Starfish on the Beach

11951205_1031581726885844_7710566966451595893_n

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.

Acceptance Seems to Suit Me

Untitled-thinker

Young Man, it’s beginning to look as though we made it. The ideal lover must’ve skipped a few decades. I found him waiting for me when I neared fifty.

I no longer remember the litany of traits that he absolutely had to possess. Nor  do I recognize the unshaven, long-haired man who sternly looks back at me when I blow the dust off my razor.

Those previous relationships did little to prepare us. That’d be doubly so if the scorekeeper knew that my mind’s eye no longer compares or ranks or bandies the random regret around the sunroom.

Love gave my decades their Smiling Faces.

As he listens to NPR in the next room, my Beloved is wailing, albeit internally: “Oh, woe is me!” or “Oh, woe is he!” The over-enunciated names, the coy smiles, the romantic affectations no longer matter.

The anti-Christ is unable to fill my water glass with that delightful and most Southern of familial combinations. Guilt. Fear. Desperation. Dread. Emptiness. Of course, those feelings linger. I reckon that they always will. They, however and hardly ever, grab a chair and bully me with unspoken intentions.

My heart has reclaimed all of those well-intended moments from that ever-so-sweet sweet Icelandic boy.

The bigger, more boastful loves need neither resolution nor amends. The players are gone, having packed up the world before today and, perhaps, stacked boxes inside one of those millennial “Pods”. I don’t care. I can’t care

My heart only has room for today. And I’ve already given Jon any “Power of Eternity”.

I am ready for the ceremony and its pomp-less jubilee.

That would, of course, refer to both my pre-transplant and my post-transplant hearts and my ability to call them up for circumstance.

Young Man, save a seat for me near the front. Acceptance

(Image: “Untitled [Thinker]” by Esao Andrews, 2006.)

Do you, Jonathan Howard, Take Yours Truly?

image

Days are often long, lonely, sweltering spans of time. Others pass with the wear of a moment. In the past few years, My beloved and I have yielded to both, fretting in fear and cowering in some intimate anticipation.

Our separate lives and the one we share will hopefully endure the bloodied sutures of this harrowing unfold of divine operations. I plan on it. Henry plans on it. Jon is an unrepentent skeptic and relies on my plans. I dare you to quote Mr Burns or Mr Murphy.

Now together for almost fourteen years, we have had quite a few candid discussions about marriage. Yes, beachside nuptials are an option for the two of us. But my generation has fought most often and harder for equal rights, not really marriage.

As it is, the topic is perfect for the occasional shared breakfast. We can obsess and brainstorm “ad infinitem” and then retreat to our upstairs/downstairs separate worlds. I can stretch out in my chair to ponder while Jon props up his legs and meditates with the hummingbirds.

Fourteen full years later, we are no closer to a decision. Perhaps you have advice, Gentle Reader. We must consider inheritance, rights of survivorship, and income taxes. We both worry about the other and his coping skills.

For me, it’s a triple wham of a notion. Southerner that I am, the whole process of finances are just not mentioned. We are both aging co-dependents who make acquiescence seem an artform. I am from an extremely liberal and Bohemian Catholic family. Jon grew up among mid-Western “Southern Baptist ” evangelical types.

Do we marry? Do we simply create indisputable legal documents? We both have sisters who’d likely not dispute anything whatsoever. I have, however, heard that declaration before and seen it throw a grieving mate into the inlaw fury from Hell.

So as this is Friday and “just a day”, please advise me. My mind’s eye debates in gray tones. Do Jon and I just ride out our dotage? Or do we create a magnificent moment?

The Fresh Producers: That’s My Watermelon

imageToday was such a perfect August day, one of Lou Reed perfection. At least I think so. It’s been many years since such a Marklewood Sunday peeked at us from the East. And then, upon a positive evaluation, the day opened its eyes from the squint.

My sister Polly and I had a good, old-fashioned “Shelling for Jesus” day.  We shelled two pounds of field peas, cooked them, and took note. We sautéed onions, added a package of my most favorite spicy sausage, and slowly combined the field peas.

You have absolutely no idea, Oh Gentle Reader and Generous Chef. All but a cupful fied into a hand-crafted turquoise tureen. There is a-plenty.

For the rest of the afternoon, we organized and prepped all the produce that easily filled two shelves: squash, honeydews, canteloups, peaches, berries. Polly sliced two watermelons into manageable pieces on which a melon freak might get a little crazy.

For my part, I made a simple scored-cucumber salad with vidalias and balsamic vinegar. My sister cooked ten ears of corn and then sliced the kernels right into some storage piece.

I sliced fresh jalapeños and stirred the slices into two cups of my favorite mayonaise. For those of you who do not live in the US, let me forewarn you. Southerners, if not consumers from all of the continental sbouncerstates, enjoy a rite of passage into culinary adulthood. Most folks seem to have lifelong selections for their “favorite” non-boutique mayonaise, ketchup, mustard, cola. In my case, a nosy guest might find Hellman’s, Heinz, Guldens, and Pepsi.

While there are many, many soft drinks with both many variations and fields of fans, I’m afraid that such a summit would never be a calm, civil display via Roberts Rules or behemoth bouncers.

I swear on the memories of Boar & Castle Drive In, years of transgression therapies have been unproductive. The best kitchen controls are high, broil, and anarchy-fueled domestic dictatorships.

By 5:30 pm, all the produce was washed, sliced, and bagged. Wherever appropriate foods were cooked, we secured the perfect size storage tureens.

We chatted, planned another such afternoon, and just passed away these suggestive dog days. No time had passed in the five years since we had a healthy interrupted visit.

I was so ready. I was so hungry. Eating healthily is its own revenge, eh Emily?

May your dreams tonight be as sweet as fresh Candor peaches!

Shalom. Bon apetit.

(Image: by Kevin Sloan.)

She Must’ve Gotten Waylaid Against the Wayward Wind

image

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.

Fare Thee Well. Pip! Pip!

1352668628
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

image
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.

Searching for Guacamole on the Moon’s Vast Dark Side

f5648fe2733295d9005e79e8251db0b7
I spend entirely too much time culling images, looking for one that might best illustrate a blog post. There was a time that those energies were directed toward Facebook. My focus has been narrowed by my very own internal control center: “My Achy, Breaky Heart.”

The key is to study directions and, as cousin Damian reminded me, comply and remain positive. My memory, cognition, and communication skills are in horrific disrepair. Both my health care provider, UNC’s Cardiology Department, and my beloved, who has my Medical Power of Attorney, simply manage my medications and various therapies.

Yessir. Yessir.
They take reign of my swoons and throbs, and keep a vigilant ear for the beat of a new heart. My new heart.

Meanwhile, I still post on Tartuffe’s Folly, but at the pace of an “out of breath” and compliant snail. And I search for the perfect image to stimulate visuals and “accessorize” the written word.

It would follow then that, at April’s baton hand-off, I’d browse through my May Day file of vintage B&W photographs and scans of relative paintings. By the time I had my hands on this pink Puck Maypolitical cover caricature, it was May 4. The post was mired in that swollen spiral of missed opportunities and deadlines.

The image still dressed my iPad with well-cropped wallpaper. After a few days’ studies. I realized that the publish date was May 5, 1908. My beloved would likely have to assist me in creating a relevant segue from sassy maypole satire to Cinquo de Mayo toasts and cheer.

I looked at my iPhone to confirm the date and it was May 9. Such projects were and are increasingly sucking from me any energy and optimism that I still hold to my chest, and its faint patter. Yikes! Egads! Zut alors! Damn.

Accepting defeat by details is excruciating for a 58-year old over-analytical, perfect risk “heart transplant” candidate.

As I scanned Pinterest to correct mis-taps, I found the answer:

My “Nod to Pink Freud” album was the ideal solution, albeit one that simply generalizes visuals of colors and hues.

My mission was finally complete. I was exhausted with a long-lasting pant. I was ready for my afternoon ritual of a Criminal Minds marathon.

Okay. Okay. I’m complying.

Wheels up in twenty.

Making the Most of It is the Least I Can Do

hospBed

Aloha.

My virtual countdown to that far-too-real day reminds me that I have four weeks to prepare. On that day, I will be admitted to the hospital to await my yet determined heart. It could be two months. It could be a year. Plus there is likely two months of in-patient recuperation after the transplant. A year? Mon Dieu!

I have tried for several weeks to accept this phase with optimism. I’d like to say that I shall make the most of the solitude, mediocrity, and the unyielding routines that prevent any REM sleep for over four hours. My hands are thrown high into the air above me.

Jon will just have to teach Henry to Skype. Speakerphones perplex him so I foresee a challenge. The thought of not spending such a timespan with my pets is terrifying on the side of dread.

I might be able to coax someone to smuggle a BLT from Merritt Grill. Beyond that, the “heart healthy” low sodium menu has me swooning with anticipation. Coffee. Tea. Blueberry bread. Decent salad dressings. My diet will endure the sticker shock while I remind myself that, one day, I will hopefully have a new heart.

I continue to not have much energy to complete even simple tasks. This very blog and Facebook are becoming too difficult. That’s where Pinterest and Twitter will come in handy.

