She Must’ve Gotten Waylaid Against the Wayward Wind

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Finally! I have stumbled upon the Red Meat Fairy. Although she’s known by so many personas, I call her Delmonica. Before I Continue, I must shamefully  apologize to you, Gentle Reader,  and that wisp of a worn wailer, our Ms Grant.

Tomorrow, my beloved and I meet with what seems like the transplant team of the United Federation of Planets. I am weary of the drama. Quite literally, I might add.

However, I am confident that the results will be amenable to all parties, in this case “Vlad”, my former trivia contest handle. I learned many things from those marathon triviathons of yesteryear. I am much more competitive than I ever imagined. Further, I met Vlad who schooled me in the art and value of being incognito.

Unlike me, Jon is less confident about tomorrow’s summit. He’s a reluctant, silver-haired fretter of Edwardian proportion. At least he is fired up and focused. Seeing begets believing. Believing begets joy and melody.

And celebration may just warrant an obnoxiously thick steak grilled rare. That sassy and elusive Red Meat Fairy has dangled it to rouse my spirits.

So I will catch up with you, my friend, on the other side of Friday. Keep your fingers firmly crossed, please. I just want closure and a hasty return to my crest on the transplant list.

The background music fades.

Pray for us singers, eh Gogi?

Shalom.

(Image: “Meat Dancer” by Mark Ryden, 2011.)

The Knee-Jerk Teeter of a Delicate Balance’s Tottero

9cff4aa5a566ed93-SkyscraperOy ve.

I fear an interloper threatens Marklewood, the “heart & homestead” that I share with my beloved. The drama that fuels the summer’s health decisions is quick to crush any embers yet struggling from an abuse of metaphorical privilege!

I can now better understand those Law & Order storylines that deal with black marketed transplant organs!

Of course, I’m kidding. I’m simply cloaked, however, by emotional blackmail, knee-jerk reactions, and the institutional politics from Medicare to Medicaid and to my health providers.

Me thinks “provider” is a current buzzword akin to “Human Resources” in the seventies and the late 80’s sweeping term “ambassador”. I refer to neither diplomat nor vintage GM motor-yawner. (“Welcome to Bloomingdales Mens Shoe Department. I am your footwear ambassador Vlad.” What? Think I’d use my real name?)

Now I best resume my ramblings as the dinner hour looms and the tree frogs chirp.

Like i said: oy.

Everybody seems to consider themselves the expert in my my life. Folks who have never even turned down this quiet country road are telling me how I should do this or that. One such concerned party officially recommends that I leave the pusses and just live somewhere else, perhaps while that dinner hour is still looming.

No one is listening. I am just getting pushed further and further away from my life’s inner circle. Of course, the pot at the end of this rainbow of a process is a new heart, a second chance. life itself. Yes, I realize that everyone has my health as their concern. However, I am still owed inclusion to decision-making and respect for my right to voice a concern, or even a protest.

For over a year, I have realized that the politics of such a wondrous and complex surgery can take odd twists. They certainly are beginning a new chapter as I am on an on-again/off-again basis with the transplant status list. You will only get a heart if. If. If. If.

Of course, I shall comply. I want to live a long healthy life. But I want to stay with my family as long as I possibly can. “As a precaution” just doesn’t cut it in a life-altering and potentially devastating decision. No, I will not take unnecessary risks.

As of my latest assessment, I am still of sound mind and I am well aware of Monday’s options. I am not going to do something stupid.

But I’ll make a deal with you, O’ Unnamed Source of Woe. Stop referring to me as if I am now living life in the third person. At that time, we can probably have another heart-to-heart tête-à-tête. (In the deepest of Southern annals, one might call it a “Prayer to Jesus Meeting”, pardon any latent evangelism.)

Don’t worry, Cousin Damian. I shall comply. I always do. Tonight, though, I felt due a Susan Hawyard moment.

The dinner hour is slapping its timepiece. I’ll leave you in peace.

Until dessert.

For the record, Jamie was always my favorite of Jack McCoy’s ADAs.

(Image: “Self Portrait as Skyscraper” by Julie Heffernan, 2012.)

A Patient, His Plea, and That Presumptous and Ever-Hasty Auto-Fill

imageWhen anyone says “Look at the bright side!”, I cringe, albeit internally. The comment is simply dismissive of that pesky dark side.

