Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Hot? Thursday Thoughts #28

My Thursday Thirteen because: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...(Colleen Redmen always gets it tight and right with her Thursday 13 and yes, I know it is not Thursday...at least on this planet.)

What is hot?

1. My back yard
2. My front yard
3. The inside of any car today
4. The new fluorescent coneflower I just bought
5. My granddaughter's temper
6. Burn Notice
7. The steam that put a nasty welt on my wrist from the crab pot
8. The angry lightning from the storm last night
9. My husband's homemade hot pepper sauce
10. Every new #-pad that comes out
11. Dolce-Gabanna men's cologne ads
12. Sam Elliott's voice (Who wouldn't be agreeable to anything he said with that sexy voice?)
13.  Oddly enough the mourning dove in my oak tree...he cannot leave her alone!  Talk about hot and bothered even though spring has long since come and gone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Never Ending Story

Tragedy is all in perception and even perspective. Perhaps when you are shell-shocked for years having the blood of another tragedy at your feet, in your face, or, better yet, in the neighbor's yard, you can shake your head in sorrow but move on numbly to the rest of the day without too much angst.  Your perception has narrowed and you are in survival mode.

There are many studies of the numbing that violent games produce in the game player.  There are studies of the personality shells that young children create when living in a crime ridden neighborhood or when trying to survive in an abusive family.  Our soldiers return home only to fight a battle with themselves.

For those of us who do not live where bombs are lobbed into our life on a daily basis, we get addicted to that thrill ride in the entertainment industry forgetting that life is not real in that way.  We want a bigger explosion or more bodies on the ground.  We want larger monsters and bigger weapons.  It is not enough to kill the evil villain the first time.  He keeps surviving and coming back at us again and again.   Get involved with enough shock and awe that doesn't touch you and it becomes an addictive stimulant.

I wonder if our dear Earth also becomes numb in this way.  Or are her earth quakes and weather changes the spanking we deserve?  We keep attacking her with our blundering endless ignorance.

Just to "put in perspective " this oil tragedy,  we have used the earth as an oil toilet in far greater ways, according to the June 14 issue of Newsweek.  The Deepwater Horizon oil well has thus far released 39.1 million gallons with a an outside amount of 94.2 million.  (Needless to say no one can really measure this mess.)  

BUT in:  
1978 the Amoco Cadiz which ran aground released 68 million gallons
1979 the Atlantic Empress tanker collision spilled 88.3 million gallons
also in 1979 the IXTOC blowout took 10 months to cap and released 140 million gallons; 
1983 the Nowruz which hit an oil platform spewed 80 million gallons
1988 the Osyssey broke in half and released 48 million gallons (but far offshore in another neighborhood); 
1989 Exxon Valdez released 10.9 million gallons--the largest in U.S. waters until now
And finally in 1991, the Gulf War Iraqi forces released 252-336 million gallons when they retreated from Kuwait.

See, this is a never ending story.  Aren't you excited?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Questionnaire


1.  How much poison are you willing to eat for the success of the free market and global trade?  Please name your preferred poisons.

2.  For the sake of goodness, how much evil are you willing to do?  Fill in the following blanks with the names of your favorite evils and acts of hatred.

3.  What sacrifices are you prepared to make for culture and civilization?  Please list the monuments, shrines and works of art you would most willingly destroy.

4.  In the name of patriotism and the flag, how much of our beloved land are you willing to desecrate?  List in the following spaces the mountains, rivers, towns, farms you could most readily do without.

5.  State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes, the energy sources, the kinds of security, for which you would kill a child.  Name, please, the children whom you would be willing to kill.

(Taken from Leavings  Poems by Wendell Berry.)

(And, yes, I am somewhat indecisive/dyslexic on what to do with all these blog template choices!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swimming in the Gene Pools

I am certainly blessed with the presence of my daughter in my life.  We live an hour and a half away, but do manage to see each other as often as possible.  I rewarded her with a belated birthday weekend at a B&B and wine tour recently.   I was pleased and somewhat surprised that we still are so in sync with our personalities and interests.  We are more alike than different.  I know this is not true with many mother/daughter relations and therefore I am truly thankful.  This weekend together flowed just like honey.  There were no glitches or differences of opinion or problems.

