Christmas Eve 2017: A Crock!

This is not a FaLaLa Christmas story.  In fact, don’t go plowing through this blog unless you have a strong stomach.

December 24, 2017, my best friend Nancy and her malti-poo Emmy, a white confection of a pup, came by for some wine and snacks.  My Pippa is ying to Emmy’s  yang or visa-versa.  She is a rescue mutt, a canine combo listed at the shelter as Chi X(chihuahua mix), all black, all legs, deer headed and perky eared.

We had gifts for the dogs to open.  With my I phone camera focused, Nancy threw the packages to the dogs thinking they would tear off the wrapping and attack the two crinkly alligators with squeakies in their stuffed heads. After a few sniffs the dogs were indifferent and followed Nancy and me to the kitchen table where we had hoped to enjoy a queso dip and wine without the pups begging for handouts.

We both like the dip made from Velveeta cheese and Rotel.  I added some browned ground round to the mixture in the crock pot. Love that pot! It simplified the cooking and kept the contents warm and gooey as we chatted and dipped, and consumed a bottle of California pinot grigio.

So Nancy, Emmy, Pippa, and I made the best of Christmas Eve.  I sent Nancy home with a generous portion of dip and chips.  Emmy left with an alligator in her mouth.

I cleaned up dishes, rinsing them and placing them in the dishwasher.  I scooped the remaining queso dip into a plastic container and put it in the fridge. Then I filled the crock pot with water and left it in the sink.

Christmas AM 2017.  I woke up remembering Christmases past with my young children up before dawn.  Sweet memories.  It was a cold morning.  Pippa stayed under the covers.  The phone rang.  One of my daughters, perhaps? “Mele Kalikimaka!” No, my friend Lani checking up on me.  I was touched that she thought of me.

I made some coffee and ate some of the cherry nut bread another friend delivered the day before. I felt blessed by my sweet friends.

In the sink the crock awaited my attention. I tipped it slightly and murky liquid laced with queso flowed down the drain. I saw a shadow emerging, large and dark, from the depths of the crock.  It takes form.  First a tail, then a swollen torso. I knew this thing.  It had been tormenting me with reminders of its presence in my house.

I should be grateful it is dead. But I wanted to throw up. I threw a dishtowel over the top of the crock, lifted it out of the sink and ran to the garage.  I dropped the crock/coffin and its contents unceremoniously into the dumpster.  No prayers!

Will this measly mousely corpse grow into a terrifying rat monster who devours puppies? Will the chihuahua be strong and courageous enough to protect the timid malti-poo from the bloated dirty rat?




Mourning Glory

Quiet mourning.  The kitchen clock ticks on and on, measuring moments I throw away,  like garbage in the trash.

A near empty coffee mug needs a refill of warm spicy liquid laced with cream. Soothing. I sip and contemplate the day.

Ahead of me, without you is a blank canvas to fill.   I will.

Even without you things happen.  Others stumble into my world, as you once did, leave a mark on my soul, then move on.

But your mark on my canvas is huge, and contains every color, though it is not black.   I must paint around it, and over it.  It is permanent, and I want it to be.

Quiet mourning in the morning. The kitchen clock ticks on and on.  Keeping time as time keeps me, painting on my canvas until it’s done and I am where you are again.

On cleaning the bathroom

It is much easier for me to clean the bathroom than to sit down and write a meaningful blog that some one would find interesting.  The bathroom project results  in immediate  sensory gratification.  When finished it looks bright, shiny, inviting…it smells fresh, and if I plug in the lavender diffuser, I might even be tempted to sit down for a while and read this week’s People Magazine.

One of my earliest memories is of my Brooklyn grandparent’s tiny bathroom, primitive by today’s standards.   Small black and white tiles covered the walls and floors.  It smelled like lava soap and a library that had suffered water damage. Paperback books, pulp fiction, lined the walls in arms reach of the commode.  My uncle’s reading room.  I couldn’t imagine my grandmother and grandfather sitting for hours engrossed in Ray Bradbury and Arthur Clarke. My favorite uncle, my only uncle, was an artist who lived with his parents and later took care of his widowed mother.

He was the oldest of five, my father, the youngest.  They were male bookends for three girls.  Dad was born in 1911, and Sid, about ten years prior.  My grandparents were immigrants from Russia, the Ukraine, according to  And they raised the family in the tenements of Brooklyn somewhere around Kings Highway and Flatbush.

I spent hours in that bathroom reading science fiction.  My grandparents must have thought I had a weak bladder, but I was a very shy child who felt more comfortable with books in a bathroom than with my relatives who were always trying to get me to talk. “Cat got your tongue?”  I didn’t mean to be rude.  Conversation never came easy to me.

Too many choices!!!

So many things to write about, like the raindrops on the window, which one to follow on its slow journey to the sill?  The storm promised on yesterday’s news has arrived this morning, but it is a gentle rain, and even now blue sky comes tentatively from the east. New Mexico is like that. Bad weather which is good weather here (we need the rain) comes and goes quickly followed by long periods of intense sun making colors so bright that you gasp with delight.  I have a lunch scheduled with a friend today.  It is my turn to drive and choose the restaurant.  What a dilemma!  The weather changes my plans. At this instant the sun is winning out, so I am scanning my brain for an eatery that is near walking trails instead of a shopping mall.

Facing up to My Face

Dad would be proud of me, perhaps.  As he looks down through the skylight he would see me typing in the nook I have created in his kitchen where he faced the TV on the counter,  his back toward the window.  My back is to the counter now.  I have replaced the old foggy paned windows with a picture window by Anderson, that brings the outside in.  I see the curvy old cottonwoods still carrying last years leaves.   A  pond  about  six yards from my window captures the reflections of the trees as ducks slide along.  It is March 3.  Spring.

I used to share moments like this with my father and my husband.  Then I didn’t realize how precious they were…the moments and the men.  It seemed like I always wanted to be on the go, somewhere else…the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, some great new restaurant for dinner, restless me.

Today I registered for classes at the senior center.  One was a hiking class of difficult ability.  How difficult can it be if you must be over 55 to participate?  I looked at others in the room and couldn’t imagine many of them doing a five mile up hill climb.  But when I finally got to the registration table, the class was filled.  I am an alternate.  The gentleman in charge said that several would cancel because their families may come in town, or someone might get cancer or something.

I don’t want to dread getting old.  I dread getting old in spirit and in heart; the body is inevitable, and so sometimes the mind.  My husband was in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s when he passed last May of stroke.  He was a good kind man whose patience and example lead me to the Lord.  I hope to follow him, but not yet!!!!



Long ago I was born in New York and raised on Long Island.  I escaped in 1966 when I married a military man who moved me many places.  Currently I live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in the house my fa…

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Long ago I was born in New York and raised on Long Island.  I escaped in 1966 when I married a military man who moved me many places.  Currently I live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in the house my father built 30 years ago when he finally had the wherewithal and means to escape Long Island. He lived happily ever after in the sunshine and has given me the opportunity to do the same.  Men and women of dad’s generation have moved on, but left a legacy that should never be ignored.  The Second World War was the event that shaped them, as I believe Vietnam shaped my generation.  Dad and his cronies came back heroes; sadly the young men I watched go off to Southeast Asia, who sacrificed as much as their fathers, did not come home to the glory they deserved.  The blame was on the politicians.  Not fair. But I want to share my dad, who I have fictionalized and exaggerated to create humor, but also to help me better understand him and the people of “the Greatest Generation.”  I think dad would support my effort.  My blog will alternate between my musings and my novel.  Thanks for reading!