Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Johnny Depp and My Grandson

What does Johnny Depp have to do with my grandson? Well, pay attention and I will draw the lines.

Hubby has been on travel for quite a while and so, like the typical person I am, I spend a lot of time channel surfing when he is gone. I can watch 15 minutes of something and then jump to something else for a short time and then onward to the next batch of schlock. Once in a while I do find something that I watch to the end. But without hubby, who approaches everything very linearly (I don't think that is a word.), I don't have to stay on one channel. Linear...lines?...yes, I am getting to drawing them, patience.

I was hanging ten with the remote when I came across the biography of Johnny Depp. He is one of the most interesting actors around these days as well as sexy in a very odd but acid-taking-intellectual way. I had to stop and watch the interview and the biographer's comments. While watching there is always this little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying "He's just BS-ing everyone. He isn't really like that."

As I watched I told myself (with hubby gone I talk lots to myself---even out loud many times), "He never steps out of character from interview to interview, so maybe he is true blue."

Then he said the following (which due to my age and memory skills I clearly paraphrase.)

"It all about family. I mean hanging out with them. If it is a 12-hour-day of Barbie, than so it is. That is what it is all about."

See, he IS BS-ing! I just spent an 8-hour day keeping my grandson out of trouble while his parents packed up their house for the upcoming move. We did 1 hour of trains, 2 hours of push the cart around the park/playground, 5 minutes of swinging, 1 hour of trains, 30 minutes of hide-and-seek, 30 minutes of attempted lunching, 30 minutes of watching High-5 on TV and 1 additional hour of wandering from room to room and finally a drive in which he fell asleep. The return from the car in 20 minutes meant he was still sleeping in my arms as I sat down on the sofa and parents assured me he had to stay there in my arms. So there was another 2 hours of napping--which in spite of my tone here really is heaven on earth.

Now, please try to counter my argument.

1) No child that I know does 12 hours of ANYTHING unless there are medical problems.
2) No parent or grandparent could remain sane if the child did 12 of hours of anything.
3) 2 hours of any activity while fun quickly becomes enough for any adult with a brain!

I want a video of Johnny Depp playing Barbie with his child for 12 hours on YouTube.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Pathogenic Thoughts

This may be a little graphic for some of you. Those of you who have reached that time in your life where nothing shocks may get a chuckle.

At our house we have been doing lots of 'brush clearing.' This is now a national cultural thing with the examples set by our illustrious leader, and my husband and I are eager to be the true patriots and try our skill. (Actually
we have been doing this for years in many countries and states and probably considered ourselves somewhat the experts.)

You may remember my recent photo showing all the red lines on my sexy legs from the wild roses but not showing the poison ivy's wrath that appeared a few days later. I don't think our illustrious leader gets that down and dirty, because he never seems to have any scars or weepy sores to show off.

Anyway, since my hubby is partially retired he gets to play in
the jungle (forest) more than I. I was able to wangle a working-from-the-house day today and was focusing on a nasty database entry at about 7:00 in the morning when hubby shuffled out of the bedroom scratching his you-know-what and looking around surprised the sun had come up already.

He started the conversation (after "Good morning.") with "I think I have a little problem."

"What?" I asked not taking my eyes from my laptop screen.

"I found a tick down here." He was pointing to that nether region which is so venerated by the male of our species.

Me: "Oh?" Now realizing I was going to have to take a work-break.

"Yeah. I got it out, but I think there is another one down in the same area. Can you take a look?"

"Can I get my camera? This would be great for my blog!"

"No." he groaned. Then he hit his head on the lower wall groaning again while he lay down on his back on the floor and assumed the position. The reason he hit his head is that men don't usually get to assume 'the position.' There he was with his pants down and his legs spread eagle and his hand on one of the two orbs pulling it aside.
Sure enough there was something brown and round and small next to some red skin. It didn't look like it had legs or a head, though, but at my age, I can't see anything smaller than a pea.

