Category Archives: Non Sequitorial

The Stink of Spring

Spring, thy name is hyacinth! Why, you can’t even pass a supermarket, convenience store, discount joint or firehouse without noticing the noble flower, potted in spring-colored foil and perfuming the air with its scent. What you see pictured here is bloomed bulbs of Easters gone by, tucked between two trees in my yard. It’s the stink that keeps on giving.

And then, there’s this other little delight that I discovered between the slates up to my front door. Where the hyacinths were once force-bloomed and purchased from a grower, these little violets are nature’s own, carpeting my yard in a profusion of purple wherever there’s grass. But these teeny guys decided they wanted to push up between the walking slates, and who am I to say. They’re the real homies, after all.

Happy spring, and breathe deeply, aahhhhhh….

Spring Sinkers

Potholes in New Jersey is a better harbinger of spring than robins, than croci, than those marshmallow peeps poppin’ up at the corner grocery.  Those pervasive little asphalt assassins never fail to creep up on you around every bend and over every hillock, disguised like shimmering little macadam birdbaths until you hit one and bam! there goes the hub cap, spinning away like a frisbee.

On my way home tonight I counted no less than thirty-seven of the replicating little suckers. And that didn’t include the ever-widening fissures that form due to the expansion from the left-side/right-side paving, the winter erosion of the softer shoulder, the gully driveways develop as it cracks away from the road and of course, the always wonderful frost heaves. And that was just on my side of the road. Which, oddly enough, quickly becomes your side when you swerve into my lane to avoid them.

But if all this isn’t bad enough, the cure isn’t much better. How many of you have driven smack into a fresh pancake of cold patch, that municipal quick-fix of asphalt the town boys tamp down with shovels and their own boots, to shut up the one irate taxpayer that doesn’t quit calling until it’s fixed. Ahh…the lovely ping-ping-ping of loose tar as it plies itself to the undercarriage of your car. You’ll be scrubbing that off until nigh on August. Soon those road patch patties will be as ubiquitous as dandelions, and just as hard to get rid of. Because if you’re betting on highway dollars on high to get them gone, you can just forget it. The bank is broke, and staying that way for a while.

For the meantime, take your comfort where you can get it. After the winter we’ve had here in Jersey, just seeing the road means it’s only a matter of time until we’re burning our bare feet crossing it. And that, my dears, could only mean a day at the beach.

My Midwinter escape

jan-beach-11-4Yes, this is what the beach looks like in the winter, and being a Jersey Girl from the Shore, it’s a sight I’ve seen many times. Still, it’s no less strange, seeing snow on the beach, and it’s something that I’ll probably not see soon nearly as much as I’ve seen in the past. We’ve put the old homestead up for sale since the ‘rents have passed on, though if you live in Jersey, you’re never too far from the coastline. It’s where I grew up and it’s what has sustained me all these years, but change is good, and I’m looking if not for greener (or sandier) pastures, but different ones.

Like where? Well, I’ve always loved the mountains. My father’s side of the family comes from the Catskill region of New York State (though their roots are in Iowa and South Dakota). I have friends in Vermont, and having only been to the Rockies once, I’d like to see more of them. My sister is contemplating moving to a house on a lake, and at least if I swam in it (which is a given), I wouldn’t have to think about sharks. Not that I worry too much when I swim in the ocean, but it’s one less thing I have to worry about.

Anyway, we still have the beach house a bit longer so here’s one more pix. It’s a hell of a lot better media than I’ve been gawking at lately anyway.

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No pun intended

img_3372-2I really have nothing to say. Actually, I’ve been pretty speechless these days,  mainly because most of what has been going on around me, especially in the media, has made my jaw drop. One of gaping maw moments hit me this afternoon when my husband banged at my office window. He told me to hurry to the other side of the house where I saw this huge beaver (expand to see its big paddle tail), just chomping on some grass in the neighbor’s yard. We live on a lake, and beavers have been known to steal our sapling trees, but I’ve rarely seen them, rather the evidence of them visiting, such as the sharpened-to-a-pike stumps of trees they’ve hauled off to their lodges. But this one was live and in person, though I recalled hearing somewhere they were supposed to be nocturnal. Hyper-aware of that fact because just that morning, we had taken our cat for his annual check-up and shots, and a nocturnal animal in the day was a red flag for rabies. So tried to get some info before going outside, learning that although they are basically creatures of the night, they do often come out during the day to feed, and that their prime mating period is January to March. So maybe this was just a gestating female doing the beaver equivalent of running out in the middle of the night for some beaver pickles and ice cream.  What the hell. It’s possible.

Random House Open House – My crappy pix

Hey, why not post them? I was there, but they did come out pretty shitty. The Random House Open House was a Hunter College on December 15, not as exciting as being on their home turf, but the line-up was pretty darn stellar. Can’t really complain about that. So here’s my pix taken with my little Canon camera, and don’t bitch about them. If I’d used my phone they’d be even crappier.

The stage at the Kaye Theater at Hunter College.
The stage at the Kaye Theater at Hunter College.
Trevor Noah with his editor, Chris Jackson.
Trevor Noah with his editor, Chris Jackson.
Jodie Picoult with Alice Hoffman.
Alice Hoffman with Jodie Picoult.
Willie Geist of "Morning Joe" with presidential historian and Random House Executive Editor, John Meacham.
Willie Geist of “Morning Joe” with presidential historian and Random House Executive Editor, John Meacham.
Julie Kosin, Harpers BAZAAR.com senior social and culture editor, with Diana Gabaldon.
Julie Kosin, Harpers BAZAAR.com senior social and culture editor, with Diana Gabaldon.

