There comes a time…


nothing replaces

doing the actual work

dream all you want to

JSmith 03/15/2016


March on…


feels like spring is here

Mother Nature might get bit

she will not be pleased

JSmith 03/01/2017

Best of all, March means more Jayhawk Basketball, for which we are mad, I tell you.



Keep peace in your soul …


self-care is hard-learned

after all options used up

rest has to happen

JSmith 02/15/2016




clear out the cobwebs

brain engages as it will

worth the good effort

JSmith 02/09/2016



Hello February…

February pinned on noticeboard



Three Things



It’s an eating-ice-cream-from-the-carton kind of HumpDay, even though I made a beautiful list this morning, in my best handwriting, fully intending to accomplish more than making the bed.

So far I’ve made the bed.

This is turning out to be a fibro day extraordinaire, plus social media is a swirl of innuendo and intrigue, bringing emotions to the fore and threatening friendships and family ties, things better dealt with in a less vulnerable state of mind. In truth there’s so little any of us can do to influence events, or even to order our own small worlds, it’s easy to get discouraged and walk away.

I’m pretty resigned, at this point, to the philosophy contained in the graphic up there – resigned but not discouraged.

Life teaches us that everything indeed changes. Buried in the fine print is the disclaimer that some things never return to us, and we don’t get out of here without knowing that, in there where we feel it. We’re abjectly powerless to stop change, so accepting that it simply IS is what we’ve got available to us.

From there it’s a short existential hop to knowing that everything is connected. Life doesn’t take place in a vacuum, so everything that happens affects something else, on into infinity. A lot of what happens out there in the world around us does not add up to a positive effect for our benefit. A lot of it hits us hard and keeps right on trucking. Which brings us to our final point:

PAY ATTENTION. It’s what keeps us out from under trucks and buses and the random despot, and if we’re too busy to pay attention the hits are not going to be kind to us.

For now I’m exhausted from the effort required simply to pay attention, so here’s the deal… I can only pay attention for myself, and I lack the energy and drive to help anyone construct a mental/spiritual house they’re comfortable living in, or to validate that construct by never doing anything that would cause them to examine it too closely. If things I write cause you to fidget and make faces, just remember that I can’t see you out there in the world, through some magic mirror that shows me and the TV audience your inner heart and thoughts – so it could just be your own reflection.

It’s almost 5pm now, so screw the list for yet another day, I’m moving in with Kimmers where the fire’s cozy and the vodka sours are cold. Happy Hour with sweetums is an effort I can get behind…




2017 encroaches…



lull before the storm

gather your wits about you

flight is an option

JSmith 12/28/2016



So just be real…

I read a story today, shared by a friend whose granddaughter dictated it to her daddy, and was struck by how on the mark this small girl is. You’ll see what I mean:

“We flew on an airplane to Albuquerque to see Ian and Jordan and Ashton and Uncle Doug and Aunt Jill. Will got diarrhea. 

Then we flew to Chicago to see Aunt Beth and Grandma and Uncle Billy and Josiah and his sister and the dad of the baby and those two with a jacket and glasses. Then we flew home. Grandma threw up.”



Her story illustrates important tenets of writing:

  1. Tell it like it is. If people want us to write kindly about them, they must learn to be behave well.
  2.  Engage your readers by telling them things they would not otherwise learn.
  3.  Illustrate with plenty of pink.

So simple, really, and once again a little child leads us.



By golly haiku…

pooled our ignorance

and got it done

old not daft

JSmith 6/22/2016




For Patreekia The Birthday Girl


never content with

the long littleness of life

the ladies who lunch

JSmith 6/8/2016




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.





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.


Thank you, Ben Franklin.

Marriage between humans is heavy-duty stuff.  We jump into it thinking we might know things, only to learn early on that we were ignorant beyond belief — and then the OTJ training either makes or breaks us.

This isn’t my maiden voyage — I was married for thirty-four years the first time, at least half of them happy.  Steepest learning curve was WHAT NOT TO DO and it did almost break us.  So second time feels a lot like this:



It’s about the really important things.

Which is why I tried to take Benjamin Franklin’s advice from day one:  “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterward.”

And why it took me eleven years to catch on that Kimmers is OCD, not just “picky about certain things.”  I thought it was his upbringing and his white-glove education in the Navy showing up.  Or as our friend Seth says, he was potty-trained at gunpoint.

