A New Season’s Hark to Last Season’s Heart

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This calm and still Wednesday morning has become quite the glorious herald to the new spring, hidden from view just around the corner. Like my recent nausea, the clouds have reluctantly dissipated, as relief peaks through a nebular porthole as if to softly whisper “I’m here!” The most critical of change is often slow to root and even slower, to soothe.

I know better than to foolishly tempt or tease fate, or (more importantly these days) allow it a loop in which to slip one of its “holy” bad or cruel jokes. To welcome blind change, without direction or guidance, is often destructive, self-defeating, and certainly foolish.

For that reason, today I celebrate patience and compassion, and the intertwine of the two. It saddens me that so many Americans have given up on the “honorable” and decent path. They prefer a quick fix. They want answers. And, most of all, they want to bolster their assets and checking account now.

To many of those, any change is indeed a better alternative. But is it? It frustrates me that, yet again, this nation is on the verge of yet another potentially foolhardy “throw the bums out” tirade, antsily stomping its feet. May I remind you it was one such repercussional tantrum in 1972 that first plucked Jesse Helms from obscurity as he appealed to voters’ sense of xenophobia and bigotry.

Not to fear, my friends, I will stifle my partisan leanings and neatly tuck my soap box away,for now. We all will be bombarded with such messages and images over the coming weeks. But I am scared. There are simply too many loose cannons and over-armed gamesmen out there.

Today, I shall celebrate what is good in the world, as I mourn what we have killed. I will definitely smile with relief as my mind’s eye catches Jon fumbling in the kitchen and reclaiming control over his own health.

But I will cry at the thought of the children that were callously thrown away by society. I will cry for their tormentors who were taught by their parents to hate. I will cry for my peers who say “oh, how awful!” and immediately turn the television to “Dancing With the Stars” to learn of Marla’s fate.

Today, I shall celebrate the still and bright skies, as I mourn those who wade through flooded streets. Or those who wonder why there are no birds circling the feeders, while air raids circle above.

Today, I celebrate Jon and the Twelve Noble and Apostolic Pusses of Marklewood, as I mourn those who are alone or isolated. I shall cry for children whose fear and isolation is so profound that they jump to “safety” from a bridge. I shall cry for those many, many individuals who go for days without human contact, and suffer the worst of society’s disconnects.

Trust me, I am neither a naive, cock-eyed, or a short-sighted “pollyanna”! I am broke and unemployed; follow politics far too closely; and have recently succumbed to these damned maladies of mortality. But I am a happy person.

I am comfortable with myself. I attempt to almost always do the right thing. And I have a partner, family, and friends who are nurturing, compassionate, and like-minded. “Like-minded”, by the way, has little to do with religion or politics, as it is more clearly defined by both reveal of our souls and our over-simplified levels of compassion.

So as I shall soon flip my desk calendar, I take a deep breath. I’ll look ahead in grand manner. October is always a grand month, illustrated by cascading leaves and previews of the season’s “sweater wars”. It is a handy month for both catching up and getting an ample head-start.

First things first. Let’s get through spring and the ever tardy April showers. Autumn’s harvest will gladly make a housecall in its own sweet and due time. By then, surely it will be the appropriate time to trade in “last year’s heart”.

And I love Thursdays! And I love the rain! And I love the Universe’s snappy unfold of the passing seasons!

It’s all good, Lillian.

May all of us have a lot to smile about this evening and tomorrow. Proceed with kindness and grace. And remember: being happy and content never means that you must forget how to cry. It is often tears that cleanse a nation’s spirit.

(Image: “Marinero” by Femke Hiemstra, 2012.)

Accepting Fear’s Exception

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I used to keep a journal filled with thoughts and doodles. It became obsolete over twenty years ago. At that time, the most productive and motivating outlet for self discourse was via email.

An afternoon of scribbling, without so much as a blinked scan’s proofread, made way to an equally-quick click of the always-busy “send”!

Years later, specifically in 2010, this very blog emerged from an raw, emotional heap of isolation, fear, exhaustion, and confusion. Tartuffe’s Folly, in a private way, became my salvation. The entire email option at once seemed silly as I had found a legitimate outlet.

