Quote - Albert Einstein

Category: Quotes

While surfing around this morning I wound up at the Freakonomics blog where someone is asking for modern proverbs for a book he is writing. This one was new to me.

The eight year-old neighbor girl’s mother asked Professor Einstein if her daughter was bothering him when she would come in the afternoon to sit on his porch and do her homework. He answered:

We have a wonderful arrangement. I do her sums, and she gives me cookies.

I ask you in all honestly, wouldn’t you share your cookies for better math scores?

I Had Two Dear Friends - a Long Time Ago

Category: This is My Life

Austin Healey It was another lifetime. One of you drove a car like this, didn’t you? Yours was yellow and you know who you are.

The other, a beautiful bridesmaid in my wedding. Could it really be almost twenty-six years since I last saw you?

I was happy to see your names parade cross my monitor today. If you miss me at the original point of contact, but find me here - let me know how to get a hold of you. I’d love to do some catching up!

She Suddenly Seemed Smaller…

Category: Writing

“Smaller! That was it, she suddenly seemed smaller. I was horrified. I was absolutely horrified that I had said it. I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t mean to. It was an accident . I wasn’t thinking. I never meant for her to know. All I said was: “That’s right, I remember now, we were on the Cote d’Azur the whole month of June 2005.” Damn. I never meant to tell her. Really, it’s none of her business where I am every moment of the day. It’s just a pity. She thought I was ill the whole time he was in the hospital. Thank heavens for cell phones.

“Cell phones?”

Damn straight, cell phones. It cost me a bundle to call her every day - got that? Every single day. From my cell phone - in France. I told her that Greg forgot to give me the regular phone on his way to the office.”

“Every morning?”

“Yes, smarty pants, every morning. You can’t honestly expect that we would cancel our trip to France? God knows how long we’d been looking forward to it. We get away seldom enough. Once or twice a year at the most, and the deposit was already non-refundable when he went into the hospital. What were we to do? Please. It was a silly little lung infection and the doctors said he’d be out in no time. We crossed our fingers for luck and got in the car, of course. That is what any sane person would do. Did you know that it’s a long drive from here to St. Tropez? When we arrived, the sun was shining diamonds on the water and the harbor was full of yachts. You never saw so much money just floating around!

Hmmm? Well, golly gee whiz if you aren’t the one with a chic little Thinking Cap this morning. How could I have known that the Saab would crap out on us while we were there? It’s made that coughing choking noise for centuries. That it would roll all four in the air on the same day that Grandpa did is a pretty stupid coincidence in my book.

Yes, of course we would have come to the funereal if we had had enough money. I’ve told you am million times, our budget didn’t expect a holiday in the South of France and a new car too. Whose would? You know as well as anyone that we need a car living out here in the country like we do. Even if we lived in the city we’d have to drive to the country every day to look after the horses. And? How do you suppose we would have gotten home? We got a pretty good deal even though we weren’t able to bargin in French. The salesman took five percent off the sticker price and we were feeling lucky to find someone who could speak English. What a trip that was.”

Thanks to Sarah Salway for today’s writing prompt.

Before Computers

Category: Writing

I had letters to write:
Dear Sir, I would like to introduce myself
and to thank you for your time and attention.
Love, oh dearest love, the old bat told me
you are a rogue and a curl.
I don’t believe her though, Sir.
P.S. And so what if you are!

Hope you get well soon, Mom.
Please don’t forget you must arrive at your
a dentist’s appointment on Thursday
the third of June before ten o’clock in the morning.

Imagine that. Still two hundred thirty-seven.
I excelled at addition and subtraction
they are sublime when shopping and cooking,
for counting my change or doubling my recipe when
hungry friends come unexpectedly for dinner.

I had friends, yes I did - and we got drunk
on Tawny Port from time to time, but we didn’t throw up
like the boys who drank whiskey did and
I called these erstwhile friends of mine with the help of
an address book with pansys on the cover
filled with telephone numbers from people I don’t even
know anymore written in forty different colors of ink.

If I liked you very much, or was feeling lazy I
just memorized your number by playing
with the patterns that shifted one against another.
But that was before we had computers
and life was so easy.

- Nancy Carroll

There Was Never Any Need…

Category: Writing

…to thank me.” she said as she waved at the parting taxi before turning to face the child. “After all, you were the one who tied those magnificient knots in your shoes. That was where the beauty of accomplishment lay, not the untying.”

Laura cocked her head to the side and considered the truth in that statement. The lady was right, and the knots were beautiful. Those particular knots showed what would happen if two octopuses were to Tango to Fats Domino. Laura fancied herself the world’s preeminent Knot Enhanceress and in that capacity she felt it her duty to add a twist and a tie to her shoelaces when no one was looking.

As far as she could tell, adults never considered what might happen, how it might look if two octopusses were to Tango to Fats. “Someone should be thinking about this stuff” she muttered as she began by holding the ends of her shoelaces like octopus arms. She was surprised to learn upon experimentation that they would get so tangled up the left one wouldn’t be able to tell himself from his partner, much less finish walking to the store.

She was sure that this was an important discovery.

Her mother did not agree. Nor did her father or her sisters all of whom seemed bent of keeping her from her life’s work. “Laura! Stop it!” they cried each time they caught her lagging behind or bent with one knee on the sidewalk. Once she slipped away at the grocery store and tied knots in all the shoestrings on aisle fifteen. She had to work fast, and it took several trips that busy day while her Mom chatted with the butcher, or considered the quality of this lettuce over that one.

She was proud of her success on that mission, and checked each time they went back to the store to see if anyone had undone her work. Luckily aisle fifteen was also the aisle with laundry detergent, fabric softener and that lemon stuff her mom used to clean the coffee machine once a month so she was able to keep an eye on her finished business without anyone catching on.

Thanks to Sarah Salway for today’s writing prompt.

His Grandmother Always…

Category: Writing

…baked these cookies. Out on the farm. Oatmeal Raisin and she beat the egg whites until they were stiff, then folded them into the cookie dough at the end. I could never get it to work. They are supposed to be light and wonderful. Mine were always crumbly and messy. He never seemed to care, and he was beautiful to me. He just would just sit there with his two cookies on the plate in front of him, smiling like his soul had never been anything but six years old. As if he had never watched from behind the curtain as his grandfather threatened his stepfather with that pistol. As if he had never laughed through his tears while waiting on the hearse to arrive: “Just like Grandma to be late for her own funeral”. As if those crumbs in front of him contained all of the goodness that God forgot to give, but remembered to loan from time to time.

I Thought I Was Meeting a Stranger

Category: Books and Reading

when I opened your book. It arrived today. I took the metal brads out of the unexpectedly heavy and cold manilla envelope while I was still on the elevator. It sat in the mailbox all day and I hadn’t read the text of the advertisment carefully, I didn’t know Lady Luck had gently kissed my cheek.

It’s a first edition in perfect condition, which is to say already read at least once by a seductive, secret, someone else

Who was she? Or he? The jacket is slightly creased, “shelf wear” they call it. I call it soul. The pages are uncreased, and I can find no markings on the heavy matt pages. Who could read your first sentence: “I repent of my diets, the delicious dishes rejected out of vanity, as much as I lament the opportunities for making love that I let go by because of pressing tasks or puritanical virtue.” without making a baloony, cartoony exclamation point of agreement in the left-hand margin with the first indelible marker in reach?

I, recognize you. I know immediately am not meeting a stranger, I am meeting my own thoughts in another form, another body, flowing beautifully, perfectly from another woman’s pen. Again.

Again I am delighted that the “mine” of it all is not in the least bit true. The breath of the thought is a thousand times more individual than the “I” that inhales it. I am free! Or not? The creative life hinges on execution and yours is enchanting A once in a lifetime masterpiece that without each tickle and tear had not the the same quality achieved. Like the sperm and the egg who met in the moment of their execution…

I Look at the Photograph and Think

Category: Writing

It’s only three and the prompt asked for five, but it’ll have to do. I’m starving and out of inspiration.

"Photo of five people sittin on horses, wearing the same t-shirt and waving cowboy hats."

I look at the photograph and think of the year my little brother was fumbling around for Christmas presents without any luck. On Christmas eve he walked to the mall and bought us all exactly the same t-shirt. That’s him by the way, sitting on the paint with Dad. He gave himself a t-shirt too. He said he thought they must have come from Santa and that’s why he got one - but I think he wanted to be like us, and for once, for us to be like him. The t-shirt was white and written on the front it said “Danny Boy” in big red letters, decorated with illustrated organ pipes and underneath it said “The pipes are calling”. On the back it reads “Organ Donation Helps” - second line (very small type) Smokers Supporting Victims of Lung Cancer”.

"Photo of a woman wearing a white dress and shawl as she removes some cloth from a tree"

I look at the photograph and think back to last Thursday when Anna came walking like a queen into the middle of town with a baby in her arms. She told everyone who would stand still for more than a half a second, and the surprising sight of Anna Johns with a baby was a good reason to stand and stare, how she found it swinging peacefully in a leafless tree down near the creek. She told how at first she couldn’t believe her eyes - then as she neared the little hammock made of pink cotton and embroidered with roses and strawberries she heard a baby mewling and she knew, she just knew that God had given her a gift and a responsibility that she must take on. The people, my neighbors, nodded, and stroked the baby’s face, and some said “Halleluja”. I work at the general store and when I look at the photograph I remember too how I sold Anna an awful lot of embroidery thread just before the holidays. It was red and pink and shades of green.

"Photo of bare feet with a dandilion stuck between the toes."

I look at the photograph and think that yellow and green must be the most beautiful colors in the world - when you are in love. I look over my feet at the water and think that deepest black and sparkling silver are necessary conditions for yellow and green to be the most beautiful colors in the world. More necessary than being in love. I drop my head back and marvel at the summer blue sky and the white clouds and I know that without them, deepest black would look shallower, and silver less sparkly. And then, no matter how perfect the girl, how inviting her lips, or how new the crush, yellow and green would have to struggle for any status at all.

Quote - C.S. Lewis

Category: Quotes

When you have found your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall.