Well, Thanks for That


I called the nursing home to check and see just how bad the influenza has taken hold there. It is not something I’m messing with this year.

It seems there is one, yes ONE unconfirmed case of flu in the building. The chances that I’m going to get near this one person are slim. And none.

However, their notice interrupted my plans to visit today. And now I’m pissed. My husband is probably sitting up there just waiting for me to show up. Since he can’t be at home, I bring home to him. And I was there today.

I am glad in a way that they notify us about communicable diseases, but please resist putting a notice on the door unless there are multiple people with the flu, not just some woman who you are pretty sure doesn’t have it, but might.

Tomorrow or the next day I will have to go again. It won’t be as pleasant a visit as the weekend nurse is one of my favorites, but it will have to do. I doubt that I’ll be able to drive there on Thanksgiving, given the dire predictions of our first nor’easter of the season that contains snow. So Monday and Tuesday are it for visiting, unless the snow doesn’t start early on Wednesday.

This is one of the big problems with having a loved one not at home. You can’t always visit when you want. You can’t just be there and know how he’s doing all the time. It involves planning and weighing and thinking about it. I hate it. The longer he’s there, the more I want to bring him home.

Reconsider ……..

This was on the nursing home door today when I arrived:

Please note we have patients who are experiencing gastrointestinal influenza in the building. You may want to reconsider your visit at this time.

Absolutely I wanted to reconsider my visit. Back into my car I got. I got the hell out of there.

I have twice caught a respiratory infection while visiting my husband. Once last year and once this year. This year, I swear I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t stop coughing and the coughing wasn’t doing any good. It made me sound like I was dying. There was one VIP in my life who kept telling me to go to the ER. He would forecast dire warnings about possible bronchitis or maybe pneumonia ……. it might just have been pneumonia, but I recovered.

I will not get another case of flu this year. I particularly will not get puking flu. I hate puking flu worse than anything I can imagine. There is no one to wipe my brow, bring me cold drinks and sympathize while I start dying. I am on my own.

The ambient temperature in the nursing home is at least 90 degrees. It is close in there, and those germs multiply and spread like wildfire. They see me and go “Hmm. There’s a stupid woman thinking she can come in here and not take us home. Let’s get her.” And they do. And then I bring it home and my son gets sick. You do not want to be around him when he has the flu. He doesn’t seem to understand that throwing up on the bed or the floor is preventable. And he has me to clean it up. I will not do this again. If he doesn’t find a girlfriend before his next case of flu, I don’t know what will happen. This woman is done with wiping up messes. I am.

I fully intended to spend an hour or two visiting today. Now I’m going to have to rewrite the program. I guess I get to cut out more little squares …… I’m almost done with cutting them all out so I can piece them together …….. and I do have those new patterns to work on and I am also within days of finishing this:


I can’t wait to finish it, block it and wear it. It’s going to be something and it’s looking like this:


Pretty neat, huh? Amazing yarn, this Malabrigo Worsted. I didn’t think it was going to be this nice because the yarn isn’t one of those that make you cringe when you buy it. The skeins are 210 yards and they’re around $9.56 or so with a discount. I do shop those on-line stores that offer a discount if you buy so much yarn. Every little bit helps when you are an insatiable yarn collector ……….


I Did It

I did it again. I got an injection of romance. I watched Dirty Dancing.

Part of me wants to be 17 again and involved in all of that new romance that came along when I was that age. Actually romance started at 16 for me, with the arrival of a cousin of my best friend to my hometown. She put him on the phone and we talked for 3 hours, until my mother made me get off the phone.

Those were fun times. He would call every now and again and we again would talk for hours, until his mother got the phone bill. Then we started writing letters. This was back in the day when email and messaging were totally unheard of and I had to wait for the mailman.

At one point in our romance, we broke up. I think it was after I spent 6 weeks in Carbondale, where he lived. I was attending a journalism camp as I was the newly appointed news editor of my school newspaper. We had a lot of fun that summer, swimming at Thompson Lake, going to movies together, getting to know one another. My journalism camp experience was perfect.

But then came THE letter, the break up, his decision that we were too far apart. I wasn’t exactly devastated by his decision. We had some things in common, but not a lot. He was pleased to be the assistant manager of a Burger King while I was looking at the Supreme Court for a career.

Fast forward a half-year or so and he was back, writing to me that he missed me too much to not let me know. And he asked me to my prom, wanted to travel up from Carbondale, stay with his sister’s boyfriend and escort me to prom. Well, who could say no?

He was up for prom and back for my graduation. Although we were both juniors, I could graduate a year early and I did. I was a freshman at college, naturally in the city where he lived while he was in high school.

We went to homecoming together, attended Simon & Garfunkel concert held that night, went everywhere together either by ourselves or with Sharon and Jim, his sister and her boyfriend. We had fun ……… but it wasn’t what either of us wanted and we split.

The first time I watched Dirty Dancing I looked for clues that their relationship would last. There weren’t any. It was as if the summer was done and they were done. I would have loved a sequel showing them continuing their relationship while she was at college and he working in the painter’s union ……. or while he continued to dance.

A typical woman, me, wanting to know the outcome before the start ……. always wanting to know the outcome. Maybe the outcome is just now. That’s enough.

Spinning Yarns


What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?

When I first saw this Daily Post prompt, I thought I’d ended up in heaven. For you see, I want to spin yarns. And I don’t mean a story, although I can do that, I mean yarn. I want to spin yarn.

I don’t know why I want to spin yarn or just how bad I want to spin it. You have to want to spin yarn bad in order to foot the bill for the spinning wheel and the fiber. I’m glad this is about telling stories.

In my humble opinion, a good storyteller knows how to develop characters as well as build a plot. I’m going to use Martha Grimes as an example.

Throughout all of her Richard Jury mysteries, Ms. Grimes uses many of the same characters to build the plot. Elizabeth George does this too, but Ms. Grimes does this without making us dislike the characters she builds. Each one of them, whether shallow or deep, is central to the story.

She uses major and minor characters. The tensions created between Jury and the minor characters is usually portrayed in a humorous manner. We have Diane DeMorney, a single, rich and shallow denizen of Long Piddleton and her comments about any situation are based solely on her own experiences. She writes horoscopes for the local paper and everyone but her friends thinks she knows what she’s doing. Her friends know she does not.

And then there’s Melrose Plant, a close friend of Jury since they met in the first novel, Plant still didn’t know where Jury lived in the next to the last book. Jury visits with him at his estate in Long Piddleton, but he does not visit with Jury at his apartment. Plant is a good foil for Jury, just as handsome in a different way, Plant loves getting involved in the intellectual puzzle that Jury’s cases present to him. And he will give up his comfortable life for a chance to help Jury while masquerading as a gardener or some other domestic. He helps find things out.

With each one of her characters, including Marshal Trueblood, Vivian Rivington, Carole who lives upstairs from Jury and who gives him insight into his desires, Mrs. Wasserman, the paranoid older woman on the basement level who Jury must always reassure because she thinks someone is after her ……. to Racer, his boss and Fiona his boss’s secretary ……. Jury relates to all of them in his own way. With each interaction, you can see the depth of the relationships Jury forms. And that’s what makes a good storyteller.

The characters aren’t paper dolls, they aren’t going to react the same in each new book, they move together as a group of friends, but they each retain their quirks that make Jury roll his eyes or curse in exasperation. They move the story. They are not there to be the story, but they move it forward.

A good storyteller? Yes Martha Grimes is the perfect example …….. depth and breadth and width …….


This Might Put a Lid on Black Friday


Here we go again. Another hazardous weather outlook on my forecast today seems to be conspiring against those retailers hoping for a great start to the season of maximum acquisition.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Christmas presents. I wouldn’t go out on Black Friday to find one if you gave me Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus in their entirety. I would not.

But Wednesday night, there’s a nor’easter coming. And it looks like it’s going to stay through Thanksgiving Day. Oh boy. Well, let’s just say the grocery stores will be hazardous on Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll have both those who need the essentials to get through a storm AND those who need certain things for their dinner on Thursday. But nobody may be able to get there ……..

We’re always cautioned that they can’t predict how much snow or where this far out. But they mention my part of the state of Maine. Of course. For me, it’s okay. I won’t be shopping and I won’t be devastated if I can’t get to the mall on Thursday or Friday. I have no interest in trying to grab the one LCD TV for $90 at Walmart. I have no interest in that stuff at all.

My Thanksgiving is going to be spent at home. If it weren’t storming, I’d drop by to see my husband although this year they’re not offering a family Thanksgiving Day dinner. That’s fine with me. The food is awful.

Since he is languishing so long in the nursing home, I’m getting back into the mind set of “bring him home.” I know I can’t, but I want to. I know I can’t provide the kind of support he needs now, from pureeing his food to helping him into bed and out of bed. He can stand for a short time and can sometimes walk from his bed to the bathroom with help. He can’t get up on his own though. So I can’t bring him home. I know he would be over the moon if I could.

The poor stores in Bangor will not be hitting the black on Friday. They’ll be lucky if people who live outside of Bangor can get in before Sunday. I don’t think it will stop the ones who live here. We’re used to driving through snow. As long as the city clears the roads, people are out.

So there’s another thing to be thankful for ………. I will be snowbound on Thanksgiving. Let the Scrabble begin ……..



Knowing is a state I find myself in from time to time, without knowing how I know what I know and always questioning what I know.

This presents some problems to the psychic mind. I, along with everyone else who gets a reading from me, knows I am psychic. I pick up information like little particles of dust floating through the air. I know when something isn’t exactly true or right.

This can make people nervous, not least of all me. When I pick up a mood, an action or a thought from someone, I question its veracity. I have no idea why I do this, except that that questioning comes from the logical side of my mind ….. the part that is usually melded with my whole mind, but which escapes to cause trouble occasionally.

I feel when something is wrong. I just know something’s wrong, not exactly what it is. Although I do then get impressions as to the nature of the thing and I feel into it.

I’m a horrible person to try and trick or cheat. I know immediately when something is a scam or a ruse to get me to do something terribly stupid. No, I don’t get conned easily. The only way I can be played for a sucker is with my complete permission.

Today I’m having one of those times when I’m picking up something and I’m not happy about it. My own little self, not the me who truly is, but the tiny little emotional self is resisting that knowledge. In the huge scheme of things, it doesn’t particularly matter. My little self is trying to hold back the deluge from a dam ……… something is going to break and it’s going to break soon.

I wish I could be clearer, but at this point I have only the feeling, not the confirmation. I feel an undertow ……. and I get those quite a lot. Something is moving, something is happening.

I will sit with it for a while, opening my mind to more information, getting more impressions, feeling my way into whatever is changing. Because something is, and I feel it.


Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure.

There is no way I’m writing a thank you note to my guiltiest guilty pleasure. That is for me alone to know ………

So I will do my second most guiltiest pleasure – and one I’m going to indulge it tonight, provided it streams on Netflix ……..

Dear Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey:

Patrick, I’m sure you can hear me, the gratitude in my voice, the admiration of your talent and your just flat out being the sexiest man ever. I wish you were still here. But you are here I know. Just locked in that video, dancing your heart out.

And Jennifer, how did I not know that your father is Joel Grey? I had no clue. But I knew you were supremely talented in Dirty Dancing. You danced like you were born doing it. And you probably were.

I’ve watched Dirty Dancing at least 30 times. Each time I am Baby. I rise from a shy teenager whose parents think I’m some little girl, to the beautiful woman I have become. I want to dance when I watch this movie and I have some pretty good moves myself.

Before my husband became ill, our most lovely moments were on the dance floor. He danced like Fred Astaire, with his back straight and his feet moving just the right way. People wanted to watch my husband dance and they had to watch me too.

My mother loved to dance but my father wouldn’t go anywhere near a dance floor. Luckily, I shared my husband’s dancing with her. She loved every minute of it.

My husband and son think I have totally lost it when I put on Dirty Dancing AGAIN and sit and watch it as if I have never seen it before. I haven’t because each time the romance, the thrill, the anticipation of that last dance ……… turns me into a teenager again, looking for that one last dance, that knight in shining armor (even if he is a dance instructor) and a future all bright and shiny.