Seems instead to be the real thing and he got the memo the same day I did, not that I helped him out with hints and/or pantomime.  Fortunately, his version of the disorder presents not as repetitive behaviors like hand-washing and obsessive counting, but as vigilance against dust and … um … disorder.  We live in a loft with 14ft. ceilings, exposed ductwork, concrete, steel, glass, wood and tile.  It’s cozy, but there’s always something needing attention.  Enter Mr. Clean, who works his magic on at least one area every day, never letting it get ahead of him.  It’s excellent that we downsized to half the space we used to have.

He also, as you may know, handles all the grocery shopping, cooking and clean-up, and keeps his kitchen in shiny order.  So when he grabs a glass I just set down and rinses it in the sink even though I’d planned to refill it; or stashes something in a place I’d never think to look for it; or gets a little frantic about having a dirty windshield — it’s a no-brainer that I CAN’T LET IT MATTER, although I confess we were reaching Exasperation Level before the light came on.

My husband’s attention to detail and willingness to speak up has saved me countless times, and he’s helped other people who’ll never know that, because he did it by planning ahead, anticipating, juggling, understanding in advance where things were going.  If you’ve been on the receiving end of his thorough help and wanted to smack him before it was over, you can be sure it was because of how much he cares about you, loves you even.  It matters to him what our immediate environment feels like, and I matter to him most of all (he’s told me) and there’s a lot I need a surrogate for, so this “disorder” thing turns out to be fabulous for me.

If you’re curious about what it is *I* do here, that would be the laundry, bills and banking, a little writing, social media, and Maddie … also, I color pretty pictures in my free time, which is defined according to mood.  And I do what I can to help Kim preserve a semblance of order along with a large helping of peace and quiet.  Works for me, too — so sometimes it’s fine to be selfish.

I agree with the divine Babs …

“Why does a woman work ten years to change a man’s habits and then complain that he’s not the man she married?”

-Barbra Streisand 


Still savoring stories …


Remember this photo from the other day?  My Great-aunt Nora, my grandmother, and my Great-aunt Ruth in the middle dressed in white.  Christmas 1917.

Now we have this — taken same day, same location, when Ruth’s daughter Myrl was around two years old and my Uncle Ed maybe seven or eight and already missing his right eye.  Until my dad came along several years later, they would be the only children of their family generation.  There were eleven years between the two brothers, so they didn’t become friends until they were adults.


Ruth’s life took twists and turns from early on, and at no time did she adopt the quiet lifestyle of her two sisters.  She instead embraced the 1920s, transitioning quickly from the chaste white dress to flapper gear more suited to The Party, wherever it happened to be.  RuthA happy Ruth …


My grandma, who lived past 95, told me endless stories about life in the late 1800s and on, but I don’t remember her going into detail about why Myrl was raised by her Aunt Nora instead of her mother.  There are bits and pieces we could combine in formulating answers, but as in all things there are nuances to be taken into account.  Fortunately I have an inside track and a fact or two at my disposal.  1) As far as I could discern, not having really known them until they were what I thought of as old, my grandma and Great-aunt Nora, having been raised in challenging circumstances brought about primarily by their alcoholic father, were straight-laced to the max.  2) I heard mention of drinking when Grandma did talk about Aunt Ruth’s life, which would probably have required the equivalent of endless come-to-Jesus talks, but their objections to her lifestyle tell us nothing about Ruth’s feelings or her capacity for maternalism.  My guess is that Grandma and Aunt Nora offered to keep Myrl at every opportunity and gradually made that a permanent arrangement, Nora thus getting the child she never had despite two marriages (more stories, kids), and Ruth getting what she, maybe, wanted in the first place, which was simply the freedom to be.  That’s the trouble with photographs … they can tell us only so much.  Ruth was the baby, spoiled and indulged by her older sisters, and she came along just as social mores were evolving ahead of the more devil-may-care attitudes of the Roaring 20s.  The comparative drudgery and boredom of her growing-up years no doubt quickly lost out and fell away in the face of NEW, FUN, HAPPY, EXCITING!  By the time I was conscious that I had a Great-aunt Ruth, she was older, ill, married to the last of a series of hard-drinking men, although Uncle Erv did treat her like she was made of glass.  Her laugh, which she never lost, sounded like that same glass breaking, and I instinctively loved her.  Life ended up costing her dearly … but that’s a story for another day.  



Mesa, Arizona, in the late 1990s.  Me holding Merle’s dog Su-Ming, my dad, and feisty Merle, who at some point shed the old Myrl and moved on under her own terms.  She was a party girl like her mama, but smarter about it, turning the discovery that her husband was a serial cheater into a flush retirement.  By this time Uncle Ed had passed away, so Daddy and Merle were the only remaining direct connections to my grandparents and their era.  Merle loved to laugh, she loved people, she loved family, she loved her little dog … and everything was “Oh, kid!” followed by delighted laughter.  My favorite story was about the times a neighbor would pick her up from Aunt Nora’s house and then go get her mother.  As Aunt Ruth was walking to the car, dark-haired little Myrl would giggle and shout at her “You tan’t fit, Roofie, you got too big a BUTT!!”  


There are a million ways to make life work and it’s a bonus to come from hardy people who knew about some of those ways.  I’m in their debt but that isn’t how they saw it — they were simply surviving, in the end doing as well as anybody at that and hanging onto a healthy sense of humor through it all.  They’d be genuinely happy to know they left a mark.


Tuesdays were for what?

The Grand Purge of 2015 is currently underway here at Chez Smith so everything that was on my desk … sticky notes, calendar pages, scribbled-on envelopes, wrinkled business cards, Twix wrappers … is in a heap on the bed and I can’t remember what Tuesdays are supposed to look like here on the blog because my notes are in there somewhere.  And who has the energy to scroll back … ?  Getting rid of that big stupid pile in the middle of the bedspread was my Tuesday goal.  Instead, oh look, it’s WEDNESDAY already!  Time to shift the detritus from love seat to bed again and see what happens.

Seems to me Tuesdays have been about thankfulness lately, which rhymes with beauty, which gets us back to Monday’s good intentions.  Are you OCD at all?  What are the things that hook you in and you can’t get enough of twenty-four hours a day because they engage your brain and ignite your passions?  And then a morning dawns, the next week or years down the road, when you wake up and can’t find two fricks to give about any of it.  And it feels kind of sad but mostly it feels like the most liberating thing that’s happened in too long.

Facebook and I reached an impasse like that the other day, one of many but this time totally out of left field.  We’ve agreed to stay friends, but we’re negotiating a little break from each other for health reasons — it’s an increasingly unhealthy place for me to hang out because my reserves are so pathetically low.  I can cite chapter and verse, but for now it seems sufficient to say that I’m out of energy for the general ugliness, and sharing my truth just annoys the crap out of people if it isn’t also theirs.  I woke up last Thursday with the settled knowledge that it’s not my job, man, and I have to tell you I feel SO much better now that I no longer care.

So I’m trying to make Facebook about relationship again without selling out.  We’ll see how long and how evenly my psyche handles the dichotomy — it’s guaranteed to be fascinating.  We should talk more about this tomorrow because I clearly haven’t solved the whole puzzle yet and I have a feeling there’s helpful advice out there that could open some windows.  I know it all comes back to beauty and beautiful places — living in them, creating them, facilitating them.  God, it’s probably something as cliché as “Be the beauty you wish to see in the world.”  Nooooooooooo, that sounds so pathetically passive and ineffective.  But bottom line, probably yes.  Because the really beautiful people do get trampled in life, but while stuff’s hitting them they’re shedding pollen and sloughing off seed pods that take root like science and make places for change to happen.

It’s obvious that the earth is losing its sparkle and could benefit from a beauty infusion, so I’m going to let myself think about all this for a while because it’s what we here in the office like to refer to as overwhelming.  Meanwhile, from the Playing for Time desk, a wonderful Wednesday to you all.  Make your corner of it beautiful if you can.

what you love

 Does this mess with your head like it does mine?  

I mean if you could know.


Previous Older Entries

Winnowing the Chaff


frightfully wondrous things happen here.


Practice Writing

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

beginnings, middles, and ends

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Miss Snarky Pants

A Humor Blog For Horrible People


Every other asshole shares their opinions, why shouldn’t I?

%d bloggers like this: