Emergecy, emergecy!!

Not a typo, a quote from my baby nephew back in the day.  It’s a thing, friends.

Pre-retirement, Kim crawled home from his soul-killing job as a service writer one day, burst into the house, and yelled “Read me something from the Bible, quick, before I go back and kill somebody.”   Yes, darling, I feel ya’.

Today is that day again in Smithville, so I’m asking y’all to throw me a bone, a carp, ANYthing.  We talked about books the other day … now I’m asking for your go-to when you just can’t even.  Do you rage, cry, throw things, hide out in a book, drink, talk … what works??  I mean WORKS.  NO PLATITUDES or I will rage, cry, and throw things at you after drinking and before hiding in a book.

I’m usually pretty good at the Zen, the calm, the considered, the adulting, but sometimes I’m not, so sue me.  When you wake up pissed, everything hurts, idiots are still getting away with murder in all its iterations, the music in your head is relentless, the construction asshole who’s been tearing up the parking lot with the big honkin’ telehandler against all admonitions is still at it big as life and twice as natural, and people need your help but you have nothing left in reserve, WHAT DO YOU DO?  Please.  Dangle a rope if you have one.

But first:

  1.  I understand nothing lasts forever — I’m about as old as God this morning and I’ve been there.
  2.  Things are never as bad as they seem.  (See #1)
  3.  You’re blessed, fed, clothed, housed, and people love you, dammit.
  4.   Look at all the people who have shitty lives but aren’t complaining.
  5.   Okay, whatevs.  Did you never, ever, at any time wish you could turn in your human card?

Just give me whatcha got, I’m not fit for man nor beast until the storm blows over … and the Flying Monkeys are clamoring to be unleashed.





Let’s talk books!

In the face of life beyond my control I’m currently a prisoner of the music, so I’m exercising my powers of creativity in every way I can.  The only time I don’t hear the squirrel party in my head is when other music is pouring into my ears or I’m asleep.  If I could I would simply go unconscious until this is over as it makes me want to jump out of my skin and be somebody else for a while.

Since none of the above is an option, come talk to me about something dear to my heart — what you like to read and why.  What are you currently engrossed in?  Do you read more than one book at a time?  Who are the authors who speak to you?

My own reading tastes are eclectic to the max, so I’m truly interested in knowing what grabs your attention.  What sorts of things compel you to spend your time reading when you could (should?) be doing other things?

I’m currently enjoying this one:


And some recent good reads:

Have you read any of these and did you like them?  Another question: If you start a book and can’t get into it do you persist or do you operate by the rule that Life Is Too Short and ditch it for something else?

Seriously, come share your reading world with me.  The life you save could be mine.


Word Salad

Morning kids, me again, here in my Do All Things With CARE CAKE shirt, thinking about the state of the world.  Bwahahaha, I meant thinking about my own personal world — stay sharp.

I have to tell you …

I miss my little Maddie so much it takes my breath away.  It hurts worse than my bones and keeps my heart so raw I’m just marginally safe for human interaction, which of course means here I am on my blog holding forth in public, or the miniscule percentage to which the universe grants me access.  And heard is a sigh of relief from the remainder.

Adding to the joy in the world and subtracting from its woes are the dear ones who heard my pathetic “cry for help” yesterday and offered not only information but viable solutions, as a result of which I have good news:  My private concert continues unabated, but it’s taken on a muted, slightly disgruntled tone as of this morning’s wake-up.  It’s a start, I have to believe that.

“Hope is often bitter, but it drives us, and we cling.” ~Michelle Sagara

This is my first brush with Michelle, but one hopes she herself was driven enough to cling until the bitterness was over, that would only be right.

So, what else … well, I need to let you know that if you should ever become afflicted with auditory hallucinations, which I have learned via those same dear ones is most likely the proper term for my Wurly-Blitz … {and here’s a fascinating article in case your curiosity should happen to temporarily distract you}:

Can’t Get It Out of My Head

… also I was deeply gratified to read this entry in the Journal of Laryngology & Otology …

Case report: A 70-year-old man with acquired hearing loss suffered a whiplash injury in a low-speed road traffic accident, and subsequently presented with bilateral ‘tinnitus.’ On closer questioning, he described hearing orchestral music. There was no evidence of psychosis, delirium or intoxication (emphasis mine), and the patient was managed expectantly.