The process of posting helped extract and explore my optimistic nature. Since then, I’ve been far more emotionally fit and my own best “hope junkie”!

Except on certain days, that is. Days like today. My thoughts drift into my rarely charted recesses of pragmatism and realism. To many folks, such talk is morbid and symptomatic of some evil neurosis.

But as they say in the deepest of Southern back alleys: “That don’t make no never mind.”
My 851 days of waiting for a new heart have given me all too much time for reflection. Now that I’m in the hospital until after the transplant, there’s no escaping the truth.

What if a donor heart is never procured? What if I don’t survive the surgery? What if my body succumbs to rejection impulses? After ten weeks in this room, my list of queries and hypotheticals continues to grow.

I’m in no way a “Pollyanna”. If I was a terrific candidate for the procedure back in December 2013, time has only eroded those odds. On some Sundays, the odds seem fated for only a fifty percent recovery.

Of course, my beloved and I can discuss the subject … but only insofar as neither of us becomes melancholy.

I know of two friends with whom I can share such intimate thoughts — a friend from college days and one from New York.

There are no definitive answers, no sure things. But if, in my most investigative deconstructions, I indeed have such thoughts, it likely suggests one thing.

I’m scared.

And today, in my most roundabout and rambling manner, I now can admit it to myself. I’m scared.

Mind you: broaching this discussion with a family member or close friend may yet be several Sundays ahead. But not now.

Similarly, I never shared my journals or my “emails to myself”.

Everything is a process these days. What better day than an April Sunday for a review?

(Image: “Vanitas” by Fernando Vicente, 2008.)

Up, Up, and Away: The Menu’s Small Print

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It’s 6:45 am. I’m running on empty, yet raring to go.

The nurses are no longer urging me to at least try to get some sleep. Perhaps later.

Right now I might just indulge myself and order a mid-century, farmer’s breakfast: two fried eggs, sausage, grits, rye toast with cream cheese, and an iced coffee. Yes, the hospital permits such decadent items, on the rare “pre-transplant” occasion.

Then, for the rest of the day, I’ll just feel as though I’m living within the context of a Fifth Dimension songbook.

Of course, I may struggle to stay awake for tonight’s Downton Abbey finale.

Wee Hour Ramblings

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It’s just shy of 4am and here I ponder. I obsess. And I explore the metaphysical haze that rises from the February dew and the balmy breezes that stage my fictional village settings.

My beloved and I usually watch television at night. Downton Abbey, Call the Mid-wife, Doc Martin, Sherlock Holmes, Elementary, Mr Robot and an increasing roster of guilty pleasures. I enjoy crime shows (Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU). Jon enjoys science fiction dramas (The 100, Expanse, Extant) that follow absurd storylines and Telenovela-like spaceship shows.

Oy. We both mumble a bit and slip into a hoarse Sotte Voce derision of each other’s choices. Why don’t murder victims stay dead? Half the time we are told ludicrous backstories.

It must be hard out there for an assassin. It happens so often that one of us always predicts: Oh, he’ll be back. Years ago, on One Life to Live, there was once a long-lost brother to a Llanview Grande Dame.

Half a year into his storyline, he was killed off. He drove his sport scar into a the side of a big “Big Rig”. His fate? He was decapitated, reminiscent of Jayne Mansfield’s end. A few years later, that very character just rolled into town to liven up those lost scenes.

Yes, I must be strong. I best avoid CNN. Those 10pm shows of yesterday still prompt my viewing:

Monday was Medical Center Night. Tuesday brought Marcus Welby MD. Oh, how I am indeed becoming my parents with their Hal/Margy peccadillos. Sure, I claim all the differences, improvements, and more recent popular trends. But Polly and I are so much like our parents … except for social skills and temperment.

So, in closing, I confess my more casual trespasses. But I’ve already deeply-analyzed my issues. And that’s when I fall into the Persian Blue abyss that holds my dreams.

I may study the sky … imagining a kingdom of clouds. I seed turrets, fountains, and windows. I find myself trying to peek in. And therein my blog post begins to take form.

And as I stand up erratically, I see faces in the turret.

(Image: by Alan McDonald.)

