Monday, October 31, 2011


Gentle Readers . . .  and Maxwell,

I'm concerned that some of you might feel left out today because perhaps you don't celebrate Halloween in your country. So if your country isn't involved in this strange business of begging for candy, then please feel free to write about a holiday in your country that we don't have in the U.S. -- like Christmas.

So anyhoo, today's What? Monday question is

What is your favorite Halloween memory or what's the best costume you've ever seen?
When I was but a wee child in Haven, Kansas, before we moved to the great city of Topeka, Halloween was a totally different animal than it was in a city.
Black Kitty In Haven, my sister who was a few years older than I was, trick or treated with me, and we were perfectly safe. It never occurred to people that candy had to be wrapped. There were two elderly sisters who lived together and when we knocked on their door, they answered holding a tray of freshly baked and decorated homemade sugar cookies. At another house, we got caramel apples. Everyone knew who we were, but pretended not to.
So Halloween in Haven is a happy memory for me.

I also have a story my sister (the one who is recovering from a stroke) told me about Halloween in Haven. When she was a teenager, she and her friends went out egging cars. Not cars parked in driveways or along the street. Oh no. They egged cars people were actually driving.

So a car came along and they made a direct hit to the driver's side of the windshield. The car stopped. They were frightened and prepared to flee, but waited briefly to see if the driver would actually get out.

He did.
VampireIt was our brother and he descended on the group like Satan seeking virgins.

My sister said she never ran so fast in her life. He didn't see her, and she never told him she was part of the group.

I love that story.

Infinities of love my weenies,

Frankenstein's Bride

I got out one of my old uniforms to wear tonight when I give candy to the adorable children. If they're as grabby as they were the last time I handed out goodies, I'll threaten to take their temperatures -- rectally.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Recently Someone I Love requested new photos of my dogs. This photo of Harper is our favorite. He looks so happy. He even has a touch of grin on his face. Now that the weather is chilly, I love having him in bed at night. He presses his back up against mine and it feels wonderful.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
You Are The WomanStephanie graciously asked me to guest post today at Connecting With Stephanie.

MapSo of course I packed my bags and dashed to her place. 

Running Man
She wasn't sure what time she would publish the post, so if you knock on her door and I'm not there, please try again later. custom smiley   I might be out mooning her neighborhood. They don't know me and it would be such a fun pre-Halloween trick. Everybody in my neighborhood expects to see my butt, but Stephanie's neighborhood?
Holy Moly              SURPRISE!

The post is called The Joke Thief. The thief suffers the wrath of Lola.
Happy (almost) Halloween!

Runaway BroomSee you at Stephanie's!

Infinities of love,

High FiveLola, who connects with Stephanie

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I am inspired to write this post because Stacy Uncorked wrote The Haunted Clock. Stacy asks at the end of her post if we believe in ghosts or feel we've gotten a message from someone who has crossed over.

I don't really believe in ghosts, but I do believe angels are around us, helping us, all the time. And I do believe I once received a message from someone who had passed away.

My brother was 17 years older than I was and from the time I was quite young, he lived very far away. I rarely saw him.

He was relatively young when he died. He went to bed one night, fell asleep, and didn't wake up in the morning. Heart failure.

I didn't feel anything when he died, other than Oh, my brother died. It could have been anyone because I really didn't know him, knew very little about him, and what I did know, didn't care for. We had some family problems when my dad died and sadly, my brother and my mom never spoke again. She preceded him in death. Neither one would call the other when she was in the hospital and her death was imminent.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn.

So I didn't mourn the loss of my brother, although I felt very sorry for his two sons. I think they would have appreciated more time with him, especially because he didn't always treat them well. Maybe their relationship with him could have improved if he had lived long enough to become a more mellow old codger.

So anyhoo, the younger of his two sons was about to get married. I was working in a doctor's office. It was the day before I was going to fly away to the wedding.

I was near the front desk when the phone rang. Our new assistant receptionist, BEFORE she answered the phone, said This is Joe's Pool Hall. Who in the hall do you want?

I burst into tears, startling everyone of course. But I cried because I remembered that when I was little, my brother used to say that exact same joke every time the phone rang. I had never heard anyone else say it until that moment.

After the wedding, I managed to get the groom to myself for about five minutes and I told him what had happened. My nephew also remembered his dad making that joke when the phone rang, and he, too, had never heard anyone else say it.

At the end of the story, my nephew said, He just dropped by to say hello so you could tell me about it at my wedding.

The receptionist was the angel conduit.

And I cried, and finally mourned the loss of the only brother I'll ever have.

Infinities of love,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Gentle Readers,

When I was in school we had fire drills and tornado drills. But the days of bomb drills were over. I have never ceased to be amused by the idea that having children crawl under their school desks would somehow protect them from the dreaded atomic bomb. Fire bombs? Maybe. Napalm? Perhaps.  But not atomic bombs.

Here's how Sharon Doubiago describes her elementary school bomb drills in My Father's Love: Portrait Of The Poet As A Young Girl :

We had to learn to distinguish between the sirens to know the correct thing to do. The Bomb siren would go off and instead of lining up and filing out of the building to the sand dunes we had to jump out of our desks, throw our right arm up across the back of our neck to shield our selves -- the neck is where the Bomb's radiation will penetrate -- while maneuvering with the left to get under the desk. Being exactly between Los Angeles and Long Beach, being a neighbor of Douglas Aircraft and right on the Los Angeles River, at the very heart of the Basin, Hollydale School was a prime target.

When I worked at the nursing home, we had a book with instructions to follow in case of an emergency. The instructions for nuclear warfare were hilarious:

Stay inside. Do not open any windows or doors.

Yeah, a lot of fucking good that would have done.

  Close the door! Here it comes!

Infinities of love,


Monday, October 24, 2011


Gentle Readers,

A new work week has begun for those of you fortunate enough to have jobs. I hope you can take a minute away from the games you play in the office to answer the What? Monday question, which is

What has been your moment of greatest joy up to now? Or, what part of your life has been the happiest?

It's pretty obvious that my greatest joy was the birth of my two children. They had eyes, nose, fingers, toes . . . everything they needed, especially the required equipment to create wet, shitty diapers. Oh well. Wet and shitty just goes with the mom job unless you can afford a nanny.

I wish I could say my wedding was a joyous occasion, but I can't remember it. I think THIS IS A MISTAKE was buzzing so busily in my head that I couldn't pay attention to the ceremony going on around me. So it was a mistake, and yet it wasn't -- because I got my kids out of it. 

A couple of other really joyful moments involved my two favorite concerts, which I told you about recently. A long time ago when we went to see Paul McCartney, toward the end of the concert Paul and I and a few thousand of our closest friends sang Yesterday together. It was so beautiful. He accompanied us all on the guitar. The voices, so many voices, came together in hushed reverence under the stars.

Then somewhat more recently with Bon Jovi, when the concert was over we headed toward the parking garage. Suddenly we had a moment of spontaneous combustion when we stepped inside the garage and everyone burst into Shot through the heart, and you're to blame . . . . We kept singing as we moved through the garage. There was no agreement to sing. Nobody shouted, Hey! Let's sing.

We simply sang together.

It was a perfect example of the interconnectedness of humankind.

Infinities of love,


Friday, October 21, 2011


Gentle Readers,

Some of you may have noticed recently in my comments that My Dear Mrs. Tuna mentioned I had lost 15 pounds, but it's 15 1/2. Let's be accurate.

True, my boobs are bodacious and overall, I'm quite salacious. But I weigh more than I should.

Menopause and midlife marriage dissolution added the pounds, and to my shock, they did not simply drop after the divorce.

Hmmmmm . . . Which should I have? Cake or cake?

So last spring I started thinking more and more about changing my eating habits. Then I saw a commercial for NutriSystem: Fifty percent off plus I received an additional discount with my health insurance plan.

I decided to go for it.

The minute I made that decision, my sugar use waned. When the NutriSystem meals arrived, I got my portions under control.

To help me even more, Sandra decided to return to fitness competitions. Hearing about her workouts and what she was eating inspired me so much that after three months, I felt I could go off the NutriSystem and design my own diet.

 Which one is me and which is Sandra? Can you guess?

