Thursday, August 16, 2018


Ah, the sweet smell of newly mowed grass ... it always gets to me...
It brings back memories of our lawn after Daddy mowed it. My older sister got to mow it sometimes, and then, finally, I was allowed to push the lawn mower. It was fun. It was hard to get the mower rolling, but wow, once I got it going I didn't want to stop -- I loved making a pathway in the grass.

A twig got stuck in the cutter blades. I had to figure out how to get it unstuck. Almost immediately, it happened again, and again -- twigs, pebbles, more twigs.

With all the stopping and starting, mowing became a big chore. I was glad when my sister told me, "You aren't strong enough to mow the lawn, Em."

Even so, that sweet-sweet smell -- it meant summer, no school, long days with me free to do whatever I was in the mood to do. Free -- what a feeling -- that feeling as if every day were Sunday.

It made me aware of time passing quickly, grass re-growing, needing to be mowed, which meant soon -- too soon -- the summer would end and the wonderful green would turn yellow and brown.

I got too-too busy and didn't see or smell any grass for a long time.

Now, I never see newly mowed grass except in television ads. Even so, I remember -- oh my yes -- I do remember, that sweet, sweet, sweet smell and it still gives me a powerful feeling that has to do with loving nature for giving us the gift of grass -- taking it away -- giving it back to us every summer.

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Back in 2013, I got a small pot of elephant ears, and sat it on my book shelf.

Calling it "plantee,"  I greeted it every morning and said goodnight to it every night.

By October 2015 there were 5 nice-sized elephant ears and 3 sprouts. I transplanted it with my husband's help (John Cullum's a good helper).

Using a large Plaster of Paris can, we filled it with potting soil, wood sticks and a straightened-out wire clothes hanger to support the 2 main stems, and placed it near fax machine in the hallway between our offices. With a desk lamp giving her sunshine, it was Plantee's home.

I greeted her as I crossed through the hallway to chat with John a dozen times a day. He began greeting her when he crossed the hallway to visit me.

If you work in a small office inside and faraway from people, a plant to love and cherish, and talk to, grows YOU like it grows the plant. John Held the Mac computer. I got behind the plant. And together we made this a photo of my flourishing Plantee last year.
Since Plantee was beginning to look like a tree, we headed for Home Depot in March -- bought a large pot and 2 bags of potting soil, made a mess of the hallway transplanting her but we were sure plantee needed a bigger home sweet home.

Here she is today. We figure Plantee is still adjusting.  (Double click the picture, the video starts slowly.)

If you have any ideas about this, don't fib -- let us know!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


John Cullum and wife Emily Frankel recall heading down the road spur of the moment, in their ancient second-hand Plymouth, with no plans or places to go.

Suddenly remembering an event, John exclaims, "Wow, those apple trees..." and the Cullums are re-living what happened.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


 My husband, John Cullum, a legendary performer, is currently being offered jobs for dying grandpas, and great-grandpas with Alzheimer's. His  age is more or less known, and producers feel if you're over sixty, you are old. J.C. would probably get more jobs if he gained 20 pounds and walked with a cane.

Picasso's haunted, sad-faced self-portrait of his older self is on the left. There are wonderful words about age in Shakespeare's plays. In all the arts, and in life, words like birds flitting around, and a-million/a-thousand new, true, cure-you things, are infecting people with AGE-ITIS.

It's what every one gets, sooner or later, before or after a birthday. Here's what I suggest -- little and big things you can do -- NOT to get it.

Starting now, keep away from ANY food, food supplements, pills, talk shows, advisers, therapists, knowledgeable friends, counselors, TV doctors, real doctors -- keep away from humans who say, "At your age you should... you shouldn't..."

ALSO, keep away from "I should be earning a good living." That's deadly. Also historical summaries: At age (?), others in my field were already established. Beware of "a person my age shouldn't wear..." Beware of "a person my age can't..."

If you're trying to sell a book, play, painting, style, a concept -- if you're trying to land a job, go to college, learn a new language, craft, skill, technology, do not think about age. Do not wonder if anyone else has tried, at your age -- to become a famous, successful, income-producing whatever... Just do it!

Watch out for age-cliches, age-rationales, age as a factor. NEVER think at my age I need a flu shot, special vitamins, must keep my weight down, exercise, walk, jog. It's okay to be aware of bladder control, but "why do I forget things, why didn't I hear that" -- THAT will get you to conclusions about how often you need to see the doctor, the dentist, the optometrist.  See doctors if, or when you absolutely need to.

Also, if you're registering or joining something that asks your age, lop off a large chunk of years. If you can't lie, then skip joining whatever it is.

The World Science Foundation recently said "Age 90 Is the new 50.” I don't think 90 is the new anything, but if age 90 IS the number that says you are old, think of Betty White, and Warren Buffet, and if you're  actually approaching the 80 number, don't utter, mutter, or murmur it to anyone, including yourself.

So what about celebrating your birthday? I suggest DO NOT. If you get birthday cards, get the return addresses from the envelope, and throw the cards out. You can't stop people from saying "happy birthday," but a bunch of people singing "Hap -py  B i rth- day To Y O U" should be studiously avoided.

Aging is easier if you do the things I've mentioned above, carefully, discreetly, and gracefully. If you can't lie, or avoid your loved ones, well... you will age a little (not a lot), if you wisely, carefully, cautiously keep eyes and ears open, and steer clear of the pitfalls listed above.

Am I worried about age? Well....


Not really. I just worry about getting AGE-ITIS.