Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Heaven on Earth (My Backyard)

I try to be an honest person and it occurred to me I still have faults I deny and obscure.  Hidden in the bushes of my lifescape are some or most of the following (or possibly all):

1.  I have crooked teeth and am hatefully ugly; now add to that, wrinkled and old.

2.  On occasion, I drink way too much.  (Probably to forget the crooked teeth, ugly and old)

3.  I love being alone.  (Saves loads of money on deodorant, breath mints, and unnecessary grooming)

4.  I am coarse (See #3) and uncultured (My last book cover to cover was Silver Chief, Dog of the North)

5.  I have the weirdest fascination with changing identity, as in "Sleeping with the Enemy."  What's up with that?

6.  Sometimes I secretly root for the villain.  (Evidently I played the "robber" in childhood games of "Cops and Robbers" once too often.)  And while on the subject, Jimmy H. should be held accountable for rooking me at the game of football.  It seems he got a touchdown by crossing the goal line; while I had to run around the house before crossing the goal line.  I finally smelled a rat and knew our friendship was weakening.  

There are many more, but why flay yourself open like a mackerel for the world to devour.  Answer:  Because you're perverse, and self-defamation is the ultimate perversion.  Like picking at a scab or pouring flaming iodine on an open wound, I enjoy being harsh with myself.  Students of psychiatry should go fly a kite now.

My Garden in Spring is Heaven

Having cleaned my ugly closet, I feel ready to deal with Heaven. Will I get there?  Heaven only knows.   Failing to pay the dues of institutional righteousness, I must somehow achieve grace by running a heroic final marathon to salvation.  If Heaven comes, it should be deserved, not bought in the collection plate or tax-deductible donation. It should be helping those no one else cares to help, and getting no thanks in return.  It should be taking an unpopular stand against a very popular wrong.  It should be loving all the people, all the world and all the universe and trusting our self-interest to rise with that particular beneficent tide.  

Jolene was going to be destroyed because not one person had answered the pound
ad in the paper.  Not one.  I asked for her sight unseen and was not disappointed.  She provided years of love and companionship until her death last year.  I felt she understood Heaven.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


About this time of year, cabin fever sets in and we exhibit the telltale signs of our growing mental illness, like talking to ourselves.  We're a year older and entering the arena of sanity annihilation known as senility.  Sooner or later we'll all be babbling our shameful secrets to total strangers at the "home."

Being caught in the act of lone conversation is mortifying, especially when the question comes, "Who are you talking to?" and the answer follows, "Myself."  Even worse, sadistic people remain silent and enjoy the expanded soliloquy, you turn and realize you've been providing great amusement with your one-man dementia show.

Me Thinking About What To Say To Myself

The most shameful episodes are the times when things go wrong and you give yourself a profanity-laced critique employing theatrics worthy of Shakespeare.  Example:  "Stupid f'*#ing (female dog), you can't hold onto a @*&+  thing!  (This usually said after dropping an egg at your feet and watching the slime head under the refrigerator at the speed of light, reaching hairball land just ahead of your paper towel.)  Hopefully no one hears.  I usually keep the TV on loud when I'm cooking.

Punishment For Cussing Is Time In The Bag 

I remember Mother being lost in a daze of problems, tuning me out, and discussing things with herself.  I always swore I would never do that, much in the same way I would never get wrinkles, a pot belly, blue veins, or wear anything larger than size 10.  Although I have broken these promises, I could work on improving.

