The counter is covered in bracketology. Every station on every TV in every corner of my home is set to record approximately 72,000 hours of collegiate basketball.
The pantry filled with taco chips and salsa, bean dip and potato chips, chicken wings in the freezer along with boxes of White Castle sliders and of course, in the center ring, the main attraction...beer...and beer...and more beer.
Sofas centered...cushions fluffed...remotes lined up like soldiers ready for battle...and I am huddled in my studio in protest...listening to the radio...the only electrical device I activate without a remote.
And then I hear it...the commentators are telling me that today is World Happiness Day...and so I decided I should do just that.
So... I did a little research and found out much to my surprise that anyone anywhere can be happy just like me, and anyone anywhere can invent their own holiday, or special week or maniacal month.
So... this month, or what is left of it, is now, semi-officially...
Yard Yetis Awareness Month...or perhaps it should be the Yard Yetis Appreciation Year. But I’ll even settle for Yard Yeti Gardeners Recognition Day. I know I am Not-A-Yeti-Yet, like Cora Crocus, and Eunice Everlasting and Gladys Gerbera and Wanda Wisteria...but we all need a dream...right?
And besides, my research led me to a list of OFFICIAL holidays that I’ll bet you never knew existed and oh my dear friends what you have missed!!!
Hug Day...Just like it says...go out and hug someone...but you might want to introduce yourself first...miscellaneous hugging can be dangerous to your health.
International Bacon Day...considering the number of pounds of bacon I cook up when my sons are in town...I think this is sort of a Male thing...
...However...Please note that Pig Day is NOT celebrated anytime close to International Bacon Day... out of respect for...well for pigs.
Peculiar People Day...a day to celebrate and extol your person quirks and tics, your individuality...this does not mean leaving the seat up or picking your nose in the car while idling in traffic.
...and in keeping with the Peculiar theme...what about...
Squirrel Appreciation Day...this day is not limited to the rodent variety now scampering through your yard or building a nest in the eaves. It may also be applied to those acquaintances or loved ones who, in the middle of a conversation about how to burp Tupperware, look over your shoulder and blurt something truly bizarre and totally unrelated to the topic at hand. You are permitted on this day to yell out “Squirrel” and not be considered rude or unkind to animals...or rodents.
World Rabies Day...this one was too scary to look up. Sorry.
The Festival Of Sleep Day...I slept through this one. Just kept nodding off. Odd.
Something On a Stick Day...show your appreciation with corn dogs and popsicles and kabobs...and a Pepto Bismol chaser.
Lost Sock Memorial Day...a bit of a downer when you think about it, so why not gather up all those leftover sock souls and make sock puppets to entertain your friends.
Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbors Day...which is not to be confused with Wave Only One Digit at your Obnoxious Neighbor Day.
Hoodie Hoo Day...this day follows the Wave At Your Neighbor Day but now you add a wave and yell Hoodie-Hoo...and then wait for the police to show up.
Eat What You Want Day...this may be a special day for you...but as I am older and could care less...I celebrate it any day I want.
National Eclair Day...this one started in France...I am sure of it.
Make A Hat Day...does this require further explanation...nope...go ahead...make a hat...but I dare you to wear it to work.
International Talk Like a Pirate Day...this is a dangerous day for women if their 50th birthday falls on this day...as strange things happen when women turn 50...and you must resist the urge to start your own business making balloon animals at carnivals and please do NOT walk through the park while wearing only an eye patch with a parrot on your shoulder. This day, I promise, shall pass, and you will be just fine.
And finally my favorite day of all....
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED ANYTHING DAY....YES!!!!
...well maybe not everything...
These days of celebration and joyous jubilation are real. Google them. Do YOUR homework and then add the dates to your day planner and instead of one single day of happiness...
You can have an entire YEAR!
Celebrating each and every day as special.
Well, if YOU were a Yard Yeti...
...or a Garden Wannabee Not-Yet-A-Yeti like me, in the middle of March with Spring on the horizon...and the Madness about to descend in hoops and rebounds and food fights....
You already know that...
Every single day is special and everyone could use a hug and a smile whether it’s March Madness, April Fool’s or May be just maybe...
I know where the remotes are stashed, so you’d better be nice or I’ll name a day after you and it won’t start with the word Happy!
After all I am writing a how-to book just for you...
Just a click away...
Are You A Yard Yeti Yet?...Why Not?
It's Never Too Late To Start
The Journey From Here to There...
So why not start right...
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
...but most especially Spring...
I love to tell you my secrets.
The very secrets that as a Not-Yet-A-Yeti
I swear to keep sacred...
...except for the ones I posted on the Internet.
I love Spring.
This past weekend we turned the clock hands and sprang forward.
The same weekend snow was in the forecast.
But today the sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and I swear I can almost taste it.
The coming of Spring...and the taste on my tongue is sweet.
Or maybe the the taste on my tongue is sweet because I just chomped down on a delectable little chocolate bonbon.
Chocolate. Rich and pure, lick your lips, OMG it's good. Chocolate.
I spent these past few dark and cold and weather wearying months... engrossed in heavy, serious, ponderous...
...dark and deep long winter night novels.
Enough. I say. Lighten up I say.
I pulled a book off the shelf at Border's, attracted simply by the box of chocolate on the front cover.
A chocolate addict needing a fix and right there on page one a dark, milk, creamy ivory bonbon book about chocolate...
Oui. C'est bon.
My sweetest memories of chocolate involve walking home from church, a white paper sack in hand, and the sound of my own footsteps on the sidewalk, far far from the Eiffel Tower, or the shores of the Seine, but under the same spring sky, and my young untraveled self licking the melting chocolate off the tips of my fingers.
From what I read in my new best friend, the book of chocolat, I take it that the French take their chocolate very seriously.
So do I.
I started my apprenticeship at a very young age with only a dime in my pocket on a walk to the local grocer. At the back of the store, closest to the register, a multi-tiered assortment of wooden drawers filled with penny candies. Red licorice rolls, black licorice rolls, paper sheets covered in pastel polka dots, lemon drops, root beer barrels and more. But I was searching for the real deal, the don't mess with success formula wrapped in foil with a paper tail. Kisses. Hershey Kisses. Sweet, one per penny, kisses.
One. On my tongue. Melting slowly. Mmmm.
And then...Andies Candies came to town. A block off the main square, by the park with the statues, only one crosswalk away, a warm Sunday stroll past the closed shop windows, the smell of chocolate wafting out the open door. Inside, I remember red. Everything red. The wallpaper a deep red brocade. The booths a dark cherry leather. The glasses for sodas, liquid red on sturdy stems. The counter deep cerise. And there, in the regal surroundings, encased in polished glass cases, on silver platters lined with red cloth napkins, the candy. Stacked in geometric patterns, wrapped in crinkled paper bonnets, milk and dark and cherry filled or topped with just a sliver of sugared orange zest. So very very expensive. So much more than a mere penny a taste. However on the bottommost shelf, the purist's delight. Break up chocolate. Left over pieces from the molds. Left over just for me. Two pieces for a quarter. Just enough for the long walk home in the soft spring sunshine.
Spring showers bring May flowers. Ah yes, but sometimes, those luckiest of times, right before May turns the the corner, there is a shower and if you are an optimist, a believer in wishes and dreams. there on the corner, right under the rainbow, chocolate dreams do come true.
And now a reverential pause, for what was then, the very best chocolate in the world, or at least for me, far from France, the best chocolate in Chicago.
It was the best. Back then. Back in the day. In my little corner of the world, on a Sunday Spring morn, I crossed the threshold and never looked back. Inside, a simple shop, white walls, white tile floor, the candy sorted into white wicker baskets, one long row of baskets. No more. Again a simple yet elegant white paper bag, but now for a dollar, four dark chocolate vanilla butter creams.
I can taste them right now as I write and I may have to jump off the blog long enough to order a box. I think my hands are shaking at the mere thought of that white box here on my desk and all sense of self-control and reason abandoned.
Ah. Non! Mon Amie Doux.
I am not a chocolate snob.
I have room in my heart for Mars Bars and Snickers and M&M's.
Let's face it. Easter is just around the corner and I cannot recall ever scratching around under the green plastic grass and turning up my nose at the last little chocolate morsel on the bottom. I have friends, dear darling acquaintances who stalk the candy shelves once a year for the Cadbury Creme Eggs that once the bunny hops, are gone for the season.
So, some food for thought. A little sweet talk for your sweet tooth.
Thoughts spring to mind.
Thoughts of Spring and new beginnings.
Because, for me, Spring is as sweet as chocolate.