Perhaps what scares me the most is that, regardless of timelines, Jon will spend a long, long time at home alone. He’ll likely play the “stoic trooper” card, but I know how that hand ends.

My mind is spent so I must close. I just wanted to stop by and say “aloha” and “shalom”.

The accompanying image is a portrait of Claude Monet while he endured a summer confined to a bed in a field hospital. I look at often now that I use it as a wallpaper image for my tablet. It makes me laugh.

I am just a tad envious about the bed size though.

Shalom.

(Image: “L’Ambulance Improvisée” by Jean Frédéric Bazille, 1865.)

God Bless the Cranky Ones!

FullSizeRender

As Thursday’s dawn is waiting in the Green Room, I am enjoying a quiet moment. I am thankful for my friends, even the cranky ones. I am thankful for relatives with whom I haven’t spoken in years, even the cranky ones.

I am appreciative of the internet, “Sherlock”, Edy’s Coffee Ice Cream, Target’s Bloody Mary pickles, and Tammy, my home health care nurse.

I am not especially fond of that darned “Auto-Fill”. It would never pass Mrs Whitlock’s English class.

After year and a half, I am still not acclimated to my ever-cumbersome 24 hour IV. But it is the Dobutamine that keeps me awake and alert at least for a while each day.

There is, however, a relatively wee issue bothering me a bit this morning. Who was it that thought we needed yet another Cinderella film? Is there really something new to bring to the editing room? Yikes.

Before I forget: I am always appreciative of my beloved who, after 13 years, no longer nags me if I stay up late. He also manages my health this days as I am fading and not always altogether lucid.

Oh yes. I am thankful for Henry, Hermione, and the delightfully odd and “Kitty Go-Lightly-ish” Marigold. (Claudja is on triple probation.) And I am always thankful for all of the outside pusses, even the cranky ones.

The Loved One But Not the Waugh One

IMG_1662

One’s loved one can evoke a smile in so many ways. That person may do or say something funny. Or release a smile that might suggest being amused, in agreement, or simply for reassurance. The best, however, is the wide smile that we don’t see coming and we don’t really know what coaxed it to fruition. It’s an oasis, summer rain, a kitten’s wonderment, and rediscovering an old friend all wrapped into one feeling in one moment of existential bliss.

Such is the situation with my beloved. He makes me smile and laugh with unabashed gusto and confidence. He can usually and quickly draw me away from my worries so that I can concentrate on more positive issues.

Mind you, Jon holds tight to his chest a rather thorough arsenal of humor. And often, as with water or candles, he will store some laughs somewhere in the kitchen. Where I have no inkling. Perhaps, he has finally found a good use for his larger and lidded Frankoma pieces.

I am certain that I do a great many things that lead to Jon responding with a sizable guffaw and chortle but this is my post. And “I’ll post what I want to. You would post too, if it happened to you!”

Nothing in life makes me laugh harder or longer in that robust manner, that which moves one’s entire torso, than one particular peccadillo of his. He talks to the cats as if they speak English and sometimes even French or Spanish.

He’ll have lengthy conversations with Henry (and now Marigold) as if he understands every word, nuance, idiom, even irony that roll off of Jon’s tongue. Henry, in turn, responds with a series of meaningful meows and cries of relief. I assume Henry believes that Jon understands Cat-ese, or whatever a feline language is named.

He does this every single day from the morn’s more forgettable moans right up until he calls the pusses to bed. Yes, he thinks those furry little divas will stay asleep all night. They won’t wake up at 5AM and lick your cheeks. And that they’ll repeat the process every hour until all the people at Marklewood are stirring and savoring that first cup of java. Satisfied, they then go to the empty bed and luxuriate in privacy.

Of course, Jon will sternly scold Henry for bothering him and waking him before dawn. Henry doesn’t miss a beat. He turns and licks Jon’s other cheek. He aloofly responds as if every word goes blissfully over his head.

That’s how I know that Henry actually does understand what Jon is saying.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone. Enjoy what minutes remain. And mind your language when you’re in front of your pets. Just in case.

The Image Love Paints

Carlo Maria Mariani -9-2

“If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.” (Michel Eyquem de Montaigne)

It is now only 30 hours until the ever-anticipated recently renovated Valentines Day.

Regardless of the direction of tomorrow’s Friday the Thirteenth, my beloved and I will be celebrating in the wee hours of Saturday. It will be long before we sleep and rest up from the day before.

We choose not to explain with embellishing details to protect our weariness, privacy, and perhaps even ignorance.

Make the most of the day, My Friends. Keep in mind, it comes but once a year.

(Image: “La Mano Ubbidisce All’Intelletto” by Carlo Maria Mariani, 1983.)