Thanks Patrick and Jennifer. You have no idea how much I love that movie. Oh yeah, and my other guilty pleasure? Pleasure number one? I think you could say I’ve had the time of my life …………….


51 Years Ago


I remember that day as if it were just a week ago, not 51 years. It was my father’s birthday. He was 47 years old. We always had a nice birthday party for him, usually just the family, but a nice party with presents and his favorite food.

That year was different. I found out at school, just as we were leaving, that the president was dead. Our teacher had been crying up front in the classroom for a couple of hours. We didn’t think much of it, she was odd.

When she told us, I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I was 11. I had stayed up all night the night that JFK won the election and I was a devotee of everything he did. I was so upset, I cussed in school. I got away with it that time.

I went home and everyone was huddled around the TV, black and white with one channel. We saw it all and we saw Walter Conkrite cry. We listened to it over and over and over. They didn’t show the horrible tapes where you can see his head getting blown out all over the back of the car and Jackie trying to pick up his brains. We didn’t see that until much later.

My family was full of militant Democrats. My dad was a union man and they all remembered FDR and how he saved them from sure starvation. They were Democrats for life. We were all so sad, we didn’t think we could be sadder. But we could, when we saw his son salute the coffin as his father’s body passed by him.

The days that Kennedy was in office were like no other I can remember. Everyone was hopeful, we had a bright future, things were getting done. Americans were pulling together, making the world a better place and we had this amazing first family to show how wonderful life could be. And then it ended with blood all over a car and a caring man gone. And our hopes went with him. America died that day.

No matter the uniqueness of the presidents that have followed him, even Barack Obama who, as the first African-American president brought amazing hope into office, nobody has been able to match what America felt while Kennedy was president. We walked around in a kind of reflected glow, knowing that we had at our helm a man of charm, integrity and purpose. He was handsome, smart and determined. We knew we were all glad to be Americans with him as president.

It was with real grief that I watched his funeral at the age of 11. I have a scrapbook full of the headlines of that week, full of pictures. I had never felt that much grief before, not even at the death of my grandfather. It was as if the whole country was sobbing in unison. As if we knew we were never going to feel that way again about a president, about any leader. We had lost someone but more importantly something that would never come back.

And then, on June 6, 1968, I awoke to my radio telling of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. I was frozen. I remember going to school that day, this time high school. We were almost done for the year. It was then, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy that I lost faith in America. I lost faith that we could protect any of our great men, the ones we needed to show us how to live. I just lost faith. And I was 16 years old. Can you imagine? Feeling your life was forever changed at the age of 16?

I was always politically active, from the age of 11. I stuffed envelopes, handed out pamphlets, bumper stickers and anything else I could for LBJ. I stood at the mall, us on one side, the Goldwater people on the other and gave out literature. I worked for a woman running for Congress and I campaigned for our Senator, Paul Douglas. I was young to be so involved, but I loved every minute of it. I met our governor, Otto Kerner and I shook his hand. I had an amazing year then, after JFK’s death, before I lost faith, before I realized that whatever had been going to happen, was now over.

And so now, on the 51st anniversary of his death, I hope JFK knows what he meant to us. He meant everything.

Dear God, Let Me Wake Up Slowly


I overslept this morning. I so overslept, I feel awful. I guess I was tired …… but really, this is bad.

I woke up because I got a message from the fella, and when I looked at the time I was amazed. I’m always up by 7 at the latest, but not today. Today I was out until 9:45. Cheez.

And then, I get a message from my cell phone company that I’ve changed my password? In my sleep? Anyway I was supposed to call customer service, except I couldn’t find the number on their website. Nowhere. I fussed and fumed.

Finally I did the old 611 trick and got someone on the phone. Nobody changed my password but me. Now really, sending out rogue messages like that is horrible. But I know they happen, because I worked for that company once upon a time.

It seems all is well with my account. Does anything strike fear in your soul like a message from your cell phone company? Well other than being out of cigarettes at the same time? OMG the adrenalin is still rushing through my body, hell bent on getting me high for the whole day. I don’t even need coffee this morning.

I’m going to take 10 deep breaths, get dressed and go finish cutting out tiny little quilt pieces ……… please God, tomorrow, wake me up slow …… very slow.