Friday, March 30, 2007

Counterfeit Carnations

Went with friend Kathy to her father's grave today. She goes there three times a year--his birthday, Christmas and Easter. She delivers some silk flowers and talks with her Dad for awhile, feeling better afterward for having gone.

I stopped going to the cemetary a long time ago. There are just too many people who have gone on--parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles--just too many. I get no feeling of peace at the gravesites, just a feeling of deep, isolated loneliness. Maybe someday it will be different.

My mother, gone 12 years this coming August, just loved lining up her ducks. After we lost my father in 1991, Mom had a beautiful double headstone put on his grave. She had her name and year of birth engraved on the stone in anticipation of sliding in next to Dad some day.

I hadn't taken Dad's death well, and I hated it when Mom would periodically bring up the matter of having her half of the headstone engraved after her death. I don't know whether she was obsessive about these things or just liked torturing me, but I used to cringe when she would bring up that headstone. I eventually stopped nodding and agreeing to call Mr. Granite at Thrifty Tombstone when she died.

"Look, Mom, I'm juggling too much responsibility while hauling three kids around behind me all the time. I can't promise to call Mr. Granite, but I do have a black, extra-large felt-tip marker at home. I could just swing by the cemetary when you die and write 'DEAD' in big, black letters across your half of the headstone. That way, anyone who visited would know!"

Mom would always laugh while feigning annoyance. From the time my brothers and I were very small, we knew we could always get around Mom's persistent questioning by making her laugh. Dad was a very humorous person naturally, and we three kids learned to use humor to get what we wanted or to get out of trouble. We had some very hard times in our family, but we also had a lot of laughter on a regular basis.

Maybe I'll go to the cemetary with some silk Easter flowers this year. Mom loved flowers.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Experiencing technical difficulty here...meaning #1 Daughter is up to her butt in work and does not have the time to fix this right now. And Priscilla hereby admits she can't brush cake crumbs out of the keyboard, let alone diagnose and correct template problems on a blog site. The fonts are frightful, hyperlinks are hysterical, captions are calamitous: Girls, we VITIATED!

Priscilla was going to take the whole shebang down but, on second thought, who the hell cares? It's not as if anyone will be reviewing Pinelands Ponderings for the New York Times or anything. So, we will keep the new posts as simple as possible and wait until Daughter has some time to help.

For now, there will be no amusing photographs of flying cranberries (along with hilarious caption), reliable font size, even line spacing and fascinating sidebar info. All three of Priscilla's regular visitors will just have to brave the storm. Many apologies--we know how important those cranberries were.

Postscript: By some miracle or other, Priscilla discovered the Quickie Template control on this thing! We now have options for colors, fonts, cranberries and squirrel pix.'s true the blogsite now looks like Priscilla's returning from vacation to Jamaica with a satchel full of gifts for her family in New Jersey, but these things take time to refine, y'know? Just give up a chance, OK?

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Day on the Town

Kathy (my dear friend and neighbor) and I had previously scheduled a Slipcover Hunt for today, which was a good thing 'cause, y'know, Kathy's cushions have been getting as bedraggled as my pitiful emotional state of recent weeks. It was a good day to get out of the house and go count some threads.

Junket and I had been scratching at each other this morning, so I arrived at Kathy's in a less-than-ideal mood. But it was a warm spring day, we had at least three leads on
SureFit retailers and had made grandiose plans for lunch out. We slid into Kathy's black and tan Toyota Coonhound and set off in pursuit.

Speaking of Surefits, we stopped at the drugstore first so that Kathy could buy a big bag of pull-up diapers for her mother. Nothing strikes terror into Kathy's heart quite so much as running low on Mom's supplies. Alzheimer's is such a charming disease! I bought some board books for J.Q.'s Easter basket and a couple of cocoa butter sticks for my poor hands. (Believe me, you do not want to see these hands!)

So, Melvin, suppose you explain to me why I shlep the BIG tub
of Eucerin home from the drugstore and then you refuse to
put it on! Go ahead! Explain already! I'm listening!

