[I almost always say “hand me the funnies”, not “the comic section”, just as I will say “grown-ups” before I will say “adults”. Because it’s still hard for me to think of myself as one of the grown-ups, even though I have five kids and four grandkids and two decades’ worth of grey hair.] Dad always handed the funnies over as soon as he was finished, but sometimes I was ready to read them before he was done. So I learned to read the little thought-bubbles upside down, almost as quickly as I could read them right side up.
I loved Dagwood. In our home it was always called Dagwood, so I am often a little startled to see that its actual title is Blondie. I heard the phrase “one-trip Bumstead” a lot, growing up. [My first boss out of business school was even crankier than Mr. Dithers, which quickly inspired me to find my second job.] Snoopy [never Peanuts; I went off to college with a Snoopy laundry bag]. Moon Mullins. Dick Tracy. Steve Canyon. I thought Mary Worth and Apartment 3-G and Judge Parker were boring. [Still do.]
B.C. and Doonesbury, when I was older. For Better or For Worse. Love Is... Calvin and Hobbes. Tank McNamara, even though I loathe sports; there was just something about his ya-big-lug-ness that I found endearing.
I’ve tried to like Cathy, Ziggy, and Dilbert. My politics have deepened and broadened since the early 70’s, so I only read Doonesbury occasionally, and out of nostalgia. I rarely bother with Love Is... [Might that have something to do with two divorces?] I still like For Better or For Worse, and I miss Calvin and Hobbes fiercely.
What do I read now? Non Sequitur. Zits. B.C. Pickles. And somewhat surprisingly, Luann. Luann herself drives me up the wall. But that dorky brother of hers has been graced with some character development and is no longer merely Brad-the-annoying-slob. And her high school nemesis, Toni the eternal cheerleader, has traded in her micro-mini’s for a firefighter’s outfit and developed a heart and a conscience. Brad and Toni have a careful, tentative little flirtation going on. I find myself cheering for both of them. [Pun intended.]
And while I am on the topic of culture, popular and otherwise, go read this article on an artist whose work I just flat love. I own that first book they mention in the article. I am looking forward to the new one. A friend in my old ward has one of his prints [this one is my favorite] lovingly framed and hanging in her home.
I like this one, too: A Place of Her Own. He paints the sorts of things I think I would paint, if I thought I could draw. I love his wit, his draftsmanship, his imagination, and his use of color. When I have my mansion in the eternities, I hope he will agree to paint the mural in the foyer. Or teach me how.
Hurricane Ike left a happy surprise behind him. Go see. I clicked on that link yesterday and was reminded that no matter how bad a situation is, there is always some gift in the experience.
Unlike Abou ben Adhem, a poem that my father used to recite [he had a marvelous mind, that Colorado farm boy; my girls may remember me someday for inexplicably belting out “Mercedes Benz” in a scarily accurate rendition of Janis Joplin’s style], I woke this morning from a dream that bothered me. Not a nightmare in the classic sense, but more a reminder of the strength of old habits and patterns in my life that are bugging me, about me. And maybe a warning?
In my dream, Mom was still alive, but Dad was gone, or maybe just out working in his shop. And I was again dating a man I had dated in my early 20s. I had my 56-year-old brain, and memories of what went wrong the last time we had dated, and he looked much as he did 30+ years ago. I think I must have had my 20-something body; I cannot imagine that man noticing a middle-aged woman. [This is possibly all a result of having thumbed through the September issue of In Style and the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar (both given to me by a different attorney than the one who gives me old issues of Cottage Living and This Old House) while eating rather too much Ben and Jerry’s in the course of the evening. That might be enough to fire up any number of internal conflicts, wouldn’t you say?]
In my dream, we were sitting or standing in my parents’ living room. He was reading classified ads for houses to buy. I was getting ready to go to work. He wanted to look at McMansions like the one going up down the street. I was trying to figure out how to tell him that I love the little house I am living in and could never [barring a lobotomy or a visit from the pod people] feel comfortable or happy living in a place that large. And not wanting to actually bring him here to see it, because I didn’t want him to know where I lived [that would be my 56-year-old brain kicking in]. And getting up the courage to suggest that we drive four blocks to my friend Sharon’s mother’s house, which was a Craftsman cottage in a different style.
And then I woke up. I think I am supposed to learn something from this dream, besides the folly of eating highly caloric dairy products while drooling over red patent leather designer pumps not meant for the feet of a woman who has experienced five pregnancies and survived five teenagers. I just hope that I learn the right something(s). Extrapolation, like a pair of ankle boots with stiletto heels, can be fraught with danger.
Much, much progress on the stealth project: both new balls of yarn are now fully incorporated and playing nicely. Also quite a bit of productive puttering, in between bursts of knitting. I now have five small piles of stuff to give the girls...
...including a spare key to the duplex, magazines divided according to my perceptions of their interests, two silk blouses and my cheap khaki’s to cannibalize for doll clothing, Fourthborn’s birth certificate, and some of the paperwork from LittleBit’s driver education. I’m sure that if I looked around a little longer, I would find a partridge in a pear tree. And maybe a secret decoder ring to interpret that dream.
And now if you will all kindly excuse me, I have two or three more magazines to read before deciding where they should go next, and of course the knitting is calling my name. [Look who was hanging out on the door to my fridge last night. Click to embiggen.]
- Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!