Thursday, July 25, 2019


My cat Ruby, a plump orange tabby, loves to bite me.

"Cut it out," I cry.

"It's just a little love bite." She biffs my hand with her paw.

"It hurts! You've got fur to cover your skin, but I don't."

"Just a little nibble," she purrs.

I consider. "If you break skin, I'm going to holler."

She hates it when I holler. 

The last time I hollered, she hid under the bed.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Drubbing DMV

A pink card in the mail started it. Time to renew my driver's license. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. 

Worse yet, it read: "More than 75 years old? You must appear at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in person."

Dread appeared. I squinted at the address. 2910 N 108th St. Wouldn't you know it, way out of my territory. 

Map Quest gave me one option: I-80 to I-680, both highways too fast for me to drive. Jitters popped up. A panicky Internet search showed me how to cross town on Center, go up 90th to Blondo, west on Blondo, take a right on 108th St. 

Then left into the DMV office. Left. That made me edgy. I'm a right-turn lady whenever possible.

But why "in person"? To test me? Must I answer their clever computer questions and then drive in a car with an inflexible DMV man. My heart dropped to my feet. 

"Don't worry," a friend advised. "Find a DMV booklet and cram."

I called the library. The DMV no longer printed booklets. I sweated as I turned to the computer. My Internet isn't friendly, but I found the "booklet." A download of 150 questions and answers for only $16.95. I grabbed it.

Hour after hour I studied questions and their correct answers, knowing my short-term memory would never recall them. If only I could take the actual test! Miraculously, at the end of the 150th question came a free offer to try a DMV "cheat sheet." I clicked.

Bravo! The actual test! Well, a list of 24 actual tests. 

I took one after another. Some I passed, but others I failed. Each failure stirred butterflies in my stomach. I knew I couldn't guarantee that I'd pass. That would depend on the questions chosen. So I gave up.

In the meantime, each time I drove my car, I imagined an obstinate DMV driver beside me. In his car, not my little Echo. Probably not a truck, but surely as big, so big I could hardly keep it in the lane. 

I knew, from test questions, that the first thing to do when I got in his car was to fasten my seat belt. I could do that. But how could I, an easily distracted driver, concentrate with his radio blasting?

"Keep your eyes on the road, Marilyn," I counseled. "Practice. Don't plow through that yellow light. Never exceed the speed limit, even if cars pile up behind you or dash around you." 

Desperation filled my days, and part of my nights. 

Would the DMV renew my license? 

What if it didn't? 

At some point, I decided I would drive without a license and hope not to get caught.

DMV day came. I crossed town, up 90th, over Blondo, up 108th in the left lane. Of course I missed the turn. Then I missed the possibility of a U turn. Finally I wheeled around to the office. 

The man at the DMV window handed me a long form. I looked for an empty chair among the 46 folks sitting there, a motley crew of various ages, sexes, and races. I sat and filled out the form. Then I waited and waited and waited, as I knew I'd have to do. 

I hadn't brought a book, planning to be contemporary and fiddle with my iPhone. As usual, I couldn't convince it to do anything I wanted to do, so I listened to a nearby conversation, looked at individuals and imagined how to describe them in words. I felt edgy, of course, but not yet frantic, even when a rock-hard DMV man hauled a kid out for a test. Still, my feet were cold. I shivered.

Someone called my number. I went in the back room. Sign here. Stand here and look at the camera. Credit card here. A few papers to clutch. "Your license will arrive in a plain envelope within five to six days."

What a deliverance!

But only a reprieve. 

I know that sooner or later heebie-jeebies will arrive about some other foolish thing. They're my periodic awards for being bipolar.  

Thursday, July 11, 2019


When you are so fortunate to learn, as I did, that you have Parkinson's disease, then you'll get to hear (from your friends) horror tales about late-in-life-Parkinson's.

You hear about the gal whose hands shake so badly she can't get food to her mouth.

You hear about the chap who can no longer speak, not even a whisper.

About the lady whose esophagus closed so tightly she choked to death.

About the guy who drooled so constantly he kept a little waste-basket on his lap to catch it all.

About the babe who couldn't stop tapping her fingers.

About the dude so rigid he fell down at least once a week

About handwriting that gets smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller..

Even Wikipedia gets in on it, telling me my Parkinson's life expectancy is between 7 and 15 years. I'll die when I'm 88 to 96 years old. Look at that. And I planned all along to live to be 104. Oh, well.

Here I've added my own little horror story, about early-in-Parkinson's-life drooling. It goes like this:


The thing
I hate most
about Parkinson's
is dro-o-o-o-ling
the way saliva balls
in a corner
of my mouth
thru my smile
skitters down
my chin 
Oh my God 
did anyone SEE?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


I hadn't written a poem since September 9, 2015, when my sweetheart, Jack Loscutoff, died. 

He and I used to compose erotic poetry, each hoping to top the other. Great fun. 

After Jack died, I published our erotica in JackJack & JuneBug: A Love Song in Poems & Posts. But I stopped writing poems. 

For three years I didn't even think about it. Then I attended Deirdre Evans and Jack Hubbell's monthly Poetry Salon where a spattering of Omaha poets take turns presenting their poetry.

I had plenty of old poems to read, 600 at last count, but performing my ancient poetry bored me. Reading someone else's work seemed evasive. Unfortunately, my current writing—books and blogs—ran much too long to be read aloud.

"What to do," I asked Deidre. "Maybe you have an idea."  

Her email came right to the point. "You are a writer, nu? Can condense blog to something shorter?" 

Her idea made no sense to me until I successfully abbreviated a blog, reducing its 365 words to 26 (see "The Flood," below).  

That cracked my writer's block. Now I'm composing poem after poem, each abridged from one of my longer blogs or books.  

The Flood


Oh lover mine
where have you
gone gone gone
leaving me forlorn
in my humongous
abandoned bed

my bare feet 
dangle wet
in anguish