Thursday, April 23, 2009

"What a Piece of Work is Man.... noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how likea god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals..."

This is one of my favorite quotes by Will Shakespeare. Did you know he sometimes spelled his name "SHAXPER"? Spelling wasn't standardized so much in the 16th century.

Today, 23 April, marks the day accepted as William Shakespeare's birthday; therefore, I say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, BARD!, 23 April, marks also the day known to be the one on which Our Noble Bard "shuffled off this mortal coil". Therefore, I say Woe betide us, for have we not lost the fairest flower e'er to sculpt the humble symbols we know as words?

Coming on the heels of my heightened awareness of literacy (and the lack thereof) I'd have to say that I'm guessing the number of people who revere, relish and enjoy Shakespeare's works - compared to the number of people in the world who DO read - is probably relatively small. There are many educated, cultured, literate people who either haven't ever read Shakespeare (except, perhaps, a wee mite under severe duress in a classroom). But there are some of us who DO read Shakespeare for pleasure, the plays, the sonnets....and some of us occasionally curl up with annotated works or discussions of Shakespeare's work or life or biographies.

When my first two babies were little....Lovely Daughter was two years old and Son #1 was just a couple of months old....I sat between their cribs for a while every afternoon to read them to sleep for their naps. And I read Shakespeare. One day my sister was coming over to visit; I told her when I buzzed her in that she should just come up and come in, I'd be with her shortly. (Had to finish the act - I think I was reading "Midsummer Night's Dream".)

When I closed the door and tiptoed out of the nursery, she said "What were you doing?" I said I was reading to the kidlets before their naps. Her eyes widened and she said "WHAT were you reading????" all aghast-like.

I told her, and she whuffed (you know, the sniff-with-shoulder-wiggle) and said "That's ridiculous, they don't understand that." I pointed out to her that they wouldn't understand "Hop on Pop" either, at that point, and I wanted them to hear the richest phrases their language possessed.

Now - before any Seuss-o-philes get up in arms, fear not. I ADORE Seuss and all of my children and any who come within reading distance are Seussed within an inch of their lives. Just sayin'.

Part of my adoration of Shakespeare may have come from my 11th grade English teacher (I'm blanking on his name, of course). He made us memorize long passages, he read aloud to us every day, and I can't speak for my classmates but he imbued my heart with a real passion for Shakespeare and his works.

Oh! Just remembered this. One day we got into class and he pulled the movie shades down, rendering the room almost totally dark. He then lit a big fat candle on his desk (no doubt against the rules) and told us to put our heads on our desks or cover our eyes. "NO PEEKING!" he said. He then read the Witches' Scene from Macbeth: "Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. "

He read the entire scene. I cannot lie: I peeked. Because he read it in three distinct voices, and I had to be SURE two other people hadn't slipped into the room to join him. One voice was dry, cracking and high; one was very throaty and evil-sounding; and the other dreamy and querelous. There were long pauses.....I would've sworn I heard some thick fluid bubbling.

Well, let's just say, he had me at: "Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd." I have a very special copy of Shakespeare's complete works, a gift from a former neighbor, and to this day it is NOT uncommon for me to pick it up and read a whole play, part of a sonnet.....

Now, for all of it, neither of my sons are big readers. Son #1 has a very analytical mind and is more likely to study a language on his own than read a novel; Son #2 really doesn't have much time to read anything.

But my daughter, my Lovely Daughter -- also reads Shakespeare for pleasure now and then, and enjoys the plays as much as I do.

Will Shaxper, you have my forever gratitude and deep affection. On this day I mourn your loss, I also celebrate - CELEBRATE!! your birth and every day of your life. For your gift, thank you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What if You Couldn't Read?

Illiteracy . Definition: "The condition of being unable to read and write . When I was a little kid, after supper was reading time. Dad sat down with his newspaper or a book; Mom had her Ladies' Home Journal, and my big sister always had a book going. At one point I decided that if I just stared really HARD at a book, the words in it would begin to make sense. (I may have told you this before....I'm old, cut me some slack.) I remember taking a book out the bookcase next to the fireplace, lying on the floor and staring at it. It didn't work. In later years I discovered that the book I had taken down was on Public Opinion and American Marketing...bleecch.

Of course I did learn to read - I think it was second grade, and they didn't have all those rewards, &c in those days but I learned FAST and always read "ahead of level."

My father sometimes reviewed books for the paper and often brought me review copies of kid books, and we always had lots and lots of fabulous books to read. "Illiteracy"? I thought it meant reading without pleasure, reading slowly.

I know I've told this before (but I'm not going back to look - if you've heard it skip on). When Willie and I were preparing to marry he had to get permission from his mother, and when it came it had a big black X on it surrounded by the words "Ella Mae Carter, her mark." She WAS illiterate (and that was, recall, 1965.)

Yesterday was an annual event at Border's, the Reading Marathon fundraiser for the local Literacy Network. In past years it was a 24-hour period; you could sign up for a stint and collect pledges. During the day they have Celebrity Readers on the hour, reading either from their own books or something else. I always liked taking something like 11:00 pm - 5:00 am. But this year it was just 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. I didn't get the email announcing it until Thursday, either. So I determined to just go, make a donation, and tuck into a corner to read for a few hours.

When I got there at 5:00 (having decided to read until 9) the Celebrity Reader was a veterinarian, Dr. Patricia McConnell. She's written DOZENS of books on dog training and understanding and grooming....and she has a program on NPR called "Calling All Pets" in which discusses qustions pertaining to ANY pets, it's a phone-in show. She's CHARMING!

She has for "dog talk" -- "Ooh, I'm so glad to see you, I'm going to wag my tail right off"....and another "dog-training voice"..."GUH-BOY, GUH-BOY!!" So I sat and listened to her until about 6:00. She's delightful. The whole audience sat and stayed during the entire reading.

I also noticed that they had a rather nice spread of munchies, so I staked out my little corner in the Children's Department and got a plateful.

By the way, I didn't read my dream book by Robert Moss; I actually decided to finally give myself a long interrupted read of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I've been reading in wee hunks for some time. It's an "I CAN put it down to do something else but I'd rather not" sort of book. I made a little table for myself out of one of the stools for reaching books high up...there are a lot of those in the Children's Department for some reason...and settled in. The nosh? There was pita bread with a very smooth hummus, some of those (terrific) cup-shaped chips and some lovely rather sweet salsa and some tiny squares on crackers from a fancy restaurant. They seemed to have sundried tomatoes on a cracker with some mild sauce and teensy blobs of really good roquefort (which is, see earlier post, endangered).

These were beyond delicious! It was all I could do to not fill up my little plate from the silver tray of 'em. I even practiced saying "These should be fine for us all" before loading up and dodging back into my little corner -- but in the end I was good and only went back once -- uhm...twice...OK! I went THREE TIMES, but they were out-o'-sight. Oh. Well, when Mr Dearling stopped in for a visit I had him go get some for me too. Twice. So I could keep reading and shaddup about it.

I was there to read after all, not eat. Mostly. The upshot was that I made real progress on my book, enjoyed some very yummy treats - and I got a VERY NICE travel cup, gleaming metallic green with the Literacy Network logo on one side and all the corporate sponsors on the back. That was for my donation. It was a very nice evening - think of the luxury of tucking into a little corner with your only obligation being to READ - while enjoying some free munchies. My idea of a Great Evening, if I do say so myself.

And then, after all was said and done, books were packed away, paper plates discarded and I trundled happily home, feeling well-content and rather satisfied. And when I got home...

To sleep. We're good at that, too, in our house.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Too (two) Good Not to Share

Can you believe THIS? Two posts in as many days? I guess it comes from not being able to talk. But there really ARE two things I have to share. Neither is probably new to you, but on the outside chance you've missed either one, here you go.

"You can't judge a book by its cover." We all know that. And of course, it's not ever wise to judge people based on their appearance. On the other hand, we all do that to a greater or lesser degree. I would never be taken for last season's winner on "America's Top Model." (OK, in the name of Full Disclosure, I wasn't actually last season's winner. I think I might have been but it's the height thing again.) Ballet, modeling, basketball....not good goals for 4'11" women even before they become 66 years old.

