Monday, March 07, 2016

Downton Abbey Finale *SIGH*

(SPOILER ALERT!!  To my friends who are still catching up with previous seasons of Downton Abbey, DON’T READ THIS. )

Well, last night I sat in my recliner and tearfully smiled through the entire final episode of Downtown Abbey.   I am so grateful for this gift from the writers and producers of this most excellent series. The impeccable attention to detail and period class culture has made these seven seasons more than mere television. It has consistently drawn me through time itself to an alternative reality and period where I could actually live for an hour each Sunday night. 

While I understand that the key word in today’s entertainment industry is “edgy”, I am not a fan of edgy.  I am a fan of soft edges.  And last night’s episode was downright fluffy. 

What’s wrong with tying up all the loose ends and giving every character a good shot at happiness?  When I saw a recent interview with the series writer Julian Fellowes in which he promised ‘resolution’ for everyone, although not necessarily typically happy endings for all, I was prepared for come-what-may. (Although very hopeful that there would be no horrible surprises like the one at the end of season three.)  But when all was said and done, it was way better than I expected.    In the words of Los Angeles Times reviewer Mary McNamara, “If there has ever been a more wantonly happy-ending finale in the history of television, I have never heard of it.  No ribbon was left untied, no tea cake unfrosted, no romantic possibility overlooked.” 

And I say “Yay!!”

Frankly I was skeptical.  I mean I got so mad at the season three finale where they killed off Matthew, I vowed never to watch the damn show again.  For heavens sake, Mary and Matthew had been doing this toe-crunching dance of ‘will they, won’t they’ for SO LONG, and finally they get together and even have a baby.  Ahhhhh FINALLY.  Such a relief.  And then in the last seconds of the episode, as he is on the way home from the hospital where he has just laid eyes on his newborn son, he crashes his car and DIES????  Come on!  I was pissed!

I know, I know, that sort of makes me sound like I’m one of those over-the-top cult followers of the series or something; I mean that I could get so involved I would actually throw my Downton Abbey embroidered pillow at the TV screen.  Wait, no I didn’t actually do that.  I don’t have any such pillow.  But you don’t have to be an uber-fan with a collection of Crawley Family teacups to get pissed off over a thing like that.  I felt betrayed.  I had agonized through their on again-off again relationship for so long……and then this?  I felt angry.  (But after a summer of cooling my jets I grudgingly gave it another go next season. All right then.)

So anyway, as I say, I was skeptical.  But it was a beautiful finale for which I am grateful.  What’s wrong with a grown-up fairy tale where we get to wipe a tear and feel all warm and glowing inside?  We don’t have to believe in ‘happily ever after’, but I thoroughly enjoyed happily looking forward to the future with these people.  Yes, people.  I know they are just characters, but to me they are people.  And I am happy for them.  Because it feels good to feel hopeful, and I fell asleep with a peaceful mind. 

You can take your ‘edgy’ and shave your butt with it.  There’s enough of that in the news.  Give me soft and happy.  And a clean hankie.   


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Jeans in My Closet

I have a working theory;  jeans shrink while hanging in the closet. 

Other kinds of pants do it too, but I really notice it with the jeans.  And apparently, the longer they hang there without being worn, the more they shrink. 

 I was confronted with this phenomenon again today.  I reached for my “loose jeans” which I have not worn in some time.  I wanted to wear those today because I plan to do household chores that will require bending and moving about.  But when I put them on, I discovered much to my disgruntlement that they had shrunk.  They are no longer my loose jeans.  What the heck?

Shirts are more reliable, they rarely betray you like that.  But jeans.  I am very disappointed in them. 
Maybe it’s not really their fault.  Maybe, like people, they simply shrink with age. 

 That’s probably it. 


Friday, February 12, 2016

It's the Little Things

 It’s the little things that make me laugh.  Sometimes after the fact I suddenly remember a silly thing that happened and laugh right out loud.  All by myself.  These moments are blessings.  They send those much sought-after endorphins to the rescue of a foggy brain.

For instance:

I performed a show for a community last week. Before the performance as I lingered at the reception table, I noticed a stack of small flyers they had created to promote my show.  I was looking at them upside down, but even so, the photo on it did not look like me.  I turned it around and the photo was absolutely not me.  I said to one of the committee members nearby, “That’s not me.”  She casually replied, “Oh we didn’t use your picture.  We just used a picture of a singer.”

Committee people.  Ya gotta love em.  (That’s one of those morning-after remembrances that caused a burst of laughter.)

