Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween (Boooooo)

I cannot describe Halloween in Provincetown. Walking three blocks along Commercial Street last Saturday night, more than half the people I passed were quite dolled up in costumes. Outrageous creative unique costumes. Having an outrageous creative unique time of it. That is Provincetown. In the wild height of it all, JB grinned at me, "Did you ever think you'd still be dressing up for Halloween at our age?"

And speaking of JB, here she is.

And speaking of ages, here is a three year old little boy named Drew trying on his extra muscle Power Ranger costume. JB and I will go out with him and his brothers and his parents tomorrow night, door to door in his neighborhood, collecting compliments and candy. 

When was the last time you donned a costume and became someone other than who you are? May I tell you something? You actually change. When you are no longer you, you don't act like you. You become someone or something else. Yes this is a generalization, but I think it's more true than not.

I did not take the time this year to create a great costume and I did not take photos. Not so last year. Last year I purred my way to dinner:

I wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. 

And by the way.....if you weren't you, 
who would you be?


Monday, October 29, 2012

The Storm....

Dear Snow and all friends and visitors,

I write this from my home in Western Massachusetts as the rain begins and the winds increase, but so far only slightly. I have no idea whether we will have an anti-climatic hurricane-ish storm or a major tree falling street flooding one, but I am prepared. Stacked dry ready firewood, flashlights and kerosene lamps if (when?) the power goes out; a crock pot simmering with beef vegetable stew; a yard as of this morning empty of anything that could become into a shooting missile in high winds. 

I don't wish damage for myself or anyone. But I have to admit there is something exciting and reassuring about feeling tucked in and secure, waiting to see what nature will do. All roads and businesses are closed and time changes. There is now less to do and more to appreciate. I know my daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren and friends and family are safe in their homes. Our nephew is here from New York City, arrived by bus yesterday rather than evacuate. We are all quietly settling in and hoping for the best. We will have food and a warm fireplace and I hope the means to keep in touch. 

Stay safe, friends. 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Very Brief Halloween Tale

JB and I mailed Mr. Ryan age 5 one of those Halloween cards that talks. When you open it  a Vincent Price type voice booms  "I have my eye on you!" while a paper eye pops up.

Last night I received the following e-mail from my daughter Jessica: 

"So the good news is Ryan loved getting mail and was thrilled with the stickers on the envelope. The bad news is that the voice in the card petrified him and he cried for 5 minutes" :)

Oh s----. We are seeing Mr. Ryan and his brothers and parents on Sunday. I hope the large dead moth I am bringing him makes up for our indiscretion.  


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tell Me The Story Of Your Name....

She said that words matter. She said 'tell me the story of your name.'


My mother wanted to name me Shannon. My Mother is French Canadian and my father Italian, so I imagine in the end the Irish sounding 'Shannon' just didn't cut it. I don't know how she came up with Karen. To be honest I've never really liked it. Even now I don't say it easily. I don't like my middle name either: Marie. My godmother is named Marie but I think my Mother just liked the name.

When I was twenty three I lived in Germany and when my parents came to visit we drove to Italy, to the tiny town on a mountain where my grandfather was born. My maiden name is Italian. My Father said he could speak Italian but throughout Italy he tried and nobody understood him. We were both amused and embarrassed. Then, when we drove up a little mountain in the town of Ofena, he was understood. Word spread in an instant that 'Franco from America' was here.

I don't use my maiden name anymore, except on Facebook. I carry the German-English name of my ex-husband which is also the last name of my daughter. I kept that name because of her, but I'm not partial to that one either. I wonder what I would chose on my own. That is an interesting question.

Many people call me kj now, in large part because of blogging but not only because of that.

That is the story of my name.

Please, tell me the story of your name.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Mish Mash

I have been buzzing around the last few weeks, quite a bit on weekends with visiting friends. It's full blown Autumn here, but I start with a recycled materials fair at the local middle school. All kinds of funky designs and ideas. 

 And fallen leaves just waiting to be appreciated.

 New shoes: what's better than new shoes? These are JB's, but I have not one, not two, but three new pairs. All set!

And fires in the fire place. I stacked the wood and brought a good supply inside. Another feel good event.

An update on Chase: no more seizure but not the easiest time either. He is a dear, he is stubborn, he is wiped by the strength of the seizure medication. I have to remember that it took more than a year before we could touch Stella without her tensing up. Chase is both aloof and affectionate. I hate seeing him affected by the meds. But there is hope all will improve. And bottom line, there will be mutual love.

My back roads are absofuckinglutely gorgeous this time of year.

And pumpkins...

and this weekend, a concert by Young At Heart. Please click to meet them. The youngest age in this chorus is 72 and some folks are in their 90's. OMG. Watch the video. The audience was speechless. We cried. We laughed. We stood and clapped more than once. 

Finally, I don't know why my camera took a photo that looks like this: wow. But maybe it captured the souls within. I wouldn't be surprised.

Wishing you a great week,
with love

Friday, October 19, 2012

Note: Great great great advice!

I am at the end but I don't know the end. Not yet. Not after 400 pages of first draft drama. 

I begin this book a long three years ago. The main character would tell you it started out as heartache and betrayal and will hopefully end with her transformed by the experience. I hope there is integrity in the ending. I think it's funny that I can't say for sure, since I'm the one in control of the writing, but I know anyone who writes stories pretty much understands.

I am getting restless to finish this book. BECAUSE I have rediscovered two fictional characters I began to write about two years ago. Claudia--a successful professional woman having long term affair with a married man,  meeting up with him at his business conferences by dressing up in various disguises and costumes. She goes to wild lengths. I'm laughing at her balls already.

And her brother Cole. Taught by his Mother that poetry solves every problem known to man. Cole who quits his journalism job at the Providence Journal, walks out on his girlfriend, closes his bank account. Cole who acquiesces to his younger brother's just-one-more-time plea to read him "The Highwayman" on the telephone.

Ah writing. I can no longer imagine life without it. It's an easy hop-skip to creativity of all kinds. 

The kind of creativity I find right here on the blogs every day.


Monday, October 15, 2012


UBUNTU: Do you know this term? I didn't. But just now I read this little story and I could just see these children running together as one, the concept of competing or "winning" so foreign that it does not enter their minds. 

I googled UBUNTU and there it is: a way of being. 'I AM BECAUSE WE ARE.' 

Here I go thinking again. When I have the chance, what if I'm willing to hold hands instead of running alone? What if I see sharing as a wonderful means to satisfaction? What if my joy is multiplied because of your joy?

Just a thought. But I'm sharing it and I don't want to forget it. I'm interesting in your reaction.


Addendum: I'm told and I've studied that competition and survival of the fittest is dominant in all species. And yet, UBUNTU contradicts that. Yes? Right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Oh thank you universe: this is my final result card in a recent tarot reading (given by yours truly to yours truly):

Meaning: The Ace of Cups reminds us that the law of the universe is Love. This magical affinity holds atoms together and draws souls into harmonious relation. This card’s appearance heralds a time of great connectedness, both with others and with our own inner selves. The door to your heart is opening, and only good things will come of it. Like a bee spreading pollen as it travels, this journey will fertilize every facet of your life and of those around you, spreading joy, pleasure, and fulfillment. This is an especially creative time, ideal for the conception of a great work. The ultimate in benevolence, this card foretells a favorable outcome in every matter. Drink from the fountain and be inspired by the beauty and harmony of the Ace of Cups.

I've been wondering what will change if I let myself live as though this is true. Because I'm close. For reasons unknown to me, I am feeling better, more hopeful, more like the person I want to be. Lest you think I am Ms. Mary Poppins, I say this having emerged from a dark sad place.

And then there's this:

 I tell myself to keep trying and venturing even when my knees knock. Which they often do. My biggest fear is being embarrassed by failure. I wonder what will happen if I let go of that fear?

And this: because I think curiosity is the most impressive trait a person can have. Right after kindness.

Myself, I have two, no, make it three, favorite expressions:

1. Trust in god but tie up your camel
2. Ride the horse in the direction she's going
3. Never cut what can be untied.

I might be ready to start living as if I already know what I need to know.

Which might be true....

Care to join me?


Monday, October 08, 2012

Revisionist Herstory

It had been twenty five years. She walked into the quickly planned reunion forty pounds overweight and without a haircut. The former meant she could not strut as she wished and the latter meant she could not spike her hair just so.

He greeted her immediately. "He" was the handsomest boy ever, at age fourteen, fifteen, sixteen: debonair and mysterious and soft and safe. He was equally dashing fifteen years later in California, hosting her and her friend for a week while she nursed a broken heart.

"She always liked you," her friend told him in front of her.

He shook his head. "Why didn't you tell me? I liked you too. I had no idea."

She shuffled back to then, her a gawky funny girl who had no idea either.

Later in the kitchen he smiled. "In California too..." His voice trailed off.

"I would have," she grinned.

"I would have too," he grinned back.   

"Next time you're in town call me. We'll all meet for dinner."

"Yes," he said, "And next time you're in California, call me. I'll like to meet your partner."

Who knew? she thought. All this time I believed I was unattractive and maybe that wasn't even true.  I wish I knew that then. 

Ah well, better late than never. 

Friday, October 05, 2012


I am back in Provincetown, for twenty four hours with my Jess and Mr. Ryan. We are looking for end of season sales and alternating between shopping and snapping pictures. We are having super fun. 

No need for words. It's been a beautiful day.

Saturday is the annual Yard Sale day in Ptown.  Before we leave town we will look for bargains and doodads. All this with such surrounding beauty.

Happy weekend,

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

One Weekend and Two Stories

I. It sounded like a machine gun banging on the living room floor.  Two women and two little boys ran from the dinner table to a gruesome sight, lasting a minute, wild thrashing and chattering teeth. 

Seizure. The boys were tender and sweet and more loving than afraid. And for a few moments the next day this dog who was meeting children probably for the first time in his life ran with them in the back yard, all three chasing a purple ball. 

"We have to be gentle or he could break," three year old Drew said. And then, later, after asking BB, "People have those seizures sometimes too."

This darling dog had a weekend of non stop two big and many small seizures. All day and all night. He paced; he tried to rest, only to jump up as if shocked by a lightening bolt. His new family took turns sleeping on the floor with him until dawn, not daring to say aloud that this might be too much. 

Monday morning, his neurologist from Angell Memorial Hospital and a local vet conferred and a plan was presented. A higher dose of medication, a one time emergency dose, a supply of liquid Valium in the mail to be administered by catheter if and hopefully only if not when such a serious confluence of seizures were to happen again.

The little boys hugged this darling dog and rubbed his ears as they had been shown. They kissed him and told their parents how sweet he is. 

The darling dog has recovered and has tripled bonded to his new home. 

The two women, now exhausted, looked at one another. 

"Can we handle this?" one asked.

"Yes," they both answered. "He is the sweetest dog. Look how grateful he is."

They both looked. Definitely grateful. In just four weeks. Bonded.


2. "Don't tell me you spent  that much money on a camera for a five year old!"

His mother my daughter did not sound pleased. But I did and I am. The kid camera with the plastic case and awful memory didn't work out one bit. It was too complicated for too little. Mr. Ryan and I want to take pictures together. So I told him in August that I was going to give him a new camera for my birthday. But I told him I had to save for it first and I did.

On Saturday Mr. Ryan and I his grandmother went to a very nice camera store for information on an indestructible drop proof, water proof, dirt proof camera. A very nice man showed him how to point and shoot, zoom in and out, save and delete. He told him that a grown up should change and  charge the battery for at least a month, until he was experienced enough to understand how to do it properly.

We bought the camera. It came in red, black or aqua blue. Mr. Ryan chose aqua blue. We bought a little case with a strap. 

When we returned to my house and into the next day, I wrote out lists: fireplace, kitchen window, birdbath, bedroom light, green cricket chair. I read the lists to Mr. Ryan and he took wandered in and out taking photos. He deleted most of them, preferring pictures of Chase so he could show his parents how wonderful a dog he is. 

He dropped the camera five times and wore it around his neck while wrestling with his brother. I told him ten times that this is a big boy camera and it requires special care. We decided where he would keep it in his room and how he and I will learn how to use the flash and maybe some of the settings.

"He's five years old!" my daughter told me. I know. It might be a bad idea after all. But maybe someday he will remember that his grandmother believed he could do it, and maybe someday he will have a special asset he is proud of. And maybe someday when he is a man he and I will look back and remember that we have spent years together, in the park, at the beach, on a trail, during dinner, over Christmas, hanging out: taking pictures. 

Worth every penny.