So let me show you my my new Inspiration . I'll wait here - if you haven't seen this yet (hard to imagine) then I'll wait while you a) watch it; b) go get a tissue; c) watch it again (twice); d) mop your eyes. I am SO loving this dear, sweet girl. I consider it a privilege to live in a time where technology affords me the opportunity to see her.

You know - here's sweet Susan, and before her was Paul Potts, the cell-phone salesman, remember? Singing opera? And you know, that pleasant-looking welfare mom. The one with the tablet and pen in the coffee shop? Wrote a little book - or seven...let's see, "Harry" something?

Yep, I consider it a privilege to be alive and have access to these plain, simple, dear folks who have clearly been touched by the Creator. It's a global village, and BOY am I proud of my neighbors living across the lake.

OK - the second bit I MUST share was something I wrote about here , having heard about it on NPR. This is a book that appears on every writers' bookshelves (or should) and it's been around roughly forever. And a day. But there was something about it I missed, which was generously linked for me by my friend kittymommy (whose darling children I adore, but that's beside the point). And this something about which you have to go read. Only don't wait because it would be a shame to miss it's humor, and, anyway, everyone can use, you know, a chuckle. Before long. So if you no how to use this computer thingie, then, right away, go here: at this place , and readify it!!!! You will wonder how on earth up with it you did not put up untill this time right now!!!! It has, among other things, which I consider important, some things, of a kind of, you know, importance to know if your going to be a writer, and its always a good life. Unless your nogood at it and like that!!! And then you'll thank me, in case, thought its hard to imagine, somehow you maybe didn't know all that. Or have your own copy. Like I do, I have my own. Go get one. And a cupcake to celebrate, now that Passover is over. Happy Birthday, Book. (Yesterday.)

Silence of the.....

...blogger. I have no voice. Laryngitis. If I tried forming words on Sunday - I could barely whisper. Much better today - I'm croaking. Mostly. DARN, I was supposed to sing the solo in Handel's "Messiah" Friday night! (Oh, I am SO making that up - I may have mentioned that I'm on the Federal No-Sing list.) I haven't even had the luxury of feeling really sick - just low on energy, sleeping a lot, listless. The medical term is bleeccchh. I've missed work all week {sigh}.

HOWEVER! Over the last few days, I've noticed some wonderful GOOD, some wretched BAD - and nothing ugly, actually unless you count my voice. Which you can't hear anyway. Therefore, here are a few observations in no particular order.

BAD: there's a flap going on in a small town nearby; they had a referendum about whether or not to withdraw adding fluoride to the water. the Village Board was against it (I don't know how many ist on the board.) was on the ballot, and passed (to add the fluoride) by a vote of two-to-one . Last night on the news they talked to one of the Board Members. He said, in essence, that he felt not enough of the population had voted; the fact that those who DID were strongly in favor of replacing the fluoride was irrelevant. Therefore the Board struck it down. SAY WHAT?? (May I add - he was an older gentleman clearly missing most of his bottom teeth. Probably should've had...say it all together now: FLUORIDE! Twilight Zone moment. Oh yeah.)

GOOD: Same news show: in Logan, North Dakota, many of the fields are flooding (that's not the "good") -- there was a lovely community effort, and 100 pregnant ewes were successfully put into big flat-bottom boats and successfully moved to some fine fields on high ground! They're due to lamb in about a month. HOORAY FOR ALL THAT LOVELY YARN SAVED! (Not to mention, saving sheepy mommies, that's a big mitzvah.) A round of applause for Loganites. I'll wait. In fact...stand up. Standing ovation. Yeah.

BAD: A big memo went around to all the businesses, &C around the Capital Square. I'll paraphrase: "To whomsoever has been carpeting the Capitol grounds with peanuts (that's close to literal), please cease and desist. The squirrels are, of course, loving it - but lots of schoolchildren visit the Capitol every day in the spring, and (are you ready for this?) a lot of children have serious peanut allergies and might be affected."

I am NOT downplaying allergies, and I know that there is a sensitivity that's literally life-threatening. But.....hasn't there always been? And most of the children touring the Capitol tour our Museum too...they're 4th graders. I just am of the mind that children in elementary school recognize peanuts and KNOW if they're allergic, and children too small to recognize them are in charge of mommies who DO know.

