pixied her way into Dory's home, life, and, ultimately, bed, only to leave behind some short, blond hairs and take with her Andre - Dory's husband/reason-for-living.
       Doubtless, this transgression played into Dory's mood - if not her now vacant, imperiled core.  So it was that she gave us "Twenty Mile Zone" to which I tip my hat, lend an ear and cross my heart hoping that Dory is at present at least not unhappy.  She tells us:

I was riding in my car
Screamin' at the night,
Screamin' at the dark,
Screamin' at fright.
I wasn't doin' nothin' -
Just drivin' about, screamin' at the dark,
Lettin' it out.
That's all I was doin',
Just lettin' it out.

Well along comes a motorcycle
very much to my surprise,
I said, "Officer,
was I speedin'?"
I couldn't see his eyes.
He said, "No, you weren't speedin'",
and he felt where his gun was hung.
He said, "Lady, you were screamin',
at the top of your lungs.
And you were
doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone,
You were screamin' in your car in a twenty mile zone, you were doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone, you were screamin'."

I said, "I'll roll up all my windows.
(don't wanna disturb the peace)
I'm just a creature who's lookin'
for a little release."
I said, "What's so wrong with screamin'?  Don't ya do it at your games;
when the quarterback breaks an elbow;
when the boxer beats and maims?"

doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone,
you were screamin' in your car in a twenty mile zone.
You were doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone, you were screamin'.

I said, "Animals roar, when they fee-el like."
I said, "Why can't we do that too-oo-oo?  Instead of screamin' 'Bonsai, Baby!', in the whoa, in the hu-u-mannn zoooo?"
"But-you-were doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone, you were screamin' in your car in a twenty mile zone.
You-were-doin' it alone, you were doin' it alone,  you were screamin'."

He said, "I got to take you in now.  Follow me right behind.  And let's have no more screamin',
like you're outta yo' mind."
So he climbed aboard his cycle
and his one-eyed headlight beamed.
And his motor started spinnin',
And his siren
doin' it alone, he was doin' it alone
He was screamin' on his bike
in a twenty mile zone.
He was doin' it alone, he was doin' it alone,
he was screamin'.
We were doin' it together, we were doin' it together, we were
screamin' at the dark in a twenty mile zone.
We were doin' it together, we were
doin' it together, we were screamin'.

We-were-doin' it together, we were doin' it together, we were doin' it together, we were
doin' it together, we were doin' it together, we were doin' it together, we were doin' it together,
we were doin' it together alone.
In a twenty mile zone.

       If, dear reader, I should look up and see that you have 'hung in there', are still seated/reclining at my Aesopian table, please join me in tipping your hat - having lent an ear - and cross your heart that our 2013 'story' will have more morale than moral;  more 'groaning table' than arching fable.  'Here, here' to seconds of 'camp' and not even serving scamps; nay to those who come a-wenching but "Yea!" to those who would be in our space for to be drenching us with merriment - a spear, meant to pierce the soul such that it may osmose this nectar of release.
       'Whatcha doin'?  Lettin' it out;  takin' it in.  It's time.  TOGETHER, on three:  S-C-R-E-A-M!
Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last Seen Wearing Thin: Background Noise - TIMEOUT!

Last Seen Wearing Thin: Background Noise - TIMEOUT!

Background Noise - TIMEOUT!

                Once again, I sat me down to share something of possible mutual interest and once again, I forgot to turn off the background noise.
Alas, there was a time when I, too, pouted thusly.  Mia's pout will have to do.  The interesting stuff had to do with a rumor I heard about the raising of the income tax to 75% over in France.  I wondered, with hungry curiosity, whether we would shortly begin to experience a diaspora of frenzied French ex patriots establishing colorful, little artistic colonies hither and yon - with gay music, poetry reading, passing the beret and other amusing distractions.
        Indeed, I sincerely hoped my neighborhood might be one such - hither or yon, that is.  About to make a quick dash to the closet to check out potential 'French-artistic-colony' vintage ware, I was accosted by the clawing, far-too-perky/sincere dulcet tones of "VESICAREWOMAN".
        On the narrow chance that you've been deprived of this 'mad-ad-drivel', allow me. 
Background Drop:    WHITE
Music:                       Muted-Bouncy
Action:                      Varies with scene; Opens with:
        "VW", a PVC-pipe, gold-sprayed stick figure; short, chic coif tinted burnished bronze, extricating herself from a line-up of similar creatures to 'share' with us,
"I've worked hard to get where I am. . ." (Said locus seems to be a successful career in the corporate world (glass ceilings be damned & rendered shards by metallic piping).
        Keeping the action going, she beams onto a people mover and, speaking simultaneously to us and the call-ee (?sultan with a fetish and beau coup investment $?  Broker, awaiting "buy" or "sell" commands?) on her cell;
attends an important meeting (judging from the length of the conference table at which she has parked her angular, metallic ass at the head 'wing chair';
rides (is driven, actually in a stretch with the tags "TAKE CHARGE" - which is the theme of this consumer (that's us) service announcement -
"I have more important places to go than always going to the bathroom."  (Clearly a "not-need-to-know" fact for this or any civilized woman of today).
        You see, thanks to VESICARE, our glistening, dry, gold-piped Twiggy was apparently once a slave to (thankfully un-named) bladder malfunctions which due either to frequency or severity or (heaven forbid) both, caused unacceptable - indeed potentially career-threatening - treks to the Loo or the nearest white porcelain fixture.
        Should you, dear feminine reader, be visited/afflicted by similar (hardly possible) intrusive, life-altering plumbing pathologies,
"Take charge of your life."
Pipe Girl, "VW", did and now she's leaked her secret - VESICARE.
(Betty, cue Dino with a hook and an Allen wrench.)
            Then we hear our
confused but oddly happy-sounding "Genealogy Girl"  (Molly - right - is actually seeing the image of her Grams - Moi, left - as she is forced to sit on the stage for the school end-of-year 'show' while she would prefer to be home sleeping or having an all-out primal scream secondary to fatigue, frustration and hearing people like "Genealogy Girl" on the TV.)
        "GG" always wondered about the 'first' Ellen, for whom she was named.  (What turns THIS supposedly harmless odyssey into a tragedy - the likes of which caused this writer to utilize the above visuals.)  Ultimately, Curiosity - the murderess known/experienced by tragic heroines of history - nudged her to her computer and the helpful 'robot' staff at "".
        Before she had time enough to enter Aunt Ellen's stats - meagre as they were - on the wizard's template, she was showered with scoop enough to realize that she had actually walked passed Auntie E's house each day and evening going to and from work.
        For sooth, plus very good reason, we never hear whether this is still the case.  Oh, Auntie E no doubt carried on high and led a raucous PRIVATE life at that address.  The key word (caps) is why she was able to do just that.  No fool, Auntie E.  Ancestry?  Who gives a 'tini's olive?  Once you start fishing around - using new-fangled hardware to boot, or glass slipper as was E's wont, you're bound to meet trouble. 
       But it would be just like her sister's bookish, 'what-makes-the-flowers-grow?', naive spinster kid to wonder why her name was dumb-ass gene Ellen.  Now trouble -  starts with 't', rhymes with 'p', stands (usually) for 'pool' is what "GG" got.  Along with her 'new address' from which she will not be passing Aunti E's house, she got an eviction notice after missing a few rent payments.
        Seems every time she queried the robotic 'seer' re: Aunti E's background, there was a charge attached.  Addiction has no conscience - or common sebse, for that matter - and before she knew it, our Ellen was a 'trust baby'-niece but a 'bag lady' debtor, causing a change in life style, occupation (none) and address.  (Third and Lex, I believe was where she was last perched.) 
        Why?  Well, there are exorbitant fees attendant to the fact-finding mission that provides the 'wonderer' with enough data to transform her into the 'wanderer'.  All because, when the 'answer' came - with a variety of spellings of the queried subject's name - Ellen kept saying "Yes!"  Some questions may be better left unanswered.  That was the 'first' Ellen's philosophy.  Seems to have paid off.  Ya think?
        That French 'diaspora' could have been SO much more fun.
Later,  Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


        This evening's meanderings are brought to you by the letter "s" for serendipity.  Oh, I had been kicking around some 'messages of merit', 'ponderings with pith' - the usual.  But then this past weekend our household endured an irreparable tear (a rent causing shredding beyond repair in some emotional compartments) and, well, all literary 'bets' were off.
        Soooo, casting format, coordination and any sense of, well, 'sense', to the wind, I choose to simply tell the story of a different 'happening' last week - one that most Moms, Dads and kids are 'doing' around now.  I make no promises, but it's Americana 2012 and you just might see/meet someone you know.  Or not.

        This picture has no particular significance save to give you an idea of how we (our family) are and how we 'do' things.  So Mia is simply representative of an average day in the lives of any of our 6 grand peeps.  Indeed, our neighbors might have wandered into our home back in the day and found her mother or uncle or aunt similarly clad.  It's just a 'how-we-roll' thing.
        Now one evening last week, one of our daughters decided it was time for the Christmas Elf to crash the commune for his annual 'watching out' duties.  He was quite a hit last year with then  four year-old E. who dubbed him "Dublin".  Eighteen month-old Charlie was not quite as moved by his stay but then that was simply a developmental circumstance.
        THIS year, 'Momma' just KNEW he would get into the Dublin thing and big sister would - as is her wont - be certain he got it right.  So it was that after baths, the kids dripping off in cuddly robes, Momma made her move, skulking to the top of the stairs - hopefully unnoticed - and calling down in that familiar 'wife-to-hubby-stage-whisper',
"RRRRR!"  (He was working in the living room)
M:  "When I say, 'R, would you please bring C's milk up?', get Dublin, put him between the outside and screen doors, ring the front doorbell and then just do the milk."
D:  (Stage-whispering back/catching M off guard) for, "Where do I go?"
M:  (To herself) "Where does he GO? The deep dent in the living room sofa will be as welcoming as ever.  Go?  What the hell is he talking about.  These kids are drying fast."
M:  (To D)  "What do you mean, R?  You're working.  Continue."
(In fairness to D, his childhood bears little resemblance to that of our kids.)
D:  "I mean do I go outside or hide next to the inside screen door or what?"
M:  (in tone of one talking to a person with the IQ of a box of frozen snow peas)  "Put the elf in position; ring the doorbell; get the milk.  And if ASKED, you're too busy w-o-r-k-i-n-g  to answer the door."
D:  "So I come back inside after I ring the bell."  (Undoubtedly, he had serious concerns re: the "open-close-door" play action as they just had to replace the heating system and he was NOT going to be party to a 'let-it-blow' escapade on this un usually cold night.)
M:  "I'm getting the kids into their PJ's.  Just wait for me to ask for C's milk and go for it, big guy."  (WHY is this such rocket science to him?  HE wasn't eighteen months-old when Dublin spent December with us LAST year.  Jeez!)
D:  (Sits apprehensively on sofa. To himself.)  I'm working my ass off on these loan closures to meet a deadline that might pay an overcharging H-VAC thief and SHE'S playing 'elf games'!"
M:  "R!  Would you bring C's-m-i-l-k up, h-o-n?"
D:  "Right."  (He charges into the playroom;  fetches Dublin and races him to the front door "set change";  races to fridge to get C''s milk; goes outside; rings doorbell; back in, races up the stairs and passes sippy cup off to M; races back down and to safety of his sculpted sofa.)
E:  Daddy, some one's at the door!"
M:  "R!  I'm starting story time with C."
D:  "I'm working.  Come down and see who's at the door, E!"
E:  "Honestly, Momma.  Daddy's down there."
M:  "E, baby-girl.  Daddy's working.  You have your robe on.  See who's at the door, tell Daddy and then come up for story time."
C: (Grabbing one car and one truck)  "I'll go with Emma.  I answer door."
M:  (Ditching sippy cup; following stomping E and off- balance C)  "That's sweet, C."
E:  (Opening screen door/seeing elf)  "Momma!  Daddy!  Dublin's here!"
D:  "It is Dublin!  Let's bring him in out of the cold."
C:  (To himself)  They're talking to a doll."
M:  "C, you remember DUBlin, right?"
D:  "Sure won't recognize him frozen.  Let's get him in here so you can get a good look at him, C."
E:  (Blocking family)  "Wait."  (to Dublin)  "Hi, Dublin!  You remember me, E?  How did you get here?"
M:  "He was . . . de-livered, Honey."
D:  "And it was a long, warm trip.  I'll bet he wants to come inside."
C:  (To himself)  They are ALL talking to this doll.  I carry my trucks around and they whisper that I do strange things.  They are talking to a doll.  Sitting between two doors.  Not answering."
E:  "Daddy, WHO delivered him?"
M:  "Daddy's going into the living room, E."
E:  "Well I'm going outside to see if I can find out who deli-"
M & D:  "No!  It's cold outside!  You just had your bath." "EVERYBODY is coming inside.  Bring Dublin, C."  (C struggles to open screen door, NOT drop his vehicles, drag the 'stupid doll' in by a foot and mutter,)
C:  "I don't talk to dolls I don't know.  And if you stay, keep the heat IN side.  Very big with Daddy."
E:  "C, I can't tell you how Dublin was delivered to our house - yet. " (Taking C by the hand and starting up the stairs)
M:  (To R)  "WHY didn't you just snatch him up, bring him into the living room and, after a warm welcome and intros, tell the kids the lovely story of the Christmas Elf/Santa's Helper/watches boys and girls from EVERY where in the house to see wheth-
D:  "Key word there is "into".  And I asked you where I was supposed to be and what my part was!"
M:  "You need a script, now?  What - if anything - did your family do when the Christmas Elf arrived?"
(E and C can be heard commiserating in her bedroom.  E is being characteristically specific about this cute, tricky little guy who C will notice 'popping' up all over. )
"And HE reports directly back to SANTA all about how good or bad we've been.  Now, I've mailed our letters to the North Pole.  We're covered with our lists.  But this 'good or bad' stuff is VERY important when Santa's packing up on Christmas Eve."
C:  "Does this Dublin know the elves that make trucks and will he. . . ."

They ALL look pretty good to me.  And Dublin kinda rolls pretty much the way they do so I think ole Santa's gonna get more than a few ho, hos out of this crowd. (If there are any left for him by the Hostess.) 
        And who cares how he got to the house as long as Mommy's 'kissin' Santa Claus that night'.
(This closure was brought to you by the letter "b" for BELIEVE!)
Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


        This grandmother walks into a season (holiday)SOOOO engrossed in poring over the fractured reams of scribed fiction which she is polishing into her first real, 'big people' BOOK - "The Lemon-Haired Lady Diary" - that she fails to notice the particulars of her environs.  Also escaping her - the fact that it is far too late to make editorial 'LIFE/SITUATION' changes.
        Looking right -"What's this?"  She recalls a storm. . . 
but didn't know the house on the corner of her street had lost a four story-tall pine tree.  (Well, they didn't lose it as such.  I mean it's pretty hard to 'misplace' a forty-something foot high wood flora which ultimately lay resting across a heavily-trafficked entrance road into the hood.)
        Remembering now darkness, candles, serving 'cold shoulder' at dinner, she stares at what is now its exposed underbelly - the eight foot in diameter spread of obviously un-tended ROOTS - short, stubby even, and wrenched facilely from Mother Earth's surface - a vegetarian "Latchkey Kid", victim of neglected grooming, nourishment, SIGH, "Ladies, pu-leez, CHECK YOUR ROOTS!"
        Gazing left, her reality is accosted by remnants of travel - an obscenely over-sized suitcase so recently nuzzled in the freshly-painted, warmth of her daughter's 'now-in-her-own-new-home'- guest room.  Ah, yes, Thanksgiving - a Sunday-pre through Friday-post gathering.  The Grandmother flew;  
Grand peep Mia flew to greet her.  (Doesn't get any better!)
        Her 'Poppy' drove to relieve their home of thirty plus years of daughter's loving, lively childhood  treasures - teak wood roll-top desk; music box collection (32);  china/costumed dolls populated by a traditional Pierrot Clown, a genuine Red Cross Nurse and the obligatory 'Southern Belle' ONLY one of which seemed edgy about moving North; a family heirloom Martini Shaker with six short gold/cobalt-striped glasses crafted by artisans in Europe circa 1898 AND the cannot-be-outdone-model of efficiency - wrapped, labeled and 'ready to be opened' with accompanying squeals on that magic 'Santa Day' from our cluttered house to daughter's spanking, new one.
        Then she began to re- experience as chirping what had been the piercing shreds of commentary on the four flights she had endured to and fro: "Inside voice, Billy."  "They husband/wife.  Go together.", watching her needed 'assistance' wheelchair being pilfered for half of an Asian couple by an agent obviously in league.
        And the parade of cellphone texts - meaningless when received; "I'll be there when you land, Mom." (daughter)  "Mom, find a coffee shop.  Relax, Philip." (son in Virginia)  "Dad got lost.  I'm finally home.  Leaving now to get you." (same daughter)  Finally, "A Bloody Mary, please."
"Ya know, if I weren't six months pregnant, I'd have one too." (This from aircraft row partner on last leg of return home flight.  She possessed the added badge of having mothered the 'outside voiced', heinous, small, male offspring who, transfixed by a smidgen of "Trail Mix" packaging fetchingly exposed by a slightly ajar zippered compartment of my purse, expressed decided disinterest in placing any part of his body on Mommy's bulging sibling pouch to feel Jackson moving.  Repeatedly, in something as far removed from dulcet tones as you can get.)
Grandmother to grandmother in head: "I don't drink on planes.  But even if I were nine months pregnant and had to share my life space with you and your 'alien' child, I'd have at least two all the while wondering if there was time enough for a 'post graduate' Cosmopolitan."
      Once settled in her gloriously empty base (Hubby driver was warmly ensconced in the home of our two dearest friends.  Seemed prudent to break up the trip.  Of significantly higher moment, a visit with this couple, this doting duo that defines the value of relationships, rejoices in the treasure the careless refer to simply as 'humor' and welcomes the sojourner with more heartfelt 'rapture' than that afforded "Himself", would be motive enough to take a long road trip.) the grandmother continues her walk.
        She plods, vacuums, launders - all the while basking in the familiar background newsfare cum ads:
"I've been using catheters for years, but I gotta tell you, . . ." (Actually, sir, you do not 'gotta'.)
". . . is applying testosterone to his underarms! Yes, new "AXERON" (? Roll product ON to axillae?)  significantly increases low 'T'.  Do not use near women who are or can become pregnant.  Excess hair growth has been reported.
        She's subconsciously musing, begins to see images of a potential sequel frame:  The most vivid reveals the couple (positioned 'American Gothic').  She is gruffly bearded; he is pale, breaking a sweat as he wrestles with pushing up amply-filled triple D bra cups. 
        This grandmother walks into her sun room, languidly stirring the smile she's added to her orange spice tea because the night fog is lifting giving up the day to the sun.  The moon - which bestows ownership of the night to the woman - recedes and 'man's day' is abornin'.  Her smile broadens with the knowledge that her 'frame lady' has all day to get a smooth shave and her hubby will miss his sunrise - what with those inflated half-moons.
        So nothin' old is 'NU' again. Ya think? 
Later, Lorane. . . . 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Just Out. . .

        Wouldn't you just KNOW IT.  On the most important evening at Hofstra U. in decades, things may not get off the ground.  This because - and no surprise, I daresay - of a traffic snarl on the infamous L.I.E. (Non-New Yorkers, that would be the Long Island Expressway, historically referenced as the East Coast's longest parking lot)
        Best we can tell, there seems to be a stalled (and 'tourist-sized') BUS which, perhaps in the process of changing lanes, came to an un-start able halt.  Local, state and transportation police at the scene resorted to a "Road Service" call - wisely.  But while waiting, some help-offering passerby-mechanics gave the predicament their best shot.
        It was during this Samaritan effort that the REAL problem has been isolated:  Said mechanics could not gain access to key areas of the bus underbelly due to the inordinate NUMBER OF BODIES crammed under the vehicle.  Seemingly of a variety of stripes/fields, the bodies appeared to have been thrown to their obstructive positions. 
        We are now hearing that these same Samaritans, noting that some bodies, conspicuous for their awkward/identical positions, had first fallen on what may be 'swords'.  In that their status cannot be properly evaluated poste haste, in deference to the trauma "Golden Hour", medical assistance - ground transport as well as chopper - has been summoned.
        One quick -thinking officer placed several calls to clergy as facial expressions of the 'thrown body group' range from puzzlement to flat-out fear/deep guilt.  Others are marked by an unusual red tinge to the facial skin suggesting, perhaps, embarrassment beyond that one would expect as attendant to discovery under a vehicle of this sort on an already newsworthy day in THE most public of arenas.
        It is hoped that every body is safe, of course.  Further, once blame/accountability can be sorted out, the bodies that may have been thrown in error or, at best, without 'just cause', will be returned to the safety of their pre-catapult environs; apologies made; atonement proffered if appropriate and then, to bed.
        Certainly we have the rapid response time of the emergency personnel on Long Island along with the gratifying show of good will on the part of voluntary ancillary personnel to THANK for averting a postponed/late Hofstra U. "event" as well as a history-making traffic snarl during rush hour on October 17, 2012 between six and eight A.M.
        The waters of Long Island Sound remain unruffled in the face of this evening's vehicular falderall.  It remains to be seen what, if any, tidal changes might be noted on the Potomac come the morn'.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, October 15, 2012

And Some Other Things. . .

        You may recall that recently I've been musing about what seems to me to be a barrage of vapid television advertising content.  Having exceeded my rehab walking goal for today (AND snagged a StairMaster at a yard sale during Saturday's walk) I confess to feelings of minor smugness.  Indeed, I sit here, sipping berry tea from my favorite mug.  A gift from TR (hubby), it sports the slogan:  "I think, therefore we have nothing."
        But first, yesterday.   The guys herded themselves AND all male offspring into a 'Family Man Cave' for a day of patriotic Sunday football.  My younger daughter - a founding cast member of our local children's theatre, "The Hurrah Players" - and I treated her little just five year-old, pre-K, 'what's-everything-all-about' lady to lunch and a matinee performance of Disney's "Aladdin".

        Emma was familiar with the story.  For her, the hero was an Ahab, "grand-ungodly-god-like-man".  We had perfect aisle, ORCHESTRA seats.  Perched on a riser, Emma had the best of views - of the entire theater.  Larger-than-life sets magically changed;  performers FLEW on and off stage;  glittering, colorfully-costumed 'harem girls' swayed and sang.  By contrast, the crowded marketplace, realistically energized by buyers and sellers of all ages and sizes invited her close scrutiny.
        Then, Director Hugh R. Copeland staged several impressive, follow-spotted entrances from the rear of the theater.  Performers walked, danced, ran and were royally carried to the stage, accompanied by musical fanfare and confettied fireworks. 
        The audience greeted each with enthusiastic waving and clapping.  UNTIL.  Two groups of fierce-looking 'palace guards' - clad in turbans, billowing trousers, bulging muscles and menacing brows and wielding four foot-long, curved, metallic sabres - charged down two aisles (one of which was immediately to our right).
        Emma froze.  A keenly-observant child, she had seen a sultan, heard of Arabian Nights, watched harem dancing and peered at poverty-driven crowds.  THEN, we took her to the theatre.  Emma, for a split-screened second, thought these guards could be taking over or "invading" her make-believe, magic cosmos.
        Blue-green saucer eyes stared out from her white, spot-lit little face.  Gratefully, the wonder and amusement of the child-filled audience plus a light hug brought her back to our make-believe reality.  S-L-O-W-L-Y, she smiled - a tentative, guarded grin.  Finally, her Sunday-best-dressed-body relaxed and she 'got back into it.'
        On the way home, as she chattered on about her favorites, I thought of how vigilant we must be - everywhere - regarding exposure to our senses.  So today, friends, I must encourage watchfulness.  By this I mean be sure to be looking at your screen when what passes for commentary or advertisement dalliance is holding forth.
        You see, if you don't (see), you may be exposed to unbridled warning from a bombastic announcer whose 'PSA' is aimed at post-operative female patients.  The class in question - women who underwent surgery to correct incontinence.  The specific procedure apparently involves the insertion of a corrective/helpful 'device'.
        IF you are using ONLY auditory plus imaginative skills, this rapid-fire, elided delivery COULD lead you to believe the culprit about which you are warned is an implanted 'device'.  Reported, catastrophic side effects are such that ANY potential 'victim' of the procedure/device implantation would demand to know whether she now wanders around dry but with "IT" embedded in her body.
        I refer, of course, to the presumably eponymous "Herr/Doktor Mescherslink".  If, indeed, said 'device' has a familiar ring to the casual, post-operative listener, she will call her surgeon STAT, inquiring, "Where's the label on that thing you put in or do I have to call the hospital and request my medical records.  What's the deal here?"
        And so on.  ALL such potential histrionics could have been averted by insisting on proper elocution.  The 'warning' is related to a "mesh or sling" that may have been implanted to correct this unfortunate condition.  My warning is related to "CAUTION: the following may not be appropriate/comprehensible for all audiences.  Parental (or papal or rabbinic or la mic) guidance is suggested."
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PSA - for William DeVane

        Perhaps you've heard former ? actor, William De Vane peddle the purchase of gold on TV.  Or not.  It's of no moment.  He does and I have.  Today, I'd like him to listen and I'll 'peddle' this info just for him.

        I would submit to Mr. De Vane - with a modicum of caution as 1)  I know nothing about the integrity of his cardiovascular system and 2) I know less about his comprehension capacity.  (But taking a wild guess, I'd venture he's probably NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer.) - that things are presently on the 'glum chum' side in our Homeland (Please see gas prices in CA, national unemployment numbers, the rising costs of quality medical care delivery - just for openers.).  And on the international scene, well, Sheldon Harnick said it well in the 50's and things haven't changed that much.

        By way of background info, Mr. Harnick had been described as a "cranky misanthrope"   who was rather upset with the rest of the world's ingratitude for the beneficence of the USA.  So, he groused, "They all hate us anyhow so let's just drop the big one now."  Shortly thereafter, The Kingston Trio - a profoundly popular and clever folk group of the era that had large influence with collegiate audiences - performed something of a commentary on this droll, apocalyptic fantasy-comedy.  Their 'satirical social analysis' was far more accurate an evaluation of the 'international scene' and was titled (tongue-in-cheek) "Merry Minuet."

        Now then, Mr. De Vane of "protect-yourself-from-the-problems-of-the-world" messaging, please sit down and get comfy.  You may want to shut that wall safe door.  This won't take long and should you become upset, you can always open it and toy with your shiny gold coins.  Promise.  We know how you love the way they feel.  You may even recall  the words of that Kingston Trio song but this is to be a serious read so pu-leez, no humming or dancing.  Just thinking and CARING.  Give it your best shot, Bill.  This PSA is for you:

They're rioting in Africa,
They're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering
with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don't like anybody very much.
We can be grateful and thankful
and proud
For man's been endowed
with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain
that one happy day
Someone will set the spark off;
and we will all be blown away.
They're rioting in Africa,
What nature doesn't do to us
will be done by OUR FELLOW MAN!
        (Copyright Alley Music Corp. and True Music Co., Inc.)
        So in 1958, Sheldon Harnick independently and Dave Guard of The Kingston Trio were very publicly bleeding from the "problems of the world".  (I don't recall what you were doing, Mr. De Vane - perhaps your Dad's bidding, "Buy land.")  We Americans were collectively searching for enough alpaca clothing to withstand the Cold War's Big Bear threat.  Today, again, as a nation, we pray we shan't be the "last flag flying, the last target on" the Taliban's list. 
        That's it.  You can get up now Mr. . . .  Mr. De Vane?  You'll never fit your entire 'self' inside that wall safe.   You're fine.  The "world's problems" won't hurt you.  You've got that plane.  And you have your horse.  I'll bet he's a speedy steed, too.  This was a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, anyway.  You don't even have to listen, let alone do anything.  Mr. De Vane?
        Have a 'good one',
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Flavor of the Day

        The writers' conference of which I recently wrote, was, unfortunately not an 'only child' in the 'intimidation family'.  Several weeks prior, I had received a submission - sent by me to a publisher - which was plastered with yellow post-its filled with condemnation.  The piece was non-fiction, limited in length and 'pre-titled', "The Butterfly Experience".  The handwriting of the person critiquing was illegible - thankfully - but the last note, printed, concluded, "This is Awful!".

        I have alluded to this subject matter in the past on this blog; I don't recall there being a spillage of printed outrage when the song "Tears of a Clown" was released; followers who know me - both of you - are quite familiar with my enjoyment of/dabbling in things dramatic.  I concluded regarding that final comment that in the words of my favorite T-shirt, "Writer's block: when the people in your head stop talking to you."

        Morbid curiosity compels me today to share the unabridged object of professional derision of which I spoke.  Perhaps, if moved, you'd add your own commentary.  Don't hold back.

