April Showers

It’s April.

Time of spring, Easter, resurrection, rejoicing or . . . not.

I’m not finding it very cheery thus far.
Perhaps it’s due to the gloomy weather we’ve been having in the low country.

At the risk of waxing too melancholy, I will invoke the spirit of writers past who conveyed it in ways quite sublime, albeit tragic/sad.

A Well-Worn Story (Dorothy Parker)

In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.

His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.

Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.

In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.

Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes? 

The Waste Land  (T.S. Eliot) (an excerpt)

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Personality

Personality counts. Especially in certain cases, like when you’re getting an ultrasound or another diagnostic test that may be cause for worry or concern. The technician who performed some tests on  me yesterday had almost zero personality. She led me or rather shuffled to the exam room with me trailing behind.  She opened the door and pointed to a paper “gown” that I was to put on. It wasn’t a really gown, but rather a sheet made of paper towel material.

She said, “Is that a dress?

“Yes,” I said.

“Take the dress and your bra off and put the gown on so it’s open in front.”

“Okay,” I said.

When she saw I was undressed with the giant paper towel wrapped around me, she said, “Lay on the table.”

A remake of “Lost in Love” by Air Supply was playing on her CD player / radio. One of my favorite love songs when I was a college freshman.

It seemed incongruous with the proceedings.

The technician begrudgingly pulled out the lower part of the examination table so my calves would not be dangling off the bottom.  The table squeaked when she jerked it down, and it was still too short for me. I’m only 5’6″. How must it be for really tall people?

“I’m going to do the echo cardiogram first,” she said. “Lay on your side.”

“Okay,” I said.

She slathered gel on my chest and starting moving the wand over my flesh.

I felt like a canned ham covered in jelly.

“Now lay on your back,” she said.

The next song that came on the CD player/radio was another remake of an easy listening song.

After ten or fifteen minutes she said, “Now I am going to do the other test.”

“Okay.”

When it was done, she said, sans expression, “You can get dressed now.”

She didn’t offer me any paper towels to wipe off the goop, so I grabbed a few I found near the sink and used the paper towel “gown” to wipe off the rest.

“When will I get the results?” I asked.

“You can go to the front desk, and they will tell you.”

“Thanks.”

She didn’t turn around to convey the information to me.

As I said, personality does count. But as long as she’s good at what she does, I guess it doesn’t matter all that much.

Life is Just a Ziploc Bag of Cherries

I always thought the adage “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” silly, never gave it much thought. But while eating my afternoon snack of cherries in a ziploc bag, I was compelled to look up the lyrics to the song. Judy Garland does a rousing rendition of it, but I preferred Doris Day’s softer, slower interpretation. I’ve had a soft spot for Doris since I was a child. Often thought of her as a surrogate mom–always cheerful, rosy and full of life and love. Anyway, I digress.

Having read the lyrics, I find the song isn’t so inane after all:

People are queer, they’re always crowing, scrambling and rushing about
Why don’t they stop someday, address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going? It’s it time that we found out
We’re not here to stay; we’re on a short holiday.

And this part:

 . . . The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?

So that’s all I’ve got today. Thought I’d drift into lighter territory and elude the sorrow.

Enjoy the cherries.

 

I’m a Stranger Here Myself

Years ago, I did a cabaret show that included the Kurt Weill song, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.” If ever those words rang true, it is now.

I feel like an alien, a zombie (not that I know what a zombie actually does or does not feel).

If I hear “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” one more time in a shopping mall, I will go postal. Yes, I have done all my Christmas shopping and have wrapped most of the gifts. “Fake it till you make it,” as someone said.

The world feels like a dangerous place, a place that offers no security now that my security blanket is gone. Yes, Lorin was my only security blanket in an unpredictable and often cruel world.

I started a list of “Things I Miss About Lorin,” which includes:

(1) How he told me, “I love you,” several times a day and always insisted on a hug before he departed for work.

(2) How he would grab me and start dancing with me in the kitchen while I was cooking and not let me go.

(3) His telling me, “All I need is the love of the Sweetie.” One of his nicknames for me was “Sweetie.”

I’ve come to the realization that no one needs me anymore, except, perhaps, my mom. Lorin needed me. It was good to be needed. It was good to be co-dependent, if that’s what it was. I don’t care. It worked for us, and we were happy.

I haven’t been able to cook or bake since Lorin died. He was grateful for all the meals I prepared for him and even bragged to his co-workers about the lunches I prepared for him. I made extra Christmas cookies so he could have his own tin. He thanked me for every meal, every cookie, even a frozen dinner. I miss having him to cook for, and how grateful he was for every culinary offering.

