I. Kant lie?

The philosopher, Immanuel Kant, would say unequivocally, that it’s never okay to lie. Lying  undermines the dignity of others, and, according to Kant, is always wrong.  Yesterday in my list of things I did during a power outage, I wrote that it was okay to lie. Let me expand on that. My daughter, who worries a great deal about her aging parents, called to say we should drive up to her house to spend the stormy day(s). “We never lose power, Mom.”

I demurred.

“I think we’ll be fine, but if we lose power, we’ll drive up then.”

I made that promise knowing full well that I had no intention of keeping it. Why did I think it was okay? First of all, I know she didn’t believe me, so that made it all right. Second, there was no way the power would fail if the weather wasn’t horrid, and there was also no way anyone in their right mind would venture out in the midst of a horrid snowstorm. Finally, both of us know that the man of the house, once he has settled in, would no more change his mind than would the sun suddenly set in the east.

That, however, wasn’t the only lie I told yesterday.

“Don’t open the refrigerator or the freezer. If we keep the doors closed, we will probably save the food.”

“Okay, I won’t.” Another promise I knew as soon as I made it I had no intention of keeping. A contiainer of my favorite Edy’s coffee ice cream was NOT going to melt without being eaten. After the first hour, I slipped the ice cream out of the freezer, grabbed a spoon, and ate it in the bathroom. It was delicious. I was not sorry. I’m still not sorry.

So, I guess I’m a moral relativist (if that’s the correct term). I do think it’s wrong to lie, but I do it anyway when it doesn’t really hurt anyone. Well, scarfing down all that ice cream did hurt my waistline, but that’s a different story.



When is it OK to…

When is it OK to:

Have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch AND dinner,

Read a book all day long,

Eat nearly a half gallon of coffee ice cream,


Drink wine before 5 p.m.,

Laugh at nothing in particular,

Measure the snow fall with a tape measure,

Play Tom Swiftys and laugh some more,

Drink more wine after 5 p.m.,

Brush your teeth without water,

Sleep on the floor in front of the fireplace,

Cheer when you see the night light works?

Answer: When the power is out (and the last one–when the power is restored.)



Is the storm over?

Last night I sat next to the fire and watched snowflakes flit across the window, back lit by the porch light. They danced and floated and raced to the ground. It was just beautiful. This morning I woke up and looked out expecting to see inches and inches of snow, but instead I saw mostly bare pavement on the driveway.

“Is the storm over?” I wondered. Nope. It seems that yesterday was just a preliminary. The big snow will be today into tomorrow. I wonder if I’ll think it’s “just beautiful” then.

My mother used to say that weather was one thing you can’t control and shouldn’t worry about. When I obsessed about the possibility of rain on my wedding day or rain on the outdoor Fourth of July party I was planning, she’d say, “Honey, what difference does it make? You can’t stop the rain. You’ll get married (have the party) either way.”

So, here I am many, many years later still not heeding my mother’s words but hoping that the weatherman and the radar and their predictions  are wrong! I have plans. I have errands. I have obligations. I’m tired of snow storms.

I talked to my youngest grandson yesterday. He can’t wait to build a snow fort again. “Mom-Mom, brothers will be home from school, too. Last time Daddy helped us build a snow fort and Callum and me ate sandwiches in it!”

So, I’ll think about my young grandsons and their playing in the snow. (I still hope the predictions are wrong though).


6 Words are not enough

Another Nor’Easter

Sleet, snow

High winds

That about sums it up. How about:

I’m tired

Of winter

Need spring

Nope. Not enough. The words do not express what I’m feeling. Let’s try:

Heavy snow

Power Outages

Dark homes

Better. Maybe I should be optimistic:

Good book

Fireplace glowing

Hot tea

OK. But I’ll only have hot tea if the power doesn’t go out. Stay optimistic:

Children laughing,

No School

Sledding time

Yes, sledding if it’s snow and not sleet. Be positive:

Snow covers

Smiling crocuses

Only briefly.

This, too, shall pass. Here’s to a happy snow day to everyone here in southeastern PA. Unless the weatherman is fooling us!


