Friday, April 30, 2010


REMEMBER ME? I used to blog here in this space. I used to say such things as this and this and this. I'm aware that it's somewhat pathetic, tossing out dittos! when you've come here, Dear Reader, for fresh entertainment, or wisdom, or...well, whatever do you come here for? I'm guessing just a moment's distraction from your long swim in the river of life, crawdads biting at your toes and jellyfish brushing their treacherous tangled tentacles against your tender skin, your labored striving to avoid the undertow--ah, and your gulping of saltwater now and again, your flailing about. I hope I've sometimes thrown you a buoy of sorts, however minute.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


LOOK OUT, DEAR READER, IT'S A GALLIMAUFRY COMING your way! Oh, come on, relax-- it's just an olio! (I'm giving you time to scratch your head).............all right, all right, I've got a hodgepodge again. It's all on account of these odds and ends that I wanted to show you, but never got around to posting. (And, it appears I'm just too lazy-and-or-uninspired to make a tidy tale about each one. So, blurbs it is--just a bunch of blurbs.)

I. Lazy? Uninspired? Actually, I was walking my walk! Instead of my usual uphill commencement, I descended (the novelty of which drew me further and further down the road until it enticed me into taking the whole three-mile circuitous route that leads me over this little cement bridge [plain as a mud fence, but charming in its own way).

II. When those international guests were here to see the Little Star not long ago, I failed to mention this: My yard man was inspired to take them to visit a burial ground where his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather is buried. (Please, Dear Reader, do not hold me accountable if I've slipped a tad too many greats in there--or, even more egregious, omitted one or two! )

IIb.Almost as fascinating to me as the fact that this grave is still marked, and resting amid a sea of other ancient graves, is the surprising discovery that this yard man of mine had never, ever visited it before!

I mean, many persons do you know who can casually hop in the car and drive off to see the grave of their great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (giving or taking a 'great' or two)?

IIc. Straight from the cemetery, our guests went with us to visit an Amish barn and gift shop. While there, how pleased I was to get this terrific shot of jackasses!

What? Surely you...
I mean, you don't...?

Yes, of course it's those long-eared creatures!

III. Costco parking lot--an afternoon in early April, stopping to memorialize this view of the flowering trees and the cottony clouds, as I wheeled a case of tinned catfood to the car.

IIIb. Sassy grows ever more feeble.
Sassy has trouble eating dry catfood.
She must eat tinned catfood now.

IIIc. Sassy's mistress gives her a fond farewell, in what could be her final ruffling of fur.

IV. I give my daugher a fond farewell, and an admonition to settle only lightly into Asheville, NC.

Remember when I seemingly went to the Used-buggy lot? There were
bikes there, too!


P.S. Ooops! That was going to be it for the gallimaufry 'til I found just one more photo. I studied it for a while, pondering whether I should save it to build another olio. But, nevermind, there's enough building going on here already...

VI. Well on the way to Fifteen Million.


Friday, April 23, 2010


"RED OR GREEN?" That was the question.

For me and my twin, (a long time ago, I must let it be known) the question was one to be pondered, as we stood at the old wooden counter, peering up at the weathered brown faces of the elderly couple awaiting our response.

Mama had hurriedly wrapped up her shopping trip downtown and hustled us to the car just before the shipyard whistle had sounded. (We weren't very old, my brother and I, but we knew that whistle, and we knew that it meant skedaddle! All those men who were building great ships would be finishing up their shifts, filling sidewalks and clogging streets for miles around on their journeys homeward.) Now Mama was rewarding us with one of our favorite treats as she often did when we'd scrambled out ahead of that mass exodus and left the city limits and the worst of the traffic behind us.

The ceiling fan in the shoppe merely stirred the hot air, so muggy and tidewater-laden, and the old screen door didn't let in much of a breeze as my twinnie and I gave the question some thought: Do I want the cone filled with red this time? Or should it be green?! Our tacit agreement--if one wanted red, the other would choose green; or if green were requested first, the other would opt red. In this way--aha!--between us, we'd always have both!

Dear Reader, I can't tell you what heavenly concoction that old black couple scooped into our cones. (Alas, that's just what I mean--I really can't tell you! Sometimes on hot summer days the mystery haunts me.) It was sort of like a sherbet or some other kind of icy dessert, perhaps a gelato?--the recipe was all their own. And whether "red" and "green" was all they could offer, I'll never know. But I do know the taste was simply sublime!

Epilogue: The elderly couple are long-since departed, the building is long-since torn down. Even my mother has left this world. A few years ago I received a package--a box of brown bulbs with a small slip of paper and these handwritten words:



Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'M STILL THERE, HAVING A CAPITAL time in the capital city!
(Or let's just pretend that I am, Dear Reader. If I have to say that I'm THERE, then perhaps I am not. It's likely I've instead been back HERE [where I usually hang out] for a couple of days already; but who's going to quibble?)

We have time for one more sightseeing something-or-other, Tina and I, and then we will search for dinner. We wait for the Metro (delayed due to hitting a passenger-gasp) and finally arrive at the Post Office Museum. Then we re-think our plan. Hmm...maybe we should eat something now, before we peruse the museum. Breakfast was eons ago.

So we go next door--we're supposed to find international food there; but we trot from one end to the other and, alas, all-American chain food abounds. Outside we go, and propose to eat the apples we have carried with us for hours. First, however, we must enter the museum (where the sign reads NO FOOD ALLOWED), go through the security check, and all the way down to the restroom--to wash my apple.
"Ah, you're a germaphobe!
" says Tina.
"Well, look,"
I say, "I've been fingering it in my pocket all day--opening all those doors, putting my hands on the apple......okay, you're right--I'm a germaphobe."

Not much later a guard catches us with our half-consumed (fully scrubbed) apples, sends us back outside, where we eat in the pleasant sunshine.

Stamps are a big attraction in the P.O. Museum, though all the other displays keep us interested, too.

And...(Oh, before I forget--just in case you should ever find it helpful--Heligoland's stamps are okay, but Upper Volta's are much more attractive. Huh? You want to know where the heck is Heligoland? Don't be silly--it's where they speak Heligolandic, of course!)

...we're off to get dinner

and catch the homeward-bound bus.


Monday, April 19, 2010


I WAS BRIEFLY FASCINATED by the ceilings of Washington, DC, but only briefly:

at the Jefferson Memorial,

at the Metro Station,

and then in the president's office of the Old Pension Building, which is also known as the National Building Museum, which is where Tina and I ended up next on our slightly haphazard jaunt through the city.

What happened was--we got to this place, it was just five minutes to wait if we wanted a tour of the building. We did; and we waited; and, after viewing the entire building--seeing as how the architectural creativity and the artistry and the sheer stupendous workmanship that went into building this edifice one hundred and twenty-nine years ago had me simply agog--I forgot about ceilings!

What was offered was a half-hour tour, and we tagged along asking questions and exclaiming at appropriate times.
"How many bricks would you guess were used in building this place?"
Our short little frazzly-haired guide posed the question as we bunched around him and gazed at the front of the building from across the street. Right away I thought--Aha! the answer is way more than I'd suppose. So I doubled my guess to four million.

"Fifteen million!"
he declared, and he went on to give us all kinds of facts and interesting tidbits,

and pointed out scenes depicted in the frieze, and the varying architectural designs of the windows, and the building's built-in, naturally air-conditioned state.

"Listen up!" I said to Tina. "When we're on our way home, I'm giving you a quiz."

Of course, then I had to keep notes--
$600,000 to build it in 1881--70,000 bricks inside each column--

And about then he launched into a tale of the pensions that were being paid out, way back in the 1880's. It was all very interesting, and it was a gorgeous day, but twenty minutes had gone by--Tina and I were starting to despair of getting a thorough and unrushed tour of the building's inside.

We needn't have worried, of course; the tour lasted more than an hour. We made our way up such pleasing sets of brick staircases--two long flights for each floor.

We stopped off at every level, our tour guide continuing to be a fount of knowledge,

until we rather nervously perched up there on the highest walkway--some seventy-five feet from the ground. (I noticed that no one seemed inclined to hang over the railing.)

That's where the guide finally wrapped up his talk, with details on a variety of near-the-ceiling features, and a description of changing the lightbulbs still far overhead (it can only be done from the roof, where one climbs in a window and performs a daredevilish act).

Tina and I made our way back down the glossy brick stairs, stopping to look at a few exhibits (finding nothing as intriguing as the building itself).

We sat near the indoor fountain (included by the architect to make the air pleasantly humid) while we plotted our next destination.

I know where we should go next! How about one more visit to our favorite room in this building? one of us suggested.

Oh! Great idea! That room's definitely worthy of another look! the other responded.

The afternoon sun cast a yellow glow on the yellow walls
and the yellow fixtures.
Once again we raved.


Saturday, April 17, 2010


MONUMENTS, MUSEUMS, AND MANY FLAGS flying horizontally was defnitely not a typical Saturday. Nope, setting the alarm clock for 6:00 am and turning off my cell phone was definitely not the norm. It was for taking a day trip with a generous friend of mine (I have other good adjectives for her, but generous is the one I'll use here, since she invited me to join her, and also provided the transportation.)

There were all kinds of familiar sites and sights at our destination--but no lovely cherry blossoms at this late date.
(It was okay. We didn't lack for blooming beauty.)

We spoke to Eleanor,

as well as Franklin, and some of his many Japanese friends.

And then the dog. What did you learn in American history class, Dear Reader--can you tell me the little dog's name?

And while you're at it, tell me the name of this memorial that we happened upon. (One doesn't need to hang around long before getting some very old clues.)

My dad used to say, of himself and his bride,
"We got married one week and all hell broke loose the next!"

These men, I'm quite sure, could tell us more.
About that war.
And I'll tell you more, Dear Reader,
when my generous friend and I have decided where we're headed next...
on this clear and sunny and capital day
in the U.S.A.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



I had been awaiting this man who stood at the door, proffering me a fat envelope.

"Thank you." I said. "You don't mind if I take your picture, do you?"

He looked a little baffled. "Now why would you want to do that?"

"Oh, it's just for my blog." I smiled sweetly and snapped the picture. "I have to write about paying my taxes, you know! Thanks!"

I took the envelope. "Don't worry, hardly anyone will see it!" I laughed as I closed the door.

Upstairs another man--the one who always scrawls his John Hancock with mine on the tax returns--was sound asleep in bed. He planned to leave well before dawn this morning to be out of town for the whole tax-deadline day. And, true to tradition, the CPA had been scrambling to get those forms ready for us.
Home delivery via courier service was definitely a first--but a deadline is a deadline, after all.

And the IRS should be happy to know that all signatures are bona fide and in their place on the forms I mailed out today, which could never be said if it weren't for that courier guy!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


TODAY I KEPT THE LITTLE ACTOR while his mother let the dentist clean her teeth.

The Little Actor himself hasn't given any dentist the time of day. (He doesn't see a barber either--it so simplifies his busy lifestyle!)

But lately he seems to have given some thought to how teeth might possibly enhance his smile.

He's been diligently working to acquire at least one--gnawing away on whatever body part he can fit in his mouth.

Personally speaking, (as the director of many of his films) I think his toothless smile is quite charming indeed.

But I do suppose that a few pearly whites could only make it better!


Monday, April 12, 2010


MY DEAR READER, I AM SO FOND OF little quirks of fate--they're just downright fascinating to dwell upon. Tell me about a coincidence and I'm promptly intrigued.

(After those first two lines, I paused as I began this posting yesterday, and that's as far as I got with the tale I'm about to tell you......And then today, before I had time to actually write up the story, I got a comment on my previous post [you know, the one about the shoes] and it began with these words:
"What a coincidence!"

[Insert a pause] Wow! [Insert a gleeful giggle] Wouldn't you say that's one coincidence within another?!)

The thing about flukes is one never expects them! Aha, I am taken by the unlikely chance, the odd surprise of the thing! So, of course I must share it--this coincidence that I stumbled upon yesterday:

My yard man and I have new neighbors; the couple and their two young sons moved in about a half-year ago. But it wasn't until recently we had the opportunity to visit with them. They are quite friendly and promptly said, You'll have to come see our house! They'd spent much time building their unique and beautiful home with lots of 'green' features. We were eager to see it.

Yesterday afternoon is when we stopped in for a tour of the house. The husband had clearly been very involved in designing and building the house and he enthusiastically chatted about the process as he took us from room to room (while I enthusiastically took in the details). It was easy to see why he would be proud of the place--the wood, the stone, the great open spaces and tall windows to the south--(I tried not to utter superlatives too often).

(Are you clearing your throat, Dear Reader? Drumming your fingers and mouthing the word: Coincidence? Okay, okay, I'm getting to that...) As Adam was telling us how he and his wife enjoy sailing, I mentioned that I had grown up beside a river. "Oh, where was that?" he asked. And I had responded, "Southern Virginia."

Well, ha, whaddaya know, it turns out his wife's parents had grown up right there... in the very same city! When we came back downstairs after taking in the scenic view from the upstairs windows and walking through the walk-through closet (I'll take one of those!), we talked to his wife.

"Oh, did you go to Warwick High, too?" she asked me. "My parents call it War'ick High."

"Yeah, that's how we say it down there," I laughed. "I didn't go to Warwick; they built a new high school closer to where I lived, but my older sister went there. What class were your parents in?"

When I got home, first thing I called my sister, "Did you know them?" I asked, "They were a year ahead of you--class of '59!"

Well, of course she did--when I mentioned their names on the phone--right off the bat, she remembered them--fifty-two years later! (How impressive is that?) "They were popular kids!" she said.

But she hadn't known that these two--named 'Best All Around' by their senior classmates-- had gone on to marry each other! Nor did she know about this daughter of theirs.

"How in the world do you know about Jimmy and Beth?" she asked me.

"Well," I said, "it's quite a coincidence...."