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:

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
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


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!