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Monthly Archives: January 2021

Some time ago I wrote the three-stanzaed double acrostic that is featured on this page. It needed some visual enhancement, but what? So I put it aside. Then today I was looking for a blank page in my sketchbook and here it was, and it was remindful of the Monty Python “nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more” routine in which Eric Idle was so incredibly smarmy. I ink-sketched my mind’s-eye Eric Idle, but since I wasn’t using a photo source, it looks only vaguely like him. That’s OK. I will do a good job on him some day, and the double acrostic will be ERIC IDLE, because happy Fate has decreed that his first and last names both are four letters long. Meanwhile:

2021 0122 make mark

MAKE (over easy over easy) MARK

Mahalo holiday Yom Tov — O
Arthur Clarke & Asimov
Kaput kerfuffle Truth or Dare
Envision Bliss & climb a stair

Omnipotence purports to be
Vociferous as raging sea
Engage an engine in a chassis
Rev up peel out fast-fury classy

Embarrassments may Stunt & Jam
And keep a ❤ behind a dam. A
Sasparilla soda jerk or
Yarrowstalks may do the work

You can seek meaning in these verses if you want, and you will find some, but I wrote it and now enjoy it as if it were a video game with little obstacles and challenges and bad guys to leap over and meet and obliterate. The acrostic is a suggestion to make your mark. That doesn’t and shouldn’t mean to cast a shadow of OMG that the world will never forget. When you make ONE person you love feel a little better for your being here, you have made your Over Easy mark, and bless you.

quotidian lifecycle

awakening is a form of birth
taskdoing growth
drowse senescence
death bed

so you were reborn mere hours ago
and into this new life
you may see to it that love is there
and hatred recognized and removed
you may graduate with honors
at scrubbing university
you may keep your troops provisioned
with your grocery requisition
or moldcast and bisquefire
another brick for your cathedral
ste bernardette the hardworker

or you may mope and sit
you may burn out that you not fade
you may build a spectral enemy
and stab and stab at mist

it is your day
it is your microlifetime

where to?

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Here’s some sillitude that started before the inauguration of the Biden/Harris dynamic duo with a serious, nerves-calming sketch of a zinnia. I was jumpy about how things would go. Then they went splendidly, and the giddiness and pride I felt on seeing my country take a good first step back on the path of Health translated into drawing that got gloriously messy. It’s all good. This one won’t win any prizes, but it’s a good Date/Time stamp on a deliciously hostoric day.

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This morning I basked in the presence of LaShawna Douglas-Muhammad, whom I had not seen for at least a year. We’d arranged to meet and I’d asked Shawna what her favorite flower was. It is the Plumeria, which I had never drawn nor painted. For the last couple of days I’ve gone about remedying that, and the drawing I made included this acrostic poem:

plumeria & lashawna

plain yoghurt & UNawful falafel
LOL so fine & so ciao bella
umbrella tree & blossom oasis
miraculous & sweet floral mesh
entice & fill with euphoria
relieve & cure Sorrow
in a thous&fold refrain
a flower & you, dear Shawna

In close to an hour that seemed like about five minutes we talked over Starbucks coffee about co-workers past and present; baseball, especially the Dodgers; managers and management styles; certain health issues; California, where we are both from; our fathers and other family members; and the tough last few months, with their tragic losses and with the loss of friendships consequent to the Capitol insurrection of January 6. One fascinating bit of trivia I learned is that her grandson Cairo does not like his Grandma’s lipstick.

It was, to understate it, a WONDERFUL visit, Shawna being both a good talker and a good listener. We hope to see each other again in a couple of weeks or so.

2021 1016 shawna and plumeria

2021 0116 plumeria and shawna

here he is again / mister clumsybutt meanswell the romance puppy / and as usual he has made his entrance / right between really interested and fullblown smitten

on the plus side he is playful and joyous / and it’s fun to watch him caper about / and the longing look in his big eyes / which are exactly the color of mine / gives him sleeves to put his heart on

on the minus side he IS clumsy / and often unheeding of signals / and way too overeager / and he tends to chew on the shoes of a comfort zone / and crap on the carpet of possibility

mister meanswell has that look in his eyes again / and his friskiness is unbecoming to a man of mature years / and his pathetic speedfreak little tail is going blur-crazy

calm down pooch / you are going to get me in trouble

Some days ago a man named Tom Dupree, creator of a fine blog about editing and miscellany called “You and Me, Dupree,” found himself looking at a crossword puzzle and needing a four-letter word defined as “Avenger.” He thought of Emma Peel, the character played by Diana Rigg in the mid-60s series “The Avengers.” But the crossword-puzzle constructor was referring to an Avenger from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It was nice for me to again be reminded of Diana Rigg, the slim, gorgeous creature who played a part on my adolescent fantasies. But it also occurred to me that Emma and Peel are both four letters in length. Thus a new page was born, and I have Tom Dupree to thank for catalyzing it.

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Today I and some members of my family conducted a memorial service for my mother. Jane Stoneman. Streaming video of the event is available via mtsinaicemetery.com . . . and there is this obituary, written by me and my Aunt Diane.

Jane Paula Householder Bowers Stoneman, whose Hebrew name was Sarah, passed into the Great Beyond after a long battle with enough medical issues to fill a 37-page volume of poetry. (That is not hyperbole. She kept a journal of her medical woes and gave a copy to every doctor who treated her.) She was eighty-five years old.
 Ms. Stoneman, known variously as Jane or Janie or Sister or Granny or Mama Jane, started life on January 3rd, 1935, in Los Angeles, California, daughter of Paul Lester Householder, mechanic and ne'er-do-well, and Caroline Helen Susan Wright, drama teacher and women's-group mainstay. Jane lost Caroline, a victim of hypertension-induced kidney failure, in 1950, and to her went the task of being both sister and mother to her brother George, five years her junior. A year later Jane met her husband-to-be, Harold Price Bowers, and their romantic involvement led to marriage on February 16, 1952. Sons Harold Jr., Gary and Brian were all born in the mid-50s, and in 1958 the Bowers family moved to Arizona, first to Phoenix and then to Glendale.
 It was in Glendale, on Pasadena Avenue, that Jane formed lifelong friendships with neighbors Eileen Mier and Lolita "Lolly" Cook. They were the Three Musketeer-Ladies of Pasadena Avenue, and with their staunch liberal stance raised more than one ruckus with Jane's conservative husband Harold Sr. One war story included the clunking of a beer bottle against Harold's head.
 Jane was a firm believer in education, both academically and with real-world issues, and she raised her sons with a zero-tolerance policy regarding bigotry and racism; but she also did her best to help her sons discover their individual talents and preferences. She was involved in school-related activities such as the Parent-Teacher Association, and on at least one occasion volunteered to help with a special-day classroom program.
 Jane's and Harold's marriage ended abruptly in the early 80s, but Jane found the love of her life with Martin L. Stoneman, patent lawyer and theorist. The two of them kicked off a thirty-year odyssey of mutual interest and passion with a trip up the East Coast in early autumn in their beloved Winnebago, which they had christened (irony intended) The Bagel. Their journey also took them to the remote wonderland of Havasupai on the west end of the Grand Canyon, and to various symposia, notably WHIM (Western Humor and Irony Membership). Their soul connection continued until Marty's death in 2014.
 Jane was a "frequent flyer" of thrift and antique stores, with an eye for a bargain, and she was an avid watcher of Antiques Roadshow. Of her love for such things, sister Diane recalls: "My sister was a collector. She collected mostly the past, whether it was a beautiful antique chair or vintage jewelry. She loved the stories behind them, where they came from and who she may have intended to have the item." And of Jane as a matriarch Diane says, "She shared stories and facts about our families. Above all else in good times and bad there was always love. One thing she never held on to was past grudges or hatred. She was kind and so very intelligent and also open to new ideas, with willingness to see the other's perspective. I will miss my sister Jane dearly but so very happy that God gave me a sister to look up to and to learn from."
 Son Gary recalls: "Once Mom read a column by William F. Buckley that was a hatchet job on the movie EASY RIDER. She wrote Buckley a letter of outraged protest that included proof that Buckley had not sat through the entire movie. To her intense satisfaction, she received a typewritten postcard from Buckley about a week later, wherein he began 'Dear Mrs. Bowers, You catch me up short…' and confessed that she was right to criticize him for basing his column on a false premise. Of the last year of Jane's life, Gary says, "Mom was never the same after my brother Brian, her principal caregiver, died. But she faced that last stage of her life bravely and with undenied cheer. I had had a ritual with her where I'd say 'here comes a kiss on the top of your head,' and she would helpfully bow her head for the kiss. But with the pandemic, and physical proximity impossible, we adapted our routine, and I'd say, 'Mom, put your phone on top of your head, so I can give you a Kiss On the Top of Your Head,' and I'd wait a couple of seconds and then make the loudest, smackiest noise I could, so she would hear. She always laughed uproariously."
 The American Southwest, the Earth, and the Universe must now do without the energy, bravada and smile of this most august of Great Ladies, but her spirit remains in all those whose lives she touched. May she rest in peace, power and possibility.
***
Here is a collage I made at Diane's request, of my mother in ber various aspects. At the last I added Butterfly. Mom identified as a butterfly.

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