When we moved to my new beloved South, I threw out big box after big box of newspapers and magazines where my articles appeared. It was a virtual history of my world, my life, in writing. It was also a history of my writing timely pieces. I recall the first one published that had national scope, was about Elian Gonzales, the Cuban child who was sent back to Cuba.
Why did I do it … throw them away?
Because, sometimes, the baggage, even accomplishments of your past, must be let go to make room for future growth.
I do have copies of some of the pieces on a computer, but by no meas, all.
My kids didn’t want them. That was a lot of paper. And it was my take on life and not theirs. They are here to tell and write their own stories.
As I went through to lone box in our garage the other day, along with the Stars and Stripes, I found a newspaper artle written about me, not by me. It was from one of my previous lives, you know, a chapter of this one that was long ago.
There was a time when I sculpted people into puppets. Yep. And I do not like puppets. They are a notch beneath clowns. But I used them as a tool.
The firts year that Winterfest at Kings Islan opened, they put out a call for artists and craftspeople to have booths in the Festhaus, where people ate and a show was presented. To this day, if Nick or I hear the song, “Food glorious food,” we groan.
Weird thing happened, they seemed to like my work and invited me. So I sat in the lower level of our trip-level in Mason, and inhaled clay dust and sewed puppet outfits.
That hwole Chritsmas season, from Thanksgiving until New Years, I was at a booth at the Festhaus, schlepping my puppet people.
Because they were unique, the pr man from Kings Island, took a liking to them and had photographers take photos. We became friends and would have lunch for years. He was a good man.
Somehow, Ohio magazine got wind of them and shot theym and they appeared on their cover for unique gifts. There was a blurb about them in Cincinnati magazine, and that is how The Bob Braun show found me. I was then doing workshops with kids, using making puppets, to teach communication skills.
So, I was asked to bring a couple of the kids, make a puppet of Mr. Braun, and appear on the show.
When I told my mom, here comment was, “It s too bad you gained your weight back. That was a real boost. I was 6 ft. tall and weiged 155.
Oh, to weigh 155, again.
I was also asked to make puppets of Robert Taft’s family. He was governor of Ohio. Carl Lindner was another one I was asked to do and Willard Scott was created as Carmen Miranda. That one, I did for the heck of it, sent it to him, and never heard a word.
I didn’t like doing the workshops with kids. I had to haul a lot of stuff. And frankly, teaching a group of kids isn’t my thing. I just couldn’t let them know that. But I am fessing up. I love teaching workshops with adults, especially women.
I remember at sign0ups for the workshop, one mother, a snoot, said, “My boy doesn’t need communication help. He talks all of the time.”
Some people don’t understand that communication is more about listening than talking.
Making the puppets went well with my solitary-isn, personality. No, I am not a total lonaer. I am a leader, too, if I am in a group. But I find that that s more perfomance art for me, an energy expender, where creating alone, and being able to learn at my own speed, quickly, is what I like.
I didn’t know all of this at the time. I was young. I didn’t have a clue as to who I was, which made me sort of lost. My energies were spent having and raising children. That, I loved.
My kids, all small at the time, would be given a hunk of clay and they would sit with me and make a puppet head (or creature). They have always know that I was a clayhead.
Bob Braun was very nice to be with. He knew how to do a show and make his scared guest look good. They people in the audience didn’t bother me, but those cameras and lights were something I hadn’t experienced.
My foray into people puppets only lsted a year or so. For me, life has been about learning and practicing and then moving on and taking that experience with me.
Experience, not boxes of newspapers. It travels much lighter.
There you go, Debbie Simpson. You asked for it, I delivered. My junior prom photo. Larry Schneeman was my date.
I believe he had recently broken up with someone, so he invited me. It was a one-out date.
Larry was a very nice guy. I don’t remember much about the night except he had car trouble and I thought he was trying to bail, but I had my hair done, so I wasn’t going for that out.
As for many things I anticipated in high school, and life, the thought of it and getting ready for it was the fun part. And that had nothing to do with Larry, but with me.
What is a “prom” anyway? You didn’t say you were going to “the” prom. You simply said, “I am going to prom.”
For a girl, the getting dressed up part might have been the best part, unless you were in love with your date and it was all our of “True Romance.”
