Monday, February 28, 2022


2/27/22  2:13pm

I've been on this planet for 70 years and 12 hours.  It really doesn't feel that long at all... except when it feels like forever.

I was born in the middle of the 20th century People born 100 years before me were teenagers during the Civil War.  That seemed like ancient history until very recently.  Since I've been considering the passage of time, decades compress and expand as I watch from the sidelines, bemused.

Where did my 30's go?  I know there was more than diapers and play group, but I'm hard pressed to come up with an outfit (beyond maternity clothes - those I remember quite well) I loved or an event (beyond a few memorable Grateful Dead concerts) I attended.  

My teens come back to me with the flick of a brain cell.  I remember how it felt and sounded as I opened my locker in the morning.  I close my eyes and I'm sitting in homeroom with all the other A's and a few B's, lucky enough to be in Mr. Jan's room (the basketball coach and the coolest teacher on campus) as he demonstrated acceptable adult behavior.  I didn't want to marry him (his daughter is my sister's best friend) - I wanted a husband just like him.

I went down the rabbit hole with that memory.  I could do the same with the trips to The City FAMBB and I took - Gone With The Wind on a really really big screen, riding the train - or being in gym class, or being the Delegate from Delaware in Problems in American Democracy's Constitutional Convention.  It all appears with hardly any effort on my part.  

It feels like yesterday.

40's, 50's, 60's.... adulthood doesn't feel like thirty years of sunrises and sunsets.  

I've been thinking back to my parents at 70, when The Cuters were little.  Did they sit on the floor to play?  I can't remember.  I know they were competent caregivers; we left the kids with them quite often.  There were no signs of memory loss or rapid physical deterioration, at least that I can recall.  Among the things I wished I'd asked them comes a new question - what does it feel like to be old.

Daddooooo's response would be, I'm sure It beats the alternative and G'ma would chime in with Are you sure?  No one's come back to tell us after all.  

That's not very helpful right now, as I'm wondering if I'm going to feel this old tomorrow.  70 is a big number, and I'm feeling its weight.  I've been closer to the end than the beginning of my life for a while now, yet this year the scale feels more heavily tipped.

I imagine myself as 25.  I'm peeved at my hip because it puts the lie to that fact; had I not been perforated I'm sure I'd be running every bit as fast as Giblet, and for just as long.  I don't keep up with today's music or movies or comics, but that's because my music and movies and comics are better.  TBG and I look with wonder as the SNL audience laughs its head off.  The jokes elude us and that's okay.  

I'm old.  I'm here to say it.  

I've had eleven bonus years, years I stole back from the other side, and I hope that I've made the most of (at least) those few.  

I plug in my ears and pop in my eyes and wrap my bursitis elbow and down pills for blood pressure and cholesterol every morning  - and I laugh at all it takes to put me together for the day.  But the sun came up this morning and I was here to see it.  By definition, then, it's a good day.

Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Not So Far

He's been in and out of the garage many times since I changed out the pictures

He has to walk past them on his way to the garage refrigerator, a trip he makes several times every day, seeking liquid refreshment and oblivious to the world around himself.

He sees them when he sits down in the driver's seat and when he pulls back into the garage.  He ran a few errands today; he was in and out of his car.

They were there when he took the garbage can, which lives on the perpendicular wall to the new pictures, out to the street.

I'm not looking for credit for doing the work.  I'm not seeking praise for responding to his request the day after it was made.  Personally, I'm loving the change.  I don't miss the kid art at all (sorry, Cuters).  

I'll keep you posted if/when he notices.  

(I can't believe I milked two posts out of this.)

Thursday, February 24, 2022


I had a post written and scheduled and was giggling on the couch to Leslie Nielsen in one of the inane but hilarious Police Squad movies (does it really matter which one?) with TBG when Big Cuter texted.

Queen T was still working, so he wasn't going to interrupt her to tell her the news.  

He was warning us not to text her about ..... something.  

