Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Day Before Christmas


My birthday was the 21st and I went out to dinner with my family and that is where I think I caught this awful head cold. I spent the better part of the dinner wiping Xman's runny nose. In spite of this, he was on his best behavior and the dinner went very nicely and my fish dish was excellent. We ordered a chocolate waffle for dessert and almost couldn't finish it.

Last night the geese held one of their all night parties...due to the warm weather being brought up from the South I am guessing. They laughed and chatted and sang (honking with Christmas joy) until about 3:00. I got up to see what had silenced them and the moon was at its brightest and most lovely, casting strong shadows throughout the forest. It was almost as if daylight had begun!

I drifted back to sleep and in the early morning I set up one of my birthday gifts (a tripod) and went out on the deck and caught this photo of the late revelers heading out in an ever so dignified swim to the main part of the river just as the sun was peeking over the branches of the naked trees.

I am off now to finish the sticky buns for Christmas breakfast. We will have only my son this day as daughter is off to the in-laws for the holidays. My husband and I will be most mellow, but I am afraid that son will be bored to tears without his niece and nephew as buffers in the conversation. It will probably be like a Ben Stiller movie and I do hate those.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday and that your expectations are so small that they all come true.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dangerous Love



There are those women (girls) that fall head-long into love as if it was an endless pillow of cotton candy. They jump in arms wide and mouth open. Even as they see they are sinking to a dangerous point of no return, they do not regret the loss of control and they continue that sweet roll. Not this chickie-poo. While it was intense when I fell in love in my youth, I still had my feet touching the ground and my head was reasonably clear. I sometimes wish I had been the free spirit, free falling type of woman. The lady with the laugh in her eyes and the never-look-back attitude. But, I think that while my passion was not as abandoned neither was my pain as endless.

I have always been able to do two things at one time and while I was studying that sparkle in his eyes and the softness of his lips, I also kept track of exactly where I was standing in this dance. Girls who remain in control of themselves are not as sexy. They also make clear early in the relationship that they have expectations and we all know that men do not like expectations. Most men remain little boys all of their lives. There are a few grown-ups in the XY line, but they are as hard to live with as us females. I do not regret that I was careful in my approach to life, but I do sometimes wish I could have led that other life in another dimension without all its painful consequences...those which would be manifesting themselves in twinging ways as I reach the age I am now.

Yet once again as I age, I have learned something about myself. Everyone has their price. I have fallen head-long in love with the two little humans above. I have jumped in arms wide and mouth open. None of my feelings are being reserved for logical thinking. I know that the pain will be devastating when I am thrown aside for their other loves. The rejection will require numbing medicine and lots of staring into space. But this love is an overpowering, potent,inescapable passion. And I am going along for the ride for as long as it lasts.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tagged by Maya

I like some memes and others are not as interesting. I have been tagged by Maya whose blog I read regularly, so I will play.

The Rules are as follows:
* Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
* Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.

(Being as this is a gray and cold day at Taborland, my meme responses below are a little moody...sorry.)

1. Anyone who met me would say I am a social butterfly, but I love being alone for long periods of time---days even.
2. Like Maya I loved reading science fiction as a young girl (Bradbury, Heinlin, Orwell, etc.) and to this day I am a big Star Trek fan. This is weird because if you met me you would never guess.
3. I never forget and sometimes never forgive. (I am working on it.)
4. I wish I could wear high heels --- for a few hours at least. Even as a feminist, I like the way they make my feet and legs look.
5. I wish I had the courage to stop dying my hair, but my artistic side can't stand how it will look all heathered gray.
6. I pierced my own ears when I lived overseas in myu 20's and now one of the holes is too large and I hate that, but am too lazy to do anything about it.
7. I let people get under my skin, which is a reflection of immaturity on my part. I don't think I will ever improve as I have started the 60's decade of my life and still let this happen.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

Tag--your it!!

Peruby
Grrlscientist
Mary FFF
Manababies
Hoss
Daily Warrior
Val

4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now I will venture out and let them know.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Gender Motivation a Postscript

I have been mulling...and like a spiced wine, I am just a little bitter. I think I am attracted more to uniqueness because when I got old I realized (or at least THOUGHT) I would never again have any kind of power. Why try to pursue power and strength? It sounds like a race or a battle and I am not in any nature for that.

The older people I know who have power are pretty demanding and even manipulative. Many use guilt to hang on to this power. Therefore, I am being very female and attracted to 'uniqueness.' Uniqueness means I am closer to being the real me. The inner me, that maybe I don't even know.

My goal in the immediate (and perhaps distant) future is to find and nurture what is unique about me. This is going to be much harder than obtaining power! I don't even know where to begin. There must be some process. Making a list? Making a wish list? Meditating? Going on a fast? How DOES one find one's uniqueness to nourish?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gender Motivation

I was doing a lot of driving yesterday and I was listening to my favorite radio channel (NPR). Helping me pass time in traffic was an interview with Judith Thurman about her new book "Cleopatra's Nose." Ms. Thurman's book is a collection of her essays in the New Yorker over the past 20 years. When asked by program host, Bob Edwards, about any insights she gained while reviewing the past 20 years of her work, she said that she discovered an interesting difference in the motivation of men versus women. She found that men are in pursuit of doing something important with their lives while women want to be seen as unique in what they do. This sounds quite true to me.

Allow me to gender generalize. Men want to be responsible for change, for completion of large projects, for being know as leading powerful directions in their professions. Women want to be seen as unique --- from other women in particular (since most cultures see them as women first and skilled or talented human beings second) as well as unique from both genders. We want to be special in some way by those we work with or those who love us. Most of us pursue this uniqueness in a good way. Of course, some women want uniqueness in their sexuality or beauty that makes them stand apart from other women---personally, I think that society has short circuited their minds from seeing the big picture.

Anyway, this concept makes sense as women, who were commodities and not human beings, needed to survive in the ancient days and their uniqueness was the only way they they could stand apart from all others. They did not have power or money to be a mover or changer and therefore, being unique was the key in many ways. Scheherazade comes to mind here. Remember her? That skill is still used by many mother's surviving endless days with sick toddlers

Grandma was remembered for her unique recipes or unique quilts. Mother was remembered for her unique birthday parties or landscaping. Today those skills can be translated in the workplace, but not yet to unique leadership skills. Hillary Clinton comes to mind here. She is unique in that she does what men have been doing for years. Her uniqueness is more of a threat to insecure woman and of course small-minded men.

Which is better. To want to do something important or to be unique?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Filling the Vacuum

There is a vacuity in my brain as I seem to learn many new things each day.

1. If you eat pomegranate at your desk at work your monitor screen looks as though you put a tiny slit in your throat by the time you have finished and red drops are sprayed everywhere else.

2. If you spill the peppercorns at home the two-year-old insists on helping with the vacuum and this can take a long, long, …very long time.

3. Even though as an adult with adult children you finally get to design an adult Christmas tree with all color-coordinated ornaments a la Martha Stewart, you must remember to purchase some that are unbreakable for little children to hang.

4. Three-month-old babies are perfectly capable of throwing nasty temper tantrums.

5. This generation of working mothers is phenomenal. Breast pump at 5:00 AM, out the door at 5:30 AM to help with Habitat for Humanity for your company, and then into the office at 10:00 AM!

6. This generation of working fathers is phenomenal. Flying in from St. Louis at 6::00 PM and heading directly to the office until midnight and then home and up at 6:00 AM to feed and clothe two little ones and get them off to day care and pre-school!

7. If you do some Christmas ornament shopping before Thanksgiving…World News Tonight will shove a camera in your face with the threat of showing the world how crappy you look when you shop on the weekends. I never saw myself on the TV…thank goodness…but the season is not yet over.

8. And finally, these do taste and look different when made according the recipes on each can.




Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Thursday Thoughts

1) This is my favorite holiday because except for those watching their weight, it is a holiday that is non-exclusive to ones views---especially on politics or religion. Everyone seems to agree that we need to take the time off and be thankful for something. I am truly thankful.

2) I get to hostess the big feed at my house this year and that makes me feel warm and cozy all over. I know there will be years in the future where it will just be hubby and I and other years when cooking will not be possible for any number of reasons. I am truly thankful.

3) No unusual recipes will be tried. We are going traditional all the way (except for one small dish.) I am truly thankful.

a. (H’orderves: toast tips with salmon spread, grilled oysters on the half-shell, carrot sticks and dip.)
b. Roast turkey
c. Cranberry relish (which no one ever eats…but it IS a tradition)
d. Herb/sausage stuffing (wet and dry)
e. Garlic mashed potatoes
f. Sweet potato casserole
g. Green bean onion casserole
h. Spring greens salad
i. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
j. Key lime pie
k. (I haven’t decided yet whether to have rolls…hate to have too few carbs at a feast such as this.)

4) Daughter is bringing a special Italian Barolo for just her and I to share. I am truly thankful.

5) My son did not respond to my email over a week ago asking if he was coming. So typical of him. I hope he does show up but he is a moody one. I am truly thankful that I at least have him in my life when he deems possible.

6) My favorite dish at Thanksgiving is my homemade stuffing although pumpkin pie with whipped cream runs a close second. Whoa, am I thankful!!

7) The long weekend will mean I have time to convert all those calories to fat and read all my favorite blogs. Am I thankful or what?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Grass is Always Greener Life Story #12


A common disease among young mother's is brain meltdown. This disease manifests itself in many ways and has several symptoms. Some of the more common aberrations include inability to concentrate for more than 30 seconds on any one thought, using one's nose and sense of smell to determine all future actions from changing clothes to selecting food from the fridge, accepting spitup as an accessory for your wardrobe, and adapting to constant noise as the norm, thereby becoming jittery when there is no noise.

A great strength is the ability of young mother's to adapt to this disease. Your brain is melting and so you accept the fact that while you can still do two and even three things at one time, you often cannot put simple sentences together. While you can repair the most complicated train-track layout and successfully install teeny tiny batteries into even smaller places, you cannot remember where you placed your car keys or why you just ran upstairs leaving both small wonders to their own devices.

Ninety-nine percent of mothers live through the disease which can last for several years even. Society does not talk about the other 1%. Usually you know you are over the disease when you sit looking at your bare toes one day and have the urge to paint them; or you look in the mirror one morning and, in heart-attack horror, think you see your mother; or you walk back into a very quiet house and realize it is quiet because you are the only one there.

Thus, in a moment of idiocy, you feel you must start volunteering or go to work to pay those mounting bills. The house is too quiet and the hushing silence is getting on your nerves. It is too clean and you begin to think you are turning into Heloise.

Doing adult activities with other adults outside of the house begins to look inviting if not downright exotic, especially as it requires new clothes. (You have forgotten the Benjamin Franklin aphorism you learned in school: "
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.")

Mmmm..! Black nylons and a short skirt and cute high heels and a new haircut and you look almost sexy...wait isn't that what exposed you to the former disease in the first place? You push that thought to the back of your mind and put on make-up and nice pearl earrings and feel oh so grownup once again. Your brain even seems to be humming like a fancy sports car motor.

You get into the car with your new leather purse and head out to office that in its wisdom saw your intelligence and creativity and hired you. You pull into rush hour traffic and feel more grown-up than you have felt in years. You look into each car and wonder if the drivers notice how you are now one of them. You are part of that busy bustling machine that makes the world go round. This glow lasts several weeks and maybe even into the months or years if you like the job or volunteer work that you are doing.

Unfortunately, you will catch a new disease down the road. This disease is like a leaky gasket that pulls the energy from every pore of your body. Getting out of bed and into a car to fight the headache of traffic becomes a monotonous chore. That neat gray suit is starting to hang funny, especially across your butt. All of those people at the office that admired your creativity and energy have changed their tune and seem to feel you are way too energetic and too creative and are actually making them look bad. Just because you are young and cute doesn't give you the right to outdo them. They were there for years working their asses off while you sat at home and played with babies. They won't say that, but they do think it. And then the worst happens with this new disease...you become one of them! Every idea you get is echoed with "been there, done that.' You find the new young staff so annoying and so cliched and so very naive.

You begin to count the days when you can sit home in a quiet house with the hushing noise and the "Heloise" kitchen and the grandchild baby for playtime.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Memories -- long ago

I am having a number of deja vu moments as a grandmother living with my daughter. I am so happy for this experience, because we forget (I forget) so much of my past life as I plow through my current life of deadlines, dinner and diaper changing.

I had forgotten how rejecting my little girl was of her father in her early months due to my nursing. She wouldn't go to anyone at all because I was the sole source of sustenance. I would thrust her into her daddy's arms and tell him to just cope, because I had to start dinner! I knew she was fed and dry and I wanted some time without someone in my arms, so her crying didn't bother me all that much. But, it totally stressed our Daddy-o. He was that blue-eyed guy that was NOT used to being rejected.

Babies have excellent survival instincts. My daughter is also nursing her little gal and now at three months, Angel is rejecting all of us at most times. She will billow and coo until she realizes that she is not in her mother's arms and then her agony cannot be assuaged. I can calm her intermittently but I think that is because my voice and face remind her a little of mom and that confuses her enough to calm her for a few minutes.

I can already tell her personality is different from her brother's at this early age. She is very much a clinging girl. She likes to bury her face under my arm with her pacifier trying to shut out the world. She will nurse, pull off her mother's breast and then thrust her small face under Mom's arm and hide until she falls asleep. She also uses food to calm her every moment. Definately a 'food soothes' everything kid. She will probably have a weight problem growing up.

It is fun seeing the small parts of Angel that emerge each day. I have no time for myself at the end of the day as the result of living here, but this is a small sacrifice to be part of the lives of these very special people.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Design on a Crime (ouch)


The Scene: A basement family room.
The big screen TV sits firmly in the far corner, and the toddler’s toys are scattered from the side room well into the family room. The fairly new sectional in “Real Simple” gray blue style sits invitingly along part of one wall with a large matching soft cushion ottoman in front for plenty of foot resting.

Both toddler and baby are miraculously calm at the same time.

The Daughter and her Mother tentatively smooth the anticipation of actually participating in a conversation.

Daughter: “Mom look at this ottoman.”
Mother leans forward and sees a series of small brown dots. “What is it?”

Daughter: “Blood. From Dad working in the yard! Look over here on the seat!”

Mother leans to the side and sees a larger smudge that actually looks like blood, and she remembers why years ago she bought chocolate brown sofas for her family room.

Mother: “Oh,dear…Well you could let Xman crawl around when he skins his knees and thereby get a little modern matching pattern going on the fabric.”

Daughter, looking long and hard at mother. “Or I could just slit my wrists and let blood drip everywhere!”

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thoughts # 8 – Things I Knew and Others Have Recently Learned


• Little babies in Florida can still get a nasty sunburn when placed in a car seat under an umbrella on a heavily overcast day for several hours. In spite of peeling skin, they still remain cuter than anything you have seen all day.
• Even if flights are delayed, baggage misplaced, and traffic is horrendous due to drenching rain, the metal pole in the garage will not be the item that bends when you hit it with the car while backing out and moaning how late you will be to work.
• Fall rainy days invite that first cozy fireplace fire, but artificial logs do not give off much smoke and you will be well into sootsville and ceiling smoke hanging like a low cloud when you realize that you have closed—not opened—the damper on the fireplace in your newly purchased house. Trying to carry half the artificial log out with a shovel only increases the probability of disaster.
• Soot on the newly painted fireplace mantel doesn’t really look as romantically antique as it should.
• Dumping the smoldering half log on the driveway in the pouring rain means you will have wonderful gray mush that little boys can walk through and eventually bring back into the house.
• Husbands are a little clueless when it comes to putting on Halloween costumes so, do not be surprised if your little guy goes out with his Lightning McQueen costume on backwards!
• Direct TV is a lousy company. Their website says: “We Do the Work, You Watch TV. DIRECTV provides free professional installation free, service and maintenance and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You can't get that with your cable TV company or other satellite TV companies. The proof is in the pudding!” The proof is they send you not once but twice a defective HD-DVR box. They speedily (3 days delay) send out the third box and they expect you to install it yourself. They also expect you to swallow the loss of hours of programming of your favorite series that still reside on the old box. This is a big deal only because the kids paid so much for the stupid service.
• If you ask grandpas to help with garage clean-up you must realize that it will be natural for bull-in-a-china-shop type of activities to transpire. The garage door opener will cease to work and you must wait for grandma to get home and figure it out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Life on the Planet

I enjoyed my time in Williamsburg mostly because there was no agenda. The first two days my hubby and I just goofed off, enjoying not having any kind of schedule. We slept late and then went to bed late. When my daughter joined us with the littlest one several days later, the pace slowed down even more due to stopping for diaper changes and feedings.

Then the very next week daughter and her family headed to Orlando for time with the in-laws and some last minute Florida sun--the condo was paid for, so why not? Hubby headed down to the house and this left me with a week of time alone at my daughter's house between working. I did receive a call two days in from my daughter with the reminder to not set the alarm on the day the housekeeper worked, water the mums each day, take the garbage to the curb on Tuesday morning, pick up the mail and make sure the bags and boxes in the garage were also taken to the curb. (Just a few directives! I kind of felt a deja view like the roles had been reversed.)

But for the most part I was all alone, eating what I wanted when I wanted, watching what I wanted when I wanted...sort of a third dimension experience. I was totally laid back and not quite prepared for the re-entry,

Friday here was drenching rains and this weather made my normal 30 minute commute drag out to an hour and a half. Daughter and son-in-law returned with kids late on Friday. Two hours delayed due to the rains

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A New Take on Writing Your Own Obituary

Many of us have taken at least one training class or self-improvement seminar where the leader asks you to write your own obituary and then read it and see if you are leading your life in the right direction so that you are remembered for what you love or what you do well. It is sort of an exercise where you look at what you have done so far and what you think people would say about you. It works pretty well if you do it honestly, although like most activities of this nature, you need to take it home with you and apply the lesson learned every single day. That is a difficult thing to do, unless the lesson learned stimulates you to make a major change or two in your life.

A few days ago, I got home from work and turned on the last half of the Oprah Winfrey show and found a very inspiring new take on this type of activity. A Carnegie Mellon professor talks about the "last lecture". If we could all face our mortality so impressively, the world would be a much better place. Watch this video and see if you aren't as challenged as I was to meet his level of humanity. "There's an academic tradition called the 'Last Lecture.' Hypothetically, if you knew you were going to die and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?" Randy says. "Well, for me, there's an elephant in the room. And the elephant in the room, for me, it wasn't hypothetical."
For some reason the link above does not seem to be working. The original video not edited for TV can be found doing a Google video search with the words "last lecture of Randy Pausch" There are several versions with longer introductions so you need to search through them for the thumbnail with his picture. The Winfrey program video can be found using the search
"Randy Pausch reprising his "Last Lecture..."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time for Thought

I have been thinking a lot about aging these days, probably because I am looking forward to retirement and realize that I must plan my future carefully if I expect to get the most out of my remaining years. I think when you reach that certain age, if you are lucky, you begin to realize that life is giving you a second change chance. When you are young and raising a family you are busy living in your waking hours. Each day is auto-filled with necessary deeds and tasks. People need you, so you spend time working on filling those needs---whether it is earning a living to pay bills or cooking and cleaning and kissing boo-boos or consoling a broken teenage heart.

It is a daily race and you fall into bed at the end of the day, hoping your mind will slow down enough so that you can sleep.

Then, almost suddenly, but not without warning (children entering college, getting married, having their own little ones) you realize that the race is slowing way down. You have time to look to each side and not always ahead. You are going slow enough that you now no longer worry about tripping or mis-reading signs and taking the wrong side road. As a matter of fact, a side road is most appealing.

If you have good health and your finances are secure your side roads are more interesting and more available. But even if life didn't end up like a bushel of sweet peaches, there are still different opportunities and angles that you can think about.

I watched a movie starring one of my favorite actors, Judi Dench, called Ladies in Lavender last night. A scene in which Dench is lost in thought about missed opportunities in her life and future choices she must make remains in my thoughts. Dench is lying casually on her bed with daylight crossing her face showing how lost in thought she is. The scene hangs in my memory because the impression given was that she had been lying there thinking for a long time. I realized that I have not had an opportunity to be lost in thought for quite a while.

I remember days as a young child daydreaming for hours. Do children have time to do that today? Are their days so programmed with activities or so filled with technological temptations that they fail to exercise their thinking muscles and in turn their imagination growth? Are we becoming a nation of doers and not thinkers?

I guess this is why activities such as camping and canoeing appeal to my soul. There is usually time for thought. Walking is another thought-provoking activity I enjoy.

I have decided that getting a little more peace in my life for