Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Big Snow of the Season

It's snowing!



But it's so lovely!

Happy Dance!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Mother of Invention commented on Love Letter to My Daughter Who Is Far Away at Christmas (below) that I probably wrote love letters to all my children. She was right. At some point in their lives, I have. Here is the one I wrote to my younger son at Christmastime seven years ago when his first child and my first grandchild was a newborn.

Dear Ken,

This is the first Christmas you will celebrate with your new daughter. And as it is my first Christmas as a grandmother, a Memeré, I wanted to give you both something from my heart.

When you were just a small boy you had a book called "Let Papa Sleep." No sooner would Papa Bunny lie down for a nap than Baby Bunny would beg for a pickle, a story, a drink of water, a game. You will discover as you spend the rest of your life being a father that there are things you will trade—naps for playtime, hot meals for emergencies, time alone for time spent with your children, business meetings for school plays, peaceful nights for nights of worry, toys you want for toys they want. There are some things I've learned as a parent that I would like to share. I offer here, as a gift to you, these things I've come to know from being your mother.

CHILDREN TEACH US ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE - Love without obligation, without judgment, without end—that is the kind of love children offer until they are taught differently by the world. Recognize it, revel in it, know that it will change but that it will never completely vanish. It will be the bedrock upon which you will build your relationship with your children, the look in their newborn eyes that says you are the most wonderful person in the world.

CHILDREN OFFER US A FRESH LOOK AT THE WORLD AND RENEW OUR DELIGHT IN SMALL THINGS - We develop blinders as we grow older. We say it is because we must be responsible adults or because we are too busy or that we have learned differently through our own experience. Children open our eyes to the possibilities inherent in life. They teach us about choices, about delight in the ordinary, making it extraordinary for us once again. They remind us to laugh with abandon, to play as though anything is possible, to weep as though the world was coming to an end then be elated to find that it didn’t.

CHILDREN GIVE US A SENSE OF SELF - We are defined by a number of things—by our families, our work, our communities, our heritage, our genetic make-up, our thoughts about ourselves, our reactions to the thoughts of others. Children hold up mirrors. We see ourselves reflected in their eyes, in their behavior, in their development. Your actions will speak louder than any words you ever say to your children. If you see yourself through the eyes of your child, you recognize the best aspects of yourself. Likewise, you will be made aware of those things that need changing.

CHILDREN TEACH US HOW TO LET GO - Nothing is harder, or more rewarding, than sending your child out into the world. You hurt with every hurt they endure, you glow with every triumph, you laugh and cry with a depth of feeling that will enrich you immeasurably if you let it. And when the time comes to let go, you realize that the bond you share does not disappear with their absence from your daily life. What a wonderful feeling it is to finally understand that, no matter how far they roam or how seldom you see them, there is no distance between you at all.

CHILDREN ENLARGE OUR BOUNDARIES - They will go places we have not gone, do things we have not done, and experience a life at once so familiar and yet so foreign to us that our eyes will open in wonder. If we give our children the same freedoms we would want for ourselves, the world becomes a boundless place filled with potential—theirs and ours.

CHILDREN ARE BOTH AN ANCHOR AND A SAIL - Every seaworthy craft has both. You may find times when you feel weighed down by the responsibility of being a parent, overwhelmed with the challenges that come with raising children, anchored to home and a way of life that can seem becalmed and stifling. But those same children will also be the sails on your life craft. They will catch the winds of hope, of new experience, of enchantment, and you will want to be sailing along behind, just in case they need you.

I can’t think of anything more wonderful than being a parent. You are one of the best gifts I ever received. May your children be the same for you. Merry Christmas, Ken!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poetry Meme

I am off for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. I read this meme in several different places and thought to add my own suggestions. Feel free to feel tagged.

Enjoy your holiday.

List at least four things you think a beginning poet should attend to and four mistakes you think a poet should avoid.

1. have fun with words; write often and with joy
2. read aloud the poetry of others. When you’ve written some yourself, read that aloud, too
3. overwrite, then edit
4. try as many forms as possible to familiarize yourself with the differences between poetry and prose, then experiment

Try not to:
1. be too clever; write the way you speak then spice it up or tone it down or let it be
2. use unfamiliar words; familiarize yourself with them first and use them everywhere until you are comfortable with them
3. overstate the obvious or repeat your point in several different ways so the reader will “get it,” or dress your blue jeans poem in rhinestones
4. force a rhyme at the expense of the rhythm

photo credit:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Haunting Memories

It’s been years since a ghostie or goblin or even a Power Ranger has darkened my doorstep; longer still since I’ve been one myself. But night falls earlier now, and a chilly wind is blowing. It’s almost time for the spirits to be abroad.

I remember only one Halloween night that every child on my street did not meet after supper to begin our siege of the neighborhood. Usually we planned our costumes for weeks before the 31st, discussing the disguising properties of masks over face paint, homemade outfits cobbled together from whatever we had or could pilfer from our parents’ closets versus store bought costumes we’d have to talk them into buying. But this one particular year, the year I was eight, a town party was planned, and we were all expected to attend.

When a ritual is interrupted, something changes. In previous years the matter of my costume was left up to me. This year, because of the party, and because the party had a theme, I was forced to narrow my choices. Children were obligated to dress as a book character.

When my mother told me this, my first thought was to be a pirate, a la the mustachioed, swashbuckling Captain Hook from Peter Pan. I was practicing my “Ahoy, Matey!” and swinging an imaginary sword over my head with gusto when she dropped the other shoe. I had to be a girl from a story.

There is nothing worse than having to be what you already are on Halloween. The one night I could be anybody or anything I had the imagination to disguise myself as lost all its magic. That settled it. I wasn’t going to any adult-planned Halloween party. I would go trick or treating by myself. I would be a lone hobo, face blackened with a burned cork, a mop on my head for hair, one of my father’s shirts buttoned over my own.

“Who are you going to get candy from?” my brother asked. “Nobody will be home.”

I hadn’t thought of that. Bad enough to have to tromp the street in the scary dark all alone. Worse still to do it for nothing.

The night of the party, my brother appeared as Captain Hook. He wore a black patch strung over one eye, a tri-cornered cardboard hat, and a large metal hook screwed cleverly into a cork projecting from one sleeve. I was in one of my school dresses, complete with white tights and my Sunday shoes. The only concessions to costuming were the two bright circles of pink painted on my cheeks and a braided wig of yellow yarn on my head. Alice in Wonderland had never looked so forlorn, I’m sure.

That may have not been the last town party, but it was the last one we ever attended. The next Halloween saw half a dozen ghosts, hoboes, and zombies (and one swashbuckling pirate) armed with paper sacks, knocking once again on neighborhood doors.

Prompted by this week's Writers Island suggestion of "haunted."

Monday, October 08, 2007

back to back memes

I accepted Snowsparkle’s tag to this meme though I’ve altered it a bit. The first part is an acronym using the first letters of one’s middle name but I don’t reveal that so here are some that go with my first name instead:

P erceptive
A rgumentative
U pbeat
L aughs easily
I ntuitive
N eat
E ver appreciative

The second part of the meme consists of the following questions:

1. If you could have superpowers, what would they be? There is no obligation to be unselfish, save the world etc.

I want the power to undo wrongdoing, to commune with the dead, and to travel through time…

2. Stranded on a desert island with a CD player and 10 CDs, what would they be?

1. JJ Cale and Eric Capton’s The Road to Escondido
2. Emmylou Harris, Anthology
3. The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the World
4. Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
5. Paul Simon’s Graceland
6. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle, Vol. 1
7. Bluegrass Breakdown
8. The New Christy Minstrels’ Ramblin’
9. Misty River’s Willow
10. The Fabulous Johnny Cash

3. If you were a smell, what would you be?


4. If you were a bird, what kind would you like to be?

A red-tailed hawk

5. If you were a bird, whose head would you poo on?

There are some things one has little control over...

6. Are there any foods your body craves?

Whatever I’m eating at the time…

7. Favorite time of year?

Spring for the scent of wet earth
Summer for the delicious warmth and the long days of light
Fall for its bright colors and hazy, sunlit afternoons
Winter for the tang of new snow and the dusky, muted colors

8. Favorite time of day?

Sunrise and sunset and the half hours just before and after

9. If a change is as good as a rest, which would you choose?

Rest for a change

10. If you could invite five people living or dead, past or present to a dinner party, who would they be?

Author Richard Bach, Gandhi, pilot Doug Stewart, poet Ron Koertge, and scientist Fred Alan Wolf.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Borrowed Meme

Never in my life have I - learned to swim underwater but it’s on my list of things to do before I die

When I am nervous - my stomach flutters

The last song I listened to was - Green Eyes by Misty River. It has a haunting melody that I can’t get out of my head

My hair is - almost long enough to be donated to Locks of Love

When I was four - I broke my collarbone falling down the stairs

Last Christmas - I celebrated three times in three different places

I should be - cleaning the cottage right now but here I am, playing

When I look down I see - where my feet are going

The happiest recent event was - reading my poetry aloud to a crowd of congenial poets at an open mic night and just before that was a surprise shoreline cruise on an ocean liner and right before that was an afternoon-long motorcycle ride through the hazy autumn sunshine and before that was the trip to Oregon where my son and I camped among the redwoods. I’m happy a lot

By this time, next year - who knows? It’s the mystery that keeps me going

My current distress is - wanting to retire but having to work

I have a hard time understanding - quantum physics but it fascinates me nonetheless

If I won an award, the first person I would tell is - whichever of my children answered the phone first

I want to buy a - new winter coat, down-filled with a fur-trimmed hood

I plan on visiting - my grandchildren. My granddaughter will be seven at the end of the month

The world could do without - hatred born of fear

The most recent thing I bought myself is - a pair of Crocs

The most recent thing that someone else bought for me was - a shoreline cruise ticket

My middle name is - not about to be revealed

In the morning I - sip tea and watch the sun rise

Last night I was so tired I - fell asleep with the light on and my book still open and unread

There is this guy I know who - is teaching me to fly

If I were an animal, I would be a - cat, independent and sleek and jungle-minded

A better name for me would be - you know, I’ve never liked my name but I’ve never come up with one that fits, either

Tomorrow, I am - having homemade pea soup. The stock is simmering on the back burner now

Tonight, I am - going to sit up to read…

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Advice From a Tree

I've been a tree hugger since forever. A longtime friend once told me he thought I might have been a tree in a former life - me with my head in the clouds but my roots sunk deep. I found this piece on a wall in my sister's house and copied it down. Written by Ilan Shamir, it's worth sharing.

Advice From a Tree

Dear Friend

Stand tall and proud
Sink your roots deeply into the earth
Reflect the light of your true nature
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The energy and birth of spring
The growth and contentment of summer
The wisdom to let go the leaves in the fall
The rest and quiet renewal of winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In response to the prompt, The Gift, from Writer's Island:

Brendan, my first-born, arrived on Father’s Day – an appropriate gift. He was a tiny, pink, frowning replica of his father. His head was covered with a thatch of golden curls and his blue eyes had the intensity of a summer sky. He would gaze at me so long and questioningly as he nursed that I would have to look away or cry. I loved him wildly. I still do.

He was an inquisitive child, and a happy one until the first day of school. I opened the front door at mid-morning to find him crying on the doorstep. He had walked the mile home from school at recess. His teacher called in a panic when she couldn’t find him. As I walked him back to school, he solemnly explained to me, “Six hours is far too long for a child my age to be away from his mother.” No kidding.

When he was seven, I put him on the bus to Boston with a chum from school. They were going to visit the friend’s grandfather and Bren was beside himself with excitement. I was beside myself with worry. In his suitcase I packed Sammy Sock, his favorite toy, thinking that it would help him be less homesick if he had something familiar with him. When he came home two days later, he confided that he had been having a wonderful time until he opened his suitcase to get his pajamas. Seeing Sammy made him so homesick he couldn’t sleep. It was an important lesson – never presume your child feels the way you do.

As Bren grew, he seemed to stretch. Always thin, he soon towered over me like a young sapling. I remember a day I was scolding him over some trivial thing. He looked down fondly on my upturned frown and said, “What did you say, Shorty?”

Incensed, I dragged a chair over and stood on it, forcing him to look up at me. The absurdity of it struck us both at the same time and we collapsed in a giggling heap.

My second son was born a year and a day after his brother. For the first two days of his lfe he was known as Baby because his dad and I couldn’t agree on a name. Finally in desperation I began reading aloud from What to Name Your Baby. When I got to Kenneth, I looked down at baby. He looked back and gave me a ghost of a smile. I didn’t care what we called him as long as I got to keep him. I loved him wildly. I still do.

Ken was a rugged little boy with a mop of yellow curls and a mischievous grin. He liked to move fast and climb high. When he was two I went into the kitchen one morning to find him sitting Buddha-like on top of the refrigerator. When he was five, a neighbor called in a dither because she’d seen him climbing among the branches of a huge pine in her front yard. I strolled over to fetch him.

“Hi Mom,” he called from his hiding place twenty feet up.

When he was old enough to get his driver’s license his standard excuse for a speeding ticket was, “But my car just goes too fast.”

Jennifer was born two months after Ken’s first birthday. Her hair was as soft as swan’s down, her eyes the color of violets. Her brothers adored her. I loved her wildly. I still do. She was enchanting – a butterfly child who sang to herself every morning while waiting to be lifted from her crib. One Christmas, my mother came to spend the holiday with us. She brought a miniature Christmas tree trimmed with blinking lights for the kids’ room. Before going to bed she plugged the cord into the socket. She woke to find Jennifer sitting on the foot of her bed, watching the lights blink on and off, on and off. “Isn’t it pretty, isn’t it nice?” piped Jen. We still say that when entranced by some unexpected beauty.

Jen loved being center stage. “Watch me dance!” she cried at age seven, pirouetting around the dance studio. “Watch me twirl!” she sang at twelve, throwing her baton high in the air. “Watch me do cartwheels!” she yelled from center field during half time. “Hear me sing!” she crooned, standing in front of a microphone at her high school graduation. Where did this extrovert come from, I wondered.

Cassie, the caboose baby, was as sturdy as Jen was elfin. She had the same golden hair and wide blue eyes as her siblings, and a deep, throaty chuckle. The day she was born, my father stood over her examining her fingers and toes. “Look,” he said, “at her perfect little fingernails, her perfect little feet. Every time, it’s a miracle.” I loved her wildly. I still do.

“Don’t see me Mommy,” was her favorite admonition growing up. She was an intensely private and self-reliant child. “Born old,” people said of her and it was true. She seemed to possess some ancient wisdom that gave her an enviable self-assurance. When she was thirteen, I put her on an airplane flight from Vermont to California where she was to meet my sister. From there they would fly down under, spending the summer backpacking through Australia and New Zealand. I got dizzy every time I imagined the soles of her feet meeting mine from the other side of the earth. “Dear Mom,” one bloodstained letter began. “I can write now that my cuts are almost healed…” Of the two of us, she was (and is) the one with admirable aplomb.

Because of them my life is enriched beyond measure. I loved them wildly. I still do.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


This comes from a comment by Jujee on Lee’s site.

My favorites often don’t come in singles.

1. Favorite past-time? I love reading, hiking, piloting a small plane, writing, planting things, drawing, painting, dreaming. Whichever of those I’m doing at any given moment is my favorite.

2. Favorite item of clothing? An old blue sweater I’ve had for years. I bought it twenty years ago when I moved back here to live. It’s warmed me during the chilly winter months, comforted me when I needed a hug and no one was around, and cuddled me when I was ill and needed cuddling. It’s frayed and mended and shapeless and it’s the first thing I reach for when I get home.

3. Favorite jewelry piece? I don’t wear jewelry. “Ever?” asked an astonished friend. “Mostly never,” I said, and it’s true. But I have one necklace from my children that I wear when I get gussied up and another from my mother when I have a formal occasion to attend, which is hardly ever.

4. Favorite month? Like the past-times above, my favorite month is the one I’m in. I love warm weather, rainy weather, blustery snowy weather, weather on the cusp of change, hot and humid weather. I’m terrified of lightning and cyclonic winds. Otherwise, I’m happy with whatever the day brings.

5. Favorite number? Seven.

6. Favorite year at school? The last year of my masters degree – it was challenging and exciting and a time of furious learning. I loved it!

7. Favorite season? Summerfallwinterspring.

8. Favorite hair length? Long, ponytailed

9. Favorite expression on self? Smile

10. Favorite expression on others? Smile

11. Favorite chips flavor? As in potato chips? Sweet potato!

12. Favorite ice-cream flavor? Starbucks Coffee Java Chip

13. Favorite time of day? The hours between 4 and 7, both a.m. and p.m. The day is either beginning or coming to a close, and there is a pervading silent peace.

14. Favorite day of the week? Friday – the week is behind, the weekend ahead.

15. Favorite movie genre? Any non-violent, thought-provoking, laugh producing, emotional response evoking, 
story telling production.

Time: 9:24 p.m.
Date: 9/15/07
Setting: my cottage

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fear Is the Backbone of Courage

Poetry Thursday has become a traveling show. This week's theme was confronting fear. I chose to look at something other than my own...

