Friday, November 27, 2020

Christmas Movies

What do Love, Actually and Die Hard have in common? Well, 1) Alan Rickman as the bad guy 2) airport scenes 3) specifically, a girl running to a guy in an airport and jumping on him, wrapping her legs around his waist, and 4) they are Christmas movies. I have begun the annual watching of the Christmas movies with these two, plus The Santa Clause and White Christmas. (I may have started this in the spring or summer, but I have started it over now in the usual seasonal fashion.)

Not everybody loves Love, Actually, but I do. The lush interludes of music, during which someone does or doesn't get the guy/gal, always grab my heart. Emma Thompson listening to Joni Mitchell, through tears, as Anton Chekhov would say. Certain things always make me laugh, cry, or cringe, and I enjoy the pop songs. But this year, the airport scenes were excruciating. They had all their original power as scenes of love and joy, as people greet each other, but I saw them side by side with news photos of people in airports for Thanksgiving travel, and I ached with worry and dismay.

Because I tend to watch these movies late at night, to fall asleep, I fall asleep. Then I pick up where I left off to see the rest, so I watch them gradually over mostly consecutive nights. This morning, though, I wanted to finish White Christmas with breakfast (yogurt, granola), and tears sprang to my eyes when the old General sees his old soldiers. I'm a silly old fool for love.

I am glad to say these movies have managed to cheer me up, as did a long walk in the afternoon sunshine. I have much to be grateful for, and I am indeed thankful. And I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving weekend, good vaccine news, and merrier times to come.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Soft Joys

Probably a cherry cordial Hershey's kiss is not a healthy breakfast, but today it was one of the soft joys keeping me (emotionally & spiritually) alive. We had our weekly grocery shopping date early this morning, and I got the $2.99 special on Hershey's holiday candy (if you buy 5 packages), an item actually on my list, because I had been decorating my house, and it was time to put colorful (individually-wrapped) candy out in the various dishes...for us to eat for several months, as nobody else is coming in our house... Sigh... 

But, back to the joy part, I had no trouble picking out 5 bags of what I wanted, including mint, almond, plain milk chocolate, and peppermint bark bells. Instead of eating breakfast, I was placing the dishes around the house. Somehow, this helps.

Mid-morning at work, I saw the email showing a picture of (individually-wrapped) goodies and little Starbuck's iced coffee bottles! So I had some! Then home to a Honeycrisp apple, and the Governor, live, telling us we are back in Tier 3, to please stay home, starting Friday, to keep us all alive. I am glad that my little chalkboard poems are "soft joys" for those who see them here, or on Facebook or Instagram. I'm grateful they are hitting the spot.

Likewise, I was delighted with the response to my story, "A Retiring Woman," and grateful to Calyx for publishing it online. My daughter and her boyfriend were gripped by it, and she quoted a passage on integrity of voice. My son said he laughed out loud! Yay! It's a long story, and so many people read it and responded. I am wowed. 

Those are big things in my life, but the little, goofy things help, too. One day, I found myself gardening in pearls. Ah, it was Election Day, a lovely warm day, and I was wearing (fake) pearls to honor RBG, and there was yard work to be done. Another day, I was dusting in earrings, post Zoom, which is the only time I put on drop earrings. It felt good to dust, and to re-stack my stacks of books awaiting the second lockdown, as I sometimes think of it, but nobody likes the word "lockdown," and the Governor is just announcing a return to Tier 3, for all of Illinois, to help avoid a firmer stay-at-home order. This is a stay-at-home-as-much-as-you-can situation. Till then...(on a Fat Tuesday in the blog) I've got candy.

Saturday, November 14, 2020


Well, I got over yesterday's cranked-up crankiness and actually got even more work done than expected! So today could be an official Slattern Day, except I am actually working from home this afternoon--virtual poetry event at the library--and, as usual, working on various things in my home and home office before and after that. I am glad that Cranky Doodle Day is a fairly rare day among my "eight days a week" regular blog practice, but I suppose the crankiness can build up.

