Saturday, February 04, 2012


Dragon Mood? -- frustrated

Frustrated! That's the best word to describe how I'm feeling about the state of this blog. So much has happened in the past year and none of it is here, remembered, written about and celebrated!

First and foremost, I have a beautiful granddaughter, Margaret Emmeline, who was born July 19, 2011 in the waning hours of the day. She is now six months old, sitting up, two little tooth buds busted through on her lower gums and with the cutest tuft of dark hair on the top of her head that a Kewpie doll could envy.
Welcome to the world, Maggie!

A little gem from Aunt Doris

Dragon Mood? -- happy

Good morning! I talked with Aunt Doris this morning to sing her Happy Birthday and visit a bit. We talked about the usual things, but I got her reminiscing about the past and unexpectedly, this little gem came forth:

On the occasion of Aunt Doris’s 88th birthday, talking on the phone, I asked her if she remembered her and her mother, Granny, making birthday cakes when she was a young girl.

“Oh yes,” she replied.

“You didn’t have box cake mixes back then, did you?” I asked.

“Oh, no, we had to make everything from scratch, you know.”

“Did Granny like to cook?”

“No, she didn’t like to cook at all,” Aunt Doris replied. “See, doing the laundry back then was a big job. We didn't have machines back then. You had to build a fire under those black cast iron pots and heat up the water real hot so we could get our clothes clean. It was a big job. So Mama hired a black lady who lived nearby to come and do the laundry on Monday. She got done early, so Mama asked her to cook dinner. We all sat down at the table and Daddy wouldn’t eat. We said both our prayers and Daddy just sat there, quiet and wouldn’t eat."

“Do you think he wouldn’t eat the food because it was cooked by a black woman?”

“Maybe that was part of it, but he didn’t want Mama to stop cooking. He sat there the whole time, ‘til we were done and wouldn’t eat. I thought that was kinda silly of Daddy, but he wouldn’t eat.”

To me, this corroborates another story that I have heard: that Granny (Hermione), from the Moerbe family, was used to a more comfortable life. The Moerbes had more money than the Kunzes and felt that Hermione had married below her 'class' when she married John. The fact that Granny hired a woman to help with the laundry perhaps wasn’t unusual from her family’s experience. John protested Hermione using hired help to cook, even though he knew Hermione didn’t like to cook, so he refused to eat. I speculate that he didn’t want Hermione getting in the habit of paying someone else to cook for their family.

And the silence, and Aunt Doris's memory of implied refusal to talk about it feels so authentic to the Kunze family's reputation for little (read poor) communication.
Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed hearing it from Aunt Doris. I wish we had a way to 'mine' the treasure trove of memories all these elders have hidden in their minds.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Big Ten tourney Saturday afternoon

Dragon Mood? -- hopeful, yet nervous

Gearing up for THE game. Ahem, at least THE game for today!

Ask anyone and they'll tell you the MSU Spartans have had a weird and disappointing season. Ranked #2 in the nation before the season began, they have struggled mightily and up until this past week, were even in danger of not making the NCAA selection for the Big Dance. Oh my gosh!

Thursday night, they handled Iowa pretty easily to move onto the quarterfinals and meet up with Purdue. Amazingly, they got an early lead, held onto it and beat the Boilermakers 74-56. As the headlines announced, they pounded Purdue.

Now, I'm watching as they play their third game in as many days, against Penn State in the semi-finals. If they win this, they will play Ohio State, ranked #1 in the nation, tomorrow afternoon.

Go State, beat the Nittany Lions!

UPDATE: Halftime, tied at 26.

FINAL SCORE: Spartans lost, 61-48. Damn! :-(

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Dragon Mood? -- introspective

Yesterday, to avoid a long wait at a train crossing,I took some unexplored back roads to get home to the house in the woods.

The roads were powdered with snow, possibly slippery. I drove slowly, taking my time, focused on my passage over the unknown roads. In hindsight, I felt very much 'in the moment'.

The sky was overcast. I kept looking at the passing landscape as if I were going to (try to) paint it. Everything was grayed and flat, a matte filter over my eyes. The only shine I could see was the light bouncing off isolated wet, smooth areas on the asphalt road.

Everything in the landscape looked outlined in white, as if sugar-powdered with the lightest of Mother Nature's touch. All the bare foliage looked soft, in a multitude of shades of taupe, brown and gray, almost as if they were airbrushed. Soft, matte and monochromatic.

Other than the sound of my car, things were quiet. People's homes appeared dark and empty or more accurately, still. It was an hour or so before dusk and even then, I didn't see lights in people's windows. The stillness and quiet of those passing moments was almost palpable.

