Sunday, December 30, 2012

Packaging


Now that the big gift-giving holiday is over how many of you have faced the daunting problem of modern packaging? Opening a present isn't just a job of ripping off some flimsy decorative paper. You must approach the task with the proper tools. Scissors? Hah! Hardly worth bringing along. Today's items require wrenches, chain-saws and flame-throwers to un-box. It isn't just the fiendish gift-giver armed with bubble-wrap and duct tape - Himself comes to mind in this category. And it isn't just the breakables that must be safely encased in styrofoam. Those are certainly challenges but they don't come close to those terrors of modern packaging: The Hard Plastic (S)Hell.

You know them. The item is highly visible so it can be hung enticingly on a hook in the store where it can catch a buyer's eye and be popped into the cart for a trip home. It was thence swathed it in colored paper using lots of tape since the odd vacuum-packed shape resists neatly folded corners and sheds bands of ribbon as soon as they are attached. It sits awaiting the eager opening.

Paper is ripped off and the recipient is greeted with a tactical problem similar to breeching the security surrounding the Pentagon. The gift, often a toy or electronic goodie, can be viewed but remains locked within its shell. Eventually that chain-saw (Himself uses a lethal-looking Chinese Army knife) is wielded and sharp bits of plastic fly across the room to embed themselves in the rug where they can later move to an unwary bare foot. The warranty and instruction pages shred into confetti while the gift itself falls perilously toward the floor. The heroic gift opener wanders off in search of something to staunch the flow of blood brought on either by sharp plastic edges or frustrated thrusts of the chosen blade. Lookers-on remain to exchange startled glances after the flow of obscenities the un-wrapping brought about.

Maybe we could encourage manufacturers to wrap their products like M&Ms? Somebody quick invent the clear candy coating!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wrap Artist


Wrapping gifts was once a specialty of mine. I used to be so good at folding precise corners, cutting the right amount of paper, getting the ribbon tight and the bows fluffy. The results were pleasing and the job itself pleasant.

These days I hack at the paper and swear it fights me as I vainly try to snuggle it around whatever I'm trying to cover. Is it made more cheaply? The stuff seemed determined to rip and tear in awkward places. The rolls are way too long for most gifts and impossible to wrestle with no matter what I'm trying to enshroud.

As for ribbon, since I seem to have developed extra thumbs... or perhaps I've lost a few important digits, victims of age-induced stiffening... ribbon is nearly beyond me. It rolls away off the edge of the table and once captured fights any attempt to measure. The amount cut is always way too long or just a smidgeon too short. On occasion I mush a pre-made bow on top of a box, mostly to cover one of those aforementioned surprise rips.

Creativity is still part of my holiday gift-swaddling plan. It just has an entirely different meaning. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Wish for Today


December can be a tough month. The approaching holidays create Currier & Ives expectations in people. Ads on television are full of jolly, happy images of food a'plenty, warm companionship, and the love we all crave from family and friends. Reality can often come up short. Food is expensive, companionship elusive, family ties are broken or damaged. It is hard to make reality approach the picture we hold.

This year it is even tougher. The news has brought us visions of horrifying events that rob the world of the peace and love the season promises. It is difficult to face the world with Christmas is our hearts.

For those of us who can still smile it is time to try and plant joy in the world. It only takes little seeds. Turn to the first person you meet each day and smile. Pick someone to greet, to compliment, to express your kindness and love. Hold back a curse. Share a hug. Do it once a day and let it grow. Do it twice. Three times. Fill your world, our world, with something to benefit us all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coupon Humor?


Dear Corporate "America",

(Sorry for the quotes but I examined the package of the product I'm writing about and I have no clue where to direct my comments. You seem to be an American company with an address in Illinois but the product is made in China and presumably was boxed there and shipped here.)

I want to bring your attention to my reaction to the Manufacturer's Coupon included in your packaging. Lovely thought and I was quite tempted to use the coupon until I saw the expiration date. The coupon expired just about a year ago. The product it accompanied does not expire for for another 6 months.

Now I know this is naive of me and I'm sure somewhere in your big corporate headquarters there are clever folk sitting around carefully planning these things, but this doesn't seem to make sense. Is your goal to make an out-dated offer and thus not have to forgo profit? Or was it to irritate the customer by making what is ultimately a worthless offer?

You have achieved one of these brilliantly.

Sincerely,

Not-amused

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hanging On!


A typical Oregon Coast storm hit here yesterday. Actually it is hard to tell where the beginning and end of these storms are. It built up over the previous couple of days and while the wind has abated and the rain slowed, both continue in moderation.

