Friday, June 28, 2013




Clean clean fix fix for company coming---wade wade through mumblefudge for days, picking up, putting down, planning things in dishes and who drinks caffeine and get-the-ingredients-for-Sis’s wonderful enchiladas and where shall we go out to dinner?


The preparation and the setting out and the cooking ahead have always been a big part of the enjoyment of expected company---as much as I admire the casual ease with which a TV mom stands chatting with several guests in the kitchen as she frosts the birthday cake while the kids are out there pinning the tail on the donkey, or re-watch with awe the astounding Thanksgiving dinners put together by Mia Farrow as everybody in five boroughs mills around the bar in her living room, I STILL like to have things done ahead.


Just sliding a casserole out of the oven while directing somebody to head the fridge dishes toward table as someone else scoops ice into the glasses and yet another heads upstairs to rustle the devilled eggs out of THAT fridge---that’s my idea of being prepared and ready to sit down to dinner.


And we pretty much DID.   But, as so many things devolve from Martha dreams into US reality, our visit this week ranged from splendid (an evening at elegant Formosa with their sublime food and everybody-getting-exactly-what-they-wanted in that hushed atmosphere) to our grilled burgers on paper plates and mustard jars and ketchup and the great fragrant plate of sliced onion and tomatoes, the corn-butter smears on everything and the drips from the quick-scooped ice cream for dessert.   Messy and fun, but I don't have the advantage of having these people dancing through my kitchen.


Another night we had pasta and meatballs and sausages, with a tongue-curling-tangy salad and the comfy clutter of a crowded table haphazard set with fridge dishes and mixing bowls and the pretty pot the beans were cooked in, with everybody bringing whatever they were sipping to the table in plastic or glass or cans.  The whole visit is still a blur, just like the picture.

Our moments were mostly counted in laughs.   I don’t think any buncha people EVER crammed so much laughing into three days ever in this world.    My sides hurt.   My FACE hurt.  We bounced jokes and funnies and entendres off each other, each of us exponentially wittier and smarter by dint of the company we were keeping.   When Sis brought out her I-pad and she and Sweetpea started conversing through a talking, burping dog---we all just broke up church.

The hee-hawing continued for DAYS.  Last night’s dinner table continued all the fun, and Sis’s imitation of the Geico camel, then the I-pad viewing of the CAMEL HIMSELF---the dueling shouts of “HUMP DAAAAAeeeee” between Sis  and Sweetpea, and then random blurts of it from all the rest of us, at just the moment we’d collected ourselves and calmed a bit, had us all hanging on to each other and gasping for breath.


And so it went.   We were all a bit subdued at breakfast just now, and our parting was a flurry of “Luck Leaf!” and “Group Hug!” and long waves down the drive.   I feel as if I’ve just run a marathon---wrung out and trembly and triumphantly tired.


I NEED some tea and porch.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The bright lights and big city of Broadway are as vivid and distant a dream to me as Oz.   It's never really occurred to me that I might go there to see that, to be surrounded by the perfection of practice and talent and polish, enveloped in the glory of the music, the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.

I'm just doodling out some words right now, to lead into a moment---a moment past my imagining, a moment uncapturable by even the most Modern Major General of the ages.

I've just been coming back here to click on it again, all day as I do my little chores, and it's impressed ME, let me tell you.   It boggles and amazes.

I posted this piece a week ago, but when I tried the link, it was no longer available.   It's now online again, and I hope you'll click and enjoy.
Little Doogie's all grown up and WOW !

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I SWEAR, Y'all---there hatten been a THING in my empty lil' ole head to write about.   These are just the answers to two nice letters from friends, enquiring if I'd dropped off the face of the Earth.

I kinda filled them in, with WAY more words than content, but perhaps they will suffice.
One to JANIE, at Southern Lagniappe,
Thank you, Darlin' Girl---I've been watching the weather thingy on the computer screen all day, and everything they had was immense and raggedy red-orange, but all passing the tip of Lake Michigan.   Now Caro said chance of huge hail (we went out and upended all the hugehuge tomato pots, as yet unplanted, over the smaller patio pots and scooched all the other stuff under the wide eaves, with all the new patio furniture backed up to the wall to shelter the plants.


I hope all stays well---I worry about all my family around the area---Sweetpea's having a sleepover with her Mammaw and Pappaw about an hour north, and it always seems to cut right across that corner.   And Chris is in Columbus, OH---has been since Monday, working on machines at four different sites around the area.  Thought he'd be home tonight, but always pack one extra day of everything, so he's OK for clothes and meds.


I don't ever sleep well when he's not in the house, and FuzzyPup has been moping all day---he didn't eat a bit of his supper for the past two nights, and I swear, he had not been out to tee-tee since MIDNIGHT.   I coaxed and coaxed, and was worried he might have another bad tooth hurting.   Vet pulled a couple last month.  


Caro said that's what he always does when we're gone.   So instead of calling him, I did the enthusiastic, "Where's DADDY??   Let's go SEEEE!" and he popped right up, danced around the door til I could get there, and pranced all around the yard.   Came back in and gobbled up his dinners, and now has taken his ease on a big pile of closet-contents I intend to toss-or-donate.


I cooked a big pot of collards last night til late, for Chris says they're better second day, and had several things laid out to cook.   I DID make a pan of my new kind of really good cornbread   Don't ever tell, but one of my secret vices when I have to eat alone is Cornbread with homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing.   and whatever's in the fridge.   Made a big bowl of Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad, which is also a quick open-two-cans thing for when there's just me.


My writing want-to is absolutely petrified into a tee-ninecy rock.   I loved your hummingbirds, and just consider it a fine art that you can capture such fragile, ethereal creatures which hover near you like you're Mother Nature herself. I fed one by hand once, with one of those big red plastic spouts (sitting behind the boxwoods on a sleepy, dusty Delta day for hours til it paid off).

I so apologize for having been so absent so long; I'm just so blasé about everything and can't rub two thoughts together some days.    I WANT some WANT-TO!!


Thank you so much for looking in---I so appreciate your prayers and thoughts any time.   You're often in mine.

Oh, you dear Sweetpea!!  How lovely to be missed.   All has been well---everybody's health is good, everybody's happy, and all WOULD be all right if I could just get my Want-Tos aligned with my Do-its.


We've had a glorious Spring---seventies and below most days, with the most luxuriant GREEN surrounding the house.   I cannot tell you how prolific our trees and bushes are.   Even the ivy (planted maybe twelve years ago, in about a dozen little clumps along the fence-line) has, as my Mother used to say, "just taken over" about half the back lawn.   It's just crawling for dear life (probably to get out of all that shade and into some sunshine) and we never let the guys cut it. 


It's just that I've just been what I've always called "wading mud" trying to get things done.   Only this year, it's more like wading fudge---it's got its sweet spots, and it's warm and inviting, but when you should be doing this or that, and that big pile of laundry or books or all the dishes from the past five holidays are all awaiting your attention---you're definitely up to your knees in FUDGE.


House-guests next week for a few days---my Sis and DBIL, who are simply delightful company---she says we've not had a complete visit til we've wet our pants laughing at least once.   They're bright and cheery (she's twelve years younger than I, and was practically my BABY when she was little, and he's Chris' age, also much younger than I) and we have some uproarious good times.   She's already planned that I'll cook one night, we'll go out one, and she'll do one of her slum-glorious big Tex-Mex feasts for everybody to come over and enjoy. 


We've had some really nice holidays, with mostly just us here in town gathered, but our youngest, our DDIL and our LITTLEST Grand were here for New Year's, and of course, our Sweetpea is here several days a week.   Does SHE enliven the place!


We spent a lively hour one day last week, the two of us standing at the end of the den, (I, for some reason, was both a Prince---one of her small suction cup arrows neatly at my side as a sword---and Queen, whenever she referred to me as such), as she introduced an endless line of royalty parading past us into the ballroom with the finesse of a courtier and the lungs of a hog-caller.  There were people from England and Iceland, France and Fairyland, and quite a drove of princes and princesses and dukes hailing from the proud state of VIR-JIN-JA. 

 Chris and I had just got back from a business trip over there, and I also spent one wonderful day exploring the lovely quaint little city with a DEAR online friend from Richmond.   We met Kim and Mike in 2009, after she'd read my blog for a while; he had e-mailed and said could he give her a trip here to meet me as her Christmas gift that year.   What a lovely compliment.   We four have met in halfway-cities several times since for wonderful conversations and fun.
And so, not a single room in this house is ready to receive company---the guest room closet has been long the "extra canned goods" pantry, for we find wonderful case-lots of good brands.  And occasionally, we just walk in and put down bags and crates "to put away later").  I'll go up to grab a can of dogfood, and find those forgotten nine cans of on-sale pasta sauce, or reach for what-I-think-is-corn, and it's a case of Mandarins that I just stubbed my toe on.
 Pete the canary has been spending the Spring in Sweetpea's room, in that good tree-filtered sunshine, so the carpet is seedy, and I'm sure there's birdie-fluff on her pretty rose-colored sheets.   I'm just behind on everything, and every room looks PRETTY, but needs  good swiffering and vacuuming and about twelve things removed to where they really go. 
We had a lovely Fathers' Day lunch at a place Chris chose---every sea creature imaginable on a plate, and his sushi was just a work of art---and then yesterday morning we had our annual Strawberry Breakfast on the patio for our neighbor Honey, who just turned 88.  It was all pinks and pastels and fruit and bread and cheese in the very-early dapples of sun through the leaves.

Oh, my.   I MUST get my mind to this house.   I think about it a lot, but unless Samantha imparted to me a bit of nose-wiggle magic all those years ago, I'll have to do things the old-fashioned way.   With a VERTICAL broom.
I love that you think of me---I certainly muse on your own wonderful family and house and all your beautiful creatings and plantings and paintings (now that's just MAKING ME TIRED).
love and,
Do come sit a spell with me in the ivy.


Monday, June 3, 2013


R. I. P. Jean Stapleton

Eternally Edith---kind, sweet, and with an innocence that endeared her to us all.

Jean and Michael the angel, dancing off to Heaven.