Such a suggestion may probably prematurely bring any conversation to a halt. On both the other hand and the friendly walking shoes, the conversation eventually opens that Election ’16’ door, as we spend the afternoon counting the steps on the rickety stairs ahead.

I fell Monday afternoon. I fell again two minutes later. I just missed the curb outside my Physical Therapy gym. My clothes were covered in musty moist mulch. Anger and Fear stepped forward into the dangerous land of metaphors,. Those often wayward phrases should be substantially isolated and restricted to Section E of the newspaper.

Do I tell my cardiologist and embrace the risk of her insistence that I be hospitalized immediately? Do I tell Jon who’ll likely call my cardiologist out of worry and what not? Do I remain mum and deny those moments?

There is no bright side to becoming more symptomatic of physical deterioration and the abrasive weather of time.

I just turned 59 and I became lightheaded and rather “vacant”. I tumbled face forward into a cement sidewalk. As I was righting myself, I did it all over a lousy second time.

At that point, Jon drive up and, yes, I told him everything. I shared my frustration. And I begged him not to tell Dr R-J. I want to stay at home a little longer.

I still need to download some books, teach Henry to skype, and actually shave. There are many things I want to do and remember before I am admitted to UNC memorial Hospital to begin my yet undetermined wait for a heart to become available.

That is, a living, pumping heart. Please put a hold tag on it, one with my name on it. At that time I promise to hasten anon. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

And once again, my friends, I took another tumble, this time down the stairs. I was carrying a few plates, a cup of coffee, with my iPad under my left arm.

Coffee splattered in each direction although mainly on me. The dishes fell to the bottom step. But I clutched that precious personal operating device. You know the one.

Yes, I Refer to the skinny one with the annoying voice that says most often: “I don’t understand the question.” Or “there is a state trooper 500 yards ahead.” Don’t get me started on the curse of Auto-Fill and Siri’s poor handling of grammar or treatment of proper names.

You know what I mean. It’s one more voice singing that “three part” and terrifying harmony.

Please allow me to wait … at home … with my beloved. Thank you for your time and consideration, Gertrude.

Deconstruct the Dogma, Lillian, But Never Trade an Icon

I was looking at 1st Dibbs as I often do when I’m blue and a little blasphemous. Most of the pricing is on the absurd side, and they assume it’s their serve. Today, I turned to items that left me with neither words or mere utterances.

Icons from both the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches can now be found on e-Bay, Craig’s List and, of course, 1st Dibbs. Starting at or near $25,000, they will surely soon be listed on Close-Out, Sidewalk, Promotional, Annual and most final Sales. A Founders Day Sale is a given.

eBay and Amazon probably offer free shipping to further entice less parochial consumers with the intent to snare a QVC devotée or more-or-less the epitome of a all-around shopping addict.

Methinks a lot of Sales Managers will soon carry Rosary beads. Hell, they’ll probably even recite Hail Marys while they unpack shipment of men’s thongs or “Adult” merchandise. Or while carefully packing one of said icons to return to some little old lady, or as Henry and I say: “woman of a certain dotage”.

Meanwhile, I’m thoroughly fascinated with these Icons. Some are just beautiful, if not “D-I-V-I-N-E”

Tip Toe and Don’t Slam the Door, Missy!

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“You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your hair.”
Henry watched me with his ‘trademark, almost lethal dose of curiosity. He seemed to shakes his head with disapproval and twitch nervously. Then, again, I could be mistaken.

I was shaving my beard as to give definition to my goatee yet again. I also trimmed my beard, and did so perhaps too enthusiastically. I sculpted my facial hairs down to 1/4 inch.

The scales at Dr Rose-Jones office later today will mostly likely and digitally post my weight with no change since my last visit. Perhaps, though, the pile of hairs in the bathroom sink surely will be substantial and might create a loss of a wee weight.

If so, I shall smile cautiously as to not overplay my hand with nurse Sarah. She’ll be noting all of my “vitals”. I dare not appear to be fishing for reassurance of some sort.

Nurse Sarah might just be distracted by my changed look, having morphed from mountain hippie back into a peppy preppy. I decided a few weeks ago to shave at least once a week … to feign a return to proper regimens. That will ward off the overly concerned solicitations. The few folk I bump into these days tend to lower their voice and in a Bartonesque sotte voce suggest: “Oh my, dear. Can you not afford a haircut or shaving accoutrement?”

The pause that usually follows is awkward and, worse yet, slow to dissipate into contained ease.

