Monthly Archives: April 2013

poker

Everyone has their hobbies. Tom’s is playing games. Monopoly in all it’s iterations, I think we have seven different types of Monopoly, even one in French. That was for Meghan when she was studying French in middle school. Thank God they don’t have one in Latin, she would have nailed us all to the table top. Anyway, board games. We always played a lot of board games at home when I was growing up. The girls grew up on Monopoly, actually cutthroat Monopoly, yes we did make children cry. We played Risk, but we gave that up because we couldn’t play it sitting down and things got a bit hostile. Clue was another favorite, but we didn’t always play by the rules and it confused friends of the girls when there were sleepovers or play dates.  Candyland was a sort of fun favorite, but it didn’t last all that long, the girls were way past cute by that time. And, I have to say, my favorite was Snakes and Ladders. I even had a small pocket set that I could take with me when we were out to dinner with the girls and we’d play Snakes and Ladders. When you opened this index card sized box, it folded flat and became the board. The inside held tokens and die. It was fun, it was easy, it was entertaining and kept the girls actively involved at the table.

Since they’ve grown up, Tom and the girls, we’ve moved to poker. Tom started watching the Texas Hold’em poker on the Travel Channel. Then, once, when we were up in Baltimore, we went into a games store and bought chips and a felt top. We’d play with the kids when they were home from college or when we were in Baltimore. Then Dick’s had one of those Black Friday sales at 6 AM the Friday before Thanksgiving and lo and behold, there we were, in the parking lot, awaiting the door opening. We bought three briefcase sets of chips, one for each of the girls and one for us.

Now the girls have poker parties, or they used to. And, once a month or so, we have a Texas Hold’em night here. $30.00 buy in, $5.00 for the house for noshes, and an evening of laughter, fun and a little competitive action. Those who come and play are out for a relaxing evening, up for a little ribald comedy and double entendre, some mixed nuts, a little guacamole and chips, some wine or beer. It’s a good way to have friends in and enjoy their company.

So. Poker!

morning

I like morning. Monday’s especially. But I like them best when they are cool. We’re getting that now, cool mornings with the sun bringing more warmth and shine later in the day. It reminds me of being a kid, in my Villa Cabrini uniform. When we used to line up in the quad, hear announcements, Mrs. Quigley would walk by, her perfume trailing her like a posse of paparazzi! Then, the John Philip Souza marching music. Me in navy blue,  with crisp white cuffs and a white collar, a navy blue sweater and Buster Brown shoes, bookbag over cross my chest, full of my god-awful handwriting.

I love the promise of morning. It’s all brand new, every day, all year around, it is always brand new in the morning. A new start. A better chance to succeed. What more could you ask for? Well, probably a lot more, but I’ll take morning, anytime, anywhere, always have.

Retirement, Tom’s retirement, has changed all that. Morning is a lot later than it used to be. We don’t set an alarm. And, the dogs. Pffff! Forget it. The dogs will sleep through just about anything. So here it is, late morning when I’m setting up this blog and I should be doing lots of other stuff, but no, I’m writing.

Okay, off to do other stuff.

 

Margaret

Margaret, as in Thatcher, or, the Iron Lady, or, the last conservative Prime Minister of England. But still, Margaret. A grocer’s daughter, a university educated, mother of twins, because they said, leave it to Margaret, how efficient to have two at the same time!

When women were burning bras, there was Margaret. When women were marching for equal rights, there was Margaret. When women were listening to Gloria Steinem, there was Margaret. Margaret in university. Margaret standing for election. Margaret working her way up the political ladder. Margaret changing the face of the UK. While women were protesting for more equality, Margaret just strode into the room smiled, and grabbed it, moving on. And, always looking like a lady, suit or dress and jacket, hat on her head and nylons and heels. Well, it was the eighties.

I don’t have women role models. Personally I think role models are a bunch of nonsense. You’re asking someone to be ‘on’, the best they can be all the time. Not possible. TV and movies have ruined it for most. They take what people do on the screen as real. Well, hell, I’d have better statements and thoughts and career moves if someone was setting up the dialogue, planning the scenes and stabilizing the plot. But no! It just doesn’t work that way.

