Saturday, January 3, 2015


The new year is already three days old—and so is the month of January. Moreover, if you reckon your seasons by the calendar, we're now a full two weeks deep into winter.

Time flies. At least sometimes. It sure has sped by since mid-autumn. 

Leaves began to color. I started sawing and splitting firewood. Soon came Halloween, and shortly after—seems no more than a week or two—Thanksgiving…and the next day began the frantic rush into gift shopping, tree decorating, meals and parties and gatherings where your attendance was expected if not necessarily desired, then Christmas and (gasp a quick breath!) New Year's Eve which morphed into New Year's Day—whereupon down comes the last of the decorations, and suddenly…well, suddenly here we are.

That's time in full gallop—one mad three-month long sprint which leaves you over-fed, exhausted, broke, and more than a little stunned that you again managed to survive. Not that you would change a thing! For even during those most maniacal moments, when you felt like you'd been abducted by aliens while you slept, and forced to star in some parallel world's farcical comedy as the butt of every gage, joke, and pratfall…even then, there's some masochistic part of you that truly believes you're having fun.

And you were, in fact, actually having fun—though it takes a few months of rest and perspective for such an insight to come into focus. 

Which is where time in slow crawl earns its keep. We need the empty interregnum between the holidays just passed and those heading our way over the horizon—Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, or Easter, depending of how you define holiday, and what you choose to celebrate, though you might also throw a little New Orleans jazz and some red-beans-and-rice in there, too, with Mardi Gras. 

And spring…let's not forget spring! Doesn't time really creep along when January arrives, winter sets in, and you begin waiting for spring? I'm convinced that anticipation actually slows down time in direct, inverse proportion. The greater your lust, the slower time passes.

Ahh-h-h, time. Time fast and time slow. And in case you're wondering, we're not even going to get into that scientific theory which says time doesn't exist. 

We really don't have time for that!



Momcat said...

Maybe time exists and maybe it doesn't ...
Only time will

Out To Pasture said...

Quite the dissertation on time! Even though I'm now retired, I still remain somewhat rattled by time since it once snapped viciously at my working life heels. We were producing a monthly magazine and unmovable deadlines mercilessly harrassed myself and coworkers. But being a writer, you would be no stranger to deadlines!

Of course, let's not go into the sands of time running out on mortals of a certain age. Best to let the mind go blank and enjoy the view.

Happy New Year and Cheers!

Grizz………… said...


But if time doesn't exist, would we ever be able to tell…or would we need more time?

Grizz………… said...

Out To Pasture…

Do I know deadlines? Ha! Not just as a magazine writer—freelance, staff, columnist, etc. to the tune of some 3500 features, plus sidebars—but editor of several magazines, and owner/publisher of another, and an editor/publisher of regional books. One now bending my life and ways and sanity to newspapers and their vile deadlines! Oh, yeah…I know deadlines in every way, shape, and form—and can hate them eight ways from Sunday! Deadlines are like packs of ravenous hyenas, snarling, nipping, looking to rip you to shreds and lick your bones should you stumble from the prescribed lockstep. And if truth be told—and I know this from all my time spent on the other side of the desk—absolutely, positively necessary in order to keep slothful, unreliable, more-apt-to-go-fishing-than-work writers/wastrels like me from forthwith wrecking your publishing venture.

Don't get me started regarding deadlines. I might tell you what I really think about 'em!

Momcat said...

Kay from the office just asked me to ask you why ducks' feet don't stick to the ice. This question would be a case against time....if time exists, surely the feet would stick to the ice if the duck stood still long enough..there would be time for them to adhere..right?
Or maybe the duck does not stand still since the ice is so cold, in which case being stuck would tell us nothing. I think.

Re: your rage at deadlines...I hope you are not including my deadlines, because you have three acceptable days to fiddle around...where else do you find such leniency? :))

Your other question about time has me stumped!!

Grizz………… said...


The short non-freezing duck/geese/penguins feet answer is anatomical biology—how the bird's lower legs, feet, and cardiovascular system are designed, plus additional biochemical factors. I won't even try to give the long explanation other than to say it involves such rarified concepts as colateral circulation, reaction in the exothermic direction following the laws of thermodynamics (i.e., the binding of oxygen to haemoglobin), and so on. Kay is perfectly welcome to go wading through such esoteric texts and papers on her own. I suggest she simply think of them as wearing the natural equivalent of Teflon socks.

You thought I raged at deadlines? Nahhh, that wasn't rage. Or even a rant. Why, it was barely a manifestation of mild irritation. After all, I did admit deadlines were a necessary evil, given the usual blithe, laissez faire nature of the artistic temperament which occasionally permits us scribbler types to walk into walls and off cliff tops with our eyes wide open while our minds are focused on some interior personal world.

Time has us all stumped—and trumped.

Momcat said...

I walked off a 10-ft cliff once...of course I was wearing a life jacket ! Believe me, my thought s were focused!

Grizz………… said...


Ten foot isn't a "cliff," merely a high step-off. Every backwoods rambler I know who regularly seeks grouse, mushrooms, ginseng, and similar hill-country delights learns better and quits paying attention or keeping score to such paltry drops early on. Yes, toppling off such minor heights can be momentarily surprising and a bit jarring at the bottom. But their immediate terror quotient is nothing.

We pros know sheer panic requires a cliff at least 20 feet in height, which allows for a sudden gut-lurching weightlessness, the whoosh of air past your eardrums as you descend, and time to contemplate all those impact holes Wile E. Coyote made when lured into thin air by a sadistic Roadrunner.

No life jackets. No wings. But trust me, serious focus.

John said...

Jim, My folks opted out of that rat race when i was 12. Too much extended family expectations as to who hosted the whole affair last time. Too many hurt feelings and the entire year of making up for whatever slight was imagined.that year my immediate family began a anew tradition - we went skiing. A week to ten days in the Rockies, a tradition that I continued many decades into my marriage. now that I can not stand up to ski any more, staying in Michigan over Christmas seems so strange. Although I can see the scenario that you describe. I have become used to the holidays being a long drive half way across the continent, wonderful snowscapes in mountain settings, all of the sights and sounds of such travels, whichI miss desperately these last few years. For me that is the true Christmas season.

Momcat said...

If I already sent this, chalk it up to geezerhood.... I was writing and it disappeared...
Excu-u-u-se me for being a pitiful novice at the time, but I was uber-scared to take the plunge..I have it on DVD. It was a rafting trip on the New River. I wasn't going to do it, but at the last minute, I knew I had to, so
I scurried up the rock and joined the line of people who all said the same two words (you can guess) as we flew into the air and sunk beneath the water. I did everything the guide said not to do...went to the side and clung to a rock. I didn't get pulled under though. That happened when the raft overturned later and we all fell out. I have a Photo of my foot sticking up out of the water. Our singles leader saved my sorry self. But, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Grizz………… said...


I was an only child. But my mother was the third-eldest of seven kids—three boys and four girls—and my grandparents, her parents, lived just up the street. Mom's brothers all lived in a neighboring state; her sisters lived nearby. All were married, most had kids. This collection of aunts, uncles, and cousins were my extended family. And we were a very close family. For the first third of my life, Christmases were celebrated at Grandpa's and Grandma's. The "boys" drove the 300 miles and brought their families. My aunts and their husbands and kids came from their corners of town. Maybe 20-25 people on a given year…and Christmas began about 5:30 a.m. and lasted until late in the evening. One big joyous all-day celebration.

But I never realized until much later how unusual as a family we were in that there was never an argument or harsh words, no one ever got mad at anyone. Not on Christmas or anytime, ever. I watched them interact for twenty years, and after my grandparents died, watched Mom and her brothers and sisters interact on a daily basis and I never once knew them to have more than a mild disagreement. Mom and her sisters talked on the phone several times daily, and visited several times weekly. The brothers phoned each sister weekly (back when a long-distance call was a BIG DEAL) and everyone carried on a written correspondence of post cards and letters.

