Thursday, January 29, 2015

Marriage as a public sport

So I was waiting in line at the grocery store where I saw the tabloids blaring rumors that George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin were divorcing after what?  Four months?  And a mean thought came into my head:  Hey, that makes George Clooney a Kim Kardashian.  I like to cluster my celebrities. You may remember that Kim and Kris Humphries made it all of 72 days.

Anyway, I actually bought one of these magazines and read the article.  The author only quoted "sources" and "insiders."  No names.  I figured it was a tabloid fiction.

I admit I felt smug, though.  What's the matter with these people?  I've been married over 50 years and nary a rumor of divorce.

Then I remembered the night (about two months into my marriage to Tom) when I got out of bed at two in the morning, because of some imagined slight, and left the apartment and the sleeping Tom to sit in our red VW and plan my marital escape.  I would drive to Victoria, Canada, which I had recently seen for the first time, and make a new life there.

Only I didn't know how to get there, and I didn't have a map, and I've never been good at planning anything--so I just sat there and bawled.

What if there had been paparazzi following me out to the student housing parking lot and taken snapshots of me howling in my car?   Imagine what the Salt Lake Tribune could have done with that?

Has your marriage been paparazzi-proof?




Kim Kardashian and Krish Humphries
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
Louise and Tom 1964


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I will never have ads on my blog and other lies

I've been blogging since 2008, beginning with THE APRON STAGE , then FIVE CROWS, which I had to change, because Chinese pornographers filled up my comments, and then came THE CHATTERING CROW.  All that time, I said I'd never have ads, because I wasn't in it for the money, and yammer yammer yammer.

Then it came to me that if I can't work 20 hours a week as a receptionist, maybe I could advertise the blog and make enough money to go to Uruguay in two years when Harrison gets off his mission.  (I invited myself, when Charles and Erica announced that they wanted to meet him).  It means that I have to blog more consistently, despite mental health breakdowns.

What does it mean for you the reader?  Nothing.  Ads will appear at the right and you can ignore them completely.  Who cares which 5 foods you can't eat for a smaller stomach, especially if one of them is a banana.  I need half a banana on my cereal each morning.  I'm not cutting out bananas.

However, if you see an ad that interests you (for me that would be anything to do with interior design), you can click on it, and I'll make even more money.

In other words, you can make me rich!

Or you could send me a suitcase filled with cash.  Whichever is easier for you.

This is the last word on this subject.  Being a salesperson is really low on my aptitude scale, right down there with accountant and statistician.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Committing to Yoga and trying not to laugh

Olivia Birdsall wrote to tell me that yoga instructor, Rodney Yee, had moved down the block from her in Manhattan.  If I lived in Gramercy Park, I'd invite old Rodney over to show him my progress
in following his video.  Maybe, I'd put a bra on and wash my hair and wear long sleeves, but maybe not.  I think I could put a smile on his face.  He'd be oh so polite. I'd serve him English black tea.

I committed to yoga by buying a mat and a block.  Originally, I thought the carpet would be enough, but the truth is that you slide on the carpet. I refused to buy specialty workout clothes, but found what I'm wearing in a bottom drawer along with my swimming suit and goggles.

I should commit to losing twenty pounds, but I haven't put that on the list yet.

Thank you, Syl Carson, for inviting me to Monday morning yoga class.  Maybe, when I've practiced enough with old Rodney . . .

Look, I can move my foot.
I'm either falling or talking to the floor.
Why am I leaning?
dog's behind

Is this a yoga pose?

Notice the position of the legs--bahhaaaaah!



Monday, January 26, 2015

When did you become a grown-up in decorating your house?

Do you remember the time in your life, maybe in your early thirties, when you realized you didn't have to decorate your house like a student?  Maybe you could buy a real book case instead of the homemade bricks and planks you'd been using for years.

This happened to me when we were still sleeping on a trundle bed, we'd bought in graduate
school ten years before.  My side of the bed had a loose coil that kept a perpetual bruise on my right hip.  I would complain to Tom, but he was unsympathetic:  "I can't feel a thing."

This continued until I gave up the idea of buying a Queen size bed, which, as I had preached to Tom, was the best looking, best proportioned, bed for most bedrooms.

Calmly shaking his head, he would mutter, 'I want a King size bed."  So you see the choice?  An eternity of a coil in the hip or a king size bed.  I gave in.  He got his enormous bed, and I had to admit that it was damned comfortable.

Former student, Sharon Beesley,  made this decision for her living room recently.  She claims she wanted a "cool" living room, but I translated that to mean a grown-up room. I've pasted it below from her very fine blog:  NYC Taught Me.   








Didn't she do a wonderful job?  The couch comes from West Elm.  I especially like the two angled carpets.  So sophisticated and lovely.

One of the reasons, I love Sharon's blog is she is willing to share "real life" which isn't always pretty:

Here's the same room after three children and a husband have blown through.

Real life.  It happens.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday book suggestions



I read Dear Committee Members last night with a smile on my face the entire time.  If you've ever taught in a university, you won't know whether to laugh or cry at these letters of recommendation which demonstrate the general state of the humanities and fiction writing in universities today.  It's both funny and sad.  It's perfect.

Anne Lamott, who wrote one of the finer books on writing, Bird by Bird, (in which she expounds on "shitty first drafts,") has a new book, Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace,  (she believes in Jesus but doesn't have a pious bone in her body--it's such forgiving, generous writing). A couple of quotes: "Getting found almost always means being lost for awhile," and, "God. What a nut."  This reminds me of G.K. Chesterton's statement that the one thing God has hidden from us is his sense of humor.

I love the word, "grace."

Last night, I couldn't fall asleep and so I went downstairs and read an hour into Elizabeth Kostova's
The Historian, and I'm completely hooked.  Who doesn't want to read about Vlad, the Impaler, and Drakula [sic].  Well, honestly, I'd be the last person interested in a dracula story, but this is not Twilight, people.

One of my goals for the year (I'll just leak these out to you a little at a time), is to be more consistent  with the blog.  So far, so good, for week one.  I'm going to take weekends off, but I'll return on Monday.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

When I miss the old people, I watch WHAT'S MY LINE.

Arlene Francis, John Charles Daly, Bennett Cerf and Dorothy Kilgallen

Sometimes, I miss the fifties and sixties, not because they were better--in fact, I doubt that's the case--but because I was young and my parents and some grandparents were still alive.

What did our family do on Sunday nights after sacrament meeting?  We watched WHAT'S MY LINE with the elegant and articulate John Charles Daley as host.  The man could fuse together more clauses than anyone I've ever heard.  He called everyone "Miss," Mrs," or "Mr."  I read where CBS wanted to modernize the show in the sixties and have him drop all the formality.  He refused.  The show ran from 1950 to 1967.  I was 8 in 1950.

The urbane panel made up of Bennett Cerf, founder of Random House Publisher, Arlene Francis, stage and radio personality, who called serious theater, "the legitimate theater," and Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist for one of the NY papers, guessed people's occupations. There was always one guest panelist--I saw Steve Allen, David Niven, Tony Randall and a very young Johnny Carson.  Mid-show the panelists put on blindfolds and a mystery guest appeared.  Last Sunday night I watched the show with mystery guests Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lucille Ball.

Some things I noticed: 1) contestants and panelists are all much more dressed up.  Women guests wore dresses and suits and one woman, wore a huge orchid corsage.  How long has it been since women wore corsages? Fifty years? 2) Contestants had to sign their names on a blackboard when they entered and they all had excellent cursive writing.  I mean, the names looked so neat and aligned, almost artistic.  3) the humor was always polite and appropriate, never scatalogical.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't want to return to those times.  I'd rather never wear a dress or skirt again, and whoever invented pantyhose should be drawn and quartered.

I was embarrassed by corsages even then, and sometimes all that appropriate behavior of the era seemed entirely phony to me.

But I do like to resurrect my parents and sit in the tv room with them watching WHAT'S MY LINE.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

72-year old woman applies for a receptionist job

Yesterday, I spent the day applying for a part-time receptionist job at Charles's work, so I can save for a trip to Uruguay.  I worked hours on a one-page resume (down from seven pages) and a cover letter and then I took it over to Charles's house for the seal of approval.  Charles said, "I think they now want 30-40 hours a week."

Okay, people, I can't do six hours a day, because that crowds out my real interests, writing and painting.  Plus I'd have to eat lunch there, which would cost an hour of my piddling wages, and by the time I got home, I would fall into bed, and that would be the end of the marriage.  "I would never see you," Tom said.

Never waste a piece of good writing.  I'll publish it here:

I am applying for the part-time position you have posted on your website.  As you can see on the enclosed resume, I have spent most of my adult life--twenty-one years--as an English teacher and fiction writer.  Prior to that, however, I worked as a principal secretary full-time for almost seven years.  Before that, I worked part-time as a secretary/typist to put myself through college.

I haven't put dates on those particular jobs, because in all frankness, it was a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, but here's a clue: in my last secretarial job, I was still using an IBM Selectric typewriter, although I had just bought myself a MacIntosh 128K, which allowed you to save seven pages on one floppy disk.  It was a thing of beauty as all Macs are.  I have three of them.

So I can type, well, and I can answer the phones and relay messages and write emails and save documents, and keep the front office organized and neat.  I can sort mail and deliver it.  I speak English better than most, a little German, a little Dutch and a lot of articulate body language.

A receptionist should be of a well-kempt, professional appearance, dignified and pleasant, neat and responsible.  She should be on time and present in the moment.  I am all that.

It is no secret that I am Charles Plummer's mother.  If you don't like him; you won't like me.  It also works vice versa.

I'm sorry I have no references for the secretarial jobs.  Those people are all dead.  So it goes.

I can provide three academic references, who know nothing of my clerical skills, but who do know of my character.

If you choose to do so, please contact me at your convenience.