And then there was this one:  My dear friend who shall remain nameless was creating a poster for a performance of a show called “AMERICA THRU SONG”.  I had suggested she might use a map as a background graphic to illustrate the idea of ‘traveling’ through America with song.  She emailed me a proof for my comments.  She had faded the map behind the singer’s photo so it wouldn’t be too distracting.  I zoomed in to get a better look at it and noticed the city of Munich.  It was a map of Germany.  

Good belly laughs from that one.

Then last week I went to a dinner show with a lady friend of mine. The two entertainers in the show are also friends and colleagues of mine, so at their request I performed a couple of songs with them during the show. Afterward I asked my lady friend to take a picture of me with the two of them.

Apparently she is still trying to master using a smart phone as a camera. I did not know this. The next morning I looked at my phone to see the photos.  Here are the two she took......... 

Now THAT was good for a laugh!

I hope your day holds many moments of mirth that send those silly endorphins to your foggy brain too!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Baby Showers - Not For Women Only

So in my ongoing and painful initiation into the 21st century my most recent discovery is that baby showers are not just for the ladies anymore.  Whole families attend now, husbands and boyfriends included.  And other babies and toddlers.  Which is kind of a bummer because the mother-to-be at the center of it all is treated to a very harsh look into her wailing, pooping, sleep-deprived near future. 

I remember a time in a century not long ago when baby showers were a strictly feminine affair. Ladies would gather in someone’s living room and sit around drinking punch from little glass cups.  The gifts were relatively inexpensive items that would be necessary for the initial care of the newborn.  Things like bibs, diapers, diaper bags and the like.  The more expensive gifts would be given after the baby was born and everyone knew whether it was a girl or a boy.  And yes I know how ancient that makes me sound. Of course sometimes a few ladies would pool their money and buy a more expensive item like a bassinet or something.   

Well I just went to a modern day baby shower this last weekend.  It was my granddaughter’s baby shower.  Let me clarify:  my granddaughter is not the bun in the oven, my granddaughter is the one WITH the bun in the oven.  So yes, the aforementioned bun is my great-grandchild.  Anyone doing the math out there might now reasonably assume I am older than dirt.  But in fact I am not as aged as this makes me sound. 

Anyway, we already know that the great-grandchild is a boy. This is not new of course, knowing ahead of time whether it’s a girl or boy.   What is new is that in addition to baby showers, people apparently also have ‘reveal parties’ where they concoct clever ways to reveal the gender of the baby to family and friends.  I have heard, among other things, that the mother-to-be (probably along with the father, who really should be in the next room drinking a beer and watching the game in his undershirt) cuts into a cake which has been colored either pink or blue inside.  Can I hear a group “Awwwwww”? Big reveal!

Okay, so back to my granddaughter’s baby shower.  First of all there were more people packed into that house than fans at a playoff game. The gift area was roughly the size of…. well the size of the room.  Instead of punch there was beer for the guys and Mimosas for the gals. Oops that’s sexist.  A lot of the gals were drinking the beer actually.  I don’t know what the toddlers were drinking.  But it was festive.  Things to eat, things to drink, and of course the obligatory plates full of cupcakes with blue frosting.  So we all had blue teeth.  This went on for about the first hour.  Then it was gift opening time.

And that went on for about two hours.  At the beginning, each gift lifted high for all to see was met with a chorus of “Awwwww!”  But the chorus got weaker after about the first half hour, replaced with an occasional “Uh huh.”  Even the mother-to-be’s eyes kind of glazed over after awhile. Most of us began trolling for more beers and Mimosas.  

But the clothes this kid got!  Boat loads of clothes.  And I’m told that one of the cute little tiny jackets still had the price tag of $100 dangling from its tiny sleeve.  Are you kidding me? 

Well anyway, it was a nice party.  I got to see my kids and grandkids and then of course there were the Mimosas.  And I’m glad my great-grandson will be so dapper. 

Can’t wait to see him spit up on that hundred dollar jacket.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Text or Texted?

Just what IS the past tense of text?

First of all, text used to be a noun.  Text was what we read in our textbooks at school.  Text is simply the sum of a bunch of words written in sentences.  The result of all that black and white is the text.  As in, “according to the text…”

Now we enter the age of text messaging.  And initially that’s what each little electronic correspondence was called; a text message.  We “sent a text message” to someone.  The text message quickly became simply a text.   

Then as we became even lazier as we always do, it became much easier to say “I’ll text you” rather than “I’ll send you a text.”  Thus the noun text has also become a verb. 

