As Dear Kitty often writes —“The video speaks for itself.”
Well, actually Dr. James Hansen and his granddaughter, Sophie, do all the speaking. And they do it quite well.
October 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm (education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, issues, life, random, relationships, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: children, climate change, Climate Science Awareness Solutions, Dr. James Hansen, global warming, Lawsuit, video, weather, Young People's Burden
As Dear Kitty often writes —“The video speaks for itself.”
Well, actually Dr. James Hansen and his granddaughter, Sophie, do all the speaking. And they do it quite well.
February 26, 2015 at 7:20 pm (creative writing, entertainment, humor, life, living, people, random, relationships, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: blogging, children, greetings, guilt, homes, humor, moving, partners, people, random, random thoughts, relationships, resolutions, thinking, Writing
In case you haven’t guessed by now, my new year’s resolution #2 was to get back online and blog. Now don’t get all pissy because it’s #2 instead of #1. Numero uno was checking email for the first time in MONTHS. Yeah, now that I’ve found out all about who’s been naughty and nice, read Christmas Letters to Satan, had a few laughs thanks to Bear and Berit, discovered my offspring INTENDS to put in an appearance on the new home front in a matter of weeks–goddamn it, she’s been gone for YEARS, what’s this prodigal daughter bullshit? Huh? I’m kidding. Okay not so much. Yeah, just kidding. Or not.
Anyway, long overdue greetings to anyone out there who’s paying one whit of attention to what’s NOT been going on in my blogcasa.
Am I supposed to feel guilty about this neglect?
Well, I do.
But–if you all knew what I know–you’d be grateful for the resounding silence here. Oh yeah.
I’ve been debating on what this first post of 2015 should be about for a couple of weeks: the holidays, films, books, horrible current events, –are there ever any wonderful events? I think not. –Sarge and Lily updates (yeah their story is ongoing), random thoughts about old dark British crime dramas such as Wire In the Blood and Touching Evil and what they reveal about the people who write the scripts, etc. . . .
Obviously NONE of the above has been taking up any wall space here. Nope.
I have decided to share one tiny suggestion for anyone considering making a long-term commitment to a significant other of any variety. Yep. There may be fallout from this, but– that’s okay. Feel free to prove me wrong about this notion.
Forget pre-commitment counseling. Forget talking through all your hopes and dreams for a shared future. Don’t bother getting all your duckies in a row. If you really want to know what you’re in for with each other — MOVE.
You read that right–MOVE. As in take all your material shit from one place and put it in another-and see what happens. See who does what–and how they do it. Listen to what’s being said. Who decides what goes where and why. Have you got a leg dragger as a partner in moving crimes? A non-stop whiner? A get the job done no matter what mind working full steam ahead? Is your “other” taking time out for all the other things that need doing–like watching every episode of something called “Haven” nonstop? Who is willing to make midnight runs to empty huge trash bins because there’s NO way the trash truck can haul ALL the bags away at one time? –This requires a certain sense of humor and willingness to fight the wind blowing it all back at you again and again and again. Are you ready to BANISH your partner from the moving site because all they keep saying is: “We’re never going to get this done. Never in a million years.” Frankly, who needs to hear that while getting it done? Hmm? Can you imagine someone saying that while a baby is being born? Better not to go there, right?
Seriously–if you want to get to know someone conduct a major move of worldly goods with them. I think some enterprising spirit could make a mint setting up a couple of abodes for people to ‘practice move’ in and out of in order to find out who their partner really is when it comes down to the nitty-gritty that’s involved in moving. Obviously hiring OTHER people to do the work defeats the purpose–unless your partner does this and leaves you to direct the hired help. That would tell you something important right there, wouldn’t it?
Reusable grocery bags–check.
Full tank of gas–check.
Yeah, I missed you too. Oh come on, why would I lie about it? Huh?
