Roses are Red and Violets are … Vastly Superior




It’s a well-known writing exercise to think of a common household object, (shoes for example) and just dwell on it until memories and associations begin to present themselves and the words begin to flow.  To this end, I’ve been thinking about violets – many different kinds – and I’m surprised and kind of delighted that I have so many diverse feelings around a flower which is often considered boring and supermarket- frumpy.

Such misplaced snobbery must be addressed. Continue reading

Grey Divorce

The General and I were having our usual Sunday morning coffee discussion group today (only 2 people permitted, dressing gowns required) and listening to a superb documentary about “grey divorce” which caused us to sit exchanging (sometimes worried glances) as women discussed either having to leave their partners of many decades or being left themselves, each terrifying for  different reasons.  Of course, for the person who leaves, that ‘terror’ could often be called excitement; the beginning of something new; or a totally fresh start sponged clean of predictability, routine and those little pyramids of toenail clippings in the tub. (Editor’s Note). Continue reading

Journal of a Solitude




I have no real sense of direction.

Those who love me and know me well accept this and are not surprised by it anymore; but when we set out for Old Orchard on our car trip this year, I hesitantly pored over the map and asked gingerly (in case I was ludicrously off the mark) to inquire if we might go via Nelson, New Hampshire so that I could visit the grave of poet, author and journal-writer May Sarton. The General  assessed the map quickly, drawing a finger along the route, turning it a few times, finally pronouncing the idea “not even a problem” and went on to suggest that we pop along to Robert Frost’s graveside as well since it was on the way.

(Can I tell you that I absolutely love not having to justify what most people would consider a totally insane waste of time and my heart just swelled).

He added: “Graveyards on the way down! We really are a fun couple aren’t we?” Continue reading

Curmudgeons Amongst Us



Working with the public over the years has allowed me a broad spectrum view of the descent into crabbiness that affects many people over the age of say, 47. I am not speaking of having an off day here, health crises, true depression or enduring a blue funk.

This is something different.

I believe it’s a habit as much as a condition that some people (usually men, there I said it) fall into after a certain age and ironically, there is nothing more aging than becoming a Grumpy Old Man in your forties.


For some reason, the bleakness often seems to be accompanied by a sense of certainty about how dreadful life is: the Middle East conflict is beyond hope and can only escalate, check;  obsessiveness about the worst weather on record which may be happening tomorrow (and, if it doesn’t, it’s easy to slide that rage right over to the deficient  meteorologists for getting it wrong) check;  life has passed them by, now that their movie-star good looks have faded and every time they exit a chair or sofa they insist on making a loud “Ack!” or whooshing sound just to be sure that everyone within a few feet knows it, check;  taking every opportunity to tell bored, often appalled young people that  they should enjoy life now because once they get a) married b) become saddled with kids c) buy a home d) become older than about 22, it’s basically downhill and will be over all too soon. (This kind of torschlusspanik doom should not even be referenced to the young  since they are in no place to truly comprehend it), but you know, check. Continue reading