Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whale Watch - Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of our volunteer duty for the winter
portion of the Gray Whale migration. Hubbie and I have been
volunteering for a decade or so. We chat with tourists and try to
point out views of the migrating whales and provide such information
as we can about these wonderful animals.

Because we live in proximity to Cape Blanco, here on the Oregon
coast, we usually are stationed there. I love talking with folks and
sharing my enthusiasm for the grays, and I love the stark beauty of
Cape Blanco and the Pacific Ocean. But. There is always a but, isn't
there? As the decade has worn on my go-go-go attitude over the entire
activity has waned. The Pacific coast can be a weather nightmare in
winter and Cape Blanco is in contention for worst spot to be in bad
weather.

As the farthest west spot in Oregon, Cape Blanco gets the brunt of
incoming storms. If there is wind, rain, hail, or nastiness of any
kind it gets there first and best. The spot for whale watching is
totally exposed to all of that good stuff. There are days when the
wind howls through and one can't open the car door to exit the
vehicle. Tourists who venture the 5 mile drive from the highway,
circle the parking area, point cameras at the lighthouse (if they are
lucky it will be visible and not lost in the fog), click and depart.
When the wind gusts get to the 45-50mph range I insist we abandon our
post and leave. If the rain is not heavy and steady we can watch the
squalls approach over the bay and duck into the car before getting
soaked. In steady rain we simply huddle inside hoping it will let up
enough for us to see the ocean again. Whales? Not much of a chance
for spotting them in rough seas or rain.

But the weather isn't my biggest "What am I doing this for?" maker.
No. As a woman moving from mid-life to seniortude I am most
inconvenienced, nay, appalled at the lack of a bathroom anywhere
close to where we spend 3 hours touting the marvels of the gray
whales. I give up my morning coffee and sip gently at the water used
to swallow my morning pills. I rue the lack of bush, shrub, or tree
that might provide coverage for emergency situations. I consider the
distance to the campground and try to keep my swearing quiet and
minimal. The aching cold of my fingers and toes pales beside the
strain of NO BIFFY.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, I dunno...

Christmas is over and in a few more days we can get back to what
passes for normal. Whoever thought is was a good idea to put
Christmas and New Year so close together should have to stand nude at
Cape Blanco during whale watch. I think it would cause a permanent
case of petrified nubbies - and serve them right.

All this forced merry-making! There have been times recently I felt
trapped in some sort of Who-ville. It is hard to believe that for
much of my life I measured time from one high point (spell that H-O-L-
I-D-A-Y) to the next, discounting the in-betweens. Now I look forward
to the in-betweens and feel that those high spots are some sort of
imposition. Maybe it is just that I prefer my highs less high?

And now, for a few more days, I shall be amused to listen to various
resolutions being made for the year to come. I'll do my best not to
chuckle, but I've been around long enough to know changes come when
they come and seldom when we impose a schedule. But I applaud those
who try.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still Watching...

The husband and I are zeroing in on our holiday movie-viewing goal.
Last night we watched *MY* favorite seasonal flick - We're No Angels,
starring Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov and Aldo Ray. I chortled and
tee-heed through the whole thing. Am I the only person out there who
cherishes this movie as a Christmas tradition? The repartee amongst
the three stars cracks me up!

For the hubbie we watched Bill Murray in Scrooged. It is worth
persevering through Murray's over-acting just to see Carol Kane as
the spirit of Christmas present beat the crap out of him. I'm rather
fond of the scenes where Bob Goldthwait chases Murray around the
office with a shotgun. Oh the holiday spirit!

And here it is Christmas Eve. We still have Wonderful Life and A
Christmas Story to watch to complete the media season. I think we'll
make it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Music woe

We don't get a reliable radio signal at our house so besides playing
CDs I've become accustomed to listening to classical music through
our satellite TV provider. There is a variety of music offered, 99%
of it rock or rap or r&b but one can glean a couple of channels of
classical amongst the seemingly endless sets and subsets of the other
stuff. As the music plays a label floats around the TV screen showing
Title/Artist/CD/Label for the selection currently being played. And
this is where my complaint for the day is centered.

Song title, singer and name of the album works just fine for pop
music but classical music needs COMPOSER displayed. Probably nobody
much cares who wrote a particular 60's do-wop tune or r&b ballad but
classical music is identified with composer first, then selection and
performer. Whoever created the titles for music on TV doesn't take
this into account and it is aggravating. Like it would be so hard to
add another line to the template? Obviously the honchos in charge
don't know much about classical music. Hey you guys, wake up!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting in the mood

Getting into the holiday spirit can involve all sorts of traditions
and the one to which I am most susceptible involves television and
movies. Music I can resist for a while though Jingle Bell Rock and
Feliz Navidad will eventually wear me down and I'll end up absent-
mindedly humming Little St. Nick or White Christmas. Decorating I try
to ignore since putting stuff up means twice the work since it must
all be taken down again. Gift buying is a reality I'm trying to
master and tame. But the movies, the television? Ya got me there.

Thus far I've seen three different versions of A Christmas Carol...
Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, and Reginald Owen. Ah, the Bah-
humbuginess of it all! I happily recite favorite lines, wince at the
kid playing Tiny Tim and shudder at the attempts to create a passable
Christmas-yet-to-come.

This year has been a good year for Nutcracker enthusiasts: seven
different versions. I've seen four so far while my husband is now at
six and aiming for a perfect score. There is the classic version by
the Bolshoi, the Maurice Sendak pedophile and the what-has-this-got-
to-do-with-it Maurice Bejart persoanl orgy of self-indulgence. My
favorite interpretation, by the Mark Morris dance company, is updated
to the 60's and wonderfully danced mixing male and females amongst
the characters usually danced by women. It sticks enough to the well
known tale and is lots of fun.

Still to come on my list: A Christmas Story, and Bogart in we're No
Angels... and maybe It's a Wonderful Life. Gotta get those angels
their wings, right?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting at the issues: personal note

Obligation: An act or course of action to which a person is morally
or legally bound; a duty or commitment. A debt of gratitude for a
service or favor.

This mornings revelation - the sense of obligation and the dread of
it is directly related to the fear of being found disappointing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Seasonal thoughts

Thinking about the season, all the holiday foo-fer-rah and I realized
it doesn't depress me really. The Bah-Humbug! that gets expressed has
more to do with my resentment of the social expectations of what the
Christmas holiday should look like and mean to me and what I must do
to be thought a part of it.

I must decorate - lights, evergreens, red and green baubles. I must
suddenly appreciate snow and snowmen, eggnog and gingerbread. Carols
must be sung, presents bought and wrapped, cards sent. Dishes must be
prepared for potlucks, cookies baked, a festive meal planned. I must
smile and be joyful, generous, and celebratory.

But I don't want to, at least not every day for all the weeks between
Thanksgiving and New Year. Different parts of the whole thing appeal
to me on different days. I've listened to a few songs, watched some
DIckens and Tchaikovsky, mailed a few gifts, put up some flashing
lights at the window. It has been just enough. I'm willing to put a
few spays of fir in a vase for a non-chopped tree substitute and bake
some ham for dinner on the day. Can I politely refrain from
wassailing? May I remain inside with a book and not be seen as a
Grinch or a Scrooge? It is hard to find the line that allows me to
express the spirit without feeling that my choices aren't viewed as
anti-social. Or perhaps they are anti-social? How many of us would be
doing all this stuff if it wasn't "the way it always was"?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vladimir Putin?

Have you ever had one of those blinding moments of clarity that tell
you what or why about something in your life? That just happened to me.

My husband just entered the room and announced "I dreamt about
Vladimir Putin last night." and in a flash I was aware what a unique
and strange man with whom my life is spent. How many people in this
world, at least in the old USA could make an statement like that?

Not that it isn't apparent every day. He provides enough blogfodder
that I've considered changing the name of this column to "Who *IS*
This Man, Anyway?" His brain is skewed, his way of viewing the world
is off plumb by half a bubble - plus or minus a fraction. His sense
of humor and wry observances have entertained me for almost half a
century. They have occasionally caused me to look at him with
murderous intent. But more often they change a blah moment into
laughter. We just shared our 39th wedding anniversary and I'm hoping
we make it to gold.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

KIVA.org

In honor of the season I just made my first loan through KIVA.org -
something I have thought about for a long time. Microfinance of
individual small businesses throughout the world can't be any worse
than the billions we are expected to toss to Wall Street and Detroit
can it? Since we retired my husband I I don't have a lot of
discretionary money but I'm reminded of a good friend who insists on
trusting the universe aka god and who believes in keeping the good
flowing through her. She introduced me to Heifer International and
helped me make my first contribution to The Global Fund for Women.

Whether within our own communities or in the larger global community
Christmas should be about giving to make this a better place for
everyone. I'm grateful that I am able to do so.

Check out the organizations I mentioned and reach out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow?!

The universe certainly isn't being very supportive of me staying un-
Grinchy. There is disgusting white stuff to be scraped off the car
this morning before I venture forth and some in the yard as well,
though at least it is a light dusting and not a multitudinous
gathering and will probably, hopefully, (oh-please-let-it-be-so) melt
early and restore the proper green order of things.

In the meantime I have officially re-Grinchified!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Music

Today I officially removed myself from the Grinch list and proceeded
to embrace the season. At least I tried to jump into the holiday
spirit. It is a challenge. The hubbie is HELPING (questionable at
best) by playing his eclectic collection of timely music. This would
make a stronger person than I am shudder.

I'm not by any means a strict traditionalist... well, beyond our
personal holiday traditions anyway. My list of get-in-the-mood music
includes Jingle Bell Rock as well as Bing Crosby and the Hallelujah
Chorus. (No, not Bing Crosby doing Handel!) My husband however has
been collecting all the online freebie Christmas music he can find.
He puts the EC in eclectic. Christmas Day by Desmond Decker and the
Aces, Silent Night (on harmonica), Christmas Reindeer by The Knife (I
actually rather like this one), and This Christmas by Louis XIV -
this last is really a cringer!

After hearing a few of these I'm begging him to spread the.... Ah,
Joy, to family and friends. Coming soon to a wrapped package under
YOUR tree!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Goose in a New World

I went to file my previous entry about fruitcake and discovered that
363 days ago I made a somewhat similar wail on the subject. If this
pattern perseveres no further writing will be needed. I can just
recycle blogs from the past.

Tis the season to ...FRUITCAKE!

Fruitcake is one of the joys of the holiday season and we are serious
lovers of fruitcake at this house. The Christmas turkey and pumpkin
pie and all that are still in memory from Thanksgiving but fruitcake?
Still pending.

This luscious treat seems to have become an object of derision and I
am hereby encouraging all those sneering cake re-gifters to send
contributions to me. I read about people trying to rid themselves of
the unwanted dessert while I actually had to go online yesterday and
buy one so we wouldn't miss out. I'm already drooling in anticipation
of a dark, rich, fruit and nut filled slice accompanying an after
dinner cup of coffee. Yummmmmm!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Music

The husband wanders into the room and asks, "Do you want to hear a
Christmas song that will make you want to lobotomize yourself through
your nose?"

"Sure, nasal lobotomies are so seasonal."

Whereupon he plays a loud rockin' version of Little St. Nick done by
Hanson.

I didn't think it was quite that bad. But then I've already heard
Ding Dong by Diana Ross and had my seasonal brain mashing.

For Rosaria


A friend who lives locally and also blogs just wrote an entry wondering where the Oregon rain has gone. I'm thinking she doesn't listen to the weather reports. Her worries over wearing T-shirts in December and having mild weather are due to come to a screeching halt.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Couture Observations

So I'm sitting in the car waiting for the husband who is fetching
lunch from Dairy Queen and I'm watching the teens from the high
school down the block walk by on their way to the local market deli
to forage. The following thoughts cross my mind:

None of these kids is wearing clothes in the proper size.

The boys wear their clothes several sizes too large.
The girls wear their clothes several sizes to small.

This is interesting since in general boys want to appear bigger and
tougher - and the baggy shirts and sagging jeans make them look like
little brothers wearing the big siblings stuff.
In general girls want to look skinnier - and the skin tight denims
matched with stretched crop tops make them all look about 30 pounds
overweight.

Whose idea of style is this and why do they hate adolescents?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holidays - more musings

I haven't been a complete hold-out regarding the holidays. My
donation/order to Heifer International has been made and the cards
received to send to those who shared that gift-giving with me. Toys
have been purchased for the grandkids and things ordered for the
daughter and SIL. I've writhed over the budget seeing how what I want
to do simply doesn't fit in with reality. I set a schedule for what
must be done, and when. These are all large parts of my retirement
holiday preparations.

Schedule... such good intentions. This weekend the list was headed
with Write Cards & Wrap for the Mail (those few things I just refuse
to bypass) - and I had every intention of accomplishing the writing
and wrapping. Note the past tense. Unless something major happens in
the next few hours those shall remain intentions. The Grinch is still
strong and laziness prevails.

And how are YOUR holiday plans going?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Countdown

I've been resisting acknowledging that December arrived. It came just
to spite me, without my permission, and seems determined to remain
for a while. "This too shall pass" is consoling but in the meantime
the holidays are barreling this direction.

Yeah, major attitude problem, and I thought it was firmly entrenched
but last night there was a huge disturbance in the Force. The
television was on and the usual nightly game of channel tennis was on
and Whoops! I landed on The Polar Express. Sappy movie but there I
was, stuck. A chink has been created in the Bah-Humbug armor. Before
long it will be Boris Karloff and the Grinch, then A Wonderful Life
and A Christmas Story. At last I will surrender into a slurry of
versions of Dicken's Christmas Carol. It happens every year.

I'm holding out as long as I can on the daily assault of caroling
music though.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thankful for Morning

I've written before about my nostalgia for those years when heading
to bed promised a night of restful sleep leading to a day full of
energy. The triple A threat of age, apnea, and arthritis put an end
to sleep as respite from a busy day. My night is commonly divided
between my bed and a close-by comfy chair and punctuated by one or
two trips to the bathroom. Random bouts of insomnia stop by to spice
the mixture - the sort of insomnia where one is too tired to get up
and do something useful but not sufficiently exhausted to drop into
sleep.

A new twist has been added to the snooze sonata. I rise to the
bathroom occasion and return from the trek ready to resume slumber
and the arthritic, no-longer-quite-functioning left knee has a temper
tantrum. No pain walking mind you. The pain begins when I sit down.
No position relieves the agony of red-hot poker twisting inside the
joint torture. Eventually it diminishes a bit leaving the knee with
an odd sensation of muscle spasm and me with the intense need to find
another position where the leg can relax. Slight movement and it is
back to square one with the pain level. It is like it says on the
shampoo bottle: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Last night this entertainment went on for over two hours. I wandered
the house trying to find someplace, some posture, to provide relief.
eventually the combination of ibuprophen and weariness overcame the
cycle and I fell asleep, back in the place the whole thing began. So
far I have no clue as to why one night the knee is extra cranky and
another night there is no unusual problem other than the normal
aching. The clues as to what to do to avoid the condition or to
alleviate it are likewise missing. My cat is quite eager for me to
unravel this puzzle. She needs her beauty sleep. I just need sleep.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

December is here - almost.

Tomorrow is December. Whoa, wait! DECEMBER?

Didn't December used to be a whole month away from Thanksgiving?
Christmas was forever away. A forever of waiting and imagining and
anticipating? A forever of school days until a forever of vacation?
And Christmas took forever to arrive? What happened?

Now December is the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday announces it
with a horn blast. Only four weeks until Christmas! Only four weeks
to plan, shop, decorate, send cards, buy gifts, wrap gifts, mail
gifts, bake cookies, bake gingerbread, and summon up the spirits of
Currier, Ives, and Christmases past.

I've simplified, simplified, and simplified but somehow the
approaching holiday still seems intimidating. Thus the growl that
arose deep in my throat when the spousal unit cheerily announced
"Christmas Music" yesterday and attempted to fill the house with
holiday tunes. I hereby promise to try and develop some seasonal
cheer. But not for another couple of weeks!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

I'm struggling a bit with thanksgiving this year. The mental scale
was put in action and the Glad For side was set up against the
Unhappy About with calibration still in process. It weighs Friends
against Disease. Retirement against Recession. Peace Here versus War
There. Plenty on our plates balanced against Hunger and Need elsewhere.

That scale was so much easier when I was young and my world was small
and personal. Age has enlarged the world I see and made it global.
The balance gets more and more precarious. Aids. Cancer. Climate
change. Pollution. Greedy corporations. Militant anger. How do I find
some way to place those in the equation and hope to see a positive
balance?

Perhaps I'm trying to make apples equal atoms. The personal good in
my life is plentiful and I can be thankful for that. The global scale
is the one in trouble and dips sadly on the negative side. I pray
that balance is not already tipping the scale to ruin.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How soon?

I've noticed the fuel price has dipped below the $2/gallon price at
our local gas station. As I mused on the extraordinary phenomenon the
number of RVs, SUVs, ATVs and other big-ass gas-guzzlers passing by
brought a pained smile to my face. How soon will all the folks who
hit panic at the price of fuel approaching the $5/gallon mark forget?
Ummm, I'm guessing they are already poised to begin the spiral of big
vehicles wasting fuel - again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quiz

This is a message on Facebook. Hey Dude! Someone here thinks you're dumber!

Heaven?

In a conversation yesterday the VGF (very good friend) that lives
with me mentioned that he did not believe he'd go to heaven, that
"invisible theme park in the sky" as he called it. That got me to
thinking that despite my not believing in such a place either, it
would be just my luck to go to that place anyway. With my deep fear
and loathing of thrill rides heaven would be hell.

And as a postscript as I saved this blog to my hard disk I got the above!

(Why can't I figure out how to put the picture AFTER the words in Blogger?)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Facebook

I recently joined Facebook and, as is true of everything in life,
have found it an educational experience. Since it was created as a
social networking site the idea is to communicate with friends. But
communication for the original age group utilizing Facebook:
teenagers, has a lot to do with letting each other know what each
other is doing. On Facebook this is accomplished by providing the
user with a message box that begins "(Your Name) is.........." and a
space to fill in the activity in which you are currently engaged.
This is where my continual self-examination gets going.

Telling the absolute truth would mean each and every entry would be:
"Martha is writing in Facebook" since that is actually what is going on.

So do I write what I just did? What I'm about to do? Or perhaps what
I'm observing, thinking about, or what I'm feeling. Oh dear,
psychological self-analysis ala Facebook! My solution seems to have
been that I bop around from one of these to another but I also am
noticing what I often want to write. Whoops! I almost typed an
example of that here. Blogs can be much the same sort of self-
revealing and self-indulgent places. Public angst. Yup, been there,
done that, probably will do again.

Sorry world. And thanks for the couch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Love My Mac

It is staggering to realize how many ways I have of avoiding.
Avoiding work. Avoiding projects that intimidate me... writing and
relping both. When it comes to time wasting I'm a pro. Maybe it runs
in the family. I can remember my grandmother sitting at her kitchen
table playing endless games of solitaire. She taught me to shuffle
cards when I was quite young and we would sit side-by-side and play.

I no longer shuffle and deal real cards. My solitaire games are on
the computer. So is Puzzle Pirates, Facebook, email, and general
internet browsing. I mainline 1's and 0's, addicted to the binary,
plugged in to my Mac for a good portion of every day. Living in the
country is bliss except for the lack of a high speed connect to my
habit.

Anyway, the way I get to my chores and projects is through promising
myself a fix - computer time for doing the work, "inspiration
time" (how's that for rationalization!) between sessions of relping
or writing. And now I'd best leave my keyboard to go do something
useful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recently I wrote about my refrigerator, that cool closet containing a
copious compendium of condiments, jars judiciously juxtaposed
demanding disposal or disbursement. Last night while preparing proper
partner provender mania materialized, my marinate, mash, mix, and
mince muse assumed authority and the casserole cooking got greatly
garnished with gangrenous goo.

Spouse supped and survived. Refrigerator rests ready for future food-
flummoxing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Septic Refrigerator

I have been given to understand that some homemakers keep a pristine
environment where dust fears to settle, shoe carried debris drops off
before entering the portals and, most unbelievable, the refrigerator
is neatly stacked with fresh produce and delightfully wrapped goodies
held no longer than the previous five days. This is NOT my home and
the refrigerator is today's example.

There are mysterious items contained in plastic containers that may
have been stashed away during the Roosevelt administration. There are
garden gleanings whose ancestry is no longer discernible. Residing on
the door shelves are a variety of small bottles that hold remnants of
odd condiments. Here and there are sticky residues that escaped the
occasional swipe of a sponge. There is a carton of antique yogurt.
Some dark substance sits sullenly in a clear jar and I'm beginning to
suspect it of sentient life.

There are worse refrigerators. I recall one that spit containers and
desiccated citrus fruit whenever the door opened. And another loaded
with Tupperware choked with green-furred alien life forms. No, mine
isn't quite in contention for biological/toxic waste removal. I shall
soon shudder and surrender to the inevitable, setting upon it with
bleach, hot water, and elbow grease. Or maybe I should wait? Perhaps
some amazing pharmaceutical is steeping in there!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I've always had a love for words and the way they can be sculpted to
create stories and verse. I've yearned to write but lacked discipline
and confidence. A writer's ego has to carry her past insufficient
inspiration and paucity of praise. A couple of years ago structure
in the form of a writers group appeared and I began scribbling. The
group has been my classroom experience, my mirror, my goad, and
occasionally my cheering squad. The best people in the world, they
understand the needs and frustrations of writing. They offer
encouragement well girdled in genuine criticism.
I doubt there is a novel in my future, but I have birthed a couple of
decent short stories and have recently found myself reviving an
archived love of, and desire to write, poetry.

Oh embarrassment! Poetry? I might be able to say I am a writer,
though generally that comes out a strangled "aspiring writer" as my
ego falters, stumbles, and expires. But how can I claim to write
poetry and keep a straight face? Maybe in another decade or two...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember Aunt Tillie?

Aunt Tillie likes sonnets. She like villanelles even better. She
doesn't care for haiku. And she isn't into poetry at all. She's more
the skiing type.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sometimes I get angry enough to do physical harm and the story today
about the Supreme Court removal of restrictions on Navy sonar use
along the Pacific coast has me that angry - and beyond. Can I please
take those jurists and confine them in a small room with a heavy
metal band for the next two months? Please?

The Bush administration argued that there is little evidence of harm
to marine life from the sonar exercises. These are the same guys who
denied global warming despite overwhelming scientific evidence. Chief
Justice Roberts says, "The most serious possible injury would be harm
to an unknown number of the marine mammals..." Well, that certainly
couldn't matter, could it? The court did not deal with the merits of
the claims put forward by environmental groups by the way. Those were
brushed aside.

My husband suggests perhaps they should test the sonar somewhere
whales are already extinct or nobody cares- like the coast of Japan.
I'm thinking it should be tested on the brains and heart of certain
members of the Supreme Court AND our (thankfully) lame duck
president. Not much there to be harmed I'd guess.

The fact that one's battle scars are often from self-inflicted wounds
makes them ache all the more. There are no memories of honor in
battle to numb the pain. Even though the effort was your best you
can't always make the injuries worthwhile.

Does time heal? Sometimes it only serves to allow for festering.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Broken Bones


I totally LOVE my Monday mornings. For several hours each week I am immersed in writers: the long published, the recently published, and the hoping to be published. It is an exciting playground of mind and emotion that brings me more alive and enriches my life immensely.


That said, the rest of this entry is advertisement for a recently published work by one of our group of scribblers. NO BROKEN BONES is a true story and a must-read for any person who might have to deal with the world of social services and the maze of ethnic bureaucracy, on either side of the paperwork. It is avaiable through Amazon.com or through Gail Morellen's website.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Velcro

I've probably mentioned this before in my blog but Velcro simply had
to have been invented by someone who owned sheep. Currently there is
grazing,in the field viewable from my front window, a walking
blackberry bramble. This bark-brown sheep is amply decorated with
leaves and trails a string of vine that threatens to lasso it in
place. If it is attempting a disguise, maybe there is a wolf in
sheep's clothing lurking nearby, it has achieved complete camouflage.

So some clever shepherd noticed the blackberry/sheep phenomenon and
made money creating Velcro. I bet he also invented those flexible
saws if he had blackberries!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recipe? What recipe?

Perhaps I am like a lot of home cooks in seldom using a recipe to
make dinner. Recipes are wonderful and cookbooks are a joy to peruse
for inspiration, but the day to day cooking is independent of recipe
beyond "That is the way (insert relative's name here) did it".
Spaghetti? Pot Roast? Mac and Cheese? Well, okay, that last DOES come
from a box but most night's meals are assembled ala eyeball and dump
measuring.

This leads to occasional disasters and brings me back to meatloaf. In
a rush to get dinner in the oven the other evening the proportions
certain ingredients were, um, revised. Drastically. It wasn't
intentional. The top fell off the Poultry Seasoning jar and the
Worcestershire Sauce had evaporated a bit and was more like syrup.
Both were enthusiastically plonked into the mixing bowl with a
muttered "Oops!" and a shrug of the shoulders. Other components were
added, potatoes were cuddled next to the finished loaf and all popped
into the oven to bake.

The Oops! should have been louder. The spouse doused his serving with
ketchup and I followed mine with a Tums chaser. Maybe a recipe
wouldn't have helped this particular culinary misadventure but a bit
less gusto from the cook in future is indicated.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Birdsong

There is a flock of red-winged blackbirds in my front yard singing
their KA-REEEEEEEE and bringing a cheery note to the drab, gray
morning of rain. I'm so happy to see them and have them stop and tank
up with seed at the feeder on their way south. I missed them when we
moved here from California. Down there they were a constant
background sound any time we got to the city fringes.

The initial years here brought new bird noises but no red-wings. A
few years ago they began showing up here, moving through primarily in
spring and fall. They arrive in a bunch and speckle the staff of
power lines above the driveway like moveable notes creating their
music visually as well as audibly. Is it the same flock there now as
yesterday - pausing for a day or two on the journey? Or is this
another in a series of avian klezmer performers? Either way, I'm
thrilled at the concert.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Consumers: Don't Report!


I have a subscription to Consumer Reports magazine and when each issue arrives the first page read is the "Selling It" page of goofs, glitches, and gotchas. When my husband encountered the above webpage on the Dish Network site we thought it was worth sending to CR. We looked on the Selling It page and there was no mention of how to make a submission. I turned inside the magazine front cover and found a boxed list of HOW TO REACH US info containing this: To send submissions for Selling It, go to ConsumerReports.org/crsellingit.

Hubbie had been browsing the Consumer Reports website trying to figure out where to send submissions and was pleased to have this information since negotiating the website was proving to be frustrating. Aha! Now he could upload the nonsensical webpage from Dish! Well, not exactly. At the crsellingit page you are informed that uploaded submissions aren't accepted and you get an address to which they must be mailed.

So, I'm thinking Consumer Reports should get their own blurb in their magazine gotcha page. For sending magazine readers to the internet to discover what should have been said in print in the first place!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oh Good Grief!

I was having a pretty good day until my husband wandered into the
room and casually mentioned that president-elect Obama is forty-seven
years old. I was in high school when he was born. Oh no! I am now of
an age where the nation's president is younger than I am - by more
than a decade!

(Sound of long pitiful wail fading off into disconsolate sobbing....)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election coverage

Listening to the network election coverage last night was a hoot - in
a painful sense. "With two percent of precincts reporting we
predict...." Various pundits kept talking, and talking, and talking
real data sans data, though that hardly even slowed their lips. I
kept expecting somebody to yell "Dewey is elected!"

In the next national election couldn't we duct tape all those
television mouths closed until the final polling site closes?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Magical Thinking

I confess to being guilty of Magical Thinking. It is something we
probably all do in some form. It goes like this:

If I follow the formula something will/will not happen.

In other words:

If I am good, if I behave myself, crayon within the lines, pay my
taxes, take out the garbage, go to work, diet, exercise, say "Thank
you", balance my checkbook, stop for pedestrians, vacuum, dust,
attend church on Sunday, obey my parents, sign on the dotted line,

I will go to heaven, have pot roast for dinner, win the lottery, have
friends, my children will be safe, I will not get cancer, fall off
the roof, or have a tornado sweep away my house.

It doesn't work but we do it anyway.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good Old Country Life

One of the facets of living in the country that is NOT enjoyable is
the sounds of gunshots. Those aren't exactly pleasant in the city
either. My daughter and her family lived in Oakland, California for
several years and gunshots at night accompanied afterwards by
circling helicopters was an unhappy but not un-normal weekend event.

