Oracle of the New Year

I have a confession to make: I consult oracles. This might not be a huge shock. I’ve written about the Tarot deck in this space before, about a year ago, in a post titled “The Star.”

But I don’t think I’ve ever written about astrology or horoscopes. (I’m a Virgo). Even though I’ve read my horoscope my whole life through, pretty much for as long as I’ve been able to read. I used to read it in the daily paper; but now there’s an app for that.

Maybe it’s the imaginative aspect to divination that’s always appealed to me. Isn’t the Future, the Capital-F-Future, all about imagination? Our imagined hopes, fears, dreams?

It’s the same with imagination and fiction writing. For the past few years, approaching writing the way I have has meant a full-scale engagement of my imagination. It takes imagination to compose stories, sure, but it also takes imagination to find the time to write, to commit to the process of writing. Some necessary things in life I can do by rote. For instance, I don’t need to perform any visualization exercises to do things like brushing my teeth, driving a car, showing up at my job. Writing is not one of those things for me.

So, a few years back, I started a new New Year’s tradition: consulting an oracle on New Year’s Day morning, shortly after awakening. And the consultation has always been about my writing — what can I expect regarding the process, the process of writing, editing, and publishing — in the year ahead?

My New Year’s oracle of choice is The Book of Runes. My sister Elizabeth gave me this book, along with a set of twenty-five runes, when I was a teenager. They’ve followed me on the various pathways I’ve taken in the decades since. These runes are largely based on the ones devised by the Nordic ancients. I like how the symbols are like letters, how they denote words. Ties in nicely with the writing thing.

I pull what the book calls “Odin’s Rune” on New Year’s Day. The book describes it this way: “This is the most practical and simple use of the Oracle and consists of drawing one Rune for an overview of an entire situation. That single Rune encompasses the issue, present conditions and resolution.”

So what did Odin’s Rune tell me for 2019? As much as I would have loved for it to tell me that this will be the year I’ll write the thing everyone wants to read, that the world will clamor for, that will bring financial stability to my writing career. . .it was not to be. Truth be told, I don’t need an oracle to tell me that. My gut tells me that I have more work to do before I can begin to expect this type of success.

The rune I drew for 2019 is “Isa.” It means ice, or stillness. Hmmmm.

Determined to find the positive in “standstill” as it relates to my writing, I’m going to work with the following: a website called “runesecrets” tells me Isa “governs development of concentration, will and focus.” Okay, that’s good, my writing could use more of that. Also, The Book of Runes says this: “Shed, release, cleanse away the old. That will bring on the thaw.” Definitely in need of some shedding and releasing, too, after so many accumulated years on this planet.

The Book of Runes’s chapter on Isa concludes this way: “Trust your own process, and watch for signs of spring.”

Believe me, I’ll be watching. But trusting my process will require some concentration, will and focus.

Anticipating My Birthday


Today is my birthday. I endeavor to post to this blog on Wednesday of each week, and my birthday just so happens to fall on a Wednesday this year. Thus, I find myself composing a birthday post.

This occasion seems an appropriate time to share something my mom put together, way back when she was expecting me. She and my father celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with a trip to San Francisco, about two and a half months before I was born.

My mom was a scrapbooker extraordinaire. About two years ago, when my siblings and I were clearing her house, I was fortunate enough to find her scrapbook documenting the San Francisco trip. (I wrote about the monumental task of going through my parents’ house here: Clay.)

I really dig that I got to make this trip with my parents, even though I have no memory of it. (It would be pretty remarkable if I did.) Seeing my mom’s distinctive handwriting makes me wistful, but also so very grateful to have such a concrete and indelible memory of her.

Here are a few snapshots from the scrapbook. But first, here’s some context:

Mom refers to herself in the third person (Ida). Ger is my dad.

Carmel: she’s my godmother. She looked after my six siblings, ranging in age from fourteen (Debby) to three (Stephen), while my parents were in San Francisco. God bless her. A remarkable woman I’ve been meaning to write about forever.

The Herberts: my parents’ first neighbors, when they were newly married and living in an Army barracks. I’ve always heard that they were not neighbors for long…six weeks? six months? Yet my parents maintained a lifelong friendship with the Herberts that saw many reciprocal visits between California and Louisiana.

The trip began to materialize in May, when Ger asked Carmel if she would stay with the children — and she agreed! This was to be a surprise, but Carmel convinced Ger he should tell Ida enough in advance to give her time to think about what she should take. (Dear Carmel!)
So on June 15, 1969 we left via National Airlines for San Francisco! Ger rode the jump seat & Ida was in the other end of the plane. Had one stop in Houston…
…then landed smoggily in San Francisco. After some looking around we found the Herberts & vice versa…got our baggage and drove out to Portola Valley to visit our first neighbors — the Herberts! Tom & Mary Ann; Tommy, Suzanne, Terry
Dad looking like he has a top knot; Tommy, Terry & Suzanne bring to mind the saying “the coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco”

Carmel’s epilogue: Welcome Home, I had a grand time. Hope you did too. I apologize for Stephen. Very pink back. He didn’t seem to care, but I was guilt ridden. Except for dinner time which became hazardous for hearing, we had an uneventful interlude.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Last weekend, I took a break from my City Park wanderings and attended “Signing in the South,” a meet-and-greet event matching up more than thirty local authors (myself included) with readers. Many, many thanks go to author Taylor Anne for launching this inaugural event. It was wonderful! I met new readers, handed out nearly all the bookmarks I had promoting my soon-to-be-relaunched novel, and met some other writers face-to-face. I definitely plan to reach out to these authors in the future.

And, not only was the weekend a nice boost to my career as a fiction writer, it also turned out to be a really fun and memorable road trip. Niece Nicole and Niece Cece accompanied me on the three-hour drive to Lake Charles, Louisiana. “Signing in the South” took place there, at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Casino. I feel really blessed to share so many interests with the younglings in my family. Not only does it make communication easier, it makes for a lot of good times. And since these two particular younglings are in their twenties, we could go about the casino at will.

A few memories from our time in Lake Charles:

This is where the gambling took place. I was the only one to partake. I lost $4.75.
Nicole observed that the carpet looked like the Cephalopods’ language in the movie “Arrival.” What’s the message here?
On our way home, we stopped for boudin balls in Iowa, Louisiana. Trust me, they’re delicious!

39 Hours in New York

Photo by Hugh Stevenson on Unsplash

I had the opportunity to go to New York City last weekend. I went to attend a celebration—my long-time friend Hud was marking a certain milestone birthday. Jet Blue offers a direct flight to JFK airport from New Orleans, that happened to be very reasonably priced at the time I booked it. I stayed in New Rochelle with my Sister Elizabeth, who was kind enough to offer room and board for two nights. So when you come right down to it, it would have been shameful for me not to make the trip to see old friends and get in a family visit, too.

The party was Friday evening, so I caught the 7:05 pm train from New Rochelle into Grand Central Station. I assumed it wasn’t as crowded as the train going in the opposite direction. I like riding trains, and I wish I could utilize them more often. I wonder how different my habits might be if I could commute via riding versus driving. Would I daydream as much if a train ride was an everyday thing? Because, man, do I daydream. I watch the buildings and train stops go by, and I wonder what type of stories I’d be inspired to write. “There are eight million stories in the naked city. . .”

And then, Grand Central! Talk about stories. GCT is pretty impressive. For some reason, Frankfurt’s train station (the hauptbahnhof) sticks in my memory as bigger and more impressive. But for U.S. train stations, Grand Central gets the prize. I think of all those stories intersecting.

My own story was close to intersecting, or rather, reconnecting to threads from the past. Hud’s party was a quick walk from Grand Central. Hud was one of the friends I wrote about just a few weeks ago, friends from my Los Angeles days. (He moved to New York from California several years ago). I was not the only one to make the trip to New York; I was thrilled that friends Craig and Bart also traveled to attend the party. And I met friends of Hud from his Texas A&M days that I had only ever heard about.

Several days on, I still have one overriding feeling: gratitude. A profound sense of gratitude. My Los Angeles days were a remarkable time, and I’m grateful that I still feel so connected to the friends I made while there.

I’m going to conclude with a quote from Thor: Ragnarok, which may seem like a big game of mental leap-frog, but hear me out. Central to that movie’s storyline is this quote: “Asgard’s not a place, it’s a people.” I feel that way about Los Angeles. It’s not the place, but the people, the people who populated my life who helped me understand the difference. The difference between making a living and making a life.

 

Los Angeles: The Old and New

Old: Breakfast at The Original Pantry

It’s been fifteen years since I’ve lived in Los Angeles. More than twice the time I spent making a living and making a life out there in the late ’90s and early ‘aughts.

Husband Tim and I just concluded a quick trip to Southern California, for my great nieces’ birthday celebrations (the elder turns three next week, and the younger turned one last week); and for the younger’s baptism (she does have a name, and it’s Hailey).

Tim and I stayed downtown for the first part of the trip, and I was struck by how much seemed new. During my L.A. days, I lived and worked on the west side, and did not spend much time downtown, so it all might have been new to me. Except for a few tell-tale signs:

  • The hotel we stayed in had just opened last year, and I’m pretty sure the high-rise building that housed it was also brand new
  • There were a lot of tower cranes downtown
  • Either I saw the same cement mixer truck caught in some sort of Möbius loop, or there is a fleet of mixer trucks with the same blue cab deployed all around L.A.

The Original Pantry was right around the corner from our hotel; I at least knew that diner has been around for a while. I remember going there once with friends, just to see what it was all about. I bought a coffee mug, that has been one of my go-to receptacles for go-juice in my own pantry ever since. As Tim and I waited in line to have breakfast Friday morning, I read a plaque on the wall outside, celebrating all the traditions around the place. The thing is, I never had a tradition associated with The Original Pantry. If there was any tradition, it was my friend Christine’s propensity to gather a select group of us willing to try something outside of our routine. I do miss this, and I miss Christine, too.

Since family was the reason for the trip, there wasn’t much time to catch up with old friends. I did see my friend Stacey, who I went to Greece with last fall. She’s been busy since I last saw her, she’d just purchased a home in Hollywood. There was much to catch up on; we got a quick tour of her wonderful new digs before walking to dinner at The Hearth and Hound, a “gastropub” in a spot I used to know as The Cat & Fiddle.

On balance, this trip really was about “new.” Nephew Jerry and Wife Lisa also just purchased a home; I got a tour of it, too (it’s currently gutted down to the studs, they plan to move in this summer). They’re pleased with the location and school district. . .when it comes time for little Madison (the three-year-old) and Hailey to start their schooling, they will be well-situated.

I remember, very distinctly, the reasoning and decision-making behind my choice to leave Los Angeles for New Orleans fifteen years ago. Family was a large part of it, but not the sole reason. Without going too deep, I’ll just say that I knew, on a visceral level—closer to the heart than the head—that my time for life-building in Los Angeles had come to an end. It is a wonderful thing that I am still so close to friends and family who have built vibrant, happy, lives there. I am truly grateful for that.

New: Breakfast at the hotel
Old and New: a glass of rose in the new kitchen of (long-time friend) Stacey’s newly-purchased home
New: Hailey

Tricentennial Trivia

April 14, 2018

For anyone who’s spent any time in New Orleans over the past several months, there’s been no escaping all the tricentennial coverage, signage, and just all-around hullaballoo over this city’s 3ooth birthday.

I spent this past Saturday in the French Quarter, amidst some volatile Spring weather. I think tornadoes hit in North Louisiana, but we were spared down in the Southeast corner of the state. Walking the streets, and getting soggy, I wasn’t necessarily soaking up history, but I was definitely thinking about it. (I’m a pretty sensitive sort, and there’s a lot of misery in this city’s history. Gotta be careful about what I soak up, for self-preservation.) Several questions came to mind, that Google and Wikipedia helped answer:

  • Is there an actual date for New Orleans’s founding? According to Wikipedia, yes and no. It was founded in the Spring of 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, who was heading up the French Mississippi Company at the time. The actual date has been lost to history, but someone apparently picked May 7 as a good springtime date to celebrate the anniversary. And as an aside, Bienville’s name has not been lost to history. He did a lot of settling all along the Gulf Coast.
  • Does the iconic St. Louis Cathedral predate the founding? Nope. There was a wooden church in the same location in 1718, not the big cathedral that stands today. It was upgraded in 1727, destroyed in the “Great New Orleans Fire” in 1788, and rebuilt by 1794. So the structure that stands there today is only 224 years old. It received its “cathedral” status in 1793, so it is, at least, one of the oldest, if not the oldest cathedral in the U.S.
  • What’s the big deal? Okay, well, neither Google nor Wikipedia could answer this question. But in the course of my searching, I discovered that New York City was founded in 1624 (as New Amsterdam). The English renamed it New York in 1664. So will New York go all woo-woo for 400 in six years? And then again in forty-six years? And what about St. Augustine, Florida? It’ll turn 500 in 2065. That seems like a big deal. (Yes, Brother David, it really is the oldest city in the U.S. The city of St. Augustine has been an inside joke between the two of us for roughly forty years, now. No way to make that long story short).