When the weather cooperates, I walk the dogs for my exercise and their joy-- one dog at a time to provide me with even more exercise.

I'm under no illusion that I'm ever going to be as ripped as Sandra, whom I admire tremendously for her devotion and will power.

Sandra is Sandra; Lola is Lola. The world couldn't handle more than one of each of us.

But I'm continuing to lose, and I ain't gonna quit till I feel like me again. No crazy fad diets or fasting. Good healthy meals and snacks that let me take off the weight slowly and don't make me feel deprived.

In fact, since I'm doing so well, I'm going to start posting photos of myself as I turn into more and more of a loser. This is a pretty big deal because the only photo of me that's ever been on this blog was when you saw the back of my head in front of City Lights Bookstore during my San Francisco holiday.

So here's my current photo:

Tee hee. Just kidding. You haven't seen me yet.

Infinities of love,


Thursday, October 20, 2011


Gentle Readers,

In restaurants, I say to the server, Please don't put a pickle on my plate. Occasionally, I even say, I'm the President of the Pickle-Hating Society.

That's right: No pickles will pass these lips, Papa.

My sisters and I will  not eat pickles, and no, that's not a euphemism for penis.

Blow jobs: Fine.

Pickles: Not fine.

 You see, our mother did a terrible thing to us when we were growing up: She made pickles. It was childhood pickle abuse.

That's because the stench from the pickle cooking made us all sick. I almost fainted once because of that odor and she could not figure out what might be wrong with me. But, we weren't allowed to say OH MAN THOSE PICKLES STINK! Because she would say, Oh, shut the hell up! They do not.

But I don't remember HER ever eating a pickle either. I think my dead brother ate them.

Ate the pickles. Died young.

Coincidence? I think not.

Infinities of love,


P.S. My sister has taken a turn for the better! She shakes and nods her head to answer questions and can move her fingers. Probably puts up the middle finger most of the time. Thank you all so much for your concern, your good wishes, and your prayers. I'll let you know when I hear about more progress.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Gentle Readers,

When I worked at the nursing home, long ago, I chose to work the night shift. I'm not sure why. It paid a little more. That didn't hurt. And I had done my clinicals during the day shift. I didn't care for the way the staff behaved during the day. The nurses were rude and lazy and the assistants were rude and lazy. To me they seemed far more concerned with getting their breaks than with getting their work done.

So I took the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. At first it was hell. But then this bond began to form between most of us. It wasn't something we really talked about. We just knew we wanted to provide better care and have better working relationships. So a group of us made it happen.

Staff members who couldn't get with the program soon left or were fired.

The night shift got better. The patients were cleaner and more comfortable. We cleaned out bedside table drawers and bathroom drawers that were filled with useless crap. Speaking of crap, I even found used toilet paper, and I'm talking used poopy toilet paper, in the drawer of a bedside table. A candy cane was in the drawer too. The patient was in a vegetative state. I don't know why in the hell anybody would give her a candy cane, and she certainly did not reach over after wiping her butt and put that toilet paper in her drawer.

Yes, night shift did better and better work because of our unspoken commitment and the bond we shared.

Yet, when we "got the report" from the charge nurse, she quite often told us about complaints from the day shift about how poor our work was. Supposedly, we spent the entire night sitting around reading the newspaper. A few people did act that way, but not many. We all took our meal breaks, but most of us did not take other breaks. There wasn't time. Our people needed us.

A few times when the day shift was very poorly staffed, like hardly anybody showed up for work, I went in to help and always regretted it. There I was, giving up my day off, and people treated me like shit -- treated me like I didn't do anything.

Haven't you fed so and so? Miss Snotty Ass asked me.

No, I replied. The charge nurse told me to do this so I'm doing it.

Miss Snotty Ass applauded sarcastically and walked away.

One time a day nurse noticed some bruises on my arms and asked how I had gotten them. Oh, I'm sure I just bumped into something. I bruise easily, I replied cavalierly.

Well, it looks, you know, like handcuffs, she said.

And I don't think she meant the pink furry kind.

I was appalled. I was Mrs. Lola Tweedledee. My husband was Dr. Iam Tweedledum. I was somebody around town. No one had ever spoken to me that way before. And it didn't really matter who I was. She had no business speaking that way to the lowliest among us. A friend of mine said to her, Lola is not that kind of a person.

