"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


...but this was more of a blue-green really.

And it appeared mysteriously, not all over my head, but just at the tips of my hair strands, about two hours after I got out of  Linda's pool, showered, moussed, went to Frisch's, ate a Big Boy, fries, some extra tartar sauce, and slurped down a Diet Coke.

Imagine my surprise! Shock!  Dismay!

All the summers I have had my hair highlighted before my Cincy vacay, and all the hours logged in Linda's pool, and NEVER has my hair turned green!


"Um, Linda...look st my hair!  What the hell?"

Linda's eyes grew rather large!

Frisch's Brawny Lad
"Did you see this at Frisch's and not tell me?" I squealed, imagining the worst...Linda, Michael and their daughter, Michelle, kicking each other under the table, trying not to chortle at my Frisch's hair fashion faux paux while I unknowingly munched away on my tartar-sauce laden burger.


She swore on a Frisch's Brawny Lad my hair was not green while we ate.

Hmmm...maybe I've grown allergic to Frisch's tartar sauce?

At any rate, we had a good laugh, she Googled "green swimming hair" or something to that effect ( I don't know, I was cowering in a corner), and saved the day by whipping up a pasty concoction of baking soda and water and applying it to my green, er, blue-green tresses.

And voila!  A few minutes later, the blue-green was gone!

But I ain't takin' any chances!  It's a good old fashioned bathing cap for me! 



But man we howled just picturing it!

And the Cincy vacay adventure continues...

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 16, 2012


So here it is, 11:40 p.m., and I am trying to piece together my last blog post on the last day of our 40 Days of Writing Challenge II.

I want to write something meaningful and profound and lasting.

But I don't know where to begin.

I have written something every day for 40 freaking days. I didn't write nearly as often or as much when I was a full-time newspaper reporter.

I am exhausted. Emotionally. Physically.

And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Cuz writers write, and damn it all, I AM a writer.

I am not a waybill processor. I am not a grocery store clerk. Yes, I process waybills and I schlep groceries to pay my bills and put my son through college. But my passion, my life's blood, is writing.

And so it is for each of us who have participated in this second 40 Days of Writing challenge.

Even when we may have questioned if, in the long run, what we wrote on a particular day mattered, we kept writing.

Even when we had day jobs to tend to, children to raise, housework to do, or other life obstacles to overcome, we kept writing.

Because that is what writers do. And yes, it all matters.


Because of the spirit, says author Anne Lamott. Because of the heart.

"...Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation," she explains in her book, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing and Life.  "They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.” 

Thanks to all who have written, read and helped one another clap along with the absurdity of life during our second 40 Days of Writing challenge!

Victory! Our souls are nourished once more!



Sunday, July 15, 2012



With all the excitement over being on vacay, almost forgot...

Today The Home Stretch turned six years old!


I've been blogging for half a dozen years...

Pause for reflection...


If I weren't so darn tired, I would try to say something more profound.

Special thanks, of course, to my faithful followers...you know who you are...you are why I keep blogging.

I blog, therefore I am.



Home sings me of sweet things
My life there has its own wings...

For some reason this morning, I couldn't get those words -- from one of Karla Bonoff's old songs -- out of my head.

Since my plane landed yesterday, I have just been taking in and mulling over in my heart all the different sights and sounds that invoke so many memories.

Here barely 24 hours and already Linda and I have been laughing ourselves into stitches..figuratively speaking, of course.

Inspired me to actually get my ol' legs moving and go for a nice, moderately-paced walk with Linda and my new four-legged friend, Jasmine! 



Amazing.  I no longer have to remind myself to breathe.  It comes naturally now.  Which is a good thing, don't you think?  Vacay is so good for just letting us breathe...

Met this fun couple on my flight from Des Moines to Dallas/Fort Worth -- Diane and Eric -- and Diane and I  gabbed the whole way, laughing and singing old tv show theme songs and reminiscing about our favorite toys from our childhoods -- namely, plastic wigs!  OMG!  It was such s gift, meeting this funny, funny woman just as I embarked upon my journey home -- a laughter primer, one might say. 

