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Of course, I’d take Sadie. She’d probably beat me down the stairs or trip me trying to!

My laptop would be next to go simply because it’s the only repository of all my grandboy photos. The laptop is the new photo album.

But I also couldn’t bear to part with this:

Land’s End Big Shirt

(Damn, my picture is too big to fit here.)

This little beauty has been my constant summer companion for the last few years. It’s my cover-up cover-up on the beach, my lightweight jacket, my robe when walking the dog in my jammies (in summer, tank top or skimpy tee) and loungers.

The other possession it would break my heart to leave behind is this:

Cheryl’s Red Pot

I can’t even recall where I picked this pot up. In my travels, I tend to buy two things…jewelry and pottery. Earrings are a favorite souvenir. I have dozens of pairs I’ve bought on vacations…Key West, Chicago, San Fransisco, San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico. My souvenir from my Barbados trip last summer was a lovely tanzanite ring in a white gold setting. I wear it almost every day.

I also enjoy pottery, especially if it is unusual. This small pot (probably measures 5 1/2 inches from lip to base…sorry, but that is small!) is smooth as silk, made of the clearest white porcelain. The thickness is remarkably consistent, all the way to the base. And the glaze…the glaze is to die for! Good reds are hard to come up with, something with the chemicals. My favorite part of pottery in college was mixing the glazes. I was able to let the inner chemist in me play. But red was always so tough to achieve.

See, I really am a very simple person, with minimal materialistic needs, though I do like my car! I am just so damned pleased with the simplest of things.

I’m glad all the brouhaha has died down around here. You know, I will not be able to read my blog stats for a month now that I had 11,000 views in two days! I’m doing a lot of thinking about all that and hope to craft a follow-up, though that will probably wait until over the weekend, after I’ve had a little more time to mull it over.

I stand by my conviction, however, that the better choice would be to to selectively reduce the number of fetuses in a very multiple gestation pregnancy to allow a reasonable chance for long-term survival with quality of life for the survivors. To me, this is the moral, ethical, logical, smartest and “right” thing to do. I do, however, respect the right of others to have a differing opinion. I just wish it could be accompanied with a little less venom on the part of some.

(Addendum to “Things to Take in Case of Fire”: How could I forget? My vibrator.  While you’re there, check out the rest of MORGASM.)

What if you were told you had to give up three of your five senses? Which could you stand to do without. Which two would you rather die than never experience again?

I’ve given this a lot of thought this evening, for lack of anything better to do while I do laundry and listen to The World on NPR. I know I could easily do without vision and taste. I’ve come to the conclusion that both are highly overrated, overstimulated and derive far more emphasis than they deserve. Besides, I’ve had my fill of both of them. I don’t mean I’d prefer never to see a beautiful vista or piece of art again but I’ve seen enough sculpture and valleys to have memories aplenty.

And taste? Hasn’t our American gluttony gotten us into enough trouble? Greed for oil. Hunger for more, more and ever more food and the obesity that results from it. I’ve eaten enough succulent strawberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream to last a lifetime. I sure would miss ice cream but it’s a sacrifice I could make.

So I’m left with three sense and have to unload one more. Which one?

Music. Voices. Babbling creeks. Crickets and katydids. My son. My grandboy. Hmmm.

The silkiness of a bubble bath. The sting of salt water on my calves. The feel of my skin after I’ve had an Indulgence Day.” Clean, crisp, line-dried cotton sheets on a well-made bed. I don’t know.

The scent of a bakery or pizzeria. The aroma of my lover as we simmer against each other. An old-fashioned rose. A summer rain after a dry spell. Lily of the valley. An infant. What to do?

I just got back from putting my next load of laundry. The rain has come to the Delaware Valley. Thank God, because it put out the fire in the New Jersey Pinelands! It rained hard last evening and a cool front moved in. Today was about perfect, in my opinion…high about 69 F, mostly sunny, clouded over a bit and cooled off nicely as the sun set. I have new hostas and ferns freshly planted and getting a nice, easy drink.

I walked back up from the basement laundry room. The rain was steady but quite light. The ground smelled of gratitude. The rain wasn’t yet heavy enough to penetrate the canopy of the maple tree that shades the walkway to my home. I stood and felt the rain on my face, listened to it gently splatter on the jewel green leaves and breathed deep the scent of the earth as she accepted the first of the offering from the sky.

