Saturday, November 30, 2013

Who Are You? Is That a Resolution?

I sometimes watch my adult children and wonder what genetic mix has created them with their energies, self-confidence, optimism, forgiveness and golden humor.  Where did they get the wisdom to see what is truly important.  I see these traits in the man I married, an only child, doted on and given opportunities galore to succeed or fail.  The only child of an aging couple in their second marriages who saw this child as their second and last chance to get it right.  And thus he sees himself as an important cog in the wheel of life.

I thought I had the above traits, but age has given me the wisdom to see I am a punctual, list adhering soul given to joy only when all has been completed and put away and failure is no longer an option.  Only when the small rest time that is given as reward for work well done, do I allow myself to be open and less attentive.  I do not like these traits in myself and this past decade as my adult children have held up this mirror, I have tried to change and mellow out just a bit.  It is hard work to change oneself and also is an embarrassment to do this.  It is hard to stop and remember to look at the view on the way up instead of waiting until you are at the very top to relish the hard work and share the joy of the view with others.

I was the oldest of five with many chores and responsibilities.  My mother was critical of much that I did and only gave praise for good grades as she knew this was the gateway for her children to a better life.  All else was expected and she did not forgive you if you became distracted by daydreaming.  Life was not a bowl of cherries but a tall cherry tree which must be climbed for any reward.  She focused most of her attention on the youngest as that was all that her remaining energies allowed and she expected me at an early age to be more of an adult.  I write this not to place blame but to see more clearly why I am the way that I am, why I am always the adult in my family, why I need down time, why going soft and making mistakes is scary for me and why I am critical of those who put fun before deadlines.

But I will keep trying and little by little I will not be so focused on clearing the path, but picking the flowers.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank You!!

Not too many years ago, with the help of Oprah Winfrey, Americans rediscovered thankfulness.  They read books, took seminars and started "thankfulness journals."  It was a fad, but a good fad, certainly better than anything the Kardashians had given us in this decade.  I am sure that ministers and priests and monks and nuns and other spiritual souls just shook their heads in disbelief, because this is their calling and what they had been telling people to practice for years.  An overweight, rich, black lady had somehow gotten through, past the soap operas, the shopping channel, and those questionable religious programs.  Yes, most of the listeners were woman with small children or those without jobs, but their actions spread like ripples on the pond to their families and loved ones.  Goodness grows slowly but goes on forever.

I cannot list all the things I am thankful for this year (my readers are high up in the list) because this post would be way too long.  I would begin with the big things like a faithful devoted husband and beautiful children and grandchildren and finally wind my way down to things like the beauty of floating feathers and the fact that we are made from stardust which connects us to this vast and awesome universe in a magnificent way.

I hope that your Thanksgiving Day, whether with those you love, those you cannot stand, or with just yourself, has a peaceful moment where you can stop and ponder all the good things in your life that you are thankful for.

(My jury duty was cancelled postponed until next week, so even though it is a civic duty, I am thankful for that small reprieve.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crazy Sunday

It was a crazy Sunday in the supermarket the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I have been notified that I may very well be on jury duty on the Tuesday and Wednesday before I have had to reevaluate my free time and meal planning for the coming week.

As I entered the market and grabbed a small shopping basket for a few last minute items to make a little birthday cake for DIL, I could feel the tension and energy sucking the oxygen from my space around me.  When I scooted past the produce section, I saw there were people everywhere.  Mostly couples, perhaps on their way home from church...although not in fancy dress, comparing lists and pointing here and there with their heads close in conversation.

"Where is the condensed milk?" asks one lady with a small child to a woman putting price tags on something.
"Where are the sanitary wipes?"  one husband looks up from the list and asks his wife who is perusing the cereal aisle.
"Can you tell me where I can find ginger snaps?" asks one man of the store clerk who is stuffing even more boxes of cream cheese onto the refrigerator shelf.

I sighed and try to get through my list as fast as possible skipping most of the aisles and heading for checkout.  EVERY SINGLE CASH REGISTER is BUSY and has at least two groups of customers with full carts waiting in line.  EGAD!  Now the tension and energy have peaked and my ears are starting to ring.  Then I notice that one of the aisles without a light has only one large cart waiting to unload its bounty and I scoot quickly behind.  Soon someone is behind me!