We changed the channel.  

CNN told us residents of Kyiv reported hearing bombs.... or shells... or really loud noises accompanying flashes of light... or fires.... or explosions.

Nope, there's no reason to tell her anything sooner than later.  There is absolutely nothing that she, nor anyone else we know, can do.  She's already worried about family and friends.  The current reality will only make it worse.  

There will be time enough to cry and fret and scream at the heavens.  Letting her enjoy a few more moments of ignorance is all he can do for her.  

It's more than we can do.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Queen T's brother lives in Kyiv.  Do I need to say anything else to explain the title of this post?  

We are following the news as best we can.  There is so much posturing and bloviating and posing with weapons of war that it's hard to separate facts from speculation.

Who can read Putin's mind?  Certainly not anyone in this house.

She doesn't want to call every day - she doesn't want to be a pest.  Yet she worries every day, wondering what's new, what's changing, what's happening.  

There is nothing he can do to prevent an invasion.  There is nothing that she can do, either.  For a woman who prizes control, this is quite disconcerting.  

She doesn't want to add to her brother's worries by letting on how upset she really is.  There's nothing he could do or say to make her feel any better.  Big Cuter's hugs are soothing.  Long phone conversations with Mom and Dad in Tucson remind her that she does not have to handle this alone.  

There is no way to make this okay, short of sending the Russians home right now.  And so, we worry.

Monday, February 21, 2022

"Presidents' Day"

 This was first published in 2011.  Eleven years later, I still like it

Mary Ball Washington gave birth to a boy child on February 22, 1732. Unlike many of the stories surrounding this man (think cherry trees and coins across the Potomac and standing up in an open boat as it crossed the Delaware) this is an indisputable fact.

Mary was not in labor on the third Monday of February.  She produced her child on a specific day - the 22nd day of February.  His birthday didn't move around with the vagaries of the federal holiday calendar.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln met her second son, Abraham, on the 12th of this month.  Like Mrs. Washington before her, she was not in labor on an indeterminate day sometime in the middle of the month.  It occurred on a certain day, a day formerly commemorated by school children and mail carriers alike.

Alas and alack, these fine gentlemen have been conflated into Presidents and their birthdays combined into a generic celebration designed primarily to afford employees the opportunity for a 3-day weekend in the middle of the winter. What was wrong with the old system, I wonder?  As an elementary school kid I looked forward to those random days off in the middle of the month.  One day, breaking up the routine.  One celebration for each president - pennies examined on the 12th, leadership and lying (not) on the 22nd.

There was no time for a weekend away (not that G'ma and Daddooooo could have afforded to take us anyplace anyhow) and there was no competition between students for who went the furthest and had the most fun.  It was an opportunity to go sledding at Bethpage (the Black Course was used for many things in my youth; this was the best of them) or to meet friends at the bowling alley and then walk to Smiles (our precursor to a 5-and-dime) where we cruised the aisles until our parents picked us up.

It was grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon on the side, eaten on paper plates and accompanied by the admonition Don't Tell Daddy since the bacon was not exactly kosher and he cared a lot more than did G'ma.  There were snow forts to be built, snowball fights to be fought, snow men to be built. The entire neighborhood roamed from front yard to front yard, creating and tumbling and finding warmth and drinks and the occasional bathroom in whichever house we happened to be in front of when the need arose.

And now?  Now President's Day is always an event.  It's a long weekend for which plans must be made.  It has no intrinsic meaning, no relationship to George or Abe or any of their colleagues.  Their faces are used to advertise white sales and car sales and furniture sales and The History Channel runs back to back episodes of The Presidents but that's about the size of the historical component.  What began as tributes to great men has devolved into spending opportunities for the masses.

Am I bitter?  You bet.  A day off followed by another one 10 days later.... what better way to combat the winter doldrums than that?  A random day, a day to cuddle under the blankets with your sweetie or to do all that laundry that interfered with your weekend plans and so still sits in the basket, mocking you.  A day to explore the neighborhood and have lunch in that place you've driven by 100 times before..... a day just to be.

Sometimes, when I was a girl really was better.

Friday, February 18, 2022

I'm Going To Try To Resign

I'm retiring from the Happy Ladies Club, and my leadership of the unit that provides get well and condolence and Meal Train support to members in need.  It's a club for newcomers; I've been here 16 years.  The group supported me through my darkest hours and I'm glad to have given back what was so generously offered.  But, I'm done.  

I found a replacement and talked her through accepting the challenge.  I leave with no regrets.

Tonight, there's a Homeowners' Association meeting. I joined the board several years ago, against my better judgment.  It's a no-win situation, as anyone who's ever served on such a board will most certainly agree.  But there was a gap and a need and the evidence was in front of my house so I became the Landscape Committee.  

I then convinced Fast Eddie to assume the Presidency; he did so only with my assurance that I'd support him and stay on the Board.  I did.  It was COVID.  Others did the heavy lifting of enforcing parking restrictions and architectural review; I hired my landscape company and, being pleased with the results, had nothing more to do.  

But Fast Eddie's moved away, there's growing unrest in the lower quadrant of the neighborhood, and I'm tired of being involved.  A wonderful woman has assumed the Interim Presidency.  I could work with her, with pleasure and without angst.  I'd probably learn a thing or two from her if I did.  

It's just that I don't want to do it anymore.  I really don't.

Am I feeling my age?  Am I narrowing my world?  Am I indulging my passions and eliminating sources of stress?  

Or do I feel comfortable with new leadership?  Is it time for others to shoulder the mantle of responsibility?  Do I really care about anything that would be decided?  

I'm going to strengthen my resolve, put on my Big Girl Pants, and declare that I'm not running for another term.  I will resist, mightily, any efforts to change my mind..... should they occur.  I'm not egotistical enough to think that anyone worries things will fall apart without me.  I bring something to the table, but so will others.  

When I moved to Tucson I promised myself that I wouldn't go to any meetings.  I'm going to put that across the top of the note pad I bring tonight.

My work there is done.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

She Knows What She's Done

Two smiling second graders, proudly displaying their snails.
On the right, FlapJilly's eyes and cocked head signal to those who know her that something is going on.

This photo appeared on both the elementary school and the District's Facebook pages.
Little Cuter shared it with her child, prepared to be proud and thrilled and excited at the recognition.

Instead, she got laughter.  Lots and lots of laughter.
Oh, Mom, can't you see??  I made little turds coming out of him! 

That's exactly the kind of naughty a second grader ought to be.
Needless to say, we are all very proud.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

And, Again

Are you tired of hearing about my PNC woes?  I am certainly tired of feeling them.

I paid bills this morning was thwarted in my efforts to pay my bills this morning.  I entered the amounts and the dates and clicked the SUBMIT button and there it was again - the red notice telling me that they were unable to process my bills at this time, glaring at me underneath every entry I'd made.

Reluctantly, I called the customer service number.  Of course there was inane verbiage.  Of course there was unusual waiting at this time.... only this time it was unusual in that I only waited 5 minutes instead of 45 minutes or more.

Of course, the service agent was nearly unintelligible.  She did, however, speak faster every time I said Excuse me, what was that?  

She wanted to know why the notice was popping up.  Yes, in fact, she was asking me that question.  I reminded her that the reason I stated for my call was that red notice and PNC's seeming inability to pay my bills.  

Yes, this had happened before.  No, I had no idea why.  Wasn't that what she was supposed to figure out?

She wondered if I had cleared my cache and cookies - my carefully curated cache that bypasses the beginning nonsense and sends me just where I want to go.  Clear my cookies?  How will I find where I want to go again?  

(Brother is tearing his hair out right now - he's big on clearing cookies and various other forms of computer maintenance.  I admit that his pleas and suggestions fall on my deaf ears.)

I hung up and made an appointment with TBG to go to the credit union tomorrow.  Enough is enough

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Valentines Day at Amphi Middle School

While some of them preferred a more active recess,
others stepped right up and got into the spirit of the day.

What started like this

turned into this
with just a little bit of encouragement from Grandma Suzi.
Even the football kids took time to send some love.
Some took their own sweet time, adding and taping and stamping
until it was just right.
Masks are optional outside; when the work became intense enough for the protection to slip, I took myself to the other end of the table. I didn't want to get sick, but I didn't want to interrupt the creative process.
Some stopped by to write a quick note on a folded piece of paper.
Some hung out with friends for all of recess.
There was lots of giggling.... unfortunately covered by masks.
Even the very sophisticated 8th graders participated.
This ended up on my knee, as the donor scooted away.
I hope your day was as wonderful as mine.
Listening to the scholars who knew me introduce me to those who didn't made my heart sing.
We walked with you around the playground.
We helped you heal.

There it is. 
The reason I do this.
I improved and they made memories of doing good.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Valentines Day


That arrow has always puzzled me.  I know it is Cupid's arrow.  I know it's supposed to shoot love into one's heart.  It just hurts me to look at it.


That's a beating heart, which sends me straight to the emergency room, my heart palpitating out of control.


That's two hearts in one, a kind of suffocating love that terrifies me.


Circling hearts, chasing one another and never catching up - that's not my idea of love.


Resting on one another, one supporting the other, one leaning into the other - that looks like love to me.


Sometimes you are lucky enough to have stars in your heart, that fluttery feeling when everything is going just right.

Those are all the hearts that Blogger has to offer.  From mine to yours, I'm sending love and hugs and big smiles your way.  Happy Valentines Day, denizens.

Friday, February 11, 2022

And Just When I Was Enjoying It

Doping reared its ugly head at the Olympics.  Once again, the Russians are drugging little girls, in this case ice skater Kamila Valieva.  

I included her as one of the things that made me smile in yesterday's post, then watched the night time coverage and found out about the positive for a banned substance drug test she took before the Olympic games.  The potion took helped her heart work more efficiently, effectively making her more productive, less exhausted, able to practice longer and harder and perform feats of derring-do well into her routine, when other, less medicated skaters, might be tiring.

She's 15 years old.  I have a hard time blaming her for anything.

The Olympic Committee refused to let Russia participate under its own flag. That doesn't seem to hve made much of a difference - the doping is the same no matter what shade of lipstick you put on that pig.

I'm surprised that I'm as surprised as I am.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Watching the Olympics

The parts I'm enjoying:

  • The families at home, crying and laughing and waving.  
  • The mom who gestured for her daughter to pull down her mask so that she could see her medal winning smile.
  • Nathan Chen twisting and landing and looking elegant in his tuxedo.
  • Mikaela Shiffrin's mom going up the mountain to console her I can't believe I missed those gates daughter.
  • Trying to count the number of turns and flips on the extreme sports, while wondering what would possess someone to ski backwards down a steep slope, and then turn somersaults while clutching the edge of her skis.
  • The snowboarders hugging the gold medal winner - not on their team, but who cares.
  • The older athletes - 50 year old Claudia Pechstein, Hanae Kubo at 39, 40-year-old snowboarders Nick Baumgartner and skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender.
  • Kamila Valieva, 15 years old and spinning and leaping on the ice with no fear.
  • The views of the Gobi Desert from the top of the ski jump.
What I'm not enjoying:

I can't think of anything.  

I miss the splendor and the fans and the tourist visits made by the commentators, but it's COVID and I'm used to that kind of disappointment.  

But my favorite thing about the Olympics is that it has replaced football as TBG's tv sports go-to choice.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

How Low Can You Go?

I forgot to fill my gas tank before picking up Scarlet from her doctor's appointment.  The office is around the corner from my house.  She lives 11 miles away.  My gas gauge's range finder told me that I had 17 miles of fuel remaining.... about 1/2 a gallon.... and the car felt like it.

There wasn't much weight.  A full tank, 12 gallons, weighs a little over 101 pounds.  My half gallon barely registered.  The car was sluggish and grumpy.  Perhaps it was my imagination, but we were both unhappy with me.

As we approached her neighborhood, I had 8 miles left.  There were only 2 more to go before we reached her house, then 2 more back to the nearest gas station..... talk about running on fumes.... I was really pushing it.

Scarlet assured me that she was not uncomfortable and wouldn't mind stopping to fill up The UV.  It was Speedway gas on both corners; not my favorite brand but I was not in a position to quibble.  I put in 3 gallons, the gas gauge moved up comfortably, and we were on our way.

I never let it get below one-quarter, said my friend who bought her first car when she moved to Tucson 6 years ago.  That got me thinking about my relationship to my gas tank.

During the oil embargo and Jimmy Carter's presidency, when gas lines ran for miles and supply was never certain, I pulled into any gas station that had a short line.  If there was gas available, Annabelle (my Chevrolet Impala) had it. 

During the tumult after the towers fell, when terror seemed to be around every corner, half full was the least that made me comfortable.  If I had to evacuate (to where? from what?) I would be prepared.  

I never leave for a trip without a full tank of gas, refilling every time I take a rest stop.  I'm content to let the little white line grow perilously close to the left, when the gas pump icon appears on the dashboard, because I am rarely more than a block or two away from a fill up.  

But 8 miles left before the engine sputters and dies?  That, my friends, was a bit too close for comfort.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Not Enough Hours in the Day

They flew by, the hours of Monday.  I did absolutely nothing that could be called productive, and yet, there they went

I started a new book, and put it down.  Afterparties was too melancholic, although fellow denizen, dkzody, and the book jacket called it heartwarming.  

I stared at the pantry for longer than usual.  It needs to be emptied, cleansed and refilled with that which is used.  But that requires going up on a ladder and handing things down. It's really a two person job, and neither Queen T nor Little Cuter, my two organizing mavens, is here to help.  I could ask TBG, but I fear his solution would be to shove it all back in after we wiped down the shelves with a damp cloth.  Unfortunately, it needs much more than that.

I considered stopping at Rillito.  My planters need freshening.  Unfortunately, the temperatures are still predicted to be very cold - too cold for nascent plants to sprout comfortably.  Plus, I wasn't in the mood to stand and bend.

I was going to make a lasagna for my MealTrain donation, and deliver it at 5pm.  At 3:30 I realized I had no ricotta nor cottage cheese.  Time had run out.

How is it possible that, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, reading nothing, cleaning nothing, the entire day slipped by?  I read the local newspaper (hard copy) and the NYTimes and WaPo (virtually).  TBG and I had a drive-through date for lunch (note to self- Whoppers are much tastier when they are a once in a year treat, rather than every other week because we can't decide where else to go).  I napped.  I did crossword puzzles until my eyes crossed.

It was a lazy, unproductive day.  There weren't enough hours left to make a difference.  I stopped at a favorite take out place and brought the bereaved family a delicious dinner.  It was nice to feel that I accomplished something.

 (True to form, given yesterday's productivity level, this was written Tuesday morning.)

Monday, February 7, 2022

What To Do?

Should I exercise or should I make banana bread?

If I don't exercise, I won't be able to move with anything approaching a normal gait.

On the other hand, I'm hungry.  I promised banana bread to Queen T and the bananas are not getting any younger.  Oh, and did I mention that I'm hungry. 

Right now I'm in my nightgown (the long t-shirt cotton variety; this one rightly states :This is my sexy lingerie).    

The walk to the closet will be interesting - will I dress for success... which success.... my well-being or my well-being... both options speak to me, deeply.  

I can taste the banana bread as I'm typing.  I can feel the strength coming back into my body as I sit straighter and organize my feet on the floor, a prelude to Pilates.