May 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm (art, contemplation, creative writing, culture, entertainment, environment, exploring interconnectedness, films, humor, life, living, movies, music, nature, people, photography, play, poetry, random, relationships, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: "like tears in rain", "Slumdog Millionaire", animated, animation, Bear, black and white photographs, Blade Runner, children, China, Communication University of China, creative writing, films, image poem, It's Raining In Baltimore, music, photography, poem, poetry, quote, rain, Rain - Drops, Sherlock, short film, The County Crows, The Song for Rain, The Weather Girls, theme, Vangelis, Zheng Yawen
~ ~ ~ ~
* * * * * *
rain – drops
“The Song for Rain (2012), created by Zheng Yawen, his graduation work at the Communication University of China.”
It’s Raining In Baltimore ~ The Counting Crows ~ album August and Everything After
Slumdog Millionaire ~ rain scene
“like tears in rain” ~ Vangelis ~ Blade Runner
On a lighter note ~
It’s Raining Men on Baker Street ~ The Weather Girls
Please do not hesitate to shower our ears with your choice rain songs.
Bear selected this Rain song theme.
For May 22, I select — Night.
May 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm (books, contemplation, culture, drama, eating, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, films, food, humor, issues, life, living, music, people, random, relationships, searching, thinking, Uncategorized)
Tags: cancer, Captain Sharon Raydor, charity, chess, children, cookbook, cooking, crime drama, crime drama The Bridge, drama, family, fan videos, film, food, French Toast, Graham Patrick Martin, interview, Issues, Law and Order, Major Crimes, Major Crimes Cookbook, Mary McDonnell, McDonnell, mothers, movie, music, Rusty Beck, sexually abused children, Sharon Raydor, Sharon Raydors, sons, Sunshine Kids, television, The Closer, The Travis Smiley Show, TNT, Tony Denison, Trattoria, Travis Smiley, women
The last time I posted about a television show was in regard to the American remake of the Swedish crime drama The Bridge. Today it’s to do a little promotional hype for Major Crimes starring the incredible Mary McDonnell. Season 3 of Major Crimes starts Monday, June 9 on TNT and I am so looking forward to it. This spin-off from The Closer featuring Kyra Sedgwick would be well worth watching simply because of Mary McDonnell’s great portrayal of Captain Sharon Raydor as a very strong, independent, and very, very smart woman who has the rules down pat–and a lot more. McDonnell’s interview with Travis Smiley explains a great deal for anyone who has not yet discovered Major Crimes. Even if you don’t enjoy crime drama I think it’s worth listening to McDonnell discuss the Raydor character, power, acting and the needs of human beings–and selling brushes.
Another plus for Major Crimes in its first two seasons was the story line involving Captain Sharon Raydor and material witness Rusty Beck. Watching their relationship with each other and the rest of the characters grow and evolve brought unexpected considerable depth and substance to this drama. The concept of family is redefined by example in a much-needed manner for the discussions it has the potential to provoke. Unlike The Closer which had a certain formulaic feeling to the episodes featuring Brenda Johnson’s considerable talent for lying and manipulating people into confessions even when raising all sorts of issues including ethical issues about the ends justifying the means, Major Crimes is making its own way into the future. If you want predictable resolutions of plot-lines there’s always Law and Order to fall back into the comfort zone of neat little black and white packages. This isn’t to say that the criminal cases aren’t closed and resolved in Major Crimes–they are–but there’s a lot more going on than stereotypical criminal behavior.
There’s a great deal more attention paid to serious issues like sexually abused children. “These boys aren’t runaways. They’re throw-aways.” So says a man running a shelter for teenage boys living on the streets of LA. Now for a society in which the mainstream jabbers constantly about family values and loving children so much this is a brutally honest statement of factual reality. Its consequences for boys like the Rusty Beck–and other characters–holds up a mirror that reflects our society as all truly great dramas of the stage and screen do. Clearly there are not enough Sharon Raydors willing to step up and care in our real world. In most drama storylines children are summarily deposited with the Department of Family Services and conveniently disappear from the script. In the first two seasons of Major Crimes, Rusty Beck didn’t disappear–and the writers used his character to full advantage. I can’t tell from the promos or website if the very talented Graham Patrick Martin will continue in this role–but for the sake of abandoned children trying to survive in a hostile world I hope so. Being saved is not the end of anyone’s story.