In my present out-in-the-boonies incarnation the gunshots can come at
any part of the day. We have a neighbor that my husband calls Mr. ATF
for his simultaneous enjoyment of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Mr.
ATF got an early snootful today and treated the surrounding territory
to a series of Boom! and Bang! that lifted me out of my chair and
sent the livestock running. He apparently favors a variety of
weapons. Some sound like the smack of a distant hammer and others
wham and reverb like cannonfire.

The mixture of spirits and bullets causes me concern and if I was
skinnier and younger I'd probably be hiding out under my bed.
Instead, being old, fat, and ornery I walked out to the front porch
and let fly with some less than lady-like language. I have powerful
lungs. The shooting ceased - for the time being. With luck old ATF
will spend the rest of the day in alcoholic stasis, for his sake
neither burning his place down or blowing himself up. I will try very
hard not to wish for either.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A few words about words

A friend subscribed me to several health, nutrition and self healing
newsletters that are full of suggestions for exercises and foods that
are good for you. Maybe. They seem to arrive in the snail mail around
the same time and today I noticed a preponderance of specific
language. On second thought "specific" isn't the word at all.

May. Might. Could. So many of the articles use wiggle words. Suggest.
Indicate. Those are a couple more. I'm not against those words but
wary of them. My mind automatically inserts a not after each one. May
not. Might not. Could not. Too many folks seem to ignore the wiggle
and dash off to do, or overdo, whatever health hint is offered. They
read "such and such herb may reduce the effects of aging" and hear
"such and such herb DOES STOP AGING". They leap on a speeding train
and later on when the same or another publication wiggles the
opposite direction those train riders scream about being misled. Add
the not and be skeptical.

The above advice goes for news stories and advertisements as well.
When the Talking Head on the evening news says "So and so may have
committed such and such" add the not. And if the product "Could last
a lifetime" add another not.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sinuses? Bah!

The joy of an autumn sinus infection has descended upon me -
headache, congestion, and drainage more suited to debris from a
concrete factory. The headache started yesterday morning and is
resisting attempts to pry its cold crampy fingers from around my
skull. I'm fairly good at taking care of myself when I'm ailing. My
childhood as a latch-key kid, father away in the Navy and mother at
work all day, gave me plenty of opportunity to learn how to comfort
Me. So today is declared a SICK DAY. It is hot tea, vitamin C, warm
fuzzy blanket, big comfy chair, favorite old movies on the DVD
player, and naps.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lovin' The Weather

Today Fall is trying hard to imagine winter. The sky alternates
between steel gray clouds and blazing sun that slices them through
and floods my yard with light. The intensity of the changes pulses an
energy that no summer heat or gentle spring day, not even the violent
winds and rain of winter can bring. This weather galvanizes
inspiration and sends my mind flying with the leaves that swirl past
the doorstep. Winter makes me hide. Summer makes me lazy. Spring has
possibilities. Fall is sheer bliss!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Countdown to Election Day

Less than a week remains before the awful ritual we call a national
election is over. I'm not the only citizen who will be relieved to go
back to ads for gas guzzlers, fatty snacks, and anti-aging potions
instead of seeing a nightly barrage of ads for candidates who fall
into those same categories. We've seen months of "make myself look
right by making the other guy look wrong" and we hope it will end
once the ballots are in.

Here is my prediction: Regardless of who wins the presidency, the
opposing party will begin slamming the winner before the election
results are official. There won't be a millisecond or a slight hint
of the two major parties working together to repair the economic
problems we have, or resurrecting the US as a trustworthy and
respectable nation. There won't be a moment of a "let's wait and see"
attitude. Fangs and claws will immediately turn upon the leader of
the pack and the slavering will begin. This isn't a government we
elect. It is a pack of hungry cannibals thirsting for blood and each
has a "them or us" mentality.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Habits

I just had my hair cut and discovered myself reaching to flip my hair
over my collar as I put on my jacket to leave the house. Of course
there was no hair there to flip. And that has me noticing other
little mindless habits. The bathroom light I automatically switch on
as I enter the room - though there is plenty of light during the day
without it - is a good example. A odd one too, since at night I
seldom turn the light on. There is a small nightlight in the room
and, well I DO know where everything is! Bet you can think of a few
needless but habitual things you do without thinking!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Ticklish Subject

My husband recently re-read this article from Scientific American and
has been sputtering ever since:

"Why Can't a Person Tickle Himself?
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a research fellow at the Institute of
Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, explains:

The answer lies at the back of the brain in an area called the
cerebellum, which is involved in monitoring movements. Our studies at
University College London have shown that the cerebellum can predict
sensations when your own movement causes them but not when someone
else does. When you try to tickle yourself, the cerebellum predicts
the sensation and this prediction is used to cancel the response of
other brain areas to the tickle."

"Hah!" Says my hubbie, who is so ticklish he has trouble washing his
own feet in the shower. When I asked him why I don't hear laughing
coming from the bathroom he explains, "My feet keep jumping away from
my hand when I try to get near them!" Yup, he's tickling himself.
Take THAT scientists!

(Should I tell him about the online source that suggests that
schizophrenics may be able to tickle themselves?)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dreading the Haunting Hour

The spook hour at my house right now is about 8:45 in the morning,
just as the sun crests the hills east of the house. That selfsame sun
shines through my living room windows and illuminates a haunted
mansion's worth of spiderwebs that are otherwise invisible. Single
strands, far finer than a human hair, stretch amazing distances from
piano to couch, from chair to coffee table, and throughout the
branches of the potted plant in a corner. The spiderling* that made
them must be equally as tiny though obviously an overachiever, since
even on rare occasions when the room is exceedingly dusted and
vacuumed the next morning the strands are back sparkling in the
sunlight. I am normally at my computer in another room during the
optimal minutes for web-viewing of the arachnid variety. It pays to
avoid seeing what only an army of vigilant maids could hope to keep
demolished.

In counterpoint to the distinct one-liners throughout the room are
the determined effort of the spiders resident in the lower corners of
the windows. These are maniac spinners who seem committed to ending
the penetration of light. The webs are chaotic, multi-dimentional
mazes, more limited in scope but nevertheless excessive. If the guys
above are Jerry Seinfeld the window comics are Robin Williams.

* I hope it is one amazingly hyperactive spider and not preliminary
scouts for a future sudden invasion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A letter to the Candidates

Dear Political Candidates:

I have completed my ballot and put it into the mail. Please leave me
alone.

I'm tired of hearing pie-in-the-sky promises, vitriolic attacks, and
canned sound-bites. I don't want to think any more about the amount
of money you've spent buying a chance at elected office. Do you know
how much you and you opponent(s) sound the same? And have you a clue
that the sameness makes me aware of how much you are bending the
truth? Lower taxes and raise services? Mom, apple dumplings, and flag?

Oh, I realize that stuff is aimed at the folks who watch Survivor and
All-American Full-Body-Contact Kick'em Silly Wrestle-Mania but it
leaks this direction and upsets my digestion. When you get to Gold
Beach, or Salem, or Washington D.C., you will either get a swift
education on getting diddley done, or renew acquaintance with it as
an old pal. I will be here at home trying to hold my gorge as the
party who is out begins attacking the party who is in 30 seconds
after the election results are in.

And for you one or two who really hope to accomplish some good and do
some work: my apologies for this message. I'm skeptical but retain a
shred, albeit small, of hope. Good luck.

Me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An "Oh Duh!" Morning

For two months, maybe more, I've been trying to find or remember what
I did with a certain book - Randy Pausch's: The Last Lecture. I
bought and read it after seeing him on 60 Minutes and my intention
was to share it with a number of people in my life who would benefit
by and enjoy it. Somewhere after the first two readers the book
disappeared along with any clue I had to its whereabouts. Usually I'm
pretty on top of things I loan or intend to share, so where, oh
where, did Randy's book go?

Well, since I meant to send it to folks as far as Alaska and
California, I queried the people I'd meant to send it to and nobody
had received it. That wasn't surprising since I had no memory of
actually mailing it, but then I had no memory of lending it locally,
giving it away, shelving it, or... can we say CLUELESS?

It could be age, or being retired, or maybe just a new I'll-get-
around-to-it attitude. Keeping track of such things used to be at the
top of my accomplishment list but lately? The blank space in the
brain sometimes echoes pretty loudly.

So this morning, after I pay bills and balance the checkbook, I sit
at my (non-computer) desk to straighten and file the accumulation of
stuff gathered there. You know what is coming, don't you? Instead of
simply moving stack one from its accustomed place to another I
actually look through the pile and DUH! there is The Last Lecture.
Where it has been since...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Explode or Implode?

Feeling very at odds with the world this morning. Not sure why except
for the fact that I've loaded myself up with "gottas" and "shoulds"
and whenever I do that I get depressed and pissy. It may be time to
lower my head and do one thing at a time but I'm resistant to being a
good girl and would rather sit down on the floor and have a hissy fit
or tantrum - but that only works when you have someone else, a parent
or authority figure, to stand in front and hold your breath until you
turn blue. I'm in a "did it to yourself" mode so I only have Me for
an appropriate audience... and Me is unimpressed. This is really a
problem. Much as on one level it is all amusing, on the emotional
level I'm quite lost at knowing how to blow it off. I keep breathing
through it. Deep breaths of air and trying hard to unclench and let
it loose. It would be nice for it to flow away gently like a leaf on
a small rippling stream. Right now the inner ugly feels more like St.
Helens or at least ready to give way like a major pyroclastic flow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spousal Comment

So he comes into the room and notices the sample package a friend
brought. "Taster's Choice Coffee?" he observes? "That did better on
the shelves than Baster's Choice Turkey and Paster's Choice Glue."
I'm still chuckling.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Earworm

The problem with person-to-person earworm infection is that it is
impossible to know when one is about to be infected. The germ
carrier, usually my husband, will sidle past and drop a tune (this
morning it was The Merry-go-round Broke Down) then scuttle off with a
fiendish giggle.

