carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
To This Day, No One Knows The Plot Of The Terror."*

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So, I was going through stuff in my room and I found a bracelet that belonged to my paternal grandmother. She had very gaudy taste in jewelry, but this is one I'm fond of—it's a charm bracelet, with something like Italian charms on it, and it's kind of eccentric. I don't know why it was in my room—I don't keep my jewelry in my room—but there it was, in a small jewelry store box. I took it out and looked at it. Then I set it down on the bed to go back to what I was doing, and it vanished.

No, really. It completely disappeared. It's not on the bed, under the bed, or on the floor next to the bed. If it's gone farther afield, I have no idea how it did this. This happened over a week ago and I've looked for it several times. The box is on the floor, empty.

And Meg had nothing to do with it. He wasn't there when it happened and he's really not that interested in inanimate toys—except string. His favorite toy is the drawstring from an old pair of sweatpants.

On the other hand, when I turned over my mattress the other day, I found Pat's bathrobe. This makes about as much sense as the vanishing bracelet. The bathrobe was in the middle of the bed between the mattress and box spring and either I put it there or somebody who broke into my house did it. (Pat had nothing to do with it. She couldn't have managed it, and even if she could, I've worn the robe since she died.)

So I'm left with wondering why I lifted up the mattress and hid a bathrobe under it.

Maybe it really was one of the people who broke into my house. Maybe it was the Jesus guy.

See, the last time it happened, when I was walking through the house, I stepped on something sharp. It was one of the little spikes that holds Jesus to the crucifix. I only own one crucifix, the one they used when my maternal grandfather died; I've had it ever since. At the time I couldn't locate it, so I thought whoever broke in had stolen the cross but left Jesus, so I assumed it was a Protestant.

But I've since found that crucifix. So now I have an extra Jesus. He's in a pencil cup because I don't know what to do with him. You can't just hang him on a wall without a cross, and making a cross and putting him on it seems wrong. He seems happy with the pencils.

And all my assumptions about whoever broke in have been shattered. Who comes into your house to hide your bathrobe and leave Jesus on the floor to stab you in the foot?

*Jack Nicholson
carose59: computers and other machines (what do you think you're doing dave)
"And I Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too, Except For—My Entire Plan!"*

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This story, such as it is, starts with my slacks.

Many years ago, I bought five pair of lightweight knit slacks: green, wine, navy, black and purple. They're perfect for work in the spring and autumn, but they do have issues. They have the same problem most of my slacks have: they're built for someone much taller. Sadly, I am not someone much taller. The waistband goes up to the edge of my bra. They also do not have pockets.

Now that the groundwork is laid, let's begin the narrative. I have a very strict morning ritual. Upon awakening, I rip off my CPAP mask, maneuver my way off the bed without disturbing Meg, and dash to the bathroom to pee.

After that I take care of everything I need to do in the bathroom (which, when the weather is nice, includes opening the window and putting a can of cat food out for Meg. When the weather is nice, Meg eats breakfast alfresco. Although I might have to rethink that, because ants have been getting into his food. Maybe I'll buy him a cucumber for the window sill). Where was I? Oh, yes, after I'm done in the bathroom, I go into the bedroom and get dressed. Socks, underwear, slacks, and shirt. I'm a very basic person. Once my clothes are on, I take my phone from the bedside table and put it in my pants pocket.

Unless my pants don't have a pocket. Then life becomes frightening and uncertain, and bad things happen.

Once I'm dressed, I go to the hall to do my exercise: twenty minutes on my pedal exerciser. It's like a stationary bike, except you don't have to climb on it and sit on an uncomfortable seat. And you can read while you do it, which I do. If I don't have a pocket, I might remember to carry my phone to the hall, where it sits on a shelf of the bookcase next to me. Sometimes it sits there all day.

Then I make sure the heat's adjusted, or the windows are closed, grab up my laptop, go to the front door and put on my shoes. My shoes live near the front door so I always know where they are. If my phone is in my hand when I go to the front door, I put it in my purse, or in my coat pocket if I'm wearing a coat when I leave. If my phone isn't in my hand, there's a good chance it will spend a lonely day on the bedside table or the bookcase.

Have you ever tried to explain to someone that you didn't answer their call because your pants don't have pockets? And because of the way those pants fit, you really cannot clip something to the waistband. And with the pacemaker, I'm not allowed to carry a cellphone in my bra.

