Site Meter

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

Pumpkins lit and eager
In all their orange splendor
Await the happy throngs
Of little ghosts and goblins.

Brown bags in hand
Youngsters scour the neighborhood
And follow the porch lights
Hoping for goodies galore.

As the sun rises on the next day
Exhausted and dragging students
Sluggishly enter their classrooms
Coming down from last night's sugar high.

Viewing the lethargic student arrivals
Their teacher sighs softly
And rolls her eyes in resignation
Knowing the day will be lost for learning.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Here we go! Well, I knew those warm, outdoorsy kinds of days were soon to be a thing of the past, and so it is. The startling drop in temperature coupled with the first rain of the season is Mother Nature's way of telling me to trade the sleeveless dresses and comfy shorts for long pants and woolly sweaters. Done!
Arriving along with the expected rain and b-r-r-r factor is the onset of my first cold of the season. It seems to go with the chilly, soggy territory. With my tissue box nearby, I am all cozied up in my flannels and about to slurp piping hot black bean soup into my mouth. After that will come a major decision: whether to read my book or watch a DVD. Or maybe just nap. I do love nodding off with the pitter-patter of rain gently ringing in my ears.

The drenched picnic table, no longer the center of joy and celebration, pines forlornly on the deck, remembering summer's margaritas, chips, guacamole, and the sounds of laughter.  Those happy days will return eventually, but in the meanwhile quiet is the name of the game.

Winnie and Cleo
The lady pugs, lovers of sunshine and deck merriment, have abandoned this now saturated summer scene for the comfort of their snug wicker basket, reluctantly going outdoors and getting their dainty paws wet only when their bladders are about to pop.

So I welcome the raindrops, the grey skies, and the chill in the air. My sneezing and sniffling? Well, that I really could do without. Now, for that black bean soup...

Monday, October 18, 2010

A 2Cuz Lesson

My lovely second cousin (2Cuz) and I had another get-together yesterday, and I never know how things are going to go when we adventure together. We attended an enchanting production of Travels with my Aunt at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma.
The Cinnabar

I was thankful that we were not going shopping, which requires that I keep track of her purse and hastily retrieve the 20 dollar bills that somehow tumble out of it.  In addition, a theater date would save me from witnessing uncomfortable situations with local watcing her attempts at bargaining flea-market-style at Macy's while complaining about the high prices and shoddy merchandise. All sweetly done, of course.

 Yes. A theater outing . What could go wrong? Surprisingly, nothing much did, though she had complaints about the condition of the lobby, which - I have to admit - smelled like cat piss, a smell I know too well, unfortunately.

She slept through most of Act I and then at intermission grumbled that she couldn't understand the actors' British accents and found the show trying. Well, duh...of course, she couldn't understand their accents. She was asleep! At least she didn't snore, but the up and down lurching of her head as she tried to stay awake was amusingly distracting.

Now, here's the surprise. At intermission I took advice from a very wise writer(thank you, Patti) who once suggested that I question 2Cuz about her life and use her tales in my writing, which seemed like a great idea and perhaps more interesting than focusing in print on her foibles and our less than perfect visits. With this is mind, I pioneered off in a new chatting direction.

 I am not quite sure how it happened, but something conversationally snapped, and I discovered a shocker: she was 14 and living in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was bombed. How, after all our time together, did I not know that? She related how the community was without communication and didn't know what had happened for 48 hours.

Then Act II began and, happily, she was alert and enjoyed the rest of the play as much as she could, considering Act I was a black hole for her. The Pearl Harbor discussion will be continued; I want to know see if I can score some details of what that experience was like for her.

I have spent my life mostly in the present, a good place to be, but at the same time I did not question family members, now gone, who surely had great stories to share. And, weirdly, now that I am a senior, I think I have tales to tell, but...guess one is asking. All the young family members are juggling jobs, busy schedules, childrens' activities, and the day-to-day trials of managing the giant responsibility octopus that is life. Been there, so I understand. Other side of the coin: While I have anecdotes to impart, I certainly don't want to be one of those rambling old farts sitting at Thanksgiving dinner boring everyone to death. Isn't there a middle road here?  

Things I wish I'd asked:
1. Dad -his experiences as a WWII bombadier
2. Mom - what it was like to be an only child, never know your mom, have a step mother
3. Grandpa - about my Grandma Maude
4. Uncle Henry - what it was like growing up in Ferndale

It's too late for those questions to be answered, but with 2Cuz it can be different from now on. I am going to gently probe and see what else is in there. So we'll continue our iffy excursions and maybe even venture out to the theater again... even if she does sleep through Act I. There's always intermission.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn, Where Are You?

I know autumn has arrived, but Mother Nature is having none of it, taunting me with record-breaking heat this week. Weird: I wore long pants and sweatshirts most of the summer, and now I am decked out in shorts enjoying afternoons on the deck, drinking iced tea and reading a good book.

I am not complaining as I know these window-open days will soon be a thing of the past, and I will be wishing I could still have the fresh air flowing through the house. However, I do adore the familiar differences of the seasons, and there is something very wonderful about the crispness of the autumn air and seeing my breath as I take the pug ladies for a morning stroll.

So I am ready to get out the boots, the down vests, the warm socks, and the woolly scarves that are symbols of what's to come in the next few weeks. I welcome the change and am eager for the now green pyracantha berries to spectacularly broadcast their brilliant red, for fragrant candles to be lit, and for soup to be simmering in the crock pot.

Mother Nature, I'm ready. I'm waiting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Like falling leaves making their autumnal journey
The years slowly drift on their earthly path
Making lasting life imprints along the way
Knowing that winter's rest will soon be at hand.

Written for Magpie Tales

Monday, October 4, 2010

George and Martha Redux

A local company was brave enough to open a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? last weekend, and I attended with trepidation remembering the last time I saw this difficult-to-perform play and wound up exiting at intermission...the first one, as there are two. Yawn.

Well, what a difference from my previous experience! I am not saying that the actors were Taylor and Burton, but they were amazing and I watched their mesmerizing performances with my dropped jaw almost reaching my lap.

 I know from my limited stage experience that fisticuffs are carefully choreographed, but when an actor hits the stage with a noisy thud, it's gotta hurt. And there was a lot of physical contact going on among the four actors. The dialogue was equally astounding: shouting, overlapping lines, spit flying, the whole ball of wax... almost too real, with heart wrenching pathos at the play's end. It was so intimate and overpowering, I felt like I was intruding.

The actors must have been totally exhausted after curtain calls. I know I was; and all I had to do was sit there and gape at the human eruption happening in front of me, making the discordant family scenes in my memory bank seem like  a visit with The Brady Bunch. Whew.