Margaret Thatcher was a hero. So was Marion Kellogg, the first woman vice president at General Electric, in Human Resources. I have others. And for all of them, they didn’t make a scene, they didn’t flail against the current, the established order. The niggled their way inside it, they stood tall, they walked tall and they conquered.

So. Rest in Peace. Here’s to you, Margaret!

 

 

series

Series are endlessly fascinating to me, and not, at the same time. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out why. I grew up reading series, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, Judy Bolton, Bobbsey Twins, Encyclopedia Brown. We’ve got all the Bernstein Bears and the Boxcars Children, but those were actually Bayley’s.  Then as I got older, Lord of the Rings, The Gormenghast Trilogy, Foundation Trilogy, God is an Englishman, and more I probably can’t remember. I never read that North and South series, the civil war being one of my most unfavorite parts of history, well, that an the colonial period. I’ve read all ten of the 39 Clues, finished the Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Sisters Grimm. But I could not stay with Sammy Keyes, ye gods, there are eighteen of them, and never got to Cahills verses Vespers.  I don’t think I read all of the Nancy Drew, et al at any time.

I’ll finish a trilogy. For me, it’s sort of like vacation. When we went to the Ukraine in 2006, we were gone for sixteen days. Around day ten I was ready to be home. So when we made our reservations for Hawaii this year, it is a two week vacation that lasts ten days. Perfect. Like a three book series.

I mean, I love getting to know a character and watching them through their adventures and life. But then I get bored. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because of the choices they make. Choices that I question. Not because I agree or disagree, but because sometimes they just seem so contrived. Sort of like, you’re in a old mansion, it’s dark, it’s near Halloween, there have been strange things happening in the neighborhood, dogs barking, cats missing, a weird green light in the house at odd hours. Do you go down into the basement because you just heard a noise coming up the stairs? Do you do this at twelve oh one? No. Everyone knows that’s not smart. But they do it in books. Why?

Once, just once, I’d like an honest character who runs away.

bubbles

When I want my brain to work, probably more like my sub-conscious, I clean. First off, it is satisfying to deal with a messy drawer, or closet and straighten it out for no other reason than it was messy to begin with. Second, it is exciting. Even though I’ve put the stuff in there, at some point in time, well, usually it is me, it’s nice to find little treasures. And those little treasures also bring with them memories, more often than not, good ones. And third, while my brain, whatever part it is that concentrates, is focused on the messy drawer, the rest of my brain is mulling.

I was cleaning out one of those messy drawers just before Easter, because you know, Lent is a great time for cleaning. As we move through the Sacred Triduum to Easter, we are cleaning out our souls, getting ready to be worthy of the sacrifice of the cross. IMG_0348Anyhow, I found five small jars. We must have gotten them from weddings or showers or whatever, can’t even remember. I pulled all of them out, opening one and blowing bubbles.

It was fun to see the dogs explore the bubbles that dropped on their noses and popped. Or the ones that hit the floor and disappeared. For a brief second I was wishing I had a cat. The dogs do get bored if food is not involved.

And, then I started to laugh. Back when we lived in Medfield, and the girls were little, we belonged to all the ‘educational’ places. The Children’s Museum, The Science Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, The, well, you get the idea. We probably could have saved a lot of money, not belonging, but it was such a blast. In the winter in the Great Northeast, you look for things to do, because your house gets really small, no matter how many square feet you have, sometimes around January. And one late spring, when the snow was still covering our lawn, we went to the Children’s Museum and they had a ‘bubbleologist’. He put on quite a show, small bubbles, medium-sized bubbles and large, very large bubbles. Not only were the girls wide-eyed. So was Tom.

And, as soon as it got warm enough to be outside, Tom went shopping, gathering the stuff the bubbleologist recommended. Now we had a small plastic wading pool, rope, glycerin and I don’t remember what else. And, of course, water.

All that Spring and Summer we made bubbles in the back yard. Small ones, medium-sized one, and some large, very large bubbles. It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re making bubbles.