Sunday, October 12, 2014


Oh, light of early morning, chasing fear away and bringing with you a promise, and permission to believe that all things are possible, that nothing is decided just yet. You let me envision joy and the utter relaxation of knowing I did the right thing - that the staying was my best and boldest act. Because running has often been my greatest skill. But staying has been hard, particularly when surrounded by voices that hissed or screamed or whispered - "GO!"

I may yet find that the many voices were right and that the staying was my most ridiculous act - repeated a multitude of times over many, many years. But just in this moment, as the hint of a sun creates hazy pinks and melting oranges across the purple Arizona mountains, I allow myself to imagine the joy that will accompany the sweet knowledge that he was worth it. I stayed and we were worth it. I stayed and we are better for it, a faith rewarded by the sigh of a shared slow release of breath and the sweet smiles as we look into each other's eyes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Susan was two weeks overdue for her monthly trip to the Hair Castle. Her short cut was looking a little shaggy and her mustache was making its presence known. One of the cruel ironies of aging is that your eyesight begins to go just as your body decides to sprout little black hairs in places you would never have dreamed they would grow. Susan had still not recovered from the view in the 5X magnification pocket mirror she had purchased. So many dark hairs on her face!!! Horrible. How did Charlie find her attractive? Well, his eyesight was going too, she supposed.

Looking in the mirror in her giant "spa" bathroom, she worked with some hair wax to shape her unruly hair into something a little less mad-scientist and a little more just-in-from-the-beach. She wasn't satisfied but it would have to do. Lunch with the Optimist Club was not exactly a major social event, but she would see many people who played a role in her business life, so she didn't want to look disheveled. She wore her red suit, which she always felt confident in, and black pumps. Her daughter had recently convinced her to forego the panty hose, so her legs were bare. That felt quite peculiar, but she supposed she would get used to it eventually. Gold earrings, Tiffany necklace and Coach purse. She was ready.

As she made her way down the stairs, she fantasized about quitting the Optimist Club. She wasn't an optimist and she had no desire to participate in any of the activities or fundraisers. In fact, she hated everything except the lunches at Rita's. She was very fond of Rita's pies. But one could not live in a small, Southern town and not belong to a civic organization. Susan wondered how many people in the Optimist Club felt the way she did. And which was the greater virtue? Being the kind of person who DID want to be there? Or being the kind of person who DIDN'T want to be there, but who attended faithfully anyway?

In the car now, she pressed the button for the garage door. She adjusted the mirror and applied her lipstick as the door rolled up. She put the car in gear and started forward, but jammed the brake pedal when she saw two boys with Halloween masks on, standing in her driveway with their peckers hanging out. They were wiggling their hips around so their small penises danced around in the air. Before she could react, they ran off. Honestly, why did boys and men always think the world revolved around their private parts? Even Charlie unveiled his as if she should be newly astonished and impressed every time she saw that thing. And she played her part, oohing and aahing over it and everything he did with it. To be honest though, she could have easily lived without ever seeing it again. But she'd never tell HIM that! Oh, no!

Driving down the hill towards town, she passed by other large houses with immaculate lawns. Is this my life? Is this all there is ever going to be? Susan felt like rolling down her window and screaming out, "Lord, give me some magic and excitement!" She would give anything to find herself transported to another life, one in which she had a daily dose of fun. Maybe she could become an artist and live on a commune. She waved at her neighbor Jimmy, out walking Aristotle, the little frou-frou dog that he shared with his roommate, Howard. Everyone knew they were a couple, but since they never talked about it, nobody ever said anything - not to their faces, anyway.

Crap. She had forgotten her list. She didn't have time to go back, so she'd just have to try to remember what was on it. She knew she needed to grab some crafting supplies. The grandchildren were coming home with her after church on Sunday so Mike & Shelly Ann could have some "alone time," as they called it. Susan planned to make Christmas ornaments with the two older kids during nap time for the youngest. It would be an ungodly mess, but they would have fun and Shelly Ann would be forced to hang the tacky things on her precious tree. Susan smiled to think of it. She didn't care for her daughter-in-law who had a permanent case of one-upmanship that mainly ran towards comparing her things to Susan's things. If Shelly Ann actually found herself liking something that Susan had, she would drop hints about it, hoping that Susan would give it to her. Susan sometimes packed an item and put it away, just so she could lie to Shelly Ann and tell her she had sent it to her daughter in Seattle. She loved seeing the mixture of astonishment and frustration on Shelly Ann's face. She knew it was not nice, but it was the only revenge she could think of for the theft of her only son. Mike would not stand up to Shelly Ann, which was smart, Susan supposed. He wanted peace and he got peace as long as Shelly Ann had her way.

What else did she need? Oh, a new journal. Hers was almost full. She had long ago realized that Charlie read her journal. He often read it while she was out showing houses on Saturday. She could always tell because he had sticky fingers from his Crackerjack addiction. She had even found popcorn residue. So she had stopped writing her deepest secrets and now used the journal to communicate wishes to Charlie about gifts, vacations and restaurant picks. She pretended that she believed he was coming up with these ideas on her own. Maybe he had figured it out. Maybe he hadn't. But it worked for them, so she kept doing it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

amendment 1 is dead

Amendment 1 is dead in North Carolina. Of all of the efforts of the hateful among us, amendment 1 cut me to the quick more than any other. North Carolina is my birth state. And although we moved away before I turned one, we returned in time for my high school years. I also attended college there. And almost every summer of my life, I have returned to a small mountain community where my extended family has summered since 1906. My heart is always in North Carolina and the hate that was there codified into law hurt me deeply.

As a heterosexual woman, how do I explain the ignorance and hatred that leads to such an action by other human beings? It is un-explainable. It boggles the mind that otherwise loving people, many who profess to follow the teachings of Christ, could commit such a heinous act. I wept frustrated and angry tears when it happened. Today, I weep tears of joy that the almost 900 days of legal discrimination are now behind us.

Tomorrow and forever, love wins in North Carolina. With 30+ states now celebrating love, the rest of the country will follow. The idiot states are always last when it comes to doing the right thing and that pattern appears to be holding true. But even they will come around eventually. So, today I cheer!!! Love wins!

Friday, August 1, 2014


The morning light filters through the beige vertical shades, which shiver from the movement of the ceiling fan, casting ever-changing geometrical patterns of shade on the dingy carpet. There is the slight smell of dog, as if someone has made a Herculean effort to clean up an accidental puddle, but hasn't quite conquered the odor. The air shifts and the smell is gone. Then it's back, causing me to wrinkle my nose.

Everything is almost in its place, but there is just enough out of place that I know I'm in the house of someone who simply isn't that committed to a regular cleaning routine. The Arizona dust lightly covers the television stand and the shelves in the cubby whose door stands open, as if my arrival interrupted a search for an item. A blue exercise ball sits in one corner, an empty ceramic plant pot in another. A few scattered leaves are in the pot, suggesting the presence of a large plant that didn't make it.

From where I'm sitting, I can see tracks on the carpet where people have walked through the room. One track travels from the front door to the hallway, another from the front door to the sliding glass door and a trough just in front of the sofa. Besides the dirt, there are small pieces of debris here and there - a thread, a small, torn piece of blue paper and assorted unidentifiable pieces of dark stuff, all small enough to just barely be noticeable.

"Here we are," Jimmy carols, bringing in a tray. His magnificent orange and blue caftan flows around him as he moves towards me. I am so thirsty and am thrilled to see glasses of iced something. Is it tea? And a plate of cookies. They look like Pepperidge Farm. Things are looking up.

"Please look over my mess," Jimmy begs, "I have not given this place a thorough cleaning since I got back from the cruise. I haven't even done laundry!"

"You should see my place," I lie. "It's a complete disaster area. Stuff everywhere!"

"Oh, I'm sure your place is gorgeous." Jimmy hands me a glass. I take a sip. It's tea and it's sweet - but not TOO sweet. "I fixed it Southern style, just for you."

"Delicious." I say, because it is!

Jimmy hands me a paper napkin, then offers the plate of cookies. I take one - a Pirouette, my favorite. Jimmy lets out a trill of laughter. "One cookie? Don't make me look bad!" I take two more - a Bordeaux and a Brussels.

"Thanks," I say. "These are my favorite cookies." Jimmy nods.

I wonder how long it will take for the subject to come up. I'm not bringing it up. If Jimmy wants to talk about it, he'll have to be the one. I study his face. He is munching on a Chessman and studying the carpet. I bet he's thinking about how to start. Finally, he looks up at me and smiles. I smile too.

"Do you know why I invited you over?" Jimmy asks. Okay - here we go.

I take another sip of my tea. "I have an idea, but I was going to wait for you to bring it up."

Jimmy gets up and walks back into the kitchen. He comes right back, carrying coasters, which he places on the table between us. I put my glass down. It makes a click sound when the glass meets the coaster, which has a colorful sun face on it.

"I heard that you sometimes look into things for people." Jimmy says. I nod my head, waiting. "I need to know where Rico went." There it is. It was exactly what I was expecting. Ahead of me, I see hours and hours of crazy travel, including Brazil and all points between. I'm happy to take it on, but I'm not sure if Jimmy has the money.

"Jimmy, sometimes people don't want to be found. And finding a person who doesn't want to be found can be extremely expensive."

"I just inherited a lot of money from my grandmother. I can afford to send you around the world several times over." His hands flutter as he talks, like birds trying to get out of an aviary. He picks up a cookie, then puts it back down. "I just need to know. He doesn't even need to know that I was looking."

"Rico knows me. If he sees me, he'll know it's you that's looking."

Then Jimmy is crying, but just barely. Tears flow from his eyes and he carefully blots under each eye, trying not to smear his make-up. "I'm an idiot," he says. "But the heart wants what the heart wants." Emily Dickinson, no less. He's in deep.

Not a stranger to unrequited love, I nod. I know I'm going to do it, so I might as well get to it. "You know I'll help you in any way I can. Tell me anything you do know that might help me find him. Then we can calculate what the first few weeks will cost you. I can't travel right away because I have some other commitments, but I can do some work from here to get started. If you want to go forward, I'm committed."

Jimmy swoops me up into a bear hug. His caftan smells of L'eau D'issey and the material is silky against my face. He lets me go. "I knew you would." We both sit back down. He holds out the cookie plate. What the hell, I think. I take two more.

Monday, July 28, 2014

fitbit II

Well, here we are a month later. I am easily getting my 10,000 steps per day. In the Arizona heat, some planning was absolutely vital to my success. Luckily, Priscilla, my recently adopted chiweenie, is an early bird. She starts her energetic rousting process between 4 and 5 each morning. She usually succeeds in getting me out the door by 5. We walk the entire circumference of the complex, which is just under 1500 steps. Sometimes we go a bit further in order to achieve the REAL goal of our walk. (Dog owners will know what this is. People who don't like dogs will NOT want to read about it.)

If I am working that day, I can count on 4000-5000 steps at work. At the library, I spend a good deal of time sitting at the front desk. But I often walk with customers to various sections of the library to help them look for something or to help with a computer. (I find it comical that I am helping anyone with a computer.) When I'm in the book drop, there are many, many walks from the book drop slot to the check-in computer. When I look back at my daily steps, I can see that my total number is really determined by my time in the book drop. I also volunteer to carry donations to the back room. Heck, I volunteer for anything that involves adding steps to my daily count! (And I still absolutely LOVE working at the library! It's the perfect post-retirement job for me.)

The rest of my steps I can easily add in with remaining walks with Priscilla and normal walking within my home. The real challenge is on days that I'm NOT working. On those days, I resort to walking inside my small apartment, which feels absolutely ridiculous, but works! I've counted during a walk through my space and it adds up to 180 steps. This means that I just need to calculate how many trips are needed to get to my goal and pace myself to get there. It is boring. But my other option is to go over to the little workout room on the property and walk on the treadmill. At least at home I can walk during TV commercials. Or I can turn on some great music and walk through three songs (or whatever.) I'm rather fond of John Phillips Sousa for marching about my house.

The best news over the last month is that I've lost 32 pounds since I started working on it in early May. I didn't get my Fitbit until June 26th, but I'm glad I got it when I did, because my weight loss had definitely plateaued. Walking those steps has allowed me to add more carbs to my daily calorie intake. I also do some beginner Yoga stretches and some other specific exercises to help my muscle growth.

Fatty McPhatty (introduced to you two posts ago) was very helpful in pointing out that I certainly deserved a pig out day when I hit 175 pounds (down from 203.) For once, I let Fatty have her way. My sweetheart and I went downtown to the Phoenix Market and enjoyed some delicious food off the various food trucks that gather there on Wednesday nights. Music was good. Food was good. Company was good. Although I'm blessed to have a partner who loves me and my body no matter its size, I feel better each day and he can't argue with that.

I'm now at 171. My goal is 140. Feeling confident and healthier than in years! I even pulled some pants out of my closet that I haven't worn since 2008. I originally bought them for my trip to Tahiti and I have pictures of myself wearing them. I wondered, how much further do I have to go before I can wear these? I tried them on. They fit!!! They're even a little loose in the hips. Amazing.

So far I've avoided spending money on new clothes. If I can shop my own closet, why buy clothes that I might be too small for in another month? But at some point, I will run out of old things. I remember donating things I thought I would never fit in to again. Oh well! Forward march!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014


I blame David Sedaris. His recent post about his Fitbit, combined with the recent start of my determination to be healthier as I age, catapulted me into purchasing my own Fitbit. The box arrived yesterday just as I was leaving for work. I didn't have time to go back to my computer and set up my account, but I still strapped that puppy on, just to get used to wearing it.

This morning, when I took my walk, I was dismayed to find that I had walked less than a mile and logged only a little over 1500 steps. The goal is 10,000 steps per day. With the summer heat here in Arizona, this is going to take some thought. I can't just pace within the confines of my small home. I know because I tried. No, I'm going to have to walk further in the morning. And I'm going to have to ... no, I can't face it yet!

I'll think about it tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2014

ms. cat

For the last five years, I've been picturing a slightly older, much fitter version of myself. In my mind, I see her as trim and energetic. She has all natural (gray) hair, usually in a short but feminine cut. Her eyes are bright and full of life. She is warm and loving. I call her Ms. Cat. I've often thought about what I needed to do to become that woman. It is simple, really. Exercise and eat a healthier diet. Simple?

About six weeks ago, something clicked in me and I just decided to do it. I started walking most mornings and doing some beginner Yoga in the afternoons/evenings. I've dropped over 20 pounds. This morning, at the conclusion of my morning walk, I SPRINTED up four flights of stairs to my front door. What??? Who is this? Well, she resembles that woman in my imagination! I look more like Ms. Cat every day.

While I've been going through this process, I've noticed a very angry voice in my head. I'm going to call her Fatty McPhatty. She is in a constant struggle to try to assert herself over the will of Ms. Cat. On my twenty minute ride home from work, she calls out in a loud sing-song voice EVERY fast food establishment I pass. "BURGER KING!", she shouts and sends a few pictures of menu items through my brain. With each one I pass, she sounds more desperate. "ARBY'S", Fatty McPhatty sings out and sends me a visual of some curly fries. I keep driving. "TACO BELL", she shrieks, and I picture the perfect combination of items. As I drive past, Fatty lets out a mournful howl, "Nooooooo!!!"

This morning, as I walked the long way around the entire complex, Fatty McPhatty helpfully pointed out each shortcut that would get me back home without walking quite as far. "If you turn here," she would suggest, "you can skip the back part and get straight to your door." When I walked past the turn, she crossed her arms in front of her chest and slumped to the ground in a raging pout. I picked her up and carried her! Ms. Cat doesn't mind carrying a little extra weight when she's burning her way through something physical.

I wrote out an affirmation and taped it to my bathroom mirror. When I see it, it spurs me to do something good for myself, whether it is choosing nutritious meals or doing something physical. I chose it because it is the opposite of how I have ever thought of myself. Never once, in all my years, did I ever describe myself this way. But Ms. Cat knew better. (She is older and wiser than I am today.) My affirmation says:


It's interesting how powerful words can be. I'm actually starting to believe it! I suspect this process is different for every person who makes up their mind to change a bad habit. But any time I feel weak, I remind myself that I successfully quit smoking almost 30 years ago. If I can do that, I can do anything! Well, at least Ms. Cat can!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

cherry pie

Fate is a beast. The world seems to separate everyone into categories that, at first glance, reek of the stink of unfairness. Losers feel that everything goes wrong, no matter what they do. Champions feel that nothing can ever go wrong and even bad situations morph into wins for them. Losers wait for the other shoe to drop. Champions know that victory is just around the corner. Fate maintains a Mona Lisa smile and continues to direct traffic, often without paying careful attention, but usually managing to do the job with few operational errors.

But if you're a Loser, take heart. Because every now and then, Fate takes a break, perhaps to sample that cherry pie that's been cooling on the window sill. Fate is a sucker for cherry pie. And in that moment, when Fate is distracted, Losers can become Champions. But don't just wait for it to happen, passively accepting Fate's assignment of your category. No, go bake a cherry pie instead. For there is nothing quite as tempting as a cherry pie. Make sure you have a can of whipped cream standing by, just to make the temptation that much stronger. Can you control Fate? Maybe you can. It never hurts to try. And Champions always try.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


In 2008, I bought a new laptop. Unfortunately for me, it came with the Vista operating system, which I rapidly learned to hate. It was constantly freezing and simply drove me crazy. One day in mid-2010, I became frustrated with it and slapped my laptop closed with a little too much force. I hesitated to open it and check the screen, but thought I better look right away. I opened it and took a peek. Yep, I had cracked the screen. Well, I thought, in for a penny - in for a pound. So I stood up, took the laptop and dropped it on the floor as hard as I could. Then I jumped up and down on it about 25 times. It felt so good!!!!

After I finished giggling, I grabbed my purse and drove over to Best Buy to get a new laptop. I was a happy woman that night! Later, it hit me that I had quite a bit of writing on the hard drive of the demolished laptop. But I didn't feel very motivated about figuring out how to extract the files. So when I moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia in 2012, I still had the old laptop with me. And when I moved from Georgia to Arizona in 2013, I will had the old laptop with me.

Yesterday, the "new" laptop (purchased in 2010) died. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the screen turned a lovely maroon shade and no amount of Ctrl/Alt/Del would restart the sucker. I even turned it completely off, left it a while and came back. Nope. So off I went to Best Buy again. While I was there, I asked about my old hard drive and my old OLD hard drive. The salesman sold me a hard drive case that I could plug into my new machine in order to download the data off the old hard drives.

I certainly didn't get the job done without a few starts and stops, but I'm proud to say that I recovered all of my old writing from BOTH hard drives. It felt so good! So, last night and this morning, I read through some of my older stuff. I've made a commitment to myself to try to finish some things. I'm great at starting, but not so great at finishing. I have 7 months left in 2014. I'm going to finish something!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

the proust questionnaire

Every so often, I like to challenge myself to answer the Proust Questionnaire. My answers tell me whether I am brave or not. More truth in my answers means I am brave. Hedged or incomplete answers, or outright lies, tell me that I am cowardly. This is an exercise for me more than for you. In fact, I suggest you do the same on your blog, or on your computer, or in your journal. If you write fiction, the questions can also serve to develop a character. Have fun!
  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Sitting in the dappled shade on a reserved lounger in The Sanctuary, a private section available for rent on most Princess cruise ships. The ship is either sailing or docked in a lovely location. I am being waited on hand and foot. I alternately read and doze. Occasionally, I deign to put on clothes and join friends or family or complete strangers in the dining room for a sumptuous meal.
  2. What is your greatest fear?
    Dying alone. If I allow myself to fully explore this fear, I'm able to conjure up the discovery of my body, days after my death. Then I expand the horror to include my sisters discovering the contents of one particular drawer in my bedroom.
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    My ongoing failure to exercise. I'm fatter than I would like to be, but keep hoping I will simply wake up one morning with the body I feel I ought to have.
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    Rudeness to service personnel or customer service individuals AND rudeness from those same people.
  5. Which living person do you most admire?
    Any woman who has claimed her own personal power.
  6. What is your greatest extravagance?
    Watching television or reading while housework remains unfinished.
  7. What is your current state of mind?
    Slightly worried.
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
  9. On what occasion do you lie?
    For entertainment purposes, I often embellish the telling of events that actually happened.
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
    See question 3. I'm also now sporting my mother's double chin.
  11. Which living person do you most despise?
    Any religious person who invests a great deal of energy into trying to force everyone to comply with their particular religious beliefs.
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
    The ability to focus on the needs of others.
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
    The ability to run her own life without concern for what others may think.
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    Have I told you about the time ...
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
    My previous partner, now a good friend. We've known each other since 1975.
  16. When and where were you happiest?
    Lying on my belly on the sail of a huge catamaran as it sailed around the Bora Bora lagoon at sunset, peering down into the water, listening to the steel band play and occasionally sipping at whatever rum concoction someone handed me.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?
    The ability to FINISH at least one novel or short story. I'm a fantastic starter, though!
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    I would be less critical of others.
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    My 27 year-old son sees people as people. He makes friends from all walks of life, every hue and every ethnicity. I believe I had a hand in that and I am very proud of this achievement, particularly since I raised him in rural Georgia!
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
    A gingko tree.
  21. Where would you most like to live?
    Montreat, North Carolina.
  22. What is your most treasured possession?
    A numbered print of The Forgiving Father by Frank Wesley.
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    Hating any group of people based solely on their belonging to that particular group.
  24. What is your favorite occupation?
  25. What is your most marked characteristic?
    The speed at which I can be reminded of a story which I will need to tell at that very moment OR the speed at which I can be reminded of a song which I will need to sing at that very moment.
  26. What do you most value in your friends?
    Their willingness to listen to my stories (and tell their own) and the ease with which (most of them) sing along when I burst into song.
  27. Who are your favorite writers?
    Anne Tyler, Edith Wharton, Nevada Barr, Marilyn French, Pat Conroy, William Faulkner, Dana Stabenow, Jonathan Kozol, Studs Terkel, Ruth Rendell ... the list goes on.
  28. Who is your hero of fiction?
    I have two. Mira in The Women's Room. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
    The suffragettes.
  30. Who are your heroes in real life?
    My father and his father for their integrity and huge hearts. People who live on the margins and maintain open hearts and authenticity.
  31. What are your favorite words/names?
    Samuel, koi, sakura, whisk, petrichor, and so many others.
  32. What is it that you most dislike?
    Mean people.
  33. What is your greatest regret?
    Many years ago, I sent someone out into the world because I felt he needed more world experience. I expected him to return to me, wiser and better equipped to handle a lifetime of love with me. He married the next woman he met.
  34. How would you like to die?
    Instantly, with as little fuss as possible.
  35. What is your motto?
    Never put a raisin where a chocolate chip could go.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

special dark torture

I grew up as the youngest of four children. Every Christmas morning, five stockings (four kids plus Mom) were carefully displayed in five distinct locations in the living room. Any loot located in or next to the stocking with your name on it was yours. The stocking contained apples, oranges, tangerines, assorted unshelled nuts, Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's assorted miniature chocolates. Mother would have carefully counted the assorted chocolates to make sure that we each got the same number of each type: Mr. Goodbar, Milk Chocolate, Special Dark and Krackel.

All of the fruit in our stockings went into a huge ceramic bowl on the dining room table. All of the nuts went into a wooden nut bowl which also contained a nutcracker and a pick. But the miniature chocolates were left as individual property.

Now I loved the Krackel and I liked the Milk Chocolate. And I would eat a Mr. Goodbar in a pinch. But I hated the Special Dark. Everyone knew this. As soon as we opened our stockings, I started trying to trade with my siblings to try to get Krackels before they ate them. My brother traded right away. But my oldest sister refused. She knew if she waited, that I would blow through my Krackels and Milk Chocolates and would then be desperate. This would put her in a position to offer a 2 for 1 deal. She would give me one Krackel in exchange for two Special Darks. I would howl in protest, but I would eventually take the deal. Sometimes my Mother would take pity on me and trade me for my Special Darks.

Only recently did it occur to me that Mother could have prevented the whole thing by simply giving the Special Darks to the people who actually liked them. Sigh. Her treachery knew no bounds.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I regret not washing my hair this morning. The police photo is probably going to be on the front page of every tabloid and online in multiple iterations. Comparisons will probably be made with that Nick Nolte booking picture. My face will forever appear in every "ten worst celebrity booking photos" line-up. There's no telling what my make-up looks like by now. I wonder if I ask nicely, will they let me just pop into a toilet and freshen up a bit? Probably not. And asking might earn me a response I won't like. My annual income is probably 500 times the salary these men and women earn. There's bound to be resentment.

This police car stinks. The predominant smell is urine - old urine. Maybe the drunk people pee in the car without even realizing that they're doing it. Or maybe people just get scared. I'm so stressed that I couldn't produce pee right now if the cop held a gun to my head. The cage bars separating this space from the front seat look really sturdy. I wonder how many times someone has beat their head against those bars. I could do that right now. But knowing my luck, someone would take a picture of me with their camera phone.

I'd like to know what the hell they're doing out there. The longer it takes for us to get down to the police station, the more likely the paparazzi will be waiting when I come out. I wonder if it's too late at night to arrange a decoy. A few minutes ago, an officer opened the front door and sat down in the driver's seat. He asked me a couple of questions and I answered them, thinking that doing so might speed up the process and get us moving towards the police station. Then it dawned on me that they had read me my rights upstairs when they first arrested me. Everything I was saying could be used against me. I told the officer that I didn't want to say anything else until I spoke with my attorney. He turned and looked at me with total disgust. Then he got back out of the car and slammed the door.

WHY WHY WHY did I agree to do this little errand for Simon? I should have said no. But there's something about that smile and those sparkling blue eyes and that damned dimple. He can make me do things. I had no idea I was doing anything illegal, but I did ask him why he needed me to do it. Why couldn't he go? He said he didn't want to be seen going into Jack Johnson's office because of the lawsuit. That actually made sense to me at the time. And now, here I sit, in this stinky squad car, waiting for the slowest police officers in the fucking universe.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, behold! Thousands of years can pass without a moment as amazing as the one you are about to experience. Feast your eyes on the colorful and ever-changing magnificence of the one and only Aries of Bolodo. Once seen, a life is never the same. Songs will be written and sung. Pages will be written and read again and again. Dreams will be ever populated by the Aries,  bringing smiles to sleeping faces. You will ask yourself if you are dreaming now, for such a sight will strike you as impossible. Be steady. No sudden movements lest they be your last. Danger accompanies the Aries. Even one Ary can kill several men without any effort. But they will tolerate us if we remain calm.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Over the water, a sound traveled that was both unfamiliar and odd. When the sound started, every camper's head turned in that direction, pausing from whatever had been, a moment ago, occupying the thoughts and hands of  the now attentive listeners. Then one by one they each went back to what they had been doing. Except Nonesuch. He knew what was coming. He stared in the direction of the sound a full two minutes longer than the others. Then he looked at each of the other campers, one at a time, thinking to himself that he would probably be the only survivor and would never see these men again. With as little movement as possible, he poured the water from his canteen into the dirt behind him. Then he stood up, muttered to the others that he was going to get water and slipped away from camp.

Nonesuch stepped into the cool of the forest and looked back. Nobody was watching him. He eased around a tree and took up a rifle, which he placed up in the nearest tree. Then he dropped on to the ground and crawled to the back of the closest tent, pulled out his knife and cut a slot in the back. He peeked through, then reached his hand in and came back with a sleeping bag. Another grab earned him his bag and one final reach got him a box of rifle shells. He crawled back into the trees. Quickly, he packed the goods and slipped the bag onto his back. Then he was running, hoping to put as much distance between himself and the camp before the misery arrived.

By the time the first scream reached his ears, he was on the far side of the river. Then he ran south along the river towards the waterfall, knowing that he might have to jump. If the Eaters sniffed out a missing man, they would start looking for him. His only chance was to get some distance, then some water behind him. It didn't feel like his time to die, but maybe it never did for anyone. How would he know?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

shiny things

The thing that convinced me that we were at an end was when I thought about sending him the lyrics to Send in the Clowns, to make a point, you know ... to say how sad and ridiculous we had become. But it hit me that he wouldn't get the reference. He wasn't literary. He didn't follow theatre. Those were worlds he didn't feel drawn to in any way.

So you left him then?

No. I lingered. I stayed almost a decade more. It was convenient. Oh, I scold myself now. Maybe if I had left sooner, I might have met someone wonderful. Actually, I did meet someone wonderful - several someones. But I couldn't let him go. No, I lingered.

When did you actually leave then? Or did you?

He left me. Isn't that hilarious? He grew weary of me complaining about how unhappy I was and he left me. It's actually the nicest gift he ever gave me!

When was that?

1983. One would think I would have snapped up a new beau then. But with the hideous hair of those years, I couldn't compete. Women wore these high-rise wings of hair on their foreheads and I think they functioned like the bright feathers of a male bird. Men were drawn to them. I couldn't bring myself to wear ridiculous hair, so I suffered by comparison.

Men didn't want you?

Oh, they did. But only after they talked to me. Men always find me attractive after they've spoken with me for a while. I can always tell when the switch has happened. Their eyes change and they lean in a little. But my problem is that by the time they realize they're interested, I'm so angry that I push them away. Their slow awareness of who I am bores me. I need a man whose smart enough to figure it out immediately. And there aren't that many around like that. No, men are like little children. They like shiny things.

So you've been alone all these years? There was no one else?

Well, there was George. But I try not to think about him. He was the sweetest man and I treated him terribly. He scared me so. He had this ability ... he was French. I don't know why I said that. Being French had nothing to do with it. Ha! He had this ability to do things just as you were wishing he would. He was so in tune, you know? Not just with me. Everyone. It was uncanny. And scary. Every time he did it, I would be mean to him because it scared me. But we still had some very wonderful trips and we even lived together for a bit.

In France?

No. We were in Montreal.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I never said you couldn't go.

Well, you implied it. You totally fucking implied it. Your facial expression. Your body language. Every pore on your body pushed out a NO.

Now you're just being crazy. Pores don't have a language.

Yours do. Your pores get involved in every conversation we have. They sell that pore shrinking shit specifically for people like you, to shut you down, to give other people the chance to breathe.

So go, then.

Oh, nooooo.

Go and have a wonderful time.

Ohhhh no. You're not getting me that way. That's mother guilt right there. You SAY for me to go, but there's punishment waiting for me somewhere down the road.

For God's sake, Jimmy, just GO.

I'll go. But I am warning you. If you punish me later, I will not stand for that shit. I will not stand for that shit.

I'll try to keep my pores under control.

Fine. You do that.


I'm gonna kiss you good-bye. Try to pretend you like it.

He kisses her on the cheek. She smiles. He goes out the door, slowly, looking back at her several times. She picks up the telephone.

Hello? Yeah, it's June. Ask Bo how long it would take to move all of Jimmy's things out to the curb and can he do it right now. No, no furniture. Just clothes, shoes, some sports stuff and knick-knacks. I'll need boxes.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

cheap joe

After I graduated from college in 1983, I eventually found work as a counselor in a community based mental health outpatient facility in rural south Georgia. I stayed there until after my marriage and the birth of my son in 1987. My time at the center was a mixture of increased knowledge and understanding about mental health, psychotropic medication and the interaction between socio-economic status and the availability of quality medical care.

There are so many stories from this time in my life. But the one that stands out the most is about an alcoholic farmer who, in his mid-sixties, found himself court-ordered to attend the drug & alcohol group I co-led with my boss. I'll call him Joe, to protect his privacy. Joe joined us because he had received one too many DUIs. It was our ritual to welcome new members by giving them the opportunity to tell us why they were there. This was Joe's explanation:

"I am NOT an alcoholic and I do NOT have a drinking problem. I'm here because I'm cheap. When I bought my new Cadillac, the dealer showed me several optional packages for my new car. One of them optional packages included an automatic dimmer for my headlights. That was pretty fancy. A sensor would pick up on the fact that a car was headed towards you and it would automatically dim your lights if you had your brights on. I liked it, but I didn't want to spend the extra $600 on the package that had that in it.

"On my 65th birthday, I was driving home from a party my friends threw for me. A state patrol officer was driving towards me and I failed to dim my lights. He turned around and pulled me over. I reckon he smelled a little alcohol on me and he gave me a sobriety test and that's why I'm here. I was driving just fine, but I didn't dim my lights, which could have happened to anyone, any time. If I hadn't been cheap, I woulda bought that package with the automatic dimmer and I wouldn't be here today."

I had a copy of the police report from that night, so I asked him, "Joe, didn't you fall out of your car on to the pavement when the patrolman instructed you to exit the vehicle?"

Joe looked startled, but quickly recovered. He said, "That was because the cuff of my pants got tangled on the brake pedal. I was just fine."

The group was a seasoned bunch, at all different stages of recovery. There was a long silence as I let them absorb the story and think it through. I knew they would do the work for me. Bo was one of the guys who had been there the longest. He had killed his own three year old son in a DUI crash into a ditch. He was an extremely depressed man, but he was sober. He finally said, "That's bullshit and you know it."

Joe said, "Naw, I don't know it. I've been driving since I was old enough to reach the pedals on my Daddy's tractor. I've been drinking since I was in high school. I ain't never had problems before and I don't have a problem now. You don't know what the hell you're talking about."

Another pause, then we heard from Sue Ellen, who was addicted to cocaine. Her Daddy had been the county's district attorney for years and years and had spoiled Sue Ellen rotten. After a lifetime of getting everything she wanted, she found herself strung out and in jail. Sue Ellen was our best dressed group member. She leaned in and tapped her cigarette ash into the ashtray and casually asked, "Was this your first DUI? 'Cause they usually don't send you to this group on a first DUI."

Joe looked at me. He knew I knew, so there was no sense in telling a lie. "No, it was my fourth. But I wasn't drunk the other times neither."

This time, the group was silent, all looking at him. Sometimes silence tells the speaker he is full of shit.

Joe did eventually admit that he MIGHT have a problem. But that was months down the road. Recovery is an ugly and unpredictable thing. And it is never over.

The question for me - and for you - is this: What is our drug of choice? Alcohol? Crack? Food? Inactivity? Sex? Purses? What is it that we can't stop doing that causes us to lead a less than full life? And will we, like Joe, spend lots of energy on trying convince ourselves - and others - that we really don't have a problem? What lies will tell ourselves about the cuff of our pants? What will we rationalize by saying we were too cheap? How will we convince ourselves that we are JUST FINE?

Yep. Recovery is an ugly and unpredictable thing. And it is never over.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

we still burn

heart beat
blood rush
visions of love

these things you cannot see in me
and so you smile and talk
never knowing, until I tell you,
what you're doing to me

you freeze
you stutter
you forget your own name
and I see your response

we are still teenagers in love
decades later, we still burn

vanilla world

My life has been filled with experiences that would cause many people to faint from the shock of what they were seeing. My worldview is painted by interaction with alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless people, mentally ill people, immigrants, sexual deviants, criminals of every description and people who have secret lives. To say that I have been changed by exposure to the wide variety of people and environments is an understatement.

In 1991, I started interviewing people who lived on the margins of society. At the beginning, I asked all the wrong questions. My questions were driven by my own personal sense of horror that I, too, might be vulnerable enough to end up on the streets or drawn into behavior that was "bad". My fear guaranteed that people would hold their darkest secrets away from me and give me just a glimpse into their world. At the end of a day of interviewing, I would return to the safety of my vanilla world and collapse into my comfy chair, secure behind my deadbolts and my location in a "safe" neighborhood.

Over the years, I lost some of my horror, though I maintained a healthy dose of fear - just enough to ensure that I made smart decisions when it came to my own personal safety. The obvious criminals are easy to avoid. It's the sociopaths that are hard to spot. (They look and act so normal!) Instead of asking the question, "how did you end up here?", which was a question motivated by my own fear, I learned to ask, "what is your fondest dream?" And people tell me their stories and secrets. Occasionally, someone shares something with me that shocks them more than it does me. Getting a glimpse into the deepest recesses of a person is to be altered forever. You can't touch someone - soul to soul - and walk away the same person you were before it happened. So, I bear the imprint of hundreds of people. And I am richer for it.

But I write this not to discuss the more shocking bits of my years of interviews. Instead, I share my absolute dismay that there are so many people who are clueless about the wider world. They live their entire lives in vanilla world, with their only exposure to darkness being occasional glimpses on national news broadcasts or magazine articles. But I've even watched them turn away from those. "I don't want to see that." Instead, they turn their attention back to their own vanilla world, where things are boring and safe. I watch them in amazement, realizing that unless they have something very shocking happen in their lives, that they will die without ever seeing color. Their lives are beige and always will be.

The most shocking aspect of vanilla world is the conviction its residents have that every person is the master of his or her own fate. They truly believe that anyone experiencing difficulty can rise above it if only they strengthen their determination. They, mostly born into comfort, refuse to consider that they may be a direct cause of the discomfort of many others. And if they can mix religion into the recipe, they can convince themselves that God means for them to live a life apart from the disturbing realities of life outside vanilla world.

Lest anyone think I'm discussing only rich white people, let me state for the record that I see people of all races, religions and socio-economic levels living in vanilla world. I use the word 'living', but I really mean 'existing'. Because I honestly now believe that unless you have some color - some experiences that shock you and pull you out of your vanilla world - you aren't living.

Allowing color in doesn't mean you have to go to the extremes that I have gone. No. In fact, you can add color simply by admitting that you live in vanilla world. Do you? If you're not sure, then you probably do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

luke 1 haiku

Doubt – questioning – faith
                Each is a part of the whole
                                All is possible

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

song of myself: one

My fingers are long and slender.
They were made to play the piano, the guitar, your heart strings.
I pluck you. You pluck me.
There has always been much plucking.
And forever shall there be.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I've applied for a job. For the first time in a really long time, it is actually something I want to do, rather than something that will earn excellent income or will allow me to contribute. I've felt like I've been sacrificing myself since I left my best-job-ever in 1993.

But things are never quite so black & white. There are very few perfect jobs. Every job requires some sacrificing of yourself, I suppose. But for now, I am allowing myself to feel some excitement about this opportunity. If it pans out, I will only be working part time and I will earn very little money compared to the executive salaries I have been fortunate to collect in previous years. But I believe I will be far happier. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

i think we should do it

Part of getting older is accepting your memory limitations. So, admitting that you can't remember the name of the person you're talking to is important. Learning how to write reminder notes to yourself is another important skill.

When I first started writing reminder notes to myself, I could write one or two words - or even initials - and it would be enough to help me remember. But a few years ago, I found myself looking at my reminder notes and asking myself what the heck I was talking about. A reminder note would say "remember boxes". What boxes? For what purpose? Was this for work? Was I taking boxes somewhere or picking boxes up and bringing them home? This went on for a while until I finally started writing myself detailed notes that anyone in the entire world could figure out, even if they spoke English as a 2nd language.

But my latest dilemma is one that I have no solution for that does not involve ritual humiliation. But maybe ritual humiliation is just the next step in this memory loss process? I don't know. A friend of mine called and said the following, "I've thought about your suggestion and I think we should do it. In fact, I think we should start immediately, so I thought I would call and schedule a time with you to get started. How about Saturday morning at your place? I can be there by 10 a.m. Is that too early?" I said it wasn't too early and we hung up the phone.

I have no idea what I suggested, so I have no idea what she is coming over on Saturday to do. I don't know whether to provide snacks or buy swimming goggles or organize some crafting supplies. I don't know why I didn't just tell her that I couldn't remember what she was talking about. I should have. But now I find that I am enjoying not knowing. There was a time when I would have really stressed about not knowing. But right now, I kind of like imagining all of the possibilities. And I keep thinking that it will suddenly pop into my head. That's possible, right? Of course it is.

All I know is that when my friend arrives on Saturday morning and finds me standing there with crafting supplies, wearing swimming goggles and offering a snack, she is either going to be very pleased or very annoyed. And I think I can get us through either of those reactions.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


  My body inexplicably decided to be awake before 5 a.m. today, so it's not surprising that I needed a nap. The need for that nap hit me while I was watching Anthony Bourdain sitting out on a frigid lake in China. At least I think it was China. He was drinking vodka and people were speaking Russian, so I guess it was in one of those border areas. I find his shows fascinating, so the fact that I felt sleepy while watching meant I really needed a nap!

  The beginning of my dream found me freezing, bundled up in a bed with Anthony Bourdain, on our honeymoon, on location in China/Russia. I have a huge celebrity crush on him, so it's not surprising that I would dream about being in bed with him. But I find it rather comical that my prudish brain had to marry him in order to do it with him, which we certainly did in the dream. Interestingly enough, I started out by telling him it was too cold for us to do it. Then, while we were doing it, my not-in-the-dream self, who was apparently observing the people in my dreams, had thoughts about the importance of enthusiastic consent. Really? The activist feminist in me has to come with me into dreamland? The details surrounding this freezing cold place amaze me. The heat was only turned on at certain times. There was a tea time, as if this Russian winter-scape was suddenly in the UK. There was a roaring fireplace in the shared living space, but I couldn't quite bring myself to get out of bed and go in there.

  I kept asking Tony why he had brought me there. I was miserable and FREEZING. Why did our honeymoon have to coincide with the filming of this episode? Finally, he told me he would call Bob and have him come get me and fly me to Paris where I could wait for him to finish filming. I told him that I wanted to go somewhere where they spoke ENGLISH. My not-in-the-dream self was shocked to hear this type of typical American snobbery come out of my mouth. I was lectured, but I didn't hear because I was dreaming. Tony told me he would have me taken to the Savoy in London. He said he would have friends take care of me there until he could finish on set and get there, but that he had to finish. In the dream, I was perfectly fine with this and immediately began to think about hot baths, full body massages, afternoon tea and shopping.

  Then my dream shifted and I was visiting Dr. & Mrs. Campbell, two precious people I have known for decades. My Mother was there, and everyone was dressed for dinner after having had an afternoon nap. Except me. I had slept longer than anyone and hadn't changed yet. I opened my suitcase and found that my clothes had been dampened somehow. I asked Mrs. Campbell if I could throw my blouse into the dryer and she said to go ahead. When I asked the question, we were all sitting on a little porch attached to their home. But when I got up to walk to the dryer, I found we were sitting a ways away from their home and I had to walk there. As I walked, the distance became further and further and I soon found that I was hopelessly lost. My sister, Lenore, suddenly appeared at my side and I felt more confident about finding the house. The retirement community bloomed into a gigantic place filled with high rise buildings and smaller cottages. We walked and walked, sure that the house was just around this corner, but NOPE, it wasn't. Then my sister disappeared.