It felt so good to laugh. Diane, if you are reading this, thank you!  You were a godsend! A new friend!

We went our separate ways at DFW,  I handled the Skylink from one terminal to the next like a pro, baby, and then spent spent my two hour layover trying to figure out how to access airport wifi...lol...did a little people watching...and basically just let stress ooze slowly out of my mind and body.
It's like debriefing... switching gears into vacay mode.

Or, in other words, for the first time in a very long time, I started to relax.

A mani-pedi...a little shopping at The Snooty Fox secondhand boutique... a couple of margaritas at El Pueblo... and a few glasses of sangria while sitting out in Linda's beautiful backyard under the stars, listing faint echoes of (get this ) The Guess Who (yes, they are in town, too apparently) performing down the road at a nearby park...

And more singing -- this time, singing along with old songs that make up the soundtrack of our misspent youth...and waxing nostalgic, poetic, philosophic -- I mean we waxed all but our eyebrows -- and then came to the same conclusion we always come to when we reunite:

Life is not a dress rehearsal.  Seize the day!  Celebrate good times! 

That's what friends are for!

Or, as my mentor, the late, great humor columnist Erma Bombeck once said, "Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart."

Having said that...I just wolfed down two delicious pieces of key lime pie as we celebrate the engagement of Linda's awesome son, Christopher, to equally awesome Alicia.

Yup. It's good to be home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Louise: Are you sure?
Thelma, nodding: Hit it!


Friday, July 13, 2012


Oh, my bags aren't packed
I'm not ready to go.
There's still a pile of laundry
Outside the bathroom door.

I hate to wake myself up to go to work.

But the dawn is breakin'
It's early morn
Stayed up too late writing
Cuz that's when ideas are born.

Already I'm so tired, I could cry...

But hey, I'm leavin' soon on a jet plane
Ten days till I come back again...

(With sincere apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary, and John Denver)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Just A Girl And Her Bike
They say you can't go home again, but I have proven "them" wrong for decades now.

For every time I fly to Cincinnati, I not only go home, I revel in home. Inhale it. Drink it all in.

Going home, for me, is a giant, soul-deep hug. A comforting blanket of great memories that I gladly, thankfully, wrap myself up in the minute my plane lands.

7822 Buckeye Crescent
Granted, both my parents are long gone...my actual childhood home, my house on Buckeye Crescent, is inhabited by people I don't know...and, of course, the Cincinnati suburb I grew up in -- Madeira -- looks completely different than what it did when I lived there.

But none of that matters because the absolute best part of my growing up years -- my friends -- are either still there, or they make it a point to be there, or they are there in spirit, whenever I go home.

Tirsh, Mik, Nel and Heis, 15th Class Reunion
And no matter how old we are when we gather together after a long time apart -- in our 20s, 30s, 40s and now, gulp, our 50s -- our inner 10-to-18-year-old selves instantly reappear, giggling, smiling and guffawing.

It's so therapeutic crossing that sentimental bridge from now to back then. Such a grand celebration, an awesome testament, to the miracle of life-long friendship!

It's The Wonder Years, Glory Days and Golden Girls all wrapped into one big, beautiful, damn-it's-good-to-be-together-again grin!

Ann and Nan
Indeed, the older we get, the more precious our time together each summer. And summer seems to be our favorite season to meet. Reunion season.

So we reunite and our invincible summers, sometimes overshadowed by disheartening winters, shine through brightly once more.

Me and Linda Lee
Yes, somehow, no matter what tough issues or heartbreak life has tossed our way over the years -- and trust me, collectively we have faced and endured it all -- we manage to push the bad stuff aside and set free yet again our once-upon-a-time, care-free, bike-riding, diary-keeping, let's-go-toilet-papering, happy-go-lucky younger selves, still alive, thriving, and locked safely within our hearts.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
It's just like a scene from "Now And Then", that heartwarming, spot-on  BFF movie from several years back. We catch up on our "now" and gleefully relive our "then".