"It is OK, Rod, but I am not a big fan of green beans."  says the male voice behind me.
"Well, I never made it but it has onions on top...I think you use cream of mushroom soup.."
"Well, I guess I could try it if it wasn't too soupy."
"It is sort of a traditional dish, I think."

Curiouser and curiouser as I want to know what two men look like who talk in detail about a green bean casserole.  I put on my best grandma smile and turn to look at them as I unload my last item and put the basket under the counter. 

They were in their late 30's or early 40's and dressed in sweater vests like they had just returned from church.  They smiled back and appeared to be embarrased that I had overheard their conversation.

The talk continued although they seemed a little awkward with each other.

Finally as I was sliding my credit card, one of the men stopped at the end of the aisle and grabbed a CD from a Christmas display.  "Wow...Barbara Streisand...nice."

The other guy laughed..."Barbara Steisand?"

"Well, I like her music!"


"Well...yeah...I guess I wouldn't listen to her everyday."  The other man laughed.

I may be wrong...but I think that it is this couple's first Thanksgiving together.  What do you think?

Friday, November 22, 2013

With Lots of Cream and Sugar

Yes, that is the way I take it.  I like my coffee strong but I also buffer that with lots of cream and a good teaspoon of sugar.  What you drink in the morning pretty much tells me who you are.  You like it hot and black, then you face life as it comes and you handle it!  You like your coffee warm and weak, then you face life with hesitation and regret and wish the morning had not come so fast.  You don't drink coffee at all but would rather have an ice cold Pepsi in the morning?  Then you are a rule breaker and do not have much patience for those who make the rules. You need the hair of the dog in the morning, then life has you by the tail and until you let go you are in for a bumpy ride.  Me, I can take life as it comes, but want it frosted and creamy and hot.  (Pop psychology?  Better than Stossel's report...see below.)

There are those of us who see poor people working through life as best they can under the crazy circumstances.  There are others of us who think poor people make their own problems and deserve the circumstances they are in from not dealing with those problems as they should have.  This in a nutshell is how I see the battle over health care.  Some people think that only the social network of help can make sure someone gets the healthcare they need whether they created the problem though drug use or drinking or over eating or over working or not being able to deal with fighting in an ugly war.  Other people think that life is a crap shoot and if you don't keep your eyes open and your hand firmly on "the tiller, the wheel, the gun"...whatever and your shoulder to the grindstone you are not going to make it through the week much less the rest of your life.  They rely on a few good friends and that is that, or they rely on the  church being able to sort all this out.

Of course, as you know, I think it is far more complicated than that and the truth is all over the place.  There are the users and abusers who we have to keep from sucking us dry and we have to avoid being an enabler.  There are the unlucky whom we must help, because they can survive and make contributions of their own.  But since they do not all wear signs, we will make mistakes.  And much of this is perception.  Do we perceive that the majority that are in need are lazy and purposely greedy or do we see them as unlucky, not too smart, and fearful?  John Stossel (one of those talking heads on faux news who tries to present the image of a journalist, but never bothers to ask the ask who, what, where, when and why questions) demonstrated that anyone can panhandle (as he did again in a bearded disguise), and thus claimed that those who give to the homeless are dupes.  The demo only proved to me that most people are good-hearted and most conservative journalists find it too much work to research their subject matter in depth.

Hubby talked to our investment adviser yesterday since the market is going crazy and hubby is reaching that age where he is required by law to withdraw a certain percentage of his investments annually.  (A rule that allows the taxman to get his share sooner rather than later.)  They talked about the market (as unpredictable as ever) and our adviser said something that brought me up short.  He was speaking from the millionaires point of U. S. view as I am sure he makes and has a lot of money.  He said that the financial folks see the demographics as a disappearing middle class, with the separation  forming that will break out to the top 15% and then everyone else.  It would be nice to blame this on conservative or liberal politics, but it started back in the 1980's. I blame it on the rich being able to make the rules.

This will not impact me much, because I am not 20 or 30 or 40 or 10!  It will impact those I love who come after me.  There will be the vast wilderness surrounding gated communities.  Will it be a world like The Hunger Games...but without the games or will it be more chaotic than that?  Will cream and sugar be able to null the bitter taste in one's mouth as they look out their window in the morning?

(On the other hand it appears that health care costs are going down!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Memories Are Made of Feathers and Follies

If you have done any reading in the news lately you may have seen an article where scientists have taken those memory geniuses...the ones who remember the exact color of your tie when you fought with them on March 16, 1989, the ones that remember exactly what they ordered a year ago at their favorite restaurant, the ones that remember the headline on the newspaper they were reading on the morning of...whatever morning you may ask about, and tested them more closely.  These people are far more amazing than your ex-wife who manages to remember every (wrong) thing you ever did onward from your wedding day.  These folks remember details, lots of miniscule details that we all have forgotten and could care less about.

If you have ever heard or seen the French/American musical called Gigi which played in movie theaters in 1961, you may remember the love song between two elderly lovers who have different versions of how they met and what had happened that important night.  (I loved that movie and wish there were more like it.  It was a perfect romantic movie and Maurice and Hermione were fantastic!)  I also love this song.

But, perhaps, I should return to the direction of my wandering thought if I can remember accurately the direction that I wished to go.  Recent studies of these genius souls whose brains (which contain more fat tissue than yours or mine) remember everything has revealed that they do get some details wrong.  There are incorrect colors, times of day and places.  They just remember so much stuff accurately, that we think they are perfect.  They remember 100 details, but may get 10 of them wrong.  We remember 3 details...and maybe they are mostly inaccurate.

An article that I red online in The Daily Beast recently discussed new research which revealed how our memory changes and evolves as we age.  We leave out bad things that do not fit our version of who we are or we forget those things that we cannot bear to attach to our lives.

"When people get older, they seem to have less tolerance for that," says McAdams. "They’ll kind of reconstruct the past and forget or downplay the bad stuff a little bit.”  “It’s kind of like history. Your life story, at least with respect to the past, is not fixed,” says McAdams. “It’s always going through a revision. In the same way that historians revise how they see the past -- they see World War I one way now and maybe in 30 years they’ll see it a different way -- you see your childhood now one way and later a different way in part because of what you’re going through at that time.”  

Apologies for not saving the link, but since I am not a journalist, I am sure you will forgive me.  If you are a researcher or librarian you will surely find the article above if you try.

I guess if I wrote a small biography, it would be a little like Swiss cheese with chocolate sauce, having a small amount that was true and accurate and a goodly portion that made me a much better person than I am.  I would really like to go back in time and see it all as it really was!  It kind of bothers me that I do not see my life as it really was.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Harvest Time

Someone, sweet blogger, asked where I was.  Such a sweet gesture which also makes me feel guilty for not writing in a while.  I haven't really had anything interesting or thoughtful to write.  My mind was blank like our gray skies these days.

This morning I got up before the sunrise as I most often do on these shorter days.  The air was thick with fog but a nice temperature.  I put on warmer clothes and took my camera walking.

 First I went to the end of the driveway and peaked through the deer gate.  Then I walked down to the dock where our winter loons have arrived and appeared just as black dots on the water's surface.

Soon I saw the sun trying to get my attention through the mist.

The weather here has been teasing.  Mornings can be cold or wet or even foggy or even warm and dry, mid-days with or without sun have still been comfortable, but the minute the sun hits the low horizon of gray clouds in the late afternoon, the temperature falls dramatically.  This crazy weather juggles my list of getting it done...whatever "it" is for that week, day, moment.

We harvested the last of the persimmons.  They sit like golden eggs hard as rocks in my iron basket in the kitchen.  Two nights were below freezing, so we have brought them inside and maybe in a week they will ripen to their custardy sweetness...or give us an alum mouth and we will throw them out.

The fig tree gave us hundreds of tiny figs this few ripened that we ate them in hand while studying the carpet of green figs that had fallen to the ground.  A judicious pruning is in order for next year if we want fig sauce and fig bread.

The oysters have been cleaned of summer algae with enough harvested that hubby made a Korean oyster stew (that is what he called it) which tasted more like a Thai seafood soup with an abundance of rice noodles.  I continue to use my Hungarian smoked paprika which accompanies many dishes these days. The weather was cold enough for us to safely eat a raw half dozen before the soup.

The kaffir lime tree which now sits inside in the kitchen corner gave us many limes this year. I would lie in bed at night and hear the thunk of a lime as it fell to the floor and then spent the better part of the next morning trying to find where it had rolled.  I made a delicious lime cheesecake which was full of butter-fat and sugar and that unique flavor of kaffir lime.  Only 400 calories for a small piece!  The fresh flavor of citrus is such a rare treat when you do not live in the tropic or temperate climates.  Their gnarly skin shown in the photo below belies their floral fragrance.

