Monday, March 09, 2015

In Which We Celebrate, For Things Do Get Better

Oh Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! Today NEO is basking in the sunshiny Upper Forties and the huge icicles have departed my gutters (or eavestroughs, as some locals here still insist upon calling them). I have seen wee margins of grass here and there as the monoliths of snow pull away from the sidewalks and driveways heated from the sun. And, quite importantly, today I wore only my lined raincoat to the grocery store.

So many lovely, lovely things are making me happy right now, and it seems like So Very Long since something has, so I would like to share.

My Latest Happies

1. My hair
2. Our Canada jaunt
3. The weather
4. President Obama's "Bloody Sunday" speech
5. A license plate I saw

Let me just tell you about those, and then you can chat about your Latest Happies in Comments.

1. My Hair is a constant barometer of my wellbeing. Last year, I decided to join the Pixie Movement (albeit late) and I was alternately pleased and horrified. Very sensibly, my friend Shirley over at gfeeasily said, "I think people are either Long Hair People or Short Hair People and just aren't happy being the other one." Well, my friends, I am a Long Hair Person. Period. My hair is finally grown out to a point where it is manageable and I no longer cry every other day because I Just Don't Know What To Do With It Anymore. The next time I say One Word about getting a haircut, I want every single person in the world to smack me hard. Thank you in advance.

2. Rick and I both knew we needed a change of scenery and that, despite the weather being identical to ours, the wine and comforts of Niagara-on-the-Lake would help us tremendously. So true. We had a lovely time this past weekend and brought home just under four cases, one being a gorgeous buttery Chardonnay. Our innkeepers took us as their guests to a winery party, and we had a very good time with tank tastings and nibblies. We even visited the newest winery, just opened, and because it is such a slow time, got a private tour. While in Canada, we politely asked that they keep their weather to themselves, and they said they would try.

3. What a lift to have temperatures higher than the single digits and teens! We are seeing the forties and maybe even a fifty or two in the next week or so. And sun...its effect on my mood and energy is incalculable. I know from living in NEO my whole life that this is merely a break in the action: our winter is far from over. But if we could get a full thaw and have all the snow gone, that would be terrific. I'm anxious to get back down to the lake and see how things are doing. It cannot be lake season soon enough for me.

4. I was in Canada for President Obama's delivery of his speech at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. When I got home, I had the full text in my inbox, and I read it. I did not get far before my eyes were full of tears. I am always happy when words can move me, and I am always happy when our President makes reference to great writers and great women. I burst into tears especially when he called on the great Walt Whitman, the chronicler of the American Journey, and paraphrased a line that I so often spoke in awe in my own classroom. "I am large, I contain multitudes." Politics aside, it is a beautiful speech. Please click here and read it in full. (Note: Time magazine's transcript is NOT the full transcript, their claim to the contrary.)

5. On our way home yesterday we drove through Cleveland, and I caught a glimpse of a license plate framed by rainbow-coloured peace signs. It read GETZBTR. All I could see of its male driver was a pale hand and sunglasses as we raced past the frozen lake headed into downtown. I hope that the license plate meant GETS BETTER, and that it was part of the campaign IT GETS BETTER, which was started to give hope to LGBT youth. Vanity plates cost extra and have to be renewed every year, so it would be a personal expense if he were spreading that message. I choose to think that he was. Cleveland hosted the Gay Games last year, and they were a rousing success. Ohio is still a DOMA state, and the governor and legislature are republicans. One look at Ohio's district map shows you how horribly gerrymandered it is, but attitudes are changing. The DOMA was voted by the citizenry, true, but so much outside money influenced it that it was criminal. But that license heart lightened instantly.

What has lightened your heart lately? Tell us and make us all smile.



  1. The sun! The warmth! The dry driveways! Some dry sidewalks, (but way too many homeowners and business owners are negligent when it comes to shoveling their strips of sidewalk, so theirs remain a sodden mess). The extra hour of daylight! Life, in general!

    1. BooksterOne--If only all sidewalks were clear so that I could resume outdoor walks! But it IS so nice to step out of the car and not have a glare of ice or a coating of snow. And I don't think our street was plowed more than twice in February, and the ice ruts were hell to navigate with the Prius. But enough bitching. We can celebrate the light and the receding snowpiles. It is also a joy to see you here in Comments!

    2. I was just wishing I'd taken advantage of our fabulous Saturday to walk around the neighborhood - but, no, not with having to dodge random ice & slush. In some ways that's more dangerous than if everything was uniformly covered in ice or snow, because I get all cocky & the next thing I know I'm down on my tush...

  2. Getting past the 100th day of school......the sun was out today and the temperature was on the rise.......Friday afternoons.....smiles of the kids in the morning.....their belief in my friend's leprechaun.....

    1. Gracey is not my name....--Welcome to the Dept.! Oh, how I remember the sense of accomplishment when we got out of the Triple Digits left in the year! Congrats. Counting down felt so much better then. And the sense of relief on Friday afternoons, that feeling of imminent palpable! Thank you for commenting, and keep up the courage.

  3. 1. Two words: Spring. Break.

    2. My boss and I were both nominated for teaching awards. He wrote a letter of recommendation for me, and I wrote one for him.

    3. Obama’s beautiful speech.

    4. Nance’s sidebar: Zydrunas, Bunnies, and the Ignorance of Lawmakers (the last of which did not make my heart sing, except in the sense that yet another man was called out for his gross ignorance and stupidity regarding the female reproductive system.)

    (This is the second time I am clicking "publish" (forget preview!), so my apologies if the comment appears twice.)

    1. Ortizzle--
      1. Oh YAY!! Do lots and lots of calloohing and callaying yourself. You've earned it.
      2. Congratulations. I hope you win, but even if you don't, you know that the strength of your writing is formidable.
      3. You know, I defy anyone with a heart and brain that aren't decaying and tarry to listen to or/read that speech and not be moved. It is a work of art, truly. It is at once celebratory and shaming; inspirational and damning; uplifting and heartrending. It reminds us, as does Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" that we can " understand the large hearts of heroes,
      The courage of present times and all times" because heroes come from everyday life, from people who one day make extraordinary choices in extraordinary times. And, I dare repeat myself by quoting Ken Burns, "There are no ordinary lives" if we live with a strength of character which guides us.

      4. Oh, thank you! I'm insanely fond of Zydrunas, and the fact that he completely reciprocates only feeds my addiction. He's like...canine Nutella. I'm glad to know that I do not work my sidebar in vain. I do need to change the Politics stuff, though.

  4. Oh hair! Despite people saying how cute my cut was, and also despite several people (with tiny frown lines between their eyes) asking if I'm growing my hair out, AND despite the fact that I know I look better with my hair shorter... um, I've gotten lost in all those "despites." Anyway - I think I'm growing my hair out again. I pulled it back into a tiny little ponytail the other day & said, "welcome back my lovely!" Stay tuned for further developments.

    Mike was crying at The Speech too - he was so happy to hear the President pull out all the stops.

    I'm sitting in my father's kitchen in NC feeling HOT after taking a ramble around his property. Hot! It's 62 degrees here in the Piedmont. I wish I'd remembered to bring flip flops. Heh.

  5. Bug--Oh hair! is right. Would we were two of Those People who could merely pin it up, pull it back, toss it around, or Not Give A Damn every day. Sigh. I live every single day based upon How My Hair Looks. This is the depth of my sad pathology.

    What are you doing back in NC and how did I miss it? 62 sounds positively glorious, and I am envious of you. Enjoy it! Take lots of mental pictures of greenness.

    1. Urbana's spring break! We drove down on Sunday & are here until Thursday or Friday. It's a nice little pick-me-up so we can slog through the last of an Ohio winter :)

  6. Reading your blog again. Your pale handed driver was correct. Things do GETZBTR.

    1. Annie H--Welcome to Comments! I'm glad you're back reading here again, and I'm sorry that you ever, ever left.

      I am not a member of the LGBT community except as a strong supporter, so I cannot say for sure that things are entirely better from their standpoint, but I can't help but think that things ARE better. There are so many examples, from media to political figures who are out and ran campaigns that way, to the growing number of states that now allow gay marriages.