Now - apparently whoever was feeding the fat little rodents (and we all know at least ONE knitter and maybe two who have a serious problem with individual squirrels), were only trying to be nice. I also agree that CARPETING the lawn with peanuts is overdoing it. I mean, those things are good protein but they're also loaded with salt and can't be good for the squirrels. The memo should have said "Use only a FEW raw boiled peanuts in the shell". OK, 'nuff said.

GOOD: I'm writing now at noon, and it's 61 degrees out.

This is Lucy, my Mother's Day lilac. She stood naked all winter and I was VERY tempted to wrap little knit stemwarmers around her, but didn't have any on hand. She is, after all, a Wisconsin child.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are clearly LEAVES! I believe, therefore, that Lucy has given me permission to tempt the Fates, risk the sneaky foul old Frost Giants, and boldly declare:


Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Warm Sunny Day...

To the celebrants of Easter: Happy Easter! The concept "He is Risen!" is one of hope, of a belief in an aferlife. Friends have explained to me that it's the basis of their faith, that when they die they'll abide and be reunited with beloved family and bask in Heavenly Glory. The idea of getting to meet those who have Passed Beyond is very appealing to me. I'd love to see my dad again, and mom too, I suppose. I've lost friends through the years and I'd very much like to hang out and have a beer with them (assuming a) there's beer Over There; and b) that my allergy to carbonation will disappear Over There)

And laugh if you will, but I have a List of folks I mean to look up when I get there (assuming a) that I do get there, which seems questionable; and b) that they're there too, which may depend on whether or not there IS an Over There, which begins getting into a theological discussion and we're not going there. Right now.)

So who's on your list, Dale-Harriet? Well - Shakespeare. Harriet Tubman. Queen Elizabeth I. Edgar Allen Poe. Jean Nicolet. Anna Pavlova. Truth is? The list changes, but I like thinking about it. And it might be interesting finding out what my ancestors think of me. Or not.

When I was little I had a best friend (BFF, you know) who was Catholic; she always gave up candy for Lent and sought out ways to collect it. Then, after Easter, she'd lay out this huge spread and all the kids in the neighborhood would get to share it. Now I think on it, what a neat thing to do! But I remember lying on the grass in our front yard and asking her what bunnies and chocolate eggs (and bunnies who LAY chocolate eggs, apparently) had to do with Jesus. She didn't know. We agreed that it didn't matter, and it made for lovely Easter baskets from Nana.

Since then I've read up on Oestre, the Celtic dawn goddess, who was accompanied by symbols of birth, rebirth, springtime, burgeoning nature...... I also learned that the very smart early priests figured that if they nudged Christian ideas and ideals in WITH the popular pagan celebrations, the lovely country folk would be more accepting. So many good o' mainstream Christian holidays maintain charming bits of earlier beliefs, which I think enhance them in a pleasing way. (Think mistletoe, and holly and ivy, for example.)

And of course it's Passover. Pesach. Coincidence that it always falls around Easter? Nope; Passover is on the lunar calendar. In fact, Jesus (who was, after all, a Jew) celebrated Passover himself. Of course, if you continue thinking along these lines, there is instant realization that human beings have celebrated the earliest signs of spring from the beginnings of time. At the end of winter, particularly in the early agrarian communities, not only is there the optimism of a new food supply, but the whole return of mild weather, the musical birds, the delightful foliage...being able to go out without eighteen layers of clothing and heavy boots - is very welcome. Of course, we may not be able to wear our heaviest hand-knits for a while, but it's still worth it. There are always fancy-schmancy scarves and lace shawls.

When I was kid we always celebrated Passover with relatives (my upbringing was a very traditional Conservative Judaism). My father presided over the seder; generally my uncles and male cousins sat down at dad's end of the table and read the service, and my sister and I, Mom, and the aunts and girl cousins sat at the other end. Dad read the whole Haggadah, stopping now and then to frown over his glasses at our end of the table, where there was an active conversation about styles or gossip. I was the youngest, so I got to open the door for Elijah and I will defy ANYONE, to this day, who questions that I felt a breeze pass me when he entered or saw the level of wine in his glass go down. (One of the cool parts of the seder is when the door is opened for the Prophet Elijah, who allegedly comes in and sips from a special glass of wine reserved for him. ) Judaism is nothing if not bound by tradition; every year there were comments about the state Elijah must be in when he gets home, after visiting ever single Jewish home in the world and having a sip of wine.

Since my own children were born, we've pretty much just celebrated Chanukah and Passover. Chanukah's blended in with Christmas (birthday of a Jewish kid with a Mexican name, after all) and there were no seders when the kids were little. But they always talked about their holidays at school and brought menorahs to show and that sort of thing. I never complained about their singing carols with their schoolmates or anything - I think one can sing carols with a love of music, of the beautiful melodies, without casting off thousands of years of religious heritage. (I LOVE me some Christmas carols.)

Nowadays - and since the kids were a little older - I clean out and get rid of all tref (foods not allowed during Passover) and I separate meat and milk with each meal. There are "Meat" shelves and "Milk" shelves in the fridge. (My mother had two very separate sets of dishes and silverware; Orthodox Jews sometimes have separate stoves and refrigerators, &c.) I don't buy kosher meat or replace all my tea or buy kosher dish soap, but there's only matzoh and I make noodle kugels and chicken soup (with very superior matzoh balls, you don't mind my saying).

Might I add - every year I have to get out my Jewish Housekeeping book to see what IS tref; I can never keep it straight.

Mr Dearling, raised in a much more Jewish area than I (LonG IslanDt) is very patient with it. He's missed a fine Easter dinner with delicious ham and trimmings every year -- one year Easter actually fell AFTER Passover, but we didn't have an Easter dinner that year either, as I recall. Also - he LOVES matzoh! But it's like turkey at Thanksgiving; we never think of having it during the year, although it's available.

Lilliane loves matzoh too. REALLY loves it!

Loves it enough to help herself.... one and all, Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Springtime is nigh and there's an abundance of delicious foods around.......are we not blessed?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Nod to the Big Time....

This won't be a surprise to any of US, of course, but there was a piece on the morning news the other day about the advantages of knitting! It was a pretty cute piece, actually, and the reporter lady went to a LYS there in New York to learn how. The visit was apparently some weeks before the spot aired, because she presented her colleagues with very neatly done garter-stitch scarves!

NOTE: these pictures are off of the teevee; hence, not great quality - and embarrassingly, I can't remember the reporter's name. But she is very elegant...and she sat right down and asked to learn to knit while asking the reporter-y questions. The thrust of the spot was that knitting is in and hip, "not your grandmother's skill anymore", and is very relaxing.

NOTE: there is nothing wrong with grandmas' knitting. Nor 4'11" bubbehs either. Deal.

'Nother note: the caption reads "Can you crochet your cares away?" but the images were all of knitters. Still, that's correct too - my friend Donna crochets (masterfully, might I add) and is clearly reaping the same benefits that I find in knitting. I did think it was interesting that they said that, though, and then mentioned crochet only once and perhaps not even that!

She seems to have caught on pretty well, and there were shots that I thought brought out the atmosphere of the LYS, too. NOTE again: you can see, from the time block, that these aren't in order, but you know, that's fine.

There were a couple of fellows in the shop, and they let that speak for itself,none of this "Oh gee, looky there, even boys knit!" I'm guessing that this fellow had been at it a while, judging from the really fine scarf he's wearing. It's some nice variegated yarn too - I'm tempted to say "Clearly it's a Noro Kureyon in the purple-and-teal colourway"........but I couldn't tell from the quick shot on the teevee, I'm not that good at idenifying yarns.

As this is a segment in the "how to improve your life in these stressful times" series on the show, there were Dramatic Statistics interspersed with the yarn shop scenes....and might I add - I intended to post these the same day they aired, but the truth is I forgot . I must be the Rule-Proving Exception. *Heh*

Is this a boy studying the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah? NO! He is a devout Knitter examining the pattern with the trusty Second Opinion - a scene familiar to us all. " says repeat the pattern three times - do I have to frog ALL the way back?"

Of course, it read "strengthens IMMUNE SYSTEMS".....I took the picture before it had loaded. For some reason, I found myself moved to holler "YER PREACHIN' TO THE CHOIR HERE, FOLKS!" It was spontaneous, just burst right out of me. I sometimes forget that there are people who are NOT watching the morning news show while they finish up a preemie cap or weave in some ends or are casting on for something. (I KNOW, can you even BELIEVE it???)

As you can see, Harry Smith put on his new muffler immediately; I wish I'd recorded this instead of just photographed it. For all of it, the comments were positive, the narration and dialogue at the yarn shop sincere and interesting, and I felt proud to be a member of The Community. There was not one snide reference to Grandmaw, and all in all it was a very nice bit.

Of course, while watching I was knitting. I was working on a cotton preemie cap (Debbie Bliss "Pure Cotton", deliciously soft, from The Sow's Ear ). I've been using a "cat safe", an idea I saw at the Knit-In (believe it or not, SOME of what I saw walking around with the Yarn Harlot DID register). The wonderful ceramicist had little bowls, upside down, with a hole in the center of the bottom. You thread your yarn through the hole and knit away, and the skein is under the bowl and safe! The ones there were darling, with happy sheeps dancing on them....but helas! a bit out of my budget. So I went to the nearby garden shop and bought a flower pot with a hole in the bottom to use instead. NOTE: it works brilliantly - but you DO have to find one glazed inside AND out, because otherwise the hole has rough edges that will shred the yarn. I thought to get a plain terra cotta pot and decorate it myself, but the holes in those are downright SHARP.

Hard to tell in the picture - but the little cap MATCHES the flower pot cat-safe! Absolute coincidence...well, unless you realize that I'm drawn to sage greens and french blues and that sort of thing. Here's a little brighter shot:

This idea is fanTAStic...and if I see that ceramicist again, I WILL buy one of her pots, because I've wished I had ever since. Something about dancing sheepies, I must say.

OH - and better yet: I find that I can wind off a ball of yarn onto my winder on the kitchen table with this easily; otherwise Lilliane goes NUTSO trying to chase the dancing ball all over the table. By and large, my kitties DO remember the Household Law: "You are a KNITTER'S CAT and you do NOT play with, chase or chew on yarn." But a dancing, skittering yarn ball attached to the spinning winder is more than Lilli can keep her claws off of. Hooray for Cat-Safes!

Now I'm off to clean out my cupboards in preparation for Passover - I'll do my shopping later this evening. Have I mentioned that I tape the freezer shut and write "TREF" in big letters on the masking tape? I can hear de Lawd chuckling as he peers down on me....

Friday, April 3, 2009

So where's the PRUFREEDER?

Those who know me, know I have am very particular about The English. I seem to have a gift when it comes to spotting typographical errors, misspellings, &c. I think I came by it honestly, and attribute it to the Journalism Gene inherited from my Newspaperman Father. I can glance at a page and spot errors instantly. Once, on a car trip, we drove past a historical marker in Arizona, on the highway. Dad said, "There was an error on that sign." Mom said, "Oh, come ON, Sid, you couldn't have seen it driving by this fast. Turn around." He laughed...but did, and you guessed it: there WAS an error on it. I inherited that.

Now, let me say that I'm not stuffy about it; I know that some people have as much trouble with The English as I do with Wicked Maths. But I do feel that standards should be upheld in print . Books, newspapers, SIGNS -- they should be examined and tidied up and should be guaranteed to be 100% free of typos, spelling errors and so on.

Yesterday we went to vote, and on the way back to the Museum to get our stuff, passed a fabulous shop, Fromagination,which sells all manner of wonderful cheese from all over the world. Right outside there was a chalkboard:

Mr Dearling said, "No more ROQUERFORT??" I said "Wait a minute -- roqueRfort??" He said, "Gee, I wonder why no more?" and I said, "I don't think that second "r" should be there." As you see, though, it's spelled that way three times...and the sign's handwritten. My first inclination was to hurry in and report it so they could fix it. I must admit, though, I had a moment of uncertainty - until we looked up and saw this, the front of the shop:

See the banner? "ROQUEFORT". So we did go in, and mentioned it -- the proprietor thanked us and said he was going to go get it when finished with his customer (there were, as usual, quite a few). So we headed out.....(by the way, it has something to do with some tariffs or wossname - if you want good roquefort cheese, get it now!)