I wish I could tell you that I found the place and the dream had a happy ending. The last I remember, I went into one of the larger buildings and found a laundry room. But I needed quarters and I didn't have any. It was then that I realized that I had no cell phone, so I couldn't call anyone to come find me. The last thing I remembered is that I resolved to find the management office to ask for help and had set off in that direction.

When I woke up, I thought about tea being served, both in China/Russia and at the Savoy in London. So I went straight to the kitchen and put a tea together for myself.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

the water is waiting for you

Hey now, in the mornin time. Heads up, hear the sounds of the birds. Walk down the road towards the smell of smoke. Hear the crying of the angels above.

Take a left and you'll see it there. No joke, that's the real deal now. Why are you so surprised to see ... that the end of the road brings a spring to your step.

Walk .. down. Walk .. down. The water is waiting for you. Walk .. down.

Put your toe in the water there. Go ahead, if you dare. Salvation's waiting for you to be brave. Cry out your misery, let go your shame.

Fold your arms and lean on back. Tell the preacher man you want to go in. Close your eyes and trust in his lead. You're about to be born again.

Wash .. out. Wash .. out. The water is waiting for you. Wash .. out.

Hold your breath as you go below. Feel your hair floating all around. Through a tunnel you hear the preacher's voice. Then you're up and you breathe it in.

Sister's hand pulls you up and out. Stand by the fire with a blanket around. Glance up and see the boy that you once kissed. He's wet too and he shares your grin.

Steam .. rise. Steam .. rise. The water is waiting for you. Steam .. rise.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


When I was growing up, my Mother used to bake cranberry bread for people during the holidays. She wasn't a great baker. In fact, she used boxed bread mix. But the fact that she took the time to mix it up, bake it, package it and deliver it was a signal that the recipient was someone she treasured.

Today, I bake different types of bread during the holiday season, package it and deliver it to people I care about. It makes me feel good. Not surprisingly, my packages look almost exactly like Mother's used to.

So, let's talk about bread. Some form of bread is produced and consumed in every country and every culture throughout the world. Bread also figures prominently in many religions, often in ways that would mystify anyone outside that particular religion.

One example would be the shewbread that was prepared by Jewish priests according to very strict instructions. Then a specific number of loaves were arranged in a specific manner and displayed on a table that was placed opposite the Menorah. The bread was replaced each Sabbath. The priests could then consume the old bread, but even that had to be done in specific places and in a specific way. Much of the Christian Bible is actually ancient Jewish text, so it's no surprise that shewbread is mentioned in several books of the Bible. But for the very specific requirements, down to the measurements and design of the table on which the shewbread is displayed, one must turn to the Torah.

I read a lot of different information about religion and bread. Most of it, including Christian customs I grew up with, seem silly and often designed to frighten or awe people into religious belief. This always causes me to feel suspicious. Any time somebody is trying to scare me or trying to make me emotional, I always assume the information attached to it is probably bogus. I'm a natural cynic. But Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Now that rings true for me. What do you think?

It's amazing to me that pre-sliced bread has only been around since the late 1920's. Otto Frederick Rohwedder spent 8 years perfecting his design for a machine that would divide a loaf of bread into evenly sized slices. In 1928, he introduced his machine to the world. In 1930, Wonder Bread baking company became the first to package and market pre-sliced bread. There was quite a bit of doubt as to whether the concept would catch on. Doubters claimed the bread would go stale more quickly. At that time, loaves of bread were wrapped in wax paper.

Even more amazing to think about, January 18, 1943 marks the day that pre-sliced bread was banned in America. Yes! Claude Wickard, who was then Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of the War Foods Adminstration (the what?) decided that pre-sliced bread would be banned. Nobody can explain exactly why he did this, but it created a firestorm of controversy and his decision was reversed on March 8, 1943. When I first read about this, I imagined a million housewife march on Washington, but my guess is that the Wonder Bread company, along with whatever other bread makers were by then selling sliced bread, did some political arm-twisting. But honestly, I'm making that last part up. I couldn't find more information on this bizarre twist in the history of American bread-making.

Going a little further back in history, I found an amazing story about how pumpernickel bread got its name. It seems that Napolean Bonaparte asked for bread during his invasion of Germany and was served a dark rye bread that he found unfit to eat. He remarked that it was only good (bon) for his horse, Nickel. "C'est bon pour Nickel" was heard by the locals and hence the bread was named. I saw this story in multiple places, but I noticed a number of variations. Sometimes the horse was called Nicole. Sometimes the French phrase was a little different. My brain is now wired to check Snopes for everything, especially if a famous name is used. Sure enough, the story is false. So when someone tells you this story, you can give a little sneer and say "Tres ridicule". So how DID pumpernickel get its name? "Pumpern" was German for being flatulent and "nickel" was from Nicholas, another name for the Devil, so pumpernickel actually means "devil's fart", because it was hard to digest. Now don't say you never learned anything from me!

Had enough? Of course you haven't. You could go on reading these amazing facts for days! Here's something interesting for you. The little tabs or twist ties used to close the plastic bags that bread is sold in are color coded. Yes! This really isn't designed for you. It's for the person stocking the shelves. The guy delivering the bread can look at the shelf and know he needs to remove all of the bags with white tags today. But, I suppose you want to know which color goes with each day so you can make critical shopping decisions? Sorry. Each manufacturer could have their own code. Besides, bread doesn't stay on the shelf long enough for it to get stale, really. Why? Because the guy looking for the white tags is removing bread that is older than, say, two days. But here is a consumer tip that you WILL want to follow. Buy Sister Shubert's frozen dinner rolls. Trust me on this.

Let's finish with pretty words. I like pretty words.

“A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in. A minute to smile and an hour to weep in. A pint of joy to a peck of trouble, And never a laugh but the moans come double. And that is life. A crust and a corner that makes love precious, With a smile to warm and tears to refresh us, And joy seems sweeter when cares come after, And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter. And that is life.”
(Paul Lawrence Dunbar)