Today is sort of a sad/glad day, dark and cold outside, with a wind advisory. When I checked the weather app on my phone, the expected precip 

I congratulate all those people who put up their holiday decorations during our warm spell! I am pulling out interior decorations gradually, and I am glad I planted that tiny tree in a pot to decorate with blackberry lily seeds and leftover earrings. Every little bit helps. My chalkboard poem for today is "Sad/Glad," about my children. When I walk into my daughter's room now, I flip the light switch to turn on her string of tree lights left behind...


I walk into the rooms
of my children

who won’t be coming home
for the holidays.

I am glad
they are alive.

I had some good news: my story "A Retiring Woman," which has gone through many revisions and various titles, coming back now to its original title, was first runner up for the Margarita Donnelly Prize in Prose Writing at Calyx. For fellow writers, I've been working on this for years, and years ago I sent it to Calyx, thinking that was the perfect home for it. It was rejected. Back to revision! And back to Calyx! I love how this worked out. 

Also, Calyx is in Oregon, and so is my daughter, so it's a Random Coinciday in the blog!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday the 13th

I'm a person who gets a lot done, partly by putting off some of what needs to be done. That is, if something I have to do makes me nervous, I will do a bunch of other stuff first while procrastinating. In that way, everything...and even more...actually gets done! Today, to avoid starting one of these things, I put up my sweet turquoise-colored wooden Christmas tree decorations atop the piano to make myself happy. 

Superstitiously, I also put off posting a poem on my chalkboard by writing a mock-superstitious mock-haiku. No joke, though, I really didn't want to jinx anything by posting the real poem I'd been working on...and I have learned to listen to my gut.

What things make me nervous? Sometimes it's communicating about technology via technology! I'm big on communication but aware that a lot of people don't like to read emails or communicate promptly. So, mixed fear and annoyance about lack of response. Sometimes it's dread of certain people who find fault with anything I do. I know this is probably from their own fears and insecurities, but it still gets to me, hurts my feelings. Sometimes it's because if I say something like that, someone is bound to jump on me and say I'm the one in control of my own responses to other's people's negativity, et cetera, blah blah blah. I'm laughing as I type this but also annoyed!--with them as much as me, BECAUSE, to quote from the musical Company, "I'm a living thing, too, you shithead." Wow, I didn't know that was coming. I guess it's a Cranky Doodle Day in the blog!

Anyhoo, the sun is shining, and it's pretty outside, though still below freezing. I'm staying in today to do all the stuff I am currently putting off. Happy Friday the 13th! As the Internet memes keep saying, "What could go wrong?" I love you, Captain Picard.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fingerprint Not Recognized

Could it be all the handwashing and surface wiping? Frequently now my phone says, "Fingerprint not recognized" when I touch my finger to it to see what's up. Am I gradually disappearing? Well, yes, figuratively, but now, I guess, maybe literally! Fingeratively. 

What joy, joy, joy and relief I've been experiencing since yesterday! I'd gone into my front yard at 11:30, maybe to put out the mail? My across-the-street neighbor said, "We've got some good news!" This was the first year her daughter could vote! Yay all around! So many pictures of champagne later in the day, the spread-out family toasting! And all of us had beautiful weather wherever we were, the weather joining in the figuratively/literally thing.

And some terrible sadness, a family member lost to Covid-19. I only hope that family can grieve now inside a feeling of protection and relief surrounding them.

It's Sunday and I've got that "Love thy neighbor as thyself" feeling. Neighbors have been out in the fine weather, so we've been able to chat from an appropriate distance in the fresh air. I still love my back yard neighbors who probably voted differently than I did, the down-the-way not-so-responsible (poop) dog owners, and the neighbor who left conservative/religious books in my Little Free Library as an obvious message (since the yard signs recently in my yard were also an obvious message). Yes, let's heal, work together, and love one another as best we can.