      Honestly, I feel for kids in general growing up today. The constant pressure from social media is crushing. How do they manage to get out alive?

  7. I wish that I could think of something that has lightened my heart lately, but I'm coming up blank. However, if I ever see a license plate as clever as the one you saw AND find a delicious buttery Chardonnay, I'll let you know. Those two things alone would make me more joyful.

    1. Ally Bean--Oh no! Not one little thing has made you smile or become happy? I'm truly sorry. Here's to hoping that something delightful crosses your path very soon.

  8. 1. Your hair. I know the horror of not being happy with ones hair, and it makes me happy to know you're not hating yours now. I love both short and long, but when I look at pictures of me, I think I look better with long, at least since I turned 30 (almost 20 years ago). Before that I like the way I looked with short hair.

    2. Oh, wine! My meds have been preventing me from drinking my wine, which makes me angry and bitter. It's not that it's forbidden, it's that my mouth tastes wrong and my tummy doesn't like it. But today is a Good Day, and I am on my second glass and actually enjoying it. Hooray!

    3. Frabjous Day. My mom used to say that, so anytime I hear the quote, it makes me happy.

    4. Weather. It's supposed to rain tomorrow (YAY!!), but CA is in deep shit with this crappy dry winter we've been having. However, I cannot control it, and being pissed off does me no good at all. So I've decided to enjoy the lovely 75 - 80 degree weather and ignore the high water bills (because the price will go up), the high food prices (because it will be a bad year for produce), and the crummy short showers and dead lawns. The trees are blooming, the birds are chirping, it's gorgeous outside, so I will just go with that for now. Lovely. I took a long lunch today and went for a swim, it was so nice.

    I've not yet seen nor read Obama's speech, but I've heard such wonderful things, I'm looking forward to it.

    That license plate rocks. It made me smile in a sad way, because while the message is of hope, I do wish it weren't necessary...that things weren't crummy for so many GLBT youth to begin with. I do love how quickly the tide is turning on this issue, and I hope the Supreme Court decides that marriage should not be limited to man and woman, SOON.

    1. j@jj--Hello, dearie! I've been thinking of you lately.
      1. Honestly, I think I won't ever cut the length of my hair again. And I'll go grey from here on out. There is a commercial in which a woman has long grey hair and I thought, "There. That can me me." But we'll see. My Vanity is my #1 Pathology. You are quite lovely with your long hair, if my opinion matters to you one whit.
      2. Giving up all artificially carbonated bevs was a necessary component to my migraine med Topamax. I experienced a brief withdrawal period (goodbye Diet Coke, goodbye Diet Dr. Pepper!), but I have adjusted. The alternative was not an option. If I had to give up wine---well, Dr. B. has promised me that this is something we just will not allow. I am so glad you can enjoy it on Good Days! Drink up on Those Days! I will keep my fingers crossed that you have more and more of them.
      3. Bless your dear mother and her literary love. I have always been enamored with The Jabberwocky, and to this day have most of it memorized. The idea that you can use nonsense words but still convey such precise, vivid meaning only strengthened my love of The Language and writing. I think I was 8 when I first read it. I was hooked.
      4. We have just started hearing lots of birds around here. I have a few feeders out, and the cats love watching them all. Our produce is already sky-high unless items are on special, but the same is true of everything, and I know it is worse in CA. Enjoy what you can, and especially the swim. So good for you!

      RE: the sad necessity of the license plate. The same holds true for the speech, I think. And I hold the republicans responsible for bringing out the sick, ugly underbelly of intolerance in this country and making it bolder and more mainstream. The day that idiot Joe Wilson yelled, "You lied" to the President opened a culture of disrespect and gave carte blanche to the nation to sneer not only at the Office itself but everyone who looked like the President, thought like him, or was included in his policies. It makes me sick and sad.

  9. Let's see, things have been on a bit of an upswing in our benighted home.

    My son has decided that he wants to attend the local middle school for 7th and 8th grade. I have always told him that homeschooling would work for as long as we all wanted it to, and when he wanted to make a change, I would be open to it. So, seeing as how this middle school is a charter school that is one of the top ranked in Southern California, we could definitely do worse. I have talked to many people who have attended/had children who attended, and they all have nothing but good things to say.

    Then, I entered my daughter into a lottery to attend a local magnet school. It is open to all students who reside in our district, and the only way to get in is to literally win the lottery. It is a K-8, and also one of the top ranked schools in SoCal. We actually got in! I am so excited for her, as it is basically the equivalent of a private school but for free. Mind you, about 400 students tried to get into the Kindergarten class and they only accepted 80, and I am counting my blessings.

    So, next year I will have lots of free time on my hands, as I still plan on working only part time. At least for the beginning of the school year. Yay!

  10. Gina--I love the word "benighted".

    Congratulations on finding/winning schools which will suit your needs best. I hope that both of your kids make smooth transitions to their new schools and that you have some much-needed and well-earned You Time several days/hours a week. This is light at the end of the tunnel that was long in coming!

  11. It has been a physical and financial shitstorm here for the last few weeks, but things are finally getting better. We had a horse in the hospital: it was Mystery Diagnosis Equine Edition. They finally did an endoscopy and he has a stomach full of ulcers, but they are easily treated and he's oh so much better now. The financial burden and worrying was difficult, and I always end up with muscle spasms somewhere when that sort of thing happens. But, I figured out the problem (piriformis syndrome, anyone?) and how to treat it without going to the doctor, so things are much better on that front as well.

    Other Bright Spots:

    1. The unbelievably incompetent financial guy at my office got fired. We all did the "ding dong the witch is dead" dance.
    2. My hair is uber short and I am ecstatic. (Always a short hair person; my daughter does it with clippers at home.)
    3. Love the Jabberwocky. We routinely use the word galumph at the barn because it's wonderful.
    4. Wine is ambrosia.

    I'm also sad that "It Gets Better" is necessary, but at least we are all now saying it out loud. I can't imagine what it must have been like 50 or 100 years ago. Even 20 years ago if you were not in a large anonymous city. The Supreme Court can't make ALL marriages legal fast enough for me.

  12. LaFF--Poor horse! Do they sedate them fully for an endoscopy?
    How the heck do you ride at all with piriformis syndrome? Or do you simply NOT until you can get some relief? When I first saw the term, I thought of the software company that developed a program I used--Piriform--and their logo is a huge green pear. Then I figured out the relationship there. (Duh. Nothin' gets past me.)

    1. You know, you hate to rejoice in someone's misfortune, but when it causes YOURS, a little celebration cannot be helped.
    2. I hear you. My mother really bitches up a storm when she is overdue for her cut and "permanent." It gets downright nasty.
    3. I use it too. So perfect for so many instances, esp. when large footwear is involved. Galoshes inevitably galumph.
    4. Agreed. Sometimes, I just read my wine journal, the book I take with me when we go to taste. If we are buying the wine, I write down all the things I note about it as I taste: nose, taste, finish, structure, etc. It's almost as good as having a glass again. ALMOST.

    I think the most horrible, saddest thing I ever saw with regard to your "gets better" comment is the scene in the film "Wilde" about Oscar Wilde (Stephen Frye plays Oscar; absolutely magnificently). Oscar Wilde is in prison for being homosexual, basically, and part of his sentence is hard labour. He has to be on a treadmill--like a paddlewheel contraption, but you walk on it endlessly--for hours and hours a day. So awful and wretched and dehumanizing. And for what? Sigh.

    1. They don't fully sedate the horse, as he must be standing up for the procedure, but they did drug the crap out of him. Some horses mind the naso-gastric insertion and some don't. Ours is Option A, so they really filled him up with a dormosedan cocktail. Fortunately they put him in a rather tight-fitting stock contraption (it keeps them from moving too much), and he behaved for the most part, but was listing to starboard a bit at the beginning.

      I don't really ride much any more, so the piriformis issue is not a problem for me in that respect. Mostly it's just a pain in the ass (literally) and gets in my way when I want to get chores done, or have a lot of things to do at the barn.

      I saw bits of the Oscar Wilde film and Stephen Frye was amazing as Oscar. It was like watching a medium channel Oscar's spirit. Such a sad story, but what a wit!

    2. LaFF--Again, poor horse! I was shuddering for it when I read "naso-gastric insertion." Dear thing.

      Hope you both are soon "back in the saddle", so to speak.

  13. Hey Nance--First, thanks for the mention, and I'm so glad you've reclaimed our long-hair identity, dear! I love that you and Rick got away and it was as rejuvenating as you had anticipated. Much praise to Obama for making a very special commemoration even more so. As far as the license plate, special thanks to all who believe that love is love and all people are people who deserve respect and love. Let's embrace that every moment of every day.


    Much warmer days. They won't last, but they have felt like a supreme gift!

    Singing birds. They're celebrating the warm days as well and we hear them most of the day now, but especially in the morning. The cardinal has really been putting on a concert for us! I have to confess that it was only a few years ago that I even learned this first song on the video was a cardinal singing. I thought that cardinals only produced very short notes/songs (also shared in the video).

    Getting Mr. GFE on board with letting go of furniture that has been clogging up our house and our hearts. It's not physically out of our house yet, but I hope it will be gone after this week.

    Snowdrops and crocuses in the yard and blooming. Their bulbs have jumped out of their beds on their own, which is the ultimate in naturalizing. :-)

    Artichokes. We love them all the time, but enjoyed some delicious ones last week and we just picked up some more great looking ones today. They will be delicious with London Broil.

    Have a good week, Nance!

    1. Shirley--Our family have a particular fondness for cardinals, and we are very familiar with its various vocalizations. It is surprising how many there are, and how richly they sing. I'm a huge blue jay fan firstly, however, and always will be.

      I know how it is, trying to get Someone to part with something which has sentimental value, even if that something is not being particularly valued or used. Going through that right now, as a matter of fact, and it's so difficult.

      You in VA are always a few weeks ahead of us here in NEO, and we are nowhere close to flowers. I am finally seeing the flagstone path in the backyard rather than snowdrifts, and that is after over a week of temps in the forties and the occasional fifty. It is so, so satisfying to look out front and NOT see white everywhere. You have NO IDEA. We will finally see 60s today, a temperature we have not seen since early November or late October. AND I HAVE MISSED IT.

      You have a good week, too. Hope we can plan a get-together this year!

    2. Nance--We're bird lovers, but for most of our lives we had somehow missed the fact that the long beautiful song we kept hearing was one from the cardinals. Interesting on your love of blue jays. They're beautiful birds and I like how they can be squawkers and don't take any BS. Is that why you like them? LOL I actually did a crewel embroidery piece of a pair of blue jays for my late mother-in-law before we were married and it's now in our house. It makes me smile. We are also fond of Carolina wrens (they also have a lovely song that some are not familiar with), chickadees, tufted titmice (or tufted titmouses, if you prefer), and nuthatches.

      Good luck with all that's involved with letting go of that particular something with sentimental value. I've read that taking a photo or two of the item before you let it go and being able to look at that when "needed" can be helpful. I'm going to take that approach with late MIL's china cabinet.

      Similarly, on VA being ahead of OH, Nance, we saw daffodils ready to bloom when we were in NC 3 weeks ago, so it can't be too long before you see some flowers. Not seeing white everywhere is definitely a noticeable improvement though! Plus, yes, 60s! We have those right now as well and it's glorious although the weather guesstimators say that tomorrow will be in the 40s again.

      I really do hope we can get together in person this year! We'll need to make a plan or it won't happen, of course.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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