Next we stopped at Hilldale Shopping Center on our way home. I really like it there, it's a very nice small mall. I was looking for a pair of black dress gloves to wear with Mary Hayes Chynoweth's walking suit. I looked at Macy's and a couple of boutiques - without luck. (Seems that ladies don't wear gloves any more.) (Small silent sigh of regret.)

So we stopped at the Directory to see if there might be a shop I hadn't thought of as a possibility. This is a good director, because it's clear, the diagram is straightforward and the shops are listed by type. I had stood there ONE MILLESECOND...and then I saw it:

TWICE!! I could hear my little in-brain teacher chanting "If it's not moving, it's stationAry; if it's going in an Envelope, it's stationEry...."E" for "ENVELOPE".

I shuddered. I almost gagged. This was a professional sign, probably made on a computer. Of course, this wouldn't be caught by Spell-Check, because "stationary" IS spelled right, but only -- it's the wrong word. (I've said it more than once: I'm very glad I was born speaking English because it must be a son-of-a-gun to learn.)

Well....that's pretty bad. I'm guessing that Sarah B. never looked at this, because surely she would have caught it. I enjoyed my moment of Righteous Indignation. (I'm old, allow me a foible.)

Then -- I SAW IT! Are you ready? I mean...really ready? OK ---

Chinese food, anyone?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

So How Old ARE You.....

We have a 1948 Nash in the Museum. (It was made in Wisconsin.) The driver's door is off (in storage) to reveal the interior of the front seat, and it's right inside the door on third floor, where I start my tours. As the kids come through the door, invariably at least one kid shouts "Suuuuu-WEEET!" I show off the car, asking the youngsters what they would expect to see if the car were new...they guess "seatbelts", and I tell them that "We learn from history". Then I tell them about bringing my baby daughter home in a laundry basket on the back seat of the car. (It was a Volkswagon and she was snuggled into a lot of cozy blankets.) Of course they're horrified.....

Well, today a girl asked, "How old are you? What was it like when you were a little kid?" I started thinking back, and when I got home I was hit by a real bout of Nostalgic Reminiscence. And I remembered one day in particular especially vividly for some reason. Now - if you're training for theatre you learn about something called "Sensory recollection" - seeing something can bring back a stark memory including all the might be the memory of standing in the kitchen, JUST tall enough to see over the edge of the table, and looking at and smelling those cinnamon cookies as Grandma took them out of the oven.

Well - I remember one time getting to go along when my family started preparing for a really big family dinner over at my aunt's house --I think it was a Passover Seder, or perhaps Thanksgiving. I apologize for the quality of the pictures....I think my big sister took the pictures because she had to stay by me. I wasn't allowed to be too close; I was only about three and would have gotten in the way:

Looking at this, I remember how excited Mom was when the guy from the meat market delivered the roasts. Of course, in those days she had to do a lot more work - I even remember her cutting the legs off chickens and putting them in the soup. Anyway, everyone used to get together to cook for the big holidays. You can see my Bubbeh here, she always said the meat around the ankles was the tenderest of all.

Uncle Izzy used to always get the job of peeling the food...bananas, oranges, mammoths. The bigger pieces he could get off the better because Mom could make clothes out of it and stuff. You can see my cousin Billy over on the left with Aunt Lucille and Uncle Bertram. He was a real brat back then but they were the rich branch of the family and Aunt Lucille always had to make a special meal for him because he always said he didn't like whatever everyone else was having. Even when Grandma saved him the bobbles to play with. He was spoiled.

See now, my sister took this picture because you can see Mom hurrying away with the tenderloin there. That was her speciality. Yeah, I think this must have been for Passover because we usually ate that part by the front leg instead of that beautiful tenderloin.

Well....I have to say, I was glad I found these pictures -- although you know how I said "sensory recollection"? I sort of wish I hadn't thought of this because I have to tell you.....I think I've spent the last 3,412 years trying to forget that smell. What was it like?

Don't ask. You don't want to know.

Anyone got any mints?