Sunday, December 22, 2013

On 'By-And-Under-Standing' Greatness

       Good heavens! Has it really been that long?  Sorry.  But these past several months have delivered blows - health-related and loss-related.  One of the losses was particularly painful, marking as well a " rite of passage" in my life.  But, shamefully, the loss I believe I am missing the most is ME.  Yes.  That wasn't a typo.  I believe I 'lost' myself as well.  (Along with my quill.  Even Do Tell couldn't recall where I last stored it.)  But back to me.  (Propriety not withstanding, all humans are happiest when the topic is all about them.)
       During this literary hiatus - because of which, dear readers, (both of you) your lives were less rich.  There has been ample time for mulling.  And mull I did.  Ti's the season, after all.  I replayed this saga, even taking notes at times (And how pathetic is that?) decade by decade, ultimately concluding that it has been given to me the role of " almost-making-it-but-knowing-many-who-truly-have.  And-knowing-them-well."
       The following outpouring should explain. A) the title of this post and  B) why somewhere in the midst of these reflections I lost that coiner of snappy little phrases, wife and mom who truly contributed and supported "Sparky" and our offspring, Grams of seven little Peeps who saw her as someone to have fun with and never have to worry about prepositions during, and would some day make it in the major leagues.  She's the one I lost, most regrettably.
       Formative years.  Birth to age 10 in Brooklyn was an asymmetrical composition in which space - geometric and emotional - loomed and receded sharply and with no discernible etiology.  There were spans of time when my innermost dreams of my future suggested glowing lights and their  sparkling reflections on a wet street.  These were countered by spans when I mentally fought to enlist suggestive atmospheric effects that could surround me - like engaging oil canvases - to mute and the harshness of my reality - a blank GPS covered with soot.
       Perhaps this explains my passion for literature and the theater.  When the afternoon light began to fade, I could take refuge in a book or see a performance that portrayed elegant urbanities enjoying their surroundings.  And there is no doubting that I even reached my eleventh year because I was enveloped in familial love and support and blessed with a strong faith.
       I prettified my environs in my active imagination.  We all did.  The creek that was crossed by the splintered, rusty nailed bridge that led from Greenpoint to Long Island City was referred to as Lavender Lake, a favorite swimming hole of hood kids who never noticed the awful fumes from the glue factory when diving wildly from tar-splashed pier poles.  Rather, we saw Lavender Lake as white and shining, reflecting certain-to-be future Summer Olympians.  Majestic elms framed our mental portrait of the lake. There was nary a tree in the real neighborhood.
       Eleven to twenty.  I decided to characterize (Stray thought: I once ghost wrote a book for a Colombian doctor because he pronounced characterized ka-RAK'-tur-ized and said 'urinal' instead of journal.  Brilliant fellow but a expression challenged.) this decade "movement".
       I seemed to live half of my life on subways, buses, and an occasional car.  I 'moved' daily from Greenpoint Brooklyn to the Prospect Park section to attend an all girls, small, Catholic high school.  I understand it is a school for the deaf now.  In many ways, it was then too.  The students, well, my friends, had little use for what passed as education at the hands of the sisters of Saint Joseph, most of whom were octogenarians or deficient in some educational fashion.
       For example, we had a French teacher with a significant stutter, exacerbated by hour snickering; a principal whose credo was all proper, young Catholic girls had two options - attend saint Joseph's college, majoring in English or education or go to a secretarial school and find employment that would culminate in getting her MRS and a large family.  She therefore refused  me a letter of recommendation two Barnard college because students attended protestant services there.  (The word protestant was pronounced as though she were saying Druid.)
       Lastly, the only sports available to us were basketball - in a league of similar small all female academies - and cheer leading.  Working three evenings a week at Macy's precluded basketball but I did inquire about cheer leading. I was rejected because at that time I wore a 34C bra and jumping around publicly while cheering would 
make me an "occasion of sin". (To whom, I ask you.  We played only other all girl schools.)
       After high school, I moved from New York to DC where, after four years, I had earned a BS in nursing, a serious boyfriend who was still in med school, and the chance to be part of the first coronary care unit in the country.  I snapped that one right up, moving back to New York, sharing an apartment with a fellow alum on third and Lex.
       As I tended writers, musicians (I actually called Isaac Stern "fiddler" and he rewarded me with one of his very rare smiles.), actors, (one such famous woman became my new best friend because I let her cover the hospital floor with her treasured lion skin rug, hauled to New York directly from slaughter on safari), and dignitaries.  The ambassador from Bahrain had the good taste to suffer his heart attack while  delivering a speech at the UN.
       The event netted him a swift drive to our unit and me as his care provider.  In return, at the conclusion of his protracted stay with us, he sent one of his minions to fetch 30 or so bottles of Ramu perfume from Kenneth's.  None of the other staff liked it.  I kept and treasured all 30 bottles.
       Headquartered in our CCU and the Cornell Medical Center tower (from which one could see and hear the raucous soirees hosted by old blue eyes in his Sutton Place apartment) I became acutely aware of how truly ordinary these beings extraordinaire were when death toyed with the notion of feting them at his soiree.  Their  gratitude - when beating him at his game - was boundless and lavishly strewn upon their care providers.
       When loss of life looms large for the 'great', the reactions are variable but the one element of common denomination is fettered candor regarding very personal issues.  It seems to be a shared need among these very uncommon creatures.  AND - pardon the pun - they share these ruminations of their souls with the nearest "COMMONER" which so often was me.
       Thus, I inherited that dubious privilege of intently understanding (here we go again) the privileged as I stood or sat bedside, preserving their living (while earning nine) and piercing the walls of privacy that under normal circumstances permit few entrances.  The onlooker who, either by chance or curiosity, happened to observe these encounters/private interludes would doubtless comment - if the occasion arose - 'she seems out of place'.
       " Out of place" as though if this were the rolling credits at the end of a special news broadcast, she had been assigned and performed flawlessly the task of bringing this attentive audience up to date on the national weather, masterfully juggling the interplay of computerized, full color visuals, the artful and timely use of the ubiquitous pointer, the lavaliere mike from the control room, all the while executing professionalism in her posture, voice modulation, exacting enunciation, AND never a stumble in her serious but stylish four-inch heeled pumps.  A peasant necessarily among royalty whose spotlight moment, albeit brief, was functionally superb.  But the bottom line here  is, "Why does this director display inordinate lack of judgment by including the 'weather lady' among this avalanche of luminaries who had held his audience spellbound for to 2 hours?"
       And SHE, having been granted entrance to the wrong room, has no choice but to endure.  "Dear Diary, this evening I debuted what could conceivably be a career of performing "The remembered, banal, inexcusable, on-air, theatrically maleficent distraction".
       As it turned out, decades three, four, five and, so far six found me continually, although wearing a variety of different hats, executing that 'privilege' over and over again.  I "do" 'greats' very well and often.  My mulled thought on this activity can be summed up by concluding that the privilege is a gift without doubt and although it has taken five plus decades to realize it, it is a most rewarding service.
       It has also served to focus my life.  Rather then "missing" the lost conglomerate of the woman  I was a few months ago, I am determined to incorporate all of these roles, managing emphasis and time according to need.
       I had actually, Dear Diary, been granted access to the right room, which will be relished - not 'endured'.  And by way of example, I'll be sharing my experience with the great and talented actor, Pat O'Brien.  You'll just have to trust that during the several months we worked together, our personal relationship provided the opportunity to stand by and understand him.  For now, I must wrap this - and quite a few other things - up.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Boo-Hoo Jasmine

       I've heard rumors.  Seen pictures even.  Indeed I thought I actually saw "THE BOX" once.  Felt threatened.  It had to be a mirage. I mean, a giant, cubic structure, black, opaque, labeled in white block lettering - "The Box" - just hanging out.  Adding to my natural aversion to all things pugilistic - 'boxing' as a sport, entertainment or exercise - the structure was aesthetically unappealing (not Cubist of a remnant of DA DA-ism in form).
       I thought - from my safe, non-threatening, non-involved perspective/placement - outside the 'Box' - 'No'.  It is simply a no-go/don't roll that way 'thing'.  This stray thought, bona fide sibling of my thought process/Family of strays is of small moment but does explain my way of being in the world.  ALL of my thoughts are strays - believe the diagnosis was ADHD - and comfortably so.  Perhaps "The Box" is simply a container, sated with orderly, logical, rational, 'lock-step' THOUGHTS, surrounded by an invisible, electronic moat, strategically placed/guarded so as to bar entry to ANYTHING resembling that disorderly genus of pathogens - "THE STRAYS".

       I'll never know.  Outside the box here, on a good day I have (stray) mood swings;  on a bad day I have the whole (stray) 'mood playground'. 
Today's stray is spawned by a recent viewing of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.  Brilliantly executed, the film's centerpiece - the woman previous generations recall as Blanche DuBois - is given a well-deserved 'portrayal extraordinaire by Academy Award-winning actress Kate Blanchard.
       Thoroughly engrossed in the 'art' of the movie, I later surrendered to reverie's invitation and re-visited Streetcar Named Desire and she reflections it spawned.  I could still see Blanche covering bare light bulbs with garish Chinese lanterns because she believed that in the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.
       But although it is said that beauty happens when art meets life, this was not the case in the entire experience of Streetcar. For example, just before the curtain falls, the final scene sets the stage for the cradle - that soft, swinging cocoon in which so many of us begin life's journey - to do the same.
       "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."  These are Blanche's final words to us.  A faded Southern beauty who is plagued by neurotic, genteel pretensions, she speaks these words as she is being escorted from her sister's home by a doctor and a nurse.  They are the strangers of whom she ostensibly refers.  Having just witnessed this tragic heroine's mental and moral disintegration, one cannot help but see an allusion to Blanche's sordid history of prostitution in her fateful final line.
       The good news for Blanche is that she doesn't have to wait around for pre-certification or the assignment of a very well-compensated 'guide', a common requisite in what will soon be our new 'affordable' health care system.  (To date, the qualifications of these individuals are de minimus with regard to knowledge of health matters such as pathology, treatment, diagnosis and the like.  The 'guide' serves only the purpose of directing a patient to the appropriate treatment facility or program for same.)
       Barring evidence/information to the contrary, then, they need only be kind and strange.  And this system, designed rumor has it (because the legislators who enacted it did so without reading it), tends to instill a fear of security (knowledge being power), the chipping away of independence and choice and quite possibly the availability of appropriate care when it is needed.
       So here we are on the brink of entering a garden quite strange to us at the behest of a guide equally strange - but kind.  Must we go in?  Do we have the option of keeping things the way they were?  The hinges of the garden's gate of memory swing - like our cradle in the attic - and though my heart and mind need go into the garden, it is to walk with olden things.
       How will it turn out?  Not as it did for Blanche.  And Jasmine, poor dear, recalls  - and re-tells to young nephews - her therapeutic 'do' applied with electricity-cum-conditioner to rid her of that 'frizz' on her head.  Our fate, rather, must be executed by presumably affordable 'guides' in something of a desultory fashion.
       Let's all trust that our hopes and dreams - and those of our progeny - swing right along with some miraculous light - one that shines compassionately, not requiring Chinese lantern-covering to protect us from its harsh reality of neglect and ultimate disintegration.  He has given us affordable health care.  It is a "tale told by a fool, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."  We have found the fountain of youth.  This because ageing is simply not affordable.
Lorane. . . .

Monday, September 2, 2013

The way We Were

       Genuinely speaking, - the genesis of that qualification, bye the bye, simply bears witness to the fact that eighty per cent of what I write is written because I am moved - bulldozed even - to share what I feel are significant ruminations and observations.
       The remaining twenty per cent has been urged upon me as material that someone else wants to say - and would but for lack of a forum.  Writing from emotion and intuition, never concerned with the trappings of accuracy nor the drudgery of plodding through authoritative tomes in search of factual data that would lend some insight or significance, even, to my scribnership, fits comfortably, tattered T-shirt-like.
       This actually makes sense (another non-concern) as it mirrors reading habits.  Rarely is anything read in its entirety unless it moves me, actually precipitates an irresistible commitment to continue.  (I think now how fortunate this was for my children that I wasn't thusly 'grabbed' by Anna Karenina when there were children, a husband and a dog relying on wife/mother's industry for the procurement/preparation of food and the civilized requisite of clean clothing at the ready.)
       Having evolved into my present passage (to which we have a right), it followed naturally that I distance myself from writing 'groups' and organizations.  This because the element of common denomination that forges these entities is something of a 'mission statement' (we write; like to be in the company of writers; wish to become. . . point made) that involves/ requires regular conventions and workshops.
       These gatherings, dedicated to writing, are hallmarked by the hosting of known/successful authors who speak to the assembled 'would-bes', pleasantly but tutorially nevertheless

(aside: "Me at writers' meeting dreaming of being with the ole 'Round Table Gang'.)
often with a soupcon of smugness, always with a truckload of copies of their latest opus on display, prepped and ready for that personal note written to the drooling purchaser, signed by the known, accomplished hawker.

       For sixty-some years, I've preferred - whenever possible and surrounded by my favorite things/people -

(JUST 'being' with the grand peeps)
I'll assume you get the picture(s). - no pun, just FUN.  And that is what truly inspires an introvert - in the Jungian sense - like me.  It's also, perhaps, why so many writers are introverts.  They are affected by what their environment does to them - working in obscurity.  I daresay - and you can see - I've fixed the place up somewhat tastefully (mine), adorned it with an ambiance that will allow for remaining here, untarnished by commercial success and soaking in blissful lack of conventionality and sagacity as long as I remain among the quick.
       UNLESS.  There was a break-in, so to speak, last week.  It came in the form of a missive which presented itself as a legitimate correspondence to me from one Ms. Elise Warren, Guest Services Manager for U S Airlines.  It seemed I was the fortunate recipient of an award - valuable at that - entitling me to two free airline tickets to ANYWHERE in the continental US PLUS two free nights for two cozy occupants at any Marriott Hotel location.
       With Thanksgiving soon trotting up to our door and a brand new peep - Wee Wes Compton - in Boston, my ebullience was barely containable.  As hurried/harried investigation would prove, it was also entirely unwarranted as well.  The infamous Warren wench, I discovered - on an extremely rare foray into the investigative journalism arena - was entirely bogus and I cruelly beset upon.
       Such is the downside of introversion.  We become prey to the negative elements of our environment, never having acquired the skills of the 'artful dodger'.  (To be perfectly honest, the word was deleted from my hard drive when they closed Ebbett's Field.)  The gonfalon bubble was pierced and the sport itself followed only literally.  Ms. Warren had visited upon me pain greater than the lance that became known as "Tinker To Evers To Chance".

       It' been said that "Men never make passes at girls who wear glasses".  I would profer a warning: to the careless, 'Introverted masses', sans rigid Arthurian mail, we are ripe for transformation to asses.'  We are safer, happiest, the way we were. 
Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, August 25, 2013

PSA: From a Non-Paid, Attorney Spokesperson

       Just when I thought I would never see it in print, I recently came across an impressively cogent and accurate article, the reading of which confirmed that I am - have always been - a dyed in the wool INTROVERT.  Carolyn Gregoire poses 23 questions which, if the reader responds in the affirmative, confirms the fact that said reader is indeed a "secret introvert".  I urge you, then, to scotch any rumors to the contrary about this writer's 'way of being in the world'.
       Why, you might be wondering with hungry curiosity, is this mundane fact of any moment?  Well,  tucked snugly, protected from extraverted assault, is the proclivity to express one's self - with no small authority - via the written word.  (Other favorites included but were not limited to a negative response to excess environmental stimuli - can't help wondering if that applies to my abhorrence of sound pollution? - requisite 'down-time to recover/re-charge from the former, and reacting to a ringing telephone - 'incoming/unwanted call!' - as though someone had shouted "BOOO!" in the wee hours of the night.
       MOST profound was the fact that introverts have a constant, on-going inner dialogue in action.  This, coupled with an inordinate attention to details the rest of the population consistently ignores, has birthed this evening's brief but heartfelt outburst.  Indeed, though an uncharacteristic outpouring for me, I feel a strong emotional responsibility to YOU to relay my grievances.
       We've been down this path before, lo so many months ago when I shared my not-so-shining moments working as a DJ at a local radio station.  I call it to mind by way of justification and to lend some credibility to my observations - which, to be sure, are intended as a shield for your deservedly sensitive feelings.  Whether it be accompanied by the visual or not: CARELESS, PREVENTABLE COMMENTARY SPEWED OVER OUR AIR WAVES IN THE FORM OF ADVERTISING IS NOTHING SHY OF VENOMOUS.
       There.  I've said it and can only HOPE that the army of inattentive button-pushers and programmers on our televised and audio commentary menus are going to get wind of my observances and clean up their act! (Aware of the risk of redundancies, I'm soldiering ahead.)  Why?  Because it apparently needs repetition.
       You will recall, that the programing of commercials can/is subject to control.  It is also true that talk show hosts and journalist-types should be aware of the contemporaneous elements of reportage and advertising breaks.  For example, announcing that dear little addition to the Royal Family loses its ebullience when followed by threatening, negative dialogue.
       I will simply throw out, "Are you OK, Mrs. Meekham?", "No.", plaintively, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"  This tripe is immediately punctuated with the command-from-nowhere, "Susan, we've detected a strong presence of smoke emanating from your kitchen.  Get out!"  (Well, in the interest of expedience, without time to inform the listener that scenarios have changed, I naturally think in horror, "How can she?  She's fallen and she can't get up!")  Now then.  How can I - or anyone rejoice in the happiness abounding about the Prince changing the little shaver's nappies when it is upstaged post haste with this overwhelming tragedy that ensues?
       Then we have the lineup of pharmaceutical miscreants, at first teasing us with the unimaginable, never-before experienced pleasures of sexual enhancement at age seventy-seven.  This, of course deflates itself (no pun intended) when followed by the 'adverse effect' warnings legally requisite and ending with, "If you experience difficulty breathing, or swelling of your tongue and throat, contact your physician immediately."  Ladies and Gents, if you experience those last symptoms, they will be your last symptoms.  (Trust me on this one.  Unless a neighbor is present and you are damned good at ASL!")
       And what PSA would be complete without reminding us - following a teaser on the number of heinous deaths experienced in the Mideast at the hands of demons using chemical warfare products - in the unmistakably talent/taste-less tones of our own William De Vane, that "There's a storm coming."  (Can't beat the guy when it comes to pith and insight.)  Then old Bill shares his unique progenies' wisdom exhorting us to purchase gold.  "What's in your safe?"  "Pestilence and death, Bill.  Read the paper?"
       And the beat, as we once said, goes on.  But.  It needn't.  If you have been given the privilege of wearing a set of over-sized headphones and a mike over which millions will absorb your dulcet tones, PAY ATTENTION!  It's quite simple, really.  And the humane, responsible thing to do.  We realize that advertisers 'pay the bills', but surely even they don't want to be perceived as insensitive, greedy entities, do they?  (We'll leave that as a 'rhetorical' question.)
       Just do the right thing and do it right.

  PS:  "Do Tell, here.  Just reminding you that it is still Kathy's Birthday MONTH!
Later, Lorane. . . .

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's the Little Stuff

Gigi (AKA Lorane), Grandpeep Mia Lorane welcome NEWEST 'Peep', Wesley Xavier Compton.

