Friday, November 29, 2013


Husband struck out early to enter the competition for Christmas bargains known as Black Friday.  I wished him well and stayed home since I stopped Christmas shopping a few years ago.  It finally dawned on me that shopping had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.  Just because three wise men brought three gifts to Baby Jesus does not require the whole world to repeat the process annually.

When he returned he had purchased a saw at a $60.00 saving.  Husband is a compulsive coupon clipper and has a wallet exclusively for his wad of paper treasures.  My task is to keep a hawk eye on the register monitor and catch every "failure to enter" the promoted and displayed sale price.  And I am good.  Needless to say, the checkers remember me, even though none of the errors are their fault.

Below are items Husband got from Harbor Freight Tools at a savings of $18.48, paying only $2.61.  He was so excited he had to show me the receipt.

Behold a Pittsburgh Quickfind Tapemeasure
a plumber's brush
multipurpose scissors
and a 3.5" mini flashlight

He came home the other day with a laser-gun thermometer, which he uses to detect cold air entering the house.  What a guy.

I know you are all out there envying me, dreaming that you had a super shopper/dreamboat like mine.  Hang in there because surely there is one more out there somewhere.  Try Colorado.


When we were younger, but nevertheless thrifty

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am thankful for life, love and the pursuit of awesomeness.

For Daughter I and Her Glorious Brood

For Daughter II and Her Atlanta Good Life

And For Daughter III and Her Irrepressible Curiosity

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I'm sitting on the sofa with my slacks down around my ankles watching "The Enchanted Cottage," while making notes on the back of a receipt from the veterinarian for the purchase of special requirement cat food  How did this come to be?

    1.  I hit my knee on Husband's beloved trailer hitch when removing groceries from the car.

    2.  Since my pants leg would not pull up to reveal the injury, I pulled down my pants and sat on the sofa to examine it.

    3.  The television happened to be playing one of my favorite movies from 1945, "The Enchanted Cottage," starring Robert young and Dorothy McGuire, which instantly involved my thinking.

Dorothy McGuire as the homely heroine

    4.  Before you conclude that I am having an erotic interlude with myself, know that this was simply a convergence of independent events that sound all too incriminating.

    5.  At that moment I began to have a word storm descend upon me in said position.  Hence I am writing with legs crossed, pants down, and attention diverted by the story of love's soft assurance and triumph over the world's most cruel tragedies...homeliness and disfigurement.  This long ago story had a low threshold for measuring misfortune and failed to capture my appreciation of such sad affliction; however the intention of it resonates with me.

Robert Young as the disfigured WWII serviceman

 RKO's "The Enchanted Cottage" is about two physically repulsive people finding euphoric perfection while occupying the magic space of an English cottage.  An introvert's dream scenario of us against the world happens in a cocoon warding off criticism, pity and condescension; oh and perfectly illustrating the transcendent power of love.  See it in a theater near you 68 years ago.

The couple as they saw themselves through the eyes of love

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Autumn has slowly slipped into our lives, leaving summer only in our fading recollection.  Here are a few sights that were familiar outside my door only a few weeks ago.

My zinnias blooming around the deck

My garden with chest high tomatoes and waist high basil and peppers

Butterflies enjoying a taste of nectar

And sensing they had to take advantage of the time left

The place for summer relaxing in its final moments

The dogwood trees have red leaves now, soon to be shed

Welcome, Autumn!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Entropy is defined as disorder or chaos.  The second law of thermodynamics holds that in an isolated or closed system, order tends toward and becomes disorder.  While these are subjective terms (order, disorder), examples can be pointed to in everyday terms.  Every bright light bulb will eventually fail and go to the trash.  Children are born who will always grow old and die.  One distant day the sun will burn out and our environmentally well-ordered planet earth will be incinerated in the enveloping expansion of its dying star.  No matter how many times we scrub the kitchen floor, it will be dirtier than ever over time.

My rear view is nowhere near this orderly now.

Depressing as this is, there is one thing not considered in all of this:  beginnings.  Currently science says that beginning (as in the big bang) can come from nothing.  This defies human logic and causes tremendous problems of symmetry, or balance.  No rising from the ashes and going on to repeat the process.  No symmetry.  I feature that beginnings come from unknown endings, at least that is my natural supposition since I'm preparing for a period of permanent disorder (old age).

These roses had their day, shattered and fell to the ground (entropy).
But new roses will be around next year to do the same.

I have always shied away from "hard" science, otherwise known as physics, because I feared it was difficult enough to bring down my grades and cause entropy of my self esteem.  So in high school I signed up for physics and dropped it for study hall out of panic.  Another girl seized the opportunity and begged to purchase my used and therefore cheap textbook for the price I paid.  Later on, I changed my mind and decided to return to physics.  When I asked to buy back my book, the other girl said "No," and I was forced to pay for a new text book which I could ill afford.  The irony of all this:  the girl who found my book such a bargain was a millionaire's daughter who grew up on a big southern plantation.  I, on the other hand, was abandoned by my father and supported by my unemployed mother.  Everyone knew this.  In that moment I felt first hand the cruelty and apathy of the "haves" in this world.  And the concept of entropy here:  used book (order), selling the book in a moment of weakness (beginning disorder) having to buy more expensive book (0 minus 10 on the order scale).  Science rules.

Science rules and is spectacularly beautiful!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


As an individual, I am prone to philosophy and dreams; practical considerations are best left to the others in my life.  This finds me frequently undone when confronted with credit card transactions and smiling waitresses and friends stuffing several large bills in my hand.  Little girl lost.

A few minutes before, snatched from the realm of soft blue sky, waves lapping against moored sailboats,and the floating ambiance of waterbirds riding on the breeze and leaving a musical trail of their native sounds (Merrior, a wine and seafood taste experience on the water), I snap back into the ordinary world unable to transition.

In my defense, I am not quite senile, and possess an average intelligence.  As I told someone in a dream last night, I was an honor student, a somewhat capable basketball player AND "Miss Courtesy" in high school.  Despite these meager though well-rounded accomplishments, I trip over the door sill of sophisticated card-swiping, technical Nirvana and appear to need a boy scout to lead me across the street.

At Merrior 
I fumble while my brain is stuck in neutral and sweat forms on my
 face, causing my thinning hair to plaster to my cheeks.
Everyone jumps to my rescue.

And now feeling as inferior as possible, I shop for an Apple TV, which is an appliance which allows TV to show internet options, like Netflix.  Grandson thought they were in the $30 range.  Surprise!  The cheapest was $48 and it wasn't Apple, which were closer to $100.  For someone whose monthly income is $120, and has many cats to feed and vet, this is a considerable amount.


Misty, one of my dependents rests after mowing the grass.

I will mull over my wants, needs, and resources and build the resolve to get the gadget and have Grandson do the rest.  He understands.

Grandson who makes it ever so hard to hate men.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Husband and I headed for my dental appointment at 9:30 AM and by 9:15 took our seats in the dark blue chairs of the waiting room, decorated with a mural depicting an animal-filled African plain.  At 10:15 we were still observing the giraffe, panther, and zebra standing immobile in their portrait and the green, grassy plain looming a bright green rectangle, which bothered me by its refusal to be shaded into the distance.  Also troubling was the brick patio foreground begging the question:  who invites these animals (apparently) into the waiting room?

Finally the dental assistant calls me away from what had become like home:  the cellphone calls of various people, the teenagers mugging and staring into their hand-held devices.  No longer the need to endure the casual examination of total strangers anymore; just watch them monitor whatever might be so interesting to them.

Husband and I enjoying the wait in the waiting room

In the dental chair, the assistant and I exchanged pleasantries about our cats and after I am flattered by her saying she thinks hoarders are really not bad people; the dentist came in, gave me a long-needled shot of deadening stuff, which took a lot longer than changing tires at a NASCAR race...a lot longer.  Then my insides began to rumble in an old familiar way.  Oh please, God, not now.  And God said, "Okay." After about 20 minutes, the dentist returned and gave me an even longer shot of Novocaine.  Then he took out his tools and began to work.  At this point I reflect on the irregular heartbeat which afflicts me.  Having been normal for 9 months, it inexplicably returned 3 days before my extraction appointment.  I relay to the dentist that if I die in the chair, he'll know why.  No problem, he said.  

The dentist and I prepare to do it.

"Crunch, crack, pop," and the tooth breaks into fragments.  Without dropping a stitch, the dentist begins to pick and pull out the shattered roots.  After much tedious removal of matter, he declared me done and I leave with post-extraction care instructions which included DRUGS.

