Saturday, November 22, 2008


My surprise from Robert!

On stage, with the Rockettes!

The word is out about Robert's love child.


The person who is telling the world that my husband Robert has been having an affair with a nursing student at the University of Washington, which dalliance has resulted in a pregnancy, is my 91-year old mother-in-law. One of the symptoms of her Parkinson's disease is a senility that started off slow but has been picking up speed. Poor Muffy gets ideas in her head that are so real to her, she cannot be disabused of them. For the most part, these ideas haven't been a problem, and in fact, I think some of them have been helpful, keeping her occupied and happy. For instance, she is excited about the new job she is going to start, as a nursing administrator on the night shift, and she looks forward to dinner dates with people long dead, and she doesn't seem to be too upset when those engagements fall through.

But she is very upset about this one, and worried about the effect this new baby will have on our family. She is not swayed by denials made by both Robert and his sister Cindy, and rejects any suggestion of the improbability that Robert is able to fly back and forth between Seattle and New York every day without me being aware of it.

We hope Muffy will forget about it soon, and move on to some more pleasant fantasy. But in the meantime, just to be on the safe side, I'm re-decorating our guest bedroom in a teddy-bear theme!

Perhaps Robert's it is guilt about his multiple love affairs with young girls all over the United States that makes him plan romantic surprises for me. A few weeks ago he told me to arrange for a day off from work. He wouldn't tell me anything else, except not to pack anything I couldn't carry around with me for awhile, to dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes, and to meet him at Grand Central Station in New York City at six p.m.. So I packed clean socks and underwear, a nightie, and a toothbrush in my briefcase, and arranged for a ride to the train station from one of my co-workers.

It was a bitter morning, and Robert specifically ordered that I pack two things--a hat and gloves. I don't like hats and I always lose gloves, so I rarely wear them. But I have a fake fur collar thing that I wear around my neck when it's cold, and if I need to, I can wrap it around head. Of course, when it was time to take off for the train station, I grabbed my briefcase and left the hat and gloves on my desk.

The train station platform is on the Hudson River, up high, and when the wind gets blowing, it can be frigid. I was sitting on a bench there, shivering and miserable, with my head scrunched down into my coat collar, wondering how in hell I was going to be able to enjoy myself if I had to walk around the City like that. So I opened my briefcase, pulled out my black negligee. Wrapped around my neck with the ends tucked into my coat, no one would ever know.

I met Robert and we walked about a mile or so to a nice hotel, across the street from Madison Square Gardens. Then he took me out to dinner at a really nice restaurant, where I enjoyed a poached pear and cheese salad, a glass of wine and some delicious Brazilian fish. Then he told me what the surprise was.

We walked to Radio City Music Hall to see the 76th annual Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes. What fun! The sets were just amazing, and the dancers so incredible, and the show numbers SO LONG. How many calories must those women consume everyday in order to do that? There was a double-decker bus trip that you have to see to believe, a 3-D movie of a sleigh trip over New York City, it snowed inside the theatre and there was a full sized nativity scene complete with camels and sheep, and overhead, angels flapping around. It was a true New York experience and I had a great time. But that wasn't all--

Apparently, one of the Rockettes is a University of Michigan grad, and she had invited members of the U 0f M club that Robert is a member of to come backstage afterwards. So I got to see the camels up close and all the set pieces and incredible costumes. We ended up on the stage.

And that is how your friend, FRANCES HOGG LOCHOW, APPEARED ON STAGE AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, WITH THE ROCKETTES (two of them, at least) WEARING A BLACK NEGLIGEE (around her neck)!

The auction for the cat shelter was a big success--or as much of a success as one could be in this current economic climate. We had a lot of people and a lot of nice things to auction off, but the prices we got were about half what we would have gotten last year. We still made over ten thousand dollars, though. The food was great and the entertainment was fabulous (Thanks, Jan and Don and Rosemary!). But there were (as there always are) little bumps and personality clashes on the road to the big event, that left me feeling over-stretched, and I ended up doing something rather extreme. Immediately after the auction I quit the Board. I feel a little sick about it, because I have really enjoyed all the work I've done there and the people I worked with, but I know I have invested too much, emotionally. Three of the main people who usually work on the auction weren't able to do that this year, so I ended carrying all those responsibilities that normally would have been handled by the group. A project that I had worked on for hours and hours (the auction catalog) got screwed up by someone else, and that was really depressing. I felt so floored by the criticisms of a co-Board member who I actually like, I realized I can't be in the same room with her any more.

So now the challenge is to find a way to keep working for the organization from outside. I am sure I will find a way to do that.

And all of this is part of another story--about a doll house. I'll tell you that next time.

I want to have a new blog set up soon, that is easier to get to. My poor computer makes horrible noises and is on its way out, so I hope to get a new one (actually, I want an OLD one) around Christmas. I also hope to send out my regular Christmas letter that I didn't send out last year. I have to figure out how to get that written.

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving (we're going to visit Cindy and Muffy)-- and I hope to hear from all of you around Christmas and the New Year!

Love, FAH and Robert.