Conclusion: This patient represents the first published case of musical hallucination precipitated by whiplash injury. We explore the possible pathophysiological underpinnings of musical hallucination and highlight the need for a greater awareness of this disorder. A management strategy is suggested.  (Which suggests to me there might BE such.)

… and where was I … okay, that’s right, if you someday find yourself plagued by earworms, ask yourself if you’ve been taking oxycodone and if the honest answer is yes, Job One is to stop that.  My last was approximately 36 hours ago … and my sweet hope, in defiance of gravity and other realities, is that 48 hours out, the difference will be highly discernible.  It occurs to me that I should have volunteered for a clinical study — it could have been the shining moment in which my brain made an imprint upon the world that wasn’t a skid mark.

So get off drugs if possible, and your next soldier in the battle is music.  I know, music is what started the whole thing, is that not a metaphor for life?

This morning my head has been full of the earworm-crushing sounds of Living Room Songs – Ólafur Arnalds (exquisite — find them!) … the soundtrack from Catch and Release, with its delicious quirk and subliminal voices … and now my brain is swimming in the silky melancholy of Mr. Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours.  There’s nothing like the sappiness of Glad to Be Unhappy for confusing the squirrels, and the classic angst of Mood Indigo puts my parents and grandparents, my smooth Reese uncles and snappy Cousin Chet in the room with me, along with that whole over-romanticized WWII vibe, which is not a bad thing at all right now.  The near-keylessness of Frank’s Ill Wind should finish jangling things nicely — how the hell did he pull that off?

And now I’m treating my ears to The Union with Elton John & Leon Russell –GLORY!! Unanticipated bonus = I can’t sit still for If It Wasn’t For Bad or Eight Hundred Dollar Shoes or Hey Ahab (good god!) and here comes Monkey Suit !! so shoulder therapy is happening.  There is also brazen singing along because Kim is at the grocery store, and I this second realized I can once again snap the fingers on my left hand. You can’t tell me music isn’t the best therapy known to man — it’s loud enough that it feels like it’s coming from inside my chest and if this plus a supply of Yasso bars (find those, too, I promise you’ll thank me unless you’re a salted caramel-hating psycho) doesn’t fix me, I just don’t know what to tell myself.

Holy cow, you’re still here?  It isn’t even morning anymore and this has grown to the length and juice of an overworked stump speech, so for the determined stragglers here’s an ice cream cone for your stubborn devotion.  It’s so beautifully written it left me in tears and I have to share it.  DISCLAIMER: I’m an unapologetic Obama lover — but if you aren’t I hope you won’t let that keep you from this wonderful story.

Meet the man …


A cry for help …

I’m being a wastrel today.  With a temp of 44º, 25mph winds, and 68% humidity it feels achy cold outside and that’s sufficient to keep me in by the fire, but only because I’m a delicate prairie flower.  I’m just over here trying some therapy for the squirrel party in my head (see Make it shtahp!) by playing nonstop smooth jazz/funky chill-out/trance through my headphones. Success rate after three four six hours = zero%.  Within seconds of removing the input we’re back to the Never-Ending Wurlitzer Dream Concert, and by dream I mean a nightmare I can’t seem to wake from.  No effect is spared, no stop unpulled, no member of the orchestra left partless.  You got your strings, your winds, your muted brass, percussion section, and the random harp or two, did I forget anybody!  It all sounds the way this freak of nature looks and could end up being the tipping point between my continuing to function as a viable member of society or becoming fully unhinged.


Now I’m employing reverse psychology  “Gosh, I hope the music never stops, it’s so cool to have my own soundtrack, and straight out of my parents’ playlist, bonus!  After all this free entertainment what if I would wake up to silence some morning, oh noooooo!” but nobody is deceived.  This is not our first goat-ropin’.

So the floor’s open, boys and girls, keep those cards and letters coming in.  If you know a proven, or even rumored, method for annihilating an earworm, reach out and touch this one at your first opportunity.  I’m sure I could devise an appropriate and destined-to-be-cherished door prize for the first blogosphere comrade to share a remedy with the juju for this beast.  Please hurry, we’re looking at everything from The Lawrence Welk Show to full-on jazz, every note delivered at dirge speed and with all the intrigue of a stranger’s black & white photos — if you’re not in them and nobody’s having sex, meh.

Desperately yours and TIA,

Wurly Gurl



On cleanliness and opportunity …

Conditions in the broken-bone sector have improved enough that spa-tub soaks are again in the picture and after several weeks’ worth of spit baths, sink baths, and whimper-laden assisted showers, basking in hot water and bubbles up to my armpits is the height of ecstasy.  It’s the shiznit for sore muscles but beyond that it feels wonderful to be clean all over again.

Luxuriating in all that therapeutic goodness makes me acutely conscious of my fellow travelers who lack access to basics like showering, washing hair, brushing teeth, stepping into a clean set of clothes.  Inevitably, after days, weeks, and months on the street they’re cringing inside a filthy threadbare meat suit that reeks of underbelly and in no way represents their spirit, but it’s what everybody sees.  After just a month of enforced immobility and minimal hygiene I’ve been dismayed to find my skin taking on a slightly gritty texture and rejecting its host, namely me.  The nails on my usable hand are constantly grubby simply because I can’t do this right now …



But because I ordinarily have access to all the soap and water I’m big enough to handle, I can start every new day clean, lotioned from head to toe, wrapped in clothes that smell like fabric softener and fresh air, and that alone means I don’t have to justify my needs to everyone I meet, or fight for my right to exist.  I have the luxury of owning words and concepts like these:






… and it makes all the difference.  Healing happens easier, quicker, better, and it’s a fact that as I roll through life the advantages I enjoy and the possibilities that are open to me are fairly limitless.  It seems apropos to acknowledge that once in a while …


… because none of it comes with a lifetime guarantee.



Red Velvet Pancakes

A late Valentine’s Day brunch?  This temptation brought to you by AllRecipes.com.  You’re welcome.

(DISCLAIMER: I would have to settle for Light Pink Velvet.

Too much Red #40 for this chickie!)

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Reader suggestions: 1) Add one more tablespoon of cocoa powder and sugar to the listed recipe. Don’t skimp because it really takes the flavor up a notch which to my palate was perfect!! 2) Cook the pancakes on a lower heat setting then regularly. I found these pancakes like to burn a little faster than others. They do better at a lower heat. 3) Butter and spray oil for the pan/griddle is essential. A little melted butter followed up by a spray of oil and you will have a hint of buttery flavor and a slight browning to the red batter. 4) Let your batter remain a little on the lumpy side. It does seem to produce better pancakes. Let the bubbles form completely and the edges dry out a tad before flipping. The cream cheese drizzle works a little better with a touch of milk and a few seconds in the microwave. Enjoy!!

Is the doctor in?

It was nipply out yesterday, but I defiantly sat in a sunny chair on the balcony for a while in my all-purpose jams, paw-print flip-flops, LFK bag-lady sweater and a field jacket. I know you have to get back on the bicycle at your first opportunity, but it isn’t the same without Miss Fireball.  She’s supposed to be out there with me, patrolling the perimeter and yipping at intruders, first and foremost all four-legged trespassers. Every balmy evening this spring and summer we’ll miss her dancing on two legs for cocktail hour treats and zipping around non-stop to see it ALL, while the warm evening hugged us and made the three of us oh so grateful to be in the world together. And Maddie gradually letting herself fall asleep on Kim’s chest or my lap, lulled by our voices and the after-sunset sounds of home. There’s a whole world to miss.

Wonder how long until I stop checking behind and under me before rolling back from my desk.  How long until I can unwrap a cheese stick or a chip bag without cringing that I pushed her feed-me button?  Or until I stop saving loud videos to watch later so as not to disturb her sweet sleep, always right here beside me. Maybe some fine evening me n’ Boo will be laughing over margaritas on Cielito’s patio and the stars will be out and the air will put its arms around us and we won’t cry, and we won’t look at each other and think “We should get back and check on the baby.”  Maybe some fine time that will happen.  Or not.

Thanks for listening, Doc, I’ll leave my 5¢ on the counter and show myself out …







Make it shtahp!

Talk to me, friends, this is getting wackadoodle.  Ever since the recent ice capades on the balcony, my life has had a sound track!  That might make me happy except that it’s the lamest, most insipid music on the planet — somebody’s inside my head playing a big honkin’ Wurlitzer, an organ I didn’t even know was on my personal parts list.  It’s been droning on for weeks now, virtually nonstop until I fall asleep. A B3 would be fabulous, but no, this is old-school swirly-wurly all the way. The sedate tempo never varies, the glisses and runs are utterly predictable, the plummy bass notes swell and rumble, every ending abides by a schmaltzy-sounding template. It’s all tediously drama-infused, and just as I reach the edge of madness the tune changes, always transitioning directly from one song to the next, some of which I recognize but most of it painfully generic, although yesterday’s selection was Desperado on ‘ludes and endless loop.

It’s like I’m living in a mortuary or I wandered onto the soundstage of a Gaither Reunion in full-on veneration mode, and very little external input has the power to punch the mute button. This is new territory but it doesn’t feel creepy … yet.  My head did thump the ice and concrete fairly aggressively, so there’s that.  And there’s all this better living through chemistry that’s been going down for the past month, giving me reason to hope that once my friends morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, cyclobenzaprine, et.al. go back into the closet the music will find a hidey-hole of its own and go there to die.  Not all of it (!!), just this mawkish, never-ending recital of every trite melody ever devised. Bizarre, fascinating, and some of the chord progressions are precious, but I’m so over it — can’t I please go back to the sounds of silence up top now?  That would be nice.

Meanwhile I’m nothing if not pragmatic, so … ALLLL SKATE!!


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To the bone …

This morning I’m feeling inordinately proud of my skeleton.  I’ve had doubts about it in the past, but this time, when slip came to slide, my little boney bits marched right into formation and got busy.  They were treated to a photo shoot yesterday and the films are gorgeous — all the shattered pieces are in place and getting chummy with each other — what Dr. Pro calls *sticky.*  Sans cast or surgery those little guys shouldered (eh?) the job and did what had to be done.  Part of my personal staff:



It’s been a sobering month at our house; therefore, good news is primo, and when is it not?  So on a sunny day in February it’s fun to know I’ve still got it, even if it’s on the inside where you can’t see it.  You know why old people are grouchy?  Because they hate getting old, end of story.  We try to grace it all up and pretend to be philosophical … mature, ha! … all the while feeling slightly bereft that not very many people can hear or see the eighteen, thirty, forty-five-ish, never-gonna-grow-up real soul that is us.  We’re having such a good time!  How could the ride be so far down the tracks already?



That’s why we can’t have nice things and the reason we say shit like “Get off my lawn,” and “You’re one smartass comment away from being bitch-slapped so hard Google won’t be able to find you.”  We mean well.

I just realized today is Whinesday, which explains everything, sorry not sorry.  Enjoy the sunshine — it’s always out there somewhere.


Write what you know, they said …

There was no doubt a time when you thought that just by becoming a grown-up you’d know shit, right?  Yeah, me too, and when you’re pocket-size there’s a lot to sort.  Turns out Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and adulthood are all fantasies spun to deer-in-the-headlights kiddos, thereby infusing every experience of childhood with a healthy layer of skepticism.  And hello, Home Skillet, the more life swoops in and slaps that grin off your face, the deeper the trust issues get.  Trust me.

Santa and the big magic bunny didn’t hurt much when I found out the truth about them, especially the rabbit, I mean really.  Adulthood, on the other hand, smacks the crap out of us and the only way we make it through for real is knowing somebody has our back. Sitting here this morning  trussed up like a Christmas goose I’m asking myself the hard questions, such as … what’s my trustworthiness quotient?  How closely do my actions match my words?  When people get to know me are they sick with disappointment over the contradictions that begin to show through?  All of that matters for every reason in the world.

I adore living, but it’s fairly cold and heartless out there for most of the human race, as you may have noticed, so it feels amazing every time we can change that even a little bit for someone, am I right?  Writing what I know and measuring it against what I do, because it would suck to be weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Oh, HEY, how ‘BOUT those Broncos?!






Dear Diary …

This is one for the record books, my constant confidante — Sunday morning comin’ down, followed by all hell breaking loose.  So what’s new, I hear you thinking.  I guess when you put it that way, not much.

“On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.”

-Kris Kristofferson

Lately there’s nothing half as lonesome as the KIMN8R taking care of a one-armed wife and one sick puppy.  It doesn’t stop, and after this morning’s incredible sunrise and half a cup of coffee the day quickly morphed into a slippery slope to the bottom.  Kim’s like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but the good news is he’s winning.

So, ya’ got your classic Sunday sunrise, great coffee, things are looking up, and before you can absorb all that artistry ya’ got your classic Colossal Sick-Puppy BM-Blowout on a large portion of the new rug, SHAZBOT! just like that.  Wow, we didn’t know she had it IN her.  Haha, turns out laughing at life is often the only honest response there is.

Maddie and I love and appreciate SuperKim (I understate) not least because we both know we’d be up Shit Creek (haha, right?) without him.  He single-handedly — sometimes I crack myself up — got rid of the evidence, wrestled the rug onto the balcony, hit it with the hose (oh my!), draped it out to dry, came inside and made omelets for breakfast.  I’m assuming he washed his hands between operations, but that’s barely worth caring about at this point.

The sick and walking wounded are once again tucked in clean and warm, the house restored to a semblance of order, and SuperKim is out foraging for Super Bowl noshes and libations because we are, after all, Americans.  There’s sunshine above the clouds and the day is cruising along once again, with the additional bonus of friends coming over later. Life is simple, it’s just not easy.

“But easy’s like, who cares? Easy’s like, how much is easy going to get you?”
Anne Lamott, Crooked Little Heart



The Circus of Life

{For my tribe today at no extra cost — consider it gravy for the mashed potato balls.}



Freaks on parade! deck the halls!

let the Big Top glitter! the show must go on!

Be the dancing bear, bestow upon the rubes their money’s worth —

the IOU bears their autograph and a happy crowd is a cash cow —

But avoid the teeth, that tutu will not save you.

Provoked, lesser dancers lash out, abandoned they break.

~jsmithblogger 2016





Potato Power

Let’s talk comfort food.  First of all, this German girl has no clue what the phrase “leftover mashed potatoes” even means — I suggest you simply whip up some spuds from scratch.  And on a far deeper level, if potatoes, cheese, and Panko crumbs do not say “WINNING” to you, how did we become friends?

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Prerequisites …

We need some givers to carry the grace

when it exits the stage.

We need a ringmaster who cries as clearly

as a canary’s warning, and a rooted cadre of

seraphs to pad the mist that fills the abyss,

and a spritz or two of a necessary thing

that heals and is not lethal. We need these things

between breaths, after infernos,

and, if we keep them, then someone someday,

emerging restored after a walk

and supper, lives on.  ~JSmith

(Composed on a template which was shared by my niece Krista.)


Her beautiful version:


We need some string to tether the moon
when it flees the sky.
We need a still slipknot that holds as loose
as a hand’s whisper, and a shadow shawl of
nightspill to pad the ache that fills the edges,
and a wisp or two of a wishful thing
that cries and is not answered. We need these things
between idlings, after dusk,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
wandering wild after a walk
and supper, gathers cold. ~Krista Elliott


Here is the template.  Please share YOUR take on it here in Comments — I want to read your poetry!


We need some ___ to ___ the ___

when it ___ the ____.

we need a ____ ____ that ___ as _____

as a _____’s ___, and a ____ ____ of

_____ to pad the ___ that fills the ___,

and a ____ or two of a ____ thing

that ____ and is not ____. We need these things

between ____ , after _____,

and, if we keep them, then someone someday,

_____ _____ after a walk

and supper, _____.



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