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....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mama Hankered for Hankies

Or did she? There's no doubt that Mama always had a fresh handkerchief or two tucked into her purse...and nearly a whole drawer full in her bedroom. She carried them with her always, even after Kleenex became so popular when it was marketed as a substitute for hankies back in the '40s. In fact I don't recall seeing a box of tissues in the house when I was growing up. No, indeed. Ladies carried handkerchiefs, Mama used to insist.

Now I wonder if she really were all that fond of them, or if she just pretended to be because in those days they were still relatively inexpensive, something affordable for a youngster who made her spending money for gifts for Christmas and birthdays through babysitting, and waitressing at Owl Drug Store's lunch counter.

Because no matter what the occasion...even after I became an adult and could afford more elaborate gifts, Mama always claimed that's what she wanted.

"Just get me a card and a hankie," she'd say with a sweet smile. I don't know why I continued to ask, already knowing what she'd answer.

In later years I began to purchase other gifts, mostly her favorite cologne, Emeraude. But I still tucked a hankie into the card. I remember the last one I bought for her. It was in 1983, my first trip to Paris, and I had found a D. Porthault hankie embroidered with the Eiffel Tower.

"Just what I wanted," she exclaimed, eyes lighting up. "How did you ever guess?"

Because it was always what she wanted. Or at least claimed to.

Last month in Paris, I lingered at the handkerchief counter at Galleries Lafayette. I wished I could present Mama with a frilly feminine square tomorrow for Mother's Day. RIP, Luella Alma Burgess French, 7/2/1913 to 1/1/1987.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Say It With Flowers

I'm the eternal optimist. I planted my planters Friday, just to give the front of the house a spring makeover. I wanted to see something yellow other than a dandelion in my front yard now that the daffodils are gone. I'm willing to take the risk that we might have another frosty morning, and have blankets on standby, just in case.

I wish I could be equally optimistic about my writing these days, as well. My submissions so far this year have been meager, indeed. Instead of composing anything new, I've been browsing through my "orphanage," revising and resubmitting older stories. It's not as if I don't have any ideas for new stories...I do. It's just that I'm not getting started on them. Or if I do bang out the first line or two, I stall. I remember I have to yank some of those pesky dandelions, or take a break to do some of the exercises my physical therapists have been suggesting for what might be sciatica, a spinal misalignment, or a herniated disc pressing on a nerve. Or maybe I have to check out more reviews of Cheryl Strayed's Wild, since I'm facilitating a discussion of it this next Thursday at my Colville book group.

Or should I take Tsunami on another walk since in her old age she's getting too stubborn to go into the backyard on her own to take care of her personal business? Oh, wait, I need to sweep the side deck, since last week's 50 mph winds left it full of pine cones, grizzled leaves and dust.

Whoops...I've gotta take a few minutes to work on some publicity for some local efforts. Or since the dogs are getting me up at sunrise which now arrives at 5:15 a.m., maybe it's time to take a nap?

You get the picture. It's not attention deficit disorder. It's spring fever, and it happens to me at this time every year. I start out in spring with great expectations for getting so much writing done...and then run into a wall.

So it's Cinco de Mayo, and I've got all week to finish the stories I'm working on. It's sunny, and you can't always count on that here. It looks like a good day to put the stalled story aside, and sit outside in one of the Adirondack chairs with a mystery set in Paris, Cara Black's Murder in the Marais...and a margarita.

That's where I'm heading in a few minutes, after I finish the edits on the orphan that I've got a new potential home in mind for. I'm an eternal optimist...I can start that new story tomorrow.