They say it’s the first day of summer.


I say I’ll be back outside in October.




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Why Are We Still Having This Conversation?

Reasoned discussions have not worked.  Yelling and crying have not worked.  Mass murders have not worked.  Petitions and outrage and marches and rallies and protests have not worked.  What will it take for our elected members of Congress to stop pandering to the money of the National Rifle Association and do what is in the best interest of ALL citizens instead of their bank accounts?


You have been elected to represent the voice of the people.  You have not been elected to revel in generous perks, a bonanza of health benefits, and a lifetime pension, nor to manipulate laws to your personal benefit resulting in voting yourself raises and changing election districts to ensure your continued enrollment in this exclusive club.  Yours is supposed to be a position of service, of carrying out the wishes of the people you represent, and to ensure the freedom of all of America’s people.  All. Of. Them.  Not just the ones who look and think and sound like you, but the ones who are very different from you and with whom you may not agree but who you are obligated to represent just the same.  That’s the oath you took.


Do you know what an oath is?  It’s a promise.  The same kind of promise the members of our military take when they swear to defend the United States and all its enemies, even though you have decided they’re not entitled to benefits anywhere near as generous as yours.  The same kind of promise a new citizen swears, even though they can be arrested for looking out of place in certain of these United States while you can drunkenly drive, kill someone, and still be assured of your job, position, and perks.


You are lawmakers.  Make the laws fair and equal.  Allowing one particular group that has enough cash to see you firmly tethered to their side through eternity unfettered access to the law-making procedure is beyond unconscionable, it is disgusting and contemptuous.  STOP ALLOWING THE SALE OF WEAPONS THAT CAN KILL 45 UNARMED INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN 60 SECONDS.


Was that so hard?

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Breathe, and Breathe Again

It’s a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, about 2:00 EDT.  I actually sat down at my desk at 11:45 and fell down several rabbit holes of bill paying, checkbook wrangling, list making, and calendar updating, while simultaneously answering emails and phone calls.  And I’m not even a busy person!  I actually sat down to draw, but now I’m writing so instead I’ll show you the thing I drew last week:

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I have no idea what those lines are all around it, because they’re not on the photo I’m looking at!  Ah, well…..they say imperfection is its own kind of perfection.

And I’ve also completed the shawl that I’m just tickled with, and she’s here right now being America’s next top shawl:

It’s interesting to me how much weather plays a factor in my mood.  I like rainy days, I like the cool weather, I hate humidity (which I’m sure comes as a shock to you, gentle reader, as I’ve certainly never mentioned it before) and glaring sun, but give me a sunny day with the gentlest of breezes and I feel like SuperWoman.  I actually pulled some weeds and threw down some mulch!  Never mind that I’ll need a few hours to recuperate from that, it feels darn good.

I remember how much my mother enjoyed sitting outside, looking at her very small plot of garden and dreaming of what she could accomplish with more time and more energy.  She had some lovely roses that didn’t resemble any kind of prize-winner being as tall and spindly as they were, but the aroma was beyond heavenly and when she brought one into the house to sit in a tiny glass vase, she carried it like the precious treasure it was.  When she died I planted a rose bush, and I was devastated when it, too, died.  What has lived on, however, is a cutting from her philodendron plant (which she bought about 30 years ago) which is now four transplanted pots and three cuttings in water.  That’s kind of how I stay connected to her.  That, and watching old movies.

I think I hear a cup of tea calling my name…..


steve sentence

Steve is my spirit animal.



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Spring has sprung

The grass is riz

I wonder where the birdies is?

My dad used to say this whenever the word “spring” came up.  He was so clever, always something amusing to say, always a bon mot for the time.  I’ve been waiting for Spring to spring, as it were, and now it has sproinged intensively.

My family indulged me on Mother’s Day with one of my favorite things to do: take a drive somewhere pretty and stop at a pub-ish place to eat.  We saw these lovely blossoms on a tree right outside the place we chose in a very picturesque part of my Garden State.


2016-05-08 15.42.05

Which was right next to this little beauty of a shot.  I mean, really.  That was probably built just for gorgeous days like this one for people to grab a photo with their phones, right?  All those years ago somebody planned for pictures like this.  Even the sky cooperated.


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My local car wash will not be outdone by all the upscale places in town.  They’re going to embrace Spring, too, and plant some beautiful pansies.  I LOVE the color of these.  Every time I think about planting pansies I realize it’s too late because it will become instantly hot and humid and I missed that small window of time.


And that, my friends, is why I am best friends with perennials.  I don’t have to do a blessed thing and look what comes up all by itself every year without any prompting or coaxing from me, right outside my front door:

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Yellow iris, from my grandmother’s garden.  It started with three plants, and I’ve given away quite a few.  But these adorable little show-offs just clamber up every year saying “hi! hi! Look at me!  Look!  Aren’t I pretty?  hi!”


Spring is also the traditional time for teacher positions to be advertised in the paper in feverish numbers, and for once I am not looking at it.  I had, after all, decided that it was over and finished and there was no use beating that dead horse.  Until, out of the blue, the local community college came a-knocking and what do you know, I’ll be teaching in September in a whole new ball game.  (Yeah, me and metaphors, not so much.)  At the very least, I’ll have new things to write about.

So enjoy your Spring, eat some rhubarb, sniff some freshly-mown grass, and switch to your favorite warm-weather beverage.  But if you, like me, choose a gin and tonic, don’t have more than two.  Trust me on this.

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10 Random Things on Tuesday

  1.  One day after discussing with my neighbor that I don’t get seasonal allergies, that I’m susceptible to allergy attacks all year, I get a whopper of one.  I woke up sneezing at 5:45 a.m.  Who does that?  How does that even happen?  How do you go from being sound asleep in a delicious cycle and then suddenly “achoo!”-ing loud enough to scare the birds?  And what’s with the sneezing straight for 10 minutes?  I thought I was going to have a heart attack mid-sneeze.  Can that even happen?
  2. I’m so glad the New York primaries are today.  That means tomorrow there won’t be the stupid commercials.
  3. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like chicken.
  4. One of the reasons why I like my home so much is that I feel utterly at home.  That may seem like an obvious statement, but there have been places in my life that made me positively ITCH to get going somewhere else and feel settled.  This has now become that place, and I’m okay with spending time just enjoying my surroundings.  Of course, I do that by not looking too closely at the dog hair that wants sweeping up or the gentle layer of dust on the mantle.
  5. There’s an interesting state of affairs in the name of supporting local businesses.  There are neighborhood groups on Facebook (and some spelling program just capitalized that for me; why, I don’t know, since the actual masthead is lowercase.) and lots of requests for recommended plumbers, electricians, landscapers, nannies, places to eat, caterers, car sales, etc.  Helpful folks chime in with their favorites, and everyone gets a fuzzy glow from being good neighbors.  So tell me why NONE of them call you back?  “Hello, Neighborhood Business Owner?  Yes, I’d like to give you money.  Can you call me and tell me when you can perform your tasks so I may give you said money?  Thanks.  Here’s every number in the universe you’ll need to reach me.”  Radio silence for two weeks.  “Hello, Neighborhood Business Owner?  Yes, I called two weeks ago trying to give you some of my money.  In the meantime, my pet llama has disappeared down the pit that is my backyard waiting for someone to fill in the hole, preferably after extracting said llama.  Could you call me, please?  My numbers again are…”  Another week goes by.  Hopping onto Facebook I see the group praising the Neighborhood Business Owners again, and one small voice (not mine, yet) saying “they won’t return my calls.”  Angry friends and neighbors of said Neighborhood Business Owners rush to their defense, claiming they are “great people, coaching local softball, dynamite work, wouldn’t go anywhere else, why are you publicly disparaging him and attempting to ruin his business?”  It’s a conundrum.
  6. I just sneezed six times between paragraph five and six.  It’s a SIGN.
  7. I’m knitting a shawl that I want to use on vacation.  It’s Dream In Color Starry which means it has little silvery bits of shiny in it and I am completely amused, except the name of the color is “starless sky” which would indicate to me that it shouldn’t have the starry bits in it, am I right?  Or is it another conundrum and I have unwittingly stumbled across an actual theme in my life?
  8. I’ll soon be going to a convention with my Hubby which involves us going to a hotel.  We will be invited to a breakfast buffet at 8:30; he departs for a 9:15 meeting, and I go upstairs to change for an 11:00 brunch; after that, I change into casual clothes for afternoon shopping or walking about, leaving enough time to change clothes again for a formal banquet in the evening; after the formal part, folks change into casual clothes to roam the corridors and visit everyone else’s room for a drink as if we were back in college crashing dorm parties.  It is the silliest thing ever, but I like the people I get to see so I put up with it.  Plus two days with no home responsibilities so I won’t hear the dust calling my name.
  9. I saw my former students in a play at the local high school and while I had some anxiety ahead of time, it turned out to be a wonderfully therapeutic night.  All my kids were so happy to see me and I got many many hugs and enthusiastic “you were the best teacher ever!” and I may have cried.  Okay, I definitely cried.  My heart felt like the Grinch’s when it burst out of its cartoon x-ray frame.
  10. Sometimes when I want to blog I think about what would interest people, and then I chuckle to myself because what is interesting about a suburban middle-aged former music teacher who likes to knit?  Then I think about blogging my artwork and I chuckle again, mostly because I call it “art” when it’s really more like illustration, and people come to blogs for the reading.  I think my sarcasm bone must be getting brittle, because I haven’t been sarcastic in a while and you really can’t force sarcasm. I don’t talk about food that much because I don’t cook or bake that much lately (and really, you can get that content just about anywhere else) and I don’t eat out enough to be a picture-snapping foodie (again, find that just about anywhere on instagram).  Then I realize that this blog is for me and the outpourings of my mind, and just like my house, I feel at home here.  When I don’t write for a while, it’s just like a room in my house that I look forward to sitting in for a while and it’s where I feel comfortable just being me.  If you’re a reader of this blog, thanks for coming by.  I’d offer you some cookies but I’m afraid I’m pretty selfish about sharing them because cookies.  I will offer you tea, though, and if the conversation really gets going, the sarcasm may follow.  Or not.

I leave you with this thought-provoking idea from my spirit animal, the Dowager:



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Ooo, Look! Pictures! Words, Not So Much.

So this has been my visual overload for the month.  I often find early Spring a difficult time and I never know why, unless it really is sensory overload.

I enjoyed Easter although it is really crazy having it the week after St. Patrick’s Day; and let’s not even with the weather.


In other news, I’m drawing again.


So if you came here for some good sarcasm or a bracing cuppa, then I owe you a mea culpa. (Or would that be “mea cuppa?”  Eh?  EH?)  I just don’t seem to have it in me right now.


In the meantime….



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I’m Itchy

You know how it is: that brief feeling of a movement, a quiver of a heartbeat, an unexplained prickling on your scalp, a need to blink….. and a shrug.  I’m restless, but not really.  I want to go, but I’m comfy.  I want to create, but I’m stifled.  I want to write, but I can’t stop reading.  I want, I want, I want, but I don’t want because I’m satisfied.


I’m itchy.


It’s probably because I’m relegated to being a hanger-on these days.  I don’t have a schedule anymore, I don’t have meetings or appointments or deadlines or rehearsals or agendas, I just….. move through the days.  And while this may sound like some people’s worst nightmare (“How can you stay home all day?  I’d kill myself!”) it is pretty satisfying to me most of the time.  I absolutely love my house and I love looking out the window at all that nature out there (and today there was more fluffy white nature but tomorrow is going to be nearly sixty degrees and I think Mother Nature may have been nipping at the mead)  and knitting to my heart’s content.  I float around everyone else’s schedule so I know who will be home to eat the dinner I’ve cooked, who won’t be around so I can add the ingredients I want without encountering the scrunched-up nose, when we might go on vacation, when to look for a package that someone’s expecting, when to take Nellie for a walk…. I’m floating in and out of somebody else’s story, it seems.  And that makes me itchy.


But I don’t think I’m itchy enough yet.  I’m still knitting, and drawing, and reading, and bingeing on Netflix, getting my environment organized the way I like it, and pretty content.  There isn’t anything much I want to change right now, except…


I really want to find out where that itch is coming from.




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Just Going With the Flow

Life can churn steadily along, where you have all your ducks in a row and you get to work on time and get through your day successfully and look forward to your evening and maybe some tv while you relax, and perhaps make plans for the weekend that might even involve seeing people and it feels … comfortable.  Other times it may seem like somebody charged up the crazy machine and you rush about trying to extinguish fires here and there while wondering when you will ever have to time to go food shopping much less get your oil changed and if you bounce one more check you are resigning from life.


Then, there is the retreat.


That’s what I had this past weekend.  It’s my annual girls’ weekend away (which I’ve discussed here and here if you want to re-read it) and life just didn’t contain its usual slots of predictability.  Where should we have lunch?  Who cares?  Close by or far away?  Is your tummy rumbling right now?  Are you salivating?  Hey, that place looks good.  (This is called winging it.  It is best if you’re not the fussy type.)   Need to buy something specific?  Just looking?  Have we ever entered that store before?  Do we want to?  What the heck, it’s a whole four degrees outside and one of us can’t feel her nose anymore so let’s duck in.  Oh, my, is that an entire WALL of sweaters marked $9.99?  Why haven’t we ever come in here before?  What time is it?  Who cares?


Add to that some lovely time with lovely people, jokes and laughs and an unusual game that involves some drawing and realizing that people you really like are even funnier when you play a game and you learn things like some people believe bees have whiskers.  Or need their glasses checked.


It’s a terrific escape from the routine and schedule of life, and even though I thrive on routine most of the time, stepping out of the ordinary is a true jump-start to appreciation.  Bringing home the annual twenty pounds of Amish bacon helps, too.



How I feel when my little trip begins


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My View

2016-02-05 09.19.05

That’s a lot of powdered sugar

This is my perfect kind of morning.  Everybody else in the house has left for work, and I get to look at this beautiful view while I sip my tea at my desk.  I have tons of knitting, tons of tea, and streaming Netflix.  It is a perfectly satisfying way to spend my Friday.


I do remember, however, when I was in my early twenties and living in upstate New York.  It snows there.  A lot.  Like, several times a day.  And there are lots of hills there, too.  So it wasn’t as charming as this little scene outside my window, although I really did love snow.  But when you clean it off your car to drive to school, then clean it off again to drive to your part-time job, then clean it off again to drive to your OTHER part-time job, then clean it off again to go home and realize you get to do it all again tomorrow, then it gets a little less charming.  It was beautiful, however, and except for the time that my engine froze and I couldn’t get to work (and got yelled at for it, because apparently I should have walked seven miles in windy, 12-below weather) and I hadn’t laid in the requisite bread and milk (that was a scary time) I really didn’t mind it all that much.  Of course, that was before my knees betrayed me and decided to only work part-time now.


But now I’m in a different phase of my life.  So I get to look at this gentle view, sip my tea, and remember just how lucky I am.  Hopefully I’ll have the good sense to re-read this post when I inevitably get into one of my crabby moods and fantasize about running away for a while.  Hmmm…….

good day otter

That otter has sass.


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Space Invaders

The other day, as part of my new outlook on life which I refuse to call New Year’s resolutions because that’s got a stigma attached to it, I went to the Dollar Store.  No, that’s not the part that’s the new outlook.  The part that’s the new outlook is to make sure I leave the house every day that it’s not raining.  I had been on Pinterest and saw some cool stuff about organizing with the things you can find at your local dollar store and I was seized with inspiration.


Off I went, battling the 13 degrees (F) temperature and the frosted-over windshield and the air so sharp you can feel your cheeks being sliced open all to “get some fresh air.”  The shopping center is on the side of a hilly range that are affectionately known around here as “mountains” but are nowhere near the size of even a baby mountain.  But it’s up, and it’s cold, and when I opened the car door I felt the Winter Thief snatch the air right out of my lungs.  I briefly questioned my own sanity but I still had Pinterest images dancing in my head so off I went, gulping frozen air.


I must have picked the worst possible day to go, or else everybody else was looking at Pinterest and wanted to get all the cool stuff.  There were roughly 25 people in this tiny store and while it didn’t seem too crowded it certainly felt like I wasn’t in for a relaxing time.  So in addition to stalking the aisles, I did some people watching:

Shopping Patron #1: I named her Gigi GlamourPuss.  Dyed orange hair carefully teased up and out which looked like it had triumphed over the winter wind, black leggings, leopard boots with stiletto heels, big black false eyelashes, orange lipstick, four thousand bangle bracelets, and a Michael Kors bag in the shopping cart.  She tsked and tsked as she pushed her cart everywhere, which I think was her way of saying “Excuse me” because I kept hearing the tsk whenever she was next to me.  Which was often.  If I was looking at the office supplies carefully packaged to look like the same products you buy in Staples, she suddenly found a fascination with bubble envelopes and tsked as she reached out a manicured claw to touch them.  I don’t know what perfume she was wearing, but it made me wish I was back outside in the icy air.


Shopping Patron #2: Mommy Wondergal.  Super thin, very tall, just came from her workout or hot yoga or something equally as body-conscious with her expensive workout clothes, hi-tech footgear, hair tumbled up in a careless “I-don’t-care-how-I-look-but-I-know-I-look-cute” bun, the glow of good health and great energy vibrating off her in waves, and a somewhat impatient look as she wants to sift through ALL the plastic baskets in various shapes.  Unfortunately, there are Other People who want them, too, and she is unhappy that they are not moving as quickly or efficiently as she is through the stack.  She looks at her fitbit and starts shifting from foot to foot and arching her back as if to get in another workout while she has to wait 90 seconds for enough space to find just the right storage containers for the lego sets her children are determined to bring into the House Beautiful family room she designed.


Shopping Patron #3: Mrs. MeMe.  Dyed black hair, sensible grey wool coat, pleasant face that you’ve probably seen at every PTA meeting, church service, supermarket line, and Veteran’s Day Parade.  Nice enough, but apparently everybody else in the world is the audience in her personal sitcom and we are merely there at the store to be of service to her.  There you are, minding your own business, marveling at all the aluminum foil pan options at the Dollar Store and then wondering why you’ve been paying $2.79 at the supermarket when they’re just a dollar here and why can you never remember to come here first?  And then you realize that steady noise you heard which you thought was one of the floor stockers talking to his manager is actually Mrs. MeMe and she’s been asking you a question.  “Do you think this package of Hamburger Helper is really good?  How good can it be if it only costs a dollar?  Maybe this is a knock-off kind and that’s why it’s so cheap.  Do you think Betty Crocker knows about this?  I mean, how else do they make their money?  But a dollar is a really good price, don’t you think?”  And before you can swallow and say “I’m sorry, are you talking to me?” she’s onto another product, holding up a can of soup and squinting at the ingredients but she’s not talking to you anymore because Mommy Wondergal is bearing down on her and she’s holding the can in front of her asking if it looks “authentic.”


Shopping Patron #4: Ms. IAin’tGotTimeForThis.  She is a woman who is as urban and trendy as possible as she talks to somebody on the line trailing out of her ear.  At least I think there’s somebody on the line, but they must only be listening because Ms. IAGTFT has not stopped for one little minute.  No, not even to breathe.  She is cruising the aisles discussing someplace she has to be on the fourteenth and she doesn’t even want to be there because she isn’t even sure she likes these people and why did they make it on the fourteenth and she guesses she better check her book because it sounds familiar but then she’s not even sure if it’s this month or next month but that’s okay because when she gets home after she hits the other store that might have what she’s looking for because she’s certainly not finding it here she’s going to check with those two other people who said they might not go either and then they might all go up and see Aunt Rho.  I’ve read Shakespeare that’s less confusing than this.


Shopping Patron #5: OuttaMyWay Tess.  Down vest, hiking boots, navy blue scarf, white turtleneck, steel-grey hair cropped close, no makeup (I mean, like ever: this skin looks like a baby’s bottom) and no time for nonsense.  Marches right in, no meandering, picks up three boxes of garbage bags, strides purposefully back to the register, and seems momentarily taken aback when there’s an elderly couple ahead of her on line who are chatting pleasantly with the cashier.  Chatting?  This is a store, business transactions take place here, there’s no time for pleasantries!  There’s things to do!  I have to hike a mountain!  And not these little hills that people persist in calling mountains, real ones like Mt. Hood which if you don’t stop chatting and get moving I’m going to miss my plane.  So what if it’s tomorrow.  Move, people, move!!!


Then there was me.  I paid for my $1 wastepaper basket and went home to unpin all those great ideas.  My dollar store must not be as good as the rest of the world’s dollar stores unless we just specialize in aluminum foil pans.



Same number of syllables as The Dollar Store.  Not a coincidence, I’m sure.


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