Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heeere's Kitty!

Yes, the Arrival of the Cats has occurred at Camp Becky. They travel pretty light, actually, nothing like me, who goes to the Cape packed down like a beast of burden. They don't bring any clothes. No one here will dress them up in little hats and peignoir sets. Nor will they be pushed in a buggy. They don't need bathing suits--when the toilet bobbing gets a little boisterous, they just fall in.

So far there has only been one controversy, the Where Do We Get to Sleep battle, or Why Can't We Sleep On Your Bed In The Exact Same Spot As You imbroglio. I started the first night by locking them out of the bedroom. It worked fine. They were disoriented anyway and didn't know which way was what. By the second night, they knew where I was and wanted in. A little
scratching on the door but not for too long. By the third night, intense scratching and brutal clawing of the carpet under the door.

They won.


They're casual about it now and don't rub it in, so that's good. One thing I admire about cats is their total change of attitude (TCA) now and then. They will be doing a no-holds-barred NASCAR circuit around the house, 600 mph, up and down the stairs in a blinding flash, and then all of a sudden TCA. They come to a complete stop, yawn, and then sroll across the room with another yawn. YEAH? WHAT?

This is their high-tech rest room.
The thing has a hydraulic lift in it and you can hear it at night sometimes. It's not quite as romantic as the far-off sound of a locomotive, but comforting in its way.

They are settling into a comfortable routine. I think they are writing a book. I fear it may be a tell-all expose of my house. Gulp.

Later, dear reader

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gates Pond

This is what we see before we actually get in the car and go to Gates Pond. Aren't they stunning? I have zero gardening skills, but these rhodies manage to grow and infiltrate their way into more than their allotted space without my assistance.
They only bloom for about two weeks and it used to be far later in May than it is now. Sniff. Boo. Oh well.

Okay, then. Let's hop in the vehicle and take a jaunt over to the next town. It's not far, about five minutes. This is the same trip I used to take with the illegal squirrel trap in my trunk, live victim inside and waiting for liberty. Not any more, though. I have seen the light. I've also seen the possibility of being, uh, detained by the Animal Officer and I ain't messin' with her.


This is a walk around a pond, not escape from Alcatraz, okay? Thanks, dear reader, I know you know that.
These are lady's slippers, or perhaps they are ladies' slippers. They are, what is that term, endangered. You can't pick them. It's sort of like the mattress tag, though. Who's going to see you do it? And the term itself invites a smile. I picture the little flowers being surrounded by masked gardeners with guns. Yeah. With ransom notes. Now that's endangered. My friend Chris says lady's slippers have an "anatomical" look. We're not saying whose anatomy, however. We're far too dignified and discreet and squeamish for that, but if you have something like this curled up inside or dangling outside your body, keep it to yourself, okay?

Halfway around. Gosh, that went fast!! No sign of any bad guys.

Don't step in this, though. It's potent. I'm beginning to feel like Marlon Perkins.

While Jim wrestles with the vicious anaconda, I can't seem to find my contact lens.

These are lovely, aren't they? I don't have a rat's clue what they are.
I'm huffing and puffing now.
Pass the chips.
How much farther is it?
What's on TV?

In other news, dear reader, my grandkitties are here! They are staying with me for a month and already we're having wicked fun. Full coverage next time! They're so cute! And skilled! They're keeping busy digging holes in the carpet, so I must go and give them advice before Bette does.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bad Idea

Want to make your life pass in front of you? Easy. Stuff everything you can think of into old style kitchen cabinets, wait thirty years, then heave it all out on the kitchen floor. Try to do it two days before you're having dinner guests to give yourself that extra frisson of excitement.

MOST REMARKABLE ITEMS FOUND (some are wrong--see if you can spot which, dear reader!)

1) 10-carat diamond.

2) Bank statements for 30 years going all the way back to whatever the bank's name was then. Bank of New England, Fleet, Baybank, Bank of Boston, Shawmut, my head is spinning.

3) dead mouse

4) Unsigned letter from Johnny Depp begging me to have dinner with him on any Friday night of my choice. I'm busy this Friday.

5) Original wedding gift canisters for flour, etc. in groovy psychedelic patterns, several stuffed full with bank statements.

6) All God's phone books, large and small, at least 15

7) money order for $10,000

8) List of tax assessments of all homes in my town in 1976.

9) Numerous cookie sheets/rusted aluminum cheese graters/rusted aluminum egg beaters

10) Salad spinner--these are still for sale in the "modruhn" era, but not like this extravaganza. There's only one thing to be said. YIKES. Army battalion? No problem. SALAD ALL AROUND, BABY! Sadly, the "spinner" attachment is missing.

I have assembled a small flea market on my dining room table. It has some exciting items, including a hot air popcorn popper, a homemade ice cream maker, numerous Corningware casseroles (with lids!), and much more!

See the psychedelic canisters? Aren't they far out? Also those blue thermal-insulated beer holders? STILL IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING. All of these items are FREE.
My dinner guests are being asked/forced to walk through the flea market and select at least one item for a ten-day free home trial. Did I already say they were free?

Okay then.
"Many convicted murderers have later been found innocent and have been forgiven."

"Couples in China prefer a male son."

"I sometimes have my friends over for a bomb fire."

"Al Gore has been fighting for global warming for a long time."

"In the online Gallup World Poll, 36% voted, 60% opposed, and the remaining 4% were lethargic and had no opinion on the matter."


Monday, May 18, 2009


Cruel trick It wasn't to be. Well, how were we supposed to do it without KG anyway, right? I don't think this loss compares to some others I have lived through. And when you get trounced, I don't know, it all seems a little futile and not so stinging. That's the Rationalization for Today.
DONE FOR THE YEAR: Tim Thomas and... This was supposed to be The Year for the Bruins. Even I know that and I don't follow hockey. So their loss has to sting a lot more than the C's, who after all, won the whole banana last year. [thanks to Boston Globe and Boston Herald]

The worst loss I ever saw? Without a doubt?

This one.
Red Sox Bill Buckner famously booted a ball against the Mets in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium. The error resulted in a 6-5 10th inning win for the Mets. The Sox would go on to lose Game 7 two days later, 8-5.

That is Bill Buckner, dear reader, before his life changed. About to scoop up that ground ball, step on first base, and give the Red Sox their first World Series win since 1918. The year was 1986, Saturday night at Shea Stadium. Red Sox Nation was holding its breath. Kids were up late. If you had to work, you made sure you could be near a TV. Nursing homes were abuzz. Pacemakers challenged. I myself went to a production of Camelot and some in the audience discreetly relied on one man in our row who had earphones on and could keep us updated. If Ever I Would Leave You, it wouldn't be in the seventh inning, baby. We attended a cast party afterwards at a friend's house. By the time the ball was headed for Buckner, it was two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, Sox up by one razor-slim beautiful run. The champagne was not only open, but poured (into lovely formal champagne flutes, I might add).

"We're going to win," I kept saying. "We're really going to win."

It was heady.

And then the ball went between his legs. A play he had made probably a thousand times since his Little League days. But this time he booted it.

Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.

It was a loss like no other, before or since. It lingered. It rankled. People were sullen for days and started believing in curses and Ouija boards. Good men went bad. Bill Buckner had to leave the area. There were other chances, but none like that. No sure-fire this-is-it feeling like that one.

Flash forward to 2004. A much quieter evening with different friends. It's a Monday or maybe it's a Tuesday. I am older (but my hair looks better). As the innings progress, it looks as though the Red Sox will finally break The Curse and so the hostess goes to the kitchen and pours champagne. When she appears in the doorway of the living room, we turn on her like savages: NO! GET THAT OUT OF HERE! NO CHAMPAGNE UNTIL IT'S OVER AND THE UMPIRE SAYS IT'S OVER!

Yes, it was worth the wait.


But boy howdy, it takes a lot of losses to get there.
Living the Dream, dear reader.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Makes You Curious?

We're all curious about something, aren't we? I wonder what's in that package. I wonder why that person is so unfriendly. For some of us, it's the lure of astronomy, the enticement of a subject or a language we don't know . For others, it's Real Housewives of New Jersey or American Idol. What will hapen? Who will say what? If you could be allowed a list of ten things that you would be given knowledge of right now, what would they be?

1) censored

2) What is the fuss about Twilight?

3) How do those polygamous marriages, a la Big Love on HBO, really work?

4) Is the orchard down the street from me making any money?

5) censored

I guess I might as well curtail this at 5, since most of the things I am really curious about can't be mentioned.

These are the kinds of things I think about on my walk, dear reader, my walk which is heartrendingly beautiful right now with all that bright kelly green I love. It's only this way for ten days or so, then the deeper green sets in. The horses up the street seem more curious too. They look at me and don't seem to blink as much. Perhaps I will choose one of them and write his biography.

New Englanders put great care into their gardens and landscapes. Not me, of course, pass the chips. But I do enjoy and appreciate my neighbors' efforts.

What would it be like to go bowling after 25 years? How would I do? Here are friends of mine who were also curious. The girl on the left kicked our collective ass. I'm proud to say I scored a 98, or maybe it was 95. You don't have to keep score either--the computer does it. Geeolllley! When we finished, there was no one left in the bowling alley. That's what you call clearing the joint out.

Sometimes you meet people who have big, you know.

Living the Dream, dear reader, trying to stay on schedule and get lots of housework, writing work, outdoor work done before the Languishing Fugue takes over, as it always does.

A bientot


Sunday, May 10, 2009


She was tough.

But she could be funny.

"It's a great life if you don't weaken," she used to say and she was right. (she is pictured here with my own daughter)

She didn't like animals. She'd stand at the back door clapping her hands at some cat walking through the yard. "Git!" she'd say. "Go on! Go!" It didn't sound in the least threatening and the cat in question would generally lift its head and stare at my mother in a perplexed way. What are you looking at?

She liked to play solitaire. She dealt the cards out on an old board, balanced on the arms of her chair as she sat. In her later years, we used to say why don't you play on the computer. She would make a wry face at the prospect of trying to use the computer. "I know enough to stay away from it," was her only comment.

She was thrifty. She bought the cheap paper towels. She kept the same ice cream scoop from World War II. It was a darn good scoop made of weapons-grade iron or steel or something that will never disintegrate. I wouldn't mind having it. She put water in the salad dressing. When I accused her of it, she said "It goes a lot further if you do that." I suspected her of watering down the mashed potatoes, but never caught her doing it. When I grew up, I never imagined what real mashed potatoes tasted like.

When asked at the Motor Registry if she wanted to donate any of her organs, she said no, she'd spent too much money trying to keep them.

She made really really good fudge.

She sewed things. For years, she bought patterns and made dresses for me. One of my teachers in high school asked me once if I loved plaid because I wore so much of it. I told my mother and I think she was mortified. I had never noticed. She tried to teach me how to sew one summer and we nearly killed each other.

She was a terrible driver. She went 40 mph on busy highways and if you were a passenger, you tried to melt into the seat. "Listen, buster," she'd say when someone honked or acted displeased. "Get out of my way or I'll ram you. Damn Arkies."

She'd walk into a room and hold out her hand to give something to you. It was always candy. She loved candy. She was unable to walk by any Hershey's display, especially if it was on special. The freezer in the garage was loaded up with Easter eggs, giant Dove bars, foil-covered balls, and M&Ms.

Most of her things are gone now, given away or with my dad. There was so much stuff that some of it had to be put into a storage unit, which I visited last year. I haphazardly opened up a beat-up old desk and found all her sewing things. Dozens of spools of thread, acquired over a lifetime, ingeniously stored on little knobs, any color you would want. No one wants them now. I took her sewing scissors with me when I left. She used to call them "the good shears."

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I wish you were here.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009


"Scientists have been pouring over this problem for years."

"The death penalty allows the victims' families to heel a little quicker."

"Block scheduling in high schools gives longer prep periods to the teachers and more in debt lectures for their students."

"Scientists are working on a Tailor-made vaccine."

"If the economy improves, then stalks would increase."

"Most parents of that generation turned to Dr. Spook for baby advice."

"It was a community collage like no other."

"Now we turn to Byron's love of life and grief."

"Hunting is good because it helps with thinning out the heard."

"At my old school in [foreign country], I was given a capital punishment of ten strokes on the bottom."

T-shirt worn by girl on campus 5/5/09:

On that note, dear reader, have a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Drugged Out of My Mind

Isn't that daring?

And true, dear reader.

Just one of the many benefits of dental implant surgery, especially when you have complications and throbbing pain. Yes, the implants I now have could pay for a new Honda Accord. Does that make me feel a little sick?

Um, yeah. Kinda. Not really, though. I'm too giggly and cuckoo. Life seems funny. I feel mellow in the extreme, my arms open to the world.

Then again I'm drugged on my ass. Like this woman in Edgar Degas's L'Absinthe. You know, I wouldn't mind a little absinthe to go with my codeine-a-licious Tylenol (doc said I could pop two at a time!) . This girl is NOT having a good time, though. I think she ought to dump that guy, who is an odd cross between scurrilous degenerate and Emmett Kelley clown. That could freak you out fast in my condition.

The Absinth Drinker Pablo Picasso painting

I don't want to look like this guy, Picasso's The Absinthe Drinker. He's got that androgynous wicked witch thing going on. The hands are freaking me out too.

This guy is under the influence himself. He is about to have the fantasy of his life with that green girl. I'll be the green girl, okay? He looks a little erudite, but I like erudite. His eyes look a little crossed too, and why not? I'll give him something to cross his eyes for.

That waiter is on his way over to spoil everything. (Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva Czech)

Absinthe Drinker Art Print by Pablo PicassoAnother Absinthe Drinker, this one perhaps a carnival contortionist by day. Look at those arms. She's thinking of things she should have said. Things she could still say. Measuring them against silence. She wraps her arms a little further around herself, playing it all out in her mind.

My comrades. my friends, my drinkers in arms, I wish you all a wonderful good night.Can you unscrew this before you go? love,

whatis my name? oh yeah becky