Tag Archive | SOMA

Time After Time

Slowly things are gaining some semblance of normal. This week I finally got in to get my hair done and decided to go for a slightly new ’do (which is really a flashback to my senior year shag, but much shorter than what I’ve had for years). new do

I cut out two maternity tops for Liz, which I’ll try to get made before little Silas arrives, and two aprons so VernaJewel can get back in swing. Even managed to do some work for one of my freelance writing gigs – and enjoyed it mightily.

We did our volunteer gig at the Rep and enjoyed Gee’s Bend.

But time after time things will remind us all that this is the new normal and that things will never be the same. For example, yesterday I looked for my purple and green felted sari (from The Red Sari) to wear to the SoMA Mardi Gras parade and festivities (had a great time). It’s nowhere to be found. I know I wore it several times in the last days of Bill’s hospitalization, and trying to retrace my steps to where I might have lost it brought up lots of memories.

That will keep happening. For instance, today is Bill’s birthday. He’d have been 79. I told Mother several days ago that we’d do something distracting, so Julia, Mother and I went to see Anna Karenina at Market Street Cinema. Mother chose it, we enjoyed it, and the theater was pretty crowded for Market Street on a beautiful day. Kept us distracted for quite a while, even though we knew we were being distracted.

Time as flown since Dec. 29 erupted.

Speaking of time, John and I love time-travel movies, so last night after the neighborhood festivities we rented Looper. I didn’t love it – it was no 12 Monkeys or Somewhere in Time, two of my time-travel favorites – but it was OK. John liked it better than I did, so maybe it was more of a guy movie.

But it did remind me (cliché-fest ahead) that time waits for no one and time marches on. And sometimes things happen time after time. Like losing two dads to similar problems – and learning to live and thrive again afterward, a little smarter, a little sadder and a little more appreciative of how little time we have in the game of life and love.

And how we need to make every minute count and leave nothing important unsaid.

That’s worth being reminded of time after time.

Tell me something good

My 10-night recent bout of insomnia has left me with a new mantra: “Tell Me Something Good.”

I started hearing Chaka Khan’s throaty refrain on auto-play in my brain the first morning after I started sleeping again. My mental vision of Rufus on stage in Fayetteville in the mid-1970s, with Chaka’s Afro bobbing and silver lamé hot-pants, bikini top and knee-high platform boots sparkling, still makes me smile.

I’ve realized hearing or reading about too many bad things, especially things about which I can do nothing, is not good for my sleeping habits. I’m on a Time, The Nation and MSNBC diet for a while.

Of course I’ll continue to read enough to be informed (and Calvin Trillin is a necessary delight), but for now, we have enough going on in our family circle to keep my brain occupied. Overdosing on bad news and hype is bad for my health. And I don’t believe we’re going over a damn cliff anyway. Maybe a speed bump ….

So with that in mind, here’s a dose of good news (some arising out of bad):

Mother is in horrible shape with her back, bed- and wheelchair-ridden – but it’s fixable. We saw the surgeon Thursday, Dec. 6, and are awaiting a surgery date (soon, soon, soon). Rehab will be a long haul, but she should end up in decent shape for a 77-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis.

The doctor’s visit was followed by The Bernice Garden Tree-Lighting and Craft Festival, which was a big success. A good time was had by all. One of my neighbors was delighted to report that at the last few events there she’s only seen about three people that she knows – it’s not just our neighbors taking advantage of the beautiful facility anymore.

People of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels mixed and mingled at The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting party.

People of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels mixed and mingled at The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting party.

Forward thinking downtown-dwellers are tickled about that!

Carolers from a neighborhood school were a precious part of the entertainment.

Carolers from a neighborhood school were a precious part of the entertainment.

I bought one gift and some wonderful “Lavish Ylang” beeswax-based Killer Bee Wholy Healin’ Cream that I’ve been using on my face at night to help me sleep. Lavender and ylang-ylang. Yum. Can’t get much more relaxing than that. I highly recommend it – excellent, locally made and inexpensive! That’s a winning combination.

KillerBees Wholy Healing Cream was just one of the vendors at the Garden.

KillerBees Wholy Healing Cream was just one of the vendors at the Garden.

Saturday I put up our lovely little live tree, yesterday I got Mother’s up for her, and last night we had the pleasure of seeing our boy Jude sing his heart out at the Immaculate Conception School children’s Christmas concert. He’s such a handsome, big boy.

I’ll end this short post with a couple of random things that made me smile the past few days. Since Washington state legalized pot, the Seattle police department has invoked The Dude in its outreach campaign to stress the limits of the legality. “The Dude abides and says, ‘take it inside” is one of their slogans.


(I’d like for them to have said “toke it inside,” but that’s the editor in me.)

And in today’s Zits comic strip, dorko Dad, a baby boomer like yours truly, is sporting a Humble Pie T-shirt.

Gotta love it. Happy December.


When Petula Clark was belting out “Downtown” on KAAY (1090 on your dial) or on the Ed Sullivan Show – or on my little stereo, because, yes, I owned the album in elementary school – the lyrics weren’t far-fetched at all.

Even in Little Rock, Arkansas, before the late 1970s, downtown was exciting, vibrant, a place to be. Few things were more thrilling in junior high in the late ‘60s than getting up on a Saturday morning, getting dolled up in our mod clothes (and, once we were allowed to wear it, our mod Yardley of London makeup) and catching the bus from Indian Hills to downtown Little Rock for the day.

Oh, the stories I could tell, the memories I could share – and I will, but not right now. Because downtown is alive again, or at least waking up, and that’s what this is about.

Exciting times are here for downtown dwellers, thanks to people with vision – like our friend and Southside Main Street Patron Saint Anita Davis, she of Bernice Garden, the mural next to The Root Cafe, the Cornbread Festival, and a host of other SOMA projects.

Tonight was the fourth Bernice Garden Sculpture Party and Fall Fest. It was hopping and happening, and if you missed it, you missed out.

Bernice Garden has brought so much to the Southside Main Street area. Anita Davis, SOMA patron saint, is the owner – and the striking lady in black and white in the center of the photo, which I shot with my iPhone. Should have brought the big Nikon because the Sculpture party was a beautiful sight. And site.

We were a little south of the old downtown retail area of the bus trips of old, but I still managed to run into two high school friends, just like in the old days.

My friend Kerry owns Dreamland Ballroom, another downtown-revival dream-coming-true. We’re so proud of what she’s doing to restore a noble building with an important history.

Visiting with my friend Toni made me feel like a kid again, even as we discussed our impending 40-year high school reunion. (What? Us??)

This has been a good week for downtowners, and Tuesday was a huge day for the future of downtown. I was moved to tears by the presentation at City Hall of plans (and hopes and dreams) for the creative corridor that is in the works thanks to an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, matching city funds, private investments and more people with vision.

The photos of downtown in the glory days had to have made more eyes than mine misty, but the incredible vision of Stephen Luoni and Marlon Blackwell for the future that could await us is what moves me so – and fills me with hope.

The fences are up around the buildings between Capitol and Sixth. The Rep (where compadre and fellow downtowner Julia and I saw a great Henry V Wednesday night) is going to have artsy neighbors. It’s happening, baby.

Believe it or nay-say (as many continue to do), but exciting times are returning to downtown. You wait and see. The baby steps toward revitalization are getting a longer. Before you know it, we’ll be making great strides.

And someday my grandkids will be talking about the fun they have downtown.

Do you want to know a secret?

OK, here’s the thing. For a few months, I’ve been sitting on a secret: My friend Julia (Cason) and I have quietly been building a stash of our  wares. We’ve been busy creating, and between that, school and grandkids, The Lolly Diaries have taken a hit.

(School’s out for summer for us big kids, so I’ll do better.)

Julia and I have a web business in our future, but in the meantime, we go live Sunday from 10-2 at the Bernice Garden Farmers Market. If you’re in the Little Rock area, come see us at Daisy Bates and Main. We’ll be there every week.

We’ll have one-of-a-kind aprons (some from vintage fabrics); upcycled denim jackets, shorts and skirts; cool dog toys and accessories; upcycled/recycled purses; occasional mosaics – and whatever else strikes our fancy, I suppose.

We have a business name, VernaJewel, after my ever-so-creative and talented grandmother. We have business cards. We have enthusiasm and supportive husbands.

We even have T-shirts.

Stay tuned for unfolding developments. In the meantime, here’s a peek.

Vintage fabric finds (the top three) and more.

Aprons, aprons everywhere.

The psychedelic fabric is vintage 1970s.