My Cousin Adele

Recently, my cousin Adele wrote about how she got to see The Monkees and in the process saw Jimi Hendrix give the audience the finger, which if you ask me, makes her one lucky gal.

We’re the same age, though if pressed, I’d have to admit she’s older than me by four months. But that’s not the reason I look up to her. No. It’s because of her height. She’s probably the tallest one in our family, certainly among the women, whom for the most part have never seen the far side of five-foot, four.

Unlike me, Adele is half Puerto Rican. When we were young, I assumed that made her a better dancer. Think “West Side Story.” If you ask me, nobody could cut a rug like the Sharks and their women.

Anyway, being how my daughter is visiting for just a few days and I want to spend as much time with her as I can, I asked Adele to write a post introducing herself to you. So read on and talk amongst yourselves while I get a little verklempt spending precious time with my girl.

Getting to Know You

by Adele

Since Monica has floated the idea of my posting additional pieces on her blog from time to time, maybe it’s a good idea to get to know me a little bit.  So here you go:


A selection of Adele’s notebooks and journals.

I was born to a family high in the Swedish aristocracy, but was kidnapped as an infant by a roving band of deranged Puerto Rican housewives…well, that’s what I told myself as a child to try and explain why I was so different from the rest of my family.

I can make 30-minute brownies in 20 minutes, I can change the oil in my car every 3,000 miles (but first it has to want to change) and I once discovered the secret to life, but I forgot to write it down…well, maybe the brownies take 40 minutes but they’re totally worth the wait.

I’m a recovering attorney who performs standup comedy.  And I may be old, chubby and bitter, but I still “put out”…well, that part’s all true!

I’ve always loved writing; I’ve been keeping notebooks and journals since elementary school.  I’ve used everything from small school-girl diaries, that came with a lock and key (implying that you could pour out your heart in its pages and it would always be kept secret), to the over-sized ledgers with numbered pages used by accountants (as if the lines and numbers could bring order to my thoughts).

Now I favor medium-sized, leather bound journals and I always have one with me.  But frankly, when an idea hits me, I’m happy to scribble it down on the back of a grocery receipt, last Sunday’s church bulletin, hell, even an ancient Tampax wrapper dug from the bottom of my purse (don’t judge!).  I’ve even written myself a middle-of-the-night note on the bathroom mirror–in toothpaste!  Bad idea:  come morning, I had no clue what I’d written and I had to scrape off the rock-hard Crest!

As a lawyer, I’ve written documents so mind-numbingly dull, they could put to sleep a nursery full of teething two year olds.   As a comic, I’ve written sets that sounded great on paper but fell flatter than a pregnant pole vaulter on stage.  As a mom, I’ve written some of the most creative homework excuses for my kids ev-er.  (The dog ate his homework? Please. That is so amateur hour.  I went for “My son was captured by aliens and they misplaced his book report during the anal probe.”)

But mostly I write it down to figure out how I feel about it whatever it is I’ve experienced; as though it’s not fully imprinted on my consciousness until I’ve processed it through the sieve of language and syntax.

And when I’m not writing, I’m baking (my tiramisu cheesecake is worth an extra six weeks at Weight Watchers!), or painting floor cloths and furniture (which I sell at holiday boutiques), reading a dozen or so books a month (histories to mysteries), and finding new ways to embarrass my kids (they keep telling people I’m just their Guatemalan nanny.  Smartasses….).

So there you are.  Not much hard core info (yet) but each post reveals a little more about the writer, don’t you agree?

So what makes you want to write it down?

30 thoughts on “My Cousin Adele

  1. ***I once discovered the secret to life, but I forgot to write it down…well, maybe the brownies take 40 minutes but they’re totally worth the wait**


    LOooooooooVE the shots of the journals. xx

    • And those are only a small sample of the ones I’ve kept since elementary school! And so what if I forgot to write down the meaning of life? At least I remembered the brownie recipe!

      Thanks for your kind words.

  2. I love the picture of the random journals. It could belong to me! Journaling is such an important part of writing, even if just getting the stuff out we don’t want to use in our other work. What a nice piece of writing too. Love the part about the cheesecake being worth the extra weeks at weight watchers. And I must say, Monica, you aren’t the only talented writer in the family. Thanks for sharing Adele’s musings with us.

    • I find that carrying a handy little journal to quickly capture random thoughts and ideas often short circuits the inner critic that rears its ugly head when I sit down to the computer to “compose” a piece. Have you saved all of yours too?

  3. Adele, first welcome to the tangle. So glad Monica asked you back! What a wonderful intro, did the anal probe pass with the teacher? Just wondering.

    I wrote in binders, even as a child I preferred binders they were thin and fit more easily between the mattress. No one found them for years. Now, I use 5X7 journals that everyone gives me as gifts, I always have extra. Fill one, grab the next.

    Monica, hope you have a wonderful time with your daughter!

    • Hmmm, you hid your journals? Me too! Many years ago, when I was incorrectly diagnosed with a life threatening condition, I handwrote a Last Will and Testament. First order of business? Remember, and then disclose, where I’d hidden all my journals and strict instructions to burn them all, WITHOUT READING ANY OF THEM! Fortunately, I’m still around, and as the photo confirms, so are many of my journals.

      “Fill one, grab the next” is great advice!

  4. OMG, Adele, this is very funny. Yeah, the dog-ate-my-homework is WAY lame compared to the alien-anal probe one. Hell. Monica, hope you have a wonderful visit with your daughter.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  5. The spirit of Monica’s Tangled Web just got a tad more spirited (if that’s possible) — Yes, indeed, every post reveals a little more about a writer, and I look forward to reading more of yours, Adele.

  6. Delightful introduction, Adele. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write — first, poems and short stories; then, newspaper articles and marketing materials; now, novels. Isn’t it funny how ideas comes to us at the least opportune times, like just as we’re about to fall asleep or while we’re showering?!

    Monica, have a GREAT time with your daughter — I know she’s going to love being away from the frigid Midwest for a few days. Hope y’all will turn on the sunshine for her!

    • I read once that Richard Nixon was never without a tape recorder, so that when something occurred to him he never had to search for a pen or paper, he could just record it. But then, we know how well all those Watergate tapes worked out for him so……

    • Thanks, Debbie. She’s been basking in our 70 degree weather. Even wondering how she could have taken it for granted all the years she was growing up here. And guess what? We’re expecting (much-needed) rain later this week, but luckily for her, it’s supposed to start hours after her plane takes off.

  7. Monica, I hope you have a lovely time with your daughter. Adele I suspect your parent teacher conferences could go directly to a stand up routine to fundraise for the PTA (after all, isn’t that the sort of thing ‘nannies’ do to embarrass their ungrateful children? 🙂 ) Monica was smart to have you fill in.

  8. I carry my latest journal everywhere with me, a lovely peachy mauve leather book my husband gave me for Christmas. Like you I started with those “Barbie diaries” with a key made of plastic showing her svelte form in bas relief — or bra relief. Years later when the key was lost I was forced to pull out the Cutco scissors and snip my way back into those secrets. Do you still have your keys?

    • Ah, those Barbie diaries! I could never keep track of those keys, or any “secret” keys, for very long. So if you look at the bottom left of the photo, you’ll see an old red diary (circa 1964) that I had to cut open when the key went missing. And how nice of your hubby to buy you a lovely journal! He sounds like a keeper!

  9. Yes well………..
    I tend to jot things down on bits of paper, I asm currently writing a book and have been known to get up at 2am, grab a bit of paper jot notes on it and go back to sleep. The trouble is my writing when I am asleep is not that good, actually it’s terrible but that’s just between you and me…

    On a really good day I jotted some stuff on my smart phone and sent myself an email, when I read it again I could not understand the context but at least I could read my writing.

    So which half os Puerto Rican, is it the top half or the bottom?

    • I’ve tried making myself smartphone notes as well, but I have a fear that I’ll hit the wrong button/key/whatever and send some deep and secret “Aha!” moment to everyone in my phonebook! As for which part of me is Puerto Rican, it’s the half with all the rice and beans and plaintains……(yum!)

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