Does the fear of not
blooming become a flower’s
reason for a stem?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Home again! Spent two weeks along the Oregon and California coasts, visiting family and camping with my son (here with me on Lagoon Creek Beach). It will take some time to process it all. Meanwhile, enjoy the view.

A 12-hug redwood!

Campground breakfast guest

Crater Lake

My brother and sisters

Thursday, July 12, 2007


From Illusions by Richard Bach: “If God spoke directly to your face and said, ‘I command that you to be happy in the world, as long as you live,’ what would you do then?”

Question 2 reframed: What keeps us from being satisfied with our own stories about us?

Question 3 reframed: Most people think that fear of failure (at work, say) or the threat of dying from an illness exacerbated by lifestyle would be enough to make major changes for the better. Which would impact you more – being told that you were going to fail or die if you didn’t change, or that you could live a joyful life if you changed?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Too much blog reading, too little alone time, too much work, too few cool breezes, too much pondering, too little poetry have resulted in 3 questions:

To what do we give the power to make us happy?

Why are we so often satisfied with other people's stories about us?

Is joy a more powerful motivator than fear?

photo: wgirl2.gif

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Two friends and I were just lolling about one hot day last week, nursing sweating glasses of iced tea and talking about whatever came to mind. One was describing an acquaintance. “He’s just a big teddy bear,” she said, giving the air in front of her a descriptive hug. Then she laughed. “Did you ever pay attention to the categories you use to describe people? I’m always alluding to folks in animal terms. I was raised on Thornton W. Burgess—remember Sammy Jay, Chatterer the squirrel, Paddy Beaver? I know some toads, some weasels, a few packrats. I’ve even met a snake or two.”

I’ve known a couple of snakes myself, people who looked at me with calculating, beady eyes before they sank their fangs in. I saw what she meant. The other friend thought people were either warm or cold. She lives in Northern Vermont so that could account for her tendency to think of people in terms of temperature. I’ve know some warm and friendly people, too, who have immediately set me at ease. I’ve known others who have turned a cold shoulder, whose glacial expressions and chilly indifference made me shiver.

After this conversation, I started asking around. One woman said she sees others in terms of intelligence. People can be smart, she says, or they can be dumb. They can be gracious or they can be crude. I’ve known intelligent people who act both dumb and crude. Of course, I’m measuring them from where I stand. Another fellow I know says he thinks of others as either nice or not. I confess I do that, too. The gauge always seems to be, how do I feel in their presence? “She’s so nice,” we say when someone shares our values and our views. “He’s not a nice person at all,” we say of someone who doesn’t.

One man I know likens people to fruit—a bad apple, a peach, a sour grape. Another says he would broaden the category to include more foods. He knows fruitcakes and cupcakes and several good eggs. I kind of like this idea. People can be sweet or tasteful or saccharine or even unsavory. Some are delectable and a few are downright yummy.

This can be tricky business, this labeling game. How do you characterize people?

PHOTO CREDIT: 22/26044351_fa9bf19dc

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One-Word Responses

Tagged by riseoutofme

1. Where is your cell phone? car

2. Relationship? passionate

3. Your hair? upswept

4. Work? unceasing

5. Your sisters? delightful

6. Your favourite thing? sunwindrainsnowearthsky

7. Your dream last night? startling

8. Your favourite drink? tea

9. Your dream car? gas-free

10. The room you're in? office

11. Your shoes? off

12. Your fears? named

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? well-rested

14. Who did you hang out with at w/e? friends
15. What are you not good at? sports

16. Muffin? pass

17. Wish list item? cash
18. Where you grew up? rural

19. The last thing you did? laundry

20. What are you wearing? pjs

21. What are you not wearing? shoes

22. Your pet? Parker

23. Your computer? MAC!

24. Your life? fun

25. Your mood? cheerful

26. Missing? sleep
27. What are you thinking about? children

28. Your car? fast

29. Your kitchen? miniscule

30. Your summer? blooming

31. Your favourite colour? rainbow

32. Last time you laughed? today

33. Last time you cried? today

34. School? Limiting

35. Love? Yes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A long, long time ago...

Snowsparkle wrote about renewing her interest in sketching and about considering the idea of posing in the nude, allowing an artist friend to capture her as she is now before gravity has its way with her. I've always wanted to have one of those bodies that make people gasp but even when I was young and taut and lithe I didn't have classical lines. Still, as a teen I modeled for a local artist and his sketch group. Being youngsters, we were not allowed to model in the nude (we wore leotards) but we were drawn and sculpted as such. Recently, the son of that now deceased artist unearthed some of his father's statues. He contacted me and gave me this - I haven't seen this statue for almost 50 years but I can still feel the quiver in my arm muscles from holding the pose.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lee and Dave have done the workspace post, giving us a look at the places where they spend creative time. Jumping on board with my own, though because I live in a tiny cottage where the single large space is divided by furniture, I needed separate photos to show my bookshelves (“library”) and my computer (“office”) which are divided by a sofa (“living room”). Don't go past the china cabinet to the right of the office or you'll be in the dining room.

I haven't the strength of will for Dave's suggestion of getting rid of an old book when a new one comes in (definitley daft, Dave) so I just keep adding bookcases. I am contemplating getting rid of my old phonograph records. That would make space for another dozen or so books. And if I also sold the phonograph player, there'd be room for another dozen more. Life is full of sacrifices.

Monday, May 28, 2007


My Pepere was a professional photographer, as was one of his sons and one of that son’s daughters. Two of my children have studied photography. I’m the one in the family that cuts off heads and takes still shots of the garage floor. In response to my admiration of a series of his photographs featuring everyday objects, my friend B, the inspired photographer whose work appears at Intervallic, gave me an assignment. I was to take a picture of clothespins (could we get any more ordinary, every-day?) and then write about the process.

I’ve been staring at the clothesline through my camera lens for days now. My billowing pillowcases do not look like objects d’art, nor do my bathroom rug or my faded blue jeans inspire poetry. But oh! Look what happened when I took a picture of the three clothespins my landlady left on the line after removing her dishcloths.

What’s next, B?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I’m a jeans and tee-shirt kind of girl and have been ever since I climbed out of my flounced and frilly school dresses and into a pair of my brother’s cast off denims. There are things a girl can do in pants that she can’t (or shouldn’t) do when she’s all gussied up, like running fast, sitting cross-legged, climbing trees, and clambering over rocks. I had forgotten just how confining skirts were until the other day when I put one on for work.

My biggest problem initially was finding a skirt. I’d long since packed them away in a closet, replacing them with the more accommodating slacks and jeans. I pulled a few from their hiding place and looked at them with a critical eye. The calf-length maroon with the swirls of paisley was my favorite but it had a set-on waistband with no give. I found that I had grown a good inch between the buttonhole and the button. I tossed it aside and rummaged for one with an elastic waistband. I found two—a short, sedate charcoal gray with pinstripes and a slinky little tan number with a slit in the back that I couldn’t remember buying. I took them downstairs and set them on the bed, then stood in the open closet door looking for a top to match. No matter how much I looked, I could find nothing that would look good. Back up I went to search the boxes for a blouse. I found one that would do, and after spiffing it up with a warm iron, proceeded to dress for work.

Halfway through my toilette, the phone rang. I took a quick stride and came to an abrupt halt. Something was gripping my knees. I looked down in surprise. The hem of the skirt was taut around my outstretched legs. I shortened my step and minced my way to the telephone. Used to moving about unimpeded, I kept forgetting to ‘walk like a lady’ and tottered through the house gathering keys and pocketbook and mail and eyeglasses. I lurched out to the car and wriggled under the steering wheel. The skirt slid halfway up my thighs. I gave it fierce tug and drove off, thinking longingly of my blue jeans.

I stopped at the post office to mail a package. Opening the car door, I tried to swing my left foot out but it got caught mid-pivot. Immediately, I heard an echo of my mother’s instructions for skirt etiquette. “Ladies always swing both legs together when getting out of a car.”

“Well, that’s fine,” I grumbled to myself, squirming out from under the steering wheel, “if you’re in the passenger seat and it’s pushed all the way back but,” and I gave another yank on the skirt hem, “one cannot SWING out from under a steering wheel.”

I finally emerged, skirt and hose askew, shook myself into some semblance of order and marched, head high, into the post office. My next stop was work. No one there had ever seen me in a skirt. “You’re all dressed up!” exclaimed one co-worker.

“Just a skirt,” I said casually, feeling suddenly overdressed.

“You have legs!” exclaimed another and I beat a hasty retreat to the ladies room before he could remark on any other body parts he hadn’t thought to notice.

I spent the rest of the day alternately tugging my hose up and my skirt down. How I survived my childhood in dresses and skirts I’ll never know. Tomorrow I’m reverting to slacks. “Ladies always…” my mother’s voice will start to whisper but I’m plugging my ears.