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Clack-Scratch Fever

Working requires a modicum of quiet in my world. That’s one reason why working from home is good for me. I am not tempted to troll around the office yakking to hapless victims all day long. Instead, I waste time by doing a load of laundry, pouring my fifteenth glass of water or venturing into the garden to devour the next ripe tomato.

On Wednesday, I was spectacularly productive. I chained myself to my desk for most of the afternoon, combining work on two simultaneous reports for clients with gabbing on the telephone with Alison about our upcoming travel itinerary. I was SO PROUD of me. Only three glasses of water and everything.

Until I was distracted by a clacking noise. The harder I focused on my keyboard and the client information sprawled on my dual screens, the more persistent the irritating sound became. I lifted my computer from my desk and looked under it, thinking it was melting down somehow. I unplugged several mysterious wires and reconnected them. Okay, I even poured another glass of water. Still, every time I buckled down to work again, the clattering resumed, a pulsating rhythm that seemed to resonate all the way into the center of my chest.

Pushing back from my desk, I wailed, “What the $%^&*#@%^!!!! is that noise??????!!!!!!??????”

Dear Reader, it was the clickety-clack of my fingernails on my computer keyboard.

Most of the time, I bite my nails. Or, I manage to grow them almost to the tips of my fingers, and they break into the quick. Or, I become annoyed with them and clip them to an unattractive length. They almost never make noise.

What’s even more amazing is that the state of my stress levels in recent days has been such that I haven’t gone to sleep without heartburn in almost a week. My blog isn’t for complaining and whining. You do not care about that part of my life. But, several circumstances have converged at one time in a Bermuda Triangle of woe that would normally send me chewing on the ends of my fingers until they bled. I don’t know what combination of factors has caused my fingernails to GROW.

Maybe it’s the writing. Or the drinking. Or the mere presence of YOU.

Too Much is Just Enough: Unexplained Miracles



The Camouflage Kid

Yesterday, I highjacked a kid. It was beastly of me, but I just HAD to do it. My friend Angie enabled me. She touted on her blog that she takes her boys to the local water park, and my feverish fingers steamrolled myself into the next outing before my brain could even catch up.

I love water parks. Growing up, I never quite got my fill of slip-n-slides and log flumes and water slides and random spraying contraptions. The closest I usually got to that brand of fun was turning the water hose on an unsuspecting person, or being squirted senseless myself. Maybe if I had enough water park action when I was little, I would not become demented upon entering one today.

You see, I think I forced Angie’s five-year-old, Dillon, to go on the water slide with me. He really, REALLY didn’t want to. But, I eyed the line, full of adults paired off with little people, and I knew I could not go up there as the only single grownup in the snaking line of humanity. It would be uncouth the stand in line and jump up-and-down like a freak sans kid. I HAD to have a child with me to get away with acting like one myself.

Therefore, Dillon was a coercible candidate.

I started in on him as soon as I saw him, and he kept looking at his mom like, “Who is this crazy old lady you allowed to invade our outing, and why does she keep insisting that I go on the blasted water slide?????”

But, see, I’m clever. I planned for this initial reaction. I knew Dillon wanted some goggles so that he could stay underwater with his eyes open, and I possessed a pair. So, I brought them along. I shamelessly teased him with them, adjusted them to fit his head, made a massive deal out of how great they looked on him (even five-year-old men fall for this sort of ego stroking), and before I knew what hit me, we were walking over to the water slide to just ‘look at it.’

Longingly. My gaze was one of abject longing.

Dillon finally agreed to ride down the thing with me if I would go in a two-seater inner tube. Okay. Fine. I couldn’t exactly spin and ride up the sides on the curves, but I made that deal. He even found the tube for us, and suddenly, we were in the long, sodden line. Dillon wondered why I couldn’t be still. He complained about waiting and started talking to the little boy behind us to disassociate himself from hyperactive me, the overgrown child who couldn’t WAIT to ride down a water slide again.

I screamed like a toddler all the way to the bottom and fell off the tube when we hit the pool. When I surfaced, Dillon said, “Let’s do it again!” And, we did. He was even brave enough to ride in front.

But, he didn’t scream. I know he would want me to make that one clear. The screaming glee was only for me.

Too Much is Just Enough: Being a Kid With a Kid

Happy Carolina Day!!

And, even people who live in Carolina are wondering, “What the heck is Carolina Day???” Allow this Daughter of the American Revolution to enlighten you, Dear Reader.

I live in the bastion of Civil War minutiae: first shots fired; first order of succession signed; first city to go from even with New York in population in the 1870’s to impoverished and abandoned by the 1960’s, mostly because of the first two things I listed. People come to Charleston from all over the place to gawk at the old buildings and listen to Confederate-clad ‘soldiers’ tell stories while driving horses and carriages.