A typical Oregon Coast storm… winds to 60 mph. Rain total so far 8.5+ plus. Power only out for an hour, the first time but flickering on and off during the afternoon. "Quick, get the tea water hot before the power goes again!"

The big metal door on our storage shed is down. So is the rain gutter on the front side of the house. A heavy 2x4 bench fell and slid across the yard. And a large branch of an apple tree is in the driveway. Not all that bad really, and folks along the coast are used to this sort of behavior. We've learned not to build a house on a flood plain and we tend to hunker down, wait it out, and emerge to fix the damage. It happens every winter. Repeatedly.

I'm so glad we don't have a million folks in high-rises with out power. Or underground transportation. Or beach houses built just above the waveline. Well, there are a few of those but mostly for tourists and no-one would be surprised to see them go. We worry more about the potential for earthquakes and tsunamis.

As I told a friend recently: No matter where you live the potential for disaster is there - volcano, tornado, mudslide, fire, tsunami, earthquake and various subsets and combinations. We humans just have to hang on.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wash & Set, Please?


Himself and I watched a football game yesterday and I am even more convinced that one of the oddest sights around is that of long curly hair sticking out from the back of a football helmet. It looks pretty strange bushing out from under a baseball cap too.

Yes, I am obviously showing my age and I should be somewhat sanguine about hair styles. My generation was the one that brought long hair for men back into vogue… from the Beatles to Robert Plant and a whole lot of heavy metal guys. But even during those years my preference was for the shorter locks. It was very disconcerting to see a luxurious mop of curls on some dude especially since my own hair is rather mousy brown and sparse.

But athletes? Couldn't they be persuaded to braid it? How about a chignon or a nice bun? Everybody appreciates nice buns on footballers, don't they? I just think anything, even early baldness, would be nicer than seeing a lank, tangled, sweaty mess of hairiness emerging from a pile-up of men's bodies. Heh!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laugh Track?


I've been on Medicare for almost a year now and as far as I can see it is a great system for scammers. For instance:

The billing for a regular doctor visit has doubled in cost since I went on Medicare. A less-than-15 minute doctor visit that was billed at $70 when I was paying out of pocket is now billed at close to $200. Medicare pays half. I pay half. And the clinic operating the doctor's office runs off giggling.

Since I generally use only a low-cost monthly prescription I chose a $15 a month part D coverage. The drugs cost less than that and the plan doesn't seem to cover much of anything else I've needed so the insurance company runs off giggling.

All those years gathering social security and now a chunk flows back to the government for the monthly Medicare costs.  Somewhere in Washington a bureaucrat runs off giggling.

I'm not laughing much at all.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Watch Your Step!



Ours is an older house, in the country, lacking weatherstripping at the bottom of the front door. This has resulted in a variety of critters availing themselves of the opportunity to enter, presumably to discover how the odd two-legged giants live. We had larger invaders like lizards and snakes but generally the uninvited guests have been multi-legged: spiders, sowbugs, millipedes, and the like.

Last night I'd gone to bed and was drifting off to sleep when Himself stopped at the door to announce the latest addition to the family… a large banana slug insinuating its way across the living room rug. I was tempted to snarl since it was not news I needed to hear at that hour but since HE was evicting said slug, thus protecting my bare toes when I staggered out responding to kitty's door-opening command at some later time, I restrained my response to a muttered "Thank you dear."

Maybe only here in the Great NorthWet do mollusks seek shelter from the rain?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

My newest poem, suitable for the season:



Midnight Walker

Creaking, groaning,
Ghastly sound,
Screeching, moaning, 
All around!

Down the staircase
Squeaking floor
Vampire, Zombie
At the door!

Is it Goblin, Ghoul
Or Ghost?
Screaming from
a Demon host?

No, it's just noise from my hip
Old bones on a bathroom trip.

Monday, October 22, 2012



It is so hard to tell with the various aches, pains, sore joints, muscle cramps, and other delightful symptoms of aging which ones are something to fuss about and which are just "normal wear and tear". I tend to treat them all as the latter since going to consult with a physician is really LOW on my list of things to do. I know other folks who barely sniffle and dash off to the doctor's office. There is probably some good spot in-between but it still seems to be a crap shoot as to whether the particular spasm you take to the doctor is better/worse - more or less worth worrying about - than the one that gets ignored. I feel a bit like a deserted ship washed on to the beach and slowly succumbing to the forces of nature. Lap and splash goes life at my stern. There goes another hole in the hull and off snaps another mast! Eventually only a few moldering chunks of wood will remain!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This is how the world thinks women should look.












This is me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

About Me?


I just read the "About Me" statement on this blog and wonder who I was when I wrote it? It doesn't sound like me as I feel right now. Mostly harmless? How about consumed with anger? How about wallowing in regret? Dedicated to aging? Try desperately hanging on. Counting every breath. Pleasant? At the moment pleasant isn't in the formula. All those nice things are part of me, I hope, but there is also a raging fury that is barely held in.

It is hard to figure out where the anger is directed. At my parents? At the myself? Certainly it gets triggered by the thoughtless judgements of a careless world. To feel it is to want to escape it, to stop existing. It is kept leashed, usually buried, hidden where even I have trouble finding it - until it gets loose.

How do I harness that emotion to make changes? Is it worth the effort? Sixty-five years have been carved and shaped by a life I've struggled to live and tried desperately to understand. The half-way point is long gone. Fighting the past has consumed my energy and my spirit. It has become so much of who I am that the thought of giving the fight up leaves me staring at nothingness.

This isn't the first time that abyss has yawned before me, gnashing its teeth and licking its lips. It is always there, inside with the anger, the desperation, the misery.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bullying


Fatty, fatty two by four!
Can't get through the kitchen door!

Tub-a-lard!

Fatso!

I just read another plea online to Stop Bullying… like it is something new. Bullying isn't just snarly stupid comments on Facebook or Twitter and it is certainly nothing new. Along with those nasty comments I got in school came snickers in the hallway and bus seats "saved for friends", embellished by shoving and pushing to keep me from sitting down. I learned to cut school on a regular basis, forging notes claiming illness. Holing up in my dark bedroom all day was preferable to facing the humiliation at school.

Those sideways glances, those giggles behind your notebooks, the pointing and tossed lines in front of your buddies, "Hey, HE wants to date you!" What? You didn't mean anything by it? Every snarky glance, giggle, and judgement was a knife in my heart. It was almost a half-century ago and it still hurts. You helped me learn to hate myself. Did it make you feel prettier, smarter, safer? It shaped my life and I'll bet it still defines who YOU are inside.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I'm fat. Okay. There are plenty of reasons why I got this way before I had the knowledge to make a choice and plenty of reasons why despite dozens of diets and losing hundreds of pounds (all eventually gained back) I remain fat.

But I am F***ing tired of the world telling me that being fat also means I am stupid. That I smell bad. That I offend their sensibilities… as if they had any! Being fat hurts my soul enough every day and I don't need the ugly comments of self-satisfied critics who point out the obvious and smugly pat themselves on the back for their virtues.

Listen folks- humiliation is not useful except for building up your self-satisfaction. And you seem to have plenty of that already. I may have a fat body but you have fat egos and fat heads!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Watching a Parade on TV

Watching a parade on television is almost always a mistake. Not that the parades themselves are bad (well, perhaps the San Antonio River Parade is an exception to that) but the commentators are, without a doubt, beyond terrible. Way beyond. Like ranging from abysmal, agonizing and awful through to unintelligent, unpleasant, and vile.

A good example is the commentary provided with the Bud Billiken Parade that Himself recorded recently and we watched last night. In between the zillion or two commercials and promos wedged into the one hour show was a running intelligence insult provided by three hosts. Note to televisors of any event: DO NOT HIRE RADIO PERSONALITIES. They do not understand that pictures provide information and so they talk, chat, ramble, and carry on in terror of one single second of "dead air". On radio this is understandable. On television it is appalling. The result is that the noise they generate is a constant stream of oral upchuck.

The Bud Billiken Parade had some great moments of rhythm with many fine young musicians and dancer/drill teams. I think. It was hard to tell since not a note of the music was able to get past the three self-impressed hosts. They carried on a non-stop stream of inane rapture. When they couldn't come up with something new to say they simply repeated the last sentence over, and over. "Look at that little man! Look at that little man! Look at that little man!" with accompanying squeal of faked delight. Ugh!

The Bud Billiken Parade is merely the most recent example of this horrid tendency to inane chatter. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is in the list. So is the aforementioned San Antonio parade. And the Rose Bowl Parade - though the coverage of that on HGTV is less offensive overall. Like the old song says, "I love a parade!" but since we live in a rural area we seldom can attend one. Television could fill the gap but seems to have no idea what parades are about.

Note to televisors: Lose the on-air patter, point a camera at the parade route, and let the music play!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wait for me!


As I've hit the 65plus age mark it seems that I cling a bit closer than ever before to schedules and plans. Being flexible used to be easy. Intent upon accomplishing some project or approaching my tasks in a certain order, if something through a wrench into things I found it easy to stride off in another direction. No problem!

Those days seem gone forever. There is comfort in knowing what is coming and when it is getting here. I work to keep my ducks in a row knowing that if one wanders I will either not notice or find myself concentrating on that one as all the others waddle off unsupervised. Changing schedules "on the fly" has become much harder to do. Once upon a time I could cheerfully abandon a days plan to be spontaneous. Somehow spontaneous has become a foreign concept. It brings up a knee-jerk emotion rather akin to a volcanic eruption - one I need time to acknowledge, mentally grasp, and finally process and deal with.

Living life a bit slower helps my brain have time for catching up with the world. Why is it then that around the time I reach where the world was - it has sped off to leave me in the dust?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This weekend


Is your world as full of tchotchkes as mine? What, you don't know what a tchotchke is? I'll bet you have some, on a window sill, in a drawer, gathering dust on a shelf behind some other things or tacked to the wall over a seldom-used desk.

Tchotchke is a Yiddish word for trinket or knickknack. It could be that little figurine of the Eiffel Tower your brother brought you back from Paris or that pretty little agate you found on the beach in Monterey. It is that tea box figurine of a frog or the small glass heart that caught your eye in a junk shop. Whatever it is it has been gathering dust between your occasional fits of cleaning. You pick it up and think about tossing it out but somehow it is always easier to twitch off the cobwebs and set it back.

They gather and multiply over the years. It gets harder to remember what sentimental impulse has kept them on the shelf, has packed and moved them from apartment to apartment and house to house. They've become the background you live with.

Mine have multiplied like yours but every decade, sometimes more often, I look around and realize that some of them have no attachment to my life anymore. I toss a few out, give a few away, pack a few for storage in the attic and yes, dust a few off to return to the shelf.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spider


I'm terrified of spiders. Not scared, paralyzingly horrified. I've managed over many years to learn to admire them from a distance - preferably a long distance - but up close and personal the result tends to be jumping, screaming, and writhing.

So imagine my reaction when just a few minutes ago a spider descended from the ceiling about a foot in front of my face. It wasn't a HUGE spider. No dinner-plate sized bored eater or palm-filling tarantula. Neither was it a recently hatched speck that could easily be mistaken for a mote of dust on my glasses. My scream suppression unit kicked in… Himself can thank me later for that… and there may have been a brief flash of a pause within my brain but essentially survival mode set in.

Let it go? Heck, No!

I'd spend the day wondering where the miserable wretch was crawling.

KILL!

Impossibly, both hands reached up, arced back, and clapped together.

Ex-spider. Realization of what had just happened. Shudder. Gasp. And a Lady Macbeth imitation.

I'm still quaking and (hopefully?) this is catharsis.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meow


Seniortude has magnified the fact that I am a creature of habit. I no longer have to respond to a morning alarm clock yet my daily rising is around the same hour, irregardless of bedtime. My morning routine of bathroom, vitamins, coffee and toast follows in order. I move to the computer and attend to the same list of visits, games, mail, and such. The regimen is mostly the same and I find comfort in that.

Perhaps in a previous life I was a cat? My furry feline companion is also a creature of habit. She remains in bed until the toaster pops whereupon she attends my meal expecting her morning peanut butter. If upon occasion I change the menu to plain buttered toast or a cream-cheese daubed bagel, she will accept the substitute but does it grudgingly. Her every whisker twitch serves to let me know the aberration is not appreciated and I'd best return to her preferred cuisine as soon as possible. Her day proceeds to a series of ins and outs with her human attendants opening and closing the house door upon demand. It isn't a bad life, now that I think about it, though having the open-air bathroom in an environment this wet wouldn't be my choice. It seems to be hers though. There is a kitty box available which she refuses to use. She ignores it and sits on the porch staring balefully at the rain.

Okay, I'm not quite sure of the logical sequence of the proceeding paragraphs. Chalk it up to stream-of-consciousness. Or maybe it is another similarity of seniortude to catitude. My mind proceeds from subject to subject in the manner of a cat walking across a room suddenly stopping for a bath.

Hey, I think I'll go take a shower. And have a cup of coffee. And…. (Meow!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Note to Self


Admit it kid, you are a NOTE TAKER. Your computer desk is always littered with notes reminding you to email this friend, to order that item, to investigate a news story mentioned on television or to find some particular factoid. Chores get finished and that note hits the trash but there is always another to take its place.

Each chair you occupy in the house is equipped with a side table bearing a pad of paper and a pen. There are shopping lists and reminders. There are items of interest and notes bearing interesting quotes. You have lists of the dietary preferences of friends who occasionally visit and of books you might want to read. There are reminders of events coming up and birthdays for which you want to send a greeting.

All your notes have kept you on track for your life and now that you've reached seniorhood they've gone from convenient memory joggers to absolute necessities. If you don't write it down it simply doesn't exist. You haven't quite reached the stage where you have to stick a Post-It on your forehead so you remember who it is in the mirror as you brush your teeth (you did remember to brush your teeth didn't you? Do you need a reminder?) but there may be a day…

Make a note of that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zynga! Zynga! Zynga!


When I got interested in the internet I also became interested in on-line multi-player games. Not the shoot 'am up, maim and kill sorts of things. That type of scenario makes me gag. My preference is for the build-it-up and decorate it sort of thing. For quite some time I was very involved with a game that had cartoony animals as characters and another that featured pirates. I'd spend hours clothing, arranging virtual furniture, and learning bits and pieces about the other folks playing on "my team".

When I got onto Facebook I discovered the games of a company called Zynga. Zynga seemed to specialize in the sort of game I liked and I began playing Farmville. Later on when Google+ got started I discovered another Zynga game called Cityville. Lots of similarities between the games and loads of entertainment pursuing my own goals and acquiring game neighbors. But, as the saying goes, all is not well in Mudville. The more I played Cityville the more I discovered what happens to a game when the company running it is too ambitious and/or too greedy.

Zynga has a whole slew of games and their online card playing must be more lucrative than the Cityville I play. The programming of Cityville is more full of holes than Swiss Cheese. Features aren't and supplements don't. Tasks are removed from the game but steps leading up to those tasks are left behind. Some players find their games won't load and they get various "canned" error messages that are totally ignored by the programmers at Zynga. It is easy to see why the "help" at the home page is all pre-messaged. They simply don't want to hear complaints, especially ones they have no intention of attending to.

Farmville works, mostly. But the programmers are busy rolling out "NEW" scenarios that are simply re-works of the old with a very few changes. And the subsidiary tasks appear so often that I learned to ignore them unless I was willing to be connected to the game 24/7. I wasn't. Cityville works fine for players for a while, but the longer one plays the more obvious the problems become. I'm still in the stage of trying to work around them but find myself fast headed for give-it-up and at that stage will resolve to avoid anything labeled Zynga in the future.

I will miss those games. And I will have to work hard not to wish bad things for Zynga as a whole! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Aging - a subject that occupies my mind a bit these days as it is a subject demanding attention and impossible to ignore. Joints that should bend don't want to. Muscles that were reliable aren't. Things that once seemed important seem less critical if not outright pointless. Some folks might say I'm mellowing but it is more a case of simply running out of steam.

In the middle years of life a good amount of human energy is spent on acquiring. Status. Property. Money. Experience. Now that I'm past the procuring stage life is more guided by a bit of verse a friend once quoted:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

Not bad advice for everybody in these difficult times.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I've once again been reminded about how much my husband and I differ with regards to holidays. In my family holidays - everything from birthdays to Christmas and the Fourth of July - were a big deal.

As a child I looked forward to holidays and enjoyed the preparations for them. My family dyed Easter Eggs. We carved pumpkins. We decorated a Christmas tree and I had a stocking hung on the mantel. Mother's Day was celebrated and Mom did not cook or do dishes. She always got a card though it was crayon on construction paper and made at school. Those special days were ways we measured time and made one day different from those around it.

Himself's family didn't make much of a fuss, at least as he remembers it. There were birthday presents and a small tree for Christmas but other holidays seem to have passed without fuss. For various reasons the days made big in my childhood didn't get focussed on in his.

When we married our two different experiences came together. Probably because I'm big and loud and blithely unaware that such differences could exist, holidays and celebrations got attention in our house. Our daughter had birthday parties and we decorated like mad for the Yule season. We watched fireworks in July and hid dyed eggs at Easter.

Even now as "empty-nesters" we manage to have small celebrations for many holidays. He finds importance in some of these now. Not all. Father's Day passed with him barely taking notice. But in December, when I balked at the imagined mess of pine needles and wrapping paper HE was the one who insisted that we have them. I guess we've found a place in the middle where we are both comfortable.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Children's Books


When was the last time you read a book? And when was the last time you read a kid's book? In this world much of what adults read is limited to snippets on Facebook or one-liners on some other social media site. If you are one of the world's remaining book readers your last choice was probably one from a celebrity's "must read" list or something from a media giant's best-sellers column.

The last time you read children's literature was probably a picture book as you learned your alphabet (A is for alligator…) or some book in school such as Charlotte's Web or Tom Sawyer. As a parent you probably went back to these old favorites when your own children began to read. I did, though I added a few more children's classics like Peter Pan or the Laura Ingall's Wilder books.

Now I am a grandmother, still familiar only with those long ago favorites. Recently though I've become introduced to a new world of literature for children. During the last school year my granddaughter became part of a program called Oregon Battle of the Books (http://oboblsta.pbworks.com). Ruthanne competed and did a good job. My daughter subsequently sent me the list of books for the 2012/2013 OBOB and I began to read a few from Ruthie's 3-5 division and from the 6-8 division. It has been an eye-opener.

There are a couple of familiar titles such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (actually in the 9-12 division), but most of these are books completely unknown to me. And they are so good! I've read The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Either of these would be excellent conversation topics for adult and child. I've read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a wonderful tale of an inner-city community garden told by characters who become involved with it. This last book has been on the shelf of our local library for years and I'm the first reader to check it out.

Many of my friends believe reading is becoming a lost art, that books and the love of the world they open to us will disappear. Perhaps they are right. But having met some of these books I have hope. There are still good stories being written and a generation of teachers and librarians encouraging children to expand themselves in a world of written words. I invite you to join them. Try a few of the OBOB books, find a young person in your life, and share!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cliffhangers


Summer is approaching and television seems to be into "Super Criminal & Conspiracy Season". In response I'm approaching "Abandon Shows I've Watched for Years Season".

Okay, I'm cranky. I admit it. Sometimes I revel in it. I'm also apparently out of step with the television watching publics's interests. Writers of crime shows feel the need to invent ever more preposterous serial killers and tenacious torturers to lure the viewers back for the next season. Bad guys aren't just neighborhood crooks anymore. They are masterminds who appear from a major character's past whenever the plot supply is getting low. They hold mental sway, trick all but the current hero(ine), and they leer, posture and sneer with great abandon. They also seem to have unlimited funds for financing nefarious schemes. Once caught they continue to manipulate everyone from a prison cell and conveniently leave when they need to create more end-of-season havoc.

The crime shows I watch have ended their seasons with explosions, with major wounds (will he survive or…), and with main characters on the run from devious killers. These wait-and-see episodes will require complex recapitulations when next season arrives.

Did I mention that I was cranky? I only wish I could share my mood with the program writers and producers - preferably as a migraine! Not that they'd care. The short-attention-span public out there seems to expect and demand this sort of anticipatory titillation.

My alternative is to quit watching and this is what I will probably decide to do. It will be sad to leave the characters of which I've grown fond, however the shows seem to grow stale after a few seasons. The whoop-de-do serial-super-criminal plot line and cliffhanger endings gets stale too.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sleep has gone from being that welcome period at night where the body relaxes and the mind goes to play to a nightly game of "Will I or Won't I?" The odds seem increasingly stacked against me.


Take last night for example. After the usual hours of television I found myself dozing in my chair. "Ah!" I say, "Bedtime!" The usual bathroom items accomplished I climb into bed and savor the first few seconds of relaxation in a horizontal position. Sigh….


But the pillow isn't quite in the right place so I adjust it. And my arthritic left knee starts to throb and I twist and turn to find a more comfortable position. The knee is now happier but my left arm is pins and needles while I seem to have an extra right arm that refuses to settle down. My back starts to hurt. My neck is kinked. No sooner is one body part comforted than some other whines and complains. I abandon bed and move to a nearby armchair where the various joints can find a more welcome attitude but then kitty drapes herself over my arm and pins me down, I discover that I've left my favorite neck pillow back on the bed out of reach, and it is cold enough that another blanket would be nice. So I fetch the pillow, wrap myself in an extra blanket, re-position the cat, and realize I need to make another trip to the bathroom.


You're probably already a step ahead, aren't you. By the time I get back from the loo and re-adjust and re-assemble and re-align sleep has receded. Last night I listened to night noises. The countryside has an interesting assortment of those and it was Lonesome Cattle Calls at midnight.


Cow Number One: "You there?"


Cow Number Two: "I'm here. You there?"


Cow Number One: "I'm here. You there?"


Only slightly better than when the local dogs bark their version of "Me!", "Me!", "Me!" at Oh-Dark Thirty.


I listened to the occasional truck on the highway and the sound of the ocean surf. Sound carries in amazing fashion around here.


Eventually - a long time later - I fell asleep...


And woke up at the usual too-early hour this morning.


Nap anyone?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A couple of friends have commented recently about my lack of blog entries. I resisted the impulse to tell them how lucky they are. From the outside my life looks serene, calm, and orderly. Looks. In here it is an aquarium in free-fall from the top a ten story building. There has got to be a bang and crash just about to happen. Or maybe not?


You see, the moment I think I know where I am and what I'm feeling… I'm no longer there. Think about the feelings and they change, shift, realign, or evaporate. Whoop-de-doo and Tra-La-La where am I? Who am I? Darned if I know.


Yes, there is a lack of focus. My brain is all fuzzy around the edges and somewhat soft in the middle.


So dear pals, if I get to a place in the time continuum, or a place in the time continuum, and can find my footing (and then assemble a coherent thought or two I will place them here. In the meantime just imagine that you are one of the gazillion motes of dust on the side table and can hear me during the nightly news.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cuppa?

Are you one of those folks who form attachments to inanimate objects that you use in daily life? A car you have named and talk to as if it was family? A comfy old sweater or pair of shoes? A book you haven't opened for years but still keep on the shelf?


Me too. Here is a favorite morning companion, my coffee mug. It is, for me, the perfect shape that holds the perfect amount. The handle fits my grip. The thickness of the lip pleases my mouth. I like the color, the design, the rightness about it.



It can the small things in life that prove most pleasing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Our rooster, Brandon, pushed his luck a few steps beyond optimal yesterday when he escaped from the chicken yard - twice. My husband, a forgiving sort of guy, had excused previous escapades as "accidents".


"Brandon flapped his wings and the Oregon wind carried him over the fence, " he'd explain, "Brandon is very embarrassed by the mistake."


Yeah, right! Guys WILL stick together!


Yesterday when Brandon did the lift and flap a second time all bets were off. At chicken bedtime Himself strode forth sporting a determined look and carrying the kitchen shears. I knew Brandon was about to get a wing trimming.


A short time later Himself returned and Brandon's flightiness had been curtailed… but not without a battle. I tackled the job of Husband-repair with peroxide, antibiotic ointment, bandaids, and a thankful heart that I'd not been the one to do battle with a terrified rooster.

Hubbie's Leg:



Corporate Games?


REST IN PEACE, SHERMAN

I feeling a bit sad today. An on-line game I've been following faithfully for several years has just closed the virtual doors. There are lots of alternatives of course. The internet simply oozes game-playing. I'm not the sort who gleefully bounces from one to another and at present I'm feeling somewhat burned. When a certain not-to-be named mega-company bought the rights to the game, only to announce it would be killing it off, it became clear how easily anything on the internet could be dispatched. Profit is the measure and the only motive for so much of what we are increasingly taking for granted. I'm shy of sharing my trust again.

I will proceed with caution, carrying my grain of salt at all times as I explore the web. My trust in the Cloud is small and reserved!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Perhaps I'm too focussed lately on the "wild" turkeys that live around here but they do make themselves a center of interest. Or maybe that is a center of loathing, disgust, repugnance, and aversion? Those nearly tennis-ball sized poops all over my front yard could do it by themselves. The defoliation of yard and garden certainly earns them a big "dislike" check of the list. I'd admire their persistence and survival instincts if I didn't hate them so much. It is hard to estimate how many consider our yard their territory since the flocks seem to ebb, flow, and commingle depending upon the season.


You should see the bunch dotting the lawn this morning. Ugh! And figure 8-10 birds in a group, several groups, each bunch strolling in a couple of times a day, and each bird pooping at least once per visit. No need to run to the store to buy fertilizer for the lawn though. Just hip-boots if we want to leave the house.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're invaded! Half a dozen times a day humongous feathered wretches trek into my front yard to scratch up the lawn and poop. Ohmygoodness, do they ever poop! Frequently. Hugely. Everywhere. And here's the proof:




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Discards

From a window I watch as

A dude walking by tosses his lit butt into the gutter.

Do you suppose his house is carpeted in discarded filter tips

Dropped carelessly as he finished each last puff?

Is this sidewalk, this street any less his home?

He doesn't think;

His awareness of the world is too dim.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I made the mistake of watching TV last night without DVRing the show so I could FF through commercials. It isn't that I mind commercials - if they are interesting and clever. The problem comes when they are neither AND they replay at each and every break. Is the irritation factor really what the product advertisers are after? It may be important to have your product on the consumer's mind but when it is accompanied with the urge to upchuck that hardly seems a good selling strategy.


Last night it was some service that was going to rescue/protect my online reputation from hostile comments and postings. Yeah, right.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pluck! Pluck! Pluck!

Hey girlfriends, have you reached "Check My Chin" age? Do you pause at a mirror to stare at your face in a search for hairs that would rival the beard on Grizzley Adams? Are those tweezers your most used and cherished tool?


Join the club! We spend our teen years watching for zits, get a brief respite during mid-life, and suddenly find ourselves in the post-menopausal hair-pulling stage. Yeah, we had one of those when the kids were around the house too. Maybe that is practice.


Just like Himself I seem to be watching the hair slide from the top of my head downward to my chinny-chin-chin. The part above is ever wider and my coiffure, never abundant, is thinner and thinner. Unlike my waistline. Dark hairs sprout on cheek, lip, and on one or another of my chins. Why dark? That stuff at the top was always dishwater blonde-brown. It is now rapidly turning gray. Not the new beard. It can be anything from gold to coal-black. Worse yet it seems multi-hued, starting out barely visible but turning darker as it reaches incredible length. I examine those jowls almost daily yet still am surprised to spot some errant whisker that escaped notice until it is… well seems anyway, a foot long.


Hey, Ho - the joys of being a mature (?) woman.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Falling behind... more and more.

The first of the year has traditionally been the time I sort through receipts and make sure bank statements and such are filed, ready for tax time. Himself and I usually do our taxes as soon as all the financial forms are in,,, those 10whatever things that get clipped to the wad of IRS forms. Our forms have always been relatively simple. Only the very wealthy seem to need a mega-zillion pages to report and track their mega-zillion bucks.


But that isn't what I was going to observe. As I waded through the debris on my desk it came to me how lax I've become about those statements and receipts since my husband retired and was able to more fully embrace his computerhood. It was my idea that he involve himself in the monthly process of tracking our income. Or maybe that would be better referred to as outgo. Up until retirement, while he did do the yearly taxes, I kept track of every other financial matters. I paid bills, balanced the checkbook, tended to savings accounts… all the in-between day-to-day stuff.


The responsibility shifted slowly from me to him. I still write checks for monthly bills but some are now paid on-line and Himself handles that. We still do taxes as a tag-team but I'm increasingly resistant. He has a app for tracking the banking and for a while we did that as a tandem activity but, as the stack of monthly statements he'd printed out last year and left on my desk indicates, I've resigned my duties.


I sat down and made an attempt to "catch up". It took only a few minutes to convince me that it simply wasn't something I am willing to tackle. The statements as now neatly filed in our finances binder uses an imaginary header reading "Failed to Comply".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Charlie My Boy!

This is a portrait of my grandson on his new unicycle. He didn't get his coordination and fearlessness from MY side of the family. Well, maybe a bit of the coordination, but not a shred of his full-tilt-boogie, damn-the-torpedoes-full-steam-ahead style.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Let's talk about the weather…

As one of my Fr's said: Let's talk about the weather…


We talk a lot about it here on the Oregon coast. The Pacific currents and the Arctic air masses give us a mild but slightly schizophrenic climate.

In the southeast portion of the state it is all about cold and rain, or lack of it. In the middle of the state it is about heat, cold, and rain, or lack of it. Here on the coast it is about wind, and rain. Usually we are short of neither.


I used to talk about, okay- complain about, the cold. Himself and I moved here from California and the more northern tamps plus my aging bones resistance to chilly breezes brought forth mutters and a certain sense of indignation. After my wailing and complaining was answered by climate comparisons with some of my friends I muted my noise. The Oregon coast can't compete with Fairbanks, Alaska in the Cold department!


But our coast can do rain. And wind. At least we could until this winter. It has been drier than usual this season. And the wind has been, shall I say, less than enthusiastic? Weather stories on the nightly news are focussing on potential drought. Climate experts are being interviewed. Past seasons statistics are being trotted forth. The lack of rain is a topic everywhere.


I don't mind though. As a conversation theme it beats politics!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Again, and again, and still again...

I spent a few minutes this morning checking my calendar and jotting down the birthdays of friends and relations, the ones coming up in the first half of this year. It was startling to note how many of us have reached our sixties. Intellectually it is something I know. Emotionally it still hits me with the Whoosh! of my breath being taken away.


We're getting old, my friends and I? Whose idea was this? When did it happen?


Many of the friendships were formed when we were in our thirties. We were grown-ups. or at least thought we were, and age wasn't an issue as it was in school - when a year or two made a big difference among us. In my thoughts we are still those active people, charging around in life with our futures still mostly "out there." Reality is different. We've slowed down. Health is an issue we discuss much more than kids or politics. Several friends have dealt with cancer. Nearly all of us have arthritic joints and aches in places we once didn't know we had. We think about Medicare and Social Security. We worry about making what we have last as long as we do. We find ourselves shaking our heads, wondering if the emerging generation is "going to hell in a hand basket."


It wasn't in our minds to get old. It snuck up on us. I keep tripping over the idea, surprised to find it new each time I stumble on it. "Oh, that's right!" I exclaim - and promptly forget it again, much more comfortable with that previous vision of adult/forever.