Friday, August 28, 2009

Going Public

The world of blogging is giving me a taste of what it means to have a
life in public. Thankfully is is merely a hint of a taste, second
hand. My personal blog HERE is fairly private with just a few folks
who check in from time to time and those folks being rational, sane,
and friendly. Phew!

Reading a few other more widely patronized blogs has let me know how
lucky I am. Life in public is life spent as a target. People seem to
read less to learn or share than to find fault and criticize. I get
the feeling that simply be walking out the door among other people I
must be subject to their judgement. Okay, I guess that has always
been true, but we seem to have lost the old belief that "if you can't
say something good about someone, don't say anything at all." Public
opinion rules in some very vicious and unfortunate ways and it speaks
volumes for how our society works these days. Private lives are
ripped open and scrutinized, virtual mobs are formed as judges and
juries. Facts? Who needs them? Rumors and conjecture will do. Reality
television and network opinion masquerading as news run the world.

I cannot plead innocence in this runaway right to judge. It has long
been a character fault of mine to do exactly that. But as I see small
minds laden down with the importance of their small ideas I observe
my own with some embarrassment. I'm trying to learn silence and the
wisdom of waiting for information before making up my mind. One can
observe with closed lips and open mind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Outwitting a bird with a brain the size of a thumbnail

We have no hopes of winning our "wild" turkey war but we take great pleasure in the occasional skirmish where we claim momentary victory. After chasing the blasted birds from our yard half a dozen times a day and seeing them demolish every ripening apple from the tree at the corner of the house any engagement that sends them running brings hoots of joy from the human combatants.

Sunday we devised a simple remote-controled turkey frightening device. My idea, engineered by my spouse, was to place two deck chairs beneath the tree they aim to surround, and attach string to them in such a way that a quick yank from inside the house would topple the chairs. The turkey family, now joined by a second adult hen, arrived on schedule in the afternoon and were startled into a panicked retreat. Ah, the sense of accomplishment was sublime.

I have no illusion that they will stay away, nor that they will not become accustomed to this trick. They make a lot of their tiny brain capacity. I'm already devising other remotely operated turkey startling mechanisms. It keeps me occupied between attacks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


If I *HAVE* to have a multi-day, over-and-over to distraction earworm
why does it have to be a few lines from The Night the Lights Went Out
in Georgia?

"His cheatin' wife never left town
And that's one body that'll never be found
See his little sister don't miss when she aims her gun."

It was a mistake to watch that Reba concert and hear her cover the
song. Great version of a song I never much cared for in the first
place - and now it is boring a whole through my head.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My daughter, Alpha, is into her summer/fall canning mode. Can she really be a child of mine? Her gardening enthusiasm alone makes me suspect a switcheroo at the hospital all those years ago. Her extreme excitement over canning - jam, pickles, tuna, beans, or anything else that can't escape her clutches, cinches the fact. I expect any day to discover she has canned the grandchildren, perhaps beginning with her NOS who in 'teenhood would surely be first to go. I imagine a large crock in a cool corner of the kitchen with a vinegary scent, and the parents hard put not to stuff him inside after one or another of the ghastly confrontations all of us have had with our progeny during those awkward years. She was quicker on her feet than I back then or the pickle jar might have held her until her mid-twenties.

Perhaps I should look further on my next visit to her house. She has become such an accomplished preserver there may be a humongous jar of dilly beans eventually meant to house a grumbling old ma! I think Dad will be treated like tuna.

Of course, I'm tremendously proud of her prowess in growing and preserving her own food. My efforts were small and half-hearted, laziness being a prime trait of mine. But her passion for those home arts certainly can't be genetic since her father makes plants wilt with a glance and we are both contented with junk food. Perhaps the German peasant ancestors sent forth their inheritance and it stumbled and tripped over our generation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Taking kitty to the vet

Today was our cat's annual pilgrimage to the veterinarian for a check up and shots. We are devoted and somewhat addled possessions of Ms. Flick and had decided not to own another cat after her predecessor, Mr. Wow ended his time with us. I wasn't prepared to open my heart to another feline knowing it was unlikely, even though we are ourselves graying, that a kitten would outlive us. A series of goodbyes to much loved and long-lived pets made me wary of doing it again. I was over-ruled by the universe, my husband, and the chance sighting of a tiny yellow fuzzball halfway across a busy four lane suburban road.

Flick, short for Flickinger, the street where she found us, had little trouble reducing my husband and me from relatively sane pet owners to ridiculously silly slaves. I blush to think of anyone overhearing us holding conversations with her. Such gushing and abject simpering by others would once have left us snorting with disgust. But here we are, in anthropomorphizio extremis, the man of the house attending to her every demand for admittance at the door while I contort each night to make space for her personal pillow on my bed and her middle-of-the-night commands for petting... or refusals to be bothered with same.

The trip to the vet began with carefully laid plans for her capture. The appointment was for 2 pm, the middle of her daytime disappearance into the wilds of our country yard. The cat carrier was located and stowed in the house where it would be close at hand but hopefully unseen by the always suspicious Flick. At the agreed upon time I go outside prepared to cajole, bamboozle, and ultimately capture her. It is a yearly crap shoot and we are always prepared for defeat and a call to reappoint. We lucked out this time and Judas held fast to her quarry until the transfer to the transport prison.

The ride to town, usually 20 minutes of soprano feline oratorio, was somewhat subdued this time, a relief for me as I'm feeling the guilt of betrayal and sure Flickie will never allow me near her again. I'd tell about the exam and shots but I proved coward and sat waiting in the car with my book rather than further convince her of my treachery. On the return ride to home my best encouraging noises and soothing looks were met with icy glares. Once home Ms. Flick went in to her best remorse inducing behaviors, slinking about with piteous wails as she casts distrustful glances our direction. I offered up bits of chicken in supplication and was rewarded with somewhat disdainful and reluctant acceptance. It will be a while longer before all is forgiven. And longer still before, or if, full pre-vet trust is restored. Thank goodness it is only once a year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fall Morning

Fall may not officially begin for another month but this morning is
surely a fall morning along the Oregon coast. The normal high fog
crept down the mountain and flowed over the pasture to paint
everything outside in shades of gray. Wet. Damp. Dripping. That sums
up the state of the yard. I love it when the cobwebs on the fence are
decorated with pearls of moisture and the sun manages to peep through
and illuminate them like some incredibly fancy diamond creation by
Tiffany & Co. Kitty comes in the door to brush against my leg and
leave a wet streak on my ankle, sharing the wet she found while
creeping under the azaleas.

Friday, August 7, 2009


As my husband dealt with a couple of spams that had bypassed filters
and arrived in his email we got into a discussion of euphemisms,
specifically those with reference to the male sexual apparatus. Those
words came into use long before the internet but have become more
bizarre as spammers attempt to evade software that screens email
soliciting money from men worrying about the magnitude of their... oh
dear, what particular euphemism to choose? Equipment!

The indirect terms are mostly contained in messages promising
increases in size and this is apparently a major concern of men.
Women generally find this comparison consciousness amusing and
discuss it with a mixture of hilarity and puzzlement. For us it is a
question of quality, not quantity. As I explained to my husband What
good is having 10 feet of rope if you can't tie a knot?

Yes, I know women can be size conscious in their own way. Breast
fixation isn't just a manly art. But many a women wishes to be
smaller and that doesn't seem to be a concern for men. If you wish a
bit of diversion today, create your own list of alternate terms for
the subject at (ahem) hand. Collate with a pal for interesting over-
coffee conversation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grammy's Boast

My grandchildren are visiting and they really are such extraordinary
young people. Yea, I know all grandmothers say that about their
grandchildren but these two are so special I just about burst with
it. Here's an example of what just knocks my buttons off:

I had on some music this morning, background to the general cacophony
and chaos of a six year old girl and her three year old brother
playing. SUddenly they both stopped what they were doing and began to
sing along with the music. It was Simon & Garfunkel's The Boxer, and
they knew the lyrics much better than I did. Oh, they sing Twinkle,
Twinkle too. But they can also do every line from Desperado. A
testament to the excellent music they are exposed to at home by two
terrific parents.

Can you say proud? I sure can!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Musical Tastes Change

I'm sitting here at my computer listening to a sampler CD of "easy listening" music my husband acquired recently and wondering about the tastes we develop in music, and how those tastes change. The thoughts I'm having would probably apply as well to art or literature, perhaps to any of the things to which we humans take a preference.

My musical tastes have always been somewhat eclectic but nevertheless focussed. In the 60's when my contemporaries were listening to Buddy Holly and Elvis my tastes ran to Broadway musicals and Sinatra. I listened to light folk music like the Brothers Four and The Kingston Trio and eschewed Joan Baez and Woody Guthrie. I liked Chopin and couldn't make heads or tails of Mozart. When I did get into rock and roll I loved the Beatles but wouldn't listen to the Stones. The only international music in my collection was Irish and went no further than the Irish Rovers.

Oh how the times have changed! Folk music is no longer on my playlist and the only Broadway I listen to is Sondheim. Mozart has gone to the head of my classical list and international has filled out with Bhangra, Cuban son, and a Canadian A Cappella group called Charbonniers de L'Enfer, among others.

One easy explanation for the change in my tastes is exposure and education. I've taken some courses in classical music and listened to WorldLink TV. Those helped to broaden the vista for choice. But what about the music I once liked that has dropped to sub-zero on my listening thermometer? The CD playing now is one I'd have liked when I was 16 but those saxophone-heavy elevator arrangements are giving me the willies today. The music isn't bad, just way far off my current demographic. Will my taste eventually do the full 360 degrees?