The weight of snow


Snow laden pine



Today the snow fell.



The pine trees stood in the silence to catch the falling sky. Two crows watched, unaware or unconcerned. The pines had nowhere else to go. When their limbs grew tired, they laid their burdens down. Snow scattered on the ground, startling the crows.



The birch trees are bones picked clean by the wind. Summer’s silver leaves lost long ago.



I have never loved the trees more than now.



The snow knows something of letting go, words unspoken, worlds lost, vanishing hour by hour. I think a bush grew there; I can’t remember. My familiar path is gone. I am left with only memories.



The snow knows too much of death to make a sound. It writes without words — shows, but never tells. See, you will not drown in this white flood. Winter stills the water and commands it to sit at her feet. In spring, the water will move again, seeking the earth’s heart, flowing down, down into the River Lethe, drowning all your memories of this world.



The blue shades grow large. I watch them lumber across the yard into the night.



I promise myself I will not forget this day.


The Christmas Imp, AKA, the Creche Crasher


Once upon a Christmas Eve, baby Jesus went missing.

Where is baby Jesus?

“Mary is pining away,” the angels gossiped.

The angels gossip

“I’m secretly incensed,” said one of the wise men.

Another wiseman

“It was my golden opportunity,” another wise man said.

A wiseman

Joseph looked everywhere.


Mary prayed.


“I think this is the wrong tale,” said Eeyore.


“Moo,” said the cow.

The cow

“Baa,” said the sheep.

The sheep“Sugar cubes,” said the horse.

The horse

“I have that sinking feeling that he’s gone,” said Santa to the Nutcracker.

I said, %22Down the chimney, not the drain.%22
“I’d give my right arm to find him,” said the Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker

“I know where he is,” the Imp said.

The imp

Safe beneath the wings of the blue angels.

Safe and secure

So they brought the child to Mary and Joseph, and lo, an orchid bloomed and hung above his head. And all the people, angels, and animals rejoiced, even the Imp.


Is there a Heimlich Maneuver for love?



I am loved. My husband works out of our home, yet finds time to make meals for me, do most of the grocery shopping, and take care of cars and bills. In a few days, we will celebrate 32 years of sharing the same last name. We have walked through joy and heartbreak together, and in every step he has remained kind and patient. Not once, and trust me, I would remember, has he ever raised his voice toward me or said an unkind word.



For the past 32 years, I have worked as a Quality Control Inspector putting my husband to the test. I’ve subjected him to impatience, sharp words, anger, silence, and rigorous door slamming. No matter how I act or what I do, he remains the same, his goodness still in tact.



Does he have flaws? Yes. The most egregious: he cannot read my mind. I have powerful thoughts that I beam toward him on a regular basis. Since he claims to love me, I don’t feel it is necessary to actually say what I want or need. Obviously, his goodness has limits.



One of the greatest manifestations of his love is buying me dark chocolate. He regularly buys a box of truffles or other delights and puts them in the cupboard so that I can medicate as needed. Last month, he came home with two bags of bite-sized treats and a container of dark chocolate mint balls. I usually eat one piece a day, though two pieces a day is not unheard of. Sometimes I take some to my coworkers, and I also share with my daughter and grandchild because my husband eats only sweet, milky chocolate.




I worked on emptying the two bags of candy, which seemed to disappear more rapidly than usual, saving the dark chocolate mints for last. Then one evening last week, my husband walked in the living room with the clear container of dark chocolate mints.




“How do you like them?” he asked.




I looked at the half-empty container. Although I found it hard to breathe, I managed to get a few words out. “I don’t know. I haven’t eaten any. Have you been eating my dark chocolate mints?”




“I don’t really like them,” he said, “but I’ve been choking them down.”




Choking them down! Horrors! Were they deadly? Defective? Radioactive? Unsafe for older women? Did they have some ingredient that would harm me if swallowed? What depths of love drove him to risk his life for me?




Over the next few days, he managed to choke down the rest of the mints, saving me from that fearful ordeal. During the day while I was at school, I tried to stay occupied and not think about what he was going through; otherwise, I would envision him sitting in a corner, carefully removing the lid from those innocuous-looking but life-threatening mints, forcing himself to eat them, possibly choking, and doing it all for me.