Yes, okay, they’re really dark crappy pictures. But I have stellar images in my head! So glad I was there!

Happy Holidays, et al, and The New Year, too

santa-claus-wallpaper-christmas-9427132-1024-768I’m going to say quite unabashedly that I’m one of those people who celebrates Christmas. You know, in the traditional way, by putting up a tree, stuffing my face with cookies, and using any excuse to blame Christmas for not doing something I was supposed to. To prove my allegiance,  I settled on this picture of the Big Guy, aka Classic Coke Santa, because there’s just too elves out there to pick from. I was going to go with something really different, but I just couldn’t settle on any one picture from this selection of “Santa Invades Twelve Classic Paintings.” Just too much gold there. So hard to pick. And to that I say, may your choices be many, under the tree or the by the light of your menorah.

Happy Holidays, all!

 

Random House Open House – Going!

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Random House is home to the world’s most acclaimed storytellers, thought leaders, and innovators, and Open House is our signature special event.

Held three times per year, this unique day-long experience brings together the biggest names in publishing for a full day of interactive author panels and book talks in New York. Readers get a behind-the-books look at what’s new at this all-inclusive day. Our tenth Open House will take place on Thursday, December 15.

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Featured authors at this Open House include Diana Gabaldon, Jodi Picoult, Trevor Noah, George Saunders, Jon Meacham, Fannie Flagg, Lindsey Lee Johnson, Allison Pataki, Sana Krasikov, and Laura McHugh.

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Plus at the end of it — wine. Lots and lots of wine. I’m so there.

Thanksgiving? Seriously? At least there’s pie

blogger-image-727342139Tomorrow’s  Thanksgiving, but also the kickoff to what’s euphemistically referred to as the “Holidays.” All over the U.S., porches, front doors, topiary and gutters will be stripped of all evidence of the traditional “harvest” icons, ie, mums, hay bales, dried corn and cornstalks, as well as those apple-cheeked smiling scarecrows (and quite frankly, their sun-toasted perkiness does scare me), to be summarily replaced with dangling icicle lights, revolving reindeer, inflatable Sno-Dome elves on Merry-Go-Rounds, and other assorted yard horrors that symbolize the high-water mark of tackiness until we ring in the New Year. As for me, I’ll save my Yule celebrations until around the 24 of next month to focus on the holiday at hand, ie, family, friends, turkey and pumpkin pie, maybe even giving a thanks or two I’m still highbrow enough to cringe at the sight of Santa on a Harley.

So that’s it. No soapbox, no bitching on the obvious, just full-frontal indulgence and Pepcid post pumpkin-pie. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and you have my permission to suspend NaNoWriMo for one day. As if you needed an excuse.

 

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My Midsummer Night Meander

5MN1Been working hot and obsessively developing  another project the last few weeks. When I do this I so live in my head I’m apt to leave lights on or subsist on string cheese and blueberries because I can eat them with one hand. Because of that I’m giving myself a pass tonight to let my mind wander.  I have too many topics rolling around the fertile landscape of my brain to settle on one, so I’m treating you to a virtual sampler of each. Think of it as the Jones version of the Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy,” except not about chain restaurant Italian food or really anything to do with food at all. Please don’t ask me to explain…

~ Why is it harder to write in the summer when it should be easier? Okay, I”m a college professor, right? And I “theoretically” have the summer off (except for the summer class I’m teaching, which really is cake next to my usual load). So my brain should be my own (mostly), and I should be able to sail through what I’m working on, producing so many pages a day I’d best keep a fire extinguisher near my desk. Wrong! Phuque moi! Could it be the sun shining through my window? The fact I have no schedule? The lure of the beach? Distraction by a shiny object? Or I’m still trying to get to know my characters? Hmm…I going to have to think about that one. Where’s the string cheese?

~ You can lose weight on summer fruit. (All right; I lied about the food reference, but here’s living proof I write by the seat of my pants.) I live in the heart of the South Jersey farm belt, and you can’t drive more than a couple of miles without either passing a farm or a farm stand. This morning I happened to visit the latter, where I purchased tomatoes (early, but there’s nothing like a Jersey tomato!), cukes, blueberries (another iconic Jersey crop), cantaloupe and peaches, both yellow and white. Lately I’ve been gorging on berries and melons and cherries, instead of the usual snacky-type foods, and in the past month I’ve lost seven pounds! Of course, this may have something to do with the 1725 calories I’ve been allowing myself to eat, the half-hour of daily exercise, and the frequent swims in the ocean BUT! I have had more than a couple Bacchanalia events and let me tell you, the Yuengling hasn’t been lonely!

~ Beer tastes better in summer. That’s all I got. Any other commentary on that topic would be redundant.

~ Socks suck in summer.  I haven’t worn a pair of socks since, oh…probably early May. I hate the fricking little cotton casings anyway–hate the way they bunch up under your instep, hate the indentations they make on your shins, hate how the heels always wear out when the rest of the sock can go for another 10,000 miles. But MOST of all I HATE folding them. Hate! Hate! Hate! Just sayin’.

~ I love the sound of birdsong at dusk. The sun has set, the western sky is stained red, outside a soft breeze is blowing and you can finally shut off the A.C. and let in some fresh air. You venture out on your porch or you open your car window, or maybe you’re out for a walk and there in the bushes, the trees or on an overhead wire is a whip-poor-will or a mockingbird or who knows what kind of bird, only that their song is lovely, a tiny gratis pleasure on a soft summer night. What else can you possibly need?