Lalochezia lal·o·che·zi·a (lāl’ō-kē’zē-ə) n. Emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language.

One day, I was at my parents house and needed to store some kind of food. (I’ve forgotten what.) I had a container and was sitting on the floor going through all the lids that had accumulated in the cabinet trying to find the one that fit. And, as is my habit when I’m doing something that’s frustrating me, I was swearing to myself. A kind of sotto voce “shit, damn, hell, fuck, hell, shit, damn, damn, damn, shit fuck, hell…”

My father came in the kitchen, heard me and started laughing. I said, “What? It’s funny that I’m sitting on the floor look for a lid for this damn bowl?”

He said “No. I came in your room one time when you were about 4 years old and you were looking something in your toy box. And you were talking to yourself saying ‘shoot, durn, shoot, durn, heck, shoot, heck.’ It’s funny how somethings don’t change even though the language is more mature.”

I work in a medical lab and our work space is called a bench (even though it is a long table). And the benches in my department are about 3 or 4 feet apart. It is possible to be facing someone else while you are minding your own business doing your own work in your own space. Also, there are days that are a little stressful and my lalochezia kicks in to help me deal with it.

One day, my manager called me in to tell me that another employee had complained about my language. I asserted that I had not been swearing at my coworker. I had simply been doing my work and talking to myself as I did. “Also,” I said, “if she has never heard those words, how does she know what they mean? And if she does know what they mean, clearly she has heard them before and I haven’t been giving her an accidental education.” I thought about it a minute and said “And another thing. If we were that close to each other that she could hear me, why did she need to come complain to you? Why didn’t she just day ‘Kitty! Shut up! You’re bugging me.’? I probably would have.”

Sometimes, I add an extra “fuck” to my conversations at work when she’s around, now.


When I was 14 or 15, a frequent habit in my family was to go to church on Sunday and then have our big meal, usually in the dining room instead or the breakfast nook off the kitchen. It wasn’t always a huge feast that my mother had spent hours over, just the biggest meal that was getting fixed that day. It could very well be chicken salad and pimento cheese with choices of bread or crackers and some chips.

But, one Sunday when we came home, she got stirring around in the kitchen and shooed me out when I came to help. I didn’t argue. I didn’t get let off that hook very often.

After a while she called us into the dining room, where there was nothing on the table except napkins, some silverware and glasses of tea. She was clearly pleased without herself as she told us to sit down and whisked into the kitchen.

She came back with salad plates holding steamed artichokes. And she brought little dishes of melted lemon butter.

We were baffled. She sat down and showed us how to gently pull the leaves off and scrape the tasty bits off with our teeth. My sisters and I had a blast dipping in the butter. My parents seemed to think it was fun to enjoy their artichokes and to watch us having a big time. Eventually, we got down to the choke. She showed us how to scrape off the fuzzy part and cut the heart into bite sized pieces to eat the best of the artichoke.

When we had all finished, she whisked the plates and artichoke debris off the table and banged around in the kitchen for a couple of minutes. Then she brought in bowls of Campbell’s soup and a plate of peanut butter and honey or jelly sandwiches (which was a fairly usual lunch for us).

I looked at my soup and said,”I’m not complaining about the meal. Soup and sandwiches is great. But, it’s kind of anticlimactic after the artichokes.”

She almost looked sheepish and said, “I rarely see fresh artichokes at the grocery and when I do they usually only have 2 or 3. The other day they had 5! One for each of us. So, I got ’em. And if you ever find yourselves faced with one, you’ll know what to do with it.”

So, that’s my mother.


This photo was taken to mark my second birthday. My father had turned 24 the previous April and there was chocolate cake.

little kitty

I have always loved chocolate cake. And I decided that I wanted a piece of that birthday cake. So, I pushed a chair over to the kitchen counter and cut myself a slice.