With the Turn of an ‘E’?

e16bae2c796d3e522c6091412ca44281_fullI obsess about something different almost every afternoon. Today was no different.

Images from TV’s Wheel of Fortune flew past my mind’s eye with puzzles in foreign language. Some were academically terrifying. Others were humorous.

Then there was the endangered Hawaiian, Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, with its repetitive use of both vowels and only eight consonants. I have an admiration for those who are fluent.

And then, for some reason I thought of Wales and Welsh and Torchwood. I remembered those twenty character words with only one or two vowels, and one of them a ‘Y’! Egads and Golly Gadzooks! I just can’t imagine … but I did.

God bless contestants on my imaginary Welsh Wheel of Fortune. And God bless my “make believe” Vanna.

(Image: “Alphabet, I” by Jean-Pierre Alaux.)

The Saturday Morning Mirth Makers

12274561_1066983530012330_7503053877539959490_nBy age seven and a relatively new and mature Big Brother, I had tired of most Halloween traditions. The circus always bored me. And those silly physical comedies such as “The Three Stooges”, “Little Rascals”, and “Laurel & Hardy” seemed excruciatingly foreign.

I barely even appreciated any Saturday morning cartoons, except for perhaps a random “Mighty Mouse” and “Fractured Fairy Tales”, which I interpreted as cautionary, allegorical, and rife with symbolism. Of course, I had yet to learn those terms from Sr Edward Patricia. That never stopped me, though, from explaining, deconstructing, and interpreting to/for my cousin Dennis

Yes, I was the epitome of a mid-century nerd, a bookworm, and surely the last one in my class to understand the importance and power of humor.

Of course, now that I am in my fifties (and forever tempted to look back in both regret and resolve), I have finally and safely discovered the types of humor and their forums that “stir both my loins and imagination”.

And while I would fail miserably if charged with the mission, I respect those whose calling it is to entertain, rouse, cheer, and distract.

God bless the mirth makers who, in these difficult times, help us to insulate our hopes. On certain gloomy and desolate Thursday evenings, I am convinced that the impact of the noble clown can be quite profound.

“As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.

“Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

“Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.

“And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.”
(Anonymous)

(Image: Poster by Beppo Lotti, 1925.)

Community Notes From Miss Lillian Herself

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Oh, woe is … well, somebody other than me!

I hear on NPR this afternoon some curious talk for the unlikely tandem awareness weeks for Genital Integrity and Estonia. Oh, to be uncircumsized, living in Riga, and not listening to NPR on a Sunday afternoon.

And who even knew there was a Liver Community here in Raleighwood or anywhere?

Word of the Year coronation isn’t slated until next week. However, the American Dialect Society has announced a few of its 2015 finalists: deconfliction (John Kerry), unicorn (Investment Narwhals), squad (Taylor Swift), schlonged (Donald Trump).

I could’ve sworn that in the wee hours of the remains of a Saturday night, Henry whispered in my ear: “God bless us, everyone!” However, I might be misconstruing the inflection of his purr.

And finally: in an odd twist of ironic web threads, I have discovered that tomorrow is the day on which one honors Saint Anthony the Hermit. Knowing not what to prepare for such a feast, perhaps we should just dine out.

Oh, you don’t celebrate December 28? Put on a party hat and go find your your Boogie Shoes nonetheless.

Shalom.

Please Join Us in a Jolly “Julsång”

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The holiday is in its denouement, if not wallowing in its aftermath. Such ripe heathenry is the worst that recovering Catholics can expect from a celebration that involves food.

If I were a drinking man who smoked or a smoking man who drank, this hour would be all mine. The dishes would be cleaned and returned to the appropriate cupboards. Guests would be en route H-O-M-E.

The house would be quiet except for our still-convalescing four-legged Henry. Beef energizes him nicely. Say Steward? Steward, is Henry not indeed a family member in good standing, albeit haunched? Does he not deserve some lean rare meat as well?

Of course, his gift this year is that he’ll likely not have to have his right rear leg amputated. He is extremely anemic, as am I, and as is the rationalization for a Christmas Day standing rib roast. A dear friend from New York made the roast a reality this year. And we were all thrilled.

And we were all thankful. Mind you, I don’t mean the type of thanks our parents encourage us to offer when we’re children. Those are niceties and not false by any means. However, it takes years of making mistakes, crying, overlooking a hug-less child, responding in quick judgment or simply studying others suffer as we would weigh-in on our own woes as well.

I am on the cusp of age sixty and finally on the top of the transplant list, a list that Santa is checking often. Jon has just been diagnosed with Diabetes on top of everything else. We lost our beloved Marigold and Hermione, the latter from renal failure it’d appear.

Nonetheless, Jon and I are thankful that we are both home to enjoy a fine dinner. We are thankful further that, knock on wood, a heart will be imminent. The wait nears three years. And we are thankful to have had the times that we did with those two cats who brought us laughter and companionship.

But it’s late and I digress for perhaps the last time in 2015. I am sitting here at my desk, both thankful and sated. While the Ghost of Christmas Past enjoys a Rusty Nail and a cigar, I’ll nurse my tea and listen to his tales.

And I’ll remind myself that with our pets nearby we are neither alone nor in need of nurture. Of course that’ll be just before I catch Henry rounding the corner … for late night red meat.

Shalom.

(Image: A Still from “Fanny and Alexander” by Ingmar Bergman, 1982.)

With Neither Maize Nor Wattle

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I was reminiscing this afternoon and sharing with Henry my most memorable Thanksgivings. It was a broad task for sure. But I tried.

Best Food? 2001 at my sister’s. No one can best her Prime Rib and Brisket. And that year, we also had turkey and oysters and a lot of people.
I was extremely emotional because Michael died just a month earlier.

Most Fun Thanksgiving? 1989 at the house I shared with the anti-Christ. The day stands out because everybody was happy and mingled well. We had moved in two days earlier and I was up all night organizing all our new kitchen. The weather was perfect.

We danced, listened to music, hung out on the deck, and threw a frisbee with our sheepdog.
After folks started to leave, three particular friends, my sister and her husband each fixed a cocktail and secured a seat for ROUND 2.

Most Forgettable?  1974 at my mother’s. My Father insisted on coming over. They had divorced 8 months earlier and he was living in Dallas and in a relationship that he rekindled from 1951. He showed no interest in my sister’s first year in Middle School or my freshman year at UNC. As soon as our utensils were gathered on plates, Polly and I left. It was all just so wrong

Most exotic Thanksgiving? 1958 in DC, but my mother was in Minnesota where she worked for Eugene McCarthy.

Legend has it that my father invited all of his friends who were from Germany, Italy, Kenya, and other points in between. After cocktails, everyone went into the dining room to eat. I was sound asleep on the sofa in the livingroom.

I woke up at some point … and crawled and toddled all around the room. As I advanced I looked into each glass and ate the garnishes. I happily dined on mainly cherries from Manhattans and olives from Martinis. I also finished each drink.

When dinner was over, my father and guests returned to the livingroom and found me sound asleep. Okay. Okay. I had passed out on the previously mentioned sofa.

The rest of the day unfolded as one would expect. Yes, my mother was livid when my Father confessed about a month later.

Finally, my most earnest and better prioritized Thanksgiving? 2011. Jon was recovering from a life threatening illness and I had recently had yet another heart attack.

Life had quickly become fragile. Nonetheless, we celebrated our union and found that, yes, we actually could afford a leg of lamb.

It is now four years later. Jon is much better but ridden with ailments of being almost 70. I’m still waiting for a heart. Henry is almost 13. He is your typically lazy tom but would even “turn pussy tricks” if it meant an entire turkey slice might fall to the floor. Since I am “projecting” with this post, we’ll just say He hopes that the turkey slice cascade to the floor. And that Claudja and Hermione are watching some football game.

We will share Thanksgiving with: my sister and her gentleman suitor, my niece Sara and her husband, my niece Sophie and her husband, and my niece Aubrey. My sister’s ex-husband, his wife, and young son will join us.

I will not try to understand the unfortunate inclusion of the latter nor will I let it interfere with the joyous part of the day. It may very well be the last time we are all together.

I am confidant to assume that we’ve each already endured a questionable, perhaps grossly dysfunctional Thanksgiving.

“Receive” will thus be Thursday’s Groucho Marxist “Word of the Day”. (К сожалению об этом.) I intend the word “receive” to invoke that 70’s and 80’s serendipitous suggestion for welcoming a positive karma.  We’re nonetheless surely due for a Cohen-esque Perfect Day.

And if not? Groovy. Bring it on, My Friend. Bring it on.

(Image: “The Small Village Torzhok” by Konstantin Ivanovich Gorbatov, 1917.)

The Big Bopper in a Brechtian Adaptation of Götterdämmerung.

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The past few days have rekindled my ponderances concerning ‘an’ or ‘the’ apocalypse. They fuel the closest of Nature’s anti-Christian propaganda. We give them jaw-dropping instruments and clever tools. Curiosity is center-stage, the greediest principle of these discussions. Our innocence, faith, and hope can all be bartered for what might ultimately become shrapnel for a Merry Modern Apocalypse.

We’ll be lucky to escape the days of dramatic, destructive DeMille-worthy Draconics. Our withered, twisted, pallid bodies writhe before both Satan’s messengers and his Middle Managers. I’d be terrified if I didn’t know how to conjure up the ghosts of Dorothy Maguire or Irene Dunne. Hell just cries out for a woman’s touch.

The terms and mission statements differ among all the speculated time tables, outcome, and long-term results, such as the Prodigal Daughter’s election to safeguard that papal orb.

Not everyone buys into the religious implications and innuendos if the Apocalypse is more of an event: a Passion Play, orgy, or skirmishes pitting our inner demons with the professional ones that Dante made poetic reference to. There are metaphysicists, palm readers, New Testament scholars, the jaded Daughters of Perpetual Scepters, and catechism teachers who soon realize the hopelessness and folly of schedules.

While God seems to often function on a broad but focused itinerary, Lucifer embraces streams of consciousness that eventually dry into a sticky, gooey, and pasty ball of evil. The various Mephistophelan minions might perhaps plan a campus wide sex party at East Carolina University, or leak a faulty list of Target’s Black Friday doorbusters to all of the Pilates classes in Western Civilization.

Of course, we have no idea when the Apocalypse might step forward and finally harken: the end of the world. It may actually represent a long, devastating era in which we are increasingly bombarded with ugly visuals, ugly voices, ugly hairstyles, and the ugliest of souls. How did such a beautiful, dignified, and pedigreed word such as apocalypse become the nadir of time and its crush of humanity?

I tend to probably oversimplify my theories. I am always quick to tidy the room of any mislaid emotions, bitter tears, voodoo dolls, spilt milk, and dead insects that suggest little sill cemeteries. I’d pack them carefully into a box that would make Wells-Fargo proud. And I’d place the box in a vault with a short scribbled message: “Dear Pandora, You fill up our senses like the night in a forest. Fondly, the RNC.”

One popular theory in my household is that the Beginning of the End began in the arid, soulless months that led up to 9/11. The events seem to be escalating. Further, we risk the sad reality that our very fears alone may well end Humanity.

The countless predictions have left us all numb to the concept. We laugh. We joke. We try to bury our terror. And venerate our Tenors.

That terror always seems to be the last soldier standing.

With all the theories of the anti-Christ unnecessarily poised for debates, it seems as though they’re, in fact, all the same. They may be drawn differently. Or have a different name. Or a conflicting font of experience. It is the vocabulary that mind-fucks our senses of reason, compassion, and justice. Our homemade religion might be our downfall yet.

That is: if we empower it or Him. Or the ghost of Berthold Brecht. I bet there’s a lost, now found, musical adaptation of Götterdämmerung just waiting to be produced. Such a gross pastiche of melodies, weaponry, and humanist mythology could usher in the Apocalypse. I can see it.

Yes, I do believe we’ve stumbled head first into something big … a jazzy, peppy, and lyrical Apocalypse. I can just hear the soundtrack queuing: Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross in “Endless Love” or Anne Murray’s entire repertoire. The Big Bopper is not dead.

Perhaps he will save us.

 

 

The Riches of Culinary Peasantry and Subsequent Pleasantry

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As I sat in the sunroom blowing smoke rings against the frosted panes, the kitchen gods whispered to me. Today would indeed be a perfect Wintry day for a cassoulet.

And, yes, like all other such recipes and traditions, mine is borrowed, augmented, and made more appropriate for our odd lifestyle and taste-buds.

What was once a French country peasant staple is now a Marklewood delight, and further one that allows for great freedom of expression. I also find that such a creation allows me the opportunity to “gently” clean out the icebox a bit!

Cassoulets are, by tradition, crocked meals, at once combining meats, beans, herbs, and sauce, although I usually add rice. Rice is my current starch trend as I prefer its texture … and Henry, who adores “people food”, is awfully fond of the saffron variety! As with all well-intended and pragmatic one-pot meals, I begin with selection of the perfect vessel, in this case a ceramic and lidded cooker. Friends, I urge you to verify any such choice to ascertain whether it is indeed oven-worthy, as I have oft let an assumption lead me astray.

Today, I am using a teal hand-sculpted three-quart work of art that my friend Patricia (a dear and rather Bohemian pottress) created for me years ago. It had a domed cover with a peculiar and thus engaging finial. I begin the layering process (I adore creating levels of taste in such meals) by meticulously placing a vegetable along the bottom of the pot.

Although a cassoulet would by tradition call for white beans, I am using Brussels sprouts, as I have fresh ones on hand and, although Jon doesn’t quite understand them, he WILL tolerate them in certain preparations. I ready them by quartering them and sautéing them with butter and garlic, and then line them up like attentive soldiers (back to back or a similar formation).

I then spoon a melange of similarly sautéed onions and mushrooms and make every attempt to cleverly conceal the waiting sprouts. Upon this layer, I add about four cups of rice. I offer “about” as one perk to this concoction is that exactness of quantities is unimportant, as the flavors compliment in any sensible proportion. Henry prefers saffron rice, as it melds mild flavor, texture, and butter, which is intoxicating to an indoor puss.

The final layer is that of substance, or meat if you must. I prefer sausages as they contribute full flavor. Today I am taking Summer sausages, browning them in a skillet, and then slicing them for ease in placement. Sometimes it is ALL about such ease, lest I forget an unfortunate creation of last year. That incident will safely go unposted and unshared.

Once all of the layering is complete and I am certain that there is absolutely nothing else I can add, I place the cover … ultimately cooking the cassoulet for forty minutes at 375 degrees. Again, with such a preparation, there is no need to be exact so even a half hour longer will not overcook the dish … just allow you more time on Facebook before dinner.

What I adore about this hearty meal is that the flavors essentially trickle down: The mushrooms & onions position themselves between the sprouts, sharing in the garlic, and filling any gaps. The rice fills similar gaps thus created by the mushrooms/onions, absorbing butter. The juices and herbed flavors from the sausage similarly infuse the rice.

As I wait for the dish to complete and the timer to chime, I ponder two other reasons for my fondness. First, I can use the same sauté pan for the Brussels sprout, ‘shrooms, and meat, thereby creating only one such pan to wash. Second, the cook time allows me the opportunity to wash and quickly put away that very pan and any utensils or holding bowls. I so enjoy having only ONE cooker to clean after dinner! Je ne regret rien!

One final note, my friends: when spooning and “plating” your cassoulet use the largest spoon you can find. Gently ease it towards the bottom of the dish and simply scoop. Never try to mix the ingredients. Sometimes it is best to allow the flavors and aromas to gently transition on the plate and avoid offering instead just one big ole complex taste! There IS such an effort as “over-mixing” as I have been accused of this on many a night!

In closing, oh comrades in cookery, Jon and I anticipate a warm and hearty dinner, worthy of an Arctic Sunday evening. Someday, perhaps you will join us. Although there may not always be a cleared chair, there is indeed always plenty of food to nourish and savor.

As they say in the South of France, “Bon Appétit, y’all!” And such cassoulets have followed suit and beckoned to be called Cassie. She’s nowhere near as touchy about her casserole roots this days.

(Note: Such a dish goes well with almost any robust wine, although I prefer a Pinot Noir. More importantly, I would put a Karen Akers CD on the carousel and turn the volume a lttle higher than is customary.

