Saturday, January 30, 2010


This posting is going to have a title--I'm just debating what it shall be. I'm thinking of using this:

Here's what I've decided: I'll tell you the tale, Dear Reader, and let you decide which title is most fitting (or come up with a better one, and I have a small prize for you!).

Okay, then--This morning I woke while it was still very early......oh, but wait! Perhaps it would be more fun if you were to guess what happened to me. I know I love to play guessing games. When the man who's my long-time dinner companion sits down to the table and says, "You wouldn't believe who I ran into this afternoon!" or "You'll never guess what happened at the office today!" my heart speeds up a notch and I say, "Wait!! Wait!! Don't tell me!!" I say it like that--really quickly and emphatically--because I really do love to guess. And everyone knows "I'll bet you can't guess" is just an expression. He's not actually offering me a challenge. Of course, this man's been eating with me for ever so long, and he knows by now I might still be hounding him with questions as we clear the table. (Though, honestly, it doesn't usually take me that long.) Most of the time he humors me.

On the other hand, he does not like to guess. He wants the facts! Yes, sir, just lay them out! None of this silly business of lengthy interrogation--Was it a man or a woman? Did it make you laugh? Was everyone amused, or only you? Does she have red hair? So this morning, when this same man heard me coughing and spitting and blowing my nose in the bathroom, and running the shower, and he came to ask, "Are you sick?!" I immediately answered no, and I poured out my story.

So what'll it be? Would you care to guess, Dear Reader,* or would you rather I just tell the tale?
If no one is curious at all, I'll simply keep my mouth shut. Or, uh...well....
*In the event there is more than one of you, I'll play it by ear.
Though it might be more appropriate to play it by eye.


Thursday, January 28, 2010



THE LITTLE ACTOR CONTINUES TO MAKE GREAT STRIDES, but as producer of his movies, I've been a little lax. I've been having too much fun with him behind the scenes. After all, he is my darling, dimpled grandson! (Surely you remember that, Dear Viewer!?)

He casts a spell over me and makes it very difficult to leave his side and set up film production. And, being a star, he's entitled to a bit of pampering, of course; but it often seems that no sooner is the filming equipment in place and ready to roll (okay, yes--it's just one little camera; but even so, I have to locate it, remove it from its zippered pouch, and turn it on), that's when he invariably makes demands--"What's going on around here?! Didn't I say I want fresh flowers in my dressing room?!" (Oh, wait a minute--it's not flowers that he wants, but food--fresh and available at a moment's notice!)

However, when I was with him today, he agreed to a little publicity footage. He seemed happy to oblige. And when I said, "Lights! Camera!...Take one!" he let me take one. One perfectly charming little clip. (Or so I'd say. What would you say about the fat-cheeked little fellow?)


Saturday, January 23, 2010



(A procrastinator's posting)


Friday, January 22, 2010


ONCE AGAIN, I OWE IT ALL TO YOU, dear Louie--the pleasure of these delicate papery blossoms. The salmon-pink shade of them delights me even more than the blooms on that first plant you gave me (though please don't misunderstand me--I was very fond of that one, too!)

And the fact that this plant is flowering
now, right now, in the dead of

(Forgive me, I can't help
myself, I have to
say it a few more times...
of winter
dead of winter
...oh, lordy, that's just
what it is--the dead of winter!)

So, anyway,
as I was saying, Louie,
I'm so pleased that it's blooming
right now--
little sparks of new life
in the deadness of winter!

Merci! Merci!


Thursday, January 21, 2010


WHAT WAS I DOING---LATE ON A THURSDAY afternoon, mindlessly watching an old black and white, cops-'n-robbers, shoot-'em-up movie on TV? It was so unlike me!

Before you leap to any conclusions, however, or go judging me on my lack of industriousness, or my lousy choice of viewing material, I'll have to tell you that there weren't many options there in the hospital waiting room. I was relieved to quit those theatrics and enter into the real-life, docs-'n-nurses, shoot-'em-up, stitch-'em-up drama going on in the emergency room.

But, of course, that was a quite unlikely occupation for me as well on a Thursday afternoon. Hanging around a hospital ER just to watch the goings-on is not something I'd ever be inclined to do on a whim; but since I had to haul three persons there--following a collision of two cars and a seventy-mile round trip to collect the inhabitants of the one car--I did prefer to watch the live action.

Later I was not able to say, "Officer, I heard a shot...," but I did witness three of them being fired-- er, administered; and there were five stitches sewn.

It's something I had never seen before--a man sewing a fine seam upon a nose. It was rather fascinating, but certainly not something I'd wish to ever see again.

In fact, I never wish to see the inside of an emergency room again, though that may be asking quite a bit. And since I'm being greedy with my requests anyway, I'll just add this: I don't wish to ever spend an afternoon hauling my daughter (and two friends) to any kind of medical facility--not ever on a Thursday, not ever on any day of the week--never ever again on her birthday!

Fortunately, upon leaving the hospital two hours later, everyone was in good enough condition to enjoy a birthday dinner. Even I.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


FOR THE LONGEST TIME, THERE WERE TWO FORTUNE COOKIES residing in my kitchen. They were refugees from the last time I ate Chinese, and they moved from place to place...from shelf to cupboard, to a bowl on the counter, then into a kitchen drawer. Whenever they got in my way, I'd contemplate tossing them out, and then I'd reconsider. Because, well, who would deliberately throw away a fortune?

Yesterday some mysterious urge led me to finally crack open those little foretellers of fate. Now, a pet peeve of mine is when I open a fortune cookie to find a mere adage within: "Life gets more difficult near the summit,"or "In the eyes of lovers, everything is beautiful." Something like that. Oh, please! If I wanted a truism, I'd just write one for myself: "Life gets more difficult in winter." Or, When there's snow on the ground, the car gets filthy." Or how about: "Great gains can be made by the eating of chocolate."

No! I want destiny described! kismet chronicled! So I opened those cookies with the hope that there'd be news of something terrific about to befall me.

And the first one said...

Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling on you (with smiley faces--to boost my enthusiasm, I suppose).

Okaaay, that's good, that's good.
I wished for a few specifics, of course, but at least it contained the word you.
Perhaps this message was just to give notice; the next would detail the details.

So I eagerly opened the second.
And lo and behold,
it said:
Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling on you.

Now I felt just a bit coerced.
I tossed the two fortunes into the trash. I didn't break out in song.

However, this morning when I awakened and the sun was shining, a very strong feeling of great well-being (double-strength, you might say) washed over me. I did a bit of rejoicing.

And it nearly got me singing.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


YESTERDAY I WENT TO CHURCH TO HELP SERVE A MEAL that followed a funeral service. I was inclined to believe that the service, as well as the meal, was going to be a rather small affair.

After all, there would be no parents of the deceased in attendance. No spouse, siblings or siblings-in-law. No children, grandchildren or any other direct or indirect descendant. Nor were any of Elizabeth's life-long friends going to be paying their respects. I can see you pondering this dearth of mourners, Dear Reader. Well, consider these few facts: Roosevelt was president when this woman was born--and I'm talking Theo here, not FDR. And, speaking of earthquakes (which I wasn't at the moment, but everyone else seems to be, so I will): Her life was bookmarked by catastrophic ones. The deceased was an infant when the world was abuzz with the San Francisco earthquake and ensuing great fire. Oh, and here's one more thing: Had she set sail on the Titanic, she'd have died as a six-year-old, cutting her life short by ninety-eight years! What I'm trying to say is that she was old--quite old. And she'd had no children. You can understand, can't you, Dear Reader, my assumption that the crowd might be slim.

Therefore, it's fortunate that I was not the one who was making the food purchases and setting up the tables and brewing the coffee. The fellow church member whom I was assisting had done all of this (well, she didn't set up the tables, but she had done all of the planning). There was a nephew who had given an estimate of 'less than one hundred' attendees. Instead of prefixing that with 'far,' she set the 'prepare for' count at ninety.

She had baked one hundred cupcakes (to be on the safe side) and cut up lots and lots of celery; she purchased big tubs of macaroni salad and platters of meat and cheese, bags of potato chips and baby carrots, jars of pickles and olives and applesauce, eight dozen freshly-baked rolls. Then-- no small job in itself--she transported all of this to the church. (You can see--she did most of the work.)

And then I arrived. She was slicing the rolls. This is going to be too much food! I thought. Poor Marie. She did all of this work, and there's going to be so much left over!

But I set to work and helped to ready it all for serving.
We filled relish trays, made up bowls full of pickles. We stacked rolls and filled trays with cupcakes. We put the macaroni salad and the applesauce into bowls.

And then the service got underway. We could hear it from the kitchen where we worked. I noticed the singing sounded rather robust for the tiny group that I pictured in the sanctuary.

I went and sneaked a peek and--wow--when I counted the heads there were one-hundred-ten! There were many church members, and nieces and nephews (I guessed). My goodness, I thought, What a tribute! One for every year of Elizabeth's life and a few to spare!

I scurried back to the kitchen with the news. Dear me, would we have enough food?

Not to worry--I was certain (uh, somewhat certain, or at least pretty sure...well, it seemed possible) not everyone would stay for the meal. And so it was.

We served eighty-eight people.

(Not one cupcake left over!)

Saturday, January 16, 2010



That's their slogan--the Backyard Fruit Growers' way of expressing their enthusiasm for do-it-yourself fruit production (primarily apples).

Thanks to the invite of a friend of mine who's a seasoned apple-grower, I was able to take in today's meeting of these folks (primarily middle-aged, plaid-shirt-wearing men, it would appear) who grow fruit.

Unfortunately, I missed the morning session of this day-long
gathering, but I did get to take in the informative talk given by Tom Burford, an expert fruit-grower from my home state of Virginia. Wow--this man is Mr. Apple, if ever there was one! He's Apple Ace, Apple Artist, King of the Apple Kingdom...he knows more about apples than anyone I've ever encountered! Although, much can you tell me, Dear Reader, on the subject of apples? (It's true, I've not done much quizzing). Go ahead, give me all you've got, but beware: Mr. Burford could tell me exactly what kind of apple it was that had those Eden-dwellers daffy with desire! (In fact, he did mention the name, now what was it?)

He's an apple historian, you see. And his family has been involved in fruit-growing since the early 18th century! He's a national expert, I tell you! (When I was a child, I recall my mother speaking of Burford Pear trees--aha! Need I say more?) So it was really quite interesting to take in a tiny bit of this man's head-full of fruit-growing knowledge, and particularly his stories of bygone days.

By the time I left that meeting, I was all agog. A lot of fanciful and fervent plans were grafted onto my formerly faltering fruit-growing fantasies.

So what did I do? I joined the BYFG*, of course! Now I'm poring over APPLES: A CATALOG OF INTERNATIONAL VARIETIES by Tom Burford himself, in which he gives a description of 340 apple varieties (just a fraction of the total). And while I'm still on an apple-tree-grafting** high (you know, while it's still just a winter dream, rather than a spring or summer get-off-your-duff and actually go tend to the trees you've got), I'll share some of these names with you. If they give you the faintest hint of inspiration, by golly, you may want to join the BYFG, too!

Adam's Pearmain, Ashmead's Kernel, Ballyfatten, Belle de Boskoop, Benoni, Bietigheimer, Black Limbertwig, Calville Blanc D'Hiver, Coe's Golden Drop, Court Pendu Plat, Devonshire Quarrendon, Doctor Matthews , Esopus Spitzenburg, Father Abraham, Foxwhelp, Gloria Mundi, Horse Apple (don't suppose I'll be planting this one), Hubbardston Nonesuch, Ingrid Marie, Jewett's Fine Red, Katja, Ladies Sweeting, Lady Sudeley, Maiden Blush, Mother (give me a bushel of those Mothers, would you please?), Nickajack, Oliver, Patricia, Pitmason Pineapple, Quinte, Reine des Reinettes, Rusty Coat, Sekai Ichi, Sops-In-Wine, Sweet Sixteen, Transcendent Crab, Von Zuccalmaglio (I sure could eat a Von Zuccalmaglio about now!), Westfield Seek-No-Further, Winter Banana, Winter Sweet Paradise (I'd settle for one of these...oh, yes, I'd settle for just one bite of a Winter Sweet Paradise!), Yellow Bellflower, Zabergau Reinette.***

*Although my fruit trees aren't actually in my back yard...except in the NIMBY sense of the word(s), in which case they are. Close enough.

**They have to be grafted. That's right!--Johnny Appleseed pals around with Santa Claus! (Dear, can go on believing if you must--just don't try planting your apple seeds!)

***Well? Do you have any tiny little craving for a Ballyfatten or a Sops-In-Wine? Terrific!
See ya' at the next meeting of the BYFG!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And to this show with friends in tow,
my farmer and I did go.

Apologies to the friends, who actually had us in tow, if you want to consider they're the ones who suggested it: Hey, do you wanna go to the Farm Show? and then drove the vehicle to get us there. Of course, once we got to the Farm Show Complex, it was the only one of us who knows more than a smidgen (or even wishes to) about the breeding and raising of livestock (yes, certainly--that would be the horse farmer I live with) who took the
lead, escorting the other three of us from one concentration
of four-footed, furry or feathered animals to another.

While ogling farm animals of every size and description, I was eating freshly made potato doughnuts (to die for) and snapping so many photos that now there is a jumbled over-abundance spilling out of my camera.

I promise I'll do some trimming,

and won't show you every adorable little animal eating it's dinner

or obsessively cleaning itself

(or being obsessively cleaned).

But of course I have to show you these two creatures, because it seemed like they'd be the answer to a trick question of some kind.

And I must show you some areas of the show that involve crops. Yeah, know, the Vegan Section!

The displays in this area don't snooze or lick themselves or snuggle adorably next to each other, but if it's all about food, glorious food---and it is, isn't it?*---then this part can be exciting, too. Hey, no one in the livestock section was passing out free samples of mutton or roast duckling--not even little ole chicken wings; but here we did get crispy chunks of apple to sample, and other fruit and veggie treats.

And I'll just bet I exclaimed more profusely over the apple displays than I did the bovines.

Near the end of our trek through the Farm Show Complex, we came to the Christmas trees--one of my favorite displays. Whereas some areas of the Farm Show are a tiny bit odor-challenged, this one smells delightful. It's a fine crop to look at, but...

...I suppose the only ones eating from these trees are the growers who raise them. Would you call them full-fledged farmers? Do they hang out with the guy who brought that antlered creature, feeling slightly second-rate? Oh, dear, I hope they hold their heads high!

Well, the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Show continues for two more days. If you're hankering to see your little lamb chop while it's still strolling around, I suggest you hurry over...err, down...


Sunday, January 10, 2010


"THANK YOU! THANK YOU!" the neighbor man was profuse in his gratefulness. As it turns out, he'd locked his keys in the car when he'd taken his daughter to work and then ran into the grocery store to pick up a few items.

I wasn't wearing anything shiny, but I'd made two trips to the store on his behalf--carrying him and his spare set of keys on the second trip. I pondered the law of averages on my way back home.


Saturday, January 9, 2010


I warned the guy who showed up on this exceedingly cold Saturday morning and rescued me from my entrapment at the local United States Post Office,
where I'd carelessly locked my keys in the car.

The post office lobby was only minimally heated, and my half-hour stay would have been dismal indeed were I not to have had my cell phone with me for long-distance complaining.

"I don't know what they call you at AAA," I said to the guy before he left,
"but I'd say you're a knight in shining outfit!"


Friday, January 8, 2010


WHADDYA KNOW...HERE'S ANOTHER OLIO. Although, truth be told, I'm getting rather sick of that word olio. It's a clear and simple case of overuse. Therefore, in the foreseeable future I suppose I'll have to use hodgepodge as the word of choice when I'm warning you of a mess of uncoordinated thoughts coming your way, Dear Reader. And since I've already warned you that's it's just a mess, I might as well ramble while I'm at it. Because one thing really does kind of lead to another, except not in a planned and well-thought-out way. And now that you know that, I'll just abruptly walk backwards into yesterday.

I want to tell you about the sisterly love and concern of two sisters I met yesterday while showing an apartment I have currently for rent. You're supposing, of course, that I'm speaking of a pair of sisters. Well,'s true I'll be telling you of two sister sets, but the two of which I speak are not a pair. Each one is only half a sister pair. And look out--I've decided to throw in a third set--who may not even know they're sisters. I hear you muttering, Dear Reader. You think I'm walking in circles as well as backwards, don't you?! And getting a little dizzy in the process. Okay, I am; I do admit. So instead of walking backwards, I'll just start at the beginning and make a concerted attempt to go clearly and concisely forward.

Let's get this straight-- there are three pairs of sisters in this tale, and I'm not seeing double. (Not triple, either). Earlier in the week, I ran an ad for a two-bedroom apartment and then sat and waited for my little white business phone to ring. For all my waiting, I got...yes, three calls. Hurray for me, every caller fell quite easily into my efficient plan to show off these living quarters in three consecutive time slots.

First came Tanya, a young black woman who jotted down the answers to the careful questions that she asked. She was pleasant and polite and was investigating this dwelling space as a possible home for her sister...who's been left by an unhappy husband and now must raise two tiny tots alone. If Tanya's sister were to make my apartment her home, she'd have an hour's commute to work each day, but...she'd be near Tanya.

On her heels, I showed the living quarters to a pair of...parents. Hold on, hold on, they are the parents of a pair of sisters who are three months old!

And then came Holly and Corey. When they hefted themselves from Holly's car, I could easily see these two were sisters, with their matching looks and similar body builds. "My landlord don't want to rent out no more," Holly wrote on the application once they looked around. She's the one who's been renting for three years, but now she has to find another place because she took her sister in--her sister who was recently divorced and had to answer "yes" to this question on my application form: Have you ever been arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony crime?

Now if only I were able to continue walking clearly and concisely forward--knowing what response to give these women who are reaching out to aid their sisters in distress. I'm afraid I'll have to drop this hodgepodge now. I'm back to going round and round in circles--just valiantly wishing I could hopscotch on to something else.

I think I've got to talk this over with two sisters of my own.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

THURSDAY Jan 7, 2010...trash pick-up day. Wish there were more to say.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


WHEN THE INSPIRATION HITS, it's usually as though I've missed a deadline--This tree should have been out of here yesterday!

Then I download a whole pile of ornaments from the tree, upload a whole pile of needles from the floor.

I take the wreaths off the door.

And, voila!

It's Christmas no more!


Monday, January 4, 2010


THE NEW YEAR IS SPEEDING BY and I haven't made any declarations yet. Yes, I said declarations. Generally they're called resolutions, I know. But to me, resolve sounds too much like dissolve, and the resolutions I made in the past were much too prone to do just that--dissolve right down into weak and watery I wish I coulds. So this year it's going to be Declarations of Intent for me.

I've been giving some thought as to what they shall be. I'll make a Declaration of Intent to let you know sometime soon.


Friday, January 1, 2010