Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Day After . . .

. . . and two days before. Today falls between two anniversaries, both of which I want to commemorate.

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of this blog. Last year I waxed philosophic: this year I don’t feel much different about my blogging efforts, and though I would like to add a few paragraphs, I can’t manage it tonight. Let’s deal with it later and turn to a delightful anniversary, Kate’s fortieth birthday. We celebrated it for the first time last Saturday. Ron organized a terrific party at their park and lots of family members were there, together with Kate’s book club and fellow workers. All this after they had been so helpful last week with the four little boys I had staying here. Even at my most energetic, I don’t think I would have thrown a big party the day after spending the night in a tent with that bunch!

I remember well the day that Kate was born. There was some question as to whether Ernie could get his summer school grades in before getting me to the hospital. It was close.

Happy Birthday, Kate and thanks for everything.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Another paucity of posts, this time caused by an influx of guests. Most of them were expected, but there was one set of surprise visitors. Every woman’s magazine has tips on how to tidy your house in fifteen minutes, and I was prepared. I had tucked away a packet of “Furniture Polish Wipes”, which I unzipped and flourished with gay abandon. At one point my curiosity got the better of me and I read the “instructions”.

  • When wipe is soiled, throw in trash. OK.
  • Do not use on untreated unfinished wood. Makes sense.
  • Do not use on floors as they may become slippery. I found that out the hard way.
  • Not for personal hygiene.
Heavens to Betsey.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What a Dumb Question

In the past week I have visited the offices of a dentist, a dental surgeon, a neurologist, a family practice doctor and a facility for Bio-Magnetic Resonance. Without exception the nurse who ushered me into the inner sanctum asked me “How are you today?” I understand the importance of getting a visit off to a good start, but just once I would love to hear someone yell, “Lady, if I was feeling OK, I wouldn’t have come here in the first place.” My suggestion would be a friendly, “Let’s see what we can do to help you today.” What would you suggest?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait …

I bought a T-shirt at *macy*s recently. It was a brown T–shirt. I had bought one in a different color a few weeks previously, so I didn’t need to try it on. I simply removed it from the display, looked around for the nearest customer service station (guest assistance administration area?) and presented my T-shirt to the woman standing there. Then I ran my credit card through the machine, punched the buttons as prompted and signed my name. She put the T-shirt in a bag, removed the receipt from the machine and wrote her name and badge number on it. “Please go online,” she said, “and comment on the quality of my assistance.”

I’d send you to the URL if I still had the receipt, but I didn’t keep it. I bet you can guess why.

Friday, July 18, 2008

There’s Many a Slip . . .

It is difficult for a woman of a certain age—and a certain girth—to dress comfortably and appropriately in the heat of a Michigan summer. Long sleeves thwart the mosquitoes, but you just can’t wear long sleeves when the temperature is 95°. And if you go sleeveless, you risk the whispered, “Who does she think she is? Michelle Obama?” Shorts? Just possibly. In the back garden. When the neighbors are away. Why are summer weight pants often in dark colors? They look hot, even if they are not. And who was the genius who decided to market “cropped” pants? I’ve seen a few shapely women who look cute in these garments, but the rest of us look stumpy. For many years I made myself cool, swingy sundress-type garments, but my ever expanding hips now require enough fabric to house a tribe of nomadic Bedouin. Besides, those summer fabrics with enchanting names like lawn, batiste, and muslin (Jane Austen and sprigged muslin are forever linked in my mind) tend to require the services of a bunch of downstairs maids armed with starch and goffering irons.

In the last couple of years salvation has arrived in the guise of cotton skirts, often without a waistband, often comparatively wash and wear. I have now bought three such skirts and I love them. They were inexpensive, but quite well made. All of them are lined with matching cotton fabric. “Why”, my daughters ask, “do you wear a slip if the skirt is already lined?”

It’s hard to explain, but I learned growing up that nice girls always wear petticoats.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Unannounced Hiatus

I’ve been away for a while and now July is more than half gone. I always try to mark family birthdays, and I missed Al and Gody, both of whom have birthdays in early July. I took this photo in Virginia a few weeks ago. We hope to see them and those four delightful boys here soon.

So, what happened in the last few weeks? There were several sets of visitors, a number of storms, including one which dumped over two inches of rain in forty minutes, flooding our basement. Fortunately it was clean water and not too much was damaged. Lucy lost some stuff in her drawing portfolio and our large twelve by eighteen rug was soaked. It would have been churlish to complain after talking to some of Ernie’s family who live in Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids. British readers may not have seen these pictures which appeared in The Boston Globe.

I’ve renewed the acquaintance of a number of people who had slipped out of our lives, fed and watered a cat, a hermit crab and several fish for vacationing family and received a tentative diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia.

Back to blogging tomorrow.