I don’t remember where I got the knife. What I remember is standing on that chair eating the slice of cake that I was holding in my left hand and holding the knife with my right hand. My mother walked passed the kitchen door and didn’t register me standing there for a second. I suspect that the horrified expression on her face when she backed up to look in the kitchen is what welded it to my mind. As I recall, she swooped in to pick me up and relieve me of the knife while I diligently chomped away.

About 50 years later, she asserted that children have no memories of any time before they are 3. I asked her how old I was when that happened. She said, “You couldn’t possibly remember that. You were only about a year and a half old!” I said, “You never told me that story in my life. I even remember the dress I was wearing. It was a baby blue dress you had smocked.”

Her jaw dropped. She said,”I guess you do remember.”

Looking for ice

When my Nanny died, we all had to travel to the funeral. NONE of her children or grandchildren lived nearby. So, we were all piled up in a hotel and taking care of the business of getting her buried and as much of the household stuff taken care of as we could.

People brought food to the house, omigod the food! We did NOT have to worry about what to eat. Or drink. Bottles of soda and jugs of tea came in, too. But, her freezer couldn’t handle the load. There were 12 immediate family members, plus friends and extended family coming by to offer condolences.

So, my husband, brother-in-law and cousin’s husband made an ice run. When they came back, they were all hurting themselves laughing.

The first Kwik Stop place they went to didn’t have an ice chest out front, so they went in to ask if they even carried ice. The girl behind the counter drawled, “Naw, we don’t have ice, but we got come nice night crawlers.”

Because those 2 things are interchangeable. :joy_cat:

My dad died

I believe in the Big Bang and I believe it is the breath of God and it is God. Exhale creation, inhale entropy. And it is all Now. That part of the Now that forms into Ingram is part of Us before we are born and part of Us when we separate out of the moment we inhabit as individual particles and return to the greatness of All. And the part of Creation that was his life is still happening.

I am still laughing with my grandmother. I am still gossiping with my dad. I am still holding my infant son and I am still fucking up all they ways that I did that, too. And my future is unknown to me, but it is already happening, too. Not as it is supposed to happen, simply as it does happen.

So, that part of the liturgy that talks about “as it was and is and evermore shall be” really works for me. My dad is with me forever, I just can’t hold his hand any more.  The particle of Now that is “me” misses that and cries sometime.

I do not believe that the Breath and God are separate.  I believe Singularity.

House work

A friend on Ello posted about getting ready for a familial visit and, as happens, it put me in mind of a couple of shifts in my brain about household maintenance.

Once upon a time, when I was a young lass with no washing machine, a friend offered to let me do my laundry at his house. I was delighted. As I was trying to fold the fitted sheet and bitching, he said, “Is that what you want to be able to look back on at the end of your life? That you could fold a fitted sheet?”

I folded it into something that resembled a square and put it in the laundry basket. I have never worried about it since. As long as it will go in the place I need to store it, I just don’t care.

Another time, when I was grown, I was visiting my parents. Both my sisters and their families were there, too. I don’t remember how we got on the topic. At the time, I had a house keeper come every couple of weeks to help keep the big stuff done. And if my parents were coming to see me, I made sure that it was the weekend after the cleaner had been in. (I’m not stupid.) And she called me out on that. I laughed because I didn’t care. But, then she made the comment that none of her daughters were very good house keepers. And my younger sister’s jaw dropped. She thought she had managed to live up to our mother’s expectations.

My parents live in a retirement community and have white furniture, white carpet and no appliances on the counter top in the kitchen because they don’t cook. They have a cleaner come in every Wednesday. To an apartment that never, ever is dirty.

I don’t even want to live up to her expectations. Having had a spotless house is not what I want to look back on.

I think there are still bits of espresso on my kitchen ceiling from an explosion when a friend was visiting. I have had parties that took up my whole back yard. I have slept in my hammock under the stars. We had a scotch and waffle party, one time. My son helped me build a labyrinth in my back yard and that labyrinth lured Chuck into my life. I have tried beekeeping, but they don’t can’t thrive in our neighborhood. This yard blooms almost all year ’round. This house has been full of laughter and tears and spilled wine and hugs and shouts and good food and love.

And I don’t care if it isn’t clean enough to suit someone who doesn’t live in it.

Ruining a steak

I saw this graphic on FaceBook this morning and it made me think of my grandmother:


Kate grew up in the country. Her father was a farmer with a third grade education. They didn’t always have a lot of ready cash, but they were never, ever hungry. It was kind of a shame that she didn’t like “vegetavles,” because they were abundant. She was a bread-and-meat kind of girl. And, when she was old, she enjoyed going out for dinner to a steak house.

I took her to a Western Sizzlin’ or whatever equivalent was in Morganton, NC, one time, and freaked out the guy taking our order when she asked for a filet mignon cooked well done. He said “It will be a charcoal briquet if we do that.” She insisted that was always how she had her meat cooked. He found his manager to deal with her because he was at a complete loss for what to do. The manager said, “We can butterfly it and cook it that way, but a filet is too think to make it well done and still be edible.” I said that would be fine.

When it came to the table, she was delighted. It was the best steak she had ever had.

Sometime after that, I took her out for dinner, again, and, again, she ordered a filet cooked to death. The server got this appalled expression and started to say something. I stopped him, smiling, and said, “Just have the kitchen butterfly it and cook it that way. She will be delighted with it.” He kind of shook his head and wrote down the rest of our order.

And she was delighted. I was, too. It made me happy to have the ability to make her happy and de-stress the people who were helping me do that.

No godliness here

I think you should be able to find the floor. I think vermin should not be encouraged. When there are big pieces of dirt, they should be removed.  That’s is, for the most part, my requirements about house cleaning.

This translates into dishes in the dishwasher as soon as possible (cooked on food soaking for no longer than one night’s sleep) and clothes going in the hamper as soon as they are taken off.  Old wrappers, tags from new clothes, empty cartons and boxes go into the trash or recycling bin immediately.  This keeps things, for the most part, picked up, making actual cleaning easier when the time finally comes.

My mother is a fan of what I refer to as “cleaning invisible dirt.”  She wants the bathroom cleaned every week.  I am fine with waiting until I see soap scum or whiskers in the sink.  Or when company is coming.  I dust when I see dust, too.  Not on a schedule.

When I was young, I put more effort into living up to my mother’s standards.  But, I was doing laundry at a friends house one day and struggling to fold a fitted sheet.  And bitching because it was something I have never been able to do with any ease.  And he asked me if folding a fitted sheet was something it was important for me to be good at.  Was that a thing I wanted to be known for when I was old?

Wow!  That was surprisingly freeing.

So, cleaning can wait a while.  But, because I don’t want to live in filth, it does eventually come.  And I do have standards of how much is too much.  Fortunately, my husband and I have a similar level of tolerance.  Sadly, my son does not.  I suspect my mother sees my house in the same light as I see my son’s room.

The S-word.

When my son was 3and a half years old, he came home from daycare telling that a boy had gotten in trouble for saying a bad word.  

I said, “What did he say?”  And my child looked at me me like I was stupid.

“I can’t say it.  It is a bad word.”

“Well, you aren’t saying it as a bad word. You are just telling me.”

He cut his eyes at me like he wasn’t sure I wasn’t setting him up for trouble and lowered his voice. Mind you, there was no one else in our house.  

“He said the s-word.”


At this point, he was totally exasperated with me. 

“No, Mom.  He said,” and his voice dropped to a whisper, “‘shut up.'”

He didn’t understand why that cracked me up.  But, I did agree with him that “shut up” is a very rude thing to say.

a day in my life

Today, I am going to have lunch in Durham with my best girlfriend. We are going to the Mellow Mushroom because it is walking distance from her office and we like the pizza. We will get a Holy Shitake pizza and laugh a lot.

My husband has “gluten issues” and, apparently, dairy sensitivity. The quotes aren’t because I don’t believe it, but he doesn’t have a full blown allergy or, worse, Celiac’s disease, so he can have a little bit of either without suffering.  Because of this, he feels uncomfortable when he asks a waiter if he can have his pasta dish on rice instead, but then will share bread pudding dessert with me.  But he can have the bread pudding because he had rice instead of pasta.  However, he does get an unhappy stomach if he eats much of either one, so regular pizza is definitely out for him. This is why Carolyn and I very frequently have pizza together.  Also, Holy Shitake is awesome.

And yes, the ‘Shroom has gluten free crust, but it also has a lot of cheese and still makes his stomach unhappy.


This has been the year of new clothes. Sometimes, I just don’t care and then I run out of stuff that isn’t ridiculously shabby and it all needs replacing. My mother, the shopping addict, suggests that I shop more often so that it isn’t such a binge-and-purge kind of thing. This came out of a conversation in which I commented that I can never find what I want if I am actually looking for something but always find tons of cute stuff when I don’t actually need anything.

And the truth is, I hate malls, but I love finding stuff in funky little shops that have fun clothes. Since my parents live in Asheville, I should be able to go shopping with my mother, thus getting some good time with her, and occasionally find something to keep the shabby stuff moving out of my closet.

This year, I found 2 linen dresses that I intend to wear to death. One is sleeveless and “natural” colored, meaning beige. The other is long sleeved and dark grey. The great thing about linen is that it wrinkles so easily no one expects it to look anything other than rumpled. That’s a look I can pull off.

I am wearing the grey one out for pizza.


My husband teased me about not exercising for 2 weeks this morning. He’s right. I haven’t.

Exercise has never been something that I just do. I have learned to enjoy walking around my neighborhood, but I get sweaty and need to cool down and get a shower before I do the next thing in my day and that takes up 2 hours and that time commitment makes it easy for me to stall out.

For instance. I’m going out for lunch soon and I don’t want to get gross and have to shower before I go, so I intend to walk when I get home. If I don’t get distracted by planting some hellebores my friend gave me and it doesn’t take too long to get them in the ground. See what I mean?


And about the hellebores.  I’m not sure what pushed my button about those.  For a long time I was disinterested and then I decided I’d like to have some.  I have a friend who has a huge collection and he has given me ten that sprouted up in his yard.  They cross-pollinate and drop seeds so we have have no clue what these will look like when they bloom.

We have just under an acre of yard.  It is part of a development on an old farm property and all the lots are around an acre with houses pretty much dead center in all of them.   It has all the sun variations you could possibly want to grow things.

Around the house is FULL SUN!!!  I don’t think that requires any real explanation.  This is why we have a most excellent vegetable garden and some fruit trees.

The back third of the back yard is heavily wooded and there is poison ivy in it.  Neither of us is allergic to poison ivy, so that means we can use it.  But, it is weedy and over grown and will take more money and effort to be usable than either of us has been inclined to commit to it.  I had the underbrush cleared out when I first moved here, but crap has just grown back because I didn’t do anything to keep it from happening.

The front yard has trees by the road and I have planted more trees, so that place is where I can plant “partial shade” stuff.  Voila!  Hellebores.  We have begun a mulching project that will do 2 things.  It will give me a place to plant things that don’t need blistering sun and it will cut down on the area that needs mowing.

We had some mulch that wasn’t needed a couple of years ago and we dumped it between 2 smallish plants, killing the grass and acting as a test run for grass-killing-with-mulch.  It was effective so we expanded the spot.  It took 4 trips to the mulch store to get 6 scoops of hardwood mulch to do it.    We intend to do more, but it’s a good start and gave me a place to plant the flowers I had been offered.

This is my blank canvas:


The tree is a dogwood I transplanted from a friend’s yard, the bits of green are irises that were growing in an inconvenient place in the back yard and the bush is an Oriental Paperbush I got when I was in Charlotte one weekend,.  It is such a strange plant I couldn’t pass it up.  You can see my tea patch behind the maple tree on the corner.