And once more our special Friends Forever bond is magically strengthened.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Valli (right), her lil' sis, Ronni (left) and Me

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go?

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right.

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly...

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right.

~Elton John, Friends

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Five days till I'm back home in Cincinnati, and already I'm struggling with what to eat first.

Skyline? Frisch's? LaRosa's? White Castle? What flavor of Graeter's Ice Cream?

Yes, these are the questions that keep me up nights.


Skyline Chili it is!  Clearly the best first choice.

Skyline Cheese Coney and a 3-Way

A cheese coney with mustard, no onion, and a 3-Way, please.

But wait!  Do we dine at the Skuh-leen-ee (our pet name for Skyline) in Blue Ash or Kenwood?

That's easy-peasy.

Kenwood!  That was the only Skyline we knew back in the day. After basketball games. Or other extracurricular activities. Memories light the corner of my oyster cracker bowl.

It's really a toss-up after Skyline.

White Castle Sliders
Could love me a Frisch's Big Boy, fries, extra tartar sauce on the side (for dipping my fries) --  and a Coke --  just as much as a bag of those adorably tiny square Whitey Castelle (Cuh-stell) hamburgers, affectionately referred to as "sliders".

Nah. That's a small white lie.

Frisch's Big Boy
Push come to shove, I do love my Big Boy with extra tartar sauce more than a White Castle slider.

Why?  ITTSS   (It's The Tartar Sauce Silly.)

Best damn tartar sauce you'll ever taste. And on a burger no less.  Don't try to analyze it, just enjoy. Invokes so many memories for me -- going to Frisch's with my big sis in her convertible in the summer...the car hops waiting on us at Frisch's Mainliner in Mariemont...ahhhh.

As for LaRosa's?  Fine Italian dining, and it's where my old boyfriend Bob Garner used to take me all the time in his shiny red Nova. Oh, yeah. It's not a "must have" for me, but I certainly wouldn't say no if someone wanted to go there.

Yummy Graeter's Ice Cream

And truly, any flavor of Graeter's ice cream is superb. May have to go there twice. Yummy.

Five days!  Only five days till I'm back home in Cincinnati!

Licking my lips...

There's no tastes like home!

Monday, July 09, 2012


Six days till I leave on my much-needed 10-day Cincy vacay.

Haircut and Color? Check.

Fake Base Tan Started? Check

Teeth Whitened and Brightened? Tomorrow.

Clothes Packed?  Hell, no.

Health and Beauty Aids Cache Assembled?  Started.

Yes, indeedy, I bought a flight-size bottle of root lifter today when I got my hair cut and colored. Still need flight-size shampoo, styling gel, hair spray, a plethora of perfumes, anti-aging lotions and skin-softening potions -- not to mention my trusty packed-to-the-gills makeup bag containing the following:

*Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Primer/Skin Transformer

*Almay Smart Shade Anti-Aging Makeup

*Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles

*Maybelline ExpertWear Eyeshadow (Almond Truffles)

*Physicians Formula Bronzer

*CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush (Lush Berry)

*Maybelline Define-A-Lash Pulse Perfection Vibrating Waterproof Mascara (Black)

*Maybelline New York Master Drama by EyeStudio (Sapphire Strength)

I haven't flown for a few years -- do I still have to put everything in clear plastic bags?   Ack.

All that plastic-encased anti-aging beauty assistance makes for rather cumbersome luggage, carry-on or tagged. Simpler, certainly, to just shove it all in my checked luggage. But then I must face my greatest fear in flying: the airlines losing my entire morning beauty regimen between Des Moines and Cincinnati.

Grrrr. Makes me crabby just imagining it.

Like I always say, show me a woman without her hair styling gel or fave moisturizer in her carry on -- or worrying about if they will meet her at the luggage carousel -- and I will show you an agitated, aggravated, absolutely unpredictable passenger capable of, well, I shudder to think.

(Just a little HBA humor, of course...just in case anyone with airport security happens to read The Home Stretch.)

One way around  the whole bothersome HBA packing rigmarole, of course, is to not take any of my current collection with me and just buy all new when I get to Cincy. Could ship it home UPS. Or heck, just leave it all there till my next visit.

Would certainly be a quicker way to pack seeing as I never can decide which perfume (I layer scents), hairspray (maximum or medium hold?), flavored toothpaste (vanilla or cinnamon?), deodorant (solid or invisible or invisible solid?), or body lotion (Sweet Pea, Cherry Blossom or Moonlight Path?) to take with me when I travel.

Besides, I always do a little HBA shopping on vacay anyway. 

There's just something more exciting, more suave and sophisticated, about buying a a new blusher or lip stick in the big city.

Would be sorta expensive buying all new HBA, yes.

But reallllly dahling, what price Cincy vacay beauty?

Next up: Must-have eats on my Cincy vacay

Sunday, July 08, 2012


July 8th.

Three years ago today.

Words don't come easy for such a solemn observance, but I believe Daniel expressed it as best any of us can...

Still impossible to comprehend it all even after three years. Love you Casey.

Oh, Casey, how we all miss you so much!

 Irrepressible, smiling, fun-loving you!

So many remembrances. So bittersweet. The Crusader football scoreboard that bears your name. Lovable #85.   A tree planted on school grounds in your memory. The sports-themed memorial in the front yard of the Coon Rapids United Methodist Church where you were confirmed. The new Crusader Baseball batting cage, recently dedicated, your picture a promise that your "Put me in, Coach!" spirit is ever present. Unforgettable #6.

And The Game, Daniel's riveting YouTube documentary. His heart-and-soul-etched  tribute to you, his best friend and fellow CRB Crusader, and the thrilling 8-man football game played in your memory. You were the ninth man on the field that night, Casey. Our angel in the end zone.

One of my favorite fun memories of you:  Christmas 2008 when you surprised me with a pizza cutter because you just couldn't believe we insisted on cutting our pizzas with scissors. Smiling at the memory.

That pizza cutter is now hung by a red ribbon from one of the top branches of our Christmas tree each year. It's always the last ornament to go up and the last to come down. Impossible to look at it, touch it, display it, pack it away without pausing to reflect...

But the stark reality is, when we lose someone we love so dearly so suddenly, the world at large just keeps turning, expecting us to keep moving along with it, though our world as we knew it mere seconds earlier comes to an abrupt, irrevocable halt. Such overwhelming grief. So weak with sorrow, we cannot move.

Yet time insists on pulling us along, unwillingly, one foot reluctantly placed, shaking, in front of the other. Left foot. Right foot.We must remind ourselves to breathe.

Somehow, with the loving support of family and friends, we begin to move forward a little bit further each day.  With thoughts of our loved one tucked safely away in a tiny, slowly healing corner of our hearts, endless sorrow eventually submits to cherished memory where our loved one lives on.

July 8th.

Yes, three years later, our hearts still ache. But we dig deep, muster our resolve and move ever forward, Casey with us always.

Thinking of you, Casey.  Love you, Daniel.

Hugs for everyone struggling with this emotionally delicate day.

Hold tight the precious memories.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


Home Stretch visitors are an interesting lot.

They mostly hail from the United States, are stuck in the 70s musically, hate their jobs and are hard of hearing.

That's how I'm interpreting my blog stats, anyway.

Yes, as The Home Stretch approaches its sixth birthday next week (July 15), I thought it might be fun to take a close look at just where my 26,730 (at post time) visitors have come from, what search engine sent them here, and what they were actually searching for when they arrived.

I mean, as much as I'd love to believe that The Home Stretch has become a household word among blog readers around the world over the past six years, I am cyber savvy enough to realize that, save for my closest friends and family members who regularly read my stuff either because they choose to or because I brow beat them into it, most folks wind up here purely by accident.

And by accident, I mean, for example, the poor schlep (and poor speller, I might add) who a few years back apparently typed "how far does the vergina streetch" into his search engine bar, and wound up (sorely disappointed, I imagine) at my blog post about my love of dancing titled "Waltzing Virginia".