Husband had napped on and off and we left at 12 noon.  It only cost $115.00.  That night I dreamed I was naked on an African plain and being chased by a savage dentist wanting to extract all my teeth.  The panther, giraffe and zebra were running with me.

Savage dentist chasing me and the panther on the plain
The pain in Spain is mainly on the plain!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


On June 29th, the whole family headed to Avon, NC, for some time at the beach.  It was much anticipated and one of the few times we can all be together.  The first few days were rainy, but we had a beautiful house with hot tub and pool so we relaxed, ate, drank and were merry.

Our Aptly Named House!

There were three floors and lots of climbing.

Husband enjoys drifting in the placid waters of our own pool!

The family game of corn hole was competitive!
(with daughter #3, Baby Sis throwing)

Husband showed his skills.

Daughter #2 was flexible as scorekeeper.

Daughter #1 (CBW) observes and penalizes.

Baby Sis takes in the rays.

Dino, Baby Sis's friend brought all the games and fun!

And he wasn't hard to look at either!

Husband took over in the kitchen.

A good time was had by all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


First children are scary things.  Husband was amused by all the cuteness, but fully aware that he was just a visitor on the planet parenthood.  The responsibility for the cute one's well being was strictly out of his jurisdiction.  The whole diaper regimen was as baffling to him as a carburetor to me.


Husband spends father time with little CB baby.

As time went on, things came more naturally to all of us, and before you knew he was galloping along quite nicely!

Strong of back and well trained,
Husband required no bridle, bit or saddle!

Now that everyone is grown up and gone, we are left feeling uneasy and at a loss to define our purpose in life.  For Husband, it is delivering seafood and doing chores around the home place.  For me, it is saving cats no one wants, feeding everyone, and playing sudoku.  

Could there be a more telling picture?  
Who are we?  What good are we?
Throw in a pitchfork and it is American Gothic!

I am truly thankful for my partner in life and so are his children.  Sunday we will have grilled fish, garden vegetables, and a large measure of gratitude for our family patriarch.  Maybe some wine as well.  HAPPY FATHERS DAY  TO ALL FATHERS EVERYWHERE!

Happy Fathers Day from Leo the cat.

Saturday, June 8, 2013



I am heading to a beach house on an island and am on either a train or a ship going over water.  Sitting quietly and anonymously, I am paged to the phone, which is mounted to the wall of the train/ship.  A young pilot with wavy reddish hair announces that it is an important call from the FBI.  Stunned, I say hello and a hysterical woman on the other end relates how her husband has betrayed her.  I do not know the woman or how she knew of and located me on the transport.  All that aside, I try to comfort her with the fact she is in the company of so many good women who find themselves being eliminated in the love equation by espousal fickleness.  Feeling made quite important ( the FBI and all) I take my seat and resume the journey.

I take a call from the FBI.


Instead of the beach house, I am let out in an older suburb of Los Angeles and I go in and out shops and residences as if with a realtor.  We take note of the negative aspects of the buildings, in particular the balcony/patio of one residence, presumably a rental.  I admire the handiwork in the shops.

I walk through buildings in LA.

I swear I change bodies with other people at night.  Once I dreamed I boarded a submarine at Gwynn's Island and came up near a big city at night with all the amazing lights imaginable.  Evidently I lack stimulation for which I compensate in dreams.

I marvel at the night lights of some unknown city.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Having physically plumbed more stories than all the fire poles in three counties, I fear I have lost my amateur standing as a stair tumbler.  While I don't hire myself out for pay, perhaps I should at least consider that option.

I began these feats when my parents moved into our first two-storied house.  Mother believed in shiny floors.  Once a month, the whole house smelled of Bowling Alley floor wax, a thick translucent paste of amber hue and strong odor, best described as a marriage of petroleum base with a whiff of equine liniment.  It lubricated the old wood and when dry, buffed to a handsome shine.  Along with the shine came the slip-and-slide feature, which was deadly to those in sock or stocking feet.  Since I was young, agile, and wearing socks, my virgin tumble was just bruises and learning experience.  It only happened once, because after that I clung to the banister like a cat on a tree limb.

