Thursday, March 30, 2006


These are the answers for the Who’s Who game I posted on Wednesday, March 22nd. My readers are a smart lot. I think any who stopped by that were on the list, guessed their own profile, so even though I make this stuff up, I guess I wasn’t far wrong. Some were even clever enough to correctly guess several answers.

So how did you do? Here are the answers.

1. Dr. D.
2. Eleanor
3. Lost in the Wilderness…Then I found Blog!
4. Arrrgh!!!
5. Time Goes By
6. Between the Teeth
7. Busy Mom
8. Blindspots
9. Golden Lucy’s Spiral Journey

Thanks to those that let me know they were playing and enjoying the game. Over and out.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Some know how to grow old with such finesse. And some grow old with such worry and pain. My mother grew old with such grace that early on I promised myself I would do the same. She never wore make-up, never had a perm, and I can’t remember her ever studying her reflection in a mirror. She simply combed her long hair back into a bun and looked at me from the depths of warm loving eyes, and when she transitioned from middle-aged to old, the transition was transparent. Imperceptible. There was no noticeable change. She remained as beautiful to me as she had always been.

Now I gave thoughts to aging in my early twenties, more frequently in my thirties, like everyone else. But with the strong determination to grow old gracefully I never hesitated to tell people my true age. And while others of my friends’ could extend a 15-minute coffee break into a 2-hour whimper about their first gray hair, or a whine about the follicle on their chin, or grieving over impending crow’s feet, I ignored all this stuff. My agenda was to grow old gracefully which meant this was all irrelevant.

But to most of my friends it was not irrelevant. One was in a helpless tizzy over a hair she found growing on her chin. Frantic if she plucked it that it might turn into three and so she left it there till it was seven inches long and had curled into a tight ringlet. And every time she went out in public she walked and talked with one hand over her chin. Eventually another bosom pal asked what she was hiding with her hand and when she showed her, her friend, without warning, quickly pinched it between two fingers and yanked it out. Hair-On-A-Chin reacted with blazing anger and vulgarity of language that was beyond belief. Convinced she would now get three hairs. And as a result of this their friendship came to a permanent end right then and there.

The ensuite bathroom of another of my friends had shelves with row upon row of expensive hardly-double-dipped anti-aging cremes and jells, despite real poverty. She was always on a new regime. Expensive and complex regimes that included face washes, cleansers, moisturizers, fresheners and astringents. Collections of preventative remedies that could set one back the price of a new dining-room suite or a complete hockey outfit for the boy. But despite the harassment of bill collectors, two months later, she would buy yet another collection, and start yet another regime.

Other of my friends, in their growing agitation and fear, kept close and frequent contact with the manicurist, the pedicurist, and the hairdresser. For those who regularly colored their hair, protocol demanded that such measures be a well-disguised secret. None except one’s closest friends must know and those who knew must never tell.

But what was most evident was the ongoing mental agony so many of my friends were in. The terror of the scourge of old age was real. Their fear became the topic of every conversation. Some got nose jobs or breast tucks without good reason to do so. Everyone was dieting. Others popped magic anti-aging vitamins or potions until their necks reddened with the toxicity, their kidneys ceased up, or they broke out in rashes. They circulated through the expense of hyper-allergenic and anti-allergenic and oil-free and anti-acne scrubs like maniacs. Some even put Preparation H on their eyes to shrink their crows-feet. I watched as children’s outings were canceled, their music recitals ignored, replaced by a mom’s determination to dedicate her time and money to the all-important beauty therapies necessary to fight off the monster of old age.

And so with smugness about my own ‘smart’ approach, I watched them agonize with such terror and pain and cackled inside with evil delight at the fear and dread that tainted the very air they breathed. I scoffed at their pretensions and conceit. At their paranoia. At their shallow silliness when, with that first albino hair, they panicked and rushed out for hair dye. No more than two weeks later, they colored that hair again, because they thought their roots might be showing.

Meanwhile I daily applied my own economy make-up with little concern. Glancing in the mirror quickly. Eyes half shut. Only looking at my reflection for the ease of make-up application – to ensure that my mascara wasn’t smudged and that my lipstick didn’t look like a map of Chicago. But at the same time I refused to do any studies of discovery. No close inspections for chin hairs or age spots or crows-feet. I ignored this stuff conscientiously so that I could grow old as gracefully as my mother had.

And my Mad-Hatter-effort seems to have worked. I like to look nice but at the same time I care less about the fact that the smoothness and suppleness of my face is in a decline. Perhaps that’s because more important to me than my physical body is creativity and art. And so to have my face go from a Mona Lisa to a Van Gogh or a Picasso is simply another step in artistic impression.

But there is more. What I didn’t prepare for was the decline of my creativity and imagination. And this deterioration is more and more evident each time I sit down to write. I am in the midst of utter carnage. My once vivacious and sparkling imagination is shriveling so quickly that I am filled with fear and pain that surpasses the agony that so many of my friends endured over one gray hair and two imaginary wrinkles.

I don’t know how to handle this part of the aging process gracefully. I don’t know how to deal with what is happening. The withering themes, dry plots, greasy characters, wrinkled conflicts, cliché pimples and ugly plukes of triteness. This is a calamity of aging with no disaster-recovery plan. There are no retailers in this world that offer helpful regimes to ‘youthenize’ this malady of aging. There are no svelte personalized kits that promise revitalization with a product line of oily-character astringent, climax creme, plot blotter, victim gel, cliché freshener, trite toner….etc.

Oh the horror of it all! Without any imagination I am ruined. This is hell on earth. Living in a writer’s wasteland characterized by only the heat of brimstone and swallowing of swords!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

# 130 WHO’S WHO

Today, I’m writing a condensed version of ‘Who’s Who?’ in my corner of the blogging world.

This is a bit of a game because I am going to describe some blog friends. And what I want you to do is see if you know who’s who. And if that is too much like the bothersome caller that will not identify himself, that keeps saying “Guess Who?” until you no longer care, then maybe you prefer to read these quickly to see if you can identify yourself as one of the blog-friends I have listed. (Each profile has a wee hint to help you out).

1. A doctor of the body’s exterior that understands full well emotional health can have a direct effect on physical health. A real card, witty, and funny. In his life, friendships are meaningful. I say that because so often he writes of good times with friends. Despite his cheekiness, he has a serious side that looks at life with wise contemplation.

2. An admirable lady that can magically change ordinary thoughts to treasures like the weaving of straw into gold. Love the pictures that are sometimes funny, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes serious, but always so appropriate. Her blog is like a lovely scrapbook endeavor that ‘shrewdly’ melds pictures, words, and references to literary works with real life.

3. Give her a piece of yarn, tell her what you want, and she will knit it up in no time flat. Whether it be a tit snuggly or a thumb toque. I admire her for her contagious excitement about ‘what are we going to make next?” I just want to have coffee with her after we dance through all her knitting patterns and projects.

4. This lady is SO smart. Her quilts make me sick with envy. I think her name is so appropriate. It sounds like something soft and fluffy and that is her nature. She cares deeply about all feathered and fuzzy creatures – domestic or wild.

5. Here I find encouragement to continue writing despite the wilting of joints and imagination that accompanies the advancement of age and time. The theme of this blog makes it a special place I love to visit.

6. This blogger likes playing hockey. And in an uncanny way her self-reflections are too similar to my own.

7. So busy. But always she takes time to nod to passer-byes. Posting happens on a regular basis. And each one offers a straightforward and often humorous glimpse into her or the young ‘uns’ lives that address real life stuff – difficult or pleasing, but always an enjoyable read.

8. This writer sometimes apologizes for not being more creative. Thought-provoking facts and new scientific discoveries are sometimes posted here. I know, or think I know, that the writer is more imaginative then he/she lets on. Doesn’t alter the fact that this spot is always a great read.

