St. Paddy’s Day

a me in shamrock glasses

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today I am grateful for St. Paddy’s Day.  What fun we have had on this day in the past.  We go a little low-key these days, but it is still a fun time, even though the parties of 150 people are not happening.


I think my friend LeAnn is making it a career to find me crazy glasses because these came in the mail the other day.  Just in time.  I wore them to water aerobics and the flower show and to my meeting this morning.  I will pop them on from time to time, but crazy and fun as they are, the start giving me a peripheral vision headache after a while.  I know it’s from them because it goes away as soon as I take them off.


Er’s wishin’ yer the balarniest of St. Paddy’s Days!  Erin go braless, the wearin’ o’ the green, and all that.  As for me, I’ll be the one in the glasses, thanks to LeAnn!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“40 Shades of Green” on Display

40 shades of green & me

Friday, March 16, 2018

Today I am grateful for “40 Shades of Green” on display.  I did this painting long, long time ago, thirty-nine years ago, when Himself and I were in the dating phase of our bliss.  I painted it for him from the cover of a Tom Clancy (or some other Irish dude) record album.  Yes, a record album.  Talk about dinosaurs.


I had no idea what I was doing.  None.  This is painted right over the top of a woodsy print that I had on the wall in my living room at the time.  You know the kind.  We all had them back then.  I slopped white paint to cover the scene because I don’t think I knew what gesso was back then. I also didn’t take it out of the frame, which is obvious if you look closely enough at the edges because the masking tape slipped in spots.  If memory serves I didn’t even take it off the paneled wall because I didn’t own an easel back then and my kids were little, so there was no safer place.  I just went to town.


While I like the painting, now that I have a little bit more of a clue about painting, I can see the major flaws.  Hey, there are major flaws in all of my work, so there you have it.  I’m not a professional and don’t pretend to be.  There are major flaws in me, too, so we’re a good match.


But art is art is art.  And I love it, but mostly because Himself loves it so much.  I promised to share this when it was hung on the wall at the Peter Becker Community for their art show during their Flower show, so here it is.  It’s from my primitive phase and so is the broad standing next to it.  Don’t look too closely at either of our edges.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Good Sleep

a me sleeping at the keyboard.jpg

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today I am grateful for good sleep.  But it took my brain a while to hone down today’s topic.  Y’see I haven’t been sleeping very long these days.  I sleep pretty well, just not long enough.  I function well with 7-8 hours a night, but these days I’m lucky if I can manage 5-6.  It doesn’t sound like much of a difference but it is for me.  I have no trouble getting to sleep, I just can’t get back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night.


Before you start telling me to search the internet for the perfect Zen solution, don’t bother.  I’ve searched it all. . .in the middle of the night. . . because some suggest to just get up and accomplish something.  Great.  I can accomplish writing my blog or poking around my search engine for all manner of stuff to further freak me out and then that stuff can help keep me awake, too.  Swell.


Other sites say “STAY OFF ELECTRONICS” so I tried that, sitting in a chair watching the street light reflect its different colors in my patio door.  A billion times.  And someone says to keep your house cool at night.  If I make it any cooler, Himself will accuse me of making him sleep in the Tundra.  One said to not turn the TV on, but at 1:30 a.m. sometimes “Frasier” reruns do the trick.  So far I’ve avoided dropping big bucks on the cool “As-seen-on-TV” jimcracky, but it’s only a matter of time.


When I read a book during the day I nod off after about two chapters or ten minutes, whichever comes first, but if I pick one up in the middle of the night I’m up for the day. And yes, I’ve done the yoga/meditation/deep breathing exercises, even adding a little “ohhhmmmm” to keep my mind from ruminating over stuff for which I have no control.


I’ve tried channeling great lines from movies.  “Clear the mechanism” is a line a baseball pitcher used to clear out the crowd noises before he threw the ball.  That used to help.  But not lately.  Here’s me working that one, “Clear the mechanism, clear the mechanism. . .what mechanism?  How do I get it clear if I don’t know what it is?  Oh wait, it’s my brain.  Yeah, that’s it, my brain worrying about my country, my sick friends, my schedule, my menu for tomorrow. . .yeah, that’s the stuff I have to clear out of there.  That’s my mechanism.  Hmm, mechanism, what a cool word.  I like words that end with ‘ism’.  They ring nicely and can be held like a note at the end.  Mechanismmmmmmmmm. Clear is an okay word, too, but much more cryptic.  I wonder if they still make Clearsil?  I’m sure glad I haven’t had a zit in a while.” Oh boy.