The truth is sometimes you just need to talk when there is no one available.  Perhaps the next time I'm caught, I'll answer, "Would you mind not interrupting, I'm talking to God."  Of course that won't work when I'm "Cussing and Cooking," as I'm calling my new uncensored cookbook of white-trash cuisine, featuring Husband's favorite "Bacon-Double-Cheese Meatloaf Before You Die," which guarantees a coronary occlusion.   As he says, "You only go around once." 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THE OTHER SIDE (She Gets All Philosophical)

After we reach a certain age in life, we wonder about our eventual (or not so eventual) disposition.  I tend to step "out of the box" so often that I entirely disappear on occasion, invisible and silent - like someone dead.  Now that I have lifted spirits with that blissful imagery, I must assert that my brain doesn't have a parking space for the concept of 'beginning."  While I began at conception, I was also present in the two cells that merged to make me.  By logical thinking, the potential "me" resided in many living cells before my time.  Pull that perspective back to all of humanity, and we are collectively carriers of all humans who have ever been and who will ever be.  So why are we so hateful to each other?

A Picture of Me Lost in the Big Blue Sky Realm

If beginnings are unfathomable, then endings are equally confounding.  To die, to end, to be extinguished in a flash of violence, or an eternity of diseased agony, seems a harsh price for the so-called beginning we experience and our mostly uneventful lives of varying length.  So, what of Heaven? 

When as a child I asked adults about the particulars of heaven, they featured a morosely insipid place where we had beautiful new bodies, sang hymns (on key unlike church), and praised God endlessly.  No trouble, no evil, no pain, no hunger, just low-key merriment in moderation (I concluded).  That might be fine and a preferable alternative to Hell, the infinite damnation and suffering place.  No pretty, no happy, no food, just Medieval torture.

A Picture of Me Lost in the Beauty of Sunrise Realm

Really?  Those are the options?  Then I choose the "no pain, no trouble" place, I guess.  The "it feels so good when it stops hurting" reasoning applies.  More importantly, looking forward to afterlife is waiting for something vaguely veiled in fog, while life (the ultimate gift) spills out of our container and true Heaven, ours to make, evaporates.  LIVE!

A Picture of Me Lost in Big Red Wild Trumpets

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The View from Our Mobile Home Love Nest

After our marriage in September of 1963, Husband and I settled into our pretty new mobile home at the very end of Waverly Lane.  Our neighbors were all older people, particularly our closest neighbors John and Alma as well as their adjacent residents, Frank and Emma.

Home of John and Alma (as it looks today)
Alma Made the Best Christmas Cookie Tin Imaginable

Both working, Husband and I slept in on weekends, sometimes waking up unnaturally to the harsh beckoning of Emma to Frank.  Either one or both  of them had a hearing problem because Emma had her volume fixed to reach Helen Keller.

After hearing his somewhat agitated muttering response, she would order the moving of shrubs - all of which must have been relocated many times.  It isn't difficult to see why he chose "Lighthouse Keeper" as his life's profession.

Home of Frank and Emma Taken Today

Frank and Emma were devout church goers and Saturday on Waverly Lane was devoted to hair-do preparation for Sunday's grand exhibition.  Emma was most ardently searching for perfect hair without a big price tag, and so my mother-in-law offered her amateur abilities as a favor.

On occasions when Mother-in-Law was away, I filled in for her with my humble skills as a hairdresser.  With Emma, you never quite got whether you did well or not.  She would gush compliments and then find fault - give a little, and take back a little.  I was alternately saying "thank you" and "oh, sorry."

There was definitely competition between the two neighbor ladies, as women can sometimes do.  Husband's girth increased as they outdid each other baking him treats.  If one invited us to dinner, the other would likely do the same.

Now sometimes when I awaken with a start, I could swear it was Emma calling, "Frank, Frank...," and I halfway expect to go to the window and see John, hat on, sleeves rolled, a cigar in the corner of his mouth, placidly hoeing his peas over near the silo.

The Back View from our Mobile Home Love Nest
Neighbor John's Pea Patch
(where blue-green vines, in double rows, with white blossoms thrived)

Time changes everything but our minds, still seeing and hearing the past in the present and thinking about, almost longing to see, those good people now gone.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Age 70, the threshold of death decade, brings the joys of snaggled and yellowing dentition, thinning hair, worn-out joints, and last (but not least) mental acuity strapped to a time bomb.  Tick-toc, tick-toc, bam! - where did I put that darn (you fill in the blank).  I am putting off the day when I greet Husband by saying, "Hello there, do I know you?; and we won't be role playing in the bedroom!

Me Practicing Being 70
How Can We Improve This Condition?

Husband is devious about his own disintegration, preferring to claim his life-long prettiness is constant and unchanging.  In his own mind, he was present at the Creation, if you get my drift.  He did however put his shoes on the wrong feet (slipped them on in the dark) and walk boldly into a restaurant;  and nearly ran over himself with his pickup (forgot to take it out of gear).  

Husband  Hard at Work

I believe we are one age eternally, and we get to choose that age.  Realizing this is a strange belief, I am determined to cover all the mirrors in my kingdom with black cloth and be "16" until this show ends.  Any other scenario involving honesty and acceptance is a downhill hot-coal slalom into Hell, a rapid oxidation of ego.  

While I delude myself, I relentlessly deny all signs of aging.  I hitch my plow to the imagination of Lewis Carrol and cultivate the fertile ground of quantum make-believe in Wonderland, along with Alice, all without expensive cosmetic surgery!  Win, win!

Me AKA "The Unknown Blogger"
"Off With Her Head!" Said the Queen of Hearts

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


On New Year's Day I ventured forth with Husband on his standard Harrisonburg run with seafood.  At 7 AM we left home for J & W Seafood in Deltaville to deliver oysters to a restaurateur in the bucolic rolling terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

J & W Decorated for the Holidays

After vaulting my 70-year-old body into the passenger seat, I located my seat belt and secured my precarious position  before a windshield which created the illusion of being on a chair ski lift.  Comforting, I thought, picturing a collision.  

The View from the Seat I Occupied

After loading, Husband turned all the knobs and fired up the venerable diesel engine, which entertained us for miles with every conceivable sound that has ever been emitted by man, beast, or contraption.  Some examples:  pshew (air compressor), squeak-squeak, tweet, rattle, RATTLE, gurgle, POP, knock-knock, and hummmmm.  That's right, tweet!  My thought, a family of birds in the Thermo-King?  It was complete sound schizophrenia.

In the midst of all this, I turned my focus from the carnage of carcasses on the road to the more pleasant vista of the Sunday paper puzzles, which I enjoy.  It was then that our vehicle's astute sensitivity to every imperceptible crack in the asphalt became formidable opposition to any pencil trying to make contact with paper.  Thank goodness I wore my heavy-duty sports bra or things could have been even worse.  Husband says a fully-loaded truck rides much smoother than one carrying just 24 gallons of oysters.  He could be right.

Our Truck Being Loaded

In spite of all the jiggling, bumping, and shaking, I managed to finish three cryptograms, a sudoku, and the word jumble, and felt satisfied with that performance under duress.  Husband says I just don't understand diesels.

After violently bounding up and down around the Richmond potholes - tweeting, pshewing, rattling, and knock-knocking, we headed for Charlottesville, Afton Mountain, and North on Interstate 81 to our destination.  At the rainbow's end was the "sweet silver song of a lark"* in the form of "Traditions," an all you can eat seafood buffet in a beautifully appointed dining room on the outskirts of the city.  We enjoyed fried oysters (shucked at J &W), steamed shrimp, crispy fried chicken with all the trimmings for a mere $14.95.  It's a rare treat to be experienced if you are ever in the area.  The owner, Mr. Brian Willi, is to be commended!

After breaking our resolutions at the buffet, we climbed back into our places aboard our frenetic kinetic transport and  headed back home like two weary astronauts on the space shuttle, but knowing our quaking diesel ride would involve far more friction...squeak, tweet, rattle, knock, clunk and PSHEW!

Mr. Kevin Wade's J & W Sign
Good Seafood!

* Lyrics from "You'll Never Walk Alone," a great song from yesterday.