Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Waiting Around the Corner








Last summer I pulled into a parking place at my local Home Depot, gathered my purse and prepared to get out of my car. At that precise moment someone whipped into the parking place next to me, nicking my opening car door.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Reality, Books, and Wine





     

The other day I went to pick up some books at the library, and when I was ready to check out I mentioned to the librarian that I was pretty sure I owed her 60 cents.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Letting My Hair Down

Hair is beginning to show up in my life. I’m now vacuuming it off the rug. I’m wiping up wisps coiled on the bathroom counter. During a slow moment in my writing group I’ll look down to find a half-circle on my sleeve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

O Tannenbaum!





Christmas trees can be as varied as people - tall, short, round, elegant, and sometimes just sad. 
At our house we’ve proved that Charlie Brown doesn’t have a monopoly on quirky.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Let There Be Light

This increasingly contentious world is on the verge of imploding thanks to people unable to see anyone else’s viewpoint because of their own religious blinders or cultural bias. 

Or maybe just plain ignorance.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lawn thoughts


Blogs are wonderful things. 
It provides a place to share those thoughts that roll across your mind as you're driving to the library. 

Today's are about front yards. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Candy and Lights


The gingerbread competition at our local museum was pretty fierce this year.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

She's Leaving Home



           Don’t get me wrong. I do love our house and where it sits at the end of  a short dead-end road conveniently located right near the center of our small town. There are times, however when living here can be a bit of a challenge.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Double Defense


I rarely comment on events in the news, but sometimes you just have to share a thought to be free of it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Covert Training







You may be surprised to learn you have within you the makings of a secret agent. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dinosaurs and Soup Bones

We’ve put another turkey under our belts, caught up on family news, and again have a renewed interest in leafy greens and a non-carb diet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Villanelle

Yes, last year's Thanksgiving entry is back again since:

a. Now I don't have to come up with anything new
b. I might as well get a bit more use out of this poem.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Guerilla Cleaning




      Nothing like having three chapters sent back to you by your editor to be re-worked to drive a person to other pursuits. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Countdown



As the designated Thanksgiving cook, I’ve done much, much better this year at delegating food responsibility among the family. I’ve managed to farm out the mashed potatoes, squash, salad, rolls, and two desserts to others.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Which Intelligence are You?








Here is a brief run-down of Howard Gardener’s theory of various intelligences that I mentioned in the last post. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Smarts



          Intelligence was both taken for granted and prized in my family. We knew we were smart, even if the evidence wasn't always immediately at hand.

Random Monday


I learned two things while in bed last night.
No. Elevate your mind, please.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Left in the Dust




My recent trip to an absolutely fabulous performance at the Goodspeed Opera House in Haddam, Connecticut left me feeling sorry for men of a certain age.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Saga of Satchel




                     

Words for Wednesday
            
  Is a writing prompt that can be found at

      


    Under the Porchlight
                      http://ramblingsoftheterminallyaging.blogspot.com/


     I’m a little late, but how could I resist this week’s words, containing as they do the name of a favorite cat?

Minute, aggrieved, instantaneous, burlap, satchel, purloined

(The true story of Satchel the cat.)



Empty laps, absent purrs had left us aggrieved
How could we solve this, could it ever be relieved?

It had been many months without creatures hirsute
And the places cats filled in our hearts not minute.

To the shelter we sallied, the hall filled with mews
To a cage in the corner, a source that would soothe.

In a nest of brown burlap, dark face and bright eyes.
Bond instantaneous, to my arms he did fly.

My heart was purloined as I held him that day
His bunkmate came with him, couldn’t leave him to stay.

For Satchel and Sidney, fresh air and soft laps
For us, years of contentment, just call us cat saps.







Thursday, November 13, 2014

Protecting the Past


    

      My Grandfather Walker's home in Sapulpa, Oklahoma was almost a 'shot gun' style bungalow. When you entered through the front door, you came upon the first room, and the remainder of the first floor unfolded, room by room, until you reached the kitchen. The house was identical to the one next door, where my great-grandmother Rundell had lived. When my grandparents married, she had had the second house constructed and instructed my grandmother Mamie that she and her new husband Don, a young Sapulpa lawyer, would be living there. Great-grandmother Rundell was a force to be reckoned with, but that's another story.

