The nice part about age is you no longer care as much what others think. You dress how you want, look how you please, say what you feel, and do the things you want to do. That was one of the things I admired the most about my grandmother. 

Gramma lived until 98, and she was well known for speaking her mind. She was funny, sweet, and irreverent as hell. All the borderline raunchy expressions we knew as kids, we picked up from Gramma. My mother wouldn’t allow us to say “hell” or even “damn” at home. I remember sitting and giggling with Gramma (my mother’s mother) at some funny thing she’d said or something we’d seen together. 

2BC35592-15FB-468A-B585-3DF8E0C411ACBecause I couldn’t swear at home, of course, I swore like a sailor away from home. I swore at school all the time. My mother always thought swear words showed a lack of intelligence. I loved my mother, but I can see now that my mother was uptight and prissy as hell. Where she got that from, I don’t have a clue. Gramma was a stitch, and my aunt (my mother’s sister) was a lot of fun, too. 

I remember my mother being horrified when my aunt MaryEllen said, “If you can’t beat them, join them” about swearing (and her own teenaged children). In hindsight, my mother’s method didn’t work either. Her strict rules (she yelled at my poor father once when he said “kick him in the balls” when he got excited yelling at a televised football game) only made me want to rebel more. She didn’t make me more refined or softer spoken. 

F6367446-4A8D-456D-AEEB-5298DF5C3482This was a woman who watched AND laughed at Monty Python sketches, for pity’s sake. She had a sense of humor, but  she didn’t swear. Her favorite expression when arguing with my Dad was, “Oh, go soak your head!” I will admit that I have told my sweet hubby far worse in the heat of battle. 

I am who I am. As far as my mother goes, I might’ve respected her rules more if she hadn’t been so ridiculous about allowing others to speak freely. So what if I said “fuck” on the day of my father’s funeral? I was 28 years old, and she yelled at me like I was 7. So what if my father said “balls”? I do believe that was the only borderline thing I ever heard that man say. He never swore, at least not in front of my mother, but I can guaran-damn-tee it that he swore at work. 

I remember a conversation once when he was discussing his coworkers who were all older men than he was. He said something about how they all farted and they all cussed. My mother was thrilled, of course. She probably thought they were corrupting my Dad. He spent five years in the Army during WWII. Does she think the soldiers were all non swearing, gentle-bred men? It was the Army and it was WARtime!

I often think my mother would be disappointed in how I’ve turned out. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, rough edges and all. Sometimes I cringe internally when I hear myself (thanks, Mom). I swear more than my trucker husband does. My oldest son got worse at his first job. He worked at a car dealership with a bunch of guys, older mechanics. He came home with funny stories about one guy nicknamed “Hippy” who swore every other word. You had to laugh at some of the things this guy came up with. My youngest son swears, too. Who cares?

I know. My mother would. But my mother has been gone thirteen years. So I swear. I have five tattoos. I have pink highlights in my long, naturally curly hair. I wear black fingernail polish, leggings and rock band t-shirts. 

I also have two college degrees, one earned with a 4.0 GPA. I’ve worked since I was 19 (forty years). I’ve been married (according to Date Calculator) 10,451 days or 28 years, 7 months, and 12 days. I have two adult sons, 27 and 22. I have my own home, and I pay my bills on time. I read. I write. I play the guitar. I may not be outgoing, but I can fake it. I may not be a great housekeeper, but I’d rather do other things than clean. I may swear, but I don’t drink or do drugs. 

488723EF-9C98-4247-8212-234CD07D1636I can hear Toby Keith singing, “How Do You Like Me Now?”

I’m not positive my mother would like all of my rough edges (many of which popped out after she died), but I hope she’d find enough here to be proud of raising. 

How do you like me now, Mom? And I’m really not sorry I posted the word ‘fuck’ online for all the world to see. Shit happens. 

Images courtesy of Pinterest


The word “abstract” has many meanings. In my “day” job, it’s usually the last page of a patent application.  In a written research paper, it’s usually put at the beginning.  It means “a brief summary of a research article, thesis, review, conference proceeding or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline, and is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper’s purpose” (en.wikipedia. org).

It can mean “not concrete”, “not practical”, “difficult to understand”.  It can refer to (among other things) Art, Music, ideas, poetry or writing. Its word origin is from the 1550s and its meaning is “withdrawn or separated from material objects or practical matters” (dictionary.reference.com).

My hubby astutely pointed out to me today, “YOU don’t like abstract”.  He’s right.  I have a hard time understanding things that are illogical or unexplainable.

jazzmusicHubby is a big fan of Jazz music, and he likes nothing better than to listen to a Jazz artist “take a song for a ride.”  I hate that!  To me, it just becomes a cacophony.  There’s another good word for you – it means “”harsh discordance of sound” or an “unpleasant noise”.  I love music.  When they veer off the main tune and just bang away on the instruments to make as much noise as possible, I don’t get it.  It gets on my nerves.

jarreauScat Singers imitate the cacophony with their voices.  “In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice” (en.wikipedia.org).  I never liked Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme or Al Jarreau. I can listen to Al Jarreau until he goes off on a tangent.  Then I’d like to punch him.


In Art, famous paintings in particular, I would rather look at a Monet or a Degas.  I can understand a painting that resembles something I can identify.  In abstract art, I can appreciate colors, but I’m always looking for identifiable shapes. Some art just confuses me. There’s an abstract sculpture outside the Federal building here in Rochester that always looked like a bent-up snow plow blade to me.  It’s called “Equilateral Six”.  I don’t get it.

equilateral six

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.


 I have trouble with Poetry sometimes.  I keep trying to make it rhyme in my head when I read it.  I’m also a fast reader.  If I read poetry too quickly, I lose the meaning.  If I go back and re-read and take my time, I can usually figure it out.

Things that are abstract are left to the viewer’s interpretation or imagination.  There is no right or wrong answer.  It is whatever you want to make it.  Maybe that’s why I never liked essay questions on tests.  The answer is left up to me. My first response to essay questions usually is “I don’t know, and I don’t care.” The only problem with that response (were I to write it down) is that the teacher’s answer to that would be a zero.

Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.

~George Scialabba





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