What will I do?  I'm getting up right now and I'm still undecided.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Little Cuter and FlapJilly and SIR are all working from home today, each calmly taking care of business on their own computers (FlapJilly's teacher having sent hers home in anticipation of e-learning due to snow), snuggling on the couch, feeling warm and cozy...... when the first bug was noticed.

There it was, and then there they were -  head lice, for the third time this year., crawling across FlapJilly's golden curls, the golden curls her mother had been leaning against just moments before.

Into the shower they went, with special shampoo and a general agreement on the yucky and time consuming nature of the infestation.  I happened to call after FlapJilly's hair had been meticulously nit combed; Little Cuter told me her sorry tale as SIR nit picked her hopefully louse-free head.

So, that's been my life.  I'm either at the office or washing everything she's touched.

Yes, agreed SIR.  It's your work/lice balance.

We were pretty proud of him for that one.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

I'm Feeling Smug

The recently fired coach of the Miami Dolphins football team, Brian Flores, is suing the NFL and the teams individually.  

No matter the validity of his allegations, that fact is amazing, in and of itself.  

The accusations, on the other hand, are not surprising.  Not to me, anyway.  

He says the owners are racists, hiring white guy after white guy for the front office and as head coaches, despite the league being 70-some percent men of color, despite those men having greater qualifications and more experience and, statistically, winning more games than their whiter colleagues.  

He says their posturing about inclusivity is a sham.  He has a text from Bill Belichick to prove it.

He also says that the owner offered him $100,000 for every game he lost.  The initial reaction was tanking - losing on purpose to end up at the bottom of the standings, thus getting a chance at a number one draft pick in the following year.  Another black coach made a similar accusation.

As the day went on, though, another theme emerged - gambling.  Perhaps there were bets relying on certain outcomes.  Given the close relationship between the betting world and the NFL, especially since remote gambling became legal ( and so heavily promoted by the league) that's not an unsurprising conclusion.

Why am I smug?  Because for decades, every time the fans on my couch clutched their hands to their head and wondered why??? I smiled and said payola, our catch-all phrase for all kinds of corruption.  And yet, you believe in the NFL, in the fairness of it all - as they countered with assertions of purity.

Well, guys, I now seem to have textual evidence on my side.


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

My Version

Giblet left his shoes at day care today.  It doesn't matter, according to his maternal unit, because whether he stays home or goes there, he's wearing the boots he came home in.

FlapJilly's school is closed for the snowfall expected tomorrow.  Little Cuter was told to work at home and stay warm and safe.  

I worried about driving Giblet, about SIR working out in the world, with such bad weather.  This is Indiana, Mom.  We deal with it.

We have a Severe Weather Alert here too.  Below freezing temperatures are predicted overnight.  Precautions are urged.

Here are my precautions:

You saw the plants beneath them on Monday.  I want to be able to see them tomorrow morning.

We deal with it, too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Whatcha Doin', Buddy?

Little Cuter bought 1 gallon black plastic pots for her plants.  She cuts and roots and plants and gives them away; folks lined up to take her donations at the last Plant Sale.  Giblet, however, had other plans for them this afternoon.

Whatcha doin', buddy? she asked, as he unstacked them and lined them up on the kitchen floor.

The answer was swallowed by his pacifier and his distance from the phone.  We watched in FaceTime wonder as he, rather than straightening the line, left it squiggly as a caterpillar as he ran into the playroom.

Where're ya goin', kiddo? she asked when he didn't return immediately.  

Our questions were answered - first with his hammer.  

I have to bang them.  And, he did.

Then he was gone again.  Are you leaving them in the middle of the kitchen floor, Giblet?   

The answer was obvious when he returned with the plastic razor from his toy bathroom-like-Dad-set.

I have to shave them.  And he did.

Why?  No one knows.  We did agree, though, that 3 year olds are much more fun than 2 year olds.  Weirder, perhaps, but definitely more fun.