Oh and by the way, Rusty Beck loves playing chess.
Personally I think the fans on YouTube have made better promos for Major Crimes than TNT has dreamed up so far. Here’s a fun meet and greet video to get acquainted.
A short and to the point promo. ) I get it, this is probably for short promo time slots.
Mary McDonnell interview on The Travis Smiley Show. Yeah you want to watch. I think Smiley was very smitten. Oh yeah, he likes her shoes. Ah ha.
This particular choice of song and images conveys a great deal about the relationship between Rusty and Sharon. Clearly this matters to viewers as there are many music videos on the tubes regarding this relationship.
Major Crimes Cookbook for the Sunshine Kids
For more information or to order the Major Crimes Cookbook, click here: http://majorcrimestv.net/support-the-…
For cast profiles and more information visit Major Crimes online: http://majorcrimestv.net/
I think I’m going to post more fan videos for Major Crimes on the sidebar. Yeah, I think I will. It’ll be fun–for me anyway. I’ll make sure to find one with the scene where Sharon Raydor shoots a guy between the eyes with a red bean bag. Hey, he asks for it–literally.
UPDATE–the Beanbag scene is the headliner on the sidebar. Several of my favorite scenes follow along with some fan made videos featuring music. Charlie’s Angels is a hoot.
As for The Bridge–it’s all dark and dreadful in America and Mexico. In Sweden there’s darkness and light–plus resolution. I recommend watching both versions.
March 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm (books, culture, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, issues, life, people, publishing, quests, random, relationships, Writing)
Tags: book review, books, boys, children, Constantine, contemporary fiction, fiction, girls, Grayson Barrett, Issues, love story, novel, relationships, review, Robin Constantine, romance, teenagers, The Promise of Amazing, Ward Cleaver, Wren Caswell, Writing, young adult, young adult novel
Ah spring is pushing up jonquils and young love is in the air. If images of fresh face youths courting fair-haired maids with handfuls of flowers comes to mind when you think of young love, well, Constantine’s young adult novel, The Promise of Amazing, will disabuse you of such daydreams. Contemporary teenage romance has little to do with June and Ward Cleaver scenarios despite some sharing of milk and Oreo cookies. Welcome to the world of boy and girl prep schools for the children of lawyers, catering business owners and real estate agents. These people don’t worry about having enough food or clothing for their families. Their concerns are with social status and money-making in the realm of suits and ties. Their teenage children are highly aware of clothing labels, drinking, drugs, and sex. This is the world of who might become who — or not. Enter quiet good girl Wren Caswell whose relationship self-confidence quotient has had a hard knock from what she refers to as a “hump and dump” with a young lad with no interest in anything more than sex before he heads off to college campus and the rest of his life–without looking backwards. It doesn’t help her college dreams any when the guidance counselor unwittingly makes callous remarks about who is and isn’t Harvard material. From stage left-wing comes talented bad boy Grayson Barrett who has been forced to face the music of academic misconduct for selling papers to other students–oddly enough none of the buyers seem to have suffered any consequences for creating a demand for Grayson’s product. These boys are working out their future manners of behavior for being successful in a corrupt mainstream world which rewards doing whatever you do to be successful as long as you don’t get caught. The lads of St. Gabe’s have more than plagiarism on their questionable efforts plates. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart’s lasses are mistresses of manipulation and serious verbal aggression. Some of their hearts and minds are very short on sugar and very high on arsenic. Wren and Grayson are not exactly Juliet and Romeo material—or are they? There is serious potential for tragedy if some life lines don’t get straightened out with some positive choices. In today’s American mainstream culture they’re the kids with all kinds of opportunities — yet, they’ve got some very steep learning curves regarding relationships, peer pressure, family issues, values and sexuality which all children, and adults, encounter.