9. One of my newest links that I am so excited about. This writer knows more than just a few things about life and life experiences. A youngster (or should I say ‘new born’) in the blogging world but he/she won’t allow that to get in his/her way.

Now I know that in doing this list, I have missed some of my dearest friends. Please forgive me for that. I value you as much as these other guys and gals. Unfortunately I have too many friends for this post to accommodate them all. But if the game catches on, I’ll get you next time.

The rest of you better zero in on your profile right now to voice sanction or objection. Because some time soon I will reveal who’s who. In the meantime, any guesses?

Thursday, March 16, 2006


If you are a Mother, if you are a Father, an Aunt, Uncle, Grandfather, or Grandmother and if you value children and if you watch the news each day, I think the same prayer is on your lips that is on mine.

“God, please help us to keep the children safe.”

But although prayer is good, it is not enough.

I am so appalled that we don’t know where our children are. I am unaware how many countries are busy writing drafts on how we can track our children, but it seems all efforts are hampered by much disagreement and little consensus.

The problem is there are those who support full-time electronic monitoring and others who feel that even children need privacy in order to develop into emotionally healthy individuals. I heartily agree with the latter. I don’t want to see a child’s every move monitored by under the skin implants, permanent tattoos, or the deceptive installation of hidden beepers or cameras. But at the same time, all the recent stuff on the news tells me that we are not doing a good job in knowing where the children are. We are a dismal failure at ensuring they are safe and secure.

But if we are to improve and if an implant of a GPS tracking device or a miniature camera is not a good solution, what is? There are certainly other things we can do but we are such a tech-minded society we seem fixated on this one approach. So gizmo-orientated that we are unable to think outside the box of other ways of addressing the problem that are less intrusive but still workable. Sure, maybe not fool-proof, but something, anything, is better than nothing.

Admittedly, there is a lot I don’t know. But it seems to me, unless a child is reported missing, and that child or his/her family is registered with some government intervention program, I don’t think authorities have much to go on in their efforts to keep children safe. Too often, the perpetrator of child abuse is a close family relative, even a parent, so then where do authorities go when they are not even aware that a child is missing?

Now it seems to me when I was a child, kids were tracked in fragmented ways but nevertheless they were tracked better than they are today. There were Health Nurses that were seriously obligated to religiously monitor the immunization of children. The onus was on the nurses rather than parents to find, track, and make sure children were immunized. They even did follow-up visits to homes to see how immunized children were doing. And there were Truancy Officers who made sure children were in school and if they moved away from the district, follow-ups were made to ensure that children were in school at their new location. Teachers had small enough classes that they knew details of each child’s home life – their socio-economic situation, their level of care, etc. And even they would not hesitate to visit a child’s home to see why they were not in school. Neighbors cared about neighbors and where their children were. And if anyone’s mail wasn’t picked up, it was not simply tossed into a Dead Letter Bin. A concerted effort was made by staff and community to find where that mail needed to be forwarded or practical discovery efforts were made by someone in the community to find out why the mail hadn’t been picked up.

But the simple issuance of Family Allowance checks was one of the best all-time child-tracking devices. It was difficult to hide a child. And for those parents who might wish to do so, the temptation of that free monthly check was too tempting. And so they fell, albeit haphazardly, into the trap of letting the government or Post Office know where they were to ensure that cash gratuity would continue to reach them.

In the climate I have just described, there was a lot of community and government interest bubbling around each child. Enough that some rotten parents, who failed to appreciate the needs of their children, who rejected their young, who would have been unreasonable parents by any standard, were pressured to be cautious about parenting. Society, as a whole, kept families under a pressure of accountability. The parents or guardians of children knew full well that if the law didn’t find them, a teacher, a nurse, or a truancy officer would. Doctors tracked children. Dentists tracked children. Church Ministers and church members tracked children.

Sure I realize this was not a perfect world. Bad things still happened to kids. That there were thousands upon thousands of child disasters that never got into the media. I’ll be the first to admit it was no fool-proof system. But there is no fool-proof system. That’s why the Titanic sank.