Years later we moved again; this time to an apartment with treacherous steep steps.  Going to work early one morning, my high heel betrayed me on the top of the landing and I wound up going to work in hose with runs spreading over goose eggs on my shins.

Fast forward to 2001.  Husband and I move into his parents three-story farmhouse.  Opportunity to try all three plunges!  And I do!

The first occasion was the cellar stairs, which was constructed with the original house circa 1910.  Obviously built for a family of midgets, the stairs required the average person to bend forward preventing head bumping while stepping down an incline of short steps ending about 3 feet from a concrete wall.  One could hear sirens just contemplating the scene.

When the cellar light burned out, I grabbed a new bulb in one hand and held a lit candle in the other.  Then I set out to put in the bulb, thereby preventing anyone from falling down the darkened stair, lying helpless, bleeding, and undiscovered for hours after being thrown against the concrete dead end by the force of gravity plus added momentum.  Since the light was well into the center of the cellar, the candle was my only light.  There's something awkward about having both hands occupied, your feet exploring unfamiliar landscape, and your head bent forward against your chest.  Suddenly it becomes evident that someone neglected to give me the tightrope-walking training required and crash went the bulb, out went the candle, and down went the bulb changer ending up nose to the concrete wall.  Get up, go upstairs on hands and knees, and repeat process.  Finally I got it done and there were no bad injuries and even better:  NO WITNESSES!

I try to do too much at once and crash land in the cellar.

The third story contains a huge walk-in attic with a full stair; again, as in the cellar there are no handrails, so feet have to get it right.  Carrying items for storage up and bringing them down involves many steps.  The tricky part is the last few steps going down.  If you forget a couple, as I did, you take an inadvertent giant step propelling you and whatever you're toting at a 45 degree angle into a wall.  If you manage to stay standing, you're good.  I didn't.  No broken bones or lacerations, just bruising and cussing and possible whiplash.

Retrieving items from the attic comes with a price!

The main stair has a handrail, which is no help when you're going for a light switch in the middle of the night and lose your way at the top.  That one hurt.  The list included:  one concussion, two fractured fingers, several fractured bones in the foot, jaw trauma (preventing opening the mouth), temple trauma, and bruising all over.  I stood up and walked next door to CBW's and we went to the nearest hospital, where Husband was sleeping like a baby as a patient.  There is no happy coincidence implied here.  After rigorous examination, I was sent home to visit a specialist the next day for apparatus to wear for three months to help heal fractures.

This boot can impede anything you want to do.
When they asked me what hurt the most, my fingers won.

Once home, Husband marveled at the list of physical damages.  He said his favorite one was the frozen jaw. As if he ever listened to a word I say!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Having children is both a blessing and a tortuous obligation.  I remember my own first week of motherhood as prolonged hysteria interspersed with periods of euphoria followed by long shadows of dark foreboding.  It was joy at regarding the miracle of a totally new human being and fear at contemplating the dangers in life's path.

Chesapeake Bay Woman Looking Terrified
(as she should have been)

I remember sitting on our little sofa with Husband and watching a local TV country music show.  Suddenly I burst into tears for no reason.  Husband tried to comfort me by offering to change the channel; but in spite of my loathing for country music, that was not the cause for my distress.  In fact, I had no idea what the cause was.  My mother did.

Still ill at ease with the job, I show my panic,
while CB baby is all like "I've got this."

Mother knew the frightening aspect of  being responsible for a tender new soul, for the prospect of failure and guilt, and knowing you are as unprepared to raise a child as you are to disarm a nuclear bomb.

Our pediatrician told me that he knew full well I wanted to give him that baby on our first visit.  The baby fitful and my breasts blazing sore, he was dead right.

My mother, bless her, mentioned every possible bad outcome - not the least of which was her precognition that our baby was to have a sad life.  Needing to justify this gloomy forecast, I inquired why she could possibly think that.  She posited that it was in our baby's face.  That, I explained in a moment of lucidity, is because I ate peanuts causing the breast milk to induce gas pains...and there you have it.  I found my backbone of confidence!

My mother enjoyed these three more than anyone!

I cried for no reason on a regular basis for years, then came the real reasons for crying, and finally the tear ducts and ovaries shriveled up and the apathy of old age emerged hardened and resigned.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Happy Mother's Day!  I'm glad we got through it!

Stay tuned for Father's Day!