That nurse got fired before long.

Then there was the day nurse who wouldn't get up off her ass and come to help me when I fell with a patient. The patient didn't seem to be hurt, Thank God, but I had hit my face on a table and had a black eye. More important, we needed to assess the patient and if she was o.k., we needed to get her in bed. She was very large and it would require several of us to get her in the Hoyer lift and in bed.

I went out and called to the nurse that I had fallen with a patient and needed help immediately. Then I started rounding up assistants to help us get the patient back into bed as long as she was not injured. The nurse said lackadaisically, Was it a fall or a lower? Meaning did I lower her to the floor or did we actually fall.

It was a fall.

She asked me again, Was it a fall or a lower?


The third time she asked me I lost it and shouted at her to get up and help. She finally unglued her ass from her chair and came down the hall. We checked out the patient with another nurse helping and determined she was not injured. She had no complaints of pain. When they were ready to put her in the Hoyer (mechanical) lift, I left the room and went to another floor where I knew one of my best colleagues was the charge nurse. I hid behind some file cabinets and burst into tears. She heard me and came to find out what was wrong. She called the HR person, who arranged for me to go home with the agreement that I would go to an occupational medicine clinic the next day to have my bruises looked at by a doctor.

I was so upset I could barely drive home.

The next time I worked my beloved 7 p. to 7 a., I told the night supervisor what had happened with the day shift nurse. She said, You're used to working with us at night.

There was something about being with a group of people at 3 a.m. and knowing we were all of one mind that brought out the best in us. That was my all-time favorite job.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Love Song

Gentle Readers,

Recently I've spent some time with a lovely woman named Harriet who runs a displaced homemakers program at a local college. Harriet helped me rewrite my resume and gave me a job tip that actually led to me taking some online tests for a job, but I haven't heard anything about my performance on the test.

For some reason, the last time I saw Harriet we got started chatting about concerts we've seen and loved. As I told you last week in What? Monday, my all-time favorite concert was Paul McCartney at RFK Stadium.

Well, Harriet could quadruple my McCartney experience. She saw The Beatles, yes, The Beatles, in 1964.

She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and The Beatles were coming to town. Harriet and all her friends had tickets. Two days before the concert, a hurricane blew through. The eye of the hurricane actually hit St. Augustine, which is not very far from Jax.

Harriet said she and her friends weren't scared of the hurricane. They were scared it would ruin the concert.

But it didn't.

Harriet still has her ticket stub from that special night. The ticket cost $5.

Infinities of love,


Saturday, October 15, 2011


Gentle Readers,

My Kathy emailed these photos to me and they are adorable. I don't have a very good track record with Blogger and photos, but I'll try to get these to show up. Let's work some Lola magic.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Gentle Readers,

When I was in second grade in Haven, Kansas -- a town so small it had no traffic lights -- each day when we ran out to recess, Sharon and Ricky took off for the playground, shouting, Eenie Meenie Minie Mo, Catch a tiger by the toe . . . .

Except they didn't say tiger. Although I had never seen a black person face to face, I knew Sharon and Ricky were bad.

One day after recess, I raised my hand and said, Mrs. Snyder, Sharon and Ricky say nigger out on the playground.

Sharon raised her hand and countered with, Lola is a tattle tale.

Mrs. Snyder said, Yes. Lola is a tattle tale.

What? I was only in second grade but I already had a sense of justice. If someone is doing something really wrong, then aren't you supposed to tell an adult?

Sharon and Ricky kept on meenie, minie, moing every day on the playground.

Fast forward a few months and my dad was now stationed in Topeka, Kansas. Soon after we arrived we drove down the main drag in downtown Topeka.

It was the first time I saw real, live black people. And I saw that they were, indeed, people. Just people. Walking along, smiling and talking and laughing.

But my mom said, Look at the niggers walking up the street in their short pants.

I felt sick and embarrassed. This word was wrong and bad, but there was no adult to tell except the offender, and besides, I'd already been labeled tattle tale.

I am a bit ashamed to tell you this story about my mother, but fortunately, she changed for the better.

After I married and my parents moved into a townhouse community with a pool, my children and  I visited during the summer. A black woman was sitting in the shade, watching her grandsons play. When we arrived, she called them out of the pool.

After they left, my mom said, They're the only black people who live here and they always get the kids out of the pool when white people get in. I wish they wouldn't. I don't think anyone would be crude enough to say anything.

It was nice to hear that evidence of my mother's change, but perhaps it never occurred to hear that the grandmother did not get her grandsons out of the pool to avoid offending her white neighbors.

Maybe she didn't want her grandsons in a pool contaminated by white people.

Infinities of love,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Gentle Readers,

I  just watched a very interesting documentary about the Federal Writers' Project that was part of the WPA during the Great Depression.

I always wonder why that time was the Great Depression and now we're simply having a recession. Shouldn't we at least substitute a word for great and call this some kind of depression? The Crappy Depression. The Lousy Fuckin' Depression.

But, ah, I digress.

For those of you who aren't up on your history or are Canadian or Slovenian, the WPA was part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. It was the Works Progress Administration, and the idea was to give jobs to the unemployed not only because they needed to earn money, but having a job also helped people get their dignity back.  A lot of people -- including me -- don't want charity. They -- including me -- want jobs. While Roosevelt's administration admitted that the WPA cost more than putting people on relief, they knew how important the jobs were for morale. This I totally understand. Not being able to find a job is so disheartening. The program was also good for the country's infrastructure because many of the jobs involved building roads and bridges and even parks.

Of course writers were not earning much during the depression and some were on the verge of starvation. People didn't have money to buy books and magazines and many newspapers laid off writers and editors, so a group of writers got together and demanded they be included in the WPA. The writers included such luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, the author of the amazingly marvelous Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Thus, the Federal Writers' Project was born. Writers were given jobs writing, and since the point was to provide employment, the writers sometimes included typists or the occasional truck driver who needed work.

But what were the writers to write? Eventually someone came up with the idea that they would write guides to all the states, focusing on places of interest, what the cities and towns were like, folklore. Up to this point, no such guide existed for the U.S.

So where am I going with this story? I bet you know. Since some of us -- including me -- can't find jobs, President Obama needs to create the Federal Bloggers Project to provide jobs for unemployed bloggers! I would continue to stay at home and write my blog, but I'd get a decent salary and benefits.

Wow! Is this a good idea or what?

And I don't even have to be told what to write because you can't shut me up. I always have something to say.

Lots of other people who need jobs could also write blogs, or maybe we need new state guides. And wouldn't it be great if the state guides told the truth? Like "St. Augustine may be the nation's oldest city, but it's a tourist trap." Or "Topeka. Why bother?"

Unemployment problem solved. Tourists well informed.

You're welcome.

Infinities of love,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Gentle Readers,

Occasionally I hear the letters O, C, and D bandied about -- IN REGARDS TO ME!

Just because my spices are laid out in a drawer in alphabetical order with the labels showing and my clothes hang in my closet according to color and sleeve length and each shoe has its own cubbyhole and I like a clean house, doesn't mean I have OCD.

If you saw my house, then you would know how ridiculous it is to say I'm an OCD type.

So, what I'm going to do now is ask you all to wait here for just a few minutes and I'll dash around the house and get a few photos that proof I'm not an OCDer.

Hang on. I won't be long.

Don't go away. I'm still looking. I didn't think it would take this long.

I guess my time is up, but no prob. I have the perfect shot.

All righty then. This photo of the corner cabinet in my family room proves that no one in this house has OCD. Look at the top shelf. See the little painting of the flowers in the middle?

It's not perfectly centered and it's too far forward on the shelf.

So HA! and HA! again. I can sit in my family room and not feel bothered in the least because that little painting isn't centered.

And when I'm finished here I am not going to run out to the family room to change anything. Not me! No Way! It's fine if it's less than perfect. I couldn't care less. Big deal! So what! Not changing anything. Not gonna fix anything. Not me. No how. No way. Everything is fine. Everything is great. It's not upsetting me. No, not me.

Well, that's enough for now. I've gotta run. We'll chat later. I, uh, have something I need to do.

Infinities of love,