Saturday, December 31, 2011

How can you not romanticize baseball?

After seeing Moneyball last night at the cheap show, I said to my husband, "I really want to like baseball." He laughed and nodded, he feels the same. For him the mitigating issue is the money, not unlike his detest of the commercialization of Christmas. Minor and farm team games are more to his taste. I, on the other hand, like the "idea" of baseball more than the actual game. The passion, the hard work, the strategy, the tradition, the ceremony! How witnessing a game is an event. The bringing together of generations, a grandpa teaching his grandaughter how to fill in a scorecard, coworkers bonding over a beer, little kids with gloved hands scanning the sky for pop fouls, tears of joy streaming down the cheeks of fans holding signs high as they profess their undying love. I want to like it, I do. But.... but.... oh, good Lord, it bores me so. Bring on the baseball movies, just spare me the game.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Just shy of eighth grade graduation, my mother asked me what colors I’d like for a quilt. Although I was a purple fanatic, I picked red. To this day, I do not know why. Each Christmas since, this red and white quilt has graced my bed, usually staying through Valentine’s Day, reminding me of my tiny, strong, artistic “Granma Klingler”.

As a small child, she frightened me. While my Grandpa was one to laugh and tease, Granma was often stern, correcting behavior and handing out chores even when she was the one doing the visiting! Not so much a whirlwind as a constant breeze, her hands were never idle. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, tending animals, canning, quilting, crocheting, sewing, baking, rearranging. As I aged, I began to discover the similarities between us. In earlier years, she played piano, was a fine colorist of black & white photographs, painted and sketched as well. Granma was not scary; she was busy. A manager getting things done, delegating tasks, coordinating outcomes, demanding as much from you as she was prepared to give herself. Before Stephen Covey, there was Granma.

While I inherited my Grandpa’s mirth, there’s still a lot of Granma lurking in my DNA. The German cleaning gene is obviously recessive, but these days my whirlwind is settling into that steady breeze, balancing work, family, music, garden and art. Most likely, I’ll never quilt. Luckily, I don’t have to. Granma Klingler’s work endures.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Childhood Christmas Memories

Childhood Christmas memories are shattered glass in my brain. Something bright flashes attractively, but it’s not all there. Perhaps that defines my love affair with this king of holidays, why it can never seem to live up to all expectations. Still, I reach back to those touchstones again and again, hoping. My uncle as Santa, even though the myth was never perpetrated in our house. The spirograph, Kenner’s psychedelic gateway drug for eight year olds. Gene Autry’s 10” Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer record fighting for turntable time with Dean Martin and Doris Day’s LPs. Christmas tree as nightlight. Curling mounds of ribbon with a paring knife. The smell of Mod Podge. A six foot aluminum tree in my bedroom, decorated with ornaments made from old cards, egg cartons and construction paper. S.O.S for breakfast.Fire at the Wild Goose Discount Center two days before Christmas. My mother cranking out scads of spritz cookies (a talent I never mastered). Dad listening to clay 78’s of Christmas songs in Polish, tears in his eyes. Silver spray painted cardboard angel wings. Singing for midnight mass. Big, hot lightbulbs on a cloth covered wire. Breaking the nativity's angel. Tinsel. Tinsel. Tinsel…. so much tinsel.