          I remember walking around that first room as a child. It was completely filled with the type of bookcases you would find in a lawyer's office. The front of each shelf was covered by wood-framed glass door that you would lower to protect all those legal volumes from dust. Except my Grandfather Walker's bookcases were not filled with heavy leather-bound books of past cases. His had moccasins and beadwork and best of all, rattlesnake tails. My grandfather collected Indian and Southwestern artifacts.


          After my father died, the UPS man delivered a large cardboard box to my house in Massachusetts. I carried the box to the dining room table, snipped the string, and cut open the tape. Underneath layers and layers of the Washington Post was a huge buff-colored bowl. I lifted it out and placed it on the table. It was a foot and a half high and about the same in diameter at its widest, rising to travel back in slightly to a wide neck with a lip. The outside was decorated with faded black geometric designs and occasional accents of deep russet. It was a Zuni Indian bowl and this bowl had not seen life from the safety of a shelf. Its worn edge and soft colors said it had been used on a daily basis, perhaps to hold corn or grain. 

          It sat in my living room for years on a low shelf under a window. I enjoyed looking at it and thinking of my Oklahoma roots and my grandfathers room of wonder. Then two things happened. First, while watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow  I learned the worth of a similar bowl, not quite as large as mine.  Second, my daughter produced three rambunctious sons.

          Our Zuni bowl now lives a quiet retired life on my bedroom dresser. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Random Monday



Even with my almost-nonexistent math skills, I believe if someone could tell me exactly how many individual leaves I’ve raked, blown, and toted this fall I’d finally understand the meaning of one million.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Proximity


   


       Today’s poem in The Writer’s Almanac, “Husband” by Philip Schultz, set a few thoughts in motion for me today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pumpkin for Dinner


Words for Wednesday
is a writing prompt that can be found at 
This weeks words are: 


Gelatinous, feasible, hybrid, squirm, maintenance, casserole


          Her hands encased in her very favorite puce potholders, Penelope extracted the steaming casserole from the oven.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Completely Random Monday Musings



Have you ever thought about what someone inevitably says as he‘s standing there on a stage, a beaming dignitary having just handed him a medal or trophy or plaque?

“This is such an honor.”

Well, yeah, it is, but isn’t it tacky to point that out? 
Rather than commenting on how humbled he is, how undeserving, he’s saying:

“Hey! This is a big honor, and look! I'm the one who got it!

#


We have stubborn shrubbery. 


Yes, our maples turn a stunning banana yellow, our tiny Japanese maple is a shifting to a deeper red, and the sumac is gorgeous even if it is basically a weed.

In yards across our area everyone’s Burning Bush is doing just that – transforming from just another green bush, indistinguishable from any other bush, into a thing of beauty, blazing scarlet in the sunshine. 
Ours – nope.

Every year it obstinately digs its roots deeper in the ground and refuses to turn.

It will sit there, bright green and losing nary a leaf as though the calendar says August instead of November. Not until everything around it is reduced to bare twigs will it condescend to change color. Then it will grudgingly turn a stunning red and then drop all its leaves after about 48 hours.
 

What a primadonna.





Saturday, November 1, 2014

Scariest Halloween E v e r


There I was, in Waynesville Missouri, only one month into post-teenagerdom, and any family I had was five states away. It was Halloween and I was alone in a motel room and there was a knock on my door.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Evolution of Autumn

Remember these days?


We’re still on the front lines here with leaves.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Public Speaking




Today was a Costco day. I actually did need a few things, but a trip there is also a form of entertainment. (I’m easily amused.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

One of a Kind




Words for Wednesday is a writing prompt that can be found at


Under the Porchlight


This week's words are
necktie, utopian, spinster, plagiarism, automatic, devout

          
Louise adjusted her necktie in the reflection hanging on the ladies' room wall.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Surface Knowledge




When you grow up with something, you tend not to think too much about it. It's just there, like your family's weird fondness for peanut butter, lettuce, and mayonnaise sandwiches or my grandfather’s kindness and my uncle’s polio.

I can't remember a childhood summer that didn't involve water in some way. Mama would pack us up in the car and off we'd go almost every day to one Northern Virginia pool or another. Or even better, we might spend a few blissful weeks visiting the Connecticut aunts - Aunt Dotty at Uncas on Thames or Aunt Nell in Madison. Often my mother's brother, Uncle Sam, would be visiting. He and my mother were both excellent swimmers, with an effortless freestyle stroke, cutting through the water, arms rotating as regularly as a paddle wheel, heads rising for air.

There was a reason for their expertise.  Both of them had contracted polio when they were young.  My mother bore little evidence of it, aside from possibly shortened stature, but my uncle was - as they would have said in the 1930s - severely crippled. Swimming had been an important part of his therapy and as a result, they both became adept in the water.

As a child I gave no thought to Uncle Sam's appearance or how his much smaller left leg looked below his swimsuit when he was there on the beach with us.  I was just glad he was visiting - in spite of being single, he always brought my sister and me the best gifts.  Yes, he walked differently, his hips rotating with each step, the delayed swing of his weaker leg. But that was Uncle Sam. It was what made him who he was, just like the occasional ear-shattering shriek of my grandmother's hearing aid was a part of her.    

His was not an easy childhood; most of it was filled with painful operation after operation, followed by months in bed. He did become so proficient at knitting that as an adult he made all his own argyle socks, and I'm sure the hours spent reading were a factor in his becoming an English professor.

Like everything else I never questioned or thought too deeply about, his father was just my grandfather, the kind retired geologist poring over oil leases in his retirement, or the person who told me pixies really did live in the shade garden under the big magnolia. I gave no more thought to my grandfather’s inner life than I did to those pixies.

Before Uncle Sam died I said something to the effect that wasn’t it wonderful how determined his father must have been, trying to conquer this horrific disease with all those operations.

Uncle Sam just looked at me with a jaundiced eye.

That adult moment with my uncle suddenly made me wonder exactly who my grandfather did it for. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bituminous Bouquet


Maybe I should have married a garage mechanic. Aside from the obvious benefit of continuous car care, there would be the aroma of a man with petroleum in his system.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Give Me A . . . .

Words for Wednesday is a writing prompt that can be found at
Under the Porch Light
 http://ramblingsoftheterminallyaging.blogspot.com/

This week's words are:
inducted, plethora, insubordination, retribution, despair, museum




          A plethora of dust motes floated in the air surrounding TerryLee as she sat in the attic, her ham-like thighs blanketing the old trunk.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Art and Highway Whimsy


On Columbus Day we sailed over back roads to the Northampton Tri-County Fairgrounds and the fall show of Paradise City, a juried collection of beautiful things.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Comfort Zone



I've never thought of myself as being particularly adventurous. I'm a planner, a lover of order and predictability, a Virgo.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Back to the Farm

'Words for Wednesday' is a one a week writing prompt and you can find links to more at:

Under the Porchlight http://ramblingsoftheterminallyaging.blogspot.com/


This week's words are dashboard, atomic, sensationalism, inconsequential, nondenominational, and mayhem.

I'm a tad late, but the story below is my effort:






     The runabout was anything but as the carriage struggled through the new mud of New York’s spring streets, the dashboard the only barrier between Ambrose and the jetsam flung up from the horse’s hooves. For him, though, the muck was inconsequential. His mind was on more elevated matters, for he was on his way to a new beginning, Dr. Samuel Hickenstoop’s Christian and Missionary Bible College, a nondenominational institution that Ambrose was sure would be his salvation.
          He guided his horse around a persistent street vender, avoided two urchins who were trying to grab his horse’s bridle for no apparent reason – must maintain charitable thoughts! – and finally turned the corner of 6th and Broadway to find a scene of complete mayhem. The stately front of the college was awash in paddy wagons, Pinkerton agents and gawking onlookers.
          What mind, so small as to be atomic, could have found wrongdoing at such a worthy institution? To Ambrose’s knowledge, the Christian and Missionary Bible College had enjoyed a pristine reputation as a place of superior thought for as long as three years, not a lengthy period of time, perhaps, but enough to establish it as a serious place of learning. It was probably a sudden victim of the unwarranted sensationalism of the time’s yellow journalism, the honest reporting of facts distorted by the need to sell papers. Yes, Ambrose told himself, that was surely the cause and this was all a misunderstanding.
          The heavy oak door at the top of the marble steps opened and out poured a stream of humanity. Ambrose watched as women, obviously daughters of sin, with half- hooked dresses and exposed corsets erupted from the building, followed by men still buttoning their trousers. 
         The last figure through the door, head held high and elbow in the firm grip of a police officer, was Dr. Hickenstoop. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Change for the Better?