And facilitating Cancerian that I am, my hosting responsibilities accompany me whenever and wherever I might roam.
Yikes. This ramble has veered far too much away from point, my Sunday night shave.

As I shaved, I played tunes from my iPod Liam. At random, I turned to a playlist. This particular one was a collection of different versions covering a single First Edition classic.

Yes, That classic was indeed “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town!”

Interpretations by the Killers and by Wolfsheim are my two favorite, but there others: nine in total.

The tune was actually apropos. It swiftly introduced Junior High School visuals to my pixilated neuro-receptors. Such goofiness can often set the tone for the remaining hours in the day.

“Ruby, are you contemplating going out somewhere?” That was followed by some lyrics about shadows and guns. At about that point in the song, I usually skip to the next song. “You’ve painted up your lips and rolled your colored hair.”

It is my favorite shower solo, followed by “I’m Living in Shame” and “Time of the Season”. “Mama passed away making homemade jam.”

Yikes! It is approaching the pre-dawn hour of 4.

That’s it. It is indeed time to sign off and join my beloved and the two upstairs cats in bed. Oy. Wheels up in fifteen.

The drama. The drama. “For God’s sake, turn around.”

Henry is shaking his head again.

Silly puss! Silly me!

Those Soulfully Tailored & Sun-Kissed Saints

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There are quite a few future Saints running around these days. None have hats in a ring. None are on a reality show. None are grandstanding on CNN, although a few others might be.

But for the sake of this post, those TV mavens neither need apply nor stand by. Henry salutes the humble souls who quietly work for change and betterment, with compassionate and realistic goals.

One might be a blonde Republican South Carolina state senator whose swell of tears stopped the gavel and prompted a vote. In my mind’s ear, just left of my mind’s eye, I heard a weary voice pleading: “Why can’t we all just get along?” The emphasis should be on the last two words, evoking a passionate resonance.

Another might be a film actress who tirelessly fights for starving, hurting, or oppressed children. Her drive suggests a number of victims the extent of which should shame the global community as well as each of its breathing, seemingly oblivious souls. Her hair may be often askew with a Cubist’s tussle, but she never mentions it in either polite OR bawdy company.

I hear her stress the realit slap that hundreds of millions of children direly need help like hers. Few folk deign to answer, let alone carry her voice.

Here at home, we refuse to face a grim and devastating curse of our modern-ness. Horrific percentages of the elderly are sick, alone, isolated, and terrified. I easily can imagine a few fraternity boys scoffing at the seniors’ plight: “Oh, they’re old and at an age that is eons away our own reality.”

Yet, across the hall is a duo of exhausted, but fearlessly compassionate young scholars. Around their chaotic schedules and extracurricular demands, they find time to spend precious hours each week … just visiting and showing an untainted humanity.

Those conversational threads of words alone can save lives. They may leave a dusting wake of hope or simply help someone just get through a bleak and hammering day. Each day is to be cherished and is never too little to give someone.

Oh, how I do proselytize on my rickety “Calgon” Soapbox. As my words slow to a still, I beseech those bubbles to “take me away!” I best turn my attention around to household missions. Every now and then let me forget the woes of the world.

But there is one thing I always try to remember. There are indeed kind and compassionate egalitarians out here that fight for humanity in quiet, sereptitiously ways.

Those “saintly” types just don’t raise their hands or grab a megaphone.

They value their focus. They seek and spread authentic kindness.

At the end of my day here in the hinterlands, that is what it is all about: kindness. It is a word that, shall I say, “begets”!

(Image: “Announcement of Death to Saint Fina by Saint Gregory the Great” by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1475.),

Fare Thee Well. Pip! Pip!

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My beloved and I love Fridays. It’s a tea and crumpets kinda day, at least this time of year when we are rather homebound. Our health restrictions and sorry symptoms demand such. We have grown to relish the stillness from being surrounded by woods of ancient pines. And never take for granted a precious perk of retirement.

Jon might have a vanilla mini-cupcake and Vernor’s Ginger Ale. I might have a frosted, puffy, and cake-ish cookie with my trademark “Uber” Iced Coffee, Jon’s special Java formula and preparation.

The confections would be carefully selected from Target’s bakery specials. The libations are a manifestation of both long-term habits and what our health regimens might strongly dictate.

The humorous part of the preparation deals with our opposing treatment of produce. In this case, that would suggest the season’s true booty: ripe and sweet cucumbers and tomatoes. We vary in how they are sliced and dressed:

Missourian Jon doesn’t both to skin cukes. He then simply slices them into wafers. He then fetches a chilled pomme de terre and slices “any which way.”

As a Southerner by default, I peel the tender cucumbers and then score them from end to end. The end result is a tender flower with refreshing summer tastes and textures.

If one lives South of Mr Mason and Mr Dixon’s legacy, one stores all tomatoes at room temperature. That goes for the German variety or any of the strains that most counties claim proudly as their own.

Here, we have neighboring Johnston County tomatoes. The county in which Jon and I reside seems to, instead, be growing Liberal Democrats. Verily, Miss Vera. Fertilizer is everywhere, dear.

The shape of the tomatoes can be round slices, half slices, or the ever popular wedges. Consistency is the key for teatime propriety. Let’s just say that it hints of the grandest of Southernisms: restrained creativity and creative restraint.

The tricky aspect of Marklewood Low Tea involves the pusses. Henry holds back and waits patiently for a nibble of cheese or a cracker. He’s even been known to snatch a Saltine from Jon’s plate, cocksurely struts to the doorway, and savors the cracker.

We have tried to determine how he actually can nibble in spite of the brittleness. Like most of modern feline applications, it appears to be all about licking, licking, and licking.

So later today, on what will most likely be a sweltering gust into the weekend, my beloved and I will enjoy our time together on this crazy clock of ours.

After teatime, we will seamlessly ease into a mandatory Jeopardy fest and then the longstanding SciFi Friday. Jon will fetch a glass of Silk and perhaps fix a salad which he would prepare much differently than I. I would switch from coffee to iced tea and perhaps fix a salad … my way.

Conceptually our supper “snacks” will usually appear and taste quite differently. I guess it’s a Missouri/North Carolina kinda thing.

It’s 2am and Jon and I are almost safely cruising through Thursday’s denouement. Our lives may be askew, but it’s the communion of spirits that stays with us. That very teatime nourishes our weary souls just a little and delicately quenches Love’s thirst.

Cheerio, Gentle Readers. Keep that pinky raised with pride whilst thy sippeth!

(Image: “Tea With He and Me” by Ray Caesar, 2012.)

“Murdering Doesn’t Improve One’s Manners”, uh Mannons

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For over thirty years, I have unsuccessfully searched for Mourning Becomes Electra and, today, have finally seen it. My anticipation grew exponentially this morning as I readied to view the 1947 movie and its unfold of the saga Mannon.

Yes, TCM would be featuring the Dudley Nichols effort that had miserable box office returns. In fact, receipts back then totaled what would one ultimately amount to less than today’s average price for a here house in Raleigh.

Well, I can see how Russell was nominated for an Academy Award. I can see how she lost, although her appetite was surely well-whet from scenery. And we all remember that Loretta Young twinkle.

The adaptation of the O’Neill cycle drama based on the Oedipal tragedy, here, becomes quite the Greek farce. The altogether dated movie, beginning with the once relevant but today made trite “Shenandoah” overture, is chock full of Thursday’s anachronisms.

The score was undoubtedly perfect when the drama premiered on Broadway. It today, however, falls as flat as the backdrop painted with the immediate front view of the Mannon mansion.

To its credit, the story combines timeless themes such as: the savagery of war, family disfunction gone awry,  suicide, murder, and incest. The little-veiled theme of the latter is surprisingly titillating and modern, not in its occurrence. O’Neill certainly doesn’t shy away from the various Sophoclean relationships and any combination therein.  Henry and Marigold are well aware of such proclivities but only from afar … as they spy on the outdoor pusses and their cohorts.

Iconic Greek actress and Academy Award winner, Katina Paxinou, is dreadfully miscast and distracting as Christine in her flouncy hoop skirts and unabashed accent.

I’ll give you Sir Michael Redgrave and Raymond Massey, both giving adequate performances and playing against type. In fact, Sir Mike is perhaps the best part of MBE, at least according to Henry.

Finally and most generally, It was difficult to even remember that it was set in post Civil War Maine. That, though, suggests the cruel wear of time, not any fault of direction, script, or acting.

Fiddle-De-Dee. (OOPS. Wrong movie. Wrong side.) The 173 minutes were nonetheless happily spent. MBE was fun to watch and at least my Pop Culture bucket list is now shorter by one.

Now “go fasten all the shutters and throw out the flowers!”

Forgive me, Sr Edward Patricia. I titled this post with a playful take on one of the better known O’Neill quotes.

