Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cleaning Out The Cranial Clutter; Will You Hold The Dustpan, Please?

Time for a little Cleanout of my Cranial Clutter. Let's see what I can sweep out of the old cerebellum.

~*~Anniversary. Somehow, in all the Goings On of August, I completely forgot that the Dept. Of Nance had its 13th Anniversary. It's true; I've been writing here since 2005. I almost cannot believe it myself. Sometimes, I hop into my Wayback Machine (read my archives) and take a look at my life when I was teaching, in my forties, and raising teenagers. And I laugh and laugh at the things I Said I Would Never Do, many of which I am now doing routinely. Oh Life, how you smack us around and teach us to Be Humble!

~*~Eff Word. This week, my hair finally allowed me to go pick out new glasses, which I gladly did. The young woman (probably about twenty-five) who assisted me at the cheapo eyeglasses place was friendly and fun. As we chatted about Being Female and Our Vanity, she dropped two Eff Words, never batting an eye, zipping right past them with nary a concern. Another associate seated within earshot didn't even flinch. I am a Huge Fan of The Eff Word, but there is a Time and a Place, and that? Not It.

~*~Insomnia And Obnoxious Theme Song. I'm currently in the throes of another bout of Insomnia. Sigh. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I watch a few late night episodes of the original Will & Grace show, and I have to tell you, that show's theme song is absolutely the worst. Ugh. Nothing but hard-driven piano that sounds like it is being played by perhaps Herman Munster on crack. It's abusive. Why so awful? Why? I don't know what I feel sorrier for, that poor piano or my ears.

~*~Videotapes. I finally made myself clean out the cabinet housing our now-nonexistent videotape collection. Is it Really A Thing that the Black Diamond Classic Disney videotapes are worth money? And that the Fox Original Star Wars Trilogy Boxed Set is valuable too? Because I have the latter and five of the former. And they are available. Aside from that, I had Sam hook up the old VCR and I watched a few hours of the boys when they were little. My immediate response was to be overwhelmed with so much love--and an odd feeling of sadness. They were So Little. They looked so fragile to me. I hope I Did The Right Things. I know I always wanted to and tried to.

Catch me up in Comments.


Friday, September 07, 2018

Of Politics, Books, And Grocery Store Serendipity

The time I normally set aside for The Resistance was not enough this morning, thanks in large part to the Kavanaugh hearings and, of course, to the recent anonymous editorial published in the New York Times. Its author, claiming to be a part of a whole other resistance, doesn't impress me one whit. Spare me and the entire country your big effing courage, buddy, and really Do Something rather than sneak a few papers off a desk. You are nothing but Part Of The Problem.


A couple of hours, many emails, letters, and phone calls later, I was ready to pack the car and head down to DC and tell a few people something about themselves in person. Also, I was pretty sure I could use a few hugs from Senator Sherrod Brown and maybe from Representative John Lewis, National Treasure. Instead, I did what I always tell my sons to do when they're stressed out: do something constructive.

I decided to clean out my bookshelves yet again and donate some more of my languishing hardbacks to the annual library book sale. I got the idea from grocery shopping.

Earlier this week at the grocery store, I ran into a former student. Rather, she stopped me in the dairy aisle where I was dawdling without any purpose whatsoever because I sort of half-assed my list and couldn't remember if I needed any yogurt or butter. "Hey, Mrs. D! How are you? How have you been? Do you still love retirement?" she chirped.  I almost didn't recognize her because--and this is sad--she looked so happy.

"Oh, sweetie! It's so good to see you!" I greeted her in return.  And I meant it. I had never seen her smile so much. It was obvious that she was doing well.

"I feel I need to tell you that I don't work here anymore. I went back to school. I finished and got my library science degree. It's so awesome, and I work right here in town at the library! I love it!"

Why she felt she needed to tell me that, I don't know, but I was truly glad that she did. We talked a bit longer about her life and her job, and then I mentioned that I had some books I wanted to donate. "Drop them off anytime," she told me.

So, back to me cleaning out my burgeoning bookshelves. I already knew I was going to get rid of my set of Andrew Greeley books on principle alone. Then there were a half-dozen more that I knew I'd never read again, so in they went. It was tough, because back in the eighties or nineties, the fad was to take all the jackets off your books so as to streamline the look of your shelves. I had to really stare at the spines. Some of my books are vintage; some are old carpentry and drafting books of Rick's and his grandfather's. And I have a lot of books. But nothing prepared me to find, way on the bottom shelf, a copy of a certain ghostwritten book by a certain political person who shall remain nameless. And rather than donate it and validate its garbage, I did this:

I call it Art:  No Deal

Afterward, I did what every self-respecting Democrat would do, I recycled it. Burning books? Please. Let's not, as they say, Go There.

I did, however, temporarily set aside one page--it was before the opening page of chapter one. It contains a partial quote from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, former real President of the United States. It does not quote it completely or even correctly (big surprise), but I will:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.--(23 April 1910)

The irony is stunning.

I am part of the Resistance. Since 20 January 2017.  And I will keep striving for as long as necessary.


Monday, September 03, 2018

Politics And Precious Cargo In The Prius

Scene opens on the interior of Nance's car, driven by Rick.  Nance is seated in the passenger's side.  Rick's phone sounds, signaling the arrival of a text message. He picks it up and...

Nance: (outraged) Excuse me, but are you going to risk our lives and look at your phone right now?

Rick: (calm, eyes on the road) Nance, I was just--

Nance: (undeterred) Is my life so trivial to you that you're willing to risk it for a text message? Especially right here, where all those Trump voters come rushing out of that side road right there! Without even looking.

Rick: (sighs; pulls onto entrance ramp) How do you know that they're all Trump voters? You've got to stop being so judgy about everybody just because of where they live.

Nance: I know that they are. You know it, too. Everyone around here voted for him.

Rick:  That house there, with the Register To Vote Here sign, also has a Sherrod Brown* sign in the yard.

Nance And Janet Garret* and you're deflecting. The point is, I would prefer you remember that when you have me in the car, you are transporting precious cargo. (thinks for a moment; smiles wickedly) As a matter of fact, from now on, I would really like it if you would start calling me Precious Cargo. Or PC, if you'd prefer.

Rick: (grins; accelerates into traffic) Okay, Precious Cargo.

End Scene.

*fine Democratic candidates for office; I am in love with Senator Sherrod Brown and have been forever.

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