Prom and HOmecoming dances and soroity formals were never my thing. I went because I like to get dressed up, and hoped that something magical would happen, but it never did.
It was so anticlimatic that I didn’t go to my senior prom. It was in the spring, and my head had been out of high school since I had learned that fall that I was going to Ohio University the following year.
I know we went bowling at Madison Bowl afterwards.
So … that is that, about that.
I have a photo of the back of my hair from another formal. I had the best curls. I loved that hairdo.
My first formal, when I was a freshman, was for the sorority I was in … GBA. We even had a song.
We are the girls of GBA
You’ve heard so much about
K-O hides their faces
Whenever we come out
We are the pride of Norwood High
And we aim to please
We always wear our dressshort
In order to show our knees
As we go walking
through the halls of Norwood High
You can hear them saying
the girls from GBA were number one … Cha, cha, cha.
Or something like that
Why do I remember that and can barely remember the years my kids were born?
Oh, I think part of the reason that I didn’t care for dances was that I was so tall and most of the boys werre short. That got me. Made me self-conscious. And I didn’t feel as though I was pretty enough, not little and cute. So there. That is enough of that trip down memory lane. I spilled part of my guts.
Now, I love being tall. I have loved it for years. It is who I am. I can reach tall cabinets. And leap from building to building in a single bound.
Here is a question … did anyone feel pretty enough in high school?
Oh, that’s right, I said I was done.
Yesterday I had a hoot at the eye doctor. I am going to a new one and there is a woman on staff, who does the eyeball pre-check, who gets me. I had her rolling on the floor. We thought we were going to get kicked out.
She is in her forties and still finding her way to herself. I am a good teacher of that. I thought she was going to have a conniption when after my phone made a noise and my stomach was grawling, I said, “Wowo, I am a symphony. Just wait until I fart.”
That was after a bunch of other fun things I was teaching her.
We walked down the hall to the photo segment of the program, laughing like we were, well, in high school and a teacher lost his toupee. She asked if I could stay all day.
Okay. I am down 25 pounds and have started doing the stretches and moving more. Yeah, heay, don’t get excited. Whether I win of lose the weight battle won’t be known until I am dead. My nemesis … but I keep trying.
Enough of the rain and gloom here. I ould use a Carolina Blue sky and Southern sun. This isn’t even for the birds.
I finished my clove covered orange. I love those. It is sitting next to me. And … I put flamessl candles on the silver abouve my bathtub. They are on a remote control. Just call me Oprah (or not) with my new favorite thing.
And this is the way it is on Hedge Apple this morning.
Peace, heatlh and a good bladder, be with you.
Anyone up yet? The New Year is almost over, so get moving.
Yesterday, I watched a good show about Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago.
It took him 20 years to write the book. The story is incrdible. Life in Russia during his lifetime, was precarious, at best, especially if you were a writer or artist. You wrote what please the party, or you padi the price. Russia, and so many other countries, have had many terrible leaders. Brutal. It still goes on. It has always been a question of mine, why so many leaders of countries, are crazy, and I mean horrifyingly, murdering maniacs.
Dr. Zhivago was quite a bit Pasternak’s life. The Lara character in the book was based on a real person. His lover, mistress and stoic love of his life.
To get at Pasternak, the party went after his lover, tortured her and put her in prison for 4 years. At the time she arrived and was interrogated with brutal tactics, his lover was pregnant. When she was 6 months pregnant, the party told her that she would get to meet with Pasternak.
It was a lie. They took her to a morgue where there were noxious fumes, and made her stay and stand for hours and hours. She believed the took her there because Pasternak was dead, in the morgue.
The day after that, at 6 months pregnant, she miscarried.
Word o the prgnancy had gotten to Pasternak.
But his lover was by then, doing hard labor. It wasn’t until a new upheaval in government forces took place, that Pasternak’s lover, was released from prison.
Pasternak thought that he would greet his loer and their child.
That was one of the points when Pasternak decided that in the novel he was working on, he would have to tell the story, the truth, about what went on in that country.
And through it all, Passternak loved his mother country. Earlier on, he could have emigrated to England, with his parents, but he had to stay … for the love of Mother Russia.
The road to publication for Dr. Zhivago, was treacherous. It is a testament to the strong will of many people, that it saw the light of day Government forces worked with all of hteir power, to stop it.
WEll, that is more than I intended to write.