I don’t want to seem like I’m not supportive of all these celebratory efforts with that last bit of snark. It is a pretty cool thing to live in a city that’s been around longer than the United States. I guess I just feel that a celebration of that many years should be tempered with some recognition of all the things those years encompassed, the good and bad. And tempering, or temperance, is not one of the things this city is known for.

February 18, 2018

Comic Con Through the Years

Ma nièce Cherie et moi

So, I was at the New Orleans Convention Center this past weekend for Wizard World New Orleans, more commonly known as New Orleans Comic Con. I’ve attended this event for several years running—it’s appeared in this space before.

I wrote about my attendance two years ago; and the very first picture I used on this blog was from Comic Con 2012. As I reflect back on this past half-decade plus, the common denominator, and the thing that makes Comic Con so memorable for me, are the family and friends who have accompanied me.

Back in 2012, it was niece Cece. I learned a lot about Doctor Who as we waited in line to get our entrance passes. Later that same year, myself, Cece, and one of her friends spent fifteen hours in a movie theater for the Avengers movie marathon. I think my legs (and neck) might still be stiff.

In 2016, niece Kate gave me a briefing on what was going on at school and with her friends as we waited to get our picture taken with Hayley Atwell. (Hayley Atwell was promoting her Peggy Carter character from the Agent Carter television series.)

For 2018, I was accompanied by niece Cherie, and got an education in not only Doctor Who, but also what used to be called the Star Wars expanded universe, and especially the character Revan.

I’ve also had the pleasure of attending with my good friend Sabrina, who instructed me on all things Outlander. And also best friend Kristen, who pops up in this space from time to time. For the past two years I’ve met her and her family there. Her son and daughter are just coming into their own fandoms, and it was especially fun to watch them take in the weird Comic Con wildness the first time around. They handled themselves like old pros this time.

It’s worth noting that Kristen introduced me to comics, specifically The X-Men, many, many years ago. And here’s the thing—we were roughly the same age as Cece, Kate, and Cherie the years they were my primary Comic Con companions (a little nod to Doctor Who there). We’re talking about that span between sixteen and eighteen years old: formative years indeed.

That’s the real treasure for me. Cece, Kate, and Cherie are all cousins; they each sprang from different siblings of mine. Spending that time together, apart from their siblings and parents, and finding out what’s rocking their individual worlds at such a flourishing age—it’s something that stays with me. Like the springtime plays in City Park’s Sculpture Garden, Comic Con has been something of a winter tradition between me and the nieces.

As I writer, discovering what these young women find compelling is invaluable. But as an aunt, and dearer to my heart, making these memories with such remarkable and beloved kindred is something I hold very close.

And one of these days, I’ll finally settle in and start watching Doctor Who.

A Christmas Miracle

Temporary resident in Brother Dave’s yard

It’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles. — Hans Gruber in Die Hard

So, being smack dab in the midst of the 2017 holiday season, I find myself looking forward to waking up Christmas morning, firing up the old Blu-ray, and watching Die Hard. While I enjoy the movie any time of year, I do find it takes on special meaning at Christmas.

Just like how it somehow feels right to watch Jaws around the Fourth of July. Though not every Fourth of July—in any given year, I’ll abstain if I happen to be training for an open-water swim race. It’s too spooky heading out into the water if Jaws is fresh in my memory.

But I’m getting sidetracked. I did not intend this post to be about my holiday movie-viewing habits. It’s supposed to be about a couple of rare occurrences that transpired recently.

First, snow in Southern Louisiana. That is rare indeed. The winter storm that just blew through much of the U.S. took an unusual southward dip. Last Friday, I drove to work through freezing rain, and saw some snow flurries later in the day. Though the snow didn’t stick on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain (where I live and work).

The snow did stick roughly thirty miles away, on the north shore of the lake. I found myself over there on Saturday, making good on a long-standing intention to visit 2nd & Charles, a used bookstore. There are maybe 40 of these stores scattered throughout the U.S., and only two in Louisiana.

Another aside: I’m a newly-minted fan of this store / concept. I traded in a bunch of DVDs and Blu-rays, received a cash offer for them, and then spent slightly more than what I had just received on gifts. The net result was that I still reduced the amount of unused “stuff” in our house, and was also introduced to a really cool bookstore.

Anyway, once I crossed the 24-mile concrete span known as the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, signs of the previous day’s snowfall were evident. The white stuff was still showing—on the shoulder of the road, on pitched rooftops. I had lunch with my brother David and his family, and his north shore neighborhood still looked like a winter wonderland.

Which brings me to the phenomenon I really intended to write about. By pure happenstance, I saw all of my Louisiana-based siblings on Saturday. There are five of us here, (seven total—two sisters live out of state), and our respective orbits don’t typically intersect. And, we’re a pretty introverted lot, so gatherings and celebrations don’t come together as quickly or naturally as they might for other families.

Lunch with Brother Dave and his whole family—Sister-in-Law Barbara, Nieces Cherie and Veronica, and Veronica’s fiancé Josh—would have been blessing enough. I headed back over the Causeway with a full belly, and happy to have caught up with beloved family. And, I had enough time to make it to vigil Mass with Brother Jerry, or “Mass of the Ancients” as we’ve dubbed it. (Vigil Mass with Jerry is not a rare occurrence; we used to bring our mother to this Mass, and just never stopped once Mom was gone).

When I arrived at Jerry’s house, I discovered Niece Kate, recently home from her first semester at Mississippi State, would join us for Mass. Then, walking into church, what to my wondering eyes does appear, but Sister Susan and Brother Stephen. They usually go to the late Sunday Mass, but as the fates would have it, were at Saturday’s vigil.

So, lo, in the span of just a few hours, I saw all my Louisiana siblings. Mom, who passed away three years ago this coming Sunday, would have been very pleased by that turn of events.

The Texas Renaissance Festival

“Leaf me alone,” says the Fall Faerie

So, I was in Houston this past weekend, visiting my sister Julie. Hurricane Harvey had something to do with this trip. After it dumped its biblical portions of rain on the Houston area, Julie and I carved out this time—a grateful acknowledgment of the fact that she and her husband were spared any flooding.

It took a little while for our schedules to coalesce. I had the trip to Greece last month, and Sister Julie had a bunch of work travel that just wrapped up. She flew to three continents over a four-week period, I think. One of her trips was supposed to commence the week Harvey hit, but airport closures pushed it forward.

As the fates would have it, I found myself in Texas during the Texas Renaissance Festival, for its Highland Fling-themed weekend. A note about this fair: Wikipedia tells me it began in 1974, on the location of an old strip mining site. Julie has lived in Houston for the past twenty-five years, and has been an avid fan of the TRF since she discovered it, shortly after her arrival in the Lone Star State.

Through the years, there’s been an assortment of our family that’s joined her on her annual trek to the festival, held every autumn, fifty-five miles northwest of Houston. I’ve been with her once before, five or six years ago, when I purchased a little owl figure at one of the shops.

There is a specific reason behind my relatively new fascination with owls. Shortly after I began this writing journey, I dreamt I had an owl as a pet. More a familiar than a pet.  In the dream, the bird was trying to tell me in an owl-lie type way that I needed to adjust my focus, and pay more attention to writing. As motivation, it sorta backfired—while I definitely give writing more focus these days, I also get easily distracted by images or depictions of owls whenever I encounter them.

Original Owlie, plus a new sibling from Greece

Anyway, Sister Julie was in a reflective mood at this year’s festival. It might have been the effect of finally alighting at home after her round-the-world travels. Or maybe because her children are all grown now. Her daughter, Niece Emilie, would almost always join her for the Highland Fling weekend. Em just started a graduate program at Yale, so a trip back home to Texas just for the Fling was too hard to swing. 🙂

Julie pondered aloud about why she’s always loved the TRF. Was it the time of year, the South Texas air finally turning cooler? Was it the clothes and costumes? Was it Tartanic, the group that bills themselves as “Insane Bagpipe/Drum/Dance/Comedy” performers? Personally, I’d put in a vote for the scotch eggs and pear cider.

I reminded her that she’s always been drawn to that historical period:

“Remember the term paper you wrote in high school, ‘Was Medieval Woman Really…”

“Mid-Evil?” she finished my sentence. “Yeah,” she said, “How do you remember that?”

