Wednesday, November 21, 2012



Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, let me give thanks for film, kinescopes and videotape. Without the magic of media, I couldn't be as familiar with Groucho Marx. What a loss that would be, because everything about the man cracks me up. His silly, painted-on mustache. The stooped walk. His wonderful, goofy songs (Lydia the Tattooed Lady, Hello I Must Be Going, Hooray for Captain Spaulding). His timing and delivery. Even the names of his movie characters: Hugo Z. Hackenbush, Rufus T. Firefly, Otis B. Driftwood.

Here are 13 of his quotes. As you read these lines, imagine them spoken as only Groucho could.

1. If you want to see a comic strip, watch me take a shower.

2. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

3. Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read anyway.

4. Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. And how he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.

5. Don’t gulp that poison! It’s $4 a bottle!

6. Any man who can see through women is missing a lot.

7. I don’t want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.

8. I have here an accident policy that will absolutely protect you no matter what happens. If you lose a leg, we'll help you look for it.

9. I intend to live forever or die trying.

10. I’ve known and respected your husband for many years – and if you’re good enough for him, you’re good enough for me!

11. Here’s to our wives and our girlfriends … May they never meet!

12. I could dance with you until the cows came home. On second thought, I’d rather dance with the cows until you came home.

13. I wish you’d keep my hands to yourself.

For more information about 

the Thursday Thirteen,

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 PS One of the benefits of blogging forever is that this TT is actually five years old, originally posted as my Thursday Thirteen #42 in November, 2007. But it's still funny, and I'm still grateful for Groucho.

I Want Wednesday

I want my neighbors to not be so weird. Their little dog barks all day long, and this is a "no dogs allowed" building. It upsets me not because the noise bothers me. I like dogs. It bothers me because it's so freaking irresponsible. Someone who is not me is going to complain and that poor pup will end up in a shelter, I just know it.

And their teenage son! He smokes sickeningly sweet cigars all up and down the hallway. And today he was actually -- get this -- cutting hair in the hall. He had a swivel chair and and electric clippers and everything. Why he was doing this in the hall and not in their condo, I don't know. I was too shocked to ask.

The ones I really feel sorry for* are my neighbors on the other side. They are trying to sell their unit. I don't imagine many people will leap at living in a building with a smoky salon in the hallway.

*Other than that poor dog!

The return of the hangers

Just to bring y'all back up to date -- I haven't been blogging about what's really going on inside of me because it hurts.

My grief over my mother's death has caught up with me. I was really pretty OK immediately after it happened. I know to those who don't share my faith my initial reaction may not make sense to you, but I was actually relieved and happy for my mom. She had lived in fear since her first attack of ischemic colitis last March. She was in such pain and misery during her last hospital stay, just before her death in September. I was grateful her suffering was over and comforted by the thought of her healthy, happy and whole in Heaven.

My faith got me through the worst of it. And so, in a way, did my own fear. The bills she left were daunting, and as the responsible party I was stuck muddling through the legal and fiscal mess.

But now the estate paperwork is coming together. The shock of passing and the relief of her ascension have morphed into being facts of my life. And I'm left with missing her.

And knowing that this is a new chapter of my life. One without the traditions I grew up with. And that's OK, since many of the family traditions I grew up with left me unhappy. But they are what I knew. They weren't comfortable but they were familiar.

So I have been sporadically miserable.

I shared this with my best friend, especially the scary emotions triggered by merely purchasing hangers. I realized not only the depth of my grief, but also how unstable my life feels right now.

Guess what he sent me in the mail. Yes, a box of padded "huggable hangers," just like the ones my mommy bought me for my birthday in years gone by. And there was a lovely card included. The longest handwritten note I have ever received from him in 8 years of almost constant contact. He promises to be here for me now, months after the event, because now is when I'll need him because everyone else thinks I've moved on. But he knows better. When his beloved grandmother died, twenty years ago, he was left in charge because his mother was too grief stricken and his siblings didn't even think to "step up." So he knows the routine -- the distractions of friendly, helpful phone calls and notes and dealings with wills and estates eventually give way to the humdrum reality of loss. Day in, day out loss.

It was a wise gesture. The kind of thing he excels at. He has always had a way of getting through to me with the right message at the right time.

I only wish he was happier in his own life, in his own skin. But that's a post for another day. Writing this left me weary!

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 3

One of my coworkers took me to lunch at Ada's, one of my favorite restaurants. I had the salmon omelet and wheat toast. Then she bought me a pair of tiny cupcakes for dessert. I was very glad that she remembered and fussed over me.