Boy, my friends are dropping like flies. Well, maybe that’s not the best metaphor for the fact that I’ve just had a second person I know move away for a retirement life elsewhere.
Last night was my monthly book club gathering. Or at least that’s what our small group of six calls it. In reality, we spend more time determining what we’re going to read next than we do discussing the actual book a month later. We all (to the most part – life can get in the way sometimes) faithfully read whatever that month’s choice is, bring our copy of it to that meeting’s living room, and place that copy next to us where it sits while we swill wine and solve the world’s problems. Our record for a sustained literary discussion is about fifteen minutes.
Yet, this gathering has its value. These are not all people I would see in the course of a typical week, and so I look forward to spending an evening with them. We are all of a certain age and share the common bond of having been educators. Also, the majority in the group have known each other since high school, and in some cases, earlier than that.
Last night had an underlying melancholy. This was to be the last time one of us would be there – she and her husband have sold their home of thirty-something years and are moving to a less expensive life in Florida – and the goodbyes were filled with finality.
As I drove home I thought about how most people connect change to the young: growing up, experiencing things for the first time, building families and careers. When we are young, if we are lucky, change is our friend.
The later part of life is regarded by the world as one of stasis; it sees elders as unchanging, sitting on the same couch in the same living room with the same opinions, interests, and lives.
In reality, those sixty and beyond see nothing but change. Incomes shift, our health fluctuates - we have so many adjustments to make. These changes aren’t necessarily all negative ones, but good or bad, the later part of our lives requires more flexibility of attitude and spirit than most people realize.





Monday, October 6, 2014

Thanks, but no thanks



Today’s mail brought with it yet one more unsolicited magazine. I’ve written before about the confounding number of magazines that arrive without my having signed up for them.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Travel, Feet and Toilets



        
      My recent travels through Northern Italy were memorable, delightful, and fattening – including as they did La Scala, Lake Como, Cinque Terra, gnocci, pasta, gelato, and bread, bread, bread.    Oh, and wine that flowed like water and olive oil that could make you weep with joy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sooner Recollections

     Since I will be away from the blogging world for a few days, here is a past entry you may find interesting. 
     There are a few more entries in the archives under the category of  'Oklahoma'. 




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Full Circle

Here's my latest contribution to

       Five Sentence Fiction
(Other efforts are in my archives under Fiction)

This week's magic word is: 

            Wheels

You will find other writers at    Lillie McFerrin Writes






She would hold his small hands and together they would sing, ‘The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ’round. . “

Before long came the real thing, Big Wheels, their hollow plastic circles roaring through the neighborhood, turning on the early-morning Saturday sidewalk. A few short years and he was traveling farther with the spin of freedom-producing tires, first a bicycle, and then - too soon - a driver’s license and a car. She watched as the tires spinned faster and faster, from high school to college, finally taking him away into a world of his own making.

Today, it is he who is the ‘big wheel’, the VIP, but the wheels that once transported him away now carry him back to her, where he can recall simple childhood songs and the pure, quiet love of mother and son.







Friday, September 19, 2014

My Anti-Bucket List


Things I NEVER want to do

Own a sauna – after suffering through summer after summer of an un-airconditioned childhood in the south, it seems counter-intuitive to willingly shut yourself into room of 160 degrees.

Eat bugs – Fine, tell me that ants are spicy and praying mantises are a great form of protein, but I prefer my bugs either far away or flat, Anthony Bourdain be damned. Again, blame it on a childhood in the south, where it was a good idea to shake out your shoes before putting them on.

Line dance – Okay, I will admit to perhaps one wedding where I succumbed, but there is not enough Proseco in the world to induce me to again raise my elbows in the Chicken Dance or swivel my hips to the Macarena.

Zip line – Across the Grand Canyon, through a Brazilian rain forest, wherever. Not happening. Chalk this up to a healthy fear of heights with an overactive imagination (combined with a total distrust of whoever installed that line).

Travel to exotic, out of the way places – No interest here in visiting any country where public facilities require me to plant my feet in the designated spots and hope for good aim. There’s a lot to be said for the beaten track.

Stay overnight in one of those ice hotels – You know, where everything is made of blocks of ice and you’re issued animal furs instead of sheets. Midnight potty runs at such a place must be unimaginable. I’d be happy to hit their bar for maybe a vodka tonic, but that’s it.

Walk across country to support a cause – Couldn’t I just shell out some greenbacks? Finding comfortable walking shoes for a day in Boston (meet my friend, Mr. Bunion) can consume my thoughts for days. There are no shoes on the planet that would get me from San Francisco to D.C.

I may not have a secret desire to walk barefoot across a bed of coals, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few things I’d still like to accomplish.

The thing about our society is that the expectations of us diminish with each passing year.
While some may see this as limiting, I prefer to think that attitude just makes it that much more fun to defy those preconceptions.