I felt an incredible sense of stillness and peace. An extra-ordinary experience ... simply driving home from errands.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Dragon Mood? -- thrilled and trembly

Words. I've had a lifelong love affair with them. I'll never give them up, never get over them. What can I say?

Here's one that I enjoy rolling around in my mouth before I release it to the world:
frisson: A moment of intense excitement; a shudder; a thrill.

As in,"The story's ending arouses a frisson of terror."
I don't know why I like this word so much but there's definitely an arousal factor there. Oh yeah! As the old saying goes, "There may be snow on the roof, but there's still a fire in the hearth." No truer words were ever spoken.

Frisson. YOU try using it just once and see what happens to you!
Dragon Mood? -- excited and cowed at the same time

Because I have far more things to report and share here than I took time for in December, I'm still in the catch-up mode. One highly anticipated change was and is my transition from 20th century phone technology to the 21st!

So, here's my old cell phone, a sturdy Samsung that served me well for over four-and-a-half years.

My old cell phone

My new phone is a Motorola Droid 2, operating on the cutting edge Android 2.2 operating system. (I imagine someday I'll look back at this posting and chuckle at my breathlessness for a then-antiquated technology! New today, out-of-date tomorrow, eh?)

I wasn't planning on buying a Droid 2. Beyond it being cutting edge, I heard it was a little big for a woman's hand, a little heavy perhaps. All true.

I was in a Sam's store, waiting while a prescription was filled, poking around in the store. A kiosk inside sells cell phones, a separate entity owned and operated by Radio Shack. I was actually looking for the HTC Incredible, another Android phone, when I noticed the price of the Droid 2. Ordinarily they were selling for $250- 300, but this one was listed at $49.97. Whahhh?

Turns out Radio Shack was having a 'special' that weekend, the weekend before Christmas, selling the Droid 2, applying rebates up front and then discounting it some more. I talked to the manager for a few minutes, asked him to set one aside for me, picked up my scrip and called S. We ended up revisiting the store later that day, purchased my Droid 2 and began a technological adventure that continues to this day.

See, cell phones used to come with 1/2" thick little user manuals that you could read and pour over, discovering and testing all the ins and outs of the phone. Not anymore. That's way too tree-killing for the 21st century. Now, the cell phone manufacturer gives you a 18"x24" piece of paper, printed on both sides, folded up like an origami Rubic's cube with all the basic info you need. After that, Google it. (chuckling) Oh yeah!

So, in a nutshell, I've struggled with the phone. While I like to think of myself as being pretty computer and software savvy, I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe for an old fart, but certainly not compared to the Gen X and Gen Y folks. Part of the issue is the lack of documentation. I've read online tutorials, watched YouTube videos, found a little "HELP" button buried in the Droid 2 apps (who'da thunk to look there?). I've consulted my daughter (who is a strong iPhone user and afficionado, not at all impressed with my fancy-schmancy Droid 2), along with S herself, who ended up buying a Droid X one impulsive trip to the Verizon store.

Slowly, day by day, I'm getting more comfortable and adept at using this phone. Not there yet, but I'm making progress. At one point, I was so discouraged and angered over some of its shortcomings, I thought about returning it (still within that 30-day grace period). Well, the grace period ended three days and so now, I'm stuck and committed to making this damn phone work.

And I will!

Fleeting and elusive

Dragon Mood? -- frustrated

You know, I'll be driving to work or driving home from work. Sometimes, I get these in the bathroom, taking a shower. Sometimes, it's in the middle of the night.

And this incredibly luminescent light bulb will go ON for me, inside the dark, mysterious recesses of my brain, and I think, "By golly, I need to write that down. I should blog about that!" Of course, at the time, in the moment, I'm convinced that I'll be able to retrieve that sparkly whit of insight like the snap of fingers. The sad reality is that I'm not. And then I let out this heavy sigh. Because one more sample of my (~ahem~) brilliance has been lost in the dark netherworld of my memory. Will I ever be able to retrieve it? Who knows?

On a more positive light, I DID remember enough to write this post. Yay for me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gray Tuesday

It's gray outside, cold, rainy, threatening to turn to ice.  This day rather matches my mood.  Not the best.  

The commute this morning was okay, but I'm a little bit worried about tonight. S had a 'mandatory appearance' at Cobo this morning (her employer is so heavy-handed about these sorts of things).  After than, she then must jump in the car and drive 90 miles for a late afternoon doctor's appointment.  AND then drive 90 miles back home to the pied-a-terre.  All while it's gray and raining and treacherously turning to ice.  ICK is all I can say.   And BE CAREFUL!  (sigh)

Note to self:  your hormone replacement stuff has worn out.  I can tell. You're bitchy and on edge.  Get some more hormones and rejoin the happy human race.

Maybe then the grayness will stop.  And the sun will come out.