In short, sometimes communication with the outside world is a crapshoot.

*Adam Felber
carose59: movies (the real tinsel)
"Well, I Was Always Cast As An Artistic Homicidal Maniac. But At Least I Was Artistic!"*

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In 1982, Deathtrap came out. It's a comedy-thriller by Ira Levin, author of Rosemary's Baby, and it's not surprising I fell for it hard.

Ira Levin was a prolific author—he also wrote The Stepford Wives, Critic's Choice, Sliver, The Boys From Brazil, A Kiss Before Dying, Dr. Cook's Garden, No Time for Sergeants, and he ghosted the screenplay for Bunny Lake Is Missing.

He wrote other things, too, but those are the ones that became movies. I've seen them all.

I always thought my introduction to Ira Levin was through The Stepford Wives. It was first published in two parts in The Ladies' Home Journal, which my mother subscribed to and which I read. I was lucky—I happened to read the first part just the day before the next month's issue arrived, so I didn't have to wait long. It's a good thing; I was on tenterhooks. I loved it so much, I bought it in paperback as soon as it came out. I still love it. And I love the movie—the first one, with the screenplay by William Goldman. That man really knows how to write a buddy flick, and he does as well for women as for men.

But I only just found out about Ira Levin ghosting the screenplay for Bunny Lake Is Missing, a movie I have loved since I was six years old. It is definitely not a children's movie, but I was so crazy about it, I told my mother I wanted to read the book it was based on. I don't know if it was my mother or my father who read it. I do know it is really, really not a children's book. My mother didn't tell me I couldn't read it, but she did tell me it wasn't much like the movie, which was enough to discourage me. I did read it when I was in high school.

Next came No Time for Sergeants, which I saw on TV. Andy Griffith was nominated for a Tony for his performance in the play, and he reprised his role in the movie. That was also where he met Don Knotts, and how Don Knotts got his role as Barney Fife. It's also where they got the idea for Gomer Pyle. It's hilarious movie, and for people who are used to seeing Andy Griffith as the straight man, it's a joy to watch him being funny.

I don't remember when I first saw Critic's Choice, but I'm sure it was on TV. I just watched it again yesterday, and it's still just as funny. You wouldn't expect the man who wrote Rosemary's Baby to write such marvelous humor. And even if you're not a fan of Bob Hope movies, you'll like this one. It's not typical Bob Hope.

I don't remember when I first saw Rosemary's Baby, either, but again I loved it. He's so good at grounding his horror in reality, and for me that makes it so much scarier.

I liked the book of Sliver, but I didn't care much for the movie. I actually watched it again fairly recently—and still didn't like it. I saw The Boys From Brazil on DVD a couple of months before Pat died, and I liked it well enough. I'm almost positive we saw the remake of A Kiss Before Dying at the drive-in, and since I have only the vaguest memory of it, I think it's safe to say I didn't have a particularly strong reaction to it.

I had wanted to see Dr. Cook's Garden for years and years. It was a TV movie, and it's pretty obscure. But it's on youtube, and I watched it a few months ago, and I really liked it. It is not a comedy.

And now back to where we started: Deathtrap.

I don't know how many times we saw it in the theatre. We both loved it—that much I'm sure of. Pat and I had the same sense of humor. Our favorite line was, "Do you know what this play would net its author in today's market? Between three and five million dollars. And that is without the Deathtrap T-shirts." And being us, we took the next logical step: we had Deathtrap T-shirts made.

The newspaper ad was a Rubik's cube with the faces of the characters peeking out the top. So we got T-shirts with a Rubik's cube on them. It came with the words I KNOW THE ANSWER on top, and we had added underneath: DEATHTRAP. I seriously doubt if anybody who saw us wearing those shirts had any idea what they meant.

We didn't care. We had Deathtrap T-shirts.

*Donald Sutherland
carose59: cleaning & housework (it's next to impossible)
It Looks Like You’re Digging A Grave! Is This A Business Grave, Or A Personal Grave?*

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I took the day off work today to get things ready for my mother to come home tomorrow. There was laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, clothes to be put away, a refrigerator to be cleaned out. Also, she wanted to make stew when she got home, so I needed to go to the grocery.

I got to the grocery. And I put in a load of wash, came back upstairs, and began folding clothes. I had my MacBook with me to have music to listen to, and I sorted it in order of length, which gives you a decidedly weird playlist. Mostly I listened to TV theme songs, introductions to songs (mostly Romanovsky & Phillips and Arlo Guthrie), and weird Beatles songs. (Nobody needs to hear Wild Honey Pie twice in a one morning.) My favorite moment was when, just after Arlo Guthrie told me about how he'd met this incredible songwriter who sang him this incredible song, and here was the song—and Love, American Style came on.

It takes so little to entertain me.

Anyway, for about eight hours I worked on putting away my mother's clothes, or getting them clean. I never got to the kitchen except to walk through it to go to and from the basement. I got two loads of wash done. Her drawers and closet are overflowing because she's been buying clothes through the mail but hasn't gotten rid of most of the stuff that doesn't fit anymore. We'll need to go through it, but in the meantime it all needs to be put someplace so she has her bed back.

I wanted to get this done so home would be nice when she came back to it.

She called me in the afternoon, but my phone battery was dead so I had it turned off. I called her back about four thirty. She wanted to know if I'd gotten her message yesterday (that she could leave at one tomorrow afternoon). I said, "Yesterday?" Because she hadn't left me a message yesterday, though we had talked.

Yes, she had called me yesterday to tell me she could go home at one o'clock today.

"Tomorrow," I said. "You left me the message earlier today. It's still Thursday."

Then she said some things I didn't understand, then she asked me what time it was.

"Four thirty," I said.

"Well, why don't you come over now?" she asked. "Why not?"

I have no idea what I was supposed to go over there for—to wait until tomorrow when she could leave? Just to visit? I don't know. I said, "Because I spent eight hours working at your house and I'm exhausted," I said.

"Well, fine," she said, and hung up on me.

I didn't call her back. What was I going to say? Your daughter is exhausted and depressed and sometimes barely functioning? Because that's what's going on. I'm supposed to be whoever she wants me to be at whatever moment and I don't want to play. And even if I did, I can't because I'm too fucking tired. I don't take care of myself as well as I take care of her. I'm doing my best, and if I'm not doing it with my best cheerleader enthusiasm, that's unfortunate. But wasting my energy faking enthusiasm is ridiculous when there is real stuff it needs to be used on.

Tomorrow the refrigerator. The rest of the clothes can go in a laundry basket in a corner. I'll get the dishes washed. At least I don't have to go back to the grocery.

*Hypothetical Clippy on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
carose59: crime and other violations (i read the news today oh boy)
"You're The Most Beautiful Woman I've Ever Seen In The Elevator."*

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I stumbled on a scarf my friend Christy made me—mostly turquoise, but with a strain of purple though it, and it goes lovely with my coat. It was even in a laundry basket with a lot of clean stuff, so I don't need to wash it. Then, when I went to the dollar store, I found a pair of turquoise gloves that match the scarf. So I'm all set for winter to really hit.

While I was standing in line, a man behind me asked if he could go ahead of me because he was only buying a pack of cigarettes. I said sure, since I had a bunch of stuff and wasn't in any big hurry. That was fine.

But then he kept turning around and making "amusing" remarks. (One was, "Maybe they won't even let me buy the cigarettes." I don't know what that was supposed to mean; apparently it was a joke, but I didn't get it.) I wanted to tell him, "Isn't it enough that I let you go ahead of me in line, do I have to pretend to laugh at your cryptic little jokes too?" Instead I pretended to be unnaturally absorbed in the various kinds of chewing gum they had for sale.

I brought my mother home from rehab again today. Someday I'm going to write about all that, but this is not that day. I did laundry. I cut Meg's claws. I watched a few episodes of Nichols, an odd western James Garner did between Maverick and The Rockford Files. I didn't like it much.

Then I watched Sea of Grass, another Tracy & Hepburn movie. (By the way, I have no idea how Desk Set sipped my mind yesterday, but it's actually my favorite of their movies.)

Sea of Grass isn't my least favorite of their movies—that would be Woman of the Year. This one at least has Melvyn Douglas in it. But Spencer Tracy is a horrible person, and I can't figure out most of what's going on between him and Katharine Hepburn. It's a movie that makes me less happy than I was when I started watching it. I'm just being a completist—though I don't think I'll go so far as to rewatch Woman of the Year.

Now I'm watching Vertigo again. I watched it New Year's Eve, but I fell asleep before it was over. My favorite parts are with Barbara Bel Geddes. (I know, that completely misses the point of the movie. I don't care.) I want to know what happened to her, she just disappears halfway through. After she tells the doctor Jimmy Stewart is in love with Kim Novak #1, we never see her again. Does she come back when Kim Novak #2 is dead, to look after Jimmy Stewart some more?

*Hamid Hirani
carose59: crime and other violations (i read the news today oh boy)
"Shut Up! I Let You Have Your Grenade, Took You For A Nice Drive To The Bronx, Gave You A Nice Meal. That's All The Babying You're Going To Get Today."*

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I got up this morning and watched The Philadelphia Story, then went shopping. It's gotten cold for the new year; it was twenty-eight with I left the house this morning.

I got myself a nice new winter coat, and one for my mother—after returning the one I bought her last month. (It was too small.) My coat is purple and her's is red. She's very happy with hers. I haven't worn mine yet, except to try it on.

I did a little grocery shopping, and looked for a new scarf (which I didn't find) and exchanged some shoes that were the wrong size. (I had the silly idea that if size nine is a little small, size nine and a half in the same brand would fit. Instead, they were smaller. There's some logic there I'm not getting.)

I went to AMC and got my mother a bag of popcorn, then picked her up to come home and watch the Winter Classic (hockey). That didn't work out too well; the broadcast was so pixilated, it was stressing me out. You couldn't make out what was happening, or understand what was being said. I came home after the first period and watched Pat and Mike.

It might be my favorite Tracy & Hepburn movie. It might be the first one I ever saw, too; I really don't remember, but I do remember the first time I saw it. It was early-early on a Saturday morning, and that afternoon my parents and I went to see the play Sabrina Fair. (I was still living at home. I think I was about nineteen.)

I had seen Sabrina (loosely based on the play) many times. I'd also read the play and knew how different it was—I love it for its own sake. I might have been the one to suggest we see it.

Katharine Houghton (Katharine Hepburn's niece) played Sabrina, and when she walked on stage, I think I gasped. Having just seen her aunt in similar dress, with similar hairstyle, not much younger than I'd Hepburn was in Pat and Mike—the family resemblance was astonishing.

Since I got home from taking my mother back to the rehab place, I've watched Stage Door (highlight: Eve Arden. But then, she always is.) And now I'm watching Mary of Scotland. The most important thing I've learned is, never try to out-shout a man who has a dozen soldiers with bagpipes at his disposal. In case you were wondering what the point of bagpipes are, keeping religious fanatics from swaying their audience is a pretty good one.

Mostly I keep wishing that Bette Davis was playing Elizabeth I in this. I know, they didn't do things like that back then; we're lucky to have Frederick March, since most movies got one star and a lot of supporting actors. That's not a complaint; I'm a girl who'll watch a whole movie just for a scene with Thelma Ritter or Eve Arden or Ralph Bellamy or Edward Everett Horton. But it's true that most Hollywood movies of the time had one A-list star. Bigger movies had two stars, and then there were the real rarities (like The Philadelphia Story) had three big name stars. Still, it would have been fun to see Bette Davis as the one plotting against Katharine Hepburn. She would have been a fit adversary.

The day has felt strange, though. When I got up, it felt like Saturday, then it kept vacillating between Saturday and Sunday. I kept having to tell myself that it's really Friday. The disorientation is the one thing I dislike about holidays.

*Burke, Blue Belle

(no subject)

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 09:00 am
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
Happy Melody's birthday, everyone!

Oh, and Merry Christmas, too, if you celebrate that kind of thing. *g*

ETA: if you've been following my laundry chronicles, you'll love how they end: I killed my washer! I burned out the motor! With a load of wet, soapy clothes in it!

Hey, for me this is a good Christmas—at least I'm not sick. *g*

Why yes, I am.

Friday, 21 December 2007 06:40 am
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
"Feeling a Little Manic, Are You?"*

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Sunday morning, I got up at six and started picking up the clothes piled up in my room. I dragged them down to the basement, sorted them into piles of things that needed washing and things that just needed a little refreshing (which I just run through a rinse cycle).

I don't know how many loads I did. I do know that I bagged up thirteen grocery bags of clothes and put them in the car.

Since then I've gotten rid of those bags, and done eleven more, and gotten rid of them. (I'm donating them to the Gaia Earth Movement, and there's a box just down the street, which helps a lot.)

Today I did three loads of wash.

I own a ridiculous amount of clothes, I make no bones about that. But I'm a little crazed (I can tell because in my head, I can perfectly imagine this ungodly mess of a house perfectly organized. Believe me, this will not last). So I'm a little crazed, and I'm taking advantage of it by getting rid of clothes, and reorganizing drawers.

In Shirley Jackson's last, unfinished novel, the heroine's husband has been dead some time, but it's only recently that she's left their home and gotten rid of his stuff. She was nervous about doing this because she was concerned that he might come back and want to know where his things are. Since the book was never finished, I don't know whether or not this was a reasonable concern. I do know that I feel the same way.

Last night I dreamed about Pat (which I've been expecting since Sunday) and yes, she wanted to know where her clothes were, and I was a little panicked and feeling guilty. (And, for the record, we were in a car, which is right. We spent a lot of time in cars. I don't think it was one of our cars, though. I think it was one of my parents' cars, from when I was really young. I don't know what kind of car it was, except that it definitely wasn't my mother's Dodge Dart.) The ones that make me saddest to get rid of are the things Pat owned before we ever met. They feel like the piece of road just before she reached a crossroads, and there was a path she could have taken that didn't include me. And maybe that would have been better for her, and was I ever kind to her, was I ever anything but selfish, is it my fault she's dead, or that she was sometimes unhappy? And I go to that place for a while, feeling like I'm watching some other life dying before my eyes.

So, anyway, I'm kind of manic. I took the day off work today and this is what I'm doing, and I have four more days off. I cleaned out Pat's closet, and I'm hanging my clothes in there. My goal is to own nothing that I would be unhappy to find was the last piece of clean clothing in the house, so I'm not only getting rid of clothes of Pat's that don't fit me, but things of mine that I just don't like.

There's still too much of it. My underwear is getting a little shabby, but otherwise I have enough clothes to last me a good long while, as long as my weight doesn't change. And I don't think I'm quite manic enough for that to happen.

If I start getting the urge to go out for promiscuous sex, or to spend myself into a huge hole, I'll let you know.

*my mother
carose59: PLS (moses supposes his toeses are roses)
Now, That Should End In A Question Mark, But They Obviously Didn't Have the Money To Spend On the Extra Ink, So They Just Gave It a Period.*

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I dreamed about Pat again last night.

We were in one of our old apartments, only it didn't really look like any of them. (I know where this comes from, I was talking about one of the apartments have old-fashioned radiators, and the apartment in the dream had them.) As usual had been dead but now she wasn't, she didn't know that and I did. She was really, really happy, happier than I'd seen her—well, probably since I told her we were going to New York the autumn before she died. We were looking out the window at the rain, and Pat was talking about how it was going to snow later in the day. I was thinking that I knew where her mittens were (and I do, I've been wearing them), but I'd thrown out her boots (which I did—they needed it) and where could we go to get her new boots that would really be good for her to walk in, and what was I going to tell her about the boots? But she had a coat, and mittens, and I'd figure the rest of it out.

I was kind of disturbed when I woke up, the way I always am when I have these dreams. I'm so afraid Pat will find out she's been dead/I've thought she was dead (I never seem to know which it is).

I'm trying not to think too much right now. I'm afraid of losing my job—our department is scheduled to be cut from 16 to 8 people. The theory is those of us cut will be transferred, maybe to the newly opened Central library, which would be all right in terms of how far away it is (about the same), but the work would be different (working with the public, which I haven't done in nearly thirty years) and there would be driving home in the dark (which—night blindness). I'm careful in the winter, I catch rides with other people, or I schedule so I'm only driving in the very early morning when it's dark, but there's virtually no traffic. This won't be possible with the new building, where the hours are nine to nine, Monday through Saturday, and I think noon to five on Sunday, though who knows what they'll even be by autumn, when it opens.

This means no New York this year. I can't spend the money, and I'm afraid to use any vacation time. If I have to resign, I'll get paid for that time which will give me some cushion.

I'm really scared about this. My mind is so fuzzy lately, the idea of having to learn a new job is terrifying.

*Sara M

July 2017

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