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Keep Calm and Carry On

2011 started with a storm and has been stormy ever since. The second day of the year I woke up with a sore throat. I thought oh damn. I knew what was coming. I knew I was getting sick.

Sure enough I did. I was coughing, sniffing, a miserable mess. And it made me so crabby. It made me want to shake my fist to the sky. "A cold? This is how I start the new year? A cold???"

Then Sercicea called. Her grandmother on the other side of her family died. Audrey had been I'll for a while, yet when I heard the news I was shocked. Audrey was such a feisty woman, who told you what she thought and that was it. She loved Danielle Steel's novels and be around people. She took up making jewelry.  I have a necklace of green beads she made I know wear on St. Patrick's Day. She'll be missed so much.

And Arizona. You can debate all you want, you can discuss what happened, you can say people kill people not guns, but tell that to the people's families who died. And if you can explain to me when a nine year old girl whose only crime was to see her congresswoman at a Safeway was shot and killed, I'd like to hear it.

So needless to say, I've been down. However life goes on, and I had a date with Meranda, my niece, and Meranda's mom Janet to celebrate Christmas and Janet's birthday. Meranda picked Mom and me up. Niece was decked out in a turquoise dress with Mary Janes. Needless to say, she was the best dressed of all of us.

We went to Lovejoy's, a teahouse in the City. I love tea houses. They are so civilized. People drink tea, eat finger sandwiches, and talk. Laughter is often heard. And I needed laughter, needed it like I need mucinex.

We did laugh a lot while drinking tea. I still felt wobbly, so Meranda helped me pour my tea and served me sandwiches. Lovejoy's has British things all over the place, and one thing they had a sign saying Keep Calm and Carry On.



Keep calm and carry on. The words echoed in my head but I forgot them.  I went to Kaiser and was kept waiting by a woman in her immense minivan. I lost it with an AT&T person who insisted that I hadn't paid my bill, even though I had.  I felt so, so tired. Day-to-day stuff sometimes to me like an fresh eraser; you start off pink and fresh, yet as you go on you get used up and reduced to a nub.

Yet I loved the expression "Keep Calm and Carry On," and eventually looked it up. Apparently, in London during the Second World War, there was posters that said Keep Calm and Carry On all over the place, reminding Londoners to just keep on during the Blitz. I thought, "The British are civilized, aren't they?" God knows how they did it, but they did. And after Pearl Harbor, New York governor LaGuradia would get in a car and call out one word to people on the streets: Calm.

Keeping calm isn't my strong suits. When people tell me to calm down I want to tell them to shove it. Telling me to keep calm just makes me more nervous. Yet now I believe I have to remember the Brits, walking around, seeing houses in their neighborhood be gone in an instant or realize that men (and women too) could be gone as well. And America suffered as well. Yet we survived. England survived too.

So I'm going to keep calm and carry on. My cough is almost gone thanks to Mucinex. I'm going to sink into books that are funny or have people wearing costumes. I'm going to try and be civilized. I know I won't always succeed, but I'm going to try. Because after a storm, the important thing is to clean up, then figure out how to make things better. We can carry on. Now let's learn the calm part.

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Talk about stiff upper lip,

Talk about stiff upper lip, which is what the Brits are famous for. It came in useful during WWII, certainly, but also kept them in check. They never had an actual revolution. Yes, lots of people lost their heads, but the whole country was never in an uproar, like the French are, always.

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Thanks for this post, Jennifer

That motto has surfaced here on mugs, plaques, cushions, everywhere in the last year or two.

There's a lot in what Laurel says - even on a personal level - and I'm a staunch believer in it.

But I can't help being a little cynical that it has surfaced in the present economy and wonder exactly what market forces are behind it.

Okay, I've been watching Spooks too much...