Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chickery Chick... Cha La, Cha La (Maybe)

My story about my grandmother's funeral...a harrowing experience for me when I was fifteen, is a finalist to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Teenagers. Just writing "Pansies, Painted Ladies and Pink Polka Dots" made me remember how we can honor our loved ones and memorialize them, from planting pansies in their honor to writing stories that commemorate them. I'm so grateful that Chicken Soup has chosen to publish stories about more friends and relatives than I can shake a stick at. I'm not putting all my eggs in the Chicken basket, though. Today I dragged out three orphan chicks, brushed up their feathers, polished their beaks, and sent them out to peck on other publishers' doors.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maybe Tuesday Will be My Good News Day

Since childhood I always have knocked on wood, wished on falling stars, and said “rabbit” for good luck on the first day of each month. And if I make a New Year’s resolution, I rely on my monthly “rabbits” to reinforce my resolve to carry it out.

Two events in my seventh year converged to produce my reliance on this incantation.

The first I still consider my parents’ ultimate act of treachery, a betrayal so profound it kept me in later years from sampling coniglio in Rome or lapin a la cocotte in Paris, not to mention welsh rabbit in Wales, even though I know full well the latter is made with cheese, not Thumper. My perfidious parents, that spring Sunday in 1944, swore that Flopsy and Mopsy, my Easter gifts from a grandmother, had hopped away from their hutch to live happily ever after in Bunnyland. Then Mom served up supper, which included a platter heaped with oddly shaped objects that I’d never seen at our table before.

“It’s fried chicken,” Mama insisted, but that that unfortunate feast nearly turned me into a vegetarian.

The second event was more fortuitous. Shortly after our dining disaster, I read an English storybook where the heroine on the first morning of each month said “rabbit” for courage, stamina and plain good luck. I immediately adopted this routine as my own. I clearly remember regretting that it was too late to “rabbit wish” my beloved bunnies back from Hare Heaven. When I tried to get Mama to tell me if she thought that people actually ate rabbits, or even deer like Bambi, she swiftly averted her eyes and changed the subject.

Later, as an adult, I indoctrinated my son into the “rabbit” practice, and one or two friends, as well. That simple word gives me a bright fresh start each month, a new beginning. I look forward to the first of the month, just as others do to New Year’s Eve.

But my good luck charm doesn't seem to be working well this month. I'd rabbited hard on the first of March, mostly because I was sick of the winter. It started out pretty good...I've noted that the crocus have started to bloom now that the snow's melted in my front yard.

This week, though, since spring officially arrived, I've learned that one of my dearest friends has been diagnosed with cancer, and that another friend not only lost her husband a few months after I lost mine, but recently sustained severe injuries in an automobile accident.

Then today I learned that my toddler granddaughter, Kendra, has been hospitalized again in Casa Grande, AZ. She's had a runny nose, but apparently it lead to a sinus infection. She spiked a fever and had a febrile seizure...always scary even though they usually don't have bad outcomes. But my stepson wrote that he'd said "rabbit" the first of the month because he was looking for a streak of good luck...and didn't get it.

I'm hoping things look up soon for friends and family. I have my own ideas about how spring is supposed to be...and it isn't quite all this.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Fling

  • Here's my Natty, looking shaggy, and then looking natty indeed, after his spring bath and lamb cut. Now that the weather's up in the 40s, it was time for him to be shorn. Me, too...I got my haircut yesterday. And though we've still got some snow flurries predicted for this coming week, spring's knocking at the door. Most of the dog yard has thawed, and the cats are shedding their warm winter coats.
Just look at the difference in Natty's appearance...I snapped the "before" photo just three days ago, when he was drowning in fur.

I'm setting aside my winter blues and embracing pastels. I'm wearing green on St. Paddy's Day, and whistling up a leprechaun to inspire me to get more writing done, now that I no longer can claim my fingers tremble from subzero temperatures.

Three Firm Beliefs I'm Writing About:
  • Some say no good deed goes unpunished...I say untrue.
  • A steamed persimmon pudding trumps mince pie any old Christmas.
  • Mama could have ended the War of the Roses with her pineapple upside-down cake.