The Emancipated Butterfly
                It is said that just when a caterpillar was about to die, thinking it was all over, he morphed into a beautiful butterfly.  Often, a seemingly minor event, word, daunting experience - or an emancipating one - 'happens' that alters our lives, perhaps even defines our lives, forever.  For me, "The Words" - out of nowhere/sans provocation - effected for me an emancipating change.
        Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life - in my case, one lived in shabby gentility - "words" suddenly come along and interrupt and there is the birth of . . . well, given the setting and circumstances, a 'fairy tale'.  I believe/ed in magic; that fairy tales did/do come true.  Seeing is believing.  (Indeed that statement - as pretext - is my reality, my 'way of being in the world'.)  I became/am living proof of that maxim because I found lasting, unadulterated good in the one others called/call "YOU".
        The Words in question were, "What if I'm Not Me?"  They had/have had a relentless hold on my life.  They made me doubt, experience fear, question reality as I knew it, wonder what it would be like to know success unbridled, failure, rejection - an olio of potentials that could not be contained - then or now.  What if I'm not me?  Who makes the call if I'm not?  Can I return to being me after being someone else for awhile?  Have I done so already?  Then, smothering under a blanket of guilt, I shook as animals do to rid fur of unwanted, excess water.
        Once 'dry' enough, I apologized to my Creator, asked forgiveness, 'willed' that demons be gone and steadied my station in life:  five or six year-old female child, forging ahead in this experience called life.  But 'ahead' came up "ERROR" on my 'mapquest'.  Seemed I wasn't going to be getting there.  So I took every opportunity to investigate/interpret "The Words" which had become/continue to be my director.  This is why lasting, ongoing good really had its beginning on an extraordinary day, while I was shabbily gentle, receptive to, if not in pursuit of, a fairy tale.
        Beginnings are often unhappy times. I've come to realize this must be so if they are to lead to something better;  bring about change that shuns an inferior past.  As a dissatisfied, wilting cherub, little 'Miss Poutiness' extraordinaire, I was more than ready to stop maintaining the fiction of obedient-social-behavior-befitting-my-station-in-life.  And what ho!  Dawns the light - disguised as "the words".  This beginning-born-of-unhappiness was hackneyed and it had to be so.  Steeped as I was in a nubile form of arrogance, an unhappy beginning was necessary to fulfill the requirements of change.
        I had been looking around - more often than not - at my environs and thinking, "Is this it?"  Then these simple words, "What if I'm not Me?" caused the tiny balls inside the lock to cascade down until poof!  All was open.  I would no longer be sentenced to be 'just me'.  Rather, the cast of 'THOSE' who would come to be called 'ME' was endless.  Without relinquishing an iota of familial, legal, christened identity, I would simultaneously assume the roles of each character - waiting in the wings of the greatest stories ever told.  The costumes - a perfect fit;  the talents - already honed to perfection;  the casting - brilliant.
        I recall one glorious, shining autumn day in the 1960's.  I was working in the Coronary Care Unit at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.  It was my one day off and, thanks to the generosity of the Ambassador from Bahrain who had the good taste to succumb to his heart attack while giving a speech at the UN and become my patient, I was in a buoyant frame of mind wearing his gift of "Ramu" perfume (none of the other nurses like it so I had seven bottles) and a tres chic tailored beige suit avec tres short pencil skirt.  Having attended a runway show at Bergdoff's (another gift from his Bahrainianship) I squandered an entire extra duty shift's paycheck on a floppy felt hat and sauntered down Fifth, stopping to drool over the china in the window at Ginori.  (Having sold china at Macy's for two years, two nights/week and all day Saturday, I knew from Ginori.)
        I became aware of a tall, tweedy presence behind me - also admiring the china.  Turning to continue what I knew looked like an 'I-belong-on-Fifth-and-live on Park' stroll, the gentleman politely asked a question about the window display.  Smiling abashedly enough, I feigned an Italian accent, miming in shards of 'Itanglish', "Scuzzi. . .no speak. . Ciao!"  and and sauntered, sidewalk south.  Such fun!  I believed me and just knew he'd be telling the chaps about the 'Eyetalyan Countiss' he met  at Ginori over lunch at The Pierre.
        Recalling days like that, I bless that unhappy day in that ordinary life, interrupted by a seemingly hackneyed phrase.  You see, in the realm of the apocryphal, that day gave me the relish for people of thunder and lightening who have a distaste for the humdrum.  In the world of theater, of 'being someone else', these people have a compelling force that sets them apart for life.  They are said to be indifferent because they can so easily puncture pretense and bombast.  But they are said to be passionate performers because they can portray these same unpleasant qualities with spark.  And this seeming indifference is in fact a protective coloring - like a costume - of a temperament whose secret, innermost recesses contain a deep reservoir of emotion.  Thus, the 'contradictiction' is resolved!
        Absent this gift, I could not be in the world as a duality.  With it, one personage is always available - on a variety of photo IDs.  Meanwhile, the other is telling a myriad of otherwise untold tales, using a 'universal Equity Card' without which coveted roles are denied, the curtain never goes up.  The magic, the fairy tales, the true 'happily-ever-afters' - all happen with the constancy and regularity of a perfectly contrived world of good.  They happen because once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, "words" are not only permitted but invited to interrupt.  The sad ending becomes a 'sad' beginning - over and over and over again.  Do not die, fly. . .
Later, Lorane

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Never Promised You a Bell Jar

        Today's humble missive is brought to you by the emotion "intimidation".  I attended a three-day conference hosted by the Hampton Roads Writers.  The speakers/workshop leaders - stellar all - left me emotionally and psychically eviscerated.
        Inspiring, experienced and talented people addressed us and remained totally approachable and helpful throughout.  I purchased a different book for each of my six grandchildren and the authors graciously wrote personal notes to each child.  The children are avidly enjoying their treasures.
        I, on the other hand, have been reduced to a non-writing (nary a word in ten days until this drivel), ex-aspiring creator of interesting prose who now titles perfunctory entries in her blog with blatantly mixed metaphors and meandering ramblings.
        What can I say, dears, after I've said, "I'm sorry.".
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life With Poppy

Philip Multitasks - Early On

        The house that embraced Poppy was bought quickly.  Once the excitement of FINALLY having another child settled down, we realized there was no room for a new baby in out "starter mansion".  (In fact, the purchase AND move was rendered quicker by the fact that we didn't own any living room or dining room furniture and Philip's nursery had been packed away for years. Having an additional family member (with baby Julie already tucked in to her roomy nursery and Philip comfy in his room next to ours) living with us presented NO issues as Poppy's room was more 'furnished' than ours when Mom died.  He was good to stay but we splurged on new beige carpeting for him when he entered his "brown period".
        The 'Poppy/Philip' relationship had been well established.  His 'golden years' included many long hours in the Poppy spotlight:  forming what would become a lifetime love of baseball as a toddler, waving to Poppy from the outfield during his early Little League games, spending hours tinkering in the tool shed where all equipment was neatly hung and labeled on pegboards and - the best busy-ness - sitting for log periods of time in Poppy's car, behind the steering wheel, lovingly role playing "driver" with the keys, the signals, the radio and the serious dialogue with CB-ers in his imaginary capacity of 'character-of-the-day'.
        :Poppy's seemingly endless supply of imaginary characters coupled with an equally infinite ability to sit in one spot for hours patiently engaged in the day's game is, I'm sure, the hallmark of Poppy-the-sitter in the minds of many, many friends and neighbors.
        Julie was two years-old when he began THEIR life-long love affair.  An avid reader (possibly because it was another activity that involved sitting in one place for long periods of time), he slowly expanded her library, reading and re-reading her favorites countless times. 
        This is not to say that his interests were solely in sedentary activities.  Hardly.  A true 'man-of-all-seasons', Poppy loved summers at the seashore.  We used his gift of the proceeds from the sale of his house to build a cottage on the Outer Banks.  It became our family "Summer Headquarters" for the next thirty years.  (In fact, it serves the latest generation of berry-brown little 'fire plugs' as it did their parents.)  I daresay, signs that Poppy - like Kilroy - was here define the place.
        We furnished it in"Julie and Joe"  - period and modern.  The great room - hub of all indoor activity - still holds the games AND score tablets that were played for hours with family and friends at all stages of development.  (Poppy still holds the Scrabble record for points awarded one word.  Of course I don't/cannot recall the exact word but the strategy was adding "i-a-n" to an already existing, long noun, handily located in one of the corners and netting him not one but two red 'triple word' squares.  I know it's pencilled in on the original board and I DO recall "94" as the number of points.  (It was as if the word 'octagen' - if it exists - was extant and he turned it into 'octagenarian'.)  Of course we challenged him only to find this abstruse word in the dictionary.  VERY irritating.
Julie on Mom's team at cottage
        Of course we didn't ALWAYS form 'teams'.  Julie and Poppy often played alone - pinochle.  She may hold the record as the only seven year-old who beat her Grandfather at a game most seven year-olds (and their parents) don't even know how to play.  But the yellowed, scores-in-#-2-pencil showing larger totals in the 'Julie' column survived the sea air of thirty years on lined, spiral notebook paper.
        Similarly, all of the kids played Dominoes with Poppy.  The original tiles, stacked in their Scotch taped, ragged box, bear witness to the hundreds of competitive marathons that filled rainy afternoon hours so many summers ago.  That these children did well in math many seasons later could be rooted in the summer 'doings' that were De rigueur for them in the pre-television/electronic game/rental movie era.
        A powerful swimmer and graceful diver, Poppy was the darkest-skinned family member by summer's end.  His (brown) bathing trunks blended with the skin on his back after many long hours in the surf or standing watch at the shoreline.  Of course he was extremely 'tuned in' to the children's needs - what with the drain summer sun and fun can impose on fast-growing as well as long and slowing bones.  It was in the interest of this sensibility to the hale and hearty side of vacation activity that he maintained the rules directed to re-charging.
        Not only was it not safe to swim RIGHT after eating; the body needed a break and a cool room in the early afternoon.  What more efficient way to achieve these goals than a reading session.  Jennie was a particularly reluctant 'napper' but Poppy, dedicated as he was to preserving the schedule, often had to suffer the occasional imposed 'teach-by-example' methodology.  Success was not ALWAYS achieved and the whole family had to endure a 'cranky' Jennie-in-the-evening' ordeal occasionally but it was certain;ly not for lack of trying on Poppy's part.  He seemed always to be chipper and refreshed after dinner.  Hmmm. . . .
        During the school year, Poppy was an active participant in all things educational as well as extracurricular.  He ALWAYS did the grocery shopping during the day and tended to the afternoon naps-avec-reading sessions with the little ones.  But his most favorite activity was spectatorship.  His was a dual reward system in this arena: he got to see his offspring play a sport (in which he had played a part instructing or transporting to practice) and, always recognizable by his plaid fedora-for-all-seasons, he'd chat it up with the other parents and, more importantly, the other PLAYERS.
        You see, as time went on, we saw more of the children-of-broken-marriages.  Many didn't have grandparents able to attend games.  So Poppy was every one's 'poppy-for-all-seasons'.  It was a role he cherished.  Tired of asking a school chum of Philip's, "Where's your old man," he'd just BE there and I''d hear things like, "No, Mike.  You're lookin' good.  Season's young.  You'll get 'm next game."  And even when he wasn't familiar with the sport (rare, but field hockey and la crosse weren't big in Brooklyn) he'd throw out a, "Hang in there, Fiona.  Eye on the ball 'n watch that one's high stick!"
        I'm sure if I took a poll, there'd be many a guy or gal between 30 and 40 today who has a 'Poppy story' from 'back in the day.  This would be just as true of sports as it would be of "thee-ay-ter".  Lory's not forget those high-tappin' table-top impromptus.  He sure didn't.  He attended and loved every dance and musical theatre show the girls were in.  He often has a few pointers (no pun intended) too.  And when it was "Showtime, folks!", I'd look over at him In the dark - sure to see a tear or two rolling down his stubbed cheek in the back row.  Whether it was in acknowledgment of a perfectly executed time step by Julie or an unintended but hilarious string of wrong turns by Jennie, his blue eyes were mistin' because, ". . . that's my kid's kid."
        It was a busy household during a busy time in our lives and I like to think his part was more than that of an 'accidental but convenient diversion'.  Rather, he was an ESSENTIAL part of our survival.  Not a particularly ritualistic man when it came to religion, like his father before him, he had his own 'thing' going with God.  In fact, for a spell we were attending the only Latin Mass in town because the Catholic Church in our area had become quite liberal. The priest conducting this mass came down from New York every week and stayed at our house. (It was all so 'sub rosa' and deliciously annoying to the kids - AND Poppy.)
        Father X would stay in Philip's room (now on the third floor - finished attic; closer to God).  He'd arrive Saturday evening and we'd all be lined up and ready to go around 8 AM.  Except Poppy.  Every week, father would say, "Going to Mass, Mr. G.?"  And every week Poppy would smile and say, "You have a good one, Father.  Me?  Well God and I already talked.  So, I'll be makin' kielbasa and scrambled eggs for when they get home.  Too bad you have to catch that plane."  And we would go off in silence, knowing that it had NOT been a satisfactory exchange and wondering WHY Poppy didn't just stay in his room until the guy left.  And, too, we were trying to do what we thought was the right thing and the kids would 'quietly' giggle in the car all the way to mass.
        I guess there was no harm done and eventually, the Latin Mass parish disbanded.  Unfortunately, it was after Poppy's sudden death.  Unfortunate because Father X - MUCH to our disbelief, told us he would say a mass but would NOT permit us to bring the coffin into the church.  He said he couldn't because he had "first-hand knowledge" of Poppy's breach with the Church.
        The next day, he had ours.  We never returned.  Instead, we contacted our dear friend and former pastor of the "happening now" parish and he made arrangements to use the church building AND invited two other priest who had left that parish to co-celebrate.
        Soooo, Poppy, breach and all, had a huge funeral high mass, celebrated by THREE priests.  He always used to say, in moments of confusion or distress, "You live, you learn, and you die stupid."  And I would be thinking, "No.  I live stupid because I don't get that, Dad," to myself.  Somehow, during his SO well-attended, triple-header High Funeral Mass, I thought about what he said - and got it - fleeting was the 'get', but I did.
        One occasion that caused his iteration of his "motto" was not long after Mom's death.  We were at the cottage;  it was a hot summer day; we decided to go in to Nag's Head and shop for bathing suits in the AC.  We got to the strip mall and saw a new store - a Tee-Shirt Store selling shirts that had PERSONAL sayings on them.  It was 'all the rage' so we went in and everyone selected a shirt and a favorite saying in a favorite color.  Poppy wasn't interested.  After all manner of pleading, he gave in.
        "Well, what do you want to say on it," I asked.  He ignored me.  The kids then ganged up on him and he finally said, "Just call me Poppy."  The guy did just that.  On a dark brown t-shirt, the words - reversed out in white - "Just Call Me Poppy" were printed in a bold, non-serif type.  He loved it.
        Next we went to the department store.  Poppy stayed outside, patiently strolling our fourth baby while I took the other three in for new bathing suits.  When we came out - at least an hour later - he said, "Damnedest thing.  I know we've been coming down here for a few years now, but never thought so MANY people knew me."  He went on to tell us that the whole time we were shipping, cars were driving by on the mile post road and tooting their horns, drivers waving and shouting, "Hey! Poppy!".  He, of course, had obligingly waved back - wearing his new t-shirt.
        I waited until we got back to the cottage and the kids were trying on their suits for, "Dad.  Those folks - the ones waving?  They could all read," and I pointed to his brown 'sign'.  After a long pause, he smiled, then laughed. 
        "What's so funny?"
        "You live, you learn, and you die stupid," he chuckled. 

"Just Call Me Poppy"

Later, Lorane. . . .

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And Then There Was One. . .

        As you probably expected, I married ("grow up" is still in progress).  We had an engagement party first and I guess that was the last time that,as his 'littke girl', I danced ON Daddy Joe's shoes.  Joe and Julie, post 'giving away THIS BRIDE, coupled along until my brother and I started OUR families.
        The they 'morphed' slowly through that last right of passage, welcoming the 'next' generation.  Mom, of a somewhat superstitious tending toward paranormal bent, led Joe into 'giving his regards to Broadway, Times Square and Forty-Second Street and ALL the 'sidewalks of New York'.  Within two years of his retirement, they moved to Virginia and the aerie of our little nest. 
        Our son Philip - an only child for seven -- what he calls "golden" years - but finally had the first of his sisters, named for Julie.  Mom Julie actually was heard to say one day (when she thought she was alone holding the child, "Now I can go.")   Little Julie dressed up, grew up and, much to Joe/Dad's surprise, helped his adjustment to his "leading lady's" exit - stage left, "laughin' all the way".
        In a blink, he was told there was to be gall bladder surgery;  he went to get an oil change and when he got back to the hospital he was told it was cancer. 
        "I'm afraid it spread to the liver, Mr. G," the surgeon said as we gathered around her bed - talking strategy.
         "Well.  OK.  She can have half of my liver.  Whatever."
        "YOUR liver?"
        she shot right out of her anesthetic drowse to pose this incredulous question .  (Joe was a Rye fancier and the only "Four Roses" Julie had ever wanted came with sprays of 'baby's breath'.  The very IDEA of his 'marinated' liver moving into HER occasionally red wine-drizzled abdomen put her in a tailspin.)  But she hung in for almost two years of 'extra innings' by which time they were living in our home because little Julie's Daddy slipped a lumbar disc, putting him in the adjacent bedroom to convalesce while getting very close to the lady who'd given him HIS bride and now was leaving him with HER groom. 
        The day their house was sold, she sighed in relief;  Joe cried in his grief.  Curtain.  BLACKOUT. 
'Poppy's' Peeps with His Little Girl
        The following ten years - "The Poppy Era" in the Leavy Household - would bring many a 'Poppy' story told by the many who comprised the two generations that followed his.  After a decent interval - three or four days after Julie's funeral, Joe emptied his closet, pitching his entire wardrobe.
        "I've hated BLUE for thirty-four years.  Finally, I get to wear what I WANT!"
        He was one 'pissed off' dude - clad exclusively in tones of brown.  But, as my friend KD always said,
        "Better to be pissed off than pissed on."  He always loved Kathy.  And the 'peeps. And his 'little girl' and husband, 'Doc'.  And - for a few years, until he accepted the fact that he cou;dn't destroy himself and nobody was going to let him leave - Four Roses. 
        Then one day doc packed his brown suitcase, placed it on the front porch and told him to come back in thirty days - after completing 'the program' - and the door would be open.  He did and it was and I scurried the kids around to AlaFam and Ala teen and Poppy didn't seem to have ANYTHING on his 'dance card', I asked why he wasn't going to the Al anon meetings.
        "Well,  kiddo.  I went to one.  All, these people talked about  was drinking and that's what I'm NOT supposed to do.  Tell you the truth, I don't think you should be draggin' the kids to those meetings, talkikn'; about drunks.  I'm just sayin'."
        And another chapter ended.  The last - 'Just-call-me-Poppy', the ultimate Au peres, starts tomorrow. 
Later, Lorane. . . .