I would give up sounds, I think. I couldn’t conceive of walking in the world and not feeling that on my skin or to never smell freshly-baked bread. To never feel the sensation of butter melting on my tongue, smell a deep, old forest or feel my grandson kiss my cheek? That would be more than I could bear.

Hell, I’m going to spellcheck and link this post up later. Right now I need to go eat something!

So, what would you choose?


The snow lay up against the curb finally beaten by the sun.
Across the street the noon whistle blew calling back everyone.
And they came out from the luncheonette the tavern and the pharmacy
Walked across the wet street back to work their coats unbuttoned and talking easily.
The ice is cracked on the river rolling out by the bay.
On one floe rides a bob house.
Well, there’s always one that stays out too long they say.

There ain’t much to mill work.
The days just drag on and on.
There ain’t much to leaving home till you finally cut the cord and know you’re gone.
And there ain’t much to ice fishing till you miss a day or more
And the hole you cut freezes over
and it’s like you have never been there before.

Bill Morrissey, Ice Fishing 1986 (Bill Morrissey / Dry Fly Music, BMI, admin. by Bug Music)

Bill Morrissey, “The Essential Collection,” Rounder 2004


You can say the sun is shining if you really want to
I can see the moon and it seems so clear
You can take the road that takes you
to the stars now
I can take a road that’ll see me through

Nick Drake, Road; from Pink Moon, Island Records (though they were cooler in the 70’s!)

If anyone associated with Nick Drake or his estate wanders over here, I hope you don’t mind. : )

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back
They’d frozen halfway down in the ice
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.

First we forgot where we’d planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot we’d planted at all
Then we forgot what plants are altogether
And I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary
Can we live through February?

You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we’d drop to sleep exhausted,
And we’d wake up, and it’s snowing.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus,”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you.”

The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house.
And when we got home, well we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And we’ll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.


Dar Williams, from Mortal City, Razor & Tie 1996


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to ‘glorify God and enjoy him forever.’

I live on the bank of a creek.

During the month of February, the northeast of the United States was hit with a period of particularly frigid weather. As I walked outside at night, especially in the cold, wee hours, I bore witness to a strange phenomenon, one I’d never encountered in a lifetime growing up and living in the woods. I heard cracks and pops in the treetops, sometimes followed by the unmistakable sound of a twig or small branch falling to the ground.

On the coldest nights, the sound was almost like corn popping.

The most sound explanation I can come up with is living on the creek, something I’d never done before.

The far bank is much more shallow and sloping than mine. During heavy rains, I’ve seen the water rise as far as 25 or 30 yards onto that bank. (Thank God my bank is so much higher!)

My guess is that these are trees accustomed to having very “wet feet.” As a consequence of having their feet close to or below the water level, they tend to store a lot of water.

When the temperature drops from above freezing to 15 F in a matter of hours, the water in those smallest limbs is sure to freeze. The expansion of the liquid during freezing causes the limb or twig to burst open. Sometimes the eruption causes such damage that the twig fractures and falls noisily to earth.

Pretty cool, huh?

The temperature reached a high of 65 here in my little corner of the Philly ‘burbs today. I raked a bit, cleaned out birdhouses, relocated a few things in the garden, finally emptied my containers from last season (I know, I know…bad gardener!). I surveyed the damage done to my muscari bulbs by the January thaw. They’re up, a little ragged and brown around the edges. Hopefully, the blooms will not be negatively affected. Only time will tell.

It felt good to have my hands in the soil and to feel the sweat squeezing its way through my pores.

For some reason, I decided Sadie must be bathed. For as much as she hates to be bathed, she is the most wonderful dog to bathe I’ve ever had! She’ll get in, albeit reluctantly, without my having to lift her in. She stands stock still for the whole process and waits until I get the towel up before she shakes off when we’re done.

So, the garden shows signs of life, the dog is clean, the bathroom is clean, I found my tanzanite ring while cleaning the bathroom (the last memory I had of it was last week while packing…”My, that’s a strange place for me to have put my ring.” Followed by, “I’ll run into it again while packing.” Location, the shelf of the over-hopper cabinet, where the hand cream is.) I’ve run a bath (Avon’s Tranquil Moments bubbles) and have yummy soaps, shampoos, scrubbies and creams all waiting for me.

So what am I doing wasting time here?

Well, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my mother’s house yesterday. When you have a nurse in the family, you get used to accepting alternative holidays…Christmas on the 26th, Thanksgiving on the fourth Saturday in November. I’d been imagining all manner of horrors, this being the first major holiday we’d be celebrating since Dad died. In some ways, the weekend lived up to those expectations. It was very hard to be at my parents’ house. In other ways, the pain of Dad’s abscence was almost completely ameliorated by this:

Seven and a half months, came to Jersey with one tooth (lower right) and had a second one (lower left) coming through by the ride back to Pittsburgh. A much more pleasant disposition than his father deserves. From what her mother has said, better disoposed than his mother deserves, too. Sits up, tries to stand and is creeping…just like his dad, who never crawled. Brendan is so efficient and quick in his creep I wonder if he, like his father, might choose never to crawl proper but creep himself along until her learns to walk. He is a truly wonderful baby and I wish I could see him more often. About once a week ought to do.

And I didn’t feel the need to run away but spent a few hours after Mike and Jen left helping Mom access and organize her Christmas things and erecting their spiral “trees” on the front lawn. Came home with a sack full of goodies, too. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, crab dip, olives. Yum! At least two meals at work this week. I do so love taking leftovers to work.

Something must have suited me about the weekend because, for the first time in months, I actually felt like doing something when I got home instead of simply vegging in front of the computer. I swept the steps and walkway, filled the bird feeders, let Sadie have a little run.

I decided I’d make some Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars. That meant I needed eggs. I searched the web for substitutions for eggs in recipes, none of which I had ready at hand (corn starch? potato starch? egg whites? Why the fuck do you need egg whites to create an egg substitute??? Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?). I made out to go the the Acme to pick up eggs and other needed supplies then decided at the last minute to go to the Wawa across the street instead.

I feel like a kid in a candy store when I start feeling a little better, you know. The smallest, simplest things bring me so much joy. Just feeling like cleaning out the refrigerator and taking the trash out fills me with pleasure. I did both of those when I got home, even wiping the shelves in the fridge. But, though I felt better enough to get out to the store, I couldn’t quite make myself face the Acme. So I went to the Wawa and spent $14.00 for milk, potato chips, peanut butter (no name), half a pound of American cheese and a dozen eggs.

I felt as if I was doing something I shouldn’t as I walked around the store with my bounty. I felt decadent, like a spendthrift. I am a child of children of the Depression. Money is not to be wasted. Things are not to be thrown away if we might possibly have a use for them, now or in a distant future. My dad’s basement offers testimony to that ethic. The difference tonight was this…I didn’t care.

It’s my money and I can do with it as I choose. It really didn’t bother me to be spending $2.99 for a bag of rippled chips just because I want to have french onion dip during the game and I was too lazy, tired and indifferent to brave the Acme.

So, I made my pan of cookie bars, adding peanut butter as per one of the package suggestions. Too bad I found out too late that I didn’t have enough butter. Take it from me now that I’ve sampled one of the bars I’d planned on treating my co-workers with on a Monday…Crisco and oil do not make up for a stick of Land o’ Lakes. Oh well. They’re tasty enough. It’s just the floury texture and Sahara-esque dryness that’s the issue. Fortunately for me, I love milk and now have a full gallon plus. I guess I’ll be eating dry chocolate chunk cookie bars as my after work snack all week.

Washing clothes now while the Eagles play. So far they look pretty good, making their way down the field. Too bad Indianapolis scored on their first possession so the Birds are playing to a 7 point deficit. And now David Akers, one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, miss a three-pointer to the left because of a high snap. Damn.

It’s a good thing I’m feeling better or an evening alone with the Eagles on tv might be enough to push me into the dark abyss.

Baker’s Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

Oven at 375 degrees Farenheit

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened (trust me on this one)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 package (12 oz.) Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate Chunks

3/4 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Variation: leave out nuts, add 1 cup peanut butter

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts (or peanut butter).

Spread dough in a greased, foil-lined 15x10x1 inch baking sheet and bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. (Makes 3 dozen) Or spread into a 9×13 inch baking pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. (Easily cut into 21 pieces. They’re softer this way.) Cool in pan. Cut while chocolate still warm. Enjoy. Great with cold milk.

Update: by the time I got done this post, the Eagles were down 21-0 with 8 minutes to play in the second quarter. On national television yet. I think it’s time for a glass of wine.

Before that she bitched about: