Monthly Archives: February 2014

the great zucchini



zucchini joy

i was attending a wedding shower where couples and families had been invited, and the soon-to-be bride and groom each shared true stories about the other growing up. v got up first, and shared a sentimental story about his love, back when she was just a little girl, and it inspired the guests to let out a collective, ‘awwwwww,’ when he was finished.

then c got up and shared her story about him. she told the tale of when v was little, and he desperately wanted a pet. his parents told him that it was absolutely not going to happen. and he cried and he begged and he cried some more, but all to no avail.

he wanted a companion so badly, that one day he adopted a large zucchini that he had found in the garden. he put a rope on it to create a leash, and took it on a walk. he loved his zucchini, took care of it, cleaned the outside of it, and dragged it along with him wherever he went. his mother made him keep it outside to sleep at night, where he left bowls of water for it, and each morning he ran to get it and was reunited with his pet once more. and he was happy.




 a couple of re-enactors 

before too long, as zucchini are known to do, especially when being dragged around in the dirt, the zucchini began to rot and fall apart. v valiantly tried to patch it up as best he could, but when he took it to walk around with him, little chunks fell off, and then big ones, and then bigger ones, until there was nothing left of it.

he had desperately tried to save his beloved pet, but now all that remained, was a stain on the leash, just hanging limp in his hand with nothing on the other end. and he sat in the dirt and he mourned the loss of his beloved pet zucchini. 

and the shower guests responded with a collective silence. and then some laughed until they could not stop laughing, and tears rolled down their faces. and one had tears rolling down his face just remembering his zucchini.


habseligkeiten (German) – things that an adult might find worthless, but that a child regards as treasures.


image credits:, 







for my father, one of the original mad men


today is my father’s birthday and he’s gone now, but never forgotten.and whenever i see the show, ‘mad men’, i think of him. the look, the feel, the era – that was our life growing up. we lived in the twirly, swirling world of advertising. 


my dad, in the left forefront, in a very important lunch meeting

 we had cocktail parties at our suburban detroit house, hosting automotive clients and friends and all sorts of interesting characters. there were martinis and dresses and canapés and jazz and laughs long into the night. i once saw him put on a horrible wig and wear it like nothing was unusual, just to get a reaction. we would sneak down in our pajamas and sit on the stairs, just to be a part of all the hullabaloo.  

on regular nights, we were always pitching ideas to him around the dinner table and suggesting musical lyrics, tag lines, and concepts for commercials. we never realized he was a media guy in the business, and that all of our creative gestures did not have any impact, other than making him laugh. 

he was a tall, blonde, happy guy, who married my mother, a tiny, dark strong italian, and he was no match for her really. i remember him working a lot, traveling, and he could not fix a thing around the house or cook an egg or plant a tree, but he could tell a story, and he could talk anyone into buying anything, and he was very good at what he did everyday in the office – a man absolutely born to the job.


my parents

 on saturdays, i watched every western and wwll movie with him, just so we could hang out together on the couch. and he would tell me made-up stories about the old stars. to this day, i remember the music from ‘the dirty dozen,’ and i can name every cowboy ever on television. he took my sisters and i on ‘one-on-one daddy/daughter dates’, where we got to choose what we did, and i frequently picked sharing a milkshake, his favorite, and going to a funny movie with him, just to hear him laugh.

he had the same name as a local television host, a former hollywood bit-player, who hosted a popular movie show. and even though they looked nothing like each other, we always had good tables when going out to dinner, for when he made reservations, restaurants frequently thought he was the same guy, and he never told them any different. he cheerfully signed autographs all the time for people when they discovered his name, and they somehow imagined him to be the same person. 

when i was little, he showed me his ‘official man from u.n.c.l.e. identification card,’ and told me it was top secret, that he was really a spy, and not to tell anyone. it made sense to me as he had to travel a lot, and i figured advertising was the perfect cover. i always loved, spies, and mysteries and crime stories, and i was so excited that i immediately told everyone i came in contact with, and swore them to secrecy too. when i was much older, and i brought it up, he said that one of his clients, chevrolet, had sponsored the show, and they had given him the i.d. card as a fun promotional gift. and i loved him for letting me imagine. 


dad on the right involved in some schmoozing and story-telling

interesting that i ended up in the same business, through a very circuitous route, many years later. guess it was in my blood, though i was on the creative and promotions side of the ad world, where i had to tell stories and get people to buy my product – not cars, but instead, movies and plays and parades and circuses – pure entertainment. experiences where they could suspend reality for a bit and just let their imaginations roam free. 

and when he offered me media suggestions, they did not have any impact, other than making me laugh. happy birthday dad, and thanks for all of the memories, both the ones that were real and the ones you created for me.

Don Draper: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.  – (Season 1, Episode 1 – Mad Men)


making the turn



headed out to the gym yesterday to workout and watch the big game. the university of michigan wolverines were playing basketball against our instate rivals, the michigan state spartans. i figured i’d serve myself up a little pleasure with my pain. 


as i got closer to the gym, i noticed that it was surrounded by an astounding number of opposing choices: taco bell, burger king, cottage inn pizza, noodles, mcdonalds, gourmet garden chinese, castle liquor store, subway, zingerman’s roadhouse. i could almost imagine my chalupa and mexican pizza and a cold beer.

or, there was –

 the gym. 


it would have been so easy to accidentally turn into one of those other driveways, and then the next hour would be spent indulging in food and drink heaven instead of in gym hell. 

i made the turn. 

and when i found myself in the gym, i was not disappointed, and knew i had made the right choice. there were father/sons, couples, singletons, and people of every shape and size and color imaginable. what we all had in common, was the turn we made to get there.

the familiar maize and blue home team shirts were everywhere, and people cheered while on the elliptical, treadmill, with weights, and bars, and balls, and machines. it was a great first half. and while i can’t say where everyone went for the second half, the wolverines played a magnificent game, and  we won in the end. go blue! sometimes, it’s just a matter of choosing the right driveway. and if i happen to turn into the taco bell driveway next time, so be it. 


One might as well try to ride two horses moving in different directions,

as to try to maintain in equal force two opposing or contradictory sets of desires.

 Robert Collier

image credits: michigan daily,,

and now, for a bit of beautiful news from russia



npr ran a series of photos, taken by russians, immersed in their everyday lives.

in spite of the politics and the games, life goes on as always.

We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.  – Konrad Adenauer 


when life gives you a pound or so of raw talent, just make meatloaf.


what are the odds? i have crossed paths with meatloaf (the singer, not the food), not once, but twice in my life. this is a brush with fame i never anticipated. and while i can appreciate his theatrical performance style, his passion, and unique voice, i was never musically smitten enough to ever really aspire to come in face-to-face contact with him. or bikini-to-speedo contact with him, for that matter, but fate tiptoed in and had other plans.

our first meeting happened back in the day when i was a cocktail waitress/student. meatloaf stopped by to immortalize his visit to our place by putting his hands into a wet cement block on our sidewalk.


not meatloaf putting his hands in wet cement

what i remember most about this night, was not the hand printing, but the imprint left on me when he grabbed a half-eaten sandwich off of a customer’s plate, took a huge bite out of it, and put it back. that, and i remember he was sweating. a lot.


not meatloaf sweating or the sandwich he took a huge bite of

our second meeting happened when i was in florida and walking down the beach. i was sipping on a tall, cool cocktail, enjoying the slow-setting sun, reflecting on another relaxing vacation day, when who should come walking down the beach, but my old friend meatloaf. and this time he was wearing a speedo, and it was not his best look. and he had a colorful, fruity drink in his hand, and he was still sweating, and his skin was really red, but he was smiling, and he kept on smiling as we passed each other. and we were both happy.


not meatloaf in a speedo on the beach

and i took a big sip of my cocktail with double limes, and thought to myself, how lucky. some things were meant to be, you just have to take what the universe offers up and toast to it. so, here’s to you, meatloaf on the beach.



There’s no explanation for success. Success just comes out of life. – Meat Loaf


image credits:,,,,


the weather is so crazy they can only forecast it as ‘liquid’



 yesterday, it hit the 40+ degree zone. it was the first time in 5 weeks, this has happened. however, we are told not to get too comfortable, for today, and the next 24 hours, we are expected to be hit with a variety of ‘liquid’ weather events

“We’ll be exchanging one weather headache for another over the next 36 hours,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Tilley said. “It’s going to be a very active period.” Most of the Lower Peninsula should get at least one-half inch of liquid. The western Upper Peninsula will have most of the precipitation fall in the form of snow. 

The weather service is predicting:

 a drop in temperatures to the low 20s overnight 

followed by:

 an early morning wintery mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

the majority of the mix will be freezing rain

 road surfaces should be pretty manageable, just be a matter of how much snow we get

 expecting rain throughout the day and maybe even a rumble of thunder or two

with the storm drains clogged with snow we’re going to get some ponding on the roadways that could be difficult 

 rain is expected to fall on the region between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as temperatures reach the mid 40s. milder air coming up from the south is bringing the warmer temperatures but will also lead to fog in the afternoon and evening as it sweeps over the snow on ground

we could be looking at some very impacted visibility between the snowfall and the fog. and we haven’t even gotten to the wind yet

the wind is expected to move in along with a cold front Thursday night between 8 p.m. and midnight

gusts up to 50 miles per hour, it’s going to be very substantial

 the front will be bringing temperatures back down to where they had been. not quite as bad as when we were getting the polar vortexes, but certainly bringing the highs back below freezing for the weekend

with the drains clogged there could certainly be some risk for ponding on roads and some other flooding problems

not exactly sure how to dress for this series of ‘liquid events’ but it is sure to be one wild ride.



even superheroes need their grandmothers



my daughter posted this pic of grand baby j, looking out of the mail slot for me,

calling out, ‘grandma, grandma?’

Once the bear’s hug has got you, it is apt to be for keeps. – Harold MacMillan


waking and wondering in a winter wonderland



last night i had a dream about my friend who commandeered an old, rusty, garbage truck and put a huge plow on the front. he was determined to make it to my cottage to clear the driveway, and would do whatever it took to get here, mad max armageddon style. many thanks for your loyalty, my friend, and perhaps winter has worn out it’s welcome, even in my dreams.

Winter lingered so long in the lap of Spring that it occasioned a great deal of talk. –  Bill Nye


waiting patiently with good company





i ran into this cheerful couple while waiting my turn in an insurance office. they seemed well-matched and quite happy. i think i overheard one of them say to the other: ‘You got a past, I do too. We’re perfect for each other.’ 


We have lasted this long close together, so we must have something going for each other.

 Linda McCartney to Paul


the three heirs



once upon a time, there was a mama bear named beth who had 3 little girl bears. each one was very different, yet for some reason mama bear had thought it was a good idea, (at the time), to give each one a name that began with the letter,’h.’ over time, each had learned just to answer to any name that began with the letter ‘h’ because the odds were that mama bear usually was calling them by the wrong name. especially when she was tired or was excited or was laughing or was a bit worked up about something.

well, the little bears grew up and each went to their own cave, but there were some special moments when they all were all back together, in the same place at the same time. it was during one of those times, that mama bear had another good idea, and she gave two of the little bears a certificate to go to a local spa as a gift for their birthdays, which were close together. it had been a long season, and they were tired and needed some pampering. the third little bear stayed with mama and played games and had coffee and chatted about how much fun the other two must be having and how relaxed they would be after their special day.


when the two little bears got home, and came through the door, they had sad and disappointed looks on their faces, and one was even hobbling a bit. and they shared their story of what happened at the spa that day. it seems the spa had gotten them mixed up, as both of their names began with ‘h,’ and they had arrived together.

one had wanted a deep tissue sports massage, and spent a long time waiting for the massage to ‘really begin.’ she said when she heard the enya music, and smelled lavender and her masseuse was whispering, she had a feeling it was not going to be the experience she had expected. when she was finished, she walked out and came around the corner, only to run into her little bear sister who had tears in her eyes, and was walking very gingerly. she had been given the hardcore sports massage and had moaned and groaned throughout the treatment, as she was pummeled and twisted and turned, and she was waiting for the gentle massage to begin, and her whole body was now aching and she was in pain.

when they told mama and the third little bear the whole story, the listeners really did try to be sympathetic, they really, really did, but they could not stop laughing about the mixup. this did not make the two little spa bears feel any better. the ones who stayed home realized they had been the ones to have the relaxing day, not the ones who went out to seek comfort. but they were smart, and thought it might not be a good idea to bring it up right then.

when everyone calmed down, and when it had been quiet for a bit, they all sat down (carefully), and mama bear made everyone some comfort food, and gave each bear a healthy glass of red wine, and then all of the ‘h’s’, (who knows which went first?), took turns retelling their version of the story. and then there was laughter in the house once more, along some painful wincing going on.

The whole campaign was a tragic case of mistaken identity.  –  George McGovern


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