I made a spontaneous decision to go to New York this weekend to visit my mom and Lorin’s grandmother on Long Island since I won’t be able to see them for Christmas. I need to connect with people who need me (Mom) and loved Lorin (his grandmother). It makes me feel closer to him. I also have a keen sense of my mortality right now. Why wait?

In the evening, I light candles in the living room and in our bedroom, hoping he’ll see them.

This afternoon, I talked to a couple of turtles at the marsh, and asked if they had seen Lorin. No reply.

I said, “Well, if you do, tell him to come and see me.”

Lorin loved animals, turtles included. He said he wanted to die in Savannah. I wish he had lived here too.

Send in the (Creepy) Clowns

it-sewer

(google, “It”)

Isn’t it weird?
how many are there
creepy clowns in South Carolina
causing a scare
(Don’t) send in the clowns . . .

Just when you thought the world couldn’t be more bizarre, what with  Donald Trump and his “Great Wall” of Mexico, and softening and hardening and softening (rinse and repeat) his stance on illegal immigration and his promise to deport “millions” of illegals within five minutes of being voted into office . . . here comes something new.

Creepy woodland clowns!

Yes, they appear to have taken up residence in Greenville County, South Carolina and are terrorizing children and adults.

This from The New York Times article “Creepy Clown Sightings in South Carolina Cause a Frenzy”:

A woman walking home late one night said she had seen a “large-figured” clown waving at her from under a streetlight, the police said. (She waved back.) And another woman said her son had heard clanging chains and a banging noise at his front door. In these cases, people who reported clown sightings refused to give their names to the police.

And I thought New York was weird!

Children have said that the clowns were offering them money to follow them into the woods; they apparently live in a house near a pond. The clowns seem to be targeting residents of a particular apartment complex. The police are receiving calls that the clowns have also been spotted at another apartment complex. What do they want?

People are armed and ready to defend themselves and their children against these ghoulish jesters.

As the Times article mentions, this may be a prank or publicity stunt of some kind, but that doesn’t seem to lessen the fears of the community.:

The pranksters, viral marketers and criminals may be taking advantage of a cultural fear of clowns, with examples including Mr. King’s “It,” and John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who dressed as a clown. But Steven Schlozman, a child psychiatrist who teaches a course on the psychology of horror films at Harvard University, suggests that something more primal could be at work.

This brings to mind Ray Bradbury’s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” which was also made into a Twilight Zone episode. In this story, strange things start happening in a sleepy suburban town in Main Street, USA. The appliances stop working, lights go out and people start to panic. A resident says it’s like a science fiction story he read where an alien space ship came to earth and created a disturbance. Ultimately, neighbors who were friends begin to distrust one another and wonder if Joe or Jill next door might actually be the “alien.” I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it’s well worth the read or view.

It’s the ultimate “fear of the other” story, like the fear of the evil woodland clown. Perhaps the clowns are malicious or harmful, or perhaps they are simply preying on our basest fears and sitting back to watch a once benevolent community self-destruct.

USA Freedom Kids

Apparently they are a viral sensation, but today is the first day I’m hearing about them. Yes, I mean the USA Freedom Kids! The number they performed at a Trump rally in Pensacola, FL reminds me a bit of Olive’s act in the film Little Miss Sunshine.  The back beat sounds like a techno / diluted version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Their song entitled “Freedom’s Call” is a re-write of the popular World War I and II tune “Over There.”

The founder / manager of the group is Jeff Popick, father of Alexis, the youngest girl in the group. He is planning to sue the Trump campaign for violating their business agreement. They were promised two performances in Pensacola, but the first performance did not transpire.  When Popick asked for the $2,500 promised for their  one and only performance, a counter offer was proposed to give them a table for pre-selling CDs. No table was set up for them, and they still have not been paid for the performance (January 2016). Boo, Trump!

Trump’s campaign manager also invited the Freedom Kids to perform at a rally in Des Moines which would have brought them huge publicity, but when they arrived, they were told there was a change of plan. They made the trip for nothing and were not compensated for any hotel or travel expenses.

Washington Post article by Philip Bump notes:

. . . Popick’s story mirrors analysis of Trump’s record in working with small business owners, some of whom allege that the Republican nominee failed to live up to financial and other commitments he’d made to them.

So much for Trump’s proclamation to regular folks: “I am your voice.” I beg to differ.

I think I know who has the true heart of glass.

Melania Trump’s Dress

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(photo: Daily Mail)

All that you really need to know about last night is that Melania wore a beautiful dress by London-based Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinic that cost $2,190. It sold out minutes after she gave her campaign speech at the Republican National Convention. Way to go, Melania! Get Americans shopping again so the terrorists don’t win. Let’s not talk about her speech, that may have been plagiarized, echoing passages from Michelle Obama’s speech before the DNC in 2008. Fashion trumps substance!

Speaking of fashion and substance, did you catch former Calvin Klein underwear model  and soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr.’s speech? He moved from Rome to the U.S. in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006. He believes that Obama is a Muslim and told ABC News that Obama is “with the bad guys.” At least he looks good in underwear.

a18

(google image)

I’ll admit to only having watched Antonio Sabato Jr. (kept hoping he would strip down to those undershorts) and the guy who came after him who was rather dour. Last night’s theme was “Make America Safe Again”–neither as catchy nor as bold as “Make America Great Again.” I wonder what tonight’s theme / motto will be.

I missed out on purchasing Melania’s dress like so many other women had the fortune to do. To be truthful, it’s more than I can afford to pay for a dress. Not sure I’d ever spend that much on a dress, but never say never. Isn’t it more important that we have the privilege to emulate celebrities, models (including underwear models) and those above our station, and imagine ourselves as rich and glamorous as they are? Ah, we can dream. Can’t we?

Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
     –Hunter S. Thompson

 I admit to being a weirdo, a mutant, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson. But mutants are on the rise, are they not? X-Men and superhero movies are all the rage, as are TV shows about geeks and zombies and people with special powers. Not sure if I fall into any of those categories. I am more a generalized weirdo with an abstract sense of humor that some don’t understand and others are offended by. So be it.

I’m writing this because (a) I don’t have much to say at the moment, (b) I only had 2 visitors today on my site (egad!), and (c) my husband and I are in the throes of selling our home (short sale) and have had 20 or so prospective buyers come to see the house so far. Somewhat nerve-wracking and self-absorbing, but a necessary and positive step forward in our lives.

We have done a lot of cleaning, sifting through our belongings and throwing things out, all in preparation for the “staging” of the house before our realtor’s photographer took pictures of the house pre-listing. After seeing a slideshow of the photos, my husband said, “The house never looked so good.”

We call our house “the huddle house,” because we feel cozy and safe in it, shielded from the troubles of the world. During one of our marathon car trips, we discovered a restaurant called Huddle House, and wondered if people go there to gather in safety or take a needed respite from the madness of The Outside. Seems like a good idea to me.

m-8925

(google)

Alas, it is time to leave our Huddle House and begin a new chapter of our lives. I hope someone nice moves into our house. It’s a very, very, very fine house.

Alone Again (Naturally)

Karl 2

As some of you know, Bernie is the newest member of our “pride.” He’s been part of the family since April 23. For the first four weeks or so, he stayed upstairs and developed what seemed to be a strong bond with Karl (above). Karl lost his best kitty friend five years ago, so Lorin and I were very happy when we saw the closeness unfolding between Karl and Bernie. Karl is very timid and spends most of his time upstairs in the guest bedroom.

Bernie Might Love Karl

Karl and Bernie

After four or five weeks, Bernie started coming downstairs. I think he realized that’s where the food and “action” is. He began playing with Samson and Quincy and sleeping on the sofa or one of the dining room chairs. Now he rarely, if ever, goes upstairs.

This has not been easy for Karl. Over the weekend, Karl tried to woo Bernie back through various vocalizations (some mournful and heartbreaking) and by sitting or lying near him or on his new scratch mat in the dining room. It seems this only frightened Bernie and made him feel cornered.

Karl can be extremely pushy and aggressive during play or when he wants affection.

This morning I was awoken at 4:45 a.m. to the sound of shrieking, growling (Bernie) and  woeful crying (Karl).  I headed downstairs and shuttled Karl upstairs and locked him in the bedroom with me. He was intermittently crying and panting, and when I got him to sit on the bed with me, I saw a tuft of white fur in his claw–Bernie’s. It took at least a half hour for Karl to calm down from what seemed like a panic attack. Lorin brought a dish of food and water upstairs, which he devoured.

Karl seemed much calmer after that.

I feel sad for him: it seems his heart has been broken a second time. I hope Bernie and Karl can settle their “differences” and become buddies again.