But it might have to do with my mindset this moring when I woke up with a rap in my mind. Not Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it heped me get some juices going this morning, this first day of 2019.
So, don’t laugh. Or, do. That is good, too. But here it is.
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
Young folks dying, old folks crying
What’s the game? You know my name?
Guns a-blazing, life’s amazing
Where’s the hope? It’s dead from dope.
On the corner, another mourner
Flags have staff, That’s no laugh
Deep pockets rule, Man, I’m no fool
Yes, life a mass, y’all kiss my ass
Truth don’t matter, amongst the chatter
Words abused and missed
Used as arrows to kill the sparrows
Truth is dead, killed with lead
Taken from my head
I’m going to go to bed
To dream the dream I used to dream
Where life was fair and grass was green
Illusion, delusion, wishful thinking
Is the world really man’s for the making
Losers weepers finders keepers
Including countries fraught with war
Is this what we’re living for?
We are not enemies, we are not friends
Will this be where this story ends?
Depends, depends it’s time to choose
For there is so much for us to lose
We blame, we shame, we do all we can
My God, my God we diminish man
Can we change this? We can. We can.
A movement can start across this land
Just slow our tongues, thy will be done
To raise civility above liability
And share the love instead of hate
and span hope to the Golden Gate
Resolution, revolution, dissolution
The train horn and slight sound of the wheels on the tracks reverberate this sleepy house in Deer Park. It reminds me of my childhood in Norwood, where a freight train yard was up the street, turn left, run downhill,make a right and run slightly up and down another hill.
I didn’t do that but once. It was not on a route I took and though so close, you left Norwood and entered Cincinnati. Norwood was my small world that was safe. Cincinnati was too big.
The train is quiet now, passing. Probably on those tracks that ran through Norwood. There is a website called, “Everything Runs Through Norwood,” and it is quiet true.
Why am I talking about trains and Norwood when I was going to talk about taking time to look at the ornaments on a Christmas tree?
I am staying. Not in Norwood, but Deer Park is pretty close. So it was that sound of the train that took me back, took me home, to Christmas when I was a child.
I love this sound of silence. Nick is sleeping and so is our youngest daughter. Remember that feeling as a parent, when all of your children were tucked into their beds and home, safe? The world was “out there”, someplace. That feeling, now a memory, is one of the gentle memories of this life I have lived.
My heart is beating, tick-tick, tick-tick, and it is marvelous. It was two weeks ago, today, that the ticker got fixed. This morning, I began some gentle exercises. I plan to be an athlete, yet.
Yesterday, I stopped at Trader Joe’s. It was delightful. My speed of store … not too big. You know me and the vapors. Nick pulled in front of Krogers in Montgomery, because I wanted some distilled water. I said, “Are you kidding? I’m not going in there.” The parking lot was packed and throngs of people were going in and out. I looked at him and said, “That place gives me the vapors.”
So far, I have heard both daughters laugh. We’ve shared a couple of meals. Today, I will see one of my sons and do something we do when we are in town. He and I will meet at Starbucks and sit and chat for a long time. Catch up. And then, tonight, the Christmas festivities begin.
I was so not in a Christmas spirit a month ago. Other things were on my mind. Things began to shift when we celebrated Christmas at our son’s house in South Carolina, on the 16th. It was wonderful. I even sang karaoke with my grandchildren.
And now, after one of our best drives up here, we are and will be in the arms of people we love, people who make fun of us, who know us deeply, and understand the love that we have for them. People we would do anything for, including giving our life.
That is deep love.
I will call both sisters tomorrow and say Merry Christmas. I will think of my friends, here and in South Carolina, and wherever they may be. I know one friend is making a four layer carrot cake, one is having dinner tonight with friends, and another has seen grandchildren and their parents, staying at her house all week. Aye-yi-yi. And she loves it.
I will be thinking of my brother-in-law, for a reason that just is.
Of course, I called Camp K-9 to see how The Boy is doing. He is having a great time. They love him, too.
I was looking at my daughter’s Christmas tree. I mean, really looking. She placed every light and ornament on it.
The spirit of Christmas was awakened in me.
Oh, here is another Christmas sound. The garbage truck picking up trash. Ho, ho, ho.