Her daughter, on the other hand, is very different from both of us and we recognize this in her even though she is only three.  She complains each morning about what to wear and changes at least once if not twice, even if clothes have been chosen and laid out the night before.  My daughter and I are social animals, but my granddaughter takes sociability to the top.  She calls across the street to perfect strangers telling them she is going to ballet,  this time she will not be afraid to participate and look at the nice PINK dress she is wearing.  My daughter and I did not talk to strangers so easily when we were children and we both could care less what we wore.  It was only when we discovered we were girls (probably around 13) that we decided to try to dress nicely.

She was bold and loquacious during her open house visit to her new pre-school.  She met the teachers, told them about her clothes, how she couldn't wear her Princess dress to the open house (school rules) etc.  

She is strong as steel and knows how to get what she wants.  She reduces her 5-year-old brother to tears by killing the line of ants in the backyard.  When her mother tries to get her to stop stomping on them she looks up full of conviction and says, "I don't like them!"  She is all girl.  She favors her two grandfathers over the grandmothers, and the old-timers melt like chocolate drops in the hot sun when she turns on the charm.

My daughter and I smile knowingly, but also know she will use these charms to get what she wants from men throughout life, and we hope we can provide the skills of caution in this art of trade.  We are both fascinated by her because she is so different from us.  When I left her yesterday after dropping off her mother she asked if I was coming to see her at her swimming lesson.  I explained I had to head home to meet grandpa.  She looked down at her pretty pink shoes and then up at me and said, "But, I love you!"

The photo above is my daughter taking a picture of the impending storm as we were dropped off at the fourth and last winery of the day.  Even after drinking wine most of the day, we still managed to stop and notice the changes in the Earth.  (This post was written before Father's Day...sort of incongruous in posting it now!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can You Spare a Dime?

The saying that 'life can change on a dime' is familiar to many of us.  I searched the Internet to see where this expression came from.  A dime is thin.  A dime is not much money.  A dime is the smallest in size of American coins.  What does this expression mean?  Does anyone know the origin?

My life almost changed on a dime a few days ago.  After a casual running of errands and some successful plant purchases which I carefully wedged into the trunk of the car to keep them upright, I was heading down the county road toward the bridge that provides access to my side of the river.  Traffic was steady but not crowded with everyone doing 45 and keeping the correct distance.

A nasty storm was building on the distant horizon so people were probably a little eager to get to their destination.

I was following a construction truck full of equipment with three large aluminum ladders tied to the top bars above the truck bed.

Suddenly and without warning the middle ladder flew into the air and tumbled toward my car.  I hit the brakes (not too hard but steady) and pulled to the right side of the road toward the easement worrying about the cars behind me not being able to slow down and hitting my rear.  The ladder hit the pavement on one leg and did a pirouette before falling to the ground.  It then started sliding toward my front tires following me to the right even as I swerved.  Luck was on my side as the ladder came to rest just beside my car as I continued to move by it and came to a stop several yards in front of the now stationary aluminum missile which I saw in my rear view mirror.  It lay at an angle just inside the lane.  

I quickly looked in my rear view and side mirrors.  All of the cars behind me slowed suddenly and began to creep by.  The truck driver in front pulled to the side of the road and then ran back to see me.  He was a big black fellow with a heavy Southern accent.  He was so excited that I had trouble understanding him at first.  He was far more excited than I, clearly worried he might have seriously hurt me.

I reassured him that I was OK as he repeatedly apologized for not tying off the ladder more securely.  

Oddly enough I was not frightened or even concerned, just relieved that it had all happened without great incident and it wasn't until I got home that I remembered my plants were still in the trunk.  I hurried to open the trunk and was amazed to see they had remained tucked upright belying the near accident.