At the mall, we ran our prey to ground at Drool & Slobbier: all SureFits on sale for 50% off. Kathy got some nice neutral waffle-weave slipcovers. I just felt every blanket, sheet, shower curtain, bath rug, quilt and bedspread in the linen department, like a natural woman! *sigh* Nothing like obeying one's primitive instinct to hang pelts or brightly-colored leaves on the cave walls!

Lunch was a pleasant interlude before our final stop, Rock Bottom Dusty Discount Debris, our local mainly useless crap store. I was unable to locate a table runner, but I did manage to get some ceramic flamingo accoutrements for my kitchen.

Kathy dropped me off, and both of us took a short nap before her mother came home on the daycare bus. I went over and helped feed the old lady, which is always entertaining. It's sort of like spooning strained carrots into a talkative octopus on amphetamines.

It was so nice to be out from under the depression, if only for a few hours. It's creeping back now, but that's just what happens. At least I'll have access to Mr. Pseudonym's car tomorrow, so I can get out early in the day and buy some seeds. YES! SEEDS! Probably the happiest time of the year for me!

Does anyone know if peas can be grown on a common chain link fence? Interesting concept, no?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Critter Crises

Oh, God. Krimpet the Rat took suddenly ill and had to be put down on Friday. Without unnecessary description of her symptoms, it appeared to be cancer. The ground was still frozen, so she lay in state for two days, peacefully arranged in a cookie tin out in the shed. Mr. Pseudonym was finally able to plant her in the rat garden yesterday--another tiny, beloved scrap of life stirred back down into the continuum. She had a great time living with us, and she's busy now becoming spring flowers.

Krimpet's exit leaves only Sprinkles the Nine-Lived Rat in the rodent column, and she's still bouncing around like a WalMart shopper three days before Christmas. She rings a bell in her cage when she wants attention, which is most of the time she's awake. ("DING-DING-DING-DING! MOM! I'M AWAKE! WHERE'S MY COOKIES? AND DON'T FORGET THE MILK THIS TIME! DING-DING-DING!") Sprinkles has survived a three-day escape from her cage before she left the pet store, having her underside slashed open in an argument with one of her late sisters and a serious bout of head-tilt when she was about a year old.

The same day Krimpet went on to the Big Trashcan in the Sky, Onyx the Old, Old Cat took ill. She's been wobbly and taking nothing but water for two days, and she's not able to make it to the litter box today. She's always been fastidious--a little lady--so we know she's on her way out. She's always loved eating, as well, but now she's uninterested. I've been holding her in my lap most of the time, and she purrs and burys her head under my arm the way she always did. We will take her to the vet if she's unable to cross over easily by herself.


On sunnier topics, #1 Daughter (a.k.a. has obviously done more work on sprucing up Priscilla's blogpartment, and she promises the squirrel pix will be installed soon. She was here last weekend to give us the dining room set she bought with the soon-to-be-ex. The s-t-b-e (we call him "Stubby" for short) has moved on to IKEA high-gloss, and my daughter keeps her new place fairly spartan to minimize the destruction wrought by little J.Q. He just loves coming to the grandparents' house, where he can destroy at will. His favorite activities are trying to "feed" the fish by swishing his hands around in their tank ("Shishies! Eat!"), smacking Grandma's plants leafless, chasing after the pets with his shape-sorter cart and digging through the kitchen cabinets in search of sweets. ("Gamma! Fwoot sak? Kweem? Cookie? Canny?") ("No, J.Q. No. No. No.")

WeeMote KomTwoll!

Spring may bring the end of a long, long, long spell of depression for Priscilla. Tail's been dragging in the dirt for months now, but maybe the longer days and warm winds will help with the despondency. Either things get better soon, or we jump back on an SSRI and deal with the side effects (such as nightmares of Stubby popping up out of the dining room table with a knife between his teeth and glowing red eyes).