Yup. Search keywords pretty much serve as the serendipitous finger of fate in deciding who ends up at one's blog front door. And it's the number of pageviews, they say, that determines a blog post's popularity.

Hence, a quick lookie loo at my blog stats show the top three search keywords for The Home Stretch since July 15, 2006 are as follows:

Barry Manilow (646)
Office Space stapler (305)
ear horn (227)

Ergo, my earlier conclusion that Home Stretch visitors are stuck in the 70s musically (Barry), hate their jobs (Office Space, the hilarious 1999 comedy film satirizing work life at a software company, including one very disgruntled, albeit meek and  fixated collator who constantly mumbles to himself mainly about his co-workers borrowing his fave red Swingline stapler), and are hearing impaired (ear horn, the antique hearing aid).

Which would explain why the following three posts, of the 420 published, are included in the Top 10 pageviews (out of a total of 33,485) since I started this cyber penning gig:
Apr 4, 2012
WHO MOVED MY STAPLER?   1,601 pageviews
Feb 19, 2011
Jan 31, 2009

Curious aside:  Not a week has passed since I wrote about winning those Barry Manilow tickets that someone, or a couple of someones, from the USA or abroad, doesn't end up at The Homestretch  by searching for "what to wear to a Barry Manilow concert". Apparently I wasn't the only Fanilow (diehard Manilow fan) who was concerned about making the correct fashion statement when swooning to Weekend In New England. Who knew?

Some others included in the Top 10:
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY      333 pageviews
Feb 23, 2011
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DID    279 pageviews
Jan 23, 2011
WHO LET THE WORMS OUT? UH UH OH   (written by John, actually) 269 pageviews
Mar 23, 2012

But the most fascinating aspect of this whole blogging pastime is that people from all over the United States and the rest of the world have stopped by The Home Stretch, based here in little Coon Rapids, IA. And the top 10 countries for pageviews are: 
United States  21,024
United Kingdom 2,356
Canada 1,298
Spain 811
Australia 796
Netherlands 445
Germany 398
India 314
Russia 250
Brazil  211

Well, it's getting late, and if I don't want a bad case of blogger eye Sunday morning, I better go to sleep.

But before I close, just want to offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who have shared my blogging journey at some point during the past six years. No matter how or why you arrived at The Home Stretch, or how long you stayed, just so glad you came by.


Friday, July 06, 2012


The text from my son, Daniel, was priceless.

"Oh good. Joe Biden wants to buy me a cup of coffee."

"How much will that cost you?" I texted back.



And I mean I actually laughed out loud.

Then I checked my email and of course, like all ardent supporters of President Barack Obama in his re-election bid, I, too, had been invited to chip in for a chance for a cuppa joe with Joe.

Subject: I want to buy you a cup of coffee

Ann -- Want to have a cup of coffee sometime soon?

I'm sure we'll have a lot to talk about, but mainly I just want to say thanks for helping out.

Oh, Joe, you sweet talker.

Only my java invite from Joe suggested that a $10 donation -- or whatever I can give to help grow Obama's grassroots  campaign -- will automatically enter me for a chance to "come hang out" with flight, hotel and coffee on them.

And I can bring a guest. Yay!

I immediately got ahold of my favorite "If I win a dinner date with Barack Obama, I'm taking you as my guest" co-worker, Terri C., and excitedly informed her we now have a chance to hang out with Joe Biden over a cup of coffee, but I'd need a little financial assistance with the $10 donation.

Smilin' Joe Biden with coffee pot

After all, I told her, I am still recovering from my $20 long shot at winning a chance to eat dinner with Barack and George Clooney a few months earlier (sadly, a failed gamble),  not to mention my $30 donation for a Team 2012 T-shirt, and about another $200 or so donated over the past several months before all this crazy Obama dinner raffle stuff started hitting my email every other day.

Dinner with the Prez and Sara Jessica Parker...Dinner with Barack and Michelle....a seat on the campaign bus...and now...coffee with Joe Biden.