No one minds.    This happens a lot in modern language usage.  Things change and evolve.  Google also used to be a noun.  A proper noun in fact.  Not anymore.  When was the last time you heard anyone say, “I did a Google search to find out whether George Clooney is still married, or is possibly looking for another suitable mate such as myself.”  Now we simply say “I Googled George Clooney.”  (The rest is not germane to this discourse except that it may offer an embarrassing peek into my leisure time.)

In regards to Google, no one disputes that the past tense is Googled.

But with texting, it’s a different matter.  I have noticed that large numbers of people do not change the word to indicate past tense. For example,  “I text him yesterday, but he didn’t answer.”  I on the other hand would say, “I texted him yesterday and he didn’t answer.  The bastard.” 

So which is it, I wonder?  Since this new wrinkle of turning a noun into a verb is relatively recent, I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules of grammar to cover it.  But it always sounds odd to me to simply say ‘text’ instead of ‘texted’ when using it in the past tense.  Then again I suppose ‘texted’ can sound a little moronic too.  Like hearing someone say, “I casted my fishing line into the water.”  Past tense of cast is cast.  So should it be the same for text?  But past tense of rest is rested.   So where does that leave us?

Perhaps an opinion poll is in order.  What do YOU say? 
You can comment here.  Or you can text me. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014


 Today was Communion day in my little church. We take Communion once a month and I always find it to be a sacred time of faith renewal. Well usually.

See here’s how it goes; in my church we serve Communion by passing a platter of little bread cubes, followed by a  tray that holds a bunch of teeny tiny little glasses of grape juice representing the wine. The bread is usually some kind of white or whole grain bread.  First the bread is passed, and we all hold our cube in our hand until the pastor speaks a few words and invites us to eat the bread, which we all do at the same time.   Then the juice is passed, more words are spoken, and we do the same. 

So today, as I took a piece of the bread and held it in my hand, I noticed that it looked different and was kind of firm.  One might even say HARD. I discreetly squeezed it a little.  Yup.  Hard.  So I just thought, “Oh well. It doesn’t matter, it only matters what it represents.”  So after the pastor’s words were spoken and we were invited to partake of the bread, I put it in my mouth and tried to chew it.  Imagine a mouthful of baking soda and sawdust.  It was apparently someone’s failed attempt at a soda biscuit.  There wasn’t enough saliva in me to dissolve it.  A camel wouldn’t have had enough saliva to dissolve it.  I concentrated on not choking and just did the best I could to mangle it enough to swallow some.  Chew chew chew, try to swallow. I started thinking, “I hope they hurry up with that juice.” 

After a few more words, thankfully they passed the juice.  Of course we all had to hold onto our tiny little thimbleful of liquid until pastor gave the word.  Soon we all had the little miniature shot glasses in our hands and the pastor was saying a few more words.  That’s when I heard it.  It sounded like someone across the aisle a ways back was crying.  There it was again, someone trying to stifle sobs.  Soon the sound was undeniable.  It seemed that someone was overcome by the moment, filled with the Spirit to the point of tears.  I finally had to turn and look.

There was one of our leading church ladies sitting in the pew, shoulders shaking, holding the little glass in her hand, laughing so hard her face was red. Soon others around her, already smiling, began to chuckle.  Poor pastor plowed ahead with the liturgy, backed up by a chorus of chortles and snorts.  After an eternity he finally gave the word to drink the juice.  Finally.  Hard as I tried to focus on the true meaning of the sacrament, I was mostly just relieved to have that tenth of an ounce of liquid to help wash down the sawdust.  (I later found out that another lady in the back told the deacon who was passing the tray of little glasses, “I’m gonna need two of those.” )

Well by now the laughing was raging out of control.  You know how it is when you’re NOT supposed to laugh, you laugh all the harder.  It’s just a law of nature, it’s not your fault. 

Everyone was at least smiling, smirking, or glancing at the pastor.  Even he had a smirk on his face by now and said, “I assume all the mirth has something to do with the quality of the bread.”  Well now the whole place erupted.  Permission to laugh.

Through a Herculean effort, the congregation finally pulled it together and we continued with the service. 

So today was not your average Communion.  But you know what, there really shouldn’t be an ‘average Communion’ anyway.  No one was intentionally disrespecting the sacrament.  Circumstances just threw a touch of comedy into the mix.  The laughing church lady later said, “I sure hope God has a sense of humor.”  Pastor said, “Oh I think He has a great sense of humor.” 

That’s just what I was thinking. 




Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Poem for Early Summer in Western New York

The cottonwood
flies through the air,
and where it lands
I DO know where;
Right up my nose
and so it goes,
that with each breeze
again I sneeze!
Have a great day everyone :-)