I’ve never been interested in our Civil War history. More Revolutionary War battles were fought in South Carolina than in any other colony, with Charleston sieged by the British in a combination of blockade and trench warfare that eventually led to its downfall for much of the war. I often visit the tiny shred of tabby wall that remains in Marion Square.

When we met, MTM didn’t share my feverish interest in the American Revolution. He listened with ceaseless patience while I prattled on and on and on about it, mostly with outrage that our storied colonial history was consumed by the era of Scarlett and Rhett. He bought a book on South Carolina Revolutionary War battles, and before he could say, “Frankly, my Dear, I don’t give a d***,” I coerced him into spending the Fourth of July tooling around the state in a convertible, tromping through battlefields and learning even more about our distant past.

We started in Camden, both the overgrown battlefield and the house where General Cornwallis holed up. From there, we drove on to Union and stayed in a bed and breakfast that looked like Tara before pressing onward to King’s Mountain and Cowpens. We saw the sign for Musgrove Mill on our way to Ninety-Six. After a night in Aiken, we ended our trip at Pon Pon Chapel, a ruin near another skirmish involving General Francis Marion. We picnicked, read battle stories, did voices and let the wind in our faces help us feel free.

Yet, we didn’t visit Sullivan’s Island, site of the June 28, 1776 skirmish that repelled a British attack on Charleston. Patriots defended the mouth of the harbor from behind a fort of palmetto logs. I’ve visited Fort Moultrie many times, but I still have a hard time conjuring what that scene must’ve been, how the cannons flared against the undeveloped skyline, the air heavy with humidity. The sounds of celebration when the British finally retreated, sparking the need for Carolina Day.

Whether you live in South Carolina or elsewhere, I wish you a Happy Carolina Day. If nothing else, use it to ponder a weird addition to your Fourth of July celebrations. Like palmetto fronds in your drinks. Or fireworks that mimic cannon fire. Or a trip to a sauna in full battle regalia. (And, to my British readers, just continue to enjoy how delightfully silly we can be.)

Too Much is Just Enough: Reasons to Celebrate

One Thing Leads to Another

Coming up with a story every day for a blog can be a tricky business. People visit for the random surprises, not the same-old-same-old. Can I spin the same story, but with a twist, and get away with something new?


I haven’t talked much about my life-long interest in theater. Yet, from kindergarten until my mid-thirties (when I aged out of believably playing the ingenue), I walked the boards with schizophrenic regularity. And, no, I’ve never had the joy of playing a crazy character.

Maybe someday.

I have, however, been cast in the role of nurse more often than any other in my acting career. The last time it happened, my Mom joked that my acting skills must’ve really improved, because no one on earth is less nurse-like than I am in real life. Yet, I found myself slated to play the nurse in Margaret Edson‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “W;t,” a show that juxtaposes the metaphysical poetry of John Donne over the life of an academic who finds herself stricken with ovarian cancer. Every night, I walked away from that play gobsmacked, grateful to be a part of such a layered, nuanced piece of theater. To date, it is my favorite role.

That’s the serious part of the story.

We staged this riveting piece of live performance at the historic Dock Street Theatre, and it was my virgin experience with the place. With its dressing rooms set up rickety stairs leading to a dark corridor in a recess of the second floor, it didn’t make me very happy. I had numerous costume changes, and I’m naturally clumsy. No way was I running up and down those stairs for the sake of modesty. Like many performer types, I carved out a space for my costumes backstage and changed there, multiple times per night, in front of whoever happened to be around at the time.

It was generally okay. Most of the actors in the show were people I’d known forever. I already ‘knew’ them and they ‘knew’ me, if you know what I mean. I forgot about our intern, though, a cherub-faced twelve-year-old boy who was interested in being a techie and was working backstage to learn the ropes.

During the first dress rehearsal, I came offstage and ripped off my shirt on the way to my changing area, and no one even noticed. No one except the poor intern. He was traumatized. He walked back to the green room with eyes like saucers and his angelic mouth in a little ‘o’ and announced to everyone that he’d just seen me in my bra. Not knowing what to do, he hid himself from my bra-clad boobies for the rest of the dress rehearsal, afraid they might send lightening-bolt daggers into his innocent little eyeballs.

Would that other snickering man could learn from him.

Too Much is Just Enough: Same Story, Different Ways



It’s Lou’s Fault

My blog post is short. He actually wanted me to tell one of several stories from our dinner party last evening……but none of them are appropriate for my blog. Especially on a Sunday. When my mother reads it.


I will just tell you that the stories I recount in person can *sometimes* be much better than my blog. I do sweeping arm movements. And, I LOVE to do faces. And voices.

Imagine all that. (Oh, and I do have a Southern accent.) So, conjure that, too.

Happy Sunday!!!

Too Much is Just Enough: LOU



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