Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Effing Microwave

First, notice I did not add the word oven.  That is because I didn't say it.  Besides, ovens are good things.  Thank God that even in my rage I did not disparage a good thing.

That damn thing.  This rage must be bled off.  I am throwing flames at the mere mention of it, and it still hasn't been carted out to the dumpster, so it ain't over yet.  But in the interest of bleeding this off for the New Year, this has to be written.  Plus, I am doing a service to the visually challenged everywhere.

Now, there is a warranty phone number that I called two weeks ago, and I went thru the trouble shooting before, and on line, and there still is hope that my sister will get her money back.  But, ONLY IF SHE OBEYS ME.  And yes, WALMART is involved.

First things first.  Get your visually challenged and elderly the kind of microwaves with the dials if they ask.  Do not assume you know anything about the challenged ones needs or ways.  And, those specialty buttons, well they are nice if you already know how to use them. I guess, and if you have children or distracted people who eat popcorn.  BUT we visually challenged need the dials.

Don't assume we don't know what to do with a microwave.  I have the original book written on the microwave by the first researcher.  I don't have fears about microwaves or heart pace maker.  But, I know not to discuss the microwave with people who have issues.  JUST DROP IT.

I am hoping to be able to DROP IT soon, but right now I am revving up in true Tantric Style.  (Just like I did with all those cheap phones that came out 30 years ago when people abandoned the old A T & T phones.  On those, I went to the top of the sand dune and wound it up  on its coiled cord and my neighbors sighted me and went out and did the same thing.  It was glorious.  You circle them overhead and then you whack them against a hard object and fall in the sand.  DO NOT TAKE DOWN THE SAND FENCE!  Frequently, these types of events are followed by gentle care-taking of environmental features and everyone chips in if they have been a part of it.  Those coiled cords were good for emergency leashes and toys for dogs, too!)

That damn microwave.  Now, there is nothing wrong with a microwave, but my poor grandmother was made to feel stupid for about a second when she blew three in a row.  Then grandfather read the instructions and one found a permanent home in the kitchen 'for others to use.'  I am sure there were many of these 'happenings.'  I just tried to melt one of those foil-wrapped butter pats in the office microwave, and it kept staying frozen.  And at Thanksgiving Aunt Myrtle had one propped up, and it had been praised by her husband as fast, so he went off hunting, and we put the green beans in a deep stainless steel bowl and kept checking.  We had mucho to do.  We thought we were saving space for another burner on the stove, people were coming and going, and with each new entry of adult female we were deciding who could mimic a newborn baby's cry the best.  Of course, it was Aunt Myrtle.  Thank god the great granddaddy couldn't hear well and was on the stoop snagging grandchildren who wanted to look at his bespoke Cadillac.

BACK TO THE EFFING ONE:  I didn't want it.  I had a small one with the dials.  I told her I had been thru it while taking care of my dying friend and he was cranky and I was cranky and apologizing.  I couldn't read them, couldn't see the lights.  And they were a PTSD issue for me.

Imagine when I got to my new digs and there was the EFFING ONE taking up the whole counter.  I deflated, felt truly hopeless.  It was just like the wasted time at the local hospital when the emergency room didn't listen, and the x-ray blanket was thrown across my chest, just where I had told the resident I was hurt.  The technician said she would check with the person, and yet she came back and proceeded and everything to do with that hospital became hopeless.  And many others have verified it since.  Always saying "Don't quote me on this as I will deny it!"  My first time hearing that expression, but it kept coming back at me from individuals who are not allowed to speak ill of their institution without a suit being filed.  Anyway, total loss of hope is real and it is a killer and roams the hallways of a certain hospital, and can happen other places, especially with those trying to be helpful, even, like my sister.

I used the foam tray that held the glass insert as a tray and it is still around somewhere.  My nephew took the box away and put it in the dumpster after a week, and this was as the result of a family pow-wow, because I still had access to the old apartment, although I was growing weak, and still they didn't trust me.  Further, even my hale and helpful nephew told his daughter that I didn't appreciate anything.  This statement by him to my 4 year old niece was and is the main thing I told my sister that would rebound on me forever and it will.  So, remember as we wind down here, that the Effing one, and the cabinet which was painted instead of just being cleaned, were responsible for me having lost all contact with anyone I even had hope of enjoying in my years of dotage.

So, it is the Christmas Season and many issues come up and my sister works, and many other really serious things happen to those around her, and she is four hours away, and has no time to to get Wal-mart to print out the receipt, even though she has found the transaction on her charge card, and the sixty-day warrantee is up in one day. "Oh," she says, "I know the Wal-Mart regional manager."  "Oh, I tell her, so you want to get some poor functionary fired here and there.  This can not be handled without the paper work and the appliance, and they won't print it out at her Wal-Mart, and they will call out the SWAT team on me at mine at this point.  So, I tell her, LET'S FLUSH THIS WHOLE SORDID THING.

Well, there still is the fact that the man at the warranty number wrote down and gave a case number to this issue.  It is the weekend, and Monday is New Year's Even, and my sister has a wedding Saturday, and who knows what's on for New Year's, and then she is coming up here ....Jeese...If only I had that receipt copy so then 'the warranty process could proceed."  I understand why they don't even go beyond that on the phone and keep on repeating the phrase, because it is absolutely necessary to have that stuff for the functionary on the phone to fill-in the blanks on the form.  And, granted, most people don't have these exigent circumstances, so we can't say it is a total plot, but it is an issue when one is trying to help the handicapped, and you live in another city.

So, the issue is, at this point, AM I GOING TO RESTRAIN MYSELF and not mention it until after New Years?  Will a receipt and a case number be of any avail at the phone warranty number for that brand?  I am a warrior.  Many have told me such.  Am I going to give up on my nature?  My professor 30 years ago said I was a warrior, a Kasitrya, a miss-spelled word from the Mahabarrata, an Indian Masterpiece and Cultural Reference on all things involving action and inaction.  Also, a Buddist Monk in D.C. said the same thing to me, when I said after a demonstration meditation when I had forgotten everything and had asked what did it mean when during the whole meditation I was in a handball court and hitting balls coming off the walls.  He said I was a warrior.  I think I must be.  I think I can not fight my nature.  I think this adventure will continue but with a small addendum.  We will see.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

La Vie en Rose

Here is the background music:

I left the house the last two days after watching the video of Edith Piaf singing this, and felt the music held me together, somehow.
Today I found the above link with the lyrics.  Well, just a few minutes ago, actually.  And I think about practicing the song, learning the French, and absorbing a way to carry myself amidst all the the local stuff, my situation, and now that I have begun to break down, become a loose cannon in heavy seas, and need to start singing a theme song.
I never heard daddy sing this.  Maybe my voice can do it, or at least an internal hum.
Oh, and here is the video where you see Edith actually sing it.

I will publish this for those who need a thread to follow and hang onto for a few minutes.  Swing thru the yardarms, catch daddy's little finger.  and he would toss you up in the air and have one child on his shoulders, and a third in the crook of his left arm.  Three ages, three locations, all juggled thru heavy seas.

I'm back, trying to figure out where I have been these last two months.  Must move backwards.  No other way. I went to Agricultural Extention Center today, which would have been, Thursday, perennials, and indeed it was.  But, they start at 9 a.m., and I had no intention of joining up with Master Gardeners, but, I walked thru the trees and shrubs that were Marcia's domain.  And how amazing.  So much accomplished, especially last year, her choice what to order and to place.  And I didn't get to see her motor her electric wheel chair thru this year, as I searched to be with the buds of the fruits.  No, I was otherwise occupied.  But, the trees and the tree cover, totally open for occupation, all picked up, and I see what is a year old, what is two years old.  What we put the signs on last year, following her map, and this year all is perfection, needing nothing but walking, and seeing, the only tribute she would want.  I found out about her sudden death yesterday, Wednesday, annuals.  La Vie En Rose.  I was priviledged
the two times we went out together last year.  I was so joyous.  A Girl of the Limberlost.  A dream come true.  Thank you Marcia Anne Stefani.  The music is great.  The canopy is fine, the shelter is all it should be.  Thank you.  Thank you, Marcia.  And there was a cool breeze, too.  And I saw the special plant up front.  I will write the name down, next time.  I will practice with my special pencil.  Thank you, Marcia. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Coup de grâce

Until I looked it up on wikipedia, I thought the spelling was coup de 'grasse.', not 'grace'  I see that it is a kind kill.  Just as Hemingway gave to himself.  My grandfather gave kind kill, I suppose, on the beaches in the Pacific war.  To look into his eyes, and hear the Our Father, is a kind death, along with the tubes of morphine.    A hypnotic angel.  While those who had a chance, were given something to bite on, and pain relief, enough to only moan, so one could be located,  I suppose.  He prayed to St. Joseph, for a kind and happy death.  He had one.  I took his hand from the man with the crash cart, and held it, and let the regulations be damned.  My grandfather's body glowed like a candle.  Amazing to see.

My grandmother was in a room near the nurses station.  As I left the room, the 'relatives' told me not to get her, my grandmother.  I kept walking.  The famous nun of the hospital was with her.  I looked at grandmother and told her.  'But,' she said, 'they said he was getting better."  "I know, I heard them say it to you, grandmother."
She rose and we made our way to the end of the hall, to grandfather's room, across from the elevators.

Grandmother pulled up a chair and talked to her husband in words and ways that no one in that room ever heard or even knew existed.  "Joe, I didn't know.  They didn't tell me...." And a conversation on such a level of regret and love and experience.   She called her only living blood relative, her niece, and said, "He's gone.  Joe is gone.". and talked on an even keel, not what anyone in the room expected either.

Then the 'saints' said  they were taking his body away, etc.  And I understand, from my youngest sister,  I turned my eyes to the Uncle that echoed 'officialdom' and said.  "Tell them to back down."...He babbled on, and I repeated my statement and the nun and priest and the doctor retreated.

Other relatives were called, and made it to see the 'glowing', and there was whispering.  My baby sister took my measure that day, she told me a few months ago.  I told her not to be so sure.  I get beaten up often, curling up in shame. most often for being physically unable to complete a task.  Then I told her how 'fools rush in where angels fear to tread.'  To not waste her life on 'the English', to measure her resources, not 'cast pearls before swine.'

I will carry on later, maybe.

Four days later, the 12th.  I find, 1.1mm lead for old pencil.  Hours later I find staples, and a light blinks, a small magnifying class with a light.  Voila.  And then.....the ColorArt set.  Prang Brush Makers, Charcoal Pencils, Drawing Pencils, Colored pencils, sharpeners, and gum and soft eraser.  Voila!.  Only $3 at thrift store because one brush marker missing.  I will put the small loose stuff in tackle box acquired last month, double sided,Plano Magnum, on the day I got the miraculous fortune in real cookie (Am I the only one who eats fortune cookies") It said: "Some pursue happiness; You create it."  That was the day my friend died.  And the gardener appeared, Jennifer.
Well, I haven't been exactly creating happiness, except for the Little Hellion.  She comes tomorrow, maybe.  At Easter dinner, as I drove off, I called out "See you Friday."  That's tomorrow.  And I need to enter it into the phone.  Dare I ask for a gallon of gas?  Best not to speak.

Oh, and then there is the new 'presence', wearing a hat, my Everlast 'speed ball' in pigskin, on spring with suction cup.  Exactly like a human head, and like a Fig.  Perfection, itself, Leonardo, Albrecht, Franz, Leger. You are all so sweet.

Oh, on Easter, my niece's boyfriend, was playing with Nerf blades, and shields and the two French girls under six were en guard.  I picked up the dagger and gave him the 'coup de grass'  Funny, that the other day, and I can't remember where, someone said, "Ugh.  And the French with their guillotine!"  I stopped the conversation by interjecting, "That is a kind kill.  And everyone under it knew it."  But, I still thought coup de grass meant head on the ground.  Chuckle.   And, Hemingway, he too looks at me, from the Vinca, with the same speed ball on a stand, on his porch.  I should have such a stand.  The first toy I remember was a punching bag, a weighted thing, my height at three and four, that kept getting knocked about by me, my dog, the chiffarobe door, and always came back for more.  Maybe that is why I used to not startle!  Good training for French girls and for Native Americans.  And that Hellion needs some moccasins.  I have orange socks for her.  She hates the shoes.  I always say, each toe is a brain. because it is true.  And truth is beauty.  Beauty is truth.  Oh, and here is a link never to forget a wonderful blog, a new artist who will grab my wrist and swing me to the back of the saddle, Fernand Leger at  I must depart to check him out on YouTube now.  And you should be grateful I have left the details of these last four days out.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I remember well my fourth grade reader from the Catholic Diocese of Baltimore.  So much colonial stuff, and it was my entry into the literary and the sense of touch and feel evoked,  and the waiting for the unloading of necessities and fripperies to the homesteads on the James River, or any other inhabited river in Colonial Times.  Dimity.  Dimity.  Such a pretty word.  And the young colonial girl was waiting for, and anxious to unpack what was on order for her family.  She was most excited about 'dimity' and ribbons.

When I started this blog, there was an incident or a sighting of the word, and the 'rising up a balloon' feeling of an evoked memory.  Dimity.  Dimity.  And, I had just happened into some ribbon, Vichy Plaid, that I had written a separate blog about .That ribbon seemed to attract me like a point on a compass. And where do I arrive at, but at a fantastic site, Thistle Hill Weavers.  I could follow it all day, but the time is not there today.

Also, I always wanted to work in fabric technology, as a chemist of the christal and organic type.  My life did not work out to that result.  But, I did stop in at Edenton, North Carolina, one day in the early 1970's, and driving around found some single story brick long building, much like brick railroad cars, as I walked around and stretched my legs.  I found an open machine entry area, and called out.  My voice echoed in the silence, but a person eventually appeared.  It was a real, operating cotton mill, taking cotton from the bales to threads.  I couldn't believe it.  He offered me a quick tour and I saw where the bales came in, and actually saw some of it being spun and wound to large cones of thread.  They would be shipped out to a dying facility.  When I left, I headed towards the main street, and a little museum, and my leonine hair was coated with whisps of cotton, as if I had gone prematurely grey, a frosting, if you will.

I loved stopping in at Edenton over the next couple university years, to eat at little place right off the highway.  When hurricane Isabel came thru back about ten years or so ago, Edenton had lost 80 percent of its trees in the little town.  But, I am sure those that were worth it were preserved, and pruning and seeing light thru windows that had formerly been shady had required that steps be taken to protect fabric and rugs.

Anyway, here is the definition of dimity, followed by the Thistle Hill Weavers site, the deserves being explored in every nook and cranny.  

dimity,  (from Greek dimitos, “of double thread”), lightweight, sheer cotton fabric with two or more warp threads thrown into relief, forming fine cords. Originally dimity was made of silk or wool, but since the 18th century it has been woven almost exclusively of cotton.
The name was applied to two types of corded cottons: a heavy material used for bedcovers, drapery, and the like, and a lightweight, almost sheer fabric either corded or made in check effects. Dimity now refers primarily to the latter. (Encyclopedia Britanica on line)
DIMITY SITE:   Thistle Hill Weavers:    CLICK HERE:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Thread...perhaps a rope, On Good Friday, too!

All will come clear in the reading of this work on line  Click here:
 The book is Balloons, by Princess Bibesco,
Here is the first page of the chapter :HAVEN

"You should only," we are told, "wear white in early youth and old age.
It is very becoming with a fresh complexion or white hair. When you no
longer feel as young as you were, other colours are more flattering.
Also, you should avoid bright lights and worry."

Here, the beauty specialist reminds you of the specialist who says in
winter, "Avoid wet feet and germs." In spite of both, we are still
subjected to sunshine and anxiety and rain and microbes.

But there are risks which the would-be young can and should avoid.
Surely Miss Wilcox ought to have known better than to flop down on the
grass with an effort and a bump, clasping (with some difficulty) her
knees because Vera, who is sixteen, slim and lithe, with the gawky grace
of a young colt, had made such an obvious success of the operation!

It is better not to sit on the grass after thirty when sprawling at all
is difficult, let alone sprawling gracefully.

Poor Miss Wilcox! At seventeen she had been a pretty, bouncing girl with
bright blue eyes, bright pink cheeks and brighter yellow hair. All the
young men of the neighbourhood had kissed her in conservatories or
bushes and to each in turn, she had answered, "Well, I never!"

Then an era of intellectual indifference to the world set in. She read
Milton in a garret and ate very little. When addressed, she gave the
impression of being suddenly dragged down from some sublime pinnacle of
thought. This was the period of absent-mindedness, of untidiness, of
unpunctuality, for she was convinced that these three ingredients
compose the spiritual life. But it was not a success. True, her cheeks
lost their roses, but without attaining an interesting transparent
whiteness and her figure became angular, rather than thin. Cold food,
ugly clothes and enforced isolation began to lose their charms and Miss
Wilcox abandoned the intellectual life.

First Page — Previous Page —  
— Next Page — My Bookmarks — Download Book
CLARENCE DAY at wikipedia is HERE
And, I got here thanks to this wonderful letter HERE
Enough for now.  I must read...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Strange Mourning

My friend and neighbor died the tenth of this month.  I can't believe it has been two weeks.  Maybe it hasn't, I've lost touch with a lot of things.

This past Wednesday, I watched a show we watched together for the last two or three years, Survivor.  And then I watched the other shows that came on afterwards, or rather they were on in the background.

The day he died, a girl was visiting new next door neighbor, and she was 'home alone' and came out, and we started working in the garden.  Turns out she has taken landscaping, not so much horticultural, as drainage, water landscaping, out in California.  So we went back and forth moving things in the small 6 x 4 ft plot.  There were miniature roses left behind in small hanging containers by a family temporarily here, and used to make them feel at home before he either deployed, or was injured.  Of the ten, four lived, and found homes (roses, I am speaking of).  Actually  I now have to separate the roses more or else pull the yarrow elsewhere. Roses need air flow and to not be crowded.

She did a lovely job, and we rambled from topic to topic.  I don't think she necessarily would have shared some of the things she did if she hadn't felt like I would hear.  Thank god she wasn't so overly sensitive that she allowed me to clarify.  It was a day long affair of gardening, eating, smoking, etc.  And, she was perfect for a couple of hats I had that she loved.  She loved the Vagabond one, and I knew no one whose hair color was more perfect, or had that gamin look.  Oh, and she loves cornflower blue, so off went that shawl, a coffee cup, and something else.  I love it, too, but when you have too much of what you love, it is great finding another home.

There is a lot more I could say about the day, and what I heard, and I know it was as 'bad as it gets' for her.  My friend that died had just such an extensive trauma, different, but defining to the personality, and yet with such ways of caring and grace that I know he brought with him from his hometown in western Pennsylvania.  His suffering is over as they say.  There is more I could say about the hospice worker who arrived in the morning, and what happened, and I will say I was awaken by pounding on the door to arrive with a trio of people who had all arrived, and me with no coffee, and two hours sleep,  and it was a 'blow your mind' experience.  I backed right out of there.

But I have been coming and going on limited gas, controlling myself tightly, a list and an itinerary, a reason to be away.  But today I realized how much stress there had been having him see me come and go and knowing he could not go anywhere.  I checked constantly, and made what I could.  We had spent the last two Thanksgivings and Christmases together.  They came out surprisingly well, but that whole experience needs its own blog.

So, less guilty about coming and going, and it wasn't him that put that on me.  I just know I am free.  And because the weather was good, I am grateful for getting the garden set up, as I can't do it after April 1.  Too hot for me and my multiple schlerosis.  I will enjoy the moonflowers this year, to some extent, although my sense of smell hasn't totally come back.  The Amarylis are popping up, and the pansy's have been moved to shade.

I borrowed a neighbors lopper and trimmed out those things that come over the sidewalk and could pierce either me, the little Hellion, or anyone else.  I have to clean up the branches tomorrow.  My neighbors love to see me work, leave the stuff in a pile, and talk about me until it is all cleaned up.  They are turncoats all the way, but soon I will try to join up with the MS group, have other people to talk to, and I will just come and go and nod to the 'noodniks,' as my father would have said.  I need to look up that word now that the computer is back on.

And, a beautiful piece of music to listen to, An Accordion and Duduk on YouTube.  Here is link.  I don't know how to embed.  They are having a fine time making beautiful music. Click Here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Little Ribbon called Vichy Plaid

First things first.  Out today to check my balance in acct.  Enough for 4 gallons of gas and a pack of cigs.  (yes, I know you are disappointed in this news!.  I have cut down to 2 per cent of what I used to smoke.  Progress. Tending to the dying puts one into a 'smoke them if you've got 'em' situation.  Then you pretty yourself up and carry-on.  I take this advice from a book I cherish,  and I don't have it at hand, but it was approximately How to Abandon Ship, by The Merchant Seaman's Assoc. published sometime in the early '40's due to the loss of so many merchant ships off the Virginia and Carolina coasts and elsewhere, during WWII, Atlantic Branch of the World's Big River.  The book has been a guide in my life and I cherished it until I swapped it for a high quality 'blouse' of the expeditionary type that 'breathed' and blocked sun and insects.  I think you can read it on line at some historical site.)

Boy, that was a long parenthetical aside, and I am going to carry-on and maybe correct the spelling later.(I did, and guess what word.)  Oh, forget it.  Tomorrow is another day!.  Anyway, I stopped in, 'up to no good' at a fabric shop to check out the rushing ribbon for the 'little' Hellion.  I perused the ribbons and found lots of options, and settled on the best 'over the moon' option.  Then in my pirouetting to keep my balance, on point, I had rotated to a stop and what did I see before me - a ribbon that looked like 'family.'  I didn't cry out, but I probably did utter something like 'Oh!' and bought one yard.

At home I found a little printed sticker on the ribbon (detail printed out by fancy new computer cash register!) The detail was "ruban vichy plaid ribbon".  And I put that in the computer, and, Voila!, was I surprised.  Click Here:

Are you back?  Surprising, huh?  Well, we did not sleep with the enemy, I can assure you.  I kept looking for the actual plaid, and then I found this, and I was stunned at the connection, because we could never handle any elastic near our skin, and all roughness was covered up, with ribbon.   I was just speaking of it to someone the other day. How we 'would have none of that' irritation, and now it seems I come by it in the blood!  Well, actually, if never a rough texture touches you, and each 'redness, or discomfort' must be addressed 'at once', you get this:  Click here:

I am going hunting for my ribbon, because I would love to use it in my blog, and I enjoy fingering it.  I'll be right back, maybe.....(8:40 - ...Still haven't found it but I feel like I am flying thru time and space.  The 'little' Hellion, when I tied a bow to turn a petite ladies batiste top into a 'ballerina's outfit', said something to me about Minnie Mouse, and Bows.  ...Oh, ...I am just going to make a call and find out.  (Tick tock.  Tick tock.   While we are waiting I found this,

I found it and tabbed and tabbed, so if it is going to be anywhere, it is here somewhere.

Well, it is definitely 'Claret" and the quote just came in from 'little' Hellion's mama: "There is no business like Bow Business"  Miss Minnie Mouse.  -  Too much.  I wonder if there is a video on you tube.  Wait a sec....No, Minnie must have just been quoting Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, click here...

 I need a rest.  Went to get something from the car, and there is a Walt Disney sky out there with the two planets Venus and Jupiter out doing their amazing dance.  Hasn't been visible for four days.  Now I am going to fall asleep and not spend any time looking up with my eyes open.   Oh, well, later.  Oh, before I forget, check this out:  Tab down to "The Red Swallow"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wooden Clogs, Turkish Tea, & a Movie

Two days ago I drove to a thrift store  that had a pair of Dutch yellow wooden clogs.  They were still there and $5 less.  A week earlier I had tried to try them on. But, alas, they were a child's size.  The larger adult size, a natural wood, were way too big.
Earlier in the week I had remembered how we always celebrated multiple 'little Christmases', as children. Our father frequently got back from six months at sea the week before Christmas. With all the debriefing, (I am guessing here.) it wasn't until Christmas Eve that we were able to spend time with him.  Always there was a toddler that had no memory of him, and he spent a lot of time with the baby, and we watched. I now realize that destroyers and the submarines they hunted probably went home for Christmas as it was too cold in the Arctic for the  Russian subs to rise and recharge their batteries. So they would head to their home port, Dad would wish them well, and then head home to Norfolk.

So, Dad, being from a poor family, would have known of all the "little" Christmases around the world that would be celebrated after the American Christmas. Therefore, his father probably gave him little Christmases from every nation that he knew of.  In Chicago, there were Christmases of all nations to observe.  So, Daddy insisted we put our shoes by the front door for Dutch Christmas.  We would find a little something in them the next morning, usually some Dutch Chocolate, and a little jewelry pin he had picked up in some port during the deployment.

Maybe it was seeing the yellow clogs that made me understand all the little Christmases we had.  So, later in the week I thought how excited the Little Hellion, my 4 yr old niece whom I babysit on Fridays,   would be to find the Little Rat in a Yellow "Boat', and my little Columbo Monkey in the other 'yellow boat.'  Her father canoes, so she will think they are wooden canoes .She has been on 'still' water with her Daddy.  Then she will ask me to see William and Camo from NeverLand, the Hackney Horses we love on YouTube.  As of a little while ago there have been no recent videos up so we will go back and look at a couple of the early ones so we can both absorb the back story.

I found some Fairy wings and a green sleeveless basketball  T-shirt that a mother who deployed this week had left behind.  Belted,  the green T-shirt is the fairy's dress.  The mother had them in a box as she had sprayed silver glitter on the shirt. I separated the recyclables from the garbage and  I took the fairy outfit home with me.
When Hellie comes on Friday, she will see those Fairy Wings, and I will show her the green shirt and how it becomes the fairy dress.  She will be over the moon.  (There was a Fairy story book with it, too, a story about Hide and Seek)
This week I will be more prepared, and we will have a quiet time while we watch William and Camo on YouTube.  Then I will show her a video about Dutch wooden clogs.  And we will write a story about Rat and Colombo paddling away to safety in their magic yellow shoes.  I will let her take the Fairy outfit, and book home with her.  I will save the wooden shoes for Rat and Columbo to stay in.  She will not object.

Also we will watch a fabulous video a YouTube pal favorited.  It is a wonderful video about the way Turkish people serve and enjoy tea.  Here it is:

And I can't believe I found something absolutely magic.  A Dutch scientist famous for making boats out of Dutch wooden shoes.  Here is the link:  If I only knew how to copy the picture of him testing his wooden shoe.

And there is a movie, too!  The Tree of Wooden Clogs, here
I am going to watch it.  Some things must be just for the Great Auntie!  Not everything is for the Hellion!  But, I must be prepared for her visit.  Night Watch coffee!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Postscript to the Hellion's Visit

This is a truly charming addendum to last nights blog on the Hellion's 3rd visit.

Well, I know, let you be the judge of whether this is charming or not!

I mentioned that Helly  (or should it be Hellie?) wanted to see William and Camo, two Hackney  horses at the YouTube Channel:  hackneysaregreat.  We watched the latest video up, in which the two Hackneys were able to let off steam after being stabled in the cold weather.  Naturally, being kept to the small yard, only one at a time could be let out.  Hellie wanted to know where they lived.  I told her The Netherlands.  We watched and I answered many questions.  Then she said she sure wish she lived in Neverneverland so she could spend time with Camo and William.

Here is the link to the video we watched.  They all merit watching.  But yesterdays feature, if you must know, is at this link:  (I hope!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Hellion's Third Visit - Winner's Circle

I am really too exhausted to write a decent blog, but there are things that must be gotten down post haste.
The Little Ukranian arrived with her mother ten minutes after the appointed time.  I was awaiting outside in the only lawn chair that can't be stolen.  It's too damn heavy.  I am grateful they were late as I had a last minute errand and was only hoping to get home before they arrived, get some coffee and sit down.  I knew I didn't have much of a chance, so I am grateful that I was able to drink a full mug of strong black coffee.

Earlier a friend had dropped off a package that had been delivered at her house, because it is not safe to have anything delivered here.  What a gift it was!  A box with a bag from Banana Republic, with a wide satin ribbon tied on the handle.  The color was the green of the hyacinth pushing up out of the ground.  In tissue, the new Banana Republic perfume, Wildbloom Vert.  It is well encased, totally stable in it's clear museum presentation with a white flower and ribbon tied at the waist.  And sure enough, the little hellion's mom pulls in.  Well, opening presents is the Hellion's specialty. I told her that special steps must be taken by me, and she said, "Gotcha, Great Aunt."

Now, I have no sense of smell, but the gift giver, Perfume Shrine, thought this fragrance would delight me, and it does.   My nieces mother said she couldn't try it because she was on the way to her welding class and smell was part of the art of welding, which I immediately understood.  I put the Wildbloom aside, but I put that verdant ribbon, that shiny green apple, around my black felt hat and pinned an elephant pin on it to hold it.  It is more than lovely.

Hellion stood by while I did this and did a French Shrug.  'Standing by, as ordered, Auntie."  "Duly noted, and expect a reward, Niece."  At which point she went postal:  "Are we going to have a tea party?"   "In due time.  Preparations must be made and I can not be rushed.  I will trip, and then who will watch you?"  She said, "I will be watching you!"  And so she did.

Well, I had a few children's toys, and stuffed animals that I hadn't been able to fit in the car yesterday.  The soldier had either deployed, or been injured, and a lot of toys were left at the curb, ship shape, and I grabbed what I could and took them to the thrift store.  But Helote saw the armadillo, and the I had to explain.  She cried out, "Don't take them to the church!  I need them."  Then she saw the xylephone, and it was all over, because it was hooked on other stuff in the box and it all tumbled out.  Two pink pots with lids, five little sport cars,  and other little things that had been missed when I had rushed the rest to the church, right before closing.  Indeed, they were just leaving and didn't appreciate my last minute arrival.  But, think what they want, I couldn't afford to trip on the stuff and it was all pristine, and would be needed by someone.  All special forces leave their stuff so someone else can see what is there and take it.  It is quite inspiring how they leave thing.  I always bless them on their way, never knowing their names, as no item ever has a name on it.   So I had my niece say a little prayer for the children who had owned these toys that their father would be safe, or heal fast.  She wanted to know more.  I said we are not to know, only to wish them well, and thank them for what they left.   "I thank you for MY armadillo and Rat," she shouted.  I said, "Those are my armadillo and rat, but you can visit them when you are here."  (I knew her family didn't need anymore stuffed animals, and special forces always teach their children of the animals that are small and in the ground  cover, the rat, the rabbit, the hedgehog, the newt.  Since they should learn to share quarters with these animals without threatening them.   My niece asked if the rabbit and rat could come to the tea party.  Yes, I said, and they did.

Helly was watching a video of a Hackney horses, William and Camo, when a knock at the door heralded her other Aunt picking her up.  There was a sudden meltdown, indeed a sundowners blowout, as she didn't want to leave.  I invited her Aunt in to have a seat so we could let this steam bleed off.  It was only ten minutes.  She wanted to take something home with her.  Her Aunt didn't want that, and then I suggested she take some of the new fragrance, Woodbloom, home.  She closed her eyes, and held her face up.  I said, "Look down," and covered her face and sprayed her hair.  I followed them to the car.  All was well.

I tried to embed a video, but I can't figure it out.  So you will just have to click on this link to find someone doing a great cover of 'My Funny Valentine:

Funny Valentine Performed by Mary Pesola Frank Sinatra cover

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grooming the Beloved Horse with Brush and Stirgil

How lucky can you get?  Pretty lucky  it seems if you decide you will go downtown because Restoration Hardware is closing, and you hope to get another garden tool set at 75 percent off.  Well, I didn't get the garden set.  No, I saw a large jar with bath brushes, four of them.  I touched one on my arm and said YES.  I got all four.  There will be people I love who should have one.  But only if they behave themselves.

I have to get everything ready for my bath because I am weak when I am out of my brace.  I have a couple support brackets, but the beverage, the single cigarette, the foot tools must all be ready.   Now I get in naked before I put the water in and brush myself down, the dead skin that builds up beneath the corset.  And I think this is really taking care of myself like I would  my mount when I was going out riding.  My mount would hear my car engine and as he was head hunt horse the others would stay behind his shoulders, but they all came for carrots.   My mount was caught, and kept following for extra carrot.  I brushed him down well before putting the saddle pad and jump saddle on.  Now I am brushing myself down and remembering a horse and the Blue Ridge mountains, and Darby's Folly and the paths down Barracks Road.  Memories are so important.  Like fragrances!   Although I can't smell new things I can evoke them and smile at carnations, fir trees, fine leather and chrome.  I do smell a few things, I found out.  At the zoo, I smell fresh ordure, fresh gas - and I enjoy smelling.  If only it was horse manure and horse piss.  Alas!  I am grateful for the memories.  And I look at beautiful foxes on YouTube and Cossacks riding their horses, at the warmbloods, the thoroughbreds, the Ahkel Teke, the Hackney, the Fresian, the Hungarian Forest Horse.  I love them all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Diversionary Tactics for My Visitor, My 5 yr old Ukrainian niece

I am having a diminutive guest coming this Friday.  Only four days before the 'hellion' crosses my threshold.  The problem that must be overcome is the exhaustion I have by that time of day.  This is common to the demilinating classes, especially the uninsured like myself.  I have Multiple Schlerosis.