I took up the huge bouquet of dried garlic from the basement and began to peal and process for the freezer by tossing the cleaned buds in olive oil and putting a large handful into small freezer bags.  I know that they lose texture and flavor when frozen, but I have found the garlic buds are quite delicious when gently roasted before adding to any cooked meal.  I also put a few up in olive oil in the refrigerator in a jar for winter meals and saved three fresh cloves.  The white garlic parchment skins have flaked everywhere throughout the kitchen and it looks like snow.  I spend forever sweeping each morning finding a new white skin.  Of course, I have to spend an hour or less getting a photo before I begin my work!

During one cold afternoon I also broke down and made chocolate chip cookies.  We limit ourselves to two a day!

Today, with the temperature kissing 70F for a few hours, we cleaned out the garage, cleaned and oiled our garden tools, and threw out dated chemicals.  I took the amaryllus bulbs that have been going dormant in their pots in the garage for over a month, cut off their roots and knocked all the soil away from those fat bulbs and put them in a black garbage bag for the basement resting.  I will wake them up in 8 weeks for winter color.  I then washed all my clay pots and stacked them on a shelf in the garage.

I sorted various seeds from pods and heads that I had collected and placed on the garden shelf.  Now I am going to fix a drink and read my book, The Luminairies by Eleanor Catton...thus far a good read, even if I am not sure where this going.  I slogged through the "Bosnian Chronicles,"  until half way and then found it did not capture me in spite of a being awarded National Book Award.  It was well written, the characters well just moved way too slowly and focused mostly on how depressed the characters were living away from their homeland.  Thus, all the reasons that I have not been blogging.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Addictions and Fancies

I sincerely believe that anyone who has a passion for living also has an addiction or two or three.  Some compelling desire that follows he/she around, sits on their shoulder, makes them rearrange their day to accommodate space for the addiction, forces them to be distracted, and in general, can sometimes annoy others around them who do not understand this inner call.  Responsible life interferes with most of us making these undernourished addictions into fancies rather than compulsions.  Others, less responsible, go on to become famous by following their addictions...or destitute and alone.

When I was a small child I was addicted to make believe friends and stories.  Each day when I could get away from chores and family I could return to my little world of Flash Gordon where we traveled through space and solved problems as I explored the mountains near my home.  I was also addicted to the outdoors and spent most of my free time playing in the Rocky Mountains.  My other addiction was collecting things such as rocks and minerals, little dolls, comic books, and maybe some other items that I have now forgotten.

When I was in middle school it was collecting and listening to LP and SP albums of my favorite musical groups and singers.  These coming of age years were stressful as they are for most people, so I also spent much of my time reading as an escape to other worlds.  Getting books at the library was an essential orgasmic experience.  I played with monthly calls to draw and paint, although I was not very talented.

In high school I became addicted to friendships.  Being with my BFFs was important in figuring out who I was.  I continued my love of reading and added writing as as a compulsion.  I also began my love of photography with the gift of a camera, but with little money for film and developing it was not allowed to blossom into a true addiction.   I continued my addiction to hiking in the great outdoors, although I had moved to the flatlands by this time, and that involved walking or biking around farmland.

In college I took an introduction to writing class and that fueled the tender love that I had with writing in my youth into an addiction of sorts.  I had infrequently had periods writing poems when in middle school, but now that I had the rules and exercises I wrote something at least once a week and actually enjoyed the writing assignments in all of my classes.  I also took an elementary drawing class and got an A which left me feeling I might actually be able to draw!  I did not nurture this fancy in those years, as perhaps I should have.   I was also addicted to dancing and went every weekend if I had the money or the boyfriend with money.

While newly married, and living in the South Pacific on a tiny island, I discovered the symmetrical beauty and texture of sea shells and became addicted to collecting them on weekend boat excursions to various reefs.  I most often collected shells that had died, but I must admit that I also collected many live shells and destroyed their lives just so that I could admire their skeletons on my shelves. I also drew them to fuel my drawing addiction.  I collected and cataloged hundreds.  My reading addiction continued and I added underwater photography to my fancies.  (I won't talk about the newly-weds addiction to each other, because that has more to do with survival of the species and we all have that.)

When I had my two children, they became a very compelling addiction.  Even on exhausted days when I needed a break from their little antics, I was so addicted I could not keep them out of my mind or heart for a second. The withdrawal from being in their lives on a daily basis was a bitch.  (I now find that I go through withdrawal during the weeks I am away from my grandchildren while recovering from the exhaustion of those times.)

During my career years my little free time was filled with reading, some travel when it was affordable, and outdoor camping and hiking satisfied my continuing addiction for the outdoors.  I still toyed with writing, but as an addiction it left me unsatisfied when I would review what I wrote in spurts of time.  (I personally think it is much harder for women than men to indulge in those addictions begun in their youth if they have a house and family to manage.  Many men, not all, continue spending hours working out, at sports, hanging with their buddies or whatever, and do not respond to pressure or guilt to spend more time with family and household as they hone these addictions.)

As an elder I find the freedom to pursue addictions both wonderful and intimidating.  Just because you love something, does not mean you can do it or that you will be rewarded because you are good at it.  My outdoor activities continue but with a cold and serious eye to my aging body and what it will let me do.  I can no longer sleep on the cold hard ground, and my youthful fearless biking gives way to an honest review of how long it takes to fix something that gets broken from a fall.  My old eyesight is forcing me to be so much more careful as a photographer and age also means you no longer have a super steady hand.  Thank goodness for IES lenses.  Reading is still a love, but I cannot sit for hours with a book in hand as I used to and the freedom to read more than one book at a time also tests my weaker memory skills.  AND writing has gone from actually writing blogging!  Although I keep toying with the idea of actually creating a collection of writing of some sort.  My gardening addiction (which I guess I always had but never knew) continues, but I no longer feel guilty if I have to hire someone to do the heavy stuff.  It is still my garden.

So what addictions and fancies do/did you have and have you had to make compromises?

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Not All Grown Up

We have lived in this community less than five years and while hubby collects friends like my socks collect seed burrs, I do not.  Oh, I AM friendly, just things do not evolve into luncheons with someone or dual shopping trips, or wood walks or weekly phone calls.  Hubby has a fishing partner--actually two, a project building partner, a "business" partner, etc.  He is easily liked by everyone.  I like to think I am easily likable but it does not transition into any BF or BFF profiles.

I am long-term friends with women I went to junior high school, high school, college, and with roommates I had in my early career moves.  We are great friends, but live thousands of miles away from each other and our paths may cross only every eight years or so.

While some of the women I have met here are compatible, it never evolves into anything.  I told the wife of one of my husband's fishing buddies that the week hubbies are gone to islands far away, we should get together for at least lunch.  She agreed, but I am doubting this will  happen because she has a high school son and a college son at home AND works full time at a hospital.  I will screw my courage to the sticking place and see if I can get something organized when the week new mantra.

Another volunteer I work with and that I like suggested we should get together for dinner with our hubbies. I agreed and waited to see if she wanted to initiate the dinner.  She didn't make any move, so as much as I hate inviting strangers for dinner I decided to be more pro-active in this social networking dance and invited them to dinner.  I prepared a careful (too fancy?) meal of curry squash soup, arugula-goat cheese-fig salad, roasted turkey breast with roasted fall root vegetables and tested my new kaffir lime cheesecake recipe since I got about 14 limes from our tree this year!  They brought cheese and crackers and wine.

The dinner seemed to be a big success, the conversation went on until almost 11:00 which is really late for old folks such as us.  We have a lot in common including former working agencies, education and outdoor interests.  I will keep you posted if this goes anywhere!  (Let me know if you will be in town and I can practice on you!)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Testing, 123

I grew up (after my early childhood) on a farm and while I learned how to milk cows, wean a calf, collect eggs, can garden vegetables and fruits, sew, iron and do laundry and even a little cooking I did not learn much about repair work on machinery or such.  When I got my first car, my dad took me out and made me change the tire on it ... which at the time, I found extremely annoying, but in retrospect I find extremely loving.

I am married to a man who in earlier years of our partnership was reticent but resigned to repairing things.  His dad was a car salesman and then a real estate salesman and knew nothing about repairing things.  His dad was just good at ordering repairmen around.  Well, my dear husband soon decided that working on things was not for him.  Repeated trips to the hardware store, followed by lost parts, followed by parts breaking, honed his philosophy into working a longer work week to pay a repairman.  Since I grew up with men who could fix anything and stretch a part for decades of use, I was a little displeased...OK I was disdainfully critical.  But years of marriage and I grew out of that and realized that not all men are "handy."   I also learned they can be "handy" at so many other things.

I was going to make a joke about wiring for a nefarious device...but one cannot do that these days, can one?
Today we marshaled our resolve to replace the motor arm for our broken gate in the driveway.  This is a gate to keep out deer...not people, although it keeps out door-to-door salesmen nicely!  Note that I said we were replacing it, because hubby's hours at attempting to repair it while talking on the phone to the tech assistant last month resulted in a break down of spirit and buying a new gate.

The new motor arm arrived all nice and shiny black...and it only weighed 20 pounds.  We were prepared for several hours of connecting colored wires and flipping switches and talking to the computer tech.  I took a photo of the wiring before we disconnected the old arm.  I reminded hubby to bring everything possible that he might need so that we didn't spend our time walking back and forth on the long driveway to the garage.  Hubby rolled over an old log to help hold the arm while we checked the battery box and began carefully placing screws and washers here and there.

AND THEN we connected the new motor arm.  Hubby called the tech and had him on the line before we tested it and GUESS WHAT?  It worked!  Like new, it worked on the very first test!   Yes, those of you who fix things can smugly role your eyes, but we are dancing a jig.  I am thinking this is going to be a good week all around.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The 3%

Every year I get something in the mail regarding changes to my health insurance policy...usually the rate goes up as it has creeped up almost every year in small increments since I first purchased insurance.  If you are still paying the same on your policy as you did ten years ago you may want to contact CNN as you are a rare consumer of healthcare.

This increase in cost and dropping of coverage happens with all insurance policies.  They get re-done, re-named, certain services dropped and changed and/or the original policy no longer applies---like cancelled.  I have a personal choice of numerous policies (under my single payer plan) and thus can shop around each fall, and TRY to save money.  The only difference is that this year others are blaming these changes on the implementation of Obamacare.  I have tried to track most of the stories of people in the single insurance market who have lost insurance or had their insurance premium tripled and go on TV (thus far 3 separate TV reports covering 5 people)...and those that were viewed in detail by other journalists did not pan out.  Either the people never even looked into Obamacare or they had a policy like that in Florida where they paid $50.00 a month and the insurance agency agreed to pay $50.00 on each bill.  In other words, if the doctor's visit was $50.00 the insurance paid it, if it was $100 they paid $50 and if it was a $5,000 visit, the insurance paid $50!!  Break an arm or leg, get a preexisting were pretty much on your own and it is sad that these Floridians were so ignorant of the insurance market.  Of course, their policy is written in such a convoluted way, that one shouldn't blame them if they could not understand this.  These rip-off policies are now having to shut down because they do not comply with the ACA basic rules. 

If we want to finger point we can blame this President for avoiding explaining the reality in this and preparing the 3% of Americans that are being affected and explaining in some instances they WILL have to pay more (not lots more) because you get what you pay for.  Why so much anger over the can see how the insurance companies are getting their profits cut being required to actually provide insurance and thus they pay politicians to push the lies.  Pharma is next because a recent study pointed out that a prescription for an identical drug can vary from $10 to $400 in what is listed on the bill.  Stay tuned for those fights.

I am all for government regulatory oversight on health...but if we do not get big money out of buying politicians neither party is exempt from corruption in the years ahead.  (I have no comment on the website debacle...until it is made into a TV movie next year  with a Justin Bieber look-alike as the programmer and Sebelius' role played by Ashley Judd or Robin Wright;-))

Here is a good article about the 3%  of people who are actually going to be impacted from stricter compliance. 

Saturday, November 02, 2013

What Was That?

The photo in the prior post is part of a bronze sculpture called Ship of Fools by Jurgen Weber done in 1984-87 and which I saw in Nuremberg, Germany this past fall.  The entire sculpture is based on an Albrecht Durer woodcut illustrating the 1497 edition of Das Narrenschiff ...a metaphor for the threatened world titled Ship of Fools.  The whole sculpture is a boat (a nutshell with a fools mask at front and rear) with the passengers Adam and Eve being expelled from Paradise, Cain, a child with a knife in his hand and behind them the tree of wisdom dying which forms the mast. Three other figures going along for the ride are a man representing violence, a handyman representing a realist in present time and a mocker who represents resignation.  There are several works of art based on this satire.  (I was in Nuremberg less than a day and missed 99% of this intriguing city, but did get a photo of this garish sculpture which symbolizes far more than All Hallow's Eve.)