"Do we have a magnifying glass down here at the house?" I asked.

He pointed to the paperweight on top of the desk where I had recently been working. I don't have the right computer to resize---so photo will be high res. How apropos is this crab, don't you think?

Well, to make a long story longer, I actually still had trouble pulling the little brown dot away from the skin and eventually realized it was a skin tag...amazing the pain a spouse will let you inflict when he thinks you know what you are doing.

Later at lunch I went out to weed the beds for about ten minutes and when I came back inside found that I had a number of bites on my legs. I mused out loud..."Great, now I will get both Lymes disease and West Nile virus. They will never be able to diagnose how I died."

Hubby smirked..."Maybe we could get Dr. House to help."

For those of you who do not watch TV this is an egocentric, genius, pathological doctor who solves the most ridiculous medical cases each week, usually after he inflicts lots of pain on the patient while belittling his attractive interns.

(My scenario would be, after he removes about three organs he would solve my diagnosis.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Making Do with What You Have

I have always been addicted to flowers. I love planting bloomers and I love putting out those plants that provide something I can cut to bring inside to keep the outdoors alive. With new shrubs that are too small to trim away blooms (rhododendrons, roses, etc.) at the new house, I have very few plants that I can cut. Those few the deer are helping to prune. So I planted a few perennial sunny happy daisies. Each plant different and blooms about two weeks apart. These were the first to bloom thus far, and yes, I cut most to bring inside and then had to pad the whole display with ornamental grasses and wild grass seed heads to keep it less anemic. It was the best I could do for our weekend eating.

Check out the Room Without Walls for more fun spring stuff.

Leaves of Grass Books

I promised Sonia at Leaves of Grass that I would post my books. They are a little sparse compared to her other friends photos, but I have given away about a dozen boxes of books--mostly paperbacks--to a church run store recently after my move. The professional books are still in boxes...and...

This post also neglects to show the piles of books on each side of our ugly to photograph.
Now I have space to fill the shelves with new books!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kinnikinnick for Mothers

The name sounds like a dance or a bird call or a rhythmic clicking of tongue and tooth when pronounced. Perhaps a dance done by Indians in Latin America using bamboo poles? According to the National Wildlife Federation the definition is not so romantic. It is an Indian word for many tobacco substitutes. The species name Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is broken out to mean "arctos=bear" and "staphyle=grape," and in Latin uva is "a bunch of grapes" and I am guessing that ursi also has something to do with bear--- thus the common name bear berry.

As a small child growing up in Colorado this little bush was everywhere in the lower mountains. I remember how strange its name sounded when my mother joyfully pointed it out each spring. I remember how much my mother loved the appearance of the little pink flowers hanging like gentle bells. I just recently learned that it is a cotoneaster...which I should have grasped if I had any observational skills.

At any rate, it was one of my mother's favorite plants. She always went for the quiet underdogs over the showy botanical specimens. My mother was a prickly and darkly mooded person in some ways, and that is why I don't write about her much. We had our lack of meeting of the minds as I grew up, and I really think the fault was mostly hers. I say that without anger or recrimination because I know the fault is mostly mine for many other things. Among her children I was the showy specimen, more attractive and louder than the others and moving boldly into others spaces like some crazy spreading wildflower with too strong a fragrance. This was just me and I couldn't change my personality for anyone. Therefore, mother favored my other sister who was the quieter one and certainly the more generous in spirit. Like the kinnikinnick both were the sturdy ones while I became emotionally vested and overwrought in stuff of little consequence. And yet, both have passed on, one certainly way before her gentle time.

Therefore, when selecting plants for my landscaping I came across this shrub and felt that I needed to purchase two for the bed by the front door, as homage to that woman who, in her own way, made me what I am today ---whatever that is.

And also I must remember the other important mother in my daughter. And above is an image I created just for her that "madonna of all things small." (Hard to believe she is 6 months pregnant with that figure!)

I am off on another adventure with my daughter and son-in-law and husband, so may not be posting unless hubby has access with his laptop. BUT I wish all the mothers strength, love and understanding and command that all the kiddos be there for mom even though she is a pain in the butt sometimes!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around

I got my questions from Maya's Granny, the deepest of thinkers in Alaska.

Here are my questions to answer:

1. Name one thing that you wanted to be when you grew up that you didn't become, but that has shown up in other ways in your life. Tell us about it.

I wanted to be an actress--loved the melodrama and was convinced I could really act. I even minored in drama in college. This skill shows up ALL THE TIME in my life. Timing of ones lines is, of course, everything.

2. What one thing would you change about yourself if you could?

I would be more mellow and more wise in the grand scheme of things. I tend to dwell on stuff that isn't all that important. If I could fly up high and get some perspective I would be a better person.

3. What is the most important thing to find in a friend?

Loyalty. Through thick and thin and even when you screw up.

4. Tell us about one thing you did before you were six years old that is in some way typical of you still.

I got my fingers pinched in a door when saying goodbye to an Uncle as I was leaning forward. My mother thought she saw it and I fought back the tears and pretended that I had not gotten hurt. I tend to hide my vulnerabilities to this day.

5. If you could grant three wishes, who would you grant them to?

Boy this is a hard one! Off the top of my head I was going to grant the President of the U.S. the wish--as a generic ruler here--not really thinking of my good 'friend' Bush. But clearly re-thinking this decision in that I cannot crawl inside the heart or mind of a future president. So, I am going to cheat and grant one wish to three different people:

My son.
My youngest brother.
A random young soldier in Iraq.

OK: Your turn readers. (I will be on travel this be patient if I don't get back right away! Also, remember, I can be ruthless.)

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

While They Were Sleeping

It is now 6:30 in the morning and I have been up for half an hour. I was awakened by the intermittent rushing noise outside, which I, at first, thought was a distant motor boat out in the bay with its sound carried by the wind. Instead I discovered it was the sound of the newly green trees waving their open flags in the first rays of the sun as gusts of wind pushed them down in arching bows.

The daughter, her husband, Xman and hubby are all still snuggled away in their beds missing the beauty of this morning. Yesterday's gentle soaking rains have cleansed the air of all softness. The morning sun is sharp, the leaves are kelly green, the bark and branches are crisp in the shadows and the sky is scattered with leftover racing clouds still dressed in their early morning gray and pink and lavender nightgowns.

Even the birds are dashing to the feeders instead of gliding.

My 6-month pregnant daughter now waddles down the stairs in blurry-eyed search of a cup of milk for Xman. I offer her coffee, but she is not ready and will return to bed and snuggle with Xman while he gets his early morning sustenance.

All are missing this magic time. This is my sustenance.

(Go here to see why these mornings are precious...thanks to Robert Brady for the resource.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lonely Afternoon Adventures-Life Story #9

It had started out as a typical afternoon on one of the remote islands of the South Pacific. It was a relatively calm day with coconut fronds waving gently at intervals and with moderate temperatures. My husband and I had headed out on the laboratory boat with another scientist to survey some wild oyster beds. The morning went fairly fast and we collected enough data to stop for an early lunch at the edge of the mangroves. I was eating my tuna salad sandwich and gazing over the stern of the boat watching an archer fish with fascination as he skulked in the shadows waiting for a meal from an unwary insect.

The water in this area was shallow, only two feet deep, dropping gently to about four feet toward the open ocean before reaching the boat channel. Brushing bread crumbs from my swimsuit, I stepped around the outboard and holding the top of the motor housing slipped over the back of the boat for a cooling swim after lunch. Hubby and the colleague decided to motor to the other side of the mangrove peninsula to the mouth of a river in search of some innocuous biological event that I have since forgotten.

Once the sound of the outboard had disappeared behind the mangroves, I realized how quiet it was with just the sound of my hands in the water and the insects on the island. Other than the boat just a short distance away, I could imagine I was the only person on the planet. I poked in the soft sand with my toes and watched the sea birds in the distance and listened to the lapping of the gentle waves against the mangrove roots. I was concentrating on retrieving a terebra that I had unearthed with my big toe when I thought I saw the shadow of something on the surface of the water beside me. I looked up but only saw the gently rippled gray surface of the water. I looked down at the sand again, replacing the mollusk and slowly worked my way toward the open ocean until the water came to just below my shoulders for a complete cool down. As I looked toward the horizon I once again caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Suddenly, being all alone became somewhat unsettling. I started scanning the waters around me and in a few minutes a gray dorsal fin broke the surface about ten feet away and swam a foot toward me and then moved away disappearing beneath the surface.

I was guessing by the size of the fin that it was a small gray reef shark, maybe just over two feet in length, surveying the area. In less than a minute, he returned. Initially, I was fascinated by this typical behavior when he started circling me ever so slowly. The concentric circles made by the dorsal fin that broke the surface of the water were about six feet away and getting closer. I wasn't afraid of such a small shark until I remembered he also wasn't afraid of me. He was a “teenager” out for an experimental event. I had felt the sandpaper skin of a shark with my hands not that long ago and realized if he swiped me it would hurt and possibly draw blood, not a good event in shark country.

The boat was too far away to hear my call and the prevailing breeze would have pulled my voice away anyway. I also was too embarrassed to admit I needed help against such a little guy. I moved carefully, walking backwards toward the mangroves, and scanning the surface of the water around me as I did so. There was no place for me to get out of the water and the water wasn't shallow enough to prevent the shark from swimming directly at me. I decided to throw caution to the wind (avoiding thinking about water snakes or crocodiles among the tangled tree roots—both of which existed in these parts) and stepped up to carefully balance on the larger arching mangrove roots as I leaned against the trees. Leaves and blunt branches poked my head and shoulders as I squatted in precarious balance. After about ten minutes of this yoga experience the shark became bored and left the area.

As I sat balancing awkwardly on the roots in my bare feet I began to survey the mangrove jungle and did not realize I was in store for a second adventure of the day. Behind me I heard a weak squawking noise that I must have missed earlier in my mild panic to eliminate the shark bait. I couldn't see where the sound was coming from over my shoulder, and so, gently entered the water and walked behind the first section of mangroves to another sandy space behind the first patch of trees. About a foot above my head I saw the cause of the noise. A small blue heron had become caught in the mangrove branches. His head was caught in the fork of a branch and while he flapped and squawked ever so weakly, his position and weight had trapped him. His outspread wing was the only thing keeping him from hanging himself.

Wary of his long and sharp bill, I realized that I was going to be responsible for his rescue. I tried to balance on the roots but couldn't get high enough to grasp him safely…safely for him and for me. The eye that stared at me was still clear but his movements were very weak. He must have been there for hours. I watched a few minutes more trying to think of some way to lift him from the branch. I was starting to panic for him. I called to my husband. My call was lost in the great expense of water. I walked around the trees and to the front of the island and putting my hands to my mouth called, hooted, and whistled toward the mouth of the river.

It seemed that a lot of time passed, but eventually I heard the outboard and soon I saw the boat approaching. My husband could see I was trying to convey some emergency, and when he kicked off the engine, I explained the plight of 'my' heron. After I lifted myself aboard we poled our way to the back of the mangrove and were able to get close enough standing on the side of the boat to reach and eventually release the bird. Actually, my husband did most of the gentle pulling and lifting while I provided encouragement. We placed the bird carefully, with hands on bill, on a tree root and he paused getting his balance. Like the shark, he too left us shortly for another clump of mangroves and the pursuit of another meal. I didn't mention the little shark adventure until after we got back home.