So I'm now wandering around with the end of an old Warner Brothers
cartoon playing inside my brain.

Oh, I'll get him back. I wait until we are both in the car so he
can't escape then announce "You know what song is playing in my
head?" He gets infected... but I tend to be more susceptible and he
will immediately retort: "I've got---" and my brain flips the record
to the new tune which repeats and repeats and, "Waaaaaaahhhhhhh!"

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prepared?

I finally took the initiative and purchased emergency survival kits
for my husband and myself - both for car and for home. It is
something we should have had on hand for many years... we came from
earthquake country, after all! But like most of the people I know we
thought about it on occasion and achieved diddley-squat. Nothing of
any magnitude has ever happened to us and surely nothing will, right?

Lately my youthful innocence and naiveté has given way to another,
perhaps equally optimistic, attitude. "If I prepare," it goes, "then
nothing dire will happen." In light of the possibility of terrorism,
earthquake, tsunami, and forest-fire neither seems in touch with
reality but the second makes more sense. Not being a survivalist, nor
filled with a do-it-myself enthusiasm, I opted for pre-planned kits
available online. We now have a 2-person/3-day survival kit in a
backpack in the car and a larger longer-term kit in a 5 gallon bucket
in the house. I'll add a few items like extra clothes and copies of
important papers to them.

The cost and time it took to order was minimal. It is something that
should have been done long ago. We've been lucky never to need such
things and I hope out luck continues. But if it doesn't...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The season is Fall!

My husband and I braved the rain and drove from the coast to Eugene
yesterday. The fall colors of the trees made the highway along the
Siuslaw River even prettier than usual. As an ex-Californian one of
the things I looked forward to when we made the move northward was
seeing the seasons change. In coastal mid-CA the major difference we
saw between summer and winter was a bit more dampness. In summer I
would sweat. In winter, if we were lucky, we'd have what we thought
was rain.

Ah, Oregon. Where we live there are real seasons - without getting
too extreme about it. Winter is wet, I mean WET with a capital Dubya-
Eeee-Teeee. Sometimes a bit of snow but generally and sensibly not
enough to be much of a bother. Spring is gloriously green. Our
evergreen forests keep green around all the time but spring unfolds
the intense green of new leaves on the alders and all the bare
branches of winter fill out and scream GROWING NOW! Summer is mild,
not sweaty hot and with enough changes in sky, sea, and land to keep
it interesting. Fall? Well, fall is sublime and along the rivers even
more than sublime. The bigleaf maples turn brilliant yellow and are
stunning against the backdrop of rocks and fir trees. The hillsides
and creeksides are punctuated by bursts or orange and red as the vine
maples blaze with their cooler weather change. The rivers reflect and
double the beauty. On a sunny day it is heart-achingly gorgeous and
even on a darker rain-dampened day the color light up the eyes and
fill the soul.

If you are lucky enough to live up here, take the time to lift your
eyes and thrill to the Oregon autumn splendor.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

>
Yesterday a good friend emailed me the following question:

> When did our country change from wanting our leaders to be
> outstanding to be mediocre at best? I heard Bush brag that his
> grades were C's and McCain brag that he graduated 4th from the
> bottom. I listen to Palin talk like an "Okie" and wink her way to
> American votes. What the hell happened???
> ~ B

My reply:

I think it started back in the Nixon era and has been growing - a
reaction to "elitist college educated liberals" that has been
exploited by the right. This is the "common man" syndrome (also the
good old boy phenomenon) and is supposed to prove that folks like
Bush and McCain are just like the rest of us yokels... and therefore
honest upstanding citizens. Ignore the income, ignore the fact that
uneducated does not equal honest nor upstanding. Apparently the
belief is that John Q. Public really is, no - not lacking a college
degree, stupid. If the politician shambles a bit and acts like a
grade-school hick at convenient times he'll get the red-necked vote.

Gee, I live in a rural setting and lack a 4 year college degree, own
some sheep and a vegetable garden. I'm dadgum insulted that these
guys equate that with dumb!
~M.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The word is: Nuclear

Okay, I admit I didn't listen to the vice-presidential debate last
night. I was completely politicked-out well before the one-on-one
punching matches. My husband, who is of heartier stock and sounder
stomach, did watch and tells me Sarah Palin can't pronounce NUCLEAR
any better than His Bushiness. My spirit quails.

Please Ma'am, if you are planning to be that close to the Big Red
Button, could you learn to pronounce NUCLEAR correctly? It is not, as
our current leader seems to think, "homey" to say noo-kyoo-lur. It is
lazy. When we are young metathesis can have its way with our tongues.
A toddler saying "pasketti" is cute. As adults we can cherish
regionalisms but still manage to learn to speak past them.

The word is NUCLEAR, (noo-klee-er), and means: pertaining to or
involving atomic weapons/energy. Say it carefully Sarah: noo-klee-er.
NOO-KLEE-ER! Show me that a woman can learn what Dubya couldn't manage.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I've been shot!

The hubbie and I were close to being first in line yesterday as the
first flu shots of the season were offered in our area. He'd
suggested we get them last fall and I hemmed and hawed and finally
declined. Flu, at least the week (or more) long headache and cough
variety, has never been a problem for my hearty and more youthful
system. Wrong choice. Instead of my usual 24 hour stomach woes I got
the entire package plus pneumonia. Miserable doesn't begin to
describe the symptoms or my general attitude. When that same husband
came home Monday afternoon with news that flu shots would soon be
available I was an enthusiastic volunteer. My fingers have now
assumed the crossed position as the weather turns to cold and wet and
the germs rev up for another run on the human population.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mantis moment

I'm standing in the front yard chatting with my neighbor yesterday
afternoon as some large insect flies past. "It's a praying mantis,"
she shouts and turns to see where it is headed. Plucking it from the
myrtle tree beside our deck she brings it to show me. "Do these
things bite?" I ask as I bend to admire the exquisite three inch tall
bug, whereupon said mantis gives a leap and ends up clinging to my
face at the nose/mouth area. I freeze. Whenever bee, wasp, or unknown
many-legged creature is on approach I flee but if sat upon I assume
the guise of harmless tree. In this case a harmless tree with a much
startled, somewhat panicky expression. My pal handled it well but I
can imagine she was torn between laughter and desire to rescue both
me and the poor offending mantis. The mantis has chosen to crawl
upward and, thankfully is no longer directly below my nostrils but
clinging to the front of my glasses. Showing good sense as my friend
reaches to remove it, it takes wing and leaves the excitement for a
new resting place in one of the alders in the nearby field. And I can
resume breathing and laugh at the incident, wishing there'd been a
camera at hand.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dark Returning

Tomorrow is the first of October and fall is SO upon us. The only
thing that consoled me when I noticed how dark it was (still) outside
at 6:30 AM was taking a look at a Fairbanks webcam - my dear friend
Kathy lives way up yonder - where at 7:30AM it remains middle-of-the-
night dark. Alaskans may cherish the cold and darkness but my inner
bear just sees the encroaching winter as hibernation time. Wake me in
the spring!

It isn't a fantasy to claim there must be some hibernating beast in
my ancestral bloodstream. Last night I stumbled off to bed around
8:30pm and wouldn't have been up until the sky lightened to gray
except for a noisy little cat who refuses to use the cat box and
required, no, DEMANDED to be let out to find her own biffy around
5:00. My sleep doesn't easily return once disturbed so I glared a bit
at the darkness, realizing with a start how much the year had shifted
while I've been busy the past couple of weeks.

Fall may have just begun in terms of the fall equinox but northern
latitudes rush the seasons. Recent days have been warm but leaves are
dropping from the trees and winter? Not far off. Boo! Hiss!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oregon Senate Race - again

Gad, but the Merkeley/Smith TV ads have me ready to leave a blank
space in that box on my ballot! They are both reprehensible, each
blaming the other for starting the slugfest. Everybody I talk to is
angry about it and sick to death of watching the nonsense. But does
either party or either candidate listen?

Wouldn't you think a polite "I'll not play that game" followed by a
"here is who I am" sort of campaign would be nifty? It would be new
and different in an arena where being nasty, underhanded, and
insinuating rather than proving is the norm. Bet it would garner some
respect. But then what politico or politico-to-be deserves or expects
respect?

Think for a minute. After listening to the ads would you want either
man to share dinner at your table tonight? And if they aren't nice
enough to be a guest what sort of leader do you think they'll make?
(And I'm equally jaded about those headed for the BIG SEAT in
Washington D.C.)

Yup, I'm cynical.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It begins again- flu season

We are all facing with the beginning of flu/cold/whatever-virus-is-
going-around season and I'd like to make a plea to all the potential
sufferers to STAY HOME when you get sick!! Yeah, *YOU*, with your
runny nose, cough, and upset tummy. Skip the over-the-counter
medication routine, go to bed, and remain there for the duration.

I know you'll miss a few days of work and you'd much rather save
those sick days to make up a three-day weekend of water-skiing next
summer, or recover from a holiday party involving too much rummy
eggnog. I know that shopping trip you planned or the meeting you
ought to attend is terribly important. But think a minute. Where did
you get the bug that now causes a hammering headache and a stomach
that flips when you flop? Wasn't it that co-worker who dragged
himself out of bed and came to work anyway? Or maybe that chick at
the checkout stand whose barely suppressed cough sent her
microorganisms your direction? And if they'd stayed home wouldn't you
be less likely to be wondering how much longer you can stand up?

The biggest vector in viral spread, IMNSHO, is over-the-counter
medication. Here, take this pill and get 12 hour relief. While you
are at it, get 12 hours to walk around filling the air with your
germs and to leave a trail of disease behind you. Look, I'm not
asking you to forgo the aspirin and orange juice. Enjoy the warm
blanket and hot cup of tea. But please keep your germs confined to
the bedroom instead of sharing them with me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tired

I'm feeling extra-heavy-duty exhausted and it may be the change in
season, or maybe the after-effects of allergies. It isn't overwork
since I'm extremely wary of that particular malady and go to great
lengths to avoid even a hint of it. Nevertheless, bone weary is the
only way to describe how I've been... tired to just short of the
point of tears. Can't figure out why.

Seasons. Fall has officially begun. The signs have been moving in
steadily for several weeks. The days are getting much shorter and the
nights chillier. My nighttime garb has gone from cotton shift to
ankle-length flannel gown and the blanket on the bed from single
sheet to medium-weight fleece blanket. It is still possible to wander
the house in the morning in bare feet but the days of my sheepskin
slippers and a session with the heater on to kill the chill is just
around the bend. The leaves on the alders are yellowing while those
on the blueberry bushes have gone crimson. The poor mimosa some
previous homeowner planted here is struggling to bloom. It elicits
pity as it struggles to live in too cold and too wet an environment
by being always a bit out of sync.

Allergies. I've written about those before. Suffice it to say I'm
sniffling and snorting and wheezing (Oh My!).

Despite the tired it is a productive time and I've been relping every
day. Maybe it is the unaccustomed productivity that has me tired?
I'll have to think about that. After a nap.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pinwheels for Peace

Sunday is the International Day of Peace.

Last year I learned about a group called Pinwheels for Peace
My husband and I made pinwheels and took them out to spin in the ample wind at Cape Blanco. This year a larger expression seemed important to me. This isn't a political statement. Regardless of whether or not a person feels War in Iraq is necessary, it is hard to imagine anyone rejects the idea of peace. It can be peace in your family , home, town. Peace is harmony with our neighbors and with the environment. It involves a wish for health and love for all things. Perhaps I'm too simple and hopeful but I believe that if all people had love for themselves and others anger would not drive the violence we see around us.

Back to Pinwheels for Peace. This is a joyful way to demonstrate a prayer for peace - but when I began spreading the idea locally it was hardly in my mind to end up anchoring the event here. Hey, I'm an instigator, not a leader! Oops! It seems there is a pinwheel constructing workshop scheduled for tomorrow with me as chairperson. I'm not sure which I fear more: lots of folks attending OR nobody showing up. Either way that rumbling you will hear will be the sound of my nervous knees knocking together!

Shiver Me Timbers and Keelhaul the Bosun!

Yarr! (That's my contribution to Talk Like a Pirate Day - which is
today.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Costume 2

I've just completed step five in what is OH, ABOUT TEN THOUSAND steps
in sewing this blasted pattern. My hair looks like this because I
been TEARING IT OUT AT THE ROOTS! The caffeine required to jump
start my heart this morning is not helping. Despite my conscious
acceptance that fingers are not pincushions my digits are now
repeatedly pierced.

Answer this one: AM I HAVING FUN YET?

Well, actually the answer isn't quite a loud yell in the negative.
Sewing resembles assembling a jigsaw puzzle, taking lots of little
bits and making a bigger bit, lining things up, and establishing
order. As a control freak I admit to some pleasure in whipping the
troops into shape, establishing discipline, and banishing chaos. So I
will continue pinning and basting, pressing and stitching. But I will
also mutter and complain as I go.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Halloween Costume

I am sitting this morning, staring at a teetering puzzle-pile of
fabric that is waiting to be wrested from chaos and turned into a
Halloween costume for my granddaughter. The pattern is from a company
unlikely called "Simplicity". Simple it is not. Fourteen pieces, some
requiring multiples cut. One begins by extracting the actual pattern
bits from seeming miles of tissue sheets. Locating the individual
pieces required (3 different dresses in the package, each in 6 sizes)
was sanity threatening in itself. Reading info on the pieces is
tricky... where the heck is the English? Then comes laying it out on
the fabric and the heart-stopping excitement of actually cutting,
perhaps destroying, the fabric that cost... well, I won't go there.

I've conquered those two major steps. I've also discovered that in my
initial enthusiasm I neglected to purchase the zipper and buttons
required. This means an additional 80 mile round-trip to the nearest
town with a store that carries such arcane supplies. Since fuel costs
are so high that trip will be sometime in the future when other
errands necessitate a trek from the boonies. Good thing I began this
assemblage well ahead of time.

As the heap of material gets sorted and beaten into submission I
recall a long-ago costume I beaded for my daughter, and other sewing
projects that daunted at the outset. My gung-ho has gung-went but
love carries the day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time to renew?

The women of my acquaintance have been frothing at the mouth in anger
about the rule that made getting a driver's license renewed a total
nightmare. In order to thwart illegal aliens the transportations
czars thought it would be a nifty idea to require all drivers to
document their full legal name and citizenship status. No problem,
you say? Well, maybe so if you are a man. But women have
traditionally changed their names when they marry, and widows and
divorcees may have a trail of legal names when they remarry. Imagine
trying to re-create the paper proofs when you are suddenly confronted
with two weeks until your license expires!

Since the rule, which went into effect the beginning of July, is
already being modified, I'm guessing the members of the state
transportation commission got an earful from the first women facing
the horrors involved in trying to locate, pay for, and receive the
multitude of documents needed. I wouldn't have such a problem myself
since I've been married to the same man for over 38 years and have
copies of both my birth certificate and my marriage license. It did
cross my mind about the reasoning behind suddenly requiring that
proof when I've been licensed to drive under my married name for 14
years in this state and over 35 years in another. But among my
circle of friends are women who have been married as many as four
times and others who have changed their birth names for spiritual or
safety reasons. One friend married several times was discovering
costs of up to $35 for copies of documents from other states and long
periods of waiting for the copies to arrive as she eyed the date when
her driving privileges would end.

Yup, somebody really thought this one through. We are getting laws of
the "Omigosh, what did we do?" variety. And are any of us naive
enough to think it is all that hard to create a paper trail if you
are an illegal alien? If I can send money for a copy of my birth
certificate can't somebody else? And with a birth certificate what
else can I get... a copy of my social security card? A driver's
license? Better watch what is put in those newspaper obituaries as
that would be a nifty source for information to establish a new
identity.

The rule is being rewritten and one wonders what the next snafu in
this tangle will be. Supposedly the list of acceptable documents will
be enlarged. This just means more paper, more chances for cheating if
that is your whim, and no more control over illegals than before.
Maybe the feds just need to build a bigger iron curtain around the US
borders?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Solving the Trouser Dilemma

As I waited outside in the car while my husband was doing guy stuff
in the local hardware store it cam to me that if Levi's and
Wrangler's don't already make low rise jeans for men, they should.
Nobody these days seems to know where their waist is located. Women
have admitted this abysmal ignorance by purchasing pants in a variety
of rises from "might make it to the waist (if there is one)" to "just
clearing the triangle forest". Men need similar options.

Males are making do with one basic crotch to waist pants calculation
and going creative with it. The teens saw grandad with his khakis
hitched just under his armpits and decided to react in horror. They
dropped their britches to near disaster level. This results in a jean
with crotch between the knees, underwear acting as a Fruit-of-the-
Loom ad, and way too much ballroom for the mansion on display. Their
fathers choose another fashion statement. They insist that beer and
bratwurst hasn't changed their waistline since high school thus
ending up with a belly keg cantilevered over their belt and reaching
the door several minutes before their feet.

The solution? Low rise pants for men. Let the gut hang out and the
bum be exposed. Welcome to the same couture tragedies as women have
discovered.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Campaign Complaint

I just finished watching the evening news - and the evening Jeff
Merkley / Gordon Smith dirt slinging. Watching the negative campaign
between these two has me grabbing for a vomit bucket on a nightly
basis, and about to select "None of the Above" on the November ballot.

Do negative ads influence voters in a positive way? All I can say is
that they positively influence ME to feel negative about the source
of the ads. I'd much rather hear what a specific candidate has done
or intends to do in office than listen to smears about the opponent,
however true they may be. And while that candidate is listing his or
her strengths and ideas, let them be honest about what is possible.
Promises of tax cuts or passage of this or that law? C'mon, you have
a whole lot of other office holders to work with, or unfortunately,
to work against. Give me reality, not pie in the sky. Say "I hope
to..." or "I will try to..." and dispense with absolute promises you
have no hope of keeping!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New TV Season

The man of the house is sitting beside me reading bits from the next
month's satellite TV guide. He's been describing the upcoming new
shows available and I've been convulsing in hysterical laughter. Can
there be an audience for some of these (ahem) concepts?

Under drama:
A show about Greek gods living among mortals
About a gunrunning motorcycle club in rural California
Bobette Buffkin, matriarch of a loan shark family

Under Comedy:
Omigod, I can't even bear to write down a few

Under Reality or, er, Docudrama... I have trouble understanding a
difference:
Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling?
Paris Hilton's My New BFF?
Gimme My Reality Show?
Why I Ran?

And my husband's favorite (I thought he HAD to be kidding): Dancing
with Dogs.

People watch this (Bleep!)?

It seems I'll have even more time to catch up on my reading list and
watch re-re-re-runs of my multitudinous Jane Austen movies.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shopping for a radio (part2)

My husband and I are still shopping for the perfect bedside clock-
radio. I think I wrote about this in mid-July and we're still at it.
It is an EDUCATIONAL process. "Educational" is used here in a sense
that can send a person crawling into a corner to hide. The search has
widened to include weather radios, scanners, clock and non-clock
models, those with and without external speakers, CD player,
antennas, battery back-up, self setting, etc. If we find one that
includes cabana boys and dancing girls it will surely ascend to the
head of the list.

The husband requires battery back-up and prefers 2 alarms. I require
a decent warranty, regardless of the features. It seems to me that
the company willing to stand behind its product the longest is one
that believes the product will last. The quest continues and I am so
glad the man is amenable to venturing out on his own, quite like a
hunter pursuing prey for the tribe. This woman is content to remain
in her cave - though reserving the right to critique the resulting
mammoth when the mighty hunter returns.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to RL

My out-of-town company left for home yesterday and now I must switch
gears, from delighted hostess and devoted friend, back to every-day
real life. (insert large deliciously wet raspberry HERE)

My natural first stop is the keyboard. Sitting here and blogging is
both a great way to muster mind and energy, and a marvelous
distraction from actually doing anything. But despite the clattering
of keys as I type there is a disturbing sense of imminent attack by
stuff. You know, STUFF: Books I have stacked in a "to read" pile,
meaning and sewing, bills to pay, projects begun or planned - all the
things of daily life that were set aside while I enjoyed the time
with a wonderful friend. That STUFF is in my head like the sound of
heavy breathing and eerie throbbing music in a B-movie thriller.

Today has been set to look around and take stock of various projects
to catch up with. (Nothing like a dangling preposition is there?) I
plan to organize and prioritize, martial my thoughts, and gird my
loins - so I will be sure to know what important and time-sensitive
undertakings to ignore first!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Company is coming - or family rather. Sisterfriend. With a day or two
left to prepare for her arrival, normally I'd be fluttering around in
frantic criticism of home and hearth, attempting to set right what
daily, weekly, monthly gets left undone. So what is different this time?

I'm not dashing. My dash has been dashed and I'll be dashed if I'll
dash. And that in itself is dashing!

A bit of surface tidying, but otherwise my plan is to relax into the
embrace of a warm heart and offer mine up for her to curl into. A
week of morning chats over cups of tea or coffee, spiritual note
exchanges, hugging: all those things we cannot (but try to)
experience over the internet. dust can continue to gather in the
corners of my house but I'll be busy with the important stuff.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Battle of wits?

We have an appointment to take our cat, Flickie in for her yearly
shots this afternoon. The tricky bit will be locating and capturing
her prior to the drive to Bandon. Locking her in would be fruitless
so we rely on the fact that if I go outside to sit on the deck she
will materialize from her hidey-hole and with luck will allow herself
to be pounced upon. Chancey that. She is ultra-cautious, and even
less wary cats often have some notion of when one is plotting to
capture them. Stacked against one another, the wits of a human and
the wits of a cat are no match. I'll bet on kitty nine times out of
ten. So we have a back up plan wherein our neighbor gets a call to
say Flick has chosen invisibility and said neighbor appropriates our
vet appointment to take her dog Ginger for her rabies shot. Dogs are
more human and easier to fool.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Housekeeping

I'm not the best housekeeper in the world. Not even close. My house
is not a complete disaster (nothing is perfect!) and I've been in
much worse places, but the dust bunnies here have metamorphosed into
dust dinosaurs and there are always spider condos developing in the
corners. Well, spider webs aren't much of an example are they? Those
industrious beasties can erect full apartment complexes overnight.
Maybe a better example is the state of the kitchen floor or the
serious condition in the shower? On second thought I'd rather not
describe those.

Back to my point, if there is one. I had several large bags of fresh
caught tuna in the fridge overnight, waiting for canning and
freezing. That is happening today and no, I'm not doing it. My
fantastic neighbor and friend is doing the labor and she gets her
share free in return. Oops, did I wander again? Ah yes, the
refrigerator... After the tuna left it was necessary to remove the
two bottom drawers for cleaning and what a surprise was in store. The
refrigerator drawers didn't SEEM that yucky (Ah, the joys of being
near-sighted!) until a close inspection made even my loose standards
tremble and quake. Hot water! Bleach! Ick, ick, ick! Where did all
that hair and dust and unidentifiable particular matter UNDER the
drawers come from? And how did it get in there?

Now that the drawers are stacked on the counter, sparkling white and
ready to reinstall. I have to consider proceeding to the remaining
parts of the refrigerator. I know there are containers of once-edible
victuals therein. I'm certain there are un-sponged spills that have
petrified. Hmmm, do you suppose some of those substances are of
scientific value? Could that once sticky drip be the element needed
to coat the underside of the space shuttle? But I digress again.

The question I face is whether or not to wipe, scrub, scour, polish
and disinfect further. After all nobody gets sick from eating what
emerges from this refrigerator. I go by the theory that we all need
some exposure to contamination in order for our immune systems to
become robust. Think of the responsibility to humanity! I'm thinking
of the domino effect that could happen: clean refrigerator, clean
kitchen floor, tidy cupboards. The list is scary and endless. All
that thinking makes me think I'll take a nap instead.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to Turn My Gray Skies Blue (er)

I've been doing a few turns in the emotional dumps recently, worrying
about a dear pal who is facing breast cancer surgery and being
generally overwhelmed by the world. The above mentioned friend was
nearly ready for a long planned visit and the Big C derailed our
locomotive. We're both less than thrilled about the cancellation and
the dratted reason for it.

Okay, I admit to the awful lurking thought of "Hey! Quit messing up
my plans!" aimed at the universe. The concern for my friend is
paramount but seems to have a little tag-a-long of childish self-
interest that is embarrassingly evident, at least to me. How could I
be so ME centered? But there it is.

Today news of compensation arrived as another dear friend announced
plans to visit. Neither person supplants the other. Each is a
precious jewel in my heart in her own special way. I'll look forward
to the recovery and future visit of one and can now bubble with
delight over the impending arrival of the other. And best of all, I
can chase away those gray skies with knowing that both of these
lovely ladies want to be here as much as I want them to be.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Annoying Calls

I answered my telephone a few minutes ago to hear a cheery voice
asking me on behalf of "XYZ Research Group" for my opinion on such-
and-such, another in an almost daily series of calls from various
pollster organizations. I answered with my standard "I'm not
interested in giving my opinion!" and hang up. Obviously from the
fact I blog that statement is an out and out lie.

First of all, yes, I'm already on the no-call list. Apparently
political calls and opinion polls (whatever their TRUE purpose may
be) are not considered sales or these callers are flouting the law.
Perhaps I should push the button and talk to their representative, or
take the poll and turn in the annoying source to some authority, but
I prefer to terminate the call ASAP. The sound of a recorded voice
immediately brings up a Pavlovian hang-up-the-receiver twitch in my
arm anyway.

I'm thinking that the next opinion request might prompt me to offer
my services as a consultant. "Can I email you my fee schedule?" seems
an appropriate response. Since I'm retired my charges will be
reasonable. How does $100 per quarter hour question/answer segment
within normal business days, time and a half for evening and weekends
sound?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

On Animal Rights

A friend sent me a link to a NY Times editorial on the proposed animal rights bill coming up for a vote in California. I read the article with some interest because it was sent by a good thoughtful friend and because the author had an opinion that reflects my own.

I'm a meat eater, occasionally feeling guilty about it, but unlikely to change into a vegetarian. I love a good hamburger, a steak off the barbecue, or some great fried chicken. I love salad too, but not enough to give up the pork chop or Thanksgiving turkey dinner in preference for lettuce and tomatoes.

One of the great things about our home in the country is that we raise chickens, sheep, and pigs. We can buy a steer and have beef from a local ranch. Our eggs come from chickens that dash about chasing bugs. Our mutton tastes like lamb and has spent its growing days gamboling over the pasture. The pigs sleep in the shade and root around in a large grassy pen. The hamburger source has grazed contentedly on a near-by hill. I was suburbia-raised so butchering day is never spent without some remorse on my part, but knowing the animals we eat are treated humanely helps my politically correct side make peace with my omnivore nature. Because I recognize the carnivorous part of humanity I have a problem with the extremists in the animal rights movement. As Mama once said "Moderation in all things"!

Before we lived in the country I never gave a thought to how the animals that provided my daily bacon, chop, or meatloaf were treated. In one generation our country went from family farms to mega-meat-factories and we consumers didn't notice that cruelty was added into the plastic-wrapped package or carton. I guess it is time to look at how we treat our pets and provide the same consideration to the animals we kill for food.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Time Enough

What is it with scheduling events and time? My life seems to run from the extreme of lots of time and nothing particular to do, OR a bizillion things to do and no time for them all.

Isn't there some lovely Garden-of-Edenish place in the middle where:
hours=energy=projects?

Okay, I have a sneaking suspicion, that I refuse to examine closely, that suggests the problem lies somewhere inside my head. It isn't really all a perverse plot by the universal gremlins to spoil my existence. Darn! There goes my chance for victimhood! Despite my averted eyes it seems the obstinate, obdurate, obstructive and disobliging part of me revels in irritating the obliging, obedient, complaisant side and "I DID IT MYSELF!" How's that for coming full circle in a short paragraph?

(And yes, there is an obliging, obedient, complaisant part of me... really there is!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My husband and I are shopping for a new or at least different, clock radio for our bedside. Trying to find one with all the features we want is difficult. Some have these, some have those... lots have features we don't want and none have all we do. (sigh)

I'm content to sit back and let my man do the looking. He remembers things like "the Sony had This, That, and The Other Thing" and "the RCA had This, but not That and Those"; and he recalls which store or on-line venue had which model or brand. For me, they all become a blur after the first couple, and I want to and do, give up the chase. That sort of nit-picky shopping has never appealed to me. It may be an accepted stereotype - women endlessly shopping - but I prefer to find what I want quickly, buy it, and go home.

We must have missed the five minute window when the model clock-radio we desire was available. I'd like a CD player, and also a connect for an additional antenna since we live in an area marginal for any sort of radio station. The spouse requires a choice of alarm settings. I go to sleep with music; he needs something just short of the loudness of an atomic attack to wake up. We've discovered that most clock radios currently for sale eschew CD for an iPod dock and don't allow going to sleep with music and waking to the alarm. Well, Duh!

So, we can have This and Those, but we can't get a Dohickey or a Whatchamacallit. Looks like we may settle for a radio on my side-table and an alarm clock on his side-table... and a growl at the folks who choose what options are obtainable.

Friday, July 18, 2008

As I tottered across the parking lot of a large discount store yesterday I noticed the interiors of a number of the vehicles. My theory is that the way people manage cleanliness in their cars closely reflects what the interior of their homes will be. Some are immaculate and recently vacuumed. Some are filled with toys, car-seats, and food smeared windows. There are those that resemble mobile trash containers - filled with cookie and burger wrappers and emptied soda bottles and those whose surfaces are decorated with stickers and stuffed animals. I saw one whose windows were tinged with the yellowish haze of cigarette smoke residue and another with racks and tie downs for several varieties of sports equipment.

I find myself wondering if the minds and lives of these people also are revealed in their vehicles, not just in the make and model, but in what they create in the in- and exterior? Has anybody ever done a Master's thesis in "Individual Human Psychological Organization and Its Relationship to Automotive Maintenance"?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

After my recent blog about experiencing the joys of living in the country, my daughter posted a comment that referred to a Brit teen who discovered a "baby bat" in her bra. As the story went the girl had hung the bra, which had pockets for padding, outside overnight to dry. In the morning she donned the undergarment and wore it half a day before realizing she wasn't the only occupant.

Funny story, in a British tabloid sort of way. The posed photo shows the teen with a huge rubber bat perched in the bra in her hands. And I imagine the real bat in question was an adult of some small species like the myotis which are living in our house. I think baby bats don't fly and instead remain in the roost at night until Mom returns in the morning to nurse them. But "baby bat" sounds so more appealing, right? A perfectly understandable and interesting story has to get pumped up for the reading public.

Our country-living saga continues. In the kitchen last night to fix dinner, I noticed another inside bat. Poor thing had tried to find its way out an open (but screened) window and spent the day wedged between glass and screen. We pushed the screen out enough to allow it to crawl out and carefully closed the window to keep it from re-entering the house. Bat watched, craning its neck to keep a wary eye on the giants looming beside it. Later we checked to make sure it had escaped successfully. I guess we're still bat-proofing the house.

By the way, that tabloid news item brought to mind another country living incident. I took my nightgown from its hook behind the bedroom door one night preparing for bed, and as I tossed it over my head, a large lizard dropped out of the folds. No, I do not hang my nightgown behind the door anymore!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Joys of Country Living (vol. LXIII)

Some recent manifestations of the pleasures/perils of living in a
rural setting:

Bats in the living room.
An extremely LARGE beetle strolling across the kitchen floor.
Sudden disappearance of a crop of ripe strawberries - plus all the
leaves. (Deer!)
A frog occupying the fishpond.
The cat crunching a rat on the front porch... as you eat dinner inside.

So, we're bat-proofing the downstairs, washing rat remains from the
porch, vacuuming up mashed beetle parts, admiring the frog and gazing
in dismay at the stems of the strawberry plants.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A couple of words to know

My husband, who possesses a singular wit, cannot be persuaded to
start a blog of his own. "I don't have anything to say!" he protests,
to which I reply "Exactly!" While not having anything to say he
proceeds to pass along various bits of interest to me with the
comment "You might blog about this," whereupon he sits back and waits
to read the results. So, courtesy of the man in my life:

Words useful in today's world (especially good for viewers of reality
television)
ageusiatic: person with an inability to taste (tasteless person?)

anosmic: inability to smell

Thus, in the words of Cecil Adams of Straight Dope fame, you get an
anosmic ageusiatic or a person who has no taste and can't tell when
something smells. Doesn't this describe many watchers of, and
participants in, reality TV?

Now go off and use these in your conversation today!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

At last!

Iced tea season has finally arrived. My favorite beverage is one that
I find impossible to drink for a good part of the year, since my
husband and I retired to the Oregon coast. When we lived farther
south we had iced tea year-round with a gallon a day being average
consumption between the two of us. Morning pitcher preparation was a
daily ritual. Neither of us had a coffee habit so tea, icy columnar
glasses of amber delight, was our foothold in the American caffeine
addiction culture.

We live in a cooler clime now. From mid-October to mid-June an ice
cube chilled drink is not very appealing. My choice has been to turn
to coffee for warming, and to carry caffeine to my system. There are
mornings in winter when crawling into the cup of hot liquid is a
temptation barely resisted. Ice is the torment that seeps up from my
feet and hands and runs through my blood. No more cold, please! But
somewhere in summer enough warmth returns to the air, and to my
extremities, that the choice of iced tea becomes palatable again. The
resumption of an old familiar pattern is comfortable and welcome.
Morning - rinse the pitcher, add the tea bags, top with hot water and
steep. Later, fill the tall glass with ice cubes and watch the liquid
tumble from the spout and fill the glass. Sit in the sun. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Earworm of the Day

The Radetzky March

Good bracing music at least - though a bit tedious the 50th or 60th
time it went through my head this morning!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!

-Lewis Carroll, mathematician and writer (1832-1898)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Depression?

I'm struggling with my "want to dig a hole, crawl in, and pull the
hole in after me" urge. This is something that comes on when my self-
worth has taken a hit that bouncing back from isn't easy to. And
wasn't THAT a sentence?

I used to hide. I'd find a place where my parents wouldn't think to
look and I'd settle in and be sad, part of me hoping someone would
come look for me, part of me certain no one would bother. These days
the hiding tends to be brief and more in the way of just withdrawing
mentally from the world. I'm aware of the impulse, often aware of the
emotions that bring it on, and can let it flow through without making
a big drama out of it. Sometimes. Or maybe I DO make a big drama out
of it but at least these days the drama is less obvious. It is more
internal dialogue and less acting out.

So instead of taking the phone off the hook, marking the mail as
"return to sender", climbing into bed and pulling the covers over my
head I'm putting one foot in front of the other and acting like life
is perfectly okay with me. It is, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My (DIS)Honorable Mention

I recently entered some light verse in a local poetry contest and got
an "honorable mention" result. Now my curiosity is wiggling about
wondering if I post the poem on my blog, will it leap out into the
internet-o-sphere (probably unattributed) and begin to travel about
with a life of its own? Will it wander cyberspace and someday find
its way back to me from Who-knows-where, that little town just north
of Whatcha'macallit and down the highway from Someplace-else?


Why the House Isn't Clean Today

Age and advancing decrepitude
Make me loathe to see much fun
In doing work that needs redoing
As soon as it is done.

(by Martha Schram)

Bye-bye little quatrain. Safe journey!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Squeamishness, Or ?

In my callow youth I made the decision I would never be one of those typical female types who squirm and squeal at the sight of snakes, mice, bugs or a myriad of other paradigmatic ingenue, shriek-inducing crawlies. Nope, not me! I sniffed in disdain when school chums chorused protest at the mice in science class. I was first in line to touch the snake or hold the lizard. I routinely dispensed lectures beginning "They are not at all slimy," and secretly patted my ego as other girls shuddered, quailed and quaked.

Insects have been my bugaboo. Not all insects, mind you. I can admire butterflies, and have enjoyed the delicate grasp of their feet walking across my hand. Ladybugs will also receive delighted permission to walk my arm and launch themselves into the air from my fingertip. My tolerance goes rapidly downhill from there. I can observe, at a decent distance, grasshoppers and crickets, caterpillars and sowbugs. I can appreciate the jewel colors of dragonflies and exchange gazes with a praying mantis, with no wish to narrow the gap between us. Spiders require an whole new level of self-control. I can summon curiosity for watching but will screech in alarm at an unexpected arrival of one on my person. My juvenile vow gets lost in a disconcerting buck and whinny. I reach the bottom of my forbearance with bees, wasps and hornets. No pledge of the past can hold up to what those around me insist is puerile panic. "Just hold still it won't bother you," is insufficient assurance against the irrational fear. I try hard to remain still but inevitably break and run. Darn! Did it again. How undignified, immature, unreasonable!

As I cower in craven consternation my ego rushes to justify: my mother was allergic to stings; it was a startle reflex; I was simply getting out of its way. Yes, that last one was weak but I'm desperate! How can I be so silly? Why didn't I just ignore it? How embarrassing.

"Well," I say, "at least I wasn't squeamish. That was understandable fear, not girlish squawking." I repair my self-respect from its tattered shreds and renew my promise to myself. "Next time I won't whimper. Next time..."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yard Sale

Everybody loves a yard sale, right? Sellers get rid of their junk for
money. Buyers buy the junk for money, take it home, and put it in
their yard sale hoping to get money. I'm so glad there are folks out
there looking for a bargain and attending yard sales. Without the
annual event produced in our neighborhood think of all the stuff that
would still be sitting around my house!

Has anybody ever done a sociological study of this phenomenon? What
sellers offer: that 6 ft. hunk of barbed wise, that wigless doll,
that hideous bridesmaid dress? Or what buyers will buy: just about
anything if it is cheap enough! There has to be a college paper, or a
PhD thesis in there somewhere.

The lure for me, besides a few bucks for things I might otherwise
throw out, is people watching and general chit-chatting. Meet your
neighbors! Try to guess what their house looks like from the items
they are drawn to and buy. The yard sale is a great American sport
and I'm enjoying ours this weekend.