She is my 'Little Ukrainian.'  She is strawberry blond.  She is the daughter of my nephew that I wrote my last blog about.  She is plucky and doesn't back down.  She will insist on being called a 'great niece' if I am going to be her 'great aunt.'   She  probably does carry the blood of Kossacks.  She tilt's her head and and can give you an 'eye-lashing' like an Abbess of the snobbiest convent in any part of the Holy Roman Empire.  I hope to have much fun.  This is why I fear my exhaustion, even crankiness, at four in the afternoon.

 I saw Dame Maggie Smith in the new season of Downton Abbey only last night.  She seems to be mellowing this season.  What I fear is last season's Dowager coming out in me, withering glances and exasperated breathing..  And my lack of intercourse with society has left me free to voice my crankiness for so long, I only hope I can re-educate myself to enter polite society by Friday.  I was a child who never had a voice raised against me.  Only once did my mother break down and touch me to correct me, but I think I was an object of opportunity, and she already had a brush in her hands. I must have been that 'know-it-all' twelve or thirteen year old that just makes a mother want to smack you for your impertinence of being a thirteen year old.  It never occurred to me to consult my mother on anything.    Yes, I was swatted across the back of the legs.  I should say thighs, as I was in my first pair of madras burmuda shorts. And even then she didn't raise her voice, but rather whispered, "You  won't get away with it, whatever it is!"

I was stunned and I grabbed her hand, saying simultaneously, "Why did you do that?"  I know the nuns must have done it to her, as I  reflect on my own Catholic school education.  And she, poor thing, was actually in a convent school during the war, since the fleet had swollen to immense proportions during WWII, here in the largest naval base in the world.
So, looking back over 50 years later, I understand,  to some extent, that she was swatting at the 'temptress' 'future impudent daughter'  when she said:  "Nothing that I know about, but you have or will be doing something I don't approve of."

I am not kidding for one moment.  When I was getting ready to go off to University, she forced me to sit in her 'sherry drinking' chair, and brought me a can of beer, put it on a coaster on the marble topped table, that had never before had anything but sherry on it (or port).  My jaw dropped. She said:  "Drink that!"  Me:  "Beer?  You want me to paint the rod iron or something?"  (I associated beer with the awful job of painting the exterior of the house.  In the heat of the south, it was the only appropriate beverage to quench the thirst of a man up on a ladder, ensuring he would go back up and finish the job if he wanted another.  Even an Anglican bishop would drink beer under these circumstances. )  She replied that I was to drink that beer to the bottom.  Well, I couldn't.  Not fast anyway.  I hadn't acquired the taste at 17.  She went into the kitchen and came back a few minutes later and lifted the can.  "Drink it all up.  I am going to stand here while you do.  None of your tricks of giving it to the dog."  I finished it off to give my mother relief.  She took the can away, went back to the kitchen, and came back with another one.  "Drink this one as well.  I give you five minutes max."  "But mom, I just can't do it, it is so filling."  "Well, it won't be so filling if you are on a dance floor twisting and  fruuging.  It will be a thirst quencher.  Drink it up."

There was no way out but to do as she said.  It wasn't easy.  Now a gin and tonic, or a Manhattan was another matter.  I passed as a sophisticated college girl in Washington, D.C.  But she knew nothing of that.  Or did she?

Well.  I got it down and then she sent me down the hill to fetch a pail of water.  Actually, to pick daffodils for the dinner table.  She watched me the whole way from the dining room window.  It wasn't over.  When I brought her the flowers, she said:  "You must have eaten your whole lunch at school and snacked at the drug store."
" Mom," I whined, "what is this all about? " Her reply: " I want to have a picture in my mind about how you will be behaving at college."  I had no idea what she was talking about.  Didn't she know about spin the bottle?  I didn't ask.

You can't make this stuff up.  Maybe it was what all the mothers of Northern Virginia were doing with their graduating seniors.  I don't know what tag to put on this to get any views and statistics.  But looking back at the year, 1966, the world as she knew it was falling apart.  She knew an innocent girl like me was going to get plucked pretty quick.   And that I would be the seducer!   It tells me years later that she waited until my father came along.  When boys would come to pick her up for dates and dances, she refused to come down the stairs, and her sister would go out with these local guys.  She didn't know how to refuse and invitation, it seems, and my aunt did all the dancing with these guys.  My aunt would be dressed to kill, and ready to trot when these guys came to pick my mother up.  When my dad showed up, an officer in uniform, a Frenchman, Montreal to Chicago, she accepted right away.  And I was born ten months after the wedding.  All was well in their dancing paradise.

Now I have to figure out how to get back to what I was talking about originally, and how I got on the subject of the 'beer test."  Oh, I get it.  I have to preengineer the glide path of my five year old niece's eyes, and the available distractions, to keep her occupied until we can get acquainted and conversant.  Everything I have would qualify as an 'attractive nuisance' to her eyes, not to be found in any other space she had visited before.

If you must know, there is a pink chiffon scarf with a border of white polka dots hanging directly across from the front door.  I have decided to sacrifice this scarf for the cause.  I will not tie it for her.  I will insist she show me what options she had, and, believe me, she knows her scarf options.  These little girls today are raised on 'princess costumes' we would never have dreamed of. She likes the Genie costumes best.  Slaves in China and Indonesia make them for the market here.

I have a little foam cube, hollow inside, as it  was used to ship my neighbors diabetes medicine.  I have some fabric and some batting so she can make her own little princess stool.  She will be able to sit at my coffee table as if it were an arts and craft table.  (I have to open it up to map table size before she gets here.  She dare  not see my magical table's unfolding.  I would never have a moments peace then.)

She will have paper and pencil only.  No water colors or finger paints in my limited area.  I have some jello packages set aside, but only if she can sit and work on her drawings while I boil the water.  She must learn that I will not be rushed.  It gives me a 'stomach ache.'  That ought to be something she can identify with.  I will not use a whip and a chain.  I will bow and scrape and 'guide' her.  All this from someone who is known for not stopping kids, in giving them their natural movements, as I point out to parents,  "That child is not violating any law of nature."   (I can't stand hearing people yell at their children, saying No. Stop. or Be Quiet.  It is the parent's that make the most public disturbance.)