Tiny shoots sprouting through the barren ground. Buds on the tips of trees. The soft pastels a balm to the house bound soul. The hint of a good long stretch just before you rise, the smile on the edge of your lips as you pull the bow off the tissue wrapped package. Good things are coming.
The sweet sweet scent of Spring.
A reward for your winter patience.
A reminder that like chocolate, Spring must be savored to be enjoyed.
So, why not take your chair outside and a little white paper bag filled with one or two of your favorite treats. Let the sun wash over your naked toes, be still enough to hear robins building nests in the gutters, cooing over their baby blue eggs, and think one simple thought.
Or as they say in France...delicioux.
Chapter 20-The Yard Yetis A Gardener's Tale
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Make A First Impression
I am hearkening back to the movie "High Fidelity" circa A.D. 2000, to a scene where the main character is desperate to woo his lost love. He is up to his eyeballs in musical choices, for as he says, "Now the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all, you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.
Do people do that sort of thing anymore?
Shuffle through song after song on their playlists to create the perfect score?
Songs to listen to when you are sitting in traffic.
A concert in your honor.
Hit Play. Pause. Think of me, because I am thinking of you.
In my last blog, I spoke of books, books, books. The written word.
A bibliography of my favorite authors.
But what if you are a man or a woman of few words. The type to get tongue tied when feelings rise to the surface and need to be expressed. You may stutter and stumble only to find you've missed the moment.
Fear not. For while there are writers of many genre, there are a few I forgot to mention.
The lyricists. The musical poets. With a simple message.
I am your music. You are my song. Play me.
If I slip off my wedding band, inside there is an inscription from my man of few words...that read..."Only the beginning"...a line from the lyrics by the band Chicago.
The lyrics tell the tale.
“When I'm with you, it doesn't matter where we are, or what we're doing
I'm with you, that's all that matters
Time passes much too quickly when we're together laughing
I wish I could sing it to you, oh no
I wish I could sing it to you
Mostly I'm silent, mm-hm-hm-hm...Silent, la la la la la
Never think of the right words to say
When I kiss you, I feel a thousand different feelings
The color of chills all over my body, yeah, yeah, yeah
And when I feel them, I quickly try to decide which one
I should try to put into words, oh no, try to put into words..”
Vintage Vinyl Love Songs. I walk down the hallway into the basement, and sort through the box of vintage vinyl albums setting on the floor, and am holding the album covers, and the music fills me up all over again. For here in hand, are my husband’s love letters. The words he thought he could never say but did.
“Cherish” by the Association
“Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside
You don't know how many times I've wished that I had told you
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could hold you
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you
Perish is the word that more than applies
To the hope in my heart each time I realize
That I am not gonna be the one to share your dreams
That I am not gonna be the one to share your schemes
That I am not gonna be the one to share what
Seems to be the life that you could
Cherish as much as I do yours
Oh I'm beginning to think that man has never found
The words that could make you want me
That have the right amount of letters, just the right sound
That could make you hear, make you see ......."
Or Stephen Bishop, from his album "Careless", the song...
"One More Night"
“Everyone keeps telling me
I'm something I'm not
They fill me with questions
that tear me apart
But through it all
it was you who pulled me out
So please don't leave me now
Just give me one more night
to hold you
One more night
Give me one more night
to have you near
There's a man at the train stop
with tears in his eyes
It reminds me of so long ago
when I was able to cry
Slip away and laugh along
with anyone who needs someone blue
What can I say
to make you stay?
I'd do anything
I'd give everything
to have just one more night...”
Pure Prairie League...and their song...
"Let Me Love You Tonight"
“Let me love you tonight
There's a million stars in the sky
Let me love you tonight
I'll make everything all right
When you find out how good love can be
You're so lost when it's such a free
They say once in your life
You find someone who's right
Someone who loves you like me
Let me love you tonight ..."
I could go on and on...Loggins and Messina..."Nobody But You"...
So before you sit here, picturing me as a prehistoric relic, trust me, I know that discography works, and I am not alone.
You know there is someone.
Someone you love.
Your love has always been a song.
Fire up your MP3 player. Send a link to You Tube. Reprogram someone's ipod. Or in my case, plug in the turntable, slip the vinyl from its paper sleeve, lift the needle up and over and take a spin.
I am your music.
You are my song.
And as a special treat for all you oldies but goodies out there, and as inspiration for the younger crowd...
Here are the links to the songs above on You Tube...
Just to give you a head start...
Oh...and if you are wondering what I would start off my musical love letter with...it would be...