(Image: “The Four Temperaments: Sanguinic, Landscape Variation” by Thomas Woodruff, 2010.)

Boardless in Raleigh: Stripped, Whipped, and Dropping Pins Everywhere

imageI’ve never denied that I’m obsessive, a bit Pollyanna-ish, and prone to take the world and all of its moons just a little too seriously. It was that combination of traits that made me an ideal Catholic School student in the Sixties. If I didn’t receive 100 on a Spelling quiz, the Daughters of Charity felt my pain. In tandem, they’d often quietly add to my pain as well.

Today, I feel such pain. I bet today the sore bleeds and throbs more dramatically. I have no advocates remaining in my corner. That is certainly the case with a certain networking site. I won’t pussyfoot any further. I was zapped this afternoon by the Pentagruels of social networking sites in the most unholy of ways.

I have been suspended, removed, or deleted … whatever the proper term is. I no longer exist in that milieu. The censors have pissed on my keyboard and seized my almost 50,000 images posted to almost 350 albums. They will not return the fruit of a half year’s passion and detail. It is collateral damage.

There is no Customer Service department to contact. There is only an address to which I can send an email, with only my address as context. There is no outlet for inquiry or in which to plead a case.

The afternoon has gone terribly wrong. No one can really see into my mind and determine how I actually do feel. No one really “feels” my devastation. No one feels the extent of the violation.

For six months,said site has engaged me for an amalgate of probably one entire month of online term if not more. Over 750 hours.

True, the entire process has provided me with entertainment at a time when there is so little. Since the only time I leave the house is for a doctor’s appointment, it just gets me from A to B each day.

But the love affair has ended. There is neither an iota of fanfare nor the slightest brouhaha.

There seems to be no small way with which to make a bad situation good. Or to even just lessen the anger and sadness!

I will not shed a tear for Social Networks of any color Nor will I dance into a Hell of heartbreak.

I shall save my pins now for intricately and specifically fashioned voodoo dolls.

Other folks best pin away “ad infinitem”, eh Tartuffe?

“Farewell, Mein Lieben Herr!”

I remain your humble poster, Boardless in Raleigh.

(Image: Poster for “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Gerald Scarfe, 1989.)

Starfish on the Beach

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It is just past three in the morning and I am a few steps away from taking a final preoccupation to bed.

Do guilty pleasures phase out of our lives, finally become acceptable, OR ultimately dismissed as silly?

Or from years of Catholic brow-beating and shaming, does the Pleasure amass even more guilt? Is it more embarrassing, as you likely lied to yourself about such an inevitability? The wells of both guilt and embarrassment are surely bottomless

Does admitting that you enjoy and even sing along to “Seasons in the Sun” become easier or more difficult with time?

“But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.” Is it even more difficult to admit that you know the lyrics by heart?

I wonder.

Three in the morning! My beloved is certainly pacing and counting cats, in the the most overlooked co-dependent talents. He finds it best to suppress any desire to nag, bother, or seem needy.

Shalom, shalom. Forgive my whisper. Let me quickly tiptoe to the bedroom.

Damn. I did it again! He will once again be cross about my dawdling into the wee hours.

Shalom.

I’m Reviewing the Situation: Which Way, the Query?

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I feel as though I should take September’s advice and look for those ageless life-reassuring sophomore’s books, and if I’m spent on such, step to “reaffirming” my quiet second look.
Life re-assuring is a calm, steady breeze;
Oh, your calm voice and gentle touch at once make gentle a “hard lesson”.

Life-reassuring is the denouement within Mr Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes latest venture; on which to “drag aboard” a bloody drip and a better grip.
Life-reassuring is the last question on an assessment test; in a non-related Human Resources Department.
Life-reassuring is its answer, my pencil down far; too quickly.
Life-reassuring is sharing my brood in a never-ending first scene of a novel; yet put to words.

But I digress. Take my Promethean demeanor straight to bed. Take two metaphors and call me in the morning. I’ll tell you what to do.

(Image: “Reading at the Sea” by Vittorio Matteo Corcos, 1910.)