Now I have to be a real pro to keep my own tired, haggard self from doing it, too.  I have a real task ahead of me in the next few days.  And this child does not nap.  She is over it
We will not do the bath, either.  I just can't handle it.  Although I know that it is an age old  debriefing scheme of all parents.  It calms every one down; something necessary is being accomplished;  and it provides a real service to society.

I am breathless from anticipating this.  If it is a 'success', she will be here every Friday of the Spring Semester.  I can not put a child seat in my sport' car.  I mean, that back seat is not really functional, is it?  I know I can't put my Aunt's dog back there, because the dog, as all dogs must, hangs out the window. If he didn't have the air, he would be thru the seats and stepping on the gear shift.    He is so big, I don't know whether he would tilt the car.

Am I helping myself here?  Well, yes, I am being prepared, as best I can.  I am not so simple-minded, yet, to not know that there will be contingencies, and the unknown.  Dealing with the known is all I can expect of myself.  I know more than most.  But things will be forgotten.  And remembered in the reliving.   And  I was never a princess as a child. Maybe a Kossack, though.  No, I was Hemingway's nurse, helping the wounded, crawling to the injured as bombs flared overhead.  We were post WWII children.  Boomers.  We have made a mess of the world.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cranking away, having an Italian New Years

It was only a week ago I found this blog, and read the posts from last year.  So sad, so funny, so real.  Only a week ago, and yet my sister, Hurricane Nicole, was here this week and we had insane fun at the thrift store, and I got rid of one cubic yard of family photos, Japanese dolls, and shoes I can no longer wear, which she will take to my other sister.

And I was able to post a comment on a blog!  Probably did it three times as I didn't know what I was doing.  It was a pen and mandala blog, the led me to another scent person.   I had to laugh when I came across it because just the night before,  when we were looking at old perfume bottles at another sisters, the three year old had an original Halston purse size spray flacon.  It was in her little play dressing table. My sister must have given it to her because she hadn't liked it from the git go either.  The first time I smelled the Halston perfume, over 30 years ago, I had said:  "Essence of Green Bean.  Not for me, but the vegetable has inspired a nice  bottle design, which is beautiful."  She so wanted to spray some on me, that three year old.  I had to be careful not to scream, "Get that horror away from me."  No, I just said thank you, no, it will mess up my own perfume, but we can pretend.  She was satisfied with that.

Since I can't smell, it didn't bother me that she sprayed some on herself.  I can just imagine my sister waiting for that bottle to be empty, and then she would steal it back.   There were some perfumes I was tempted to dump and save just for the bottle over the years.  But that is selfish.  Always I had a special tray of gifts that were free for the taking, some in gorgeous bottles.  No, they only caused clutter, and could cause ones I used to get crowded and spilled.  "Really, you will be doing me a favor if you would accept this.  Take one for a friend."

And I cooked beans today!  First time for everything.   Found a recipe from Texas and went with it as I had onion, garlic, and two jars of salsa I wouldn't eat.  It was fine.  And I mean that in the "Ooooo, that's Fiiine!" way.  And I got rid of three cans of stuff from the food bank I wouldn't have known what to do with otherwise.  Rearranged my little cabinet, too.  But what to do with that apple sauce?   I used to substitute it fresh apple when I was making my own curry, but those days are over.  I like to paint and draw apples, but the sugar doesn't agree with me.  I got drunk on a juice glass of hard cider when I was ten.  When grandfather got home and I was jumping from couch to chair, he ran to check on the cider, brought it out and asked me if I had indulged from that bottle.  I had.  Grandmother said it was his fault for bringing that stuff into the house.  Truth is I am just susceptible to fruit sugars.  Got drunk picking strawberries once and I was at least 25.

But, although I never drink, I did have a delicious pumpkin beer thanksgiving.  I kept talking about it so much that for Christmas my sister bought me two beers.  Get ready now for this.  The name of the  brewery is   Heavy Seas, Mutiny Fleet, out of Baltimore, Md.   It was almost as large as a wine bottle.  It was my beverage for New Years, along with sharp cheddar and Triskets.  I made a dip with smoked oysters and cream cheese and black olives.  I'd never had it before, but my sister recommended it.  I took it across the courtyard to share with my neighbor who is wheel chair bound and has no family.  Men are so polite.  A homeless man was there as well.  They were not overjoyed with smoked oysters.  They loved the Triskets and the port wine cheese.  Who doesn't?  Oh, well, they are mountain people.  And, quite frankly, the ingredients are great, but not mixed.  So I took it home with me and mixed it with some pasta and oyster sauce the next day just to get rid of it and get some protein.

My nephew was overjoyed to get the graph paper journal book with the skateboard stickers.  I did a little ink test and water marker test, and recalled how I first introduced him to graphs when he was six, to prove to him that the days would be getting longer by one to two minutes a day.  He was frustrated because he was off school for Christmas and it was dark outside by the time there were enough adults around for the kids to play outside.  Can't say I blame him one bit.
The earth tilting on its axis is one thing that always comes true. I shared this with him.  This is not a false hope, I told him.   And I plotted the day's length once a week, because his parents can't read an almanac.   And he could see that the next week he had 15 more minutes on a Friday, and it would keep on being more and more until after his birthday.    A year later they lived at a different address  and I  babysit him and his sisters as their parents went to a New Year's party that included  hotel reservations.  The kids and I had had a New Year's, too.  We made our own confetti and hats.  I made egg rolls for them in an electric frying pan.  Then I used the egg roll skins and made tarts with Apples, Chedder and Cinnamon.  Also had blueberries and cinnamon.  Real whip cream from the can.  I insisted we use it all up.

When my sister got home and saw how much fun her kids had had and how much they had accomplished, complete with a new graph to follow the increasing length of the day she turned to her husband and said she would never leave her children on New Year's again. It must not have been such a great company party, no matter how many freebies came with it.   No, she told her kids, New Years would be a family celebration from then on, and so it has remained 20 years later.

When the children awoke after staying up so late, a thick fog had fallen to the ground, zero visibility at six inches.  I will never  forget how startled my nephew looked, taken aback, really, when he opened the door and saw that  to fog.  "I'm not going out into THIS DAY."   I explained  to him how  it would burn if off by noon and set the alarm so he could start his New Year's day a little later.  I explained that we were in a cloud.  A Cloud of Unknowing.

And, I have used his expression on occasion.  "I'm sorry, but I just can't go out in this day."  But, except for dangerous fog, I love rainy days.  They make me just want to get it together and get out there and go to a book store.  Now that I can't afford the gas to get to a book store, let alone buy a book, I walk in it.  I revel in it.  No bright sun to blind me and make me lose my balance.  Give me an overcast day, and I can drive in any direction.  I look forward to them, and the cold.  As long as the sun comes in the front window, I can get enough sun and heat.  But I miss the beach.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

OMG, I have company coming, and I am going to figure out this blog stuff

Moi!  A sophisticated lady using  that expression: OMG.  I can't stand it.  But now that I have learned how to text message, I can become acerbic, and to the point, and not get tied up in knots with defensive relatives.

On my expedition today, I paid the auto insurance, cut loose the Honda from the policy,  signed the title over to a deserving niece-in-law, and now it is just me and the Eclipse.  I bought some brush markers at Barnes & Noble.  Was surprised to find them there.  What I really want is a Waterbrush - water stored in the handle..  I saw someone's blog about it on-line the other day.  I am lucky to have what I found.  But I'd rather start using my old water colors.  At least the brush markers will get me warmed up.  I hope I have some watercolor paper books in a drawer somewhere.  Speaking of the Honda, this is what happened Christmas:
 "Aunt Nadine, that car is pimped out" my nephew said when he saw the Eclipse at Christmas.  Then he saw the custom rims and dropped to his knees.

I said, "It is true, this car is nothing but a cop magnet,  just like the internet says, and I've had young men practically go over the curb when they see a silver-haired fox in it."
Nephew:  I think you mean 'couger', Auntie.
Me:  I know what a couger is, and I mean fox, as in 'crazy like a fox', or 'like a fox on the run.'

Nephew:    Got you.  "Well, anyway, it's the rims , especially. They are more than top of the line.  You will be profiled.
Me:   Well, these local yokel cops are pacing me everywhere.  Over near the university, especially.
Nephew:   They aren't allowed to do that for more than a mile and a half.
Me:   Well good.  I'll just measure the route.   I know where they lurk.   But  I couldn't get my 101st Airborne sticker's off the Honda.  I have got to get a replacement so  these cops will back off.    I am a poor woman. cripple even,  who has to pay higher insurance and put 93 octane gas in.  How could I ever afford to get a new tire?  And every time I stop at a light by the base, you got all those aviator's driving fast and revving it up near me.  I feel like I need to start smoking a cigar, or something.  At least pretend I'm smoking one.  A big Cohiba.
Nephew:  Where would you get one of those, if I may ask?
Me:  Well, I have been offered them many times, because it is impolite to not offer one.  The next snob who offers me one, I am just going to take it, take a puff or two, and save the rest for you.
Nephew:    Are you kidding me?  You'd really save it for me.
Me:  Of course I would.  And I know just who I am going to 'score' one off of.  Your Uncle Marc.  Next time he is in town, I am going to act offended that he presumed to ask if he could smoke and didn't offer me one.  That ought to set him in a spin.  Manners are manners.  How dare he presume I enjoy being his audience!  He will either put up or shut up and stay away from my door.
Nephew:  Auntie, please don't drive Uncle Marc away.
Me:   Well, he still has to come to town to pay court to great aunt High Church.  So don't worry.
Nephew:  Auntie, you are so mean.
Me:  Well, I have turned a corner in life, and I don't have time to waste on blowhards, and people afraid to speak straight and true.
Nephew:  I hope you don't ever write me off.
Me:  What!  I started crying when I saw you crying in the hospital nursury.  There was an Iranian father there, too, and he was bawling.  Same reason.  The nurse came to see what the racket was all about, and it was two adults crying because the babies were crying and we couldn't get thru the glass to pick them up.  She kicked us both off the maternity ward and told us she would call us when you had both been fed.   I have always cried whenever you cried.  And I have kicked (metaphorically) anyone who didn't understand my  mischievous nephew.  But,  I will not be manipulated.  I will only I see fit.
Nephew:  But, please don't scare Uncle Marc!
Me:  He has not followed up on some things he said he would do.  I am not amused, and he is not excused.   Not anything he said he would  do, for that matter,  if you must know.  Don't ever be that way.  It is a Native Norfolkian thing to do.
I never do that.  I guess its the difference between an engineer and your sales type, blow hard.
Nephew:  But you are so sarcastic with the relatives lately.
Me:  I can't help it.  I am over them and their small brains and insularity.  I use the military definition of "Friends and Family" now.  They may be blood and first degree, but they are off my list.  In the military, if their are not family you want, they are relatives.  They are 'tiv's.
Nephew:  Where did you hear that?
Me:  Fort Monroe, Thanksgiving, 2006.   And I knew what they meant and I appreciated their support and guidance.
Nephew:  I hope you never think of me as a 'tiv.
Me:  No.  You have my heart, as they say up in the Piedmont.  But don't expect me to have a lobotomy to get along.
         I feel bad I have nothing but my attitude to give you, now.
Nephew:  What!  You gave me that book on pulleys when I was ten.  And my first tool box.  And all that graph paper.
You gave me "Castles" and "Cathedral's" and so many  good books.
Me:  Well, my dad was from Chicago, and he was not going to let his wife and daughters be stuck in Norfolk,Virginia and depend on any of the local yokels.  And your great grandfather showed me how to make everything a weapon.  You would not believe.... When I first needed a cane, I had this carved one from the Orient that was his, and took it to the grocery store to get Marjoram, and a man sidled up beside me and whispered, "Maam, do you know that cane is illegal to carry."  I turned my head and I said, Should I leave it at home or some local cop is going to take it away and take it home?  He said:  "That is what I am saying."  I thanked him and hightailed it home and finished the boeuf bourguignon.  That is what I mean about your Uncle Marc, He would borrow the marjoram and never return or replace it.  As if I should just be honored that he dropped in.  Well, I am not in anybody's retinue, and I pay court to no one.
Nephew:  I don't know what that means, but...
Me:  ...but you get the gist, I hope....  Well, go on and do what you have to do and never get mixed up with someone from Norfolk.  They think they are world class.  Well, I just wish they would call in for their barges and go floating down the Lafayette and away from here.  They are full of themselves.  And they don't understand acoustics, either.  They haven't got a venue or a street corner that doesn't shut the voice and instruments down.  People been trying to tell them for years.  It is a waste of everyone's time and effort.  Well, maybe the Opera House is OK.  It is a dedicated facility.  But anything else, don't waste your time or money.  I want you to be over them too, at least acoustically.
Nephew:  Well, I am not too up on acoustics, myself.
Me:  Well, back in the day we had to match speakers up with amps, etc., etc., and other things.
Nephew:  Well, you still have to do that...for car systems.
Me:  Well, that is an option you might consider.  Learn about acoustics, and travel away from this city.  You don't have to have a university degree.  You can figure it all out.  That is what the graph paper is for.
Nephew:   For which I am truly grateful.
Me:   I have always been grateful for you.
Nephew:  Aw, shucks, Auntie.
Me:   And that's another thing, don't ever .....

Well, that is just a part of my day, starting with getting the auto insurance paid.  I confess I got a black felt hat, too.  It was not on sale either, but it was oh-so-necessary.  ,