The fact is. All I have are blessings to be grateful for. Love surrounds me. I actually feel the presence of Jesus, and the purity of his actions. Was he real? Did and does He exist? Is He really God, the father?
I choose to believe som. It gives meaning to my life, and offers a guide to be good to people and, it checks my behavior. I don’t know enough about life and I can surely use the help and guidance. It is through Him, that’s I find my purpose. I am a wobbly human, and the walking partner shows me the way.
Good Lily of the Valley, I am spilling the beans.
So, with that, though I am taking the week off, I am here to wish each of you, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu Atheist or whatever, Merry Christmas from a wonderful, kind and forgiving man who was born in a manger on Christmas. Peace be with you. May light shine on our troubled world and may all your Christmas dreams come true.
Wrapping it up.
The gift bags, boxes, and random wrapped gifts are stationed at the table in the big room. The wrapping paper has been put away. And the gifts I have to deliver, are on the counter.
The Ohio Express is getting ready to join millions of others on journeys near and far.
Yes, it is over to Asheville, turn right and head northwest. Passing through two sets of mountains, and then into Kentucky, we will have a rented minivan full of Christmas cheer.
Since my Subaru bit the bullet, we have been driving Nick’s old Prius. I haven’t wanted to think about replacing my vehicle. And we are seriously thinking about going down to one car. We might scour the Automall, if we get a chance. But shopping for cars is not my idea of a good time.
It is a creepy game. Time consuming. Expensive. It gives me the vapors.
And I love it when they place their attention on Nick … not realizing that I am really in the driver’s seat on this event.
Does anyone else look at the multitudes of expensive cars, trucks and SUVs on the road and wonder where people get that kind of money?
How did I go down that road?
There is something that has happened since I was involved in my wreck. I am at heightened alert for cars … where they are coming from, how fast, and the uncertainty of driving.
I used to love to drive, but not as much anymore. There are too many people driving, in a hurry, ignoring laws and acting like jack rabbets wearing asshats.
I still love driving in the country, meandering and moseying, but to go into the “zones” of craziness … aye-yi-yi-yi.
I sound so poo-poo, which is funny because I am starting to fee much better. I am down 20 pounds since my wreck and I have health plans and an agenda for the new year.
From what I have been reading, inflammation is a big health problems. Truthfully, I knew that, but last night, I watched a YouTube video by a cardiologist about things to do to get your heart better.
Since I have entered what shall I say, “Heartland”, I have been learning a lot. I have learned how sleep apnea effects the heart, how inflammation from what you eat can trigger other things to go haywire and that there are things that I can do to get my body back on track.
I did a good job of turning things around a couple of years ago, but I had this battle in my head of “Do I want to live this way … denying many of the eating pleasures.
Caution to the wind, I ate too many good things and then bad things.
After the wake-up call and self flagellation and week of anesthesia brain, I am ready to charge on for a better today and tomorrow.
I am still cogitating what I would like to accomplish and figure out where my purpose will lead me, next year. I really don’t know if it will include FB writing. There are times when I think that I should leave before you tell me to. And FB, with its recent BS going on, it brings my love/hate relationship as a writing venue to the surface.
I operate better with a purpose, but there are times when I wonder if I should find a new purpose, of simply just lied days unfold.
Nah, I stink at that.
See, I am working things through. Oh, there are days when I think I should go be a monk and wear a brown robe with a hood. I like hoods. I also can make fudge to sell at the monastery gift shop. But I would need to be in an order of monks that laughed … a lot. I might also get kicked out of chapel for playing tic-tax-toe on the visitor cards.
How do you ponder and figured out what you want to do with your life? Note: there are many of you in the throes of working and child-rearing, so, you are on your march to survive all that goes on with that.
But for those who have the time, how do you determine what you want your life to be? I am curious.
This post feels like driftwood.
Are any of you heading anywhere for Christmas?
I am glad I don’t have to go to Sandringham for Christmas with the queen, although it would be fun to watch Prince Charle and Camilla get it on.
If we had a queen, who do you think would be a good one? Miley Cyrus might be fun.
Well, I am rails off the rails, now.
Off to go to the backyard to graze on some grass. I don’t think it is an inflammatory.
PS. My lunch yesterday at Jim and NIck’s/ I drove myself there to pick up some biscuit mixes for gifts, and decided that I needed to sit at the bar and have lunch/dinner. That is the tastiest said … and I didn’t eat both dressings.
“Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”
My granddaughter has a skating costume that has a large, “L” on it. Her synchronized skating team skates to the Laverne and Shirley theme song.
Imagine a group of some 30 or so young girls, in their circle skirts and “L” sweats skating around the rink, in 2018, to the theme song to a show from 1976.
To those of us who were around at that time, you probably sighed and got that oh, no, feeling, when you read that Penny Marshall, Laverne had passed away.
Something is wrong with this system. The system that gives us so much and then swoops in on angel’s wings, and takes life away. It is something I can accept but not get used to.
Penny Marshal fir her names, both Benny and Laverne.
I read that at one point in her career, she was hurt, bummed, because she didn’t get parts because of her look … not your standard Hollywood cutie pie.
She didn’t see how her smile and askewishly real humor, resonated with millions and millions of people.
But she found her fit. She was Laverne, a beer capper in Milwaukee. She was the yin to Shirley’s yang, and they made us laugh. And Squggy and Lenny.
I loved watching them get ready for dates and thinking about dates. I loved their relationship and their apartment. They were real, not some people with unattainable lives.
From what i read, Penny didn’t have a great plan to be a huge actress or director. She just did it. She grew from actress to successful movie director. And she also had her disappointments, things that didn’t turn out as well as she had hoped.
Years ago, I read that she and Carrie Fisher were best of friends and celebrated their birthdays together. I bet they were a hoot together. Both with wry senses of humor,
Carrie is now gone, too. That death also stung.
Isn’t it weird? I didn’t know either of them, but I mourned them. (Good grief, I accidentally typed ‘mounted them’ instead of ‘mourned them.’)
They would have appreciated that typo.
I don’t imagine that any of the young girls on my granddaughter’s synchronized team keen who Penny Marshall was. Maybe they don’t have any idea of what the letter “L” on their sweaters stands for. I don’t know.
As I sit here in my big room, looking out at the grayish silver trees behind my house, glancing at The Boy, sleeping on the couch with his head on a pillow, hearing the heat click on, and knowing I have much to do, today, I have to reset my head from far away mourner, to joyful gift wrapped and Santa helper.
I was glad that Penny lived to be 75, She had had health issues for years, getting lung cancer that had spread to her brain in 2009. The National Enquirer at the checkout counter gave grave warnings about her impending death.
But she showed them.
Ok. I am turning my thoughts around. I am making myself smile to have had the opportunity to laugh along with her and be proud of what she accomplished. She left a formidable legacy, including no a group of young girls who happily skate, wearing Laverne’s signature “L” on their sweaters.
If they only know.
So, for Laverne,let’s give her a rousing …
“Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”
And have a beer.
This morning, I had a false start. I wrote one of my stupid posts about groins. Groan.
While on my rest period, I have thought about many things … food,being one of them. Thinking of how I eat, where I eat, what I eat and why I eat.
Why did I do that? Because I believe that part of the way to improving my health, is to be conscious of what I eat.
As you know, food is a love of mine, but it acan also be a nemesis. Many people have a similar situation and may others, don’t.
So, as I have said, I am good at gaining and losing, but not maintaining.
But I will not give up on trying to do better.
I have learned that to go no or very low carb, gets the weight off, helps my joints and other things, but it is difficult to do forever.
So, I have begun another eating path. Eating less, eating few processed foods, and leaning towards a Mediterranean version. Also, I will still have treats, but small amounts and not as often. I will find other things that are healthy and satisfying.
I will be selective. Thoughtful. And live my life while making the changes.
My heart needs my help. It has come to that.
I have to remember that.
I approach this with optimism and hope, faith and patience. I also hope I know how to forgive myself if necessary.
So … that is my real message for today. The struggles of life continue to mix with the joys, successes and laughter. The groin will heal. I want to help my heart heal. Sometimes, you just have to face facts. And that is what I am doing.
So … I will be trying new recipes and making things up and I will share them. I might even try to remember how I made something if it is good.
Actually, this all makes me smile. Change is a huge part of life. I need to make some changes.
Little changes … big results.
My motto for the coming time.
Our Mediterranean dinner. Marinated grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olives, and hard boiled eggs in olive oil, herbs and balsamic.
And aren’t there Brussel sprouts beautiful?