The end of the line

I’m In Bryn Mawr this morning on business. Really. Blood tests. I’ll catch the train at this station. It’s crowded when I arrive; I snag the last parking spot and make my way to the platform.

There she is, wearing that gorgeous chocolate leather coat. But this time she’s not alone. Standing next to her is a 6’ 2” sandy-haired young man in a camel cashmere chesterfield coat and what look like Farragamo shoes. They are chatting and smiling. I sidle up to them to eavesdrop, with my newspaper in hand, pretending to read.

“Don’t be nervous today,” she says. “You’re going to be great.”

“Last week’s presentation to the board went really well. Thanks for all your help. I can’t say it enough.”

“Stop thanking me. I would do anything for my baby brother.”

They both chuckle.

“Seriously, though, sis, I know this was a big deal. You got me that interview, and I want you to know I appreciate it.”

“Just do your best there. You really are so talented. We are all pulling for you.”

They are silent. I rustle the paper as I turn the page and fold it to read the editorial. The Inquirer seems to be on the side of the neighbors who are protesting Temple’s bid to build a stadium.

Here comes the train. Passengers snake their way to the cars. Mystery woman and her brother are just ahead of me. When we board, she turns and notices me with a nod.


“Thank goodness the train’s on time.”

We both smile. She and brother enter the car to the left. I do not follow them. Maybe it’s time for me to just live my own story. What’s with the stadium anyhow?

Half-a-logue Part III

I continue my half-a-logue with a snippet of pure fiction based on my very real commuter train experiences.

She boards the train in Bryn Mawr and enters my car. Our eyes meet. I immediately avert my gaze, afraid she’ll see the naked curiosity in my glance, sense my guilt at having contrived an entire scenario about her life based on half a cell phone conversation. Today she is dressed more casually: chic black wool pants, single-breasted knit blazer, silk scarf, ballet flats. She settles into the seat directly in front of me and begins texting. Her phone vibrates again and again. Text fly back and forth into the universe. I pretend I’m minding my own business, but that’s not the case. I’m beyond interested. Work? Family? Love life? I wish her phone would ring. Does she have different ring tones for different callers? What is wrong with me? Give the woman her privacy.

Between Ardmore and Wynnewood the train halts. “Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be a slight delay to allow the Amtrak train to pass. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

She makes a call:

“I’m going to be a little late. The train is delayed.”

“It’s Amtrak. Shouldn’t be too long.”

“No, don’t worry about that.”

“I sent all that on ahead. You should be fine.”

“If you’ve already started when I get there, I’ll just slip in the back.”

“You’re going to be great!”

“I’m off the entire day. We’ll talk after you get done there.”

“See you soon. I love you, you know.”

Amtrak roars past rattling the windows, and the Paoli Thorndale train chugs on—me to lunch at the Reading Terminal Market, and mystery woman to ?


Low tech or NO tech?

Those who know me know I’m low tech. Those who really know me would say I’m NO tech. My husband swears that my fingers on a keyboard presage disaster. I am forbidden access to his laptop, having once done something (who knows what) that reduced the size of his font to miniature proportions. I’m lucky that my blog displays a photo let alone links or tags. My friend tried patiently to explain how I could use my iPad to post to Two Writing Teachers. I know she was using words, actual English words, but what I heard was, “You just blah, blah, blah, and then hit copy. Then, blah, blah, blah, blah, and paste. It’s easy.” I’m sure.

The truth is that I don’t really feel motivated to learn these things. I’m satisfied to write, to post, to respond. It all seems to work okay from my very own laptop (except for the five or six times my post was dumped into spam). I’m like Blanche Dubois. I depend “on the kindness of strangers” when seeking to use technology in public. I’m a dinosaur, a Luddite, a pen and pencil kind of gal in a world whizzing along without me onboard. Even my 6-year-old grandson knows more than I do. Instagram? Tumblr? iPhone X? I still write letters on stationery, put 49-cent stamps on them, and use the US Postal service to deliver them to my grandchildren once a month.

“Did you have your own laptop when you were in school, Mom-Mom?”

“Uh, no. I did have a typewriter though.”

“Typewriter? What’s a typewriter?”

Maybe I’m not savvy technologically, but I can tell you all about  typewriters!