Thanks for the coffee, Joe
"Does Joe realize he'll be flying me there in  a pair of ripped sweat pants, a tank top,  no bra, my hair up in a scrunchie and smeared eye makeup?" Terri inquired. "Cuz that's usually what I'm wearing, what I look like, when I drink my coffee."

Hmm. She had a point.

"Wouldn't it be more financially prudent for the campaign if, instead of flying us in to have coffee and putting us up in a hotel there, he just hopped in his car and he drove here?" I said. "He can stay at my house for free."

I'd turn on the ol' Mr. Coffee coffee maker, and the three of us could enjoy some freshly ground brew in a couple of chipped Christmas coffee mugs while sitting out on the wooden front porch swing. He could tell us his financial worries, we could tell him ours...

Or better yet, we'll buzz down to Sperry's One Stop, grab a couple of Styrofoam cups filled with steaming hot coffee and then, since the booths aren't installed yet, we can sit outside along Highway 141 with a large pail marked "CAMPAIGN DONATIONS" in big red, white and blue letters.  Drivers can toss in their spare change as they speed by.

Terri's fave, minty hot chocolate
Terri thought that sounded like fun, but she still wasn't convinced she wanted to pitch in $5 for a chance to win a cuppa joe with Joe.

"Frankly, I prefer hot chocolate," she said. "With whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint."


Thursday, July 05, 2012


Thanks to Jace, Daniel's best college buddy, we're all breathing a little easier around our house today.

Because, trust me, if Jace wasn't coming to visit this weekend, I never would have spent my entire Fourth of July eradicating the huge dust bunny hutch, formerly known as "the kitchen".

Yikes! It was exhausting!

Who knew ceiling fans grew beards?

Admittedly, I've been a bit lax of late in the housework department. Until yesterday, however, I had no idea how lax. Good Golly, a blind monkey couldn't miss the inch-thick dark, furry glob glued to the top of the bright yellow chain from which the light over the kitchen table hangs.

Where in the world did it come from, and why didn't I notice it till now? I know I'm short, but don't I ever look up?

Or, more to the point, since John -- come to find out -- did notice it, why didn't he get rid of it?

Anyway, the living room carpet has been shampooed, the kitchen and bathroom floors mopped, the windows Windexed like mad, yada, yada, yada. Daniel's room still looks like a scene from Hoarders, but that's his problem. Figure Jace has seen his dorm room so it shouldn't be too big of a shock. Ahem.

Indeed, I should do deep house cleaning more often. But truth is, I really don't like housework. It makes me a skosh cranky. Like it less and less the older I get. Just seems so futile. Resent the time it takes, only to have to do it over again and again and again. Housework is endless, and life -- especially at my age -- is just too short.

Bottom line:  I just feel like unless company is coming, who cares?  (Have I whined enough yet?)

But when company is coming?  Look out!  I am a whirling dervish of  crabby cleaning frenzy! 

In fact, all my scurrying around reminds me of when I was six years old and I was watching my scowling mom fly about the house, cleaning furitively...she never did that on a regular basis. Could only mean one thing.

"Are we having company? I asked in wide-eyed wonderment as my mom Jet Spray Bonamied a living room window with one hand while revving up our ol' Hoover with the other.

"Why?" my mom hissed at me, her eyes narrowed and glaring, a Salem cigarette clenched in the right corner of her mouth.

"Cuz after the last time you cleaned like this," I gulped, nervously, "Danna and Bumpa (my grandma and grandpa) showed up."

My mom (always the domestic goddess), paused long enough to take a long, deep drag off  her Salem, growled as she exhaled, and just kept on cleaning.

Funny, she didn't look at all like the early 1960s' mommies I saw scrubbing their floors or cleaning their mirrors on television commercials...they all seemed so happy...thrilled even...holding a box of laundry detergent or a can of glass cleaner so lovingly in their hands. As though they thoroughly enjoyed cleaning their houses. What was up with my grouchy mom?

It wasn't till the early 70s, while babysitting, that I happened to hear actress Carol Channing on MarloThomas' Free To Be You And Me record wax poetically regarding the truth about housework.

And that truth is, nobody likes housework. Nobody. Not really. And the only reason those house-cleaning women on TV were smiling is because they were getting paid to smile about it in order to sell a house cleaning product.

Ohhhhhh! Well, no wonder! Whew! Such relief as I entered young womanhood to know that I wasn't the only one less than wild about meeting the challenge of keeping a house clean and orderly on a regular basis.

Anyway, I'd love to write more about how I loathe housework, but I still have sheets to wash, the underside of couch cushions to shop vac, the dishwasher to unload...blah, blah, blah...grrrrrrrr.

Presuming Jace will leave his white gloves at home...nevertheless...back to work I go.

 And just in case you have never heard it, I leave you with Carol Channing's delightful, ground-breaking Housework ditty. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


I know.

I promised not to write another blog-post-as-obituary/mournful- reflection on the fact that our childhood TV icons are beginning to drop like flies.

But how does one ignore the passing of Andy Griffith? Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry? Gone?  Never. Comforting to know that like Lucy, he is sure to live on in syndication, cable and boxed DVD sets forever.

And how fitting, really, to post such a blog on the Fourth of July!  Our country's birthday! A day that we celebrate all that is perceived to be great about our land.

For if any TV Land location gives us pause to celebrate, it's Mayberry, North Carolina, home of Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie, Goober, Otis, Howard, Helen,Thelma Lou...a simpler, more neighborly, more community-minded place and time.

Mayberry and all its down-home characters may have been fictional, but the common sense and kindness that always came through each episode seemed more alive and in abundance here in the United States of America back when I was a kid.

Not that those Andy Griffith-watching years were, in real life, so laid back and comfy. Hell, no. It was the 60s, for crying outloud. Civil and political unrest on every corner. And for me, personally -- domestic unrest always brewing on the homefront.

That's why The Andy Griffith Show was a great diversion then, and it remains so -- maybe even more so -- today.

It was a slow-moving, comforting, love-themed show.  I mean real, unconditional love, not the shallow drama-infused pseudo luff  that a show like, say, The Bachelorette is made of. ;)

And oh, how we all loved Andy! His playful charm! His warm and welcoming grin! That gentle southern drawl! When he did get frustrated with Barney or upset with Opie it wasn't for long. And such heart-warming parental insight and wisdom:

Andy:  Opie! Time to come in, son.
Opie: : Aw Pa, just a little while longer... please?
Andy: : Well, OK.
Andy: (to Barney) Daylight's precious when your a youngin'.

Ahhh...you can almost see fireflies twinkling about the yard...

And who can forget Barney's classic advice on raising boys:

Barney: Well, today's eight-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you've got to nip it in the bud.
Andy:  I'm going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney:: Well, don't just mollycoddle them.
Andy: I won't.
Barney: Nip it. You go read any book you want on the subject of child discipline and you'll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.

Good stuff.

One of my favorite episodes, however, is Aunt Bee's Medicine Man. Do you remember that one?

When Aunt Bee's friend, Augusta Finch, passes away suddenly Aunt Bee gets depressed over her own mortality. (Oh, how we can all relate to that.) Her spirits are soon lifted, however,  by traveling salesman Colonel Harvey and a bottle -- or two -- of  "Colonel Harvey's Indian Elixir".


Aunt Bee is rather smitten with the colonel but Andy and Barney, of course, are suspicious. Lo and behold, their suspicions are justified... turns out that the colonel's elixir is 170 proof.

Hilarious! And Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) rocks this episode!

So before the backyard fireworks start, the grandkids burn their fingers with sparklers, and the mortgage and your AARP Magazine subscription both come due, grab yourself a glass of cold, homemade lemonade, sit back, relax and enjoy this long-ago (albeit, somewhat politically incorrect) snippet from The Andy Griffith Show.

It's cheaper than a shrink.

Thanks, Andy! RIP! Long Live Mayberry!