Last night I ushered for our community theater’s performance of Dracula. My job: check every patron’s vaccination card to verify they’d been fully inoculated against Covid-19 before they were allowed entrance to the theater. (They could also show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, issued by a government entity or health provider, within the last 72 hours.) They should also be masked and would remain masked for the entire show. The theater’s entire last season had been cancelled because of the pandemic, so this was the compromise in order to have any season at all. Patrons were notified of the requirements when they purchased their tickets and had been sent a reminder email before the show. The restrictions were on the website. In other words, there should be no surprises.Read More »
In 1998, when new friends found a cache of memorabilia collected by a fan of serial killers, they thought of me. They dragged a couple of garbage bags and a suitcase of the soggy collectibles over to our house in the Irish Channel of New Orleans.
Gee, thanks?Read More »
Now this king and queen had plenty of money, and plenty of fine clothes to wear…
I’ve been thinking about the Brothers Grimm tale of Briar Rose—better known in our time as Sleeping Beauty—in a new light.
The fairytale, true to form, comprises many farfetched aspects, but until I took a spinning wheel class, I’d never before considered the biggest hitch in the plot’s logic.
To refresh your memory:
Causing the whole brouhaha was the queen (always blame the mother) failing to invite the thirteenth fairy to the birthday celebration of miraculous newborn Briar Rose, for good reason—the king and queen didn’t have enough dishes.Read More »
My newest rule?
No knitting in the morning. If I do, this is what happens:
RIGHT: Hematoma Scarf (14 days)
LEFT: Anemia Scarf (4 days)
The day after MIM’s birthday, though I had yet to get him a present, I sent him to the craft store to buy me yarn. I was on my back in bed with my suddenly severely swollen leg elevated on a stack of pillows. “Just buy me something soft and puffy, like Kathryn’s sample yarn,” I instructed, handing him the small ball Kathryn had left the night before after she’d taught me how to knit.Read More »
Six months after my cake decorating fiasco and with cupcake-decorating and cookie-decorating classes under my belt, I was ready to try again: this time with adult supervision. I signed up for a two-part, six-hour cake decorating class. I’m not sure why I ever thought I could casually decorate a fabulous anniversary cake. Like brain surgeons who decide they’ll write a novel “when they retire,” my goal was a bit of an insult to pastry chefs.
There are only four great arts: music, painting, sculpture, and ornamental pastry. –Julia ChildRead More »
There’s something to be said for starting small, so a noncredit (shocking, I know) cupcake decorating class at the local college caught my eye. Scaling down expectation while learning a new craft might be a good idea. Surely I could take the skills learned on a cupcake and inflate them for use—like, the next day—on a multi-tiered wedding anniversary cake with a bottom layer as big as a garbage-can lid?Read More »
She lies awake at 2:15 a.m. wondering about those gunshots in the distance. Large caliber gun. She’s no firearms expert, but this she knows. Eight gunshots, exactly. Not equally spaced out. She counts, because she is a writer, and details matter. Also so that she can inform the sheriff when he arrives to ask, “Did anybody hear anything suspicious?” and he will be impressed enough with her answer that he will suspect she writes mystery novels about an amateur sleuth. Perhaps, though, the gun is fired by a hunter? But who hunts in the dark? Is it an escaped felon who has fled to the island and is feeding off deer while living in a cabin whose inhabitants he has mutilated? Why don’t more convicts escape to this island? It would make a lot of sense to escape here. If the writer were a nasty criminal, she’d hop the first ferry to this island. Nobody locks their doors, she’s been told. She has left her ground-floor bedroom window open because it’s hot. She gets up and locks the window, trying to fumble at the unfamiliar latch in the dark so that the felon doesn’t see inside the cabin to detect a lone, short, Weeble-ish inhabitant, easily overcome by prison breath. The criminal has seen on Facebook posts that she makes excellent sourdough focaccia. He will not kill her. He will keep her alive and force her to keep the sourdough starter alive, but he will become irritated because she puts too many vegetables but no salami on the pizza.Read More »
Ah! My first writing retreat since becoming a mother five years prior. Alone in a cabin in the woods for four days with nothing but my notebook and pens, laptop, and books. Creaking trees outside. No television, no internet, no cell phone service, no mail delivery. No neighbors in sight. I would use this quiet time to cogitate, meditate, create—no interruptions, no chaos, no needs other than those of my own stomach and an occasional wash under my arms. Just my own unfettered thoughts and ideas to run amok without time restrictions or crises.
I wasn’t going to blow it this time, as I had the year before when a friend had lent me her house for two nights near an out-of-town teaching gig, and I’d been so guilt-wracked that I gave myself the shingles. I’d learned my lesson. Why did I not think I deserved this and that the boys wouldn’t burn the house down without me around? Scratch that. If the house burned down, it wouldn’t help if I were there, although they’d probably forget about the safety ladders.Read More »
I wish I could have been there in Indianapolis to receive my award from Miss Manners herself (Judith Martin received a Lifetime Achievement Award, then handed out the other awards). I like to say that I am very well qualified for the under 100,000 monthly readers category. I am thrilled and honored with this recognition.Read More »