       OK, I don't know how to rotate a photo from Sky Drive but I know you know how to tilt your head to the right.  So, after trying to accomplish the former for an hour or so, I've elected to go with the latter.  After all, it's far more important for you to meet Wee Wes and big Sis than for me to polish off every antacid I could find in the house.
       Been quite a ride lo these past seven days.  The grandparents, arriving at the end of yet another long day of parental pacing/fretting/very much OVER being pregnant as himself had decided to change his arrival date so far by 10 days, chatting amiably into the late evening over gripping topics like the successful execution of the nautical theme in the nursery and Jetty's (family Portuguese Water Dog; you've seen them romping around the White House lawn.) unbreakable attachment to pregnant Julie's side, the fascinating solar system ceiling night light in Mia's room, and-so-on.
       The next day, "The drama-Begins-Day", we head for the Mall with Mia and take in "Planes" while the parents attend the weekly-ordeal office visit and receive the cryptic determination that things have finally begun to move, they are to go home and get a good night's rest in preparation for "Opening Night", as it were/was going to be.
       They slept, packed, got admitted and continued all day to "move along" with help from a Pitocin drip to augment contractions, screeching on the brakes just long enough to get that epidural going.  We spent another lovely day with Mia, ending with a quick pit stop (no pun intended) to see Mom.  Bad move.  So caught up in the action were we, that we neglected to mention/explain the  presence of a snake pit (again, no pun) of wires and tubes that would be entering Mommy's person.  Too late to convey the fact that these were helpful, painless, everyday, ordinary 'fun lines' that Mommies get to play with while waiting for baby bro.  Oh no.  Mia never got past, "WHY are they hurting Mommy?!"
       Sweeping her out to the parking lot while blowing her nose, I promised to teach her a song on the way home in the car.  (This is something of a tradition with all of my peeps who still can belt out "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree", "Pull Brass Rings on the Merry-Go-Round", and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" along with some very select Dory Previn numbers.) For some reason that night I elected to teach her "The Little Mouse"  song:
"Oh, the liquor was spilt on the bar room floor
And the bar was closed for the night.
When out on the floor crept a little brown mouse
And he sat in the pale moonlight.
Well, he lapped up the liquor from the bar room floor
Then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long they could hear him r-o-a-r,
"Bring on the cotton-pickin' cat!"
       Oddly enough, morning came.  Odder still, no news from the hospital.  (Their home is in a quaint town in a very wooded area which is most assuredly NOT friendly to cell phone signals.)  Mia was cuddling with us in bed.  All seemed quiet on the suburb front.  Then my cell began a barrage of dings starting at almost 8 AM.  We'd check the text and see, "Media message".  We'd tap those horrid words and NOTHONG would happen but a nasty little "PS", "Tap again."
       Finally, I was reading words frlm our son, "Congratulations on having another healthy grandchild."  And just what potion of evil did HE have for breakfast?  "WHAT DID WE HAVE?", I SPAT BACK.  "Call on the house line."  He did and just as we were telling Mia about Wee Wes' arrival, Daddy Matt opened the front door - looking more than a tad ragged - inquiring as to WHY Mia wasn't in her special "Meet Little Brother" outfit.  The plan was for her to meet him first, then us 15 minutes behind so Julie could finally sleep.
       Apparently, she'd rolled to her opposite side the evening before (just as the doc was getting ready to head to the delivery room) and felt Wes twist a bit.  What ensued was an all-nighter of contractions/pushing, culminating in a non-stop one hour marathon of same beginning at 7 AM.  With the entire entourage exhausted, doc made the call for a section and at 7:52AM, "Prince Wesex" made his entrance.
       Mia was 'special-dressed' and out the door in a flash; we dressed lickety-split and followed;  Congrats and tears all around in Julie's room.  Then we got Mia to her Grammy so Matt could sleep; we moved to an inn in Plymouth so Matt and Mia could share a "Daddy/Daughter" weekend; visited Julie again before dinner with Matt's Lovely Mom and hubby.  Aren't you tired just reading all this tripe?
       I am just typing it.  The mystery lies still in the "little miracle".  One day you have a daughter who looks un-comfy with a basketball tucked under her diaphragm, sitting on her aorta causing shortness of breath.  The next, a perfect miniature human being, sloe eyes darting about the room, following voices and moving images.
       And so to bed, after, "Happy-Birthday-best-Buddy-Kathy-Dehler!" and to you, my hapless/loved readers, it really is about the 'little things'.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What's It All About?


        Alfie?  Hardly.  And "Hokey Pokey" is out.  Must, then, be something 'in'.
Had to really listen up, so hushed was his cue.
Five, six seven, eight - "Jump!"
Fly high, tuck and SPLASH-IN!
No room to run and dash in.
But must have the SOUNDIN'
like a song.  Like the song.  Light the song.
It's your heart and soul, Joey.  Because the
song alone - the melody,
cannot be 'in'.  It needs the harmony.
You were, always will be, the Harmony.
Joey Patrick Callahan,
born of the perfect shot.
Francis Sullivan lovin' Lauren -
and it flew from that tee, took aim,
and came to be that "Hole in one!",
yelled he as he gazed at Lauren's ever swollen, won belly.
It was you, Joey P, that then surfaced to be
the missing light in the links of song
now perfected and completed
by Joey's Harmony filling life undefeated.
First as son to Father, Mother.
Then as sibling shield to brothers and sisters.
He brought comfort, spoke truth in song and word and laughed easily, heartfelt, at
the bidding of humanity and his Lord.
His mission - to be there
when big bro Sully crashed;
to love and mind Coleen when she thought him rash;
to encourage, reinforce in Vincie
that needed self-discipline that, if gone unheeded
would stagnate Vince.  He'd not succeeded.
To cherish, bond with, allay Clare Bear's fears.
Acting as one from the start
and even now, to her end of these years.
There was a splash.  Perhaps one heard a snap
as he crossed over, met by a wee Irish shaver.
Rubbing his eyes in confusion,
faintly hearing cries, sobs of desperation
he thought - must be a delusion.
Then, blindkng light - coming from him ."Like the song, Joey," wee one plead, "Remember, only you are Harmony.  Only you make 'it' 'in'."
Sing with them.
Return her peace to Mom;  eradicate Dad's doubts;
and reassure Sully such that he knows he's the strength for himself and Vincie
while Vince begins to re-learn laughter.
Be sure Coleen knows she'll never lose her prince.  You're there always - always close and there.  Lastly, you're ever 'The Man' and trojble buddy for little princess, Clare Bear.
Make certain they all know
it was ever the plan
that only laughter, love and kindness
would alone be the one whom others knew as Joseph Patrick Callahan.
It's about being 'in' on all the right things
and the power of good raining down
when melody and harmony sing the music of this living
which is but prelude to the next.  A typically 'human' misunderstanding of prelude.
Later, Joey, Lorane. . . .