I will never know what that good man spared me from and endured on my behalf, because I never tasted even one of those mints. For days after, I lauded him, recalled his deed, and thanked him for his heroism. To prevent me from making too much of his courage, he placed a big box of dark chocolate truffles under my pillow. He thinks this will still my incessant praise. He is wrong.




He’s a humble man and doesn’t want to talk about the mints and his act of bravery, but I do. It’s one more reason I love the man.




Eleven holiday gift ideas for the wildered


Does holiday gift shopping leave you feeling like the character Wolfstein in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s book Zastrozzi and St. Irvyne? For the very few that may have forgotten that famous passage, I’m referring to the line, “wildered by the suscitated energies of his soul almost to madness.”


If you feel, mad, suscitated, and wildered, you are in luck. I am here to help you. Be wildered no more. Relax and let go of your suscitation. But stay mad if you like. The list of clothing items I have provided (free of charge!) are guaranteed to fit everyone on your gift list for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, National Brownie Day, National Ding-A-Ling Day, National Bouillabaisse Day, and International Talk with a Fake British Accent Day.





1.     The Civil Suit –  Lawyers love this outfit. Comes mostly in shades of gray. Nothing in black and white is available. Cost ranges from very cheap to outrageous. Must be taken to the cleaners; otherwise, very appealing.




2.     Smarty Pants – Do you have a friend or relative who knows everything? Consider these pants. Available in extremely large sizes to cover all sizes of rear ends.



3.     Pencil Pants – THE gift for writers and people who draw for a living. Very sharp looking. Proven to help them get the lead out and move on with their careers.



4.     The Freudian Slip  – For the well-dressed woman. Never worry again in those unexpected moments when your unmentionables show. Tasteful but provocative; leaves everything to the imagination.




5.     Flip-flops  – A perennial  favorite of politicians, they make a perfect gift for your boss as well.



6.     Platform Shoes – Another favorite of politicians. Perfect for posing in various positions for the camera. Not for long-term use.



7.     The Ad Dress – Do you have any recent college graduates on your gift list? This dress is the one they are all looking for.



8.     The Nursing Bra – Do you have a favorite CNA, LVN, LPN, BSN, CRNA, PHN or other medical acronym? Good for you. Do you have a favorite nurse who could use support? Nurse always find this gift uplifting. (Note: not appropriate for male nurses.)





9.     The Wool Pullover – Tired of receiving these from other people? Why not buy one for yourself. That way, you can pull the wool over your own eyes.


10.  The Straight Jacket – Flummoxed over what to buy your wacky friend or Aunt Edith who lives in the attic? As a fashion statement, they are bold, yet restrained.


11.  The Shrink Wrap:  This stylish wrap for psycho-practitioners can cover or uncover as much as you like. Also comes in inkblot patterns. Long enough to cover Freudian slips.




Happy Shopping!




Nurses with babies:  DN-0083981, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Glamorous: DN-0087832, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Frequently Not Asked Questions: Five



Are you a nosy person? Do you ever check your husband’s cell?



Only when I let him out for good behavior….



Oh, you meant his cell phone. No, I never check that.



I hardly ever check my own phone, much less anyone else’s. If phones were like dogs, the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cellphone Abstention) would rescue mine and put it in the hands of someone who would give the phone the attention it deserves.



Since I am fairly good with faces,  I don’t need to check an online book to remember who my friends and family are or to discover they wear shoes (see the photos!), spend a good part of the day finding YouTube videos (follow the links!) or can’t spell (see the werds!) I don’t like online games and on my morning drive, I see plenty of road hogs and angry birds flipped in every direction; I am not interested in playing games based on them. I tried wearing earphones and listening to music while I walked, but I missed the natural sounds around me. My favorite tweets come from the birds in my neighborhood, and I’ve been streaming reality so long, I prefer it to all other kinds.



When I was a young girl, dogs were everywhere, free to roam, and phones were on leashes. Now phones are everywhere, free to roam, and dogs are on leashes. I’m glad to have a cellphone untethered from the wall that can stay by my side throughout the day, an ever-faithful companion, but I never could abide a yappy dog. Some days I see my cellphone as a Saint Bernard, ready to rescue me in any emergency; but most of the time, I see it as a Golden Retriever, sent to fetch the voices of the ones I love and miss.



Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear some funny noises coming from the cell. I better see what my husband needs.



It's for you; Nature's calling.

It’s for you; Nature’s calling.




Cell can be found at