Yes, indeed, life can change on a dime.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Muse

I cannot think of anything to write about. Hubby has been gone on a long trip and returning shortly.  I have gotten down to wandering around idly and taking photos of fungus in the yard. I post this. Does it stimulate any poetry in your soul. ;-)!  (How about a caption contest?)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Outrunning an Inconvenient Truth

I was trying to work through the 1,000's of photos that I keep taking and then collecting.  I was trying to be honest and delete most of them because they are worse than mediocre.  We fall in love with our mediocrity, I guess, thinking it is a bit of our immortality and representative of our pregnancy with genius in some way.  The genius that, in my case, never gets born.  Anyway, I have many bird photos and a good portion are water birds.  When I took the photo above it made me think of joy.  Running along on the beach with the wind at your back and the waves singing a song is a pleasure in life that everyone should experience.

Now, as you can guess, this photo has the feeling of impending disaster.  I hope this bird can outrun it, but I am guessing time is not on his side.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Truth Be Told

While assisting my 2-year-old granddaughter (shy of 3 by only 2 months) with her daily duties, we got to talking in the bathroom...where women always chat.  At her age they can spend quite a bit of time on the throne and therefore we must fill the time with chit chat.  (She did send me outside a time or two so she could have 'privacy', but then got lonely and called me back.)

While checking out the wallpaper, she informed me that she was a Princess.  (That is certainly the truth.)  She asked if I was a Princess and I replied, "Of course!"

She then pointed to my watch and asked what it was.  Being the former educator I went on a small lecture about watches telling the time of the day for meals and errands and how watches have become rarer because people look at the time (Mommy and Daddy for example) on their cell phones or blackberries and no longer need watches.  I explained that only old people like me still use watches and that is why she doesn't see them very often.

She looked me in the eye and said "You are not old.  You are grandma."

I was quite pleased with this comment, probably reading far more into it than I should have, because on the next downbeat, she looked at my midsection and asked,  "Are you a girl?"

Friday, June 04, 2010

Owning a Pot to **** In

A few weeks ago my husband discovered that I had accidentally purchased not one but two bags of lemons. There they sat in the fruit bin in their abundance of lemonness waiting for iced tea or fresh fish, or perhaps a guacamole.  Hubby became worried that we would forget them or ignore them and he was suddenly motivated.  He would make a lemon cream pie!

I realized that he has NEVER made a lemon cream pie and his baking skills while reasonably adept are not expert.  As he read the various recipes he realized he needed a double boiler.  This is a cooking tool he has never used.  He asked if we had one.

I have not used a double boiler in a long time and when we made the final move to this house I am afraid I got rid of any Rube Goldberg pots that would have worked as double boilers.

Now that we are retired we frequently strike when the iron is hot (to use a totally unrelated idiomatic expression).  So, we went in search of a double boiler.  We shopped at all our local venues...K-mart, Target, Wal-Mart, and Sears...none had double boilers.  No surprise as very few people even cook anymore much less cook slow food where you actually have to stand at the stove stirring for more than 5 minutes.

The next day we drove up north to the larger shopping areas looking for that over-priced but super inventoried store called Williams Sonoma.  With a name like that you almost feel as if you have to bring out the white gloves and tea hat before you peruse the shelves.  I walked in, and to avoid any dangerous perusing, went straight to a young clerk and told her I wanted the most inexpensive double boiler they had in stock.

She looked at me with wide-eyes.  "We just got them in!"

Who knew?  I had just told my husband that no one used double boilers anymore.  No one cooked slow.  She took me to the shelves that had the pot that you see in the above photo.

While it had a French brand on the label claiming that had been around for about 100 years, a more careful reading of the box revealed that it was made in China.  What isn't these days?  It was not a double pot but a single pot with an outside envelope into which you put water.  What fun!  I think.  It was much cheaper than anything hubby had found online so we took the plunge.

By the time we got back from our long drive in the late afternoon we were too tired to use it.  The next day we cooked fish and made some lemonade.  It is weeks later and we STILL have not used it!  Geesh!  Eventually I will have to see if it works.