Tag Archives: daffodils

Spring in the ‘Ville. Again.

Spring in northern Illinois is a warmer version of spring in Quebec — three weeks earlier but just as maddening. We hit 84 one day, and a terrifying nighttime prairie thunderstorm later be were back in the thirties. T.S.  knew what he was talking about when he wrote that :

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain


Well, April is also National Poetry Month.

But a couple of things on this April day made me breathe in the cool sunny air. As in every April, my daffodils are furling, along with some tulips and scilla. Heaven bless my bulbs.








My thyme and tarragon are back too, and I suspect the oregano will surge as it gets warmer. Tomorrow I’ll move the tax forms and the sewing machine from the dining room table and center a pitcher bulging with daffodils and tulips.

Here’s another eternal sign of spring, from out my back door. This kid was kicking around a soccer ball with his big brother, his uncle, his Dad four years ago when he was two. He’s bigger now, but the grass verge futbol, which will continue until the snow falls, is a sign of spring as indelible as my crabapple tree leafing out, the cats twitching at the fresh birdsong, and the soft thunder of an EJ&E train rumbling through my open window.



Filed under Free, Growing things, History, Home, Into the Mystic, On the Street Where I Live, The 'Ville, The Great Outdoors

Cheap, No. Cheerful, Yes! Sunny and Warm in the ‘Ville.

It was the day I checked things off my to do list, and wrote checks in order to check them off. The taxes got mailed yesterday, and I think we’ll get a pittance back — reason for cheer! But today’s the day of the month when all those pills I take to keep my body and mind from splatting all over the patio needed to be refilled. Ouch. Being jobless and without health insurance, those Maggies’s Little Helpers don’t come cheap. Then there was the payment to our fine mechanic Jim: it was about a third what we figured it would be — thank you Jim! The Cheerful outcome here is that my car’s running for the first time  in six months, and not a moment too soon, because I don’t want my eagerly-awaited house guest to be marooned with me in the “Ville , rather than cruising to the local commuter station and rumbling in to Chicago.

Then there’s the business I waded through to keep that cheery vibe goin’ on: an hour and a half — I swear — on the phone with invariably polite Customer Service people changing the expiration date on my debit card so that those automatic payments will keep the lamps lit, the phone and internet alive and the roof over our heads. Done! Excellent!

I mailed a couple of gifts to a pair of wonderful women and sent a check to Medecins sans Frontieres. Those docs and nurses without borders are heroes of mine, and sending them money when I don’t have a whole lot is kinda karmic insurance for me — I can’t imagine the lives they lead in the most dangerous waste places of the earth.

I mean: here I am with a car that runs, medication, clean water , my street teeming with adorable kids on their three wheelers and a huge bouquet of heavenly fragrant daffodils picked from my own garden.

I’m going to cut up a plump fryer (69 cents a pound!) and let it sit in buttermilk. I’ll start some stock from the carcass. I’ll pour a glass of wine before I fire up the old cast iron skillet and fry that chicken up. Biscuits, maybe? Asparagus, definitely.  Here’s looking at you, Kids! Cheers!


Filed under Drink, Food, Free, Growing things, Into the Mystic, Worth it anyway

Joke of the Day — an Occasional C&C Feature

It’s a cheerful day out there: clear, sunny with the temp in the high 60s — they’re  predicting 80 for Easter Sunday!  Added to all that high on a feeling stuff I noticed that the first of my (hundreds of) daffodils have bloomed. Even Eeyore would need to get a speeding ticket to be a big grump on a day like this.

But lots of days aren’t like this. I hit my spiritual nadir at the end of February, and for reasons personal and financial it was a nasty winter. At times like that, when the Black Dog is lying on your chest you might have to pony up  for some cheer — and it’s worth every cent.

I keep meaning to build a library of DVDs guaranteed to crack me up: the truly tasteless juvenile  flix like Zoolander. On a down day it’s easier to pluck out and play from a pile than to update a Netflix Queue.

I do own a couple of joke books, and I consider them as necessary to a family bookcase as a King James Bible, “The Joy of Cooking” and the complete works of Carl Hiassen. An Ole and Lena joke from the Prairie Home Companion”Pretty Good Joke Book” never fails. Lou spends many hours a week in bookstores and this winter he devoted much of his browsing to joke books. He’d come home with a crib sheet written on the backs of the perfume smellies he’d picked up at Macy’s and regale me with the jokes of the day.

Here’s one he told us during those sad evenings in Marquette. Yes it’s a leetle bit naughty and profane, but my sister-in-law Patty, who’s three things I ain’t — wholesome, Catholic and near-teetotal —  laughed, yes, out loud. I suspect it’s so old that some version was told by those pilgrims to Canterbury.

George was driving to the airport on his way home from business trip to Nevada. He spotted   a roadside sign out of the corner of his eye that whipped his neck backwards. It read: Sisters of Mercy Bordello, one Mile ahead. A good Catholic boy, George thought “That can’t be right!”

But a minute later he saw another sign: “Sisters of Mercy Bordello, a half mile ahead.” He mused about that cute Irish nun who was his teacher in sixth grade.

A few seconds later, there it was: “Sisters of Mercy Bordello, a quarter mile ahead. We leave Nothing to your Imagination.”  Then “Sister of Mercy Bordello, turn right here. One block.” George was hot and bothered. Sister Mary Frances! He turned right there.

It looked like a stone fortress. He rang the bell and was admitted by a middle-aged hatchet-faced sister. She said “Walk down the hall and knock on the door'” It was a long gloomy hall, but he rapped on the door. A pretty novice opened it and said: “That’s fifty dollars, and I’ll meet you down the hall. I’ll be ready — just go though the door at the end of the corridor.” George handed her fifty dollars and headed down the dark hall , through the massive oak door.

He stepped out and was almost blinded by the sunshine. The door slammed behind him. It was locked.He was looking out into the convent garden and a last  sign told him: “Thank you and God bless you. You’ve just been screwed by the Sisters of Mercy.”


Filed under Free, HeeHee, Joke of the Day