IMG_2261I  saw this picture of Cher taken at a Clinton rally the other day and it has me  wondering: When did she start looking like an Italian grandmother circe 1930?

It must be the ruffles at the wrist. If you’re getting up there in age and your relatives don’t strictly forbid it, the undertakers will try dressing you in ruffles for your viewing; this I have noted at more than one wake.

Though I don’t look at all like Cher with my thin lips and map-of-Ireland face, I definitely do feel like a grandma on this family vacation anyway, which is to say:

I’m doing a LOT of laundry.

In fact it feels like that’s all I’m doing.

I have learned this week if I had forgotten it, that kids shed clothes like a snake sheds skin. One of these grandchildren of mine yesterday had so many clothes strewn about his sleeping area  that there was no telling which ones were clean and which were dirty.

So, I washed them all.

Another, the first one’s younger brother, seemingly had no dirty clothes at all, since, as I just this morning realized, he has been wearing basically the same clothes since he arrived last Saturday.

The third grandchild, their four-year-old sister,wears long tea-length early-20th century ‘frocks’ pretty much exclusively , which I find myself not only washing but also  ironing God help me. Still, she looks very nice in them, even when she wore one to climb Rattlesnake the day before yesterday with her doll.


Her mom’s job that day was to forge the path up and up and up the hill. The job of her dad, now called “papa,” was to keep things moving in the middle portions of the line of march. My job, I was told, was  to be last.

As it happens, I did an excellent job at being last but I have to say: the Grandma who does all the wash and can be counted on to go slow is not exactly the Grandma I had hoped to be. I liked it much better last summer when I was the Grandma who took the kids and bought the kind of stuff that was instantly condemned by their parents and summarily confiscated.


At least that job had some fun to it.

But I’m not complaining, not really. It’s kind of nice being one of the old ones, the  ones who are definitely NOT in charge of much of anything even though this is still our house. Just please, if any of you are around when I finally kick the bucket, put me in tattered workout clothes like these before those undertakers begin coming at me with the ruffles.  ūüôā




CAN You Think Too Much?

Salem MA, that until the last few years was a sober working class burg but now belongs to the tourist trade, which is to to say to everything witchy, with a focus on images of lipsticked witches dressed as if ready to begin the night shift at Hooters.


We all know this guy: Rodin’s The Thinker, the¬†original¬†version of which is housed in a¬†special museum in Paris ¬†which¬†I tried to get on a trip to Paris once, but¬†couldn’t it was so¬†crowded. Instead, my friends and I hung out in the museum’s sculpture garden where we capered like second graders, putting our arms around the statuary and making faces – all¬†before showing up in the nearest¬†cafe for¬†our 11am feeding of baked goods so rich and buttery they made you mourn all over again the state of your bad cholesterol (though not enough to stop you reaching¬†¬†for that second croissant.

Anyway, I¬†saw the¬†casting here pictured, a copy of course, on Wednesday at the Peabody Essex Museum which has mounted a special exhibit of Rodin’s works that will be “up” until early September. The museum sits¬†in the heart of historic Salem Massachusetts, a place¬†that until the last couple of decades was a sober working class burg ¬†and now belongs to the tourist trade, which is to to say everything witchy, with a focus on images of luscious looking lipsticked witches dressed as if ready to begin the night shift at¬†Hooters.

Those ladies celebrate the human body you could say, just as Rodin did in his in his work -and in case you didn’t know more than a few¬†of his smaller works show something yet more intimate that what we now so¬†mincingly call ‘full frontal nudity.’

What would Rodin make of this wonderful statue of of Roger Conant, credited as the founder of Salem, a man who had nothing whatever to do with the 1692 witch hunt that that brought about the deaths of 24 innocent people?  

salem ma roger conant

the guy who had nothing to do with it

He would have liked it, I think, monumental as it is, with the living folds of the cloak.  The statue of this Puritan was sculpted by H.H Kiston, a man who himself has just the quirky kind of looks Rodin enjoyed capturing. (I mean look at the face of literary giant Balzac, whose likeness we also saw in that Paris Garden.)

Balzac’s face, as rendered by Rodin, and H.H. Kitson’s, caught on camera. (Love the hair!)

I sit just now delighted by all I have learned by hopping from one site¬†¬†to the next to learn some things¬†. It’s fun ¬†to think and learn and then to think some more as we are all called to do at all times in our lives. But look now at this final shot I got¬†of¬†Rodin’s signature work.¬†What is that tiny filament¬†stretching¬†from the Thinker’s nose to his fist but a¬†spider web? And look, there’s another the¬†same little arachnid spun farther down.


What might this say ¬†but “Enough thinking! ¬†It’s time to stand up and move!”

I’m thinking that too right now because you know what they say: ¬†Sitting is the new smoking. So arise and stride out, hot weather or not. Blaze a fresh trail! Be the pioneer your immigrant ancestors were!




The Nicest Kind of Houseguests

Ray ready to take on the lake

For me the nicest kind of houseguests are the ones who:

  • Sleep until noon haha.

  • Know where everything is in your kitchen.

  • Don’t just ask if they can help with the bacon and eggs and coffee but get up and¬†start scrambling and frying.

  • Don’t ask where the vacuum is because they know ¬†– and they know what it’s for too.

  • Are enough younger than you that they understand your electronics better than you do.

  • Are just plain fun. (Who knew you could drink a Heineken¬†while IN the water in a¬†lifejacket that eliminates any need to even try to stay afloat?)

  • Really know what an oar is for (See below. Maybe this ¬†6’8″ guest will be one of the ‘Boys in the Boat’ at the 2020 Olympics :-))


  • And finally, and most importantly, are happy to hang out at the supper table, laughing and talking about everything from what it’s like to be an identical twin, to the nature of time to the worst job you ever had.

  • We had six¬†guests at the lake here Friday to Sunday and ended up feeling almost as young as they are – good times!