Forgive me, Gentle Readers for my unbridled and slightly caustic pre-weekend ramblings. It’s been far too long since my beloved and I have actually stepped inside a movie theater.

A Blistery Pink & Parched July

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There is very little that is poetic about an air-still produce stand and its baskets of wilted mornings and sweltering afternoons. I can barely eke out a rhyme against the fading wails of droopy hydrangea heads. But, as they sometimes say in the deeper Southern backforties: that don’t make no never mind. July’s weather weighs less and less on our weary minds.

Jon and I rejoice in waking up each morning, trying not to be first to check if the other breathes. We pay attention to our pets and nurture them as they, us.
We catalog our medications and scoff-little at their dispense. Whether we rank, alphabetize, or create some new pharmaceutical order, we quietly tend to our meds. It’s an activity.

My beloved and I just try to pass each day with smiles and kind words. We celebrate those rare days when neither of us is under a thunderstorm or, as you’d probably say: weather.

On every third Thursday, we venture into town. We seem to rejoin some surrealist circle of humanity. We wrest validation on some silly notion that to see our therapist, the same but separately, preserves any remaining social skills. Jon and I enthusiastically make it a day: marketing and fetching prescriptions. It’s an activity.

We never, though, ever take our eyes of the prize. We muddle. We putz. We dawdle.

It’s an activity.

September is nigh, dressed in new colors, ripping that pink from the rafters! Our mornings once again will get dressed before noon.

Jon will have his vampires. I shall have my zombies.

Ah. Indulgent, naughty activities rock with a “right” racy roll.

(Image by Aleksandr Kostetsky.)

Evelyn Opens: Ichabod’s Portmanteau of ShowPiece Piecegoods

Unlike any such purveyors in any such markets, Mr Crane’s renowned establishment is a distinctive,splendidly-staffed, and fully liquor-licensed Textile Gallery nonpareil. He is an eager merchant of the rare, of the impeccable, and of the painted.

Crane’s showroom swatches are drawn from gorgeously fabricated clothing, upholstery, and window treatments as depicted in paintings. The samples are divinely textural with hyper-detailed velvets, silks, tulles, Fortuny silks, taffetas, damasks, brocades. All the bolts are stunning as placed: perfectly arranged by color and “ilk of the silk”, as it were. Your senses will stirred beyond the broadest of kens and the most obscure of imaginations.

In addition to Hermione’s choices, the moderately-priced Scalamandre and Schumacher, customers will experience the lush, visual threads of many international designers:
Zoffany, Bonnat, Ingres, Parrish, Alma-Tadema,
Dvorak, Waterhouse, Klimt, Rochegrosse, Hodler,
Mucha, Millais, Bouguereau, Gérôme, among myriad others.
New arrivals are introduced daily.

Upcoming “Portmanteau Show” will be held on Friday, September Something. Latest introductions will be featured including the latest from the fabulous distinctive creations from several avant-garde design studios. This year’s participants pay both homage and nostalgic tributes to the provocative and divine examples of 19th c. Neo-Classicism, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Orientalism, and Art Nouveau.

Personal shoppers and models are available, including: Ann Boleyn, Jayne Mansfield, Catherine Howard and guest floaters.

Ichabod’s Portmanteau of ShowPiece Piecegoods
Open 12-4, Tuesday-Friday. or By Appointment

Another Exquisite Establishment of Evelyn’s Fine Designs
Managed by one of her other Personas
It is both a privilege for us to serve you and a privilege for you to shop with us.

Please: no smoking, no beverages, no tags, and no toile du jouy .

Yes, you are indeed correct. Mr Crane is a distant relative of the late great Edith Head, the design impresario. Obviously, there was a little grafting onto that family tree!

The Flagship Evelyn’s Furniture Uber-Emporium

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For Shirley, Esmerelda, Evelyn,
& Nancy

Veni, Vidi, Visa

“Offering fresh, appropriate, and


Extremely tasteful designs
for you and all of your personas.”

Specializing in Fine
Mid-Century Gothic,
Neo-Classical Art Deco, &
Nouveau-Moderne Furniture
Since 1983.

“No job is ever too big
for our team of
Eager and solicitous
Design ambassadors but,
Unfortunately,
Some are simply
Too small and bothersome.”

Evelyn’s Furniture Uber-Emporium
Has always been a leader in
Design, fashion, and jest.
Ids and alter egos
are billed separately.