Tuesday, March 30, 2010


WELL, DEAR READER, I see that you've stuck around! So I'll show you the sandwich with the Surrey County pork --just because I told you I would. I can't show you how I topped it with coleslaw, gobbled it down and smacked my lips. It was good, yes, indeed, but I realize that, really, you'd have had to be there, eating this superior stuff for yourself--and smacking your lips (you'd have been among family, you know!)

Speaking of family--that's just what I'll do: elaborate on the rest of our short span of time together. Nothing was elaborately planned (that's how we like it, you see). We played word games (they're the kind that most of us enjoy the most). A few more attempts were endured to assemble and arrange ourselves into a presentable mass (now that, we don't take to so well). We tried to record it--with alas, no presentable success.

A lot of creativity was going on too--
what with the piano playing, sketching, and the crafting of an innovative clay rendition of the Little Actor and his parents.

(Being the newest member of this family [before you stepped in, I should hasten to add] the Little Actor played his role as youngest with admirable aplomb.)

Wrapping it up, a lot of great food was eaten, a lot of photos snapped, and there was a little napping (the college guy returned on Sunday morning, but his nighttime snoozing'd been even more scant than that of the Little Actor!)

Early afternoon, a lot of farewells were said.
A big thank-you to the hosts and, Goodbye, goodbye!

(Not sure when the family will next convene.
Any chance you'll have lingered to be part of the scene?)


Monday, March 29, 2010


DEAR READER, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO adopt you into my family of origin for a brief time. It'll be just long enough for me to tell you about the family reunion that you missed over the past weekend. It is such a pity you were unable to attend! Um, yes--that includes all of you who already carry the family name but didn't show up-- as well as the ones grafted in just to hear the tale!

We congregated at the home of my older brother--the master gardener, mushroom grower, nurseryman, creative architect of additions to his lovely home and various other endeavors too numerous to mention. He and his wife and two young daughters were generous with the space, the beds and couches, the food, the hot tub...and various other amenities too numerous to mention.

In addition to myself and you (You're not forgetting your place in the family so soon, are you now, Dear Reader-slash-Kindred of Mine?) and this older brother, there are three more siblings in the family--two of whom showed up with other kinsfolk in tow. Rest assured that the sixteen of us filled the house to the brim--which you see, Dear Reader, gives me perfectly plausible justification for not squeezing you into the family sooner!

So now, I'll give you a run-down of the (relatively warm) and sunny Saturday and the (downright cool) and cloudy Sunday morning that the family spent in North Garden, Virginia. (After which you may feel free to linger as long as you wish, before scurrying back to your own).

You may be tempted to gripe about the 'run-down's suspicious similarity to a fast compilation of photos slapped onto the site with quick explanation. But...ahem,...how long have you been in this family?

Our two young nieces play soccer.

Boy, did they have a cheering squad on the sidelines at this Saturday's games!

We also had a tour of the trees. (You know--the trees). I already told you our brother's a nurseryman. He grows all kinds of other things, too:

(I wish I could show you the mushrooms while they were still growing on the logs--how could I have missed recording such a thing?)

Okay, so then there was the hot tub.
The hammock.

And various other activities.

Before we knew it, it was time to gather ourselves together and set off for the restaurant--a local brewery--where our brother had made reservations for dinner. (The assembling took no short span of time, I should let you know, Dear Recent Member, as we scrambled to cram an impromptu photo session into the limited minutes. You see, if the college guy wasn't joining us again tomorrow morning and was leaving directly from the restaurant for home, we had to take a photo now! Then someone asked: Who'll take the photo? Hmmm. We'll use my camera's ten-second timer. Where shall we stand? The sun's so bright, and it's right in our faces! And someone said, Where's the Little Actor? Wait, wait, we're not all here! But someone said, Take it, just take it! We're going to be late!

I wish I had time to tell you more, Dear One of Us, but it is getting late! If you stick around for tomorrow, I'll cart you off to the restaurant and show you the pulled-pork sandwich that tops all the charts. (My raving will likely get you running off to Virginia yourself. If you're still a member of the family, you're in luck!)


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


"HEY, I JUST GOT WOKEN UP BY A STRANGE noise! There's an animal or something in my apartment!" My tenant sounds a bit frantic. "There's something scratching and making a lot of noise," she goes on, "and it's right here inside! It's in a pipe or something. Well, I don't know where it is! "

My thoughts, in order of arrival:
1. Oh, brother, there goes my morning.
2. Good grief, who on earth do I call?
3. I've gotta talk to my yard man!
4. Please, please, please--let him be available to help me right now!
5. I wish I'd have a banana to eat.

"I'll be over in about twenty minutes,"
I say. I hang up and call my yard man. I'm sure I sound a bit frantic.

When I ring Casey's doorbell, twenty minutes later, no one answers. I hesitate...and then open the door just a smidgen. My yard man is in there--I hear him. Bless his heart, he got here ahead of me! He and Casey are in the bedroom together; as I make my way back the hall, she's exclaiming with vigor (context is everything, Dear Reader), "I think it must be a squirrel in the dryer hose! I was scared to open the bathroom door!" She turns toward me as I enter the bedroom. " I got a hammer--I really didn't want to kill it, 'cause I really love animals, but......" She cringes.

Casey and I stand back as the Yard Man cautiously opens the bathroom door and peers into the laundry closet. Yes, it's clear--whatever it is, it's indeed freaking out in the dryer hose.

My thoughts, in order of arrival:
1. Thank goodness the critter is trapped, and not running loose in the bathroom!
2. Oh, brother, now what?
3. Thank goodness I don't have to deal with this on my own!
4. Please, please, please--let my yard man know what to do.
5. I wish I'd have a banana to eat. (Just kidding. I wasn't thinking about breakfast right then.)

"I'll have to disconnect the dryer hose," says my yard man. "Do you have something I can stand on? I don't have a ladder with me." Casey gives him a chair, and he shuts the bathroom door. We stand huddled together, Casey and I, by the three iguana cages in the bedroom. We listen to the slight ruckus.

Moments later, he opens the door.

"It's a starling!" he announces, clutching the bird in his hand. There's a proud grin on his face.

"Oh, I have to take a picture!" says Casey.
"Oh!" I say, "Me, too!"

After that, I also take photos of Casey's beloved reptiles. (Poor thing, her landlord won't let her keep a cat, and she really and truly loves animals.)

My yard man is already on his way home when I realize I need more help. "Come back!" I implore via cell phone, and stand guard by the outside dryer vent exit while he gathers up his ladder and returns.

My thoughts, in order of arrival:
1. There's a reason "birdbrain" is insulting.
2. Thank goodness the vent cover's here on the ground.
3. Please, please--let it stay attached, in spite of the half-broken hinge.
4. Three cheers for my hard-working yard man!
5. I wish I'd have a banana to eat.

Then I headed off to the grocery store.
I bought some bananas.


Saturday, March 20, 2010


THERE COULD BE NO MORE APT DESCRIPTION of frabjous than this opening day of spring.

International folks were here to see the little actor, who has become quite the Little Star, and was out and about incognito. (His entourage wished to avoid any problems with mob control). As it was, the entourage itself was a sizable group in need of monitoring. You must consider, Dear Reader--one small celebrity doted on by six adults, each vying for the favor of his smile, and the privilege of establishing each one's own lap as the wee one's lap of luxury!

Being toted through a springing green park by one's parents and all of the grand ones who parented those parents; ducks frolicking nearby, and people, too; the day inbued with a deliciously unwrapped feel--it all seemed to be a most felicitous introduction to the new season for the Little Star.

And he did appear to be appropriately charmed,
often and enthusiastically bestowing his smile.

In addition to the stroll, there was some shopping to be done.

And some chocolate to be eaten.

Then, concluding the excursion, an agreeable first dinner of spring was had by all, though the fine restaurant meal which the parental entourage enjoyed was eschewed by the small celebrity in favor of his usual, even finer fare.

After which he was plumb tuckered out; the Little Star drifted into an after-dinner snooze on this, the evening of the very first day of his very first spring.

O, Collooh, Callay


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I DIDN'T GO LOOKING FOR FOUR-LEAF CLOVER. The greenest part of my day was the salad I had for dinner. Unless, of course, you count hanging two loads of laundry to dry in the balmy winter air.

(Yes, you heard me--balmy!
Wonderful, fabulous, warm, sunny, still half-naked but ever so spring-like!)


Monday, March 15, 2010


I KNOW, I KNOW, it's not like I've been inundating you with blog posts in the recent past. But neither have I been lolling around twiddle-de-dumming. Surely, Dear Reader, you're aware of the rather major deadline approaching just exactly one month from today. I'll give you a clue--it has to do with financing our country's military system. Oops, that's just half of it--we're also paying the guys in Washington (whatever they decide they need [in order to do their job]); and, of course, there're all kinds of other stuff. All kinds of other stuff. But I'm not about to get off on that tangent. It just amounts to a lot of paper-shuffling and fact-finding on my end. That's paper-finding, paper-sorting, paper-ripping, figure-finding, crass-word-muttering, figure-adding, hair-pulling, figure-deducting, teeth-grinding. My blood pressure...sorry, I've got to quickly change the subject!

My realtor and I have an old mini-van whose one handle inadvertently ended up in one hand of a family member ("Uh...is this handle supposed to be removable?!") Naturally, a vehicle will not pass inspection minus an outside door handle (likely not an inside one, either, but no one in charge of inspection stickers informed me of that); which means, in the case I'm currently discussing, the vehicle may spend a very long time lolling around and twiddle-de-dumming in the driveway. And then, as spring approaches and snow melts away, it may seem imperative to get that old car moving. And that, fortunately, involves very little paper-shuffling; but, unfortunately, a whole lot of dead battery-jumping and running here and running there, and waiting rooms filled with stale magazines and free coffee... Arrgh. Time to change the subject again.

There's been a lot of twidddle-deeing and twiddle-dumming over at Fair View, too (do you recall, Dear Reader, my lovely rentals?)...but only on the part of the empty apartments, waiting out the big snows; waiting out the touch-up painting; waiting out the carpet-cleaning; waiting out the junk removal; waiting out the appliance and cupboard and floor and window cleaning; waiting out the mini-blind and stove-burner plate and ceiling tile, the socket cover and light bulb; waiting out replacement of the odd-sized, special-order vent filter; waiting out...but, oh, I've got to go! My little white business phone is ringing...


Friday, March 12, 2010


IT WAS VERY UNEXPECTED. I had no plans to buy any famous artwork today. But on this gray and rainy afternoon, I just happened to stop by a place where it was offered for sale--fine prints of the works of well-known artists. The moment my eyes lit upon the offered works, there was just no question about it--I had to have a couple! Yes, I say "a couple," but I guess I should tell you, Dear Reader, right up front, it was more than a few. (Oh, can I admit this?)...TEN great prints ended up in my car.

By all means, it was impulse buying. I didn't stop to think, but made up my mind immediately, I suppose because it was a gloomy afternoon and these paintings were little rays of sunshine to my spirit. So many are in my favorite colors--there is Mark Rothko's Orange and Yellow, Hans Hofmann's The Golden Wall. And the Jackson Pollock, Convergence--I bought it just because it's so big! I also walked away with Joan Mitchell's La Grande Vallee, a simple pleasure. The Adolph Gottlieb--Romanesque Facade (which Adolph created, Dear Reader, in the self-same year of my own creation) is one of my favorites. Then there's the Robert Motherwell; I like the painting (Elegy to the Spanish Republic, #34) only slightly less than the painter's surname, and I do like the painting.

Well, I don't suppose I should prattle on about every single one right now. Suffice it to say, I like them all--and together they make a lovely collection. Wanda, the woman who sold them to me, was pleased with the set, and joined with me in my exclamations of delight.

"You are the one who can really appreciate them!" she said.

"A lot of people," she said, "don't really care, as long as they get the job done; they do it the easy way and buy their stamps in booklets or rolls."


Unbeatable prices!
$4.40 for 10 at your local


Monday, March 8, 2010


SO I DID. Admittedly, it was a few days later, but I did heed my own advice yesterday, and went marching forth--much to my relief and delight and mood enhancement and increased sun-absorption and bone-density advancement and muscle build-up and, really, I might just as well say it: Overall Benefit.

After all, the day was pretty much insisting on compliance with the deal I had made the night before--If it's warm enough and not raining, I will, I will, I will take a walk tomorrow! True, I could have weaseled out of it by further defining "warm enough," and that, in itself, would have been complicated by the fact that there was a stiff breeze blowing.

But, hey, I had made the deal! (I'm not quibbling about exactly who, what, or which little wrinkle of my brain was going to hold me accountable if the deal were broken, but it's likely to be that same little wrinkle long beleaguered by my "will not, will not, will not eat any more chocolate today" promises--so frequently broken.) And so it felt good to march forth--just for the victory of it, if nothing else.

Furthermore, I didn't just walk my walk, but ventured far out into the countryside; I crossed a pleasant little stream and encountered some cows taking their Sunday afternoon lie-around. "Ladies," I said, though I kept my voice low, hoping not to offend," you are quite seriously dirty! It's been a while since I've seen such bedraggled bovine."

Very calmly they looked at me, and I was certain they hadn't heard. Then one slowly rose and meandered over to speak to me. Her earrings both read 'Dakota'.

"Darling," she said, and she looked so gentle and spoke with such dignity, "we're not cats, you know." Then she added in a whisper, "...Constantly licking themselves!" And I'm sure I saw her ever so slightly rolling her eyes.

Well, of course. I hadn't thought of that. I apologized to Dakota and felt bad for making aspersions. And how could they possibly keep themselves clean in the mud of melted snow. (Yes, still plenty of that around, though I studiously omitted photographing it, considering my vow of avoidance.)

I'm hoping, Dear Reader, that you've also been marching forth into warm and precipitation-free days. It won't be long before we will all have a new spring in our step; and I'll be gushing and raving and falling all over myself because of that spring.

You know I will.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, it's time to begin the rest of your life, Dear Reader, so go now! Go!
March forth!!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


THANKS FOR THE HAPPY MOMENTS, I told him as I drove by yesterday. "Yours was a life well-lived." And he did have an exceptional span of time--so filled with the stuff that made his world go round. I'm glad I got to pay my final respects to the cheerful fellow.

Rest In Peace*

*That's that--no more postings on snow or creatures made out of it.
What? You don't believe me?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It's just an early goodbye,

because sometimes the end comes ahead of schedule
perhaps in the dark of night
the last traces sinking like a sigh
into the sympathetic earth
the warm birth
--gushing gutterspouts of spring--
subsuming the death throes
in its brightening melody

What I mean to say is: Hallelujah!
(And yes, yes, of course I've got my fingers crossed.)