Robin Constantine delivers a touching young love story set in what is now the normal context, with variations on degrees depending on location, that teenagers move through today. It’s a landscape rift with absent parents, underage drinking, rebellion, drug use, and sexual explorations often without any emotional attachments. Emotions are problematic for teenagers and the young people in The Promise of Amazing have emotional issues in spades. There are a lot dysfunctional families across the spectrum of social economic class lines. Yes, there is a very serious class structure in America based on economics–the idea of a society where everyone is equal is an ideal, not a reality. This isn’t a The Catcher in the Rye world–this is post Salinger–the phoniness of the deluded game playing adult world is almost a cliché today. The children mimic it to no small end. With friends like his, it’s a wonder Grayson and his social peers are all not headed straight to jail before graduating from high school. Yet, Constantine manages to avoid falling into a cynical narrative of all things troubling teens. Wren’s practical step right up and deal with the problem nature sets things in motion when she meets Grayson by saving him from choking to death while everyone else stands around watching the show at her family’s catering hall– called Camelot. Of course, one thing leads to another as Constantine develops the plot via chapters alternating Wren’s and Grayson’s perspective. This is one of the things I enjoyed most about this young adult novel–the effort to present the perspectives of both sexes to tell their story. What goes through the minds of teenage boys and girls isn’t exactly the same–but they’ve got a lot more common ground regarding issues than they often realize when they’re struggling to communicate with each other even though texting seems to make it all so simple.
I watched her disappear up the block, her plaid skirt swaying. When she was out of sight, I landed with a thud and walked back to the reality of the ER. I pulled Wren’s scarf up to my nose, inhaling her scent and getting dizzy all over again. I was happy to have my face covered–no one walks into the hospital with a grin that wide unless he’s heading to the psych ward. But I couldn’t help it.
She kissed me.
The Promise of Amazing is a an easy read writing-wise, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s about easy things. It’s not. It offers a certain very dark slant on contemporary teenage world. This novel portrays a young couple’s efforts at dealing with family, friends and love relationships without any magic or supernatural elements to distract from real life issues. Constantine manages to make us care what happens to Grayson and Wren as individuals and as a couple with some definite potential for being a lot more than a “hump and dump” round. They both need and want more than that even though their hormones are certainly giving them a workout–complete with condoms. It’s the promise of sharing a genuinely caring relationship that gets these two together. What’s unsettling is just how hard that is to find despite all the musical hype about it. In a world of broken homes, second and third families, amoral role models and shallow values, experiencing and sharing some real love is no easy deal.
What’s the teen in your world reading?
Robin Constantine’s site –>> http://robinconstantine.com/ http://robinconstantine.com/books.html
March 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm (books, culture, education, entertainment, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, films, history, issues, journalism, life, living, movies, play, publishing, quests, random, relationships, religion, searching, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Andrew Popp, Book, book review, books, chess, Chess prodigy, children, culture, Disney, dreams, education, Espn, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, family, girls, Grandmaster, holistic approach, hope, Indie Wire, inspiration, Issues, Katwe, Keith Furr, life, Memorial, outreach, Phiona Mutesi, play, poverty, quality of life, reading, religion, review, Robert Katende, Robert Katended, scholarship fund, short film, Silent Images, slums, sports, The Queen of Katwe, Tim Crothers, Uganda, videos, women, Writing
Update: This is now a film. Yes!!!!!
The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers was a reading find on a recent expedition to my public library. It’s one of those books that I’ve opened for some down time reading pleasure then spent the rest of the day reading until reaching the back cover. Tim Crothers traces the roots of several dots that come together to create Phiona Mutesi’s Ugandan world in Katwe. One very important “dot” is the life story of Robert Katende who brought chess to Katwe as part of a sports outreach program. Katende noticed that not every child wants to play soccer and decided to offer an alternative game, chess, for them. It is through Katende’s outreach efforts that Phiona discovers the inner mental and outter physical world of chess. Tim Crothers presents Katende’s personal history of survival, endurance and talent in a manner that show the incredible impact of one person on the lives of others. One young man’s life decisions reverberate throughout his world in remarkable and unexpected ways. Without Robert Katende there would be no chess for Phiona Mutesi and the other children of Katwe. In turn Phiona herself is having a positive impact on her personal world and the world of women in Uganda. Her story breaks out of the cycle of poverty and desperate struggle to survive for women and their children in places where living is far from easy. What’s at stake is creating a life based on choices rather than the need to eat and literally keep from drowning when it rains. When a slum is built on/in a swamp things get dicey for everyone when water falls from the sky.