“I guess that’s the kind of stuff I remember.” Growing up the youngest of seven kids, with a nascent ambition to write, I paid attention to my older siblings’ term papers, short stories, plays, impromptu comedy skits…

Really, it’s enough for me that the Texas Renaissance Festival is just something my sister loves. As well as a lot of other people, apparently—it was packed this past Saturday. And I love seeing all the costumes, which span far beyond the Renaissance period. (For more casual togs, I was not the only one in a Star Wars t-shirt. And Astros fans were also out in force.)

And finally, I like to think of the “reawakening” meaning of renaissance. Here is an old strip mine, reborn as a verdant, pastoral, place. And what a lovely venue, and event, for the people of Houston to return to each year.

Outfitted for Highland Fling
Blending in
Worlds collide
Admiring Julie’s new hair clip while waiting for the swings
The swings
Sunset at the TRF

Ghost Pumpkins

St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Edgard, Louisiana

With Halloween right around the corner, I feel like I should post something spooky. Showing a picture of an ancient, decaying headstone bearing the name I used for three-quarters of my life feels pretty spooky. (I went by Anne Mialaret until husband Tim and I married roughly twelve years ago.)

That grave belongs to the immediate family of my great-great-grandfather, Antonin Mialaret, who died in 1884. I found his grave marker, as well as the grave of my great-grandfather, Prosper, when I went upriver to visit the Whitney Plantation. I wrote about the experience last January. Discovering my ancestors’ connection to the owners of that plantation was not spooky, but sobering. And shameful.

Prior to that visit, my knowledge of Antonin Mialaret consisted of a photocopied genealogy that belonged to my father. I specifically remember a line in that photocopy, about Antonin Mialaret possessing a talent for retaining trivial (i.e. useless) knowledge. I have not been able to find anything online to back it up, but I stand by that claim, because I think retention of useless knowledge is hardwired into my genetic makeup.

To wit: ghost pumpkins. It being fall, and close to Halloween, I’ve been thinking about ghost pumpkins. They sound pretty spooky, right? While I like to think they contain the spirits of Halloweens past, they’re really just white pumpkins, whose skin lacks the orange pigment of their more ubiquitous siblings.

Here’s where the useless knowledge comes in: I can’t think of ghost pumpkins without thinking of Pavilions, a supermarket chain in Southern California. In the late ’90s, while I was living in Los Angeles, Pavilions used to run radio ads featuring a raspy-voiced woman. The ad I remember the most was the one promoting their ghost pumpkins. The woman sounded like Sally Kellerman, but there was this quality of sadness to these radio spots that didn’t quite match my image of Sally Kellerman.

And when I say sad, I mean you’d almost want to change the station when these spots came on, so you wouldn’t start blubbering on your way to work. Or the grocery. Or for whatever reason you happened to be in your car.

I can’t tell you exactly what was so sad about the ghost pumpkins at Pavilions. I think it was a combination of the music and the woman’s voice. And the ad copy might have said something about the pumpkins being lonely.

More about the spooky Mialaret capacity for useless knowledge: brother Jerry also lived in Southern California in the late ’90s. We, in fact, would talk about the sad ghost pumpkin commercials back then, in real-time. But it wasn’t until now, twenty years later, that we solved the mystery of the voiceover. From a conversation just a few days ago (because, yes, Mialarets will talk about decades-old radio ads, or Interstate signs seen in Texas forty years ago, or something a neighbor might have said fifty years ago):

Me: I always thought it was Sally Kellerman doing those voiceovers.

Jerry: No. You know who it was? It was the woman who played Harm’s mother on JAG. (Several Mialarets were big fans of JAG).

Me: OK. I’m on it. We’re going to find some YouTube clips for confirmation.

Believe it or not, “Pavilions radio spots from the 1990s” was not a well-used search term. But a bit of digging confirmed that the actress Christina Pickles voiced those radio ads. She did indeed play Harmon Rabb’s mother on JAG, but I knew her as Monica and Ross’s mom on Friends. And I found a YouTube clip of her talking about playing a sorceress in the 1987 “He-Man” movie, where she first met Courteney Cox. I listened with my eyes closed, and a tear came to my eye as I imagined her opining on the loneliness of ghost pumpkins.