The first snow of the season is always special to me.  My kid pops out and I revel in the experience.   All I needed was another kid to play with.   In years past, my dear Pudge had been an enthusiastic companion.  This year, I had Clancy.   Or so I hoped.  

I knew that my darling Mr. Clancypants doesn’t  like the rain.  Sometimes, I have to literally throw him out of the house to do his business, and even then, he frequently just stands there and looks pitifully at me.  But, from what I knew about his pre-mydog past, 
Clancy may not have ever had a chance to experience snow.  So, like Pip, and despite the rain thing, I had great expectations.   And so, I waited for snow.  I waited, waited, waited.  Until this afternoon.  When it started to flurry, then snowed a little harder, then FINALLY started to stick a bit on the grass.   This was our chance to share a special moment together.

So, I opened the door to the deck and gave Clancy a little nudge.  Which did no good.  He just looked out the door and glued his feet to the kitchen floor.   And gave me that “are you kidding me”  look.   Yeesh.  But I’m not a problem solver for nothing.    On to Plan B:  I went outside (without any coat, hat, etc. . . sorry Mom) and stood out on the deck and began to semi-dance around singing “it’s snowing, it’s snowing.”  He looked at me from the kitchen, and took a few tentative steps.   I switched to my “lovey/coaxy” voice and he finally came out with me.  While I was dancing around, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue, he walked to under the grill and gave me the sort of look you generally get from your 13 year old daughter. You know, that OMG look.

Five minutes later, the best I had achieved was getting him to stand next to me  patiently while I savored this first, this only pleasant snow moment of the winter.  Then, my five year old self  caught sight of the “are the done yet?” look on Clancy’s face, gave a sigh, and let him inside where all he wanted was his back rubbed down with the towel and his paws wiped off.   Once done, he walked away from me and stretched out on the carpet.  Disdainful and disinterested in any reprise.

For today, at least, I’m the only puppy in the doghouse.   Sigh.

Sunday, I shall wear pearls.  For a very special reason.   We are bidding Catherine, aka “Kitty”, aka “Nana”, aka “Nana the Great”  Sweeney farewell to this earth and all the women will wear pearls in her honor.  It’s absolutely fitting that pearls were Nana’s favorite jewelry.  They epitomize her character, her spirit and her warmth.  Nana was always a lady, but she had grit.  She knew how to have fun, but she alway knew what was right and wrong.  Her arms and her heart were always open.  With pearls, the warmth of your body gives a special luster to them.  With Nana, the warmth of her love and her spirit always made you feel as if everything would be all right in the end. 

Nana wore her pearls everywhere . . . even with her pajamas!  Katharine Hepburn would have been proud of Nana.  In fact, I can almost see Nana as the heroine in “The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart, eyes shining, determined, steadfast . . . and in pearls.   I think she might have enjoyed the adventure! 

I’m not related to Nana, but that never stopped her from treating me like one of her daughters.  And it never stopped me from loving her like a mother.  On my last visit with Nana, early in December, she talked about her own mother who had died when she was five.  Not with sadness, but with love, she spoke about what she knew of her mother, even though some of it came from others’ recollections.   With her eyes shining, she told me “I haven’t seen my mother in eighty years, but I know I will see her soon.”  When I heard that Nana had died, my first thought was of the joyful reunion she must have had with her mom, and how their arms must be wrapped around each other in joy and love.

Pearls, it shall be on Sunday.  But Nana, you were more than pearls, you are a priceless jewel. . Not goodbye, but until we meet again.  I love you.


My early childhood row house (no, not a “townhouse”) existence was filled with memorable experiences. Watching rows of laundry get pulled in and out by housewives through the tiny back yards. Playing stickball and jacks on the sidewalks. Screams of fighting spouses echoing out of open windows three seasons a year. Banging on the staircase wall to see if anyone in the next house would bang back. Family living all around you. Thinking the weeds between the concrete slabs were grass. A few scraggly trees. Smelling what was cooking three doors down. And never, never being able to do anything unobserved.

But the best part was at Christmas because the lights would appear. Not the few, tasteful strands gracing a doorjamb, but LIGHTS! As in “lights, action!” Big fat bulbous, multicolored lights . . . showy and bold, like their owners. They were everywhere, making tiny house facades look like a huge theater marquee. No house was dark; each house sought to outshine its neighbors. The entire block was aglow all night long.

It was sad to see this symbol of joy and good will disappear on January 6th the feast of the Circumcision . . . something important disappeared, sort of like Jesus’ foreskin. All that was left was the long dark winter of January through March. Nothing fun about it.

Fast forward numerous decades. . . I now live on a street that is much less raucous (sometimes), just as wonderful but much more diverse than the “old neighborhood.” Grass is everywhere. . . HUGE trees . . . wildlife and driveways. A beautiful place, totally different from my first childhood home. But each December, the lights return . . . more twinkly, often just one color, and tasteful. But enough to restore childhood comfort to my life . . . and a smile. People I love live here . . . my life is here . . . and the night shines.

Two days till January 6. Time for darkness to return . . . or not. Let’s not cut our celebrations short, but instead, defy tradition, keep the glow going till March and wait till warmer weather to climb on ladders and turn out the lights.

Many of my friends know me by more than one name . . . some even by more than two!  Am I psychotic?  Some wonder, perhaps, but I prefer to think of myself as being personna diverse!  It started when my kids were born and I officially became “mother of” to MY mom . . . you know, show up with the grandkids, get them snatched from your arms and then, 10-15 minutes later, get a “hi, how are you?” from your parents.  Once my tribe got older, they would ask me “who are you right now?”  Which meant, are you a mommy, a career woman, or this marvelous other personna called Esmerelda Whiffenpoof who spoke the language Linguano and who was kind of wacky, funny, goofy and who sang loudly to songs on the radio.  My answer would tell them what sort of day I was having and what sort of fun and caring (of lack thereof) they were about to receive.   It was a relief to leave some names behind during those days and only have to worry about one “to do” list (except that my dear Esmerelda had only one item on hers:  have fun). 

Over the years, my names have changed (“mother of isn’t as wanted/necessary any more, sadly), but my enjoyment of this type of experience has only grown.  I’ve learned that comfort comes from meeting different set of expectations from different sets of friends who are vastly different.  I’ve also learned that there are parts of me that only really let loose when the definitions and expectations of others are abandoned for hours, days or weeks at a time. 

Who do I enjoy the most?  Ah . . . there’s the rub.  I love them all! 

Hope you liked my first attempt at blogging . . . if not, let me know.  One of us will like that, and the others?  Well they’ll just have to ignore you!

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