Sunday, July 28, 2013

All God's Chillun Got Wings and Feelings and Stories

                     Changes -especially the ones that occur without one's knowledge - can be unsettling.  (Which is why it is good to find a good resolution between one's thinking and one's feelings.)  For example, last week I was not able to use my Surface tablet for a few days ". . .because we are updating".  Once 'update time had passed, I blithely resumed usage, feeling a bit smug and relieved regarding this updating process in that it requires NO input from me.
       Checking email, I was alerted - the way 'Sister Mary Elephant' may have 'alerted' me decades ago - that I had "notifications waiting for me on Facebook".  (Sister: "You're 'Rice Bank for the starving children in India was supposed to have been turned in on Friday.  Today is Monday!")  Just when your mind is moving toward a more sensitive, accepting approach, your heart can go into 'attack mode' from people like that.
       Obediently, trepedatiously, I proceeded to Facebook STAT by selecting a message from a writing group on Linked In.  Once there, that message was interrupted by a warning from Linked In regarding changes they had made in their policies which were still awaiting my approval.  Compliant by nature and the fear instilled in me by the good Sisters, I raced over to Linked In to address their policy changes
       Mind you, the only reason I turned the tablet on that day was to better understand the greeting card program I used (merrily/productively)  on my old PC so that I could make birthday cards for two of our grandpeeps and work on the photo album that is a special birthday gift for one of them.  Changes, then, had graduated from 'unsettling' - for me - to my 'bête noire'.
       (Entre nous, I'd really love to become a good writer.  They say good writers make associations where others would not.  The following could be one such association!) 
       It was with unusual comfort - if not amusement - that I witnessed an extremely dramatic response to change in the insect kingdom yesterday.  As a rule, insects rate with criminals, psychopaths and Marat de Sade on my list of heinous things that demand caution and avoidance at all costs. 
       Backing up (Called a "Flashback" in the world of real, grownup writers.  My pulse is quickening.), during one of my sporadic exercises of 're-doing', I had included painting the deck trunk, used to store cushions for wicker deck sundries I've collected at random flea market outings.  By necessity - it was the only remaining exterior paint, I first dragged my - I thought empty - victim/subject on a bald spot of the lawn.  (In that the remaining spray color was green, my husband might just mow any inadvertent 'spills'.)
       Having completed the four sides, done in that tricky 'wind-blown' style that can only be achieved by the witless practice of spraying paint while ocean breezes contrive to preclude solid coverage, I switched weaponry, snatching up my brush, a can and what seemed to be the perfect volume of metallic copper - the majority of which had transformed metal 'succulent containers' into works worthy of their majestic, miniature agape specimens..  Anxious to conclude this painting ordeal, I lifted the cushion trunk's massive lid and, armed with my metallic 'coat-of-copper-scale' outfit (that wind) and the tools of the determined artisan, I was  suddenly frozen-in-time by the miasmic drama unfolding - as on cue - before my eyes.  A farrago of fauna (in all developmental stages) was frenetically engaged in an exodus, of impressive size and  proportion.  
       These 'creatures - with and minus extremities for locomotion - were nevertheless scampering, colliding, rapidly escaping in a 'Fosse-esque, fast-forward movement OUT of/away from the unexpected, imposed confinement of their previously peaceful 'lounge-around' due to the forced, torrents of some unknown liquid substance which had not only destroyed the peace but also evacuated the very ambient air of their environment, replacing the latter with a pungent, life-sucking blanket of invisible fumes.
       Staring, copper-toned and confused at this dispersion for a minute, I finally realized that my subject had been NOT a deserted tenement but a 'compound' teeming - seconds ago - with LIFE; busy, NOT still.  Now, having succumbed to this furtive ambush, it was fleeing - drugged and disorderly - forming a diaspora of dying insects whose final actions would be akin to the final scenes on the Titanic:  "Charles, have you seen the children?", "Go, Martha.", "But Pop Harold is so old, he should go, Charles.", "Is that   you, Mummy?  Is this a game?",  "Move it, kid.  Game's over.  You lost."  "You made her cry, you, you. . .", "Like the man said, Martha.  Swim.  I'm taking my chances with old Harold, here.".
       And I laughed.  Then, feeling the scene, trying to make sense of it all, - "Why am I standing ln the lawn at dusk holding a tin lf copper paint?"  "Why am I staring at this pathetic circus of doomed bugs?  What was I doing?  Oh, yes.  Right.  Changing the colors on the deck. . ."  And then I cried.  Poor things. . .
       Change is a bitch.  But we all go through it.  I thought of how we get through what we are going to have tl get through.  Some changes are times of bloom; some of decay.  Change is.  And it is an 'it'.  Things lead up to 'it'.  Consequences follow 'it'.  The changes and lead-ins are 'its'.  But the consequences.  They can involve 'whos' - a person, a couple, a nation, a bug, even.  A WHO.  Well, a 'who' gets thought of, treated with, remembered out if respect.  Why?  "All God's Chillun Got Wings".
Later, Lorane. . . .

Friday, July 19, 2013


Looking for Answes
       Must admit.  These - as ? Thomas Paine put it - "Are the times that try men's souls".  If we fast-forward to today's 'modernity', we find different but ever ubiquitous 'trials'.
       The nation's ability to keep its red, white and blue head bobbing - like a good buoy - above the grasp of Neptune's 'financial disaster chamber' stands out as an impressive leader;  is citizens are trying - with the stamina and urgency of the swimmer maintaining a distance that will keep him above the 'quick' - to find and keep a job, or at least enough 'work-for-pay, to pay th bills and feed the kids.
       The media, vis-à-vis its public, is on trial by this very audience - the charge morphing by a variety of lables, all of which focus on 'putting the em-pha'-sis on the right syl-la'-ble.  Ar the really important issues being followed?  Dos journalism 'play favorites? Can we believe what we read, hear, see?
       (Re: "trials", for example, Martin v. Zimmerman has ben addressed, redressed, undressed with the fervor and persistence that - were it channeled properly, could provide heat and light energy to the entire Midwest.  What price exposure?  Prominence? Or asparagus, for that matter?  Perhaps this last query tips my head, uh hand, as to my own reflections on this 'carnival'.)
       Our own little Ed Snowden-with-top-security-clearance, has provoked a tad of political friction in the international community, the interrelationships of which can and are 'center stage trying' in these complicated, competitive times.  Way to be American, Eddie.
       Capitol Hill is a-whisper with what some have dubbed 'scandals':  whether the lofty/lefty IRS has incurred something of a miss-step in its 'dance macabre' by causing costly, inequitable and frequent 'trials' for certain conservative groups as they applied for tax-exempt status, having met the requirements for same.
       Another, flirting with the classification "Fairly Recent History" in your college syllabus, so long has it been in its 'investigatory stage' of development, asks the burning question, "Who was/is responsible for the deaths of four Americans - one f whom an American ambassador p on 9-11-12 in Benghazi, Libya?"
       That nagging matter of our nation's borders' integrity, the drama that keeps opening (like Groundhog Day) both on the road an on the "Great White Way" with desultory timing - 'The Season', Summer Stock - and titling - "Border Safety on Trial", "Scholarships for Illegal Aliens - the Jury is Out", "Lady Liberty Found to be Maintaining Posh Condo on Ellis Island Printing Food Stamps in a Trick Door-Accessible Basement Sweat Shop".
       Theater critics successfully lobbied Congress and a bill has been passed absolving them from any obligation all versions of these productions.
       Having so recently and noticeably failed at sharing my experience of Solitude Nirvana-warm-sand-between-toes plus the dashing of the entire experience (AC in.  Nature-in-all-of-her-majesty out.) by a cooling system installation, I feel I must persist and give you 'side' one of that Main Course.  Had it been published this 'side' was an accurate and academic glimpse into my personality.
       (I daresay Congress would have passed a bill in a New York minute repressing if not urging against any commentary on the post.)  You would have learned that, according to Dr. C.G. Jung, mine is an Introverted attitude, making my primary interest, "What is happening to me as a result of the impact of the (psychological) environment?"
       Secondly, my most developed function is Intuition.  (I  receive perceptions at a subconscious level so they seem - to the verage observer - to emerge 'full grown'.  (No 'step 1 followed by step 2, etc., until, 'Voila!', 'I get it!'.  Nope. Rather, oblivious to th world of practical reality, you'll hear me blurt, "I just know we'll bid and successfully purchase this house."  Most likely, everyone else in the room is discussing public vesus private education at the time.)
       The foregoing "sharing"  would have explained th oddly non-perfect beach respite.  (Not to worry.  Totally remediable.  Just wanted to put the maybe one reader who cared at ease.)  More to today's point - if you'd just for a sec stop plucking those by now gray hairs from your chin - trials. Rest assured (continue plucking) these are trying times.  But. "The Man" will come up (and impose) the fix.  This because, regarding our current White House occjpant, his 'ability-to-lead' power is as effective as his 'ability-to-claim' power.  nd the latter renders Sherman's march through Atlanta a mere 'tip-toe' performance.
       No doubt, even as I write (no doubt a al, because I justheard a 'breaking news', unscheduled press conference is being held by Himself.) he speaks.  The words promise to b prelude to an evolving resolution to all ills - be they of the trials, scandal or legislative category.
       The bear is getting ready to bite.  It will be a snack that is good, healing, resolving and wrapped up/tied with a red, white and blue, silver-sprinkled bow for the commonweal and its citizenry.  History - as it did for Mr. ?Paine - will bear this out.  There were trials.  A jury was selected by The Peer.  Men's souls - as evidence for the State and the accused - were found 'not guilty' - indeed vindicated, violative of nary one jot or tittle of the Constitution.
       All's well.  And with the Queen of Hearts by his side, 'tea is served' by servers in crisp, white jackets and - oh, that's another story, uh, scandal.
Lager, Lorane. . . .

Monday, July 15, 2013

But SOMETHING Was Missing. . .

The Farewell Sunset
       Last evening, I had to bid farewell to what has been a brief but exquisitely peaceful time at our old (36 years) family cottage.  I've been there in solitude but in no way lonely.  (My apologies to Bridie, our beagle, who shared this respite with me.  To be fair, she was far more interested in crab-hunting than spending 'quality time' with me.)  Do Tell, of course, was with us and was indeed an imposing presence.  In fact, for a colorful metal sculpture, it imposes to the point of distraction.
       Over the years, several reputable personality profiles have consistently labeled my personality as a "predominant Introvert" - in the Jungian sense where I react to what is happening in my environment.  (By contrast, Jung's Extravert impresses itself on its surroundings.)  Additionally, my dominant thinking function is intuition.  This aspect of my typology repeatedly emerges in my writing.  Those of you who've read my ramblings would agree that 'rational, linear thinker' would never sjrface in a revue of my work.
       No, I live, write, think - reside - 'out-of-the-box' and am quite comfy out here.  There's a weird solace that accompanies spontanaety, abnormal organization and overall communication 'individuality'.  Just as love means never having to say I'm sorry, metaphoric thinking means never having to say,"what I mean is. . ."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Who Woulda Thunk it. . .

       Day late but always de rigeuer, we always re-enforce the importance of "Lady Liberty" to the grandpeeps.  Indeed, just today, I was browsing in an all-import, recherché shoppe that carries olive oils, vinegars and derivative items (they exist, and smell good, too) from far lands to ole Virginny.
       The proprietress - a very sweet, chatty, knowledgeable (secondary to the first two attributes, to be sure) lady was going on about the variety and enhancements of one of her products.  Having a somewhat shallow command of exotic oils, I am always reliant on my personal, necessarily narrow exposure.  My maternal grandparents hail from Bari, Italy and earned their dubious 'fortune' in olives (the intensely laborious, weather/pest-invasion dependent growing/nurturing/harvesting thereof).
       Our "Savor the Olive" shoppe owner, by contrast, is passionately involved in the procurement/dissemination of all things olive/vinegar/derivatives and equally eager to share this body of knowledge.  What I find most enjoyable when chatting with her - in addition to her unbridled ebullience which, if she could 'vat' that quality, would put half the pharmaceutical industry out of business - is her deeply sincere interest in what her 'chat partner' is saying. 
       This is becoming a sadly lost quality, a non-existent stroke or strum in the 'Art' of conversation.  By way of example, in response to her queries about my ancestry and personal history, she found it a boon to have been born into a culture as rich as that of Italy and yet learn of it via lore, story-sharing, a recollection of an ageing Aunt, proudly sporting several white hair stubs on her wrinkled chin, an accidentally found, faded photo taken in 'the Old Country'.  That this 'education' took place while I was physically growing up in Brooklyn, New York when the monthly rent for a five-room railroad apartment was $26.00/month just trebled the 'story's' charm.
       Her merriment truly eclipsed when I recalled the utter confusion on the cherub faces of my daughters when I took them to see "where Mommy grew up".  As I prattled on about the concept of several families living in one building, they stared, glassy-eyed, at the black, iron stairwells attached and climbing up these same buildings to the roof.  Finally realizing their minds wete elsewhere engaged, and following their sight lines, I said, "Oh.  Do you know wbat the black stairwells are for?"  To the negative, slow nods I explained fire escapes.
        "Imagine," I shared with my now-mesmerized shoppe-keeper, "I take them to Broadway, The Statue of Liberty, the actual Chrysler Building 'shining at night' (They'd both been in Annie), Central Park and Wall Street and they are fascinated with fire escapes!"  My dear lady friend looked at me, somewhat expectantly.  Well I could only give her the same tutorial, adding, "As a matter of fact, they were in the back of our apartment building.  The only memorable thing about them for me - well, there were two."
       (She was really leaning in toward me now, for) "Well, when Granpa made - by grating - horseradish, he was banished tl the fire escape landing."  That is one pungent odor!  "And, it was the most convenient and safest playpen for me when Mom was busy."  The landing was about 4 x 6 feet, iron-bar enclosed, lots of fresh air and sunshine and easilh heard/observed with the window open.  "Of  course there was that unfortunate day."
       (You've heard the expression, 'eating out of your hand'.  My palms felt gnawed on at this point.)  "I actually got my head stuck between twl of the bars!  Mom had to call the Fire Department!  They roared up, crowds immediately jammed our front stoop and they barreled up the five flights only to find my embarrassed Mother, pointing feebly at the window.  I, as ordered, was perfectly still and quiet, captive actually."
       Muttering, these gentle giants produced crow bars and I was a free baby bird in short order.  They chatted with Mom about the wisdom  - albeit practicality - of het decision-making and wre soon gl e, dispersing a no-longer-interested crowd.  (What?  Nobody dead or even fighting?)  By contrast, our shoppe lady thought that the dandiest tale she'd heard - in any culture - in quite a personal history of tale-telling.  Ya just never know, do you, what makes for a 'good story'.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


       Several years ago, the small cottage - not unlike ours - next door disappeared and an enormous, stone gray and white rental extravaganza was regally erected on the lot.  In fact, the structure seemed to 'hang over' the surveyor's plot line, much like an imposing pot belly does over a tired, stretched belt forced around the bulging circumference of the body-outgrown-its-pant-size.
       The seasonal occupants seemed to mirror the structure (which, boasting all the amenities of over-priced, oceanfront properties like a swimming pool, numerous barely occupy able terraces-cum-view of the ocean or the cottage across the street and the two by four foot office-away-from-home-cum modem looms large in weekly rental rates as well as numbers of occupants per week) in that they, too, laugh louder and longer - breaking the 'could be' still beauty of the Summer night - than most and routinely force their vacuous ebullience on the surrounding environs presumptively.
       Apparently, the premises were - unusually - rented this past March for a week.  A local, year-round couple recalled that a boisterous group suddenly appeared off-season.  But before the week was over, and following an official-looking, investigative visit by non-guests, the revelers, now unusually quiet and somber, placed a hand-made, crude wood cross and surrounding bouquets of artificial flowers at the base of the steps leading to the beach and departed.
       Noticing the cross - into which "Michael Lee, 1994 - 2013, RIP" had been carved - upon my annual arrival, it has become a tragic reminder of human frailty and non-consolable desperation.  The accompanying comments, written in "Sharpie" ink, have long-since been incorporated into the salty, turbulence of 'tears' stretching to Brittany.  His family and loved ones put James Gandolfini to rest today.  I sincerely hope he finds, cheers, can be what the young man who left with harsh March winds - Michael Lee - sought by the sea.

It was Spring,
school, parents, "her".
Need a break,
Can't think, thinking, thoughtless,
More is better than,
Less noise, distraction,
Direction.  We're here.
"Section E".

"Son of a Beach", "Carpe Manana",
"Dances With Waves", "Sedation",
"Suits Us", and for me?
Next to "Phil's Litter Box"
Is where I'll be.  Michael Lee.

Allison, John, Wayne -
They leave.
Marci, Chuck, Lorane,
Return, go, stay, grieve.
They feel;  need not see
He'll remain.  No high dudgeon
But quiet, soft wind on
Michael Lee.  R.I.P.

Later, Lorane. . . .

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stepping on THE Corner

       It's a Friday here(presumably elsewhere as well) and the significance of this datum in this summer 'cottage vacation spot' on the Outer Banks of North Carolina  (OBX, for you car decal decoders who have trailed vehicles across states beyond your destination, lured by the slim hope of getting the driver's attention long enough to inquire as to where he has been lately) is that for many sun/sand/surf-worshippers, it is the last day.  At the crack of ETD, wives, who've been packing at Mach speed - in the dark - will be lining all manner of bags/containers/luggage, neatly, efficiently, adjacent to the soon-to-be home bound car.
       And the driver - car packer, payor, padre - will be utilizing everything he can recall of plane geometry in a stunning example of perseverance, occasional pain and paternal pluck (Did I forget grace under pressure?  No.  There'll not be any.) in this 'no-way-to-start-any-day' enterprise of 'loading her up'.  He'll be muttering, reduced to a babbling idiot, but one who is aware of one fact certain: there were maybe half the number of 'to-be-packeds' when last he was charged with this task.  Moreover, their arrangement/containment was requiring nothing short of 'Rubrics' exactitude.
       Ultimately successful, he will be pale, perspiring, but immersed in an odd expression of art appreciation.  Then he will de-trance, responding to a directive from his significantly and demonstrably patient co-captain to, ". . .pu-leez, seat/secure the (three to six) kids", who stand at attention (co-cap's) awaiting seat assignments and the last merry brawl of the vacation, focused on their placement/comfort during the upcoming seven to ten-hour trek home.
       This is (due to lack) no time for petty arguments between the adults concerning, "Where did all these bags/kids come from?"  Nope.  Last bathroom check; first of what will be many head-count checks and then the vehicle pulls away, a dazed but victorious driver at the helm, seeing only his Nirvana - their own driveway and the frosted glass and its good buddy, cold bottle of beer, carefully positioned during the last pre-departure check.
       So today, Friday (It's still Friday here.) is pull-out-all-the-stops day.  Cameras have been clicking since sunrise.  The posed, freshly-clad family shots done and already "shared" with everyone they know.  The cottage, dunes, surf, one last sand-sculpted masterpiece - even if created by the kids next door - the frolicking (and crab-hunting, please see above) pets, the first-time-at-the-ocean toddler.  The cast on this 'master'-designed set.
       The Northeast wind is brisk and the tide strong - has caused the raising of the red flags by the vigilant life guards.  Sooo, surfing - body and board - is out.  But the surf anglers are in their glory - and well beyond the marked areas of beach where sane, thoughtful humans would heave and yank shards of barbed/honed steel hooks suspended on threads of nylon into such a frenetic ocean.  (Over the years, my husband, 'doc', has removed such menacing 'equipment' from the pierced-through toes of unsuspecting strollers.)
       This unabated, barely supervised ". . .one more for the Gipper" frolic will continue, undisturbed by weather/warnings until the last illegal cherry bomb is fired, the last limbo leaned, the final slam of a cottage door behind the last sand-encrusted, bare feet - feet that for the past week have been 'tripping the life fantastic' on this little corner of Heaven. Dancing with waves.  Life is good.  Life is even better by the sea.
Later, Lorane. . . .


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where DOES the Time (Life) Go?

       So this Grams (moi) walks over to her favorite sofa - an old 'crate-designed' piece, made by a company (This End Up) long-since defunct and re-covered once.  She had selected the material years before her own children were married but were in the 'grown-up' genre.  It depicts an abstract, friendly collage of jungle animals, done in a variety of primary shades, looking out at the human body parts that impress, relax with them.
       The initial family reviews were mixed to silent.  One bravely voiced thought just wondered why she had selected  such a, well, uh, child-like pictorial.  By way of response, she had asked the asker to name the members of the feral array.  "Mom, I know from tigers and zebras and elephants.  But, thanks for the science experience."  Chuckles all around.  She had just mused to no one in particular - well, maybe the zebra - "Some day, some one will want to 'call roll', as it were."
       There had really been no abstruse, connived rationale behind her choice at the time.  She liked it.  And today, in the same desultory fashion, she had begun this blog by selecting a photo from those taken by her or sent to her "Sky Drive" collection.  The selection had been stored in something called "The Family Room", a label that held NO meaning for her.  Moreover, she had no idea who had created the work and/or posted it to her collection.
       Roll call:  Of our three remaining children's families, only one consists of two parents, one big sister, one little brother and a dog.  That it appears to be drawn on a chalk board is meaningless, such is the power/variety of the endless collection of 'play things' found in and around our offspring homes.  So, I guess this is an 'all skate', as you know as much as I about our 'star visual'.  I'm going with a close-knit (hand-holding) happy (smiling faces) active (even dog is barking plus there appears to be an object of play at the end of the line) bunch that - as a group - is sending a message (Daddy holds the written evidence).
       Well, back atcha, Guys! (I promise, when I've discovered the entire story - senders, reason, content, etc, I'll share.  For now, I'm thrilled with the innocuity (is that a word?) of it.  The drawing, that is.  It conjures up nothing threatening, unhappy, mysterious or costly.  It IS.  And that works for me.  It's been a somewhat reflective twenty-four hours for me.  I'm alone - well, Bridie beagle is here - at our modest and, for this time of year, rather quiet cottage.  We are enjoying a brisk, Northeast wind on a sunny day.  The surf, as is its wont in late afternoon, is shiny white but rushing about a tad more frenetically than usual.
       I have been in sad-ish reverie since learning last evening that James Gandolfini has taken his last cruise on the Jersey Turnpike.  You may recall, I was raised in Brooklyn.  My mother's family is Italian.  Our 'extended' Italian family, although not extensive, was a vivid part of my childhood, a major player, perhaps in why I became a member of the diaspora of 'former New Yorkers' (former Brooklynites, more accurately)  I was not a 'Soprano' but knew them very well. 
       It is a credit to the talent and serious approach to his art that Mr. Gandolfini was able to bring so much material - people, ways of life, backgrounds, motives, values, tastes, smells, colors, places, clothing, "types" - so vividly to the consciousness of someone who had lived in tandem with the characters in the scripts from which Tony Soprano emerged.  Most importantly, along with the writers/creators, he is to be congratulated for not only including, but placing 'center stage' the private weaknesses, insecurities and fears of this giant in a world where giants ruled by force, bludgeoning the weak, the needless, the no-longer-useful.  If asked 'Why?', you might have heard, "Whatever."
       Early this morning, I passed a couple wheeling a young toddler
whose attention was riveted on our beagle.  I stopped.  We chatted as the boy rubbed compliant, silky, droopy ears.  Absent preliminaries and never having met, we began talking about Mr. Gandolfini.  They were from New York - not a typical find on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  In fact he hailed from Queens;  she from the Bronx.  They were Italian.  They, too, knew the Sopranos - in their own frame of reference.  We fell very easily, however, into OUR family backgrounds. 
       They, too, had been embroiled in their respective pasts since last night's evening news.  His family - from Sicily - came here in the early seventies.  Late arrivals, compared to me and his wife.  She and I were both second generation New Yorkers and had so many more stories, characters, experiences - as Americans and, from the previous generation, the determined 'will-bes' - than he.  Indeed, to some extent Papa still showed signs of the 'inchoate patriot' of this adopted, wonderful nation.  
       The forty-five minutes of shared (very willingly) history, accomplishment and dreams for the future for us and ours flew by but left an indelibly common, shared and nostalgic aftermath.  It surrounds me as I sit here, among my animals,  (all quiet, trying to peer at the developing story on the screen - except for Bridie,  napping, having 'been there, been that') trying to share this happening with you.
       It may have been very trying, indeed.  You may come away thinking nothing, or worse, "say what?".  Well, you needn't.  Say anything, that is. And recollection is certainly not a requisite, either.  Perhaps, just being in the present, doing 'your thing', wondering nothing is your best course.  DO remember with fondness and respect, Mr. Gandolfini.  He is a part of ALL of us.  He, in portraying a non-all-American, is firmly ingrained in the fabric of our American artistic culture.
       Like great artists who precede him - the author F. Scott Fitzgerald comes to mind - he was able to authentically convey, to re-create,  to capture, through the portrayal in a string of stories stitched together  - another time and place; to shed light on its participants.  Because remember, all the material differences of some things - between THEIR time and yours, between YOURS and that of your offspring - are timeless. 
       And if, in fact, there is a reason for everything we do/experience, then perhaps, I decided to insert a picture at the beginning of this outing, indeed, that particular picture - shrouded in mystery at the time - because I needed a tool, a means of communicating feelings meant to be shared.  Perhaps, I've simply reproduced what is written on the piece of paper 'the Daddy' is holding.  (A bit too "Kumbaya", you say?)  Maybe. 
       Maybe not.  But definitely, "Thank you, James Gandolfini.  Thanks for giving us your talent, for being a part of our dramatic culture."  As to providing the stimulus for recollection, reverie, re-living that/those precedent and hoping for those subsequent,  who's to say.  If you asked Tony Soprano "why?", you'd get, "Whatever."
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


       I KNOW, I KNOW.  Where have you been, girlfriend?  So hard to believe, but truth to tell, I've been MIA lo, these past several ?months because of MEN.  Clarification is fiendishly in order here.

I DID want you to meet my new friends first.  Even Do Tell loves 'em.  They (stray thought, I know.  But it's my best kind.  Of thinking.  I don't stray.  Who has time?)
       were carved in Kenya - by children!  In the 60's, my husband - Dr. Lt.on-a-Navy-destroyer-cruise at the time - spent a few days in Kenya and was fascinated and very attentive as he stood watching these Masai Warrior Tribe guys carve two foot-tall statues of warriors in 'war regalia' in a matter of minutes using only long, very honed sabres and quick, broad, sweeping stabs at air and oak. Attentive indeed.  I always imagined ole doc turning into a frozen, white statue transfixed and formed by fear in stark contrast to the creation aborning before his stony eyes.
       Well, this amazing culture has passed this exquisite art form down to the youth of the tribes.  Others of them are taught to make the dyes with which the intricate figurines are then painted.  There is a tiny carafe on the table and their tiny cups match the partyers.  So there is one zebra, one giraffe, one elephant, one hyena, one lion and a hippo cup complementing the sippers.  (Our two year-old grandson insists on calling it "Madagascar")  Whatever.  They cause only pleasure - unlike the 'men'.
       No surprise that William De Vane was the instigator.  In our current economic crisis he actually got my attention one day with, "Seriously.  What's in your safe?"  Instead of just muttering some abusive, well-deserved critique of this clueless precious metal pit her, I thought, "Dunno."  (The guy can reduce even a semi-literate, decently educated speaker to 'pablum-speak'.)  So it was that I began an unobtrusive quest for our "safe".
       It wasn't long before I was obsessed with the search, pretending to pay attention to visitors or delivery persons whilst performing raggedly-executed sneezes and coughs that permitted the surreptitious head turn or drop that allowed for a glance behind a wall hanging or down to the hardwood floor in hopes of finding tell-tale marks of sharp, piercing instruments making their way en route to "the safe".


The dogs offered to help but to no avail.  Finally, when I was busted by the second 'male', hubby, as I was ripping up the recently-installed wall-to-wall in the master bedroom, glaring up only long enough to hear, "We don't have a safe" in response to my barked demand as to its location, I collapsed in despair which soon morphed into anger.  The observant, dear and glorious physician, seeing his wife's maniacal scouring
 of the home and environs couldn't even ONCE come up with a, "Lose an earring?".
       Then, this evening, while catching up on missed discussions in my writing group, I chanced upon an article pointedly titled, "Are You the Great Gatsby?". I read the saddest of possible words - and they weren't "Tinker to Evers to Chance".  No, this male 'author' was pontificating about the fact that it's such a pity that this sublime literary work, compulsory reading in most high school curricula, is totally lost on our youth.  Rather one must LIVE and FEEL and EXPERIENCE for quite a while before one can appreciate Fitzgerald's genius, the depth of his philosophical gropings, the abundance and variation of feelings.  (and alcoholic concoctions, one could add.)  LIVID.  That's how my 'relaxing read' left me - drained and livid - at the obtuse meanderings of male number three.
       I read ALL of Fitzgerald's work in high school.  Read Gatsby several times just to admire and savor his language, his art with the literary instrument - pen/typewriter - that permitted the most vivid of pictures to Charleston in your head, paint your red, Clara Bowed lips and dive into spot-lit fountains. Then I 'lived' a bunch of decades and trebled my admiration.  So when I saw this cinematic outing - twice so far - and watched Leonardo's hand grasp forward toward the green light on Daisy's dock, I could feel my body moving away from the light - rowing backwards, unable to fight the tides of fate.
       (Indeed, you may be able to add a fourth male to my obstacle course because if a man designed/programmed the formatting for this site, he's the reason I can no longer get the type to 'left align'. Sorry.)  But if you happen upon that article, the answer should be "YES" whether you are sixteen or sixty-one.  Fitzgerald wrote for ALL seasons, all ages, all the time - 'old sport'.
Later, (Nah, sooner), Lorane. . . .