Admittedly, things were far from perfect then but our efforts to keep children safe have deteriorated more rather than improved. It seems to me that now a family can move into a community and exist there for two or fifteen years with no one knowing anything about their home situation.

It seems like parents can yank their children out of school without explanation and if one is required they can simply say they are moving. Or switching to home schooling. Or their children have gone to live with relatives. Or moved from the home of the mother to the home of the father. And does anyone care if this is so or not? And as much as home-births might be advocated by some, this leads others to think that unwanted births can be unsupervised and thus not recorded. No one knows if there are children or how many children there are. If a family chooses to discontinue critical medical treatment for a child I’m not sure if there is any follow-up other than the random mailing of a business card that says, “haven’t seen you for two years, it’s time to come for a visit.”

It shouldn’t be that way, but each small thing leads to another that breaks down society’s child-tracking abilities. And every small breakdown leads in insidious ways to more boldness in the actions of those that would do harm to children without a real dread of their actions being discovered.

The tax people might care deeply where adults are but it seems to me like no one cares where the children are. Where they moved, why they moved, or if they are safely in school in their new location. And how often are children in home-school programs monitored – discoveries made as to their actual continuing existence. Once every two years with a mail-in progress kit, or does someone come to the house? How are these kids tracked? And does anyone follow up on the child who reportedly went to live with a relative? To ensure that child is there.

To me it is just too ironic the cost and effort the government will go to track ‘stuff’, and I mean stuff. With nonsense like the efforts at a gun registry, tattoos on animals, leg-bands on wild birds, clips on cattle, sonar devices on fish, implants on domestic creatures – and compulsory licenses for every activity. The list goes on and on. Staggering expenses for costly programs that propagate like rabbits. And added to that the ever expanding outlay of government money to deal with adult problems that are of our own making – smoking, gambling, drinking, or drug addictions.

In our efforts to find a solution, some time and effort in other areas may need to be sacrificed. Maybe a few of the adult programs for addiction recovery, exercise, healthy eating, and stress-avoidance. Maybe even things like attention to skills of good parenting – the negative effects of spanking, the positive effects of time-outs, ways of giving constructive criticism to children. These things are important, but not to those who would harm a child. No more important than gun legislation is to those who have illegitimate guns and gun-use on their minds.

And yet, going back to the gun registry, this is the same flawed thinking that is blocking progressive plans for legislation of a child-tracking program. The thinking that it can only be done, and must be done, in the same manner as the abysmal gun-registry effort – through a cross-country blanket database.

I’m not saying that isn’t a worthy approach if it were workable, but this is closed thinking. Obviously if a spider were to foolishly spin a web with one solitary string across the way he could forget about lunch. And similarly, a single strand database cannot save as many children as a webbed effort. There needs to be a network. The solution needs to incorporate physical efforts that can supplement virtual-reality efforts. There needs to be added to electronics a proactive physical roll call (like door-to-door census taking) that ensures children are present, safe, and accounted for.

I think if you walked into any agency dedicated to fostering parenting or child care right now, and asked what was on today’s agenda, every single staff member would be more than willing to discuss their latest draft of yet another new proposal on child development, or child psychology. But there would be a real challenge in finding one that would say, “I’m going out and about to see how the children are and where they are.”

If these convictions I have about all this are nothing more than fact-based fiction or fiction-based fact, I still want something done. Particularly after the recent cross-Canada and American porno bust that included the unfathomable abuse of children as young as 18-months old. Dear God, we have to do something and do it very quickly.

Your comments are very welcome. Pray with me, cry with me, or talk with me. This is too important to ignore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Why do we kiss with our eyes shut? Because it’s just better that way. Allows us to saturate our souls with the moment, with that special touch without visual distractions that would damage a part of it. Wouldn’t you say?

Now hold that thought while I switch to quite another discussion seemingly totally unrelated. A discussion of “American Idol” performers last night. Last night was ‘Stevie Wonder Night’ and something happened that wasn’t good.

Now I’m no music critic but I do know that Wonder’s music is phenomenal stuff. Music that is expressive, spell-binding, catchy, bouncy, with unexpected ballad accents, and an abundance of soul. But I’m inclined to think the level of extraordinary talent and power Wonder gives to his music stems from more than his creative genius. It also stems from his blindness. His music was created in a tight space, in a kind of solitary confinement, without sight, without taste, with only hearing sharply honed to pitch and rhythm. It is music performed with a clarity and conviction that people with sight can’t hope to realize.

So, to my mind, it was unfair to expect American Idol contestants to sing Wonder songs while literally drowning in the visual sludge of cameras, lights, and people?
I think that’s why last night’s performances were so dismal.

If you think this is a bunch of nonsense I have to ask. Have you ever listened to music with your eyes shut? Really listened. If you have, you know about the extra dimensions of sound that you will hear. And while we’re on this topic, if you have never kissed anyone with your eyes shut, you better try that as well.

P.S. There are some that can describe the listening-in-the-dark music dimension I am referring to far more aptly than I. And here is one of them. Give this a quick read. I promise you will truly enjoy it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


(An oblique lesson in empathy)

You tell me “It can be easily fixed.”
Using the references and rigid tools
Of your own apprenticeship.
Smug and confident.
You say, “It’s all in my book. You can do it.”

First a bit of basic hygiene
An easy discard --
Sensitivities out the window
Emotions on the shelf.

But there is a problem with this.
I am not a simple compilation
Of stick and stone and logic.
I am imagination, creativity,
Artistry, passion and sentiment.

You ask too much.
You expect the impossible.
I cannot do it.

So now you climb on the couch.
“I want to tell you (the Authority in all this),
That you have a problem as well.
That is clouding your judgment.

A problem rutted in logic,
And a fixation on
Your toolbox of pinchers, pliers,
And counseling haywire.
So shelve the logic.
See if you can.

Toss your science of rational thinking,
Consult your conscience.
Examine your soul.
Dig out the tools of tender yielding.
And fix YOUR problem.

“When you’re done we will talk with mutual understanding.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Do you know what a personal letter is? It comes through the Post Office in a square and flat little packet. On the outside you will find carefully scripted in pen and ink your name and address. One would think that a standard and insignificant thing, but that alone validates the need for my existence to be acknowledged. And that’s the first thing a personal letter does that cannot be duplicated by electronic mail or the flawless form of other letters with printed labels.

Personal letters are unique. They have the gentle scent or pheromones of the sender – letters from my trapper friend have a more distinctive odor – of weasel, fox, or some such thing. Some have soft ripples from the effects of travel through sleet or snow. Some have finger smudges or ink stains. Others, though fresh and clean, have the worn or slightly wearied look of care and preparation. An envelope selected, held, folded, sealed, stamped, carried in purse or hand, and eventually shoved into a mail-slot. All subtle distinctions of a purely personal nature that are never evident in junk or bulk mail.

The contents are much anticipated. Like a surprise gift. I’m giddy with joy when I get a P.L. and I never move an inch from the Post Office without ripping open that letter and quickly scanning it. Odd, because I have no problem ignoring a ringing phone or stacked up e-mail. But I can’t suspend my anticipation when it comes to personal letters. Later at home, I will pour myself a coffee, and sit down and read it again. For the pure pleasure that it gives.

The salutation is exciting. “Dear Roberta.” It’s like having my name in lights. Like an audience standing and applauding. I honor personal letters because personal letters honor me. There is nothing generic about a personal letter. Personal letters are limited editions – the real deal – the highest quality of affection and connection.

I haven’t received one for a while but today I got a personal letter. And the simple act of opening that letter carried me back to many letters over the years. How surprised was my trapper friend to find out last winter that I still had letters he had written to me more than twenty years ago? Too funny, too endearing, too unique, and too precious to be discarded. We reviewed them together and laughed heartily over their contents.