Another line from a movie I’ve used when I’m frustrated about something is “Would it help?” Here’s how that one goes in my pre-dawn stupor.  “What is going on in the government?  How can we have come to this point of lying and name calling and dishonesty and rash decisions?  I’m so proud of those kids who are marching, but what kind of world will they have.  I’m worrying.  I need to sleep.  Would it help to worry?  Maybe I should. . .would it help?  No, I know it won’t, but. . .would it help?  Deep breaths, too.  Ah.  Would it help?  Another deep breath, feel your hands raise on your stomach with each breath.  Ohhhmmmm.  Would it help?  Will he be okay, will she be okay, will I be okay, I wonder if our taxes are done.  Oh man I forgot to get the oil changed in my car, but the bills are paid so that’s good and I need to call the skin doctor, too.  I’m spinning out of control. Would it help? No!  Oh crap! Now I might as well get up!” At 4:30 a.m..  So here I am!  At the keyboard.


While I am playing all of this out in what’s left of my brain, Himself is peacefully out like he was hit by a hammer.  But I didn’t hit him.  Honest.  I try not to resent him, but boy, when you are up wandering and the guy next to you doesn’t even know because he’s zonked like a kid after a full-day at Disney, that’s another frustration.


I’m blaming the time change.  Yeah, that’s it.  It’s the time change.  Damned time change.  What’s next, smoke detectors beeping?  We should put those new batteries we bought in them today.  Otherwise they’ll probably start beeping in the middle of the night when Himself can’t hear them and I’m counting the seconds between beeps.  Twenty eight, by the way.  I counted during my Autumn sleep-deprived-rodeo!  Oh boy, something new to think about.  I need to get some really good sleep. . .maybe when. . . I’m. . . tyyyyppppppppppingggggggggggg………………………….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank You

a inquirer thank you

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today I am grateful for the words, “Thank You.”  Does that sound like a double gratitude?  Perhaps.  But also a worth it one.


When you are the participant of a bridal shower or wedding gifts, it is expected you send thank-you notes.  Not many people enjoy do it, but I bet everyone likes to get them.  Thank-you’s don’t have to be grandiose or use flowery words.  They just have to be genuine, honest and real.


But not so real as to say, “Thank-you for not getting any of the 10,000 cookie-cutter items we had on our gift registry and instead giving us the sucky piece of art which will take up space on our closet shelf until you come to visit and then we’ll put it out for the duration and hide it again when you leave.”  Not quite that real.


When I was doing a lot of promotion work for theater projects I sent thank-you notes to anyone who gave us press coverage, wrote a review or supported us in any way.  Not emails.  Not texts.  Actual thank-you notes.  On cards made of paper and mailed. It set a standard for how I liked to treat people and reinforced that I deserved to be treated well, too.  And it worked.  I am still friends with some of the people I dealt with in those days.


Thank you notes are a lost art, sadly going the way of respect and integrity in many cases.  If individual people don’t want to bother with them for the people who care the most about them, why should businesses?  Most don’t.  And that’s a mistake.


We got a letter in the mail a few weeks ago from The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Newspaper that Himself can’t live without.  Before I even opened it I was full of attitude.  What now?  Another increase?  A pitch for us to order the rest of the publications under their umbrella?  I was so full of my own negativity that I almost recycled it without opening.


But I didn’t recycle it then.  I opened it.  And read it.  Not once.  Not twice, but three or four times. “I don’t believe this,” I said to Himself.  He asked if they were raising their rates and got huffy like I had been before reading it.  “Nope!  They are thanking us for reading their newspaper.”


He thought I had lost my mind so I read it to him.  Allowed.  He really LOVES it when we have these Mary-is-forcing-Himself-to-listen-while-she-reads-allowed-sessions.  But by the time I was done, even he was shocked.


Journalism has taken a hit to the heart like so many things we have counted on in America.  The Inquirer wants us to know that they make every effort to report the news in a factual, timely fashion.  That they do not pander to “fake news” and take pride in the integrity of their reporters and staff.  And they thanked us for still believing that what they do deserves recognition by subscribing.


I’m paraphrasing badly, but it was some letter.  A thank you letter.  To us, their subscribers.  Talk about real.  There is nothing “fake” about a genuine thank you.  And I might not be a big-shot publisher like The Inquirer, but I can certainly follow their lead and offer thanks.  So thank YOU. . .for reading my little stories.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Unforgettable Moments

a alina painting with me

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today I am grateful for unforgettable moments.  Because I’ve been actually “living” life instead of just writing about it, I’ve been a little out of touch.  That means the stories are backing up in my brain and ready to explode like the backfire of an old Buick.  It was hard to pick where to start.


But that’s a lie, too.  It wasn’t hard to pick at all.  What was hard was listening to what I wanted to write about even though I’m going to be a pain-in-the-ass grandma by my own choice.  I’ll catch you up on other things when this is out of my system.


My son brought his not-yet-two-year-old daughter over on Saturday for a nice long visit.  What a treat.  This is the kid who LOVES grandpa but has been a little hesitant about me from time to time, so I tread carefully and slowly.


I wasn’t home when they got here and when I walked in the door I heard her say, “Anja?”  her big sister.  “Nope, just grandma,” I said.  Her face drooped a little, then lit up anyway, even though I wasn’t who she expected.  She’s not a very cranky child anyway, but on Saturday she was in a very, very good mood.  Why not?  With toys and books carpeting the living room floor, she already had grandpa doing her bidding.


“Maybe today is the day I should take her in the basement for her to do her first painting,” I said.  My son agreed that the timing seemed right, so off we all went, into the dungeon of Himself, which is a virtual toy box of distractions for someone under two. . .and over 80!


We let her horse around with grandpa as he showed her marionettes, magic and dragons, while I set up an easel for her, got the paints ready and put on my smock.  Her dad peeled her shirt off and put her in an old, too-big top that was still here from when her sister was young, as her smock.  She crawled on the chair and waited.  Patiently. Her eyes were like saucers as I squirted yellow, blue, orange and green onto a disposable pallet from tubes of acrylic paint.


Handing her a big brush and keeping one for myself I showed her once how to dab the paint and put it on the canvass.  She did it.  Over and over.  Calling out a color or saying “more blue” as she created her masterpiece.  If I showed her a fast upward stroke, she did it.  If I dabbed, she did it.  She never fussed, cried, whined or squirmed around.


She was having a blast. . .and so were the rest of us. . .after the first painting, so I hauled out another canvass and she went at it some more, leaning her little head to the left, or right to get a different look, a new angle, then stroking the brush, thick with paint, like Van Gogh.


“Bumpa,” she called to Himself when after an hour of watching her, he had the nerve to go work on something in his area across the basement.  “Bumpa!”  He came running like a well- trained puppy, which is pretty much the same thing as a grandpa.  At least this grandpa.


It wasn’t until someone on Facebook mentioned that I must have a lot of patience that I realized it didn’t take any patience.  Why, I wondered?  Was it because she was a joy and absorbed the experience like a sponge in a full bucket?  Was it because her dad wasn’t concerned about her getting paint on herself, or even him when she turned fast wielding that brush?  Was it because I did not have any expectation of what her painting would be, but rather encouraged her to just paint?


Yes.  All of the above.  It was a Bermuda Triangle of perfection, with all elements in order like the stars of a constellation in the night sky.  There is no WRONG way because it was only HER way.  As adults so often we automatically edit, censor, critique ourselves every step of the way.  But if you let a child go. . .just go. . .they will show us what true joy is.  We could take a lesson from this. At least I sure could.


What fun.  I am grateful for one of the most unforgettable moments in my life.  There!  Now I can write about other things, but today it had to be this!  BING!  Heartprint!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


A lenny w pillows on floor

Turns out the pillows are not annoying. . .as long as they are on the floor!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lenny’s Going Home

Friday, March 09, 2018 – Lenny here!

Today I am grateful I’m going home.  I got in trouble yesterday.  Don’t go calling social services, no one hit me or even yelled, but when that old woman came home she said, “I see you’ve been a busy dog.”  There was something about the tone of her voice that upset me as you can tell by my face.  The devil made me do it!


Let me ask you a question.  When you have a big, puffy, comfy couch that is at exactly the right height for the rental dog (me)to crawl up on, why would you cover it with annoying pillows?  Not fluffy, poufy, cozy pillows, but flat, hard ones.  Why?  It makes no sense.  So I moved them.  You’re welcome.


Also, since both of the old folks decided to leave me alone in their house, why wouldn’t I haul his jacket off the chair and sleep on it?  Isn’t that why he left it there?  I tried the boots at first, but they are about as comfy as the aforementioned pillows.  So I needed that jacket.


I’ve been a really good boy and I confess I like to hear that a lot.  I have gotten almost enough hugs, but not quite.  There are never enough.  This morning the old man got up after her, so she let me out and fed me.  I sat by the bedroom door waiting and waiting and waiting and finally he got up, but didn’t open the door, so the old woman did.  But then she didn’t go in right away so I had to barrel through and help her.  She didn’t fall so get over it!  But boy, she can move fast if she’s pushed!


That old guy she calls Himself, scratched me and petted me and kept saying, “Get out of the way, moose!”  Who is moose?  Is there another animal here that I haven’t met?  Does he have just a head like that creepy pillow-dog?  Yikes.  I’m outta here.


I was nudging and poking and tripping that Himself guy while I was helping him go to the kitchen so he could give me a treat and he said, “You could be a new breed, Leonard.  A Loverhound!”   Loverhound?  Works for me.  Can’t wait to get home and straighten out those chickens.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment