Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Reruns#

The smooth face of a butter-cream surf-sanded shell
The marvelous smooth pre-kissed cheek of a grandchild

The starfish shaped prints in the sand after flight of a watchful great heron
The tiny hand print in sand of an elated child who came later

The familiar hand-hold of your husband at the end of the movie before you enter the car
The rose petaled floor of your son's well-planned engagement evening*

The feathery drift of dozens of yellow butterflies against a blue sky
The last smell of a sunset peach rose before the first petal fall
The earthy taste of a sun-kissed tomato

The icy sip of a glass of something cold and bubbly
The scattered song of a teenage titmouse dancing on the roof

The giggle of a toddler dancing in the grass
The jazzy rhythm of bold cicadas hidden from view
The gentle burr of a hummingbird at your back

The magical sparkle of an ever higher climbing fairy flight of fireflies
against the black silhouette of a tree before the blush of the moon.

 #Perhaps a little sweet gooey like too much pink cotton candy at the fair...but it is honest, honestly.
 *Details, perhaps, in another blog post.

(In answer to the prior post she was most amazed that the statue did not wear underpants!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bawdy (Body?) Personality

Here is another sculpture from that sculpture garden that I visited with my grandson earlier in the month.  This garden was created as a lovely quiet place by parents to honor a special daughter that had left them way too early,  so it was with great thankfulness that I followed the paths.

I brought my granddaughter when it was her turn to visit us.  She came primarily for the little fairy houses that had been created by various people in the community.  But she also loved the paths and ramps and ability to kick up her heals in a big open space.  Running is one of her favorites things to do.

Below is a photo showing her reaction to the same statue of the girl in pigtails that my grandson saw (That photo is in a prior post in case you missed it).  Her response was very different as you can see.  I think this says something about her personality and perhaps something about the fact that she is very familiar with the female body and not so much in awe as perhaps my grandson was.  (I will tell you that her comment was on a different part of the body than would be most obvious.) What do you think about my thoughts?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Be Safe

I had taken a short class on food safety a month ago which I had mentioned in a comment and one of my blog readers who was recovering from a bout with bad food suggested I share what I learned.  So here are some bullets for you to print out and keep in the kitchen, if you wish.

Not a lot has changed over the years, but if you are reaching that elder age, your body has changed and can no longer fight off poisons and toxins as well as it used to, so please take to heart the information below even more so.  If you have infants and small children this also applies.

  • You CAN refreeze meat that you have thawed in your refrigerator IF your freezer maintains 40 degrees (F) or less.  You need to purchase an appliance thermometer to test this.  The meat does lose quality but remains safe to eat.
  • Do not purchase any damaged fresh fruits or vegetables that come from the grocery store.
  • Do not use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables just rinse well with safe water.  You can use a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine in one gallon of water to sanitize cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
  • While most plastic cutting boards do not harbor bacteria and most wooden cutting boards have a natural bactericide, these should be replaced when stained or heavily marked on a regular basis.

  • You must wash packaged salads even if they say they are triple-washed because bacteria has been found in these.
  • All perishables MUST be refrigerated within two hours of putting them in your grocery cart.
  • Fresh meat must be frozen if not used in two days.
  • When the power goes out:  the refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours.  A FULL freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours and half full freezer about 24 hours.  Doors to these MUST remain closed.
And below a chart from USDA for guidance on temperatures for cooking in the oven and on the grill.  If you do not have a meat thermometer...why not?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memorial to the Others

I am mourning the demise of this should each and every one of you in this country.  They accomplished much during their tenure, but they are being trampled to the ground by some very crazy people who will soon demand that all science taught in our schools come directly from the Bible, their Bible.  While they give lip service to the Koran and the Torah they know that all tomes similar to these are cult writings.  If you are an atheist or agnostic you are on your way to hell, because God is the determiner of all things.   They will interpret that "determination" for you if you are somewhat unclear from your Bible readings.

I have placed black crepe across my mantle and am lighting a candle for those that no longer speak out and those that are leaving the scene of the crimes.  We needed you in this battle to save our country and we strongly recommend you start a new group of leaders and speak out!

(I also strongly suggest that drinking water be tested in Missouri and their schools introduce a basic science class.  Please do NOT tell me he miss-spoke.  He spoke from his heart and mind and no excuses are necessary nor will be believable.)

Monday, August 20, 2012


Sometimes you let your husband help with the laundry...but you have to realize it may not be done exactly as you do it!  This is how I found a blouse hanging in my closet today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That Talk We All Avoid

My 7-year-old grandson is visiting us this week. He had a free week from his summer schedule and we are thrilled to be able to share this time with him. Seven is a magical age. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to pal around with a seven-year-old! There are a few things we have to push him to do and others which we let him opt out of as his days are super scheduled most times. This generation rarely has time to do nothing. We give him that and unlike his sister, who has to be endlessly entertained, he can amuse himself for hours with a Lego kit or a craft project.

We have a local sculpture garden (out here in the boonies) and they have an annual "Fairies in the Garden" exhibit. They make it fun for the kids by creating puzzles and mazes along with the fairy houses.

I took him once again this year, because I know he soon will be too old for such silly stuff and I will be too old for the more exciting stuff he will want to do.  ( I have little desire to shoot down a zipline.)

He is now of an age where he notices more things in this sculpture garden beyond the fairy houses, and that has led to greater discussions...such as "What is a torso?"  and comments such as, "She looks scary without her arms, don't you think?"  This sculpture below almost led to another whole new discussion for which I had not prepared.  Grannies, beware!

I love how intrigued he is by this magical girl in pigtails.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting Perspective on Life

Please, if you are not in a great mood do not go to this link below.  It will make you laugh quite a bit and cry very much and count all your blessings...unless your soul has been sucked out and away one time long ago.  David gave this audio presentation shortly after learning he had a cancerous tumor that resulted in the loss of the use of his arm on May 14 of 2012.  The clip goes on a little longer because this painfully funny stand-up was followed by another comedic presentation from another comic.  David Rakoff passed away recently and I will miss him and his writing.  I will miss his ability to tell how it is in such real terms and find the funny in the sad and compare the sad to the ridiculous.

David Rakoff

If you want to know what he looks like here is an interview he gave to our current events comedian Jon Stewart.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

My Republican Friends

The museum fiasco continues to amaze all of us who support the museum.  My husband talked to the museum grounds keeper regarding the tree issue.  The fellow was amazed at how fast the Commissioners folded because they actually had sent someone months ago to count the trees and indicate which ones would have to be removed.  Now they deny that trees had ever been considered for removal!

My husband was talking to a hard-working Master Gardener who has given us tremendous support on building the museum's compost bins for educational efforts.  He is ex-military and a tremendous worker!  Retired, like us, gardening is one of his favorite activities.  When hubby told him about the museum fiasco his first response was..."They must be Democrats on the Board!"  This is a Republican county, so I am a little amazed at his response...but this has really enlightened me.  We always see stupidity from elected officials as a party line issue.

This is not a political post...just an example of how we have to be more pro-active in holding our elected officials feet to the fire.  Most of us focus on the Presidential and state elections and then just vote party line on the local stuff.  I am as guilty of this as others are.  It is OK.  Just make sure you check on the minutes of the meetings every once in a while, make sure you volunteer in your community, try to get those who do not agree with you politically to give their reasons and examples for their beliefs and issues.  Try to accept that elected officials needs us to keep them on track.

I continue to emphasize that most of us really are on the same agenda.  Conservatives fear this black president is going to give this country away to poor people.  This IS a valid argument (Although I do not think this is a real agenda for this President) and liberals have to admit that more regulation is needed for our socialist programs.  But conservatives have to trust scientists and educational experts on stuff without assuming they have a secret agenda and agree that regulation in other areas needs to be enforced...certainly banking with many banks being investigated.

But we also need to compromise.  Then revisit that compromise in a few years and fine tune it more one way or the other.  None of us agree with the skin-heads that desecrate the Sikhs ability to worship as their minds and hearts tell them.  None of us agree with those lazy minority youth who continue to collect food stamps, drink on the steps, and avoid work at all costs.  BUT THERE IS A MIDDLE GROUND!  The world is FULL of hard-working and honest conservatives and liberals that help solve problems. Do not let political leaders who state that compromise is a dirty word convince you otherwise!  This hard-lined Congress will destroy this country.

I will be shortly saying goodbye to a Republican lady whose work in this community has been substantial.  She is an energizer bunny that few could keep up (grammar folks take a sigh) with.  I know about two of her many community projects that will require two people in each case to fill her shoes.  (I am one of these who had to get a buddy before I would take her place!)

I guess what I am trying to say is that we need both sides of the Yin/Yang coin.   We keep each other from going off the edge.  Yes, there are a few issues that require too much tears and anger to discuss, but let us put those aside for now.  Let us just find a middle ground on everything else.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Small Town Politics

I volunteer at a local museum.  It is small and while important to both the state and county, it has a tenuous State budget and survives greatly with volunteer efforts and donations and fund raising activities.  The 'new' director has been a real force for change in a good way.  Unfortunately, the museum is tucked away on a small spit of land near the shore and tucked between private homes.  When it was built years ago it was not cheek to jowl with the homeowners, but waterfront property is always in demand.  A neighbor, who happens to have been a former state official and county official, has spent much of his time making lives difficult for the museum staff and volunteers.  Using his power he filed a complaint with the county commissioners (some old buddies) that over two dozen pine trees on the museum grounds needed to be removed as they were dropping needles on his lawn and clogging the gutters to a garage...built after the trees were planted.  There is a long and unbelievable series of events that led up to this with the museum making every effort to accommodate the requests of this idiot.  As you can see, these trees have been here a long time.

I live in an environmental state where cutting of trees, especially near the water, is rarely granted.  A dead tree or dangerous tree might be given approval for removal, but over two dozen trees...on another's property...never would happen.  I will not go into details about why removal of trees is not good, but trust me, you want to keep as many trees as possible on this planet.  Well, our county commissioners not only granted this permission and pushed the permit office to move the paperwork along, but they had the audacity to require the museum to pay for the 20 to 30 thousand dollars in cost!  Since the museum depends on these commissioners for budget approval, it was in a difficult spot.

Many of us were concerned about this blatant abuse of power and finally we went to several environmental groups as well as wrote and emailed the Commissioners' offices for an explanation.

I was one of the first emails sent to request politely how this approval came about.  I mentioned my strong environmental concerns and how I had worked hard to keep my shoreline as natural as possible.  I also asked that since my tax money was going to pay for this, why was there not a public hearing?  One of the Commissioners responded almost immediately to my email:

"There is somebody passing along an incomplete story who does not have all their facts correct. May I suggest you go back to them and request they get the complete story before they spread stories?"  Sent from my iPad

This is jaw-dropping.  An elected official indicating that I go find out the correct facts for myself!  And to go back to the original source.  Needless to say we had gotten a response from the county permit office AND the staff of the museum both officially stating that a permit had been granted (reluctantly) to remove these trees at the request of the Commissioners' Office.  I researched this prior to my email even being sent.  I was amazed that an elected official could be so rude and cavalier and actually lie!  Boy am I naive.  He added in a second email that he was sure a formal report would be other words 'Don't hold you breath, you stupid tree-hugger."

Well, as the day (less than 24 hours), passed, these turkeys in office had to back off on the whole thing and the museum was going to be contacted officially this week to learn that no trees would be required to be removed!  I am guessing they were inundated with emails and realized they could not justify this cronyism.

I asked my co-volunteers how this idiot got into office and was told that our local Tea Party had worked hard for his election.  Golly, golly am I naive.  I keep forgetting that living in a 'good-old-boy' county is really scary and that I should read the minutes of meetings more closely!

I am guessing since I am not a religious person, if God is on the side of the religious right, He may punish me with a hurricane this year or next that will remove all of these trees in one fell swoop...shallow rooted as they are!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Sunset Cruise

For me, this warm month is just the opposite of that physics where the sun hits a balloon and expands it to a nice bold size where it can bounce around with joy.  The sun (and resulting heat) hits my soul and deflates me as if all that hot air (that some might say I have an abundance of and love to share) disappears into the cool air conditioning and I collapse in a semi-coma on the sofa like a limp shadow of myself.  I search about for just the tiniest bit of energy to finish one last chore but every ounce seems to have retreated to the shadows.

My husband, on the other hand, is full of energy.  He has so much energy that just sitting still mid-afternoon might give him a heart attack and he cannot bob his foot long enough before he must jump up and begin another task.  He can always find some chore outside that needs to be done and come back in an hour later drenched in sweat looking like an Olympic swimmer with victory all over his face at the success of completing another chore on an unbelievable August afternoon.

This week he asked for an evening canoe trip after dinner.  I had put him off too many times and with his birthday (number 69) just around the corner, I knew I had to agree.  I indeed felt too guilty to turn him away one more time.  This wasn't really a 'canoe trip', because he attaches a small wooden transom to the stern of the aluminum canoe and starts a small gasoline motor that moves us through the humid air drying the sweat from our brows as we skim the water.

We crossed the inlet of the finger of the river and headed to the open waters where most boats had already reached their home dock in the waning evening.

We disturbed two birds (barely seen on the far left of this photo above) as we passed the area of the shore that is an orgasmic retreat for the fossil lovers at our local museum.  The dirt is like cement, so only the most dedicated would dig for fossils here.

I was concerned about the setting sun since our canoe cannot be seen by motor boats very easily.  Hubby handed me some bow lights and I spent a concerted effort while bouncing on a small chop trying to attach them under the lip of the bow in front of me.  Finally I was successful and when I tried to turn this red/right green/left light on I pushed and pulled without success.  I called back in frustration after my painful efforts.  Hubby explained with a carefree smile that that he had been having trouble pushing the light switch as well!  So we scooted on into the gray light without lights.

We pulled into a quiet beach that was exposed at low tide just to poke and explore and say a blessing for another day.

The beach was initially quiet and colored shells and pebbles decorated the shore.

I was just beginning to enjoy the end of the day when two energy addicted folks crossed the sunset with more enthusiasm than I have seen in quite a while.  Why am I the only one whose account is empty of energy?

I sat on a log and it groaned open mouthed.  No sympathy here.

Finally we got the sunset we were waiting for to recharge our spirit.

And just like an Olympic warrior in celebration of a great challenge hubby held the torch high as we made our way home.