Hub’s Mom used to send me letters. She didn’t visit often, but when she did, three or four days later I would get a wee card in the mail. Always it would reaffirm what she enjoyed most during her visit – our walk in the garden, time spent in the greenhouse, afternoon tea, the sandwiches or the special meal that we shared.

And when it comes to personal letters from old flames, though they are brittle and yellow with age, I still have a few stashed away. If you can’t get a boyfriend to confess his love, believe me, the next best thing is the smugness of knowing they sat down with a pen and dedicated a piece of their life to only thoughts of you.

But now I fear that personal letters will soon be extinct. And no I don’t work for Canada Post. This has nothing to do with them even though what I want you to do by way of protest is to sit down and write a personal letter to one of the most important people in your life. And that just might be a young child of your own or a niece or nephew.

The reason I want you to do this is because, to a child, a P.O. delivered letter is Harry Potter wizardry. My 7-year-old granddaughter will confirm that there’s magic in a small envelope travelling alone, coming through and past all the crowd of strangers, the curious and envious public in the greater world, to land at her door. Magic that confirms a little person’s big importance.

But more importantly, sending a personal letter will ensure that one more person of this current generation will not grow old with the ‘joyless gap’ in their existence of having never opened, sniffed, and perused, with such personal satisfaction, the sweet affection and connection of an unexpected personal P.O.-delivered letter.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I read something a couple days ago and I’m still chuckling about it. And truth is, I’ll probably be chuckling for a few days to come.

It is a priceless piece of prose. Everything that I’ve always wanted my writing to be. Lucid, titillating, clear, witty, with impact, logic, and a proper conclusion.

If our insurance policies, and our tax guides, and safety warnings, and instruction manuals were written with this kind of wit and clarity, there would never be any misunderstandings. And we would not so easily dismiss them. Even men would pause to sit and read instructions before attacking installation of a closet door, a tractor bucket, or a new DVD player.

Now when I first read this, I thought it referred to those who would push hairdryers up their noses, but maybe not.

And then I thought it was instructions for disconnecting and reconnecting grocery carts that link together, but maybe not.

Then I thought it was for people trying to toast bagels in a toaster rather than a toaster oven, but maybe not.

And then I thought it was for plumbers trying to use a ‘V’ connector when they need a ‘T’, but maybe not.

And then I thought it might be for the proper use of rectal suppositories posing as oral medication, but maybe not.

I even thought it might have to do with sexual problems – gender preference or erectile disfunction, and maybe it does.

Anyway, it’s time for you to read it for yourself and play a new Mind Bender Game. You decide what ideology or technical problem these instructions are meant to resolve.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. That when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I take on a responsibility that is shared by no one else – only me. And that is my independent decision to make or break that new day.

So the philosophy for a gr-r-eat day is straightforward. But wait, there is something else. I also need to take into account something that happens each day that I have no control over. The backlash I have to deal with that arises from the attitudes that make me who I am. You know what they are. You’ve heard me mention them numerous times before – lucid, abstracted, distracted, elusive, and sometimes, though seldom, and therefore seldom mentioned – logical.

And because of these attitudes, despite a firm resolve to make each day a good day, that doesn’t always happen. Because as soon as my feet hit the floor, one of those attitudes that I’ve mentioned, rolls out from under the bed and magically shrink-wraps my body. And so, without choosing or deliberate selection, I find myself robed in attitude.

Now the other thing about my wardrobe of attitudes is that they are not like the clothes in my closet. I can’t wake up with one robe on and strip it off and toss it back in the drawer in exchange for another when I find it is biting my skin and just a wee bit uncomfortable. It doesn’t work that way. Whatever robe I have on when my feet hit the floor is the robe that I am obliged to wear for the balance of that day. So now if we were to do a wee fashion show of attitudes, this is what we would find.

Coming down the catwalk right now is lucid. Lucid is good. I’m a storyteller and my robe of lucidity makes that job so much easier. On lucid days thoughts are crisp and clear. I absorb stuff around me like a sponge.

And now here comes abstracted. Abstracted is also good. When I’m abstracted, I am seldom discouraged as I can easily convince myself that even the most arduous task can be done in less than a minute. How great is that?

And then there’s distracted. That’s good too. But not the best kind of day for socializing because on a distracted day I find myself buried in self-reflection. Quite unable to focus elsewhere.

And elusive is good too. That’s a day of easy avoidance of chores as well as irritations or others’ flaws.

So finally, here comes logical. And that’s the ugliest bit of this fashion show. Logical days easily turn into days of misery. These are days with numerous annoyances. When I’m dressed in my logical robe, I fully expect everything to make good sense. All that I hear, all that I see, all that I do. And I suppose that would be okay if everything did. But it doesn’t.

So today, oh woe is me, didn’t I wake up with my logical robe on. So I grabbed a fresh coffee and went to the living room to watch a bit of morning news. The first thing I was exposed to was an ad for food storage bags with zippers. Oh my, look at that. How vastly improved they are? Now they’re made with two zippers instead of one. Well excuse me. If the first zipper worked, there would be no reason for a second zipper. And since the first zipper didn’t work, the solution is to put a second zipper of the same fashion and quality as the first on each bag? Logically not. We now have a bag with two useless zippers. And I know that to be true because I still have 102 wayward kernels of corn rolling around in the bottom of my freezer.

So now the news is on and from the get-go it is all too illogical for someone wrapped in a robe of logic. The American Port sales, nukes for mangoes in India, more young soldiers dying, the unrest in Iraq, protesters all over the globe smashing and burning, completely forgetting reasonability, etc.

And that makes it necessary for me to return to my original thought about being solely responsible for making or breaking my new day. Normally a statement of truth, today it is false. Because when I have my logical robe on, everything I see and hear is illogical and therefore radically upsetting. It’s not going to be a good day and I can’t do a darn thing about it.

Man, what I wouldn’t give for a new day to snuggle in the warmth and comfort of my abstracted or distracted robe rather than this nasty thing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


During his leisure time, Hub generally watches Westerns on the Lone Star Channel and seldom reads but this morning and yesterday morning he read everything in sight. Computer magazines, “Time”, the local paper, the city paper, flyers, a portion of the “Ci-Cz” encyclopedia, and who knows what else.

“Roberta,” he said, “have you noticed how much I’ve been reading lately.”

“Yeh,” I noticed, “that’s unusual for you, but you better stop or you’ll be back to using big words again.”

“Oh,” Hub said. “An insubstantial dictum, Roberta. Retrospectively I’ve made a promissory oath to myself that the obstinacy of this penchant will only impact exiguously on the sloganizing of the triangulation of my ontology.”

That’s when I chucked his reading materials in the garbage and chased him to the livingroom to watch the Lone Star channel. Not my favorite channel – but he can have his vices. I’m willing to learn to deal with it.

Friday, March 03, 2006


...Between the Teeth...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I’m not big into political correctness but if now is the time for corrections, then there are a couple of things I want corrected.

The first is the phrase, “How’s tricks?” Doesn’t this phrase refer to the profit or loss of someone engaged in the world’s oldest profession? I’ve always thought that ‘tricks’ were the currency of prostitutes. Yet it’s a phrase in such common usage that I’ve even heard it asked in the church vestibule by a man of the cloth. (shudder)

And the other word I’m thinking of today is ‘chick’. Now I’ve never called myself a ‘chick’ but if I chose to that wouldn’t bother me. And if a man calls me or other females ‘chicks’, that’s uncomfortable and unappreciated, but I can find it in my heart to forgive him even though I consider it a crude way of speaking. But when another woman, and in this case it was a co-worker that I seldom had occasion to speak to and then only on the phone, insisted on referring to me as ‘chick’ or ‘chicky’ even though she knew my name was ‘Roberta’, that drove me nuts. But in whatever context, the term is annoying and bothersome – it should be corrected.

So it seems to me, if we must revamp carols and holiday greetings and a host of other terms and references that were once part of everyday language, then I want these aggravations corrected as well. They may not be important to you, but they are to me.

And while we’re at it, if there are other words or phrases driving you nuts, why not add them to my list and we’ll get this mess cleared up all at once.

P.S. Suggestions are also welcome for modifying these terms in order to make them more politically correct.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006



Last post I told you about a stranger that came to my door. And much of what took place didn’t make good sense, so today I am going to give you the best I can offer by way of explanation.

The thing that struck me most in my conversation with the stranger was how lonely she was. I know what that feels like cause that’s the thing I had difficulty with when I first moved to this neighborhood.

Now some would call this a Closed Society and I certainly thought it was when I first moved here. It was difficult being alone here with the kids, Hub at work for weeks on end, and me with no vehicle and no introduction to any of the neighbors.

But when I got wind that the closest neighbor sold fresh eggs, I decided to use that for an excuse for a short visit. Coffee perhaps and a sit-down chit-chat. But I was sorely disappointed. Although I was invited in, that was the extent of it. A bit of doorway chit-chat about the weather, eggs quickly stashed in cartons, good to go, and that was the end of that.

So then I tried attending some community functions. That was less than encouraging as well. People seemed to clump into groups and although they would nod and smile and occasionally speak a passing ‘hello’, none would say, “Would you like to eat with us, sit with us, chat with us?’ It took an eternity to break into the mold of this neighborhood.

But Hub and I are well-entrenched now. And despite all those early difficulties, my neighbors are the best. We still seldom visit but they are mostly farmers and farmers are busy people. Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve come to adore them with all my heart and soul.

But, despite all this, I still remember with some pain how difficult it was initially. Back then I made the observation to Hub that “In this neighborhood, you don’t ask or expect to be invited in, you just watch for a crack and when no one is looking, you slip in.” Hub agreed that was pretty much the case. And somewhere along the way, that is exactly what we did.

So now could these experiences of my own past hold clues to today’s mysteries? I have no other rational explanation so I’m wondering if there is the slightest possibility that the woman who came to my door came because she was as lonely as I once was.

Is it possible that she drove in the ditch deliberately? That all these convoluted circumstances were a ploy to make a friend or meet a neighbor? Could be, but then there is the other question I must resolve. “Why did she choose us? Why didn’t she make the shortest walk by going to the closest house?

Well, truth is, we didn’t plan or intend it to be that way, but after all these years in this neighborhood, we are renowned for our easy congeniality when it comes to unexpected and unscheduled visitors. We might not have been that way but Hub’s dear Mom was such a gracious lady. She always made everyone who came to her door feel welcome and appreciated. In good times and bad, during an entire lifetime, she always shared what she had and found such joy in doing it that we could not but hope to emulate her joyful approach to living. We always knew, in our hearts, that she would be crushed and disappointed, if we didn’t carry on this silently willed and entrusted legacy. So it is family tradition – this readiness to share a meal and the coffee pot always on.

So it is possible, plausible even, that this stranger got wind of all this in the same way I got wind when we first moved here that my closest neighbor sold eggs? But that part remains a puzzle because I can’t remember how that knowledge came to me.

Anyway that is the full extent of this tale of mystery. I believe that the stranger’s actions were deliberate. Nevertheless, I still take into account that in reading this, you may have reason to believe otherwise. Or perhaps you think that if this is the case it is a sleazy way to operate. But, assuming it is true, maybe it isn’t something we should frown on with such disdain. With such critical disapproval.

You know the distance we are willing to go to get revenge on the person who treated us unfairly. We are even willing to engage in utterly contemptible behavior. So should we condemn those who would go that same distance to make a friend?

We are seldom surprised at how far a vindictive person will go to get revenge, so why should we be so dumbfounded at how far a lonely person might go to make a friend? So dumbfounded, that for most of us, that kind of twist, makes the story seem impossible.

But impossible or plausible, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The events are factually true, so what other conclusion could I come to?

But in the meantime, if I have another encounter with the stranger, I will let you know. She would probably be quite shocked to know what a fascinating celebrity she has become.