They were extremely close as a family, they truly loved and cared for one another, they were friends, people of faith and goodly nature, full of humor…and nothing ever changed that or got between any two of them for even a minute. And I know how impossible and unbelievable that must sound. It's nevertheless true.

Now I said all that to say this—and please don't take this personal. I DO NOT mean it that way. I'm simply saying my perspective is obviously different—and different because of how I was raised. But in spite of any impression I might have given in my post or comments, the fact of the matter is I truly, dearly love Christmas and all the hoopla that goes with the entire celebration—from shopping to various get-togethers to tree-decorating, carols, baking and cooking, and being broke and exhausted when it's all over. Yes, I'm glad for a rest afterwards—but I wouldn't trade Christmas—its meaning and joy and magic—for all the gold in the world. I adore Christmas. To me it is the best day and season and event of the year, the celebration of celebrations. Christmas is about faith and family, joy and wonder, and human nature at its very best. To opt out of Christmas would be to opt out of life.

Again, this is me I'm talking about…not you and how you feel and what you believe and choose. I'm just trying to get it right, set the record straight. And I can understand how that long cross-country drive might be an important part of your Christmas pattern, and something you'd now miss.

Now that Mom and Dad, my grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles and most of my cousins are gone, and it's just me and my Ladylove and whomever among our immediate family can make it here to share Christmas, I miss the holiday noise of that loving and laughing, wonderful crowd I knew who filled the days and season and my memory banks with a joy and magic and heart's sweet delight of celebrating that birth upon which all the world hinges…a time and place and feeling I'll never forget.

Grizz………… said...


Let me get this straight…you jumped rather than fell? Into a swimming hole? Wearing a life jacket? Along with other folks doing likewise? And you wish to relate that with taking a sudden, unexpected tumble off a cliff? Nope, disallowed. Can't equate a conscious decision with a no-warning calamity.

Making that choice changes everything.

You jumped with a reasonable expectation of not only surviving, but surviving uninjured. You WERE NOT all jumping off that modest cliff like vest-wearing lemmings as part of a mass suicide; just pushing your personal envelope a bit and having fun. Like jumping off the roof of a garage or barn as a kid. Fear overcome by self control and logic. A calculated scare.

Falling off a cliff is NOT a decision, not a choice to "push the fear-of-heights envelope" a bit. You are just abruptly there…far above the ground (not water) with gravity rapidly compelling you in its downward embrace. No picking out your landing spot. Just a quick SCREAM WHOOSH THUD! And then, depending on whether or not you need to regain consciousness, comes several long moments of personal consideration wherein you flick your eyes from side to side, checking your surroundings, deciding whether they look familiar or more like the landscape of the hereafter—and once that's settled, you attempt—still without a smidgen of movement—to assess the state of your body, the extent of injuries, while wondering if that wetness on your backside is damp earth, seeping blood, or an inadvertent act unbecoming to a he-man.

Nobody captured your fall on DVD. And once you're upright—in pain, not in pain, bleeding, skinned a bit, stove up, sore, bruised, knocked silly, with hopefully not too much broken—you get back to your feet (more or less, depending), perhaps pop a few pain meds, take time for a spot of first aid bandaging, thorn-extractions, wound sterilizing, and either call for help on the cell phone, gimp off back to the truck and the nearest hot tub, or else dust your sorry, careless carcass off and resume whatever it was you were doing—though with a heightened awareness of footing, and a reminder that the next time you see clouds UNDER a nearby bush, it's probably a good indication there's a cliff nearby.

Momcat said...

I can't decide whether you are extremely logical or just plumb crazy out of your mind!! lol!i don't know that I intellectualized the situation At the time... I may have had time to think that I have to do this and make great strides toward overcoming fears In general... After all, when I was a kid, I was fearless to the point of climbing too high in a tree......but, when you get down to it, I JUST JUMPED into the dang river, hollering, Oh, ----! (A primal reaction)

Anyway, you had me laughing heartily...not that I didn't take it seriously.
By the way, that trip was only nine years ago...

Momcat said...

By the way, a "he-man" wouldn't need a pain med! I found a hole in your impeccable logic. Whee!

Grizz………… said...

Momcat x 2…

"I can't decide whether you are extremely logical or just plumb crazy out of your mind!" Well, I've spent most of my life wondering exactly the same thing…and do not yet know the answer. I always think I'm the former. But when I look back and reconsider I'm regularly appalled to realize the latter seems the more likely.

Re. your imagined "hole" in my logic:

Yes a he-man would…every old he-man saddle-poke cowboy I ever saw was apt to partake of several swigs of "snakebite remedy" when digging an arrow or bullet out of his own body. Same with hardboiled he-man detectives. And soldiers if they were on good terms with the kindly ol' supply sergeant who could always be counted upon to have a bottle or jug handy.

Why, some he-men even gulped down multiple doses in a savvy, pre-pain measure, because they were in full anticipation of being hurt—and being smart he-men, wanted to get a jump on alleviating their forthcoming misery.

No, mam…pain meds—liquid or pill—and he-manliness go hand in hand. Otherwise we'd scream like girls.

Momcat said...

You did it again..I'm laughing too hard to write. I'll buy the hard liquor part, but I can't see John Wayne or Hemingway popping a sissy aspirin.

Anyway, I think a "real man" should be admired for
"Crying like a little girl" if the occasion calls for it.
Not only admired, but comforted.

While you're at it, define "he-man" in 10 words or less.

It would kill you if I were right once, wouldn't it? Haha

Grizz………… said...


Well, once again I must correct your erroneous assumptions.

Who said anything about "sissy aspirin?" You're inferring pain med, while I'm implying PAIN MED! Big kahuna pain meds. Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin, etc. Pain meds which often have poppies in their formula—the class and strength of meds they give you in the E.R. when you're gritting your teeth around a thick hickory stick your caring friend has thoughtfully placed crossways in your mouth, a hurt which causes your eyes to keep wanting to roll back in your head, and those occasions when you're rather concerned that bit of bloody stuff poking out of your gaping wound is bone rather than debris. Real he-man situations calling for real he-man pain meds…of which, one or two are invariably part of the first aid kit among experienced gonzo outdoorsmen. Not because we ever go along popping them like gummy bears, but because history has taught us the likelihood we might need one or two to get us out to real, professional help—and any remote chance of possible liver damage is not at the top of your list of immediate priorities at such times, nor is there the least danger of addiction.

Alas, your "crying like a little girl" comment is more troublesome, especially for an editor, as it assumes several things, the first being that "crying" and "screaming" are applicable synonyms. They are not. Arguable in some cases, perhaps, but not here. If I would have meant a sound often accompanied by tears—a physiological response to feelings of sadness, joy, or great relief—I would have employed cry. And I do think he-men can and should occasionally cry; the stoic, silent, emotionally flat-lined Neanderthal is not my idea of he-man, either. But I didn't say cry, I said scream…as in terror, fear, wet-yourself panic. Which was what we were discussing. My phrase was probably a bit sexist, but it did not mean I think he-men must lack a real depth of feelings about certain things—feelings sufficient to bring tears to their eyes on occasion. Real he-men aren't uncaring brutes. Wrong assumptions all around.

He-man in 10 words? Honest, courageous, compassionate, loving, responsible, thoughtful, modest, God-fearing, lighthearted.

And no, it wouldn't kill me if you were right once. However, should that unlikely event occur, I would feel compelled to beg forgiveness of all my Irish antecedents who expect a glib kinsman to invariably hold their own via rejoinders of sparkling wit and blarney. The title of Fellow Incorrigible is not awarded without merit.

Momcat said...

Yes! I really got to you! You far exceeded my expectation with your responses ... I love it!

I think John (Marion Morrison) and Ernest would be appalled at your definition of a he-man. However, I think it is wonderful, beautiful!My idea of a true he-man as well.

Although John did get pretty mushy with Maureen O'Hara in "Quiet Man," one of my favorites.
And of course Ernest loved cats, as long as they were polydactyl (my Capt. Midnight had six toes, which I was thrilled to discover,) which cancels out some of the bravado stuff. He was what he was, including a real writer. My granddaddy also was a bombastic, large man with a huge case of big guns also .. reminded me of Hemingway.
I may admit that I sit corrected about the he-man pain-killers. YOU know I was kidding anyway.. I know you are a very kind, sweet man, but it is great fun to raise your Irish!

Now, your final paragraph has MY Irish dander up. I take umbrage to "However, should that unlikely event occur" indeed!
You seriously underestimate my prowess! I am the wolf!

But - SERIOUSLY NOW --- I really admire your kindness and your caring words to "Out to Pasture" - he seems like a very nice person. And you are a very a fine human being ... most of the time!

Grizz………… said...


Frankly, I'm not so sure John or Ernie would be as appalled as you imagine.

Nor do believe Hemingway loved only 6-toed cats. Some of his Key West cats were, I know, polydactyl, and some of those in Cuba, too. But I don't believe all were. Plus there was Black Dog to consider. And his affinity for bears, mutual, apparently. It's become fashionable to denigrate and dismiss much of Hemingway the man, and extension, the writer in our modern times. And he certainly had his faults. But could also be a loyal friend, according to many…though he didn't particularly covet friendships with the rich and famous—though the did with him—and he had little like or respect for the literati and those who scribble "interior" works. He was a man of movement, action, land, country, blood—elemental, and more capable therein than almost any other writer I know about. It wasn't all false bravado. And almost the whole of modern literary style hinges upon his impact.

Thank you for your kind words. I'm not always nice or good or right—or even thoughtful. I break my own standards with regularity. But I truly hope I didn't offend "Out to Pasture" in any way as that certainly wasn't my intention. I debated whether to say what I did, but I just wanted to make clear that in spite of my ragging about it jokingly in a post, I really do enjoy Christmas in its entirety—because, fundamentally, I believe in what it represents and celebrates.

Of course you, friend, editor, and keeper of cats…you cannot take umbrage at my observation, because your Irish dander must give way to your German logic and you know the truth when I speak it. ;-)

Momcat said...

If yo hadn't brought up the German, I might have have left you the last word!

Sorry - I was thinking of Hemingway's preserved Florida home for six-toed, free-roaming kitties.
And I have a confession to make ... Mention of John Wayne and Hemingway were nearly certain to set off my former, dead (No, I did not kill him!) husband, a highly intelligent high school principal, into an angry diatribe, because I once dared to compare him to them when he was acting a certain way a macho jerk! I'm peace-loving sort. So I tend to overreact to them, when in fact, they both have brought great pleasure/entertainment to me through their talents.Please forgive me - we are ALL many-faceted!!!
(And I do love dogs also... I feel I can't leave one at home since I am gone to work so much. What a waste of a fenced yard when there are so many in need of love and a good home...)

Hm-m-m- Seems another discussion is on order ... As you know, I didn't ask for German blood. I always thought of that as my least-desired influence in terms of my personality composition. The only time I recognized logic in it is when it kept me from acting on the wild,free-spirited, fun Irish side. There was a time I thought of the Irish as crazy, lovemaking, fighting fools, but then, the more I learned about them, the more I love that Irish influence and desire strongly to go there .. the first stop on my bucket list!

I'm exhausted ... we have certainly kept the old synapses jumping ... thoroughly enjoyable, but --- please, please forget I ever told you about the German blood! Remember the Cherokee I got from my dad, instead!

Oh, I just noticed a contradiction in this missive..see if you can find it!

Grizz………… said...


It's my blog, I can always get the last word if I want.

You know, back in the 1960s, when I first visited Hemingway's Key West home the whole island was pretty low-key, especially in the autumn off-season. Nothing like the crazy, crowded, expensive Key West of today. The folks who ran his lovely old place—on Whitehead St. if memory serves—where he lived with his second wife, were happy to send you home with one of the descendant cats…or a pair if you so desired. I came close to bringing one home on at least two occasions—and I looked several of them over pretty well. And I'm almost sure at least some of those cats did not have six-toes. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Forget that German blood? Nahhhhhhh!