Crothers’ writing style is quick and engaging as he works with words to bring to life the physical landscape of the Katwe slum and Uganda. He creates a context that the people who can afford to buy his book–and read it with ease–may have some trouble relating to. This is a world of harsh poverty where women do what they must to stay alive and education is a luxury requiring payment. Via Robert Katende’s story it’s clear that it’s not an easy world for boys and men either. At first one wonders where Crothers is going –how far back in time–and how will we ever get to the story of the girl who dreams of being a Chess Grandmaster. Well, I assure you that by the time you are learning more about Phiona it will be very clear why Crothers pulls the narrative strings he does. In order to fully appreciate Phiona’s ongoing life story the daily context of her world is required.
Another dot Crothers connects is that of the importance of education–like the Sport’s Outreach program–Tim Crothers’ takes a holistic approach to presenting Phiona’s and Robert Katende’s stories. Education plays a vital role in dealing with people in poverty. Hence, Crothers pulls in the story line dot of Andrew Popp all the way from Santa Barbara, California. How does the suicide of a talented young man have anything to with the life of girl living in the slums of Uganda? The scholarship memorial fund created by Andrew’s parents is what enables Phiona to attend school. Personally I think that’s a wonderful thing and an incredible part of Phiona’s story because education is essential to breaking the poverty cycle and the people in the slums know this fact.
Andrew Popp Scholarship Fund http://sportsoutreach.net/projects/teaching/andrew-popp-scholarship-fund/
So if you’re looking for a great human interest story, one which is far from finished, then get a hold of The Queen of Katwe. Consider the power of one piece on a chess board and the powerful impact one person can have on the life of another. Get some inspirartion. some ideas about teaching from Robert Katende, and perhaps some motivation. Perhaps most importantly get some HOPE.
Author Tim Crothers’ site >> http://www.timcrothers.net/
Phiona Mutesi–so far– >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phiona_Mutesi
Uploaded on Nov 9, 2011
This is a brief documentary on Fiona, a 15 year old Chess Prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda who discovered Chess as a homeless child in search of food. I traveled to Uganda to cover this story through a non-profit organization called Silent Images. We were serving another non-profit called Sports Outreach, in which the chess coach discovered a special gift in Phiona for the game of Chess. I was accompanied by Tim Crothers of ESPN and David Johnson of Silent Images on the trip. Tim has now written a book on Phiona called “The Queen of Katwe” and Phiona has had recent top news stories on ESPN as well as CNN. Disney is currently planning to produce a movie on Phiona as well and I can’t wait to see Phiona’s dreams come true. She is a true underdog in every sense of the word and no person is more worthy of success in life than this special young woman.
November 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm (creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, humor, life, music, relationships, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: "Ma Bell Intel", #33, 1948, Book, Breakfast Special, children, communicating, communication, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, love story, men, music, novel, relationships, romance, sharing, Snoozer Quinn, Telephone Blues, women, work in progress, Writing
“Ma Bell Intel”
Esther propped her feet up on the little green pillow that served no other purpose than that of being the favorite cushion of her heels. Unlike Anton who stood out of sight as far as the phone cord allowed, when she wanted privacy on the kitchen phone, she seated herself within direct line of sight of the main hallway so that she could immediately see anyone coming in her direction from any of the first floor rooms and the front door. At this time of night about the only foreseeable source of interference with her phone conversation with Rosa would be some member of the Neighborhood Watch coming through the door to report an emergency beyond the night’s crew’s ability to address on their own. Considering the extreme unlikely hood of that happening since Anton was already out with the crew making the rounds, Esther was looking forward to an uninterrupted intel sharing chat with Rosa about the tall man who for all intents and purposes was currently living in their Lily’s home space—and about whom Lily wasn’t sharing much intel at the moment.
