Saturday, May 9, 2020

What We're Writing Week - a poem by the very late Julia Spencer-Fleming

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My apologies to everyone and my profound thanks to Hank, who put up a post this morning because I had completely forgotten it was my day. I had a perfect storm of what we might call Quarantine symptoms - I had a hard time keeping track of what day it was all this past week, I escaped from reality last night with a movie binge with my family, and then had a lengthy bout of insomnia in the middle of the night and didn't wake up until almost noon!

Which I will awkwardly attempt to segue into what I intended to post today -  the Reds were having a discussion about our various hair woes due to the shut down, and also the frustration we were all feeling about everything being the same, day in and day out, forever and ever, amen.

To which Lucy said, "Maybe I'll just dye my hair pink." It reminded me of that (somewhat overused) poem that beings "When I am old, I will wear a red hat," and inspired me to write this. 



When I am old, I will dye my hair pink
And wear inappropriately tight jeans
With orthopedically correct shoes.
I will tell boys they're sweet and kind
And girls they're strong and smart
I will call the surgeon by his first name
But the plumber will always be Mr.
I will tell my girlfriends everything
I will tell my husband what he needs to hear
("I don't care what you read, the doctor says to take it")
When I travel, I will go to Venice and Paris,
London, India, Indiana,
Buy the grandkids indulgent toys
Fill my cart with just organic foods
But watch TV on a twenty-year-old set
(the cat loves to sleep on top.)
When I am old, I will work, and work, and work
And if I stop, it will be for wine or tea and books
I will watch the sunset from beyond the edge of a novel
And at the end read everything I wanted.
Thanks for your patience, dear readers!

44 comments:

  1. Hearty applause for the poem, Julia! Love it!
    And hear hear for dying your hair pink, Lucy - I recommend rose gold stripes.

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    1. Listen to Kaye, Lucy. Kaye is the Queen of Whimsey (a nod to your book as well, Kaye).

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    2. I don't know anything about rose gold stripes, but would love to hear more!

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  2. Julia, thanks for sharing the poem. I was thinking yesterday of dying my hair Blue. LOL. The good thing about the punk rockers is that we now can get away with coloring our hair pink or blue or purple or whatever! Glad you could sleep in until noon. The latest I have been able to sleep in was until 8 am the other day. I DO need more sleep, though my body has its own mind!

    Which movies did you watch with your family last night? I finally got to see A League of Their Own about a women's baseball team last night WITH CAPTIONS!!!! I have attempted to watch it before on video to no avail because the video had NO captions! I watched the movie on CBS All Access, which is free for a month.

    Stay safe!

    Diana

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    1. Isn't it a fun movie? Dirt in the skirt, baby!

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    2. Diana, it was our Large Guest Boy's week to pick the movie, so we watched M. Night Shyamalan's UNBROKEN, which I hadn't seen in years. It's great - one of the early Shyamalan films before he got SO into the twist ending he stopped caring about everything that went before.

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  3. I'm delighted with a "late" post. My sleep schedule is probably quite different than most here. I habitually stay up until 3 in the morning and sleep until around 11. If I don't catch the Jungle Reds' post before I go to sleep, I'm going to be one of the latest, if not the latest, commenter on the blog, which means there's often no response or dialogue with what I post. It's my only complaint about an otherwise perfect blog, that the interaction seems to end so early in the day. I wish that the dialogue would go on all day. So, I do try to comment before I go to sleep, and then I come back and read all the other comments after noon. Joan and Mark are usually in there as the first two commenters, unless I happen to comment before Mark. It's always nice to see that continuity. Of course, they are West Coast commenters, which means that it might be late at night when they comment, but not the middle of the night like it is in my time zone, Central. So, dear Julia, your what you consider late post has actually given me a chance to address what for me is a lingering challenge of trying to post "on time."

    And, I enjoyed your poem, Julia. You have such great wit, which shows through in a poem or in the dialogue in Clare and Russ. Hank, thank you for your post, too. I did wonder if something was wrong when there wasn't a post until yours (sometimes I check when I wake up to go to the bathroom), and you reassured us that one of the things we hold to so dearly, this blog, was alive and well. Love to you, Hank, and you, Julia, for your posts and your care for all of us.

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  4. I love the poem, and the picture. I keep considering a blue streak or three myself.

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  5. Happy to read anything you post, whenever it gets posted! I am waiting ever so patiently for my hair to get beyond the 'no-color' stage, to silver. At least, I think it's going to be silver. Silver I can live with and might even jazz it up on occasion with a stripe of something splashy!

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    1. Flora, I colored for years until I couldn't stand it any more. I was delighted to find, when it grew out, my hair was silver.

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  6. Glad you woke up! (I honestly was having withdrawal without my early morning JR fix...) Part of my silver hair is already turquoise, and I do it myself, so I'm all for fun colors in our older hair.

    Love the poem, Julia. Don't forget the party at 4!

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    1. Back here to comment after the Absence of Malice party - so much fun!

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  7. At least, I hope that you feel better today. I like your poem.

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  8. I adore this poem Julia--you are brilliant even when late!!

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  9. Love the poem, Julia, and the ideas within. Glad you. got some well-deserved sleep. I struggle with insomnia myself, and it's a bear. Not the cuddly kind. And when I am old (which I couldn't possibly be yet!) I hope my poor nieces and nephews and all the scattered step-grands suffer from a bit of insomnia themselves, wondering what I'll be up to next, and if they're ever going to inherit that Mustang.

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    1. LOL, Gigi! I love the idea of you running around in a Mustang when you're in your eighties, driving the younger generation mad.

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  10. I'm glad to see both of the posts now, since I was really disappointed this morning not to find anything.

    I love the poem, Julia! My grandmother wrote a poem back in the day about getting old; it was about all the changes that come with age - losing your eyesight, hearing, car keys, etc. But the last line was the best: "I miss my mind the most." I wish I still had a copy of it since it's MY mind that is missing now.

    The weather here today is nice and cool. I have the windows and back door open. Our gardenia bush is full of blossoms and the smell is fabulous! Cloudy but no rain, although we really need it. My mood is sort of cloudy as well these days. Our governor is stopping all the stay-at-home orders beginning this Monday (except for a few things) but we haven't even begun to reach the top of "the curve" yet. So I am still going to stay at home except for necessary grocery runs. If I were brave enough to go into the store, I would buy either purple or hot pink for my hair, but I'm too chicken.

    Hoping all of you who are mothers have a wonderful day tomorrow. ❤️

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  11. I know how you feel, Julia, I hit my wall on Wednesday, just couldn't face work, so I didn't go. Just needed a day for me and only me.

    Noon Maine time is 9 a.m. California time. AT THAT TIME I WAS STANDING IN MY CHURCH WITH MY ARMS FULL OF FLOWERS! Yup, you read right, FLOWERS! The rector is broadcasting from the church tomorrow. This is my typical weekend for altar guild so I was asked to arrange flowers. He asked about the possibility of Easter type flowers. I always do roses for Mother's Day so he has a combination of both. I even create the flower ring for the Pascal candle.

    Now it's noon in California. Pink hair? Hmm, I'm still trying to get used to the dark brown that is taking over the blond I stopped using. I wonder if Edith's turquoise would be a good choice. I do have blue eyes, maybe it will be a nice mix. Grandma always wanted me to have reddish color added. No idea why but she was always bugging Mom to give me an henna rinse. Sigh. Off to arrange the left over flowers for me. I got a little time before the next book virtual event.

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    1. Deana, as someone who does virtual church on Sundays, I appreciate the brave souls who go in (one at a time) to the empty church to arrange our flowers!

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  12. Thank you for the poem Julia. I once dyed my hair purple. It was fun. Maybe time to do that again?

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  13. Bravo Julia! Points awarded to the Spencer-Fleming House for showing up! And, an extra 15 points for posting an original (to me) work of creativity and joy.

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    1. Thanks for grading on the curve, Lyda!

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  14. Your delightful poem demonstrates why y'all are the writers and I am the cook.
    My hair has gotten the old lady yellowing.. if I dye the top part purple, I will be wearing my university colors (U of Washington = purple and gold). we will see if I get that bored.

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    1. Thanks, Coralee. I am 100% behind coloring your hair to match your university or favorite team's colors. I could do Blue and Yellow (Ithaca College) or crimson and white (The Crimson Tide!)

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  15. Well done, Julia. But you are NOT old!

    I'm seriously considering purple, although I don't want to strip out what color I have.

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    1. Karen, my daughters have some spray-on stuff in colors for when they go out. You don't strip out your color because it's painted on top of it, and it washes out in the next shower.

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  16. Julia, can't blame you for sleeping in! It was in the 20's overnight here and when we walked the dog at 11:00 am, I wore my winter coat, hat and gloves and at one point, I put the hood up on my LLBean cause the wind is howling.

    I was really upset that there was no post this morning, silly me. I am just so glad that everyone is okay. Forgetful, is fine.

    My husband suggested that I dye my hair purple, but I have a ways to go before doing that. Love your poem. Happy everyone is fine.

    Julia, Karen is right, age is a state of mind.

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  17. Every JRW post is worth waiting for, and thank you for the poem, Julia. If hair dyeing must be done, then I vote for a colourful streak a la Edith and others. I hope the 4pm Absence of Malice event is going well. I meant to check in...#forgetful...

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    1. Back here after Absence of Malice, Amanda, and it was a great deal of fun!

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    2. It was great fun, and I think we should all go for the purple hair, streak or whatever

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  18. Glad I waited and very happy you showed up! No one knows or even cares what day it is so don't worry about that!

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    1. Judi, you're right about that.. everyday is "Blurbsday!"

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  19. I love this poem so much!!!!!! I'm going print it and keep it by my desk.

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  20. Sitting up late watching movies and sleeping in? Sounds good to me.

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  21. I watched Absence of Malice on replay and it was loads of fun -- to SEE you, Julia, Edith, Hank, Kristopher! Did I miss anyone? I'd sign up again and be on time next time.

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  22. This is lovely, Julia . . . I chuckled but there's a lot of truth in those words! [My granddaughter is the queen of dying hair in unexpected colors. On her, it always looks très chic!]

    The days really do run together . . . I often find myself checking the clock to see what day it is [my alarm clock displays the day of the week, along with the date, the temperature and humidity, and the phase of the moon]. It makes me feel rather silly, but I'm blaming my confusion on fifty-six days of quarantine . . . .

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  23. Thank you for the poem, Julia.

    JRW is the first blog I visit each morning (usually @4:30-5:00 am most days) so I was a little sad when your post was not there. I generally stop doing any blog postings after the morning, so apologies for the "day after" post.

    Yesterday's Absence of Malice event was a lot of fun! It was great to see you, Hank, Edith and others on-line and to interact with friends from all over.

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