A quick glance to make sure their agreed upon time had arrived, Esther dialed the number listed in the white pages under Ricardo’s name, and patiently waited for Rosa’s soft, “Hello.”
“Hey there, Rosa. Oh yeah, nice and quiet here too. All your little house guests doing okay? Oh heck yes, Julianna and the other girls did a fine job sorting all those clothes. Tomorrow I’ll give them some needle and thread action on some jeans. Boys too, if any are so inclined. So how are things on the first floor? Hmm? That tall man still behavin’ like a gentleman? Ricardo share any intel? He what? The whole day? Maybe they both on the same wavelength. Hell yes, you make the most of that child care action. That girl got a whole litter of cat curiosity inside her just waiting to jump on the unsuspecting rest of us. Lily say anything about all that? Ahh ha. Oh yeah, dancin’ in the hallway again? Tonight? Well, that’s one form of sweet touch action, I guess. Nope. All intel Anton share be about that Zinn history book he and Sarge both read some time back and been having some serious hard talk about. Anton says it solid evidence Big Man got a mind can play on the same field with Lily. Her numbers action aside, of course. Yes, you’re right about that, Rosa. Esther hear you loud and clear. . . mmmmm.
When Esther and Rosa hung up their phones twenty minutes later, they each gave some serious thought to what they considered the most important things they’d learned via direct experiences about the males of the species over time. Rosa quietly wandered down to the second floor landing midway to the first floor and listened to the sound of music still coming from Lily’s home space. Sitting down on the step to the second floor landing, she lost track of the music while thinking about her little niece’s behavior with the tall gringo and wondering what to make of it. Ricardo wasn’t just unconcerned, he was downright thankful that there was now an extra mind and pair of hands to help deal with Marianna and her mischief, especially on days like today. Rosa couldn’t fault him on that point. It was clear Marianna needed more one to one attention than she or Ricardo had been able to spare under the current circumstances. Yet with all the people moving through her world every day, Marianna had zeroed in on the very newest and most unknown adult available. Lily had told her that aside from reading a book with her and making sure Marianna didn’t con Sarge into preparing more food than her little stomach could possibly hold, no matter what the six-year-old claimed, the girl had indeed spent the majority of the time downstairs constantly interacting with him even after she’d returned from helping Esther with “sun rise” projects. It wasn’t lost upon Rosa that this seemed to please Lily in some sense that she hadn’t divulged to Rosa.
Meanwhile, at exactly the same time, Esther made her way to the dark bay window seat that faced Rosa’s house across the snow buried street. Making herself comfortable, she contemplated the fact that her Anton was actually putting forth efforts to develop more than a causal passing acquaintance with a man from a side of the tracks he generally had no interest in visiting. She’d overheard enough of their conversations to realize they were both enjoying being able discuss ideas and books without having to worry about their manner of doing so in regards to proper language usage or any other intellectual formality. Sarge was not put off by Anton’s lapses into what he called his ‘street chimes’. She had even heard him occasionally use some of the lingo himself when in the company of certain groups of the neighborhood men. As for Anton, he’d told her outright that he honestly didn’t mind listening to what he called Sarge’s occasional monologues because it was clear the man wasn’trying to play ego games, but just really needed to get his thoughts out of his brain-space. Plus, he always welcomed Anton’s reactions and thoughts with an openness and lack of bias that was prompting Anton to share a great deal more of his own thinking than he generally did with anyone besides Esther and a few other people. Her husband felt like they’d created a certain sort of safe space for speaking their minds without any control or dominance issues—and that was feeling good to Anton especially under the circumstances created by the current weather lockdown.
At about the same moment in time, both women thought along the same lines of: forget whatever Karen’s cat might have dragged into Rosa’s house in the Flats, the important thing now was, what kind of man had their Lily hauled directly into her home and life with no apparent intention of sending him any further on his way.
Music Notes: Snoozer Quinn, Snoozer’s Telephone Blues
upload by lupine22
The legendary guitarist Ed ‘Snoozer’ Quinn (1907-1949) performing ‘Snoozer’s Telephone Blues.’ Recorded by his friend, the cornetist Johnny Wiggs, at the Charity Hospital, New Orleans, in 1948.
Breakfast Special #1 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/breakfast-special/
November 13, 2013 at 4:34 am (creative writing, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, humor, life, music, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: #32, Book, Breakfast Special, children, culture, dancing, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, family, Fanfan, fiction, fun, gifted child, Hidden Talents, humor, life, love, love story, men, music, novel, play, problem child, random, romance, Stomp dance, women, work in progress, Writing
Ricardo knew it was one of those days when having a television might be useful if it could possibly attract and hold Marianna’s attention just long enough for him to deal with her latest mess while she was busy creating the next. He was unhappily aware that he was currently at least three mess steps behind his daughter. There was no help coming from her older brother, Jose, who just shook his head refusing his father’s request for at least an attempt on his part to engage her in some sort of game playing. Even the usually resourceful and patient Julianna gave him a definite no way glare when he tried to enlist her aid. Rosa was currently tolerating Marianna’s decidedly less than helpful presence in the kitchen while Ricardo cleaned her toothpaste drawings off the cold windows in the front room. He was painfully aware of the fact that the electric hand drill that he’d been fixing remained in pieces on the newspaper covered card table by the window at the other end of the second floor. It was the reason Rosa had drawn Marianna into her cooking domain at first sight of her standing on the empty folding chair taking a very intrigued look at the pieces of metal, plastic and the little screws and tools laid out so enticingly, apparently just for her entertainment. So it was clear Marianna thought judging from the delight on her pretty little face at the time that Rosa caught sight of her.
It was with no small relief, and no lack of surprise, to Ricardo when he went to relieve Rosa of Marianna and found Sarge in the kitchen, having deposited four loaves of cinnamon bread on the counter, currently conducting a calm conversation with his daughter regarding the pros and cons of adding dish-washing liquid to the large pan of refried beans on the stove while gently, yet effectively, removing the plastic bottle from her two-handed grasp. Meanwhile, Rosa, making tortillas at the table, was watching Sarge contend with her niece’s latest unwelcome creative effort. Catching sight of her brother, Rosa shrugged and pointed with a tortilla at the ongoing exchange between the man and child. Nearly at the end of his own considerable patience, Ricardo was stunned into grateful silence when Sarge turned to Rosa and himself and said, “Is it okay if she comes downstairs to help me make some cookies? Lily is busy working on ‘sunrise’ projects with Esther and I wouldn’t mind some company.”
Thinking even a five-minute reprieve from Marianna would do his nerves a world of good, Ricardo vigorously nodded his assent. Rosa smirked and laughed darkly. “You want her help. You got it, Sarge. Deal best way you can.”
Sarge smiled and plucked Marianna off the folding chair she was standing on peering into the pot of beans. Setting her on her feet, he looked down at her while she stared up at him. “Are you up for mixing some cookie dough or not? If you are, then let’s make tracks, little Missy.” Without waiting for Marianna’s reply, Sarge walked away and proceeded directly out of the second floor home. Marianna looked at Rosa and then at her father before turning on her toes and running off to follow Sarge down the stairs to Lily’s apartment.
Only after mixing and baking several batches of oatmeal, sugar and snicker-doodle cookies; noisily slurping down two cups of chicken soup for a snack; taking a spontaneous brief nap on the velvet couch; getting a peek inside Lily’s little transistor radio; having some milk and warm straight out of the oven cookies; completing a thorough practical investigation of the workings of Sarge’s boot-lacings; making from memory a very detailed pencil drawing of Karen’s still MIA cat on the inside of an empty paper flour bag: listening intently to two readings of The Stinky Cheese Man, and her very first lessons learning a simple waltz box step did Marianna reappear on the second floor. After reluctantly following Lily up the stairs, with Sarge bringing up the rear to insure her compliance with upward motion, she demurely followed Ricardo around the table of dinner foods as he filled a plate for her. While still not quite her usual pleasantly friendly self with the other children, she did join their ranks on her own rust colored carpet sample to eat her dinner. After dinner she laid siege to a corner of the lilac wall with a pencil and a few crayons.
About an hour later, Marianna tossed her crayons and pencil into their designated boxes. She stood watching the various activities of the rest of the children for a few minutes then turned around and made tracks to where the adults were talking quietly and sipping small cups of strong coffee at the little card table. She patted her father’s hand until Ricardo slipped an arm around her for a hug and she deposited a quick peck on his check. Then she surprised everyone, especially Sarge, by silently demanding to sit in his lap under pretense of needing to yet again investigate the contents of his shirt pockets. Finding nothing of interest in either pocket, she simply sprawled out across his chest and promptly fell asleep.
As this was something none of his nephews or nieces had ever done with him, Sarge sat stock still at a complete loss regarding this novel experience. Looking at Ricardo for help, he found the older man trying not to laugh as he whispered, “Go with the flow, hombre. Don’t wake her. Por favor, whatever you do, do not wake her up.”
Seeing that Rosa and Lily were in agreement with Ricardo, Sarge slid a little further down on his chair in order to decrease the angle of his chest being used as a bed and to keep Marianna’s slight form from slipping off of him. There she stayed for nearly ten minutes until Ricardo was satisfied that she was indeed sleeping soundly enough that Sarge could get up without waking her and carry her to the small room she shared with Julianna. After Sarge carefully laid her down on the twin bed, he stood aside watching Ricardo remove her soft soled indoors shoes and socks, cover her first with a cotton thermal blanket then a thicker comforter.
Upon returning to the card table with a very relieved Ricardo, Sarge caught Lily looking at him in a manner he had no way to interpret since no woman had ever looked at him in such a way before. Nor could he recall seeing his mother or his sisters-in-laws ever sending such a look towards his father or brothers. Unsure of how to even question her about it, he simply sent her a silent ‘what’ look of his own, in case he’d done a boundary crossing without any clue of there even being a boundary to cross. He relaxed when she responded with a slight shake of her head and one of her winking eye smiles. Taking this as an indication that he’d not committed some indiscretion that she’d inform him about later, he settled back into his prior conversation with Rosa about spices.
Later that night when they stood together at her apartment windows watching the moonlight flickering among the falling snowflakes, needing some reassurance, Sarge could not help but ask Lily if he’d done something out-of-order by letting little Marianna basically do as she pleased when she’d decided to use him as her mattress. Lily responded with a soft laugh. “No, you didn’t do anything wrong, Funny Man. You did just right. Marianna can be hard to handle on such days. You helped Ricardo and Rosa out a lot by giving her the kind of attention she needed today.”
Reading the compliment via her tone and words, Sarge barely managed a very quiet reply. “Any time. She’s a lot more fun than any of my brothers’ kids. She’s way smarter too. That’s probably why she acts up like she does.”
“Probably.” Lily watched the snowflakes piling on top of one another. “Hey, are you up for a little soft shoe or some swing before we both hit the books again?”
“Definitely. It’s your turn to pick the music.” Sarge watched her reflection in the windows as she went to the record player on the table along the red velvet couch.
Lily picked a record from the cardboard box, put it on the player then held up the album cover and caught his reflection watching hers. Grinning, she waved her fingers. “You ready for some Stomp time, Funny Man?”
Unexpected Dance from Fanfan, Alexandre Jardin, 1993
Breakfast Special #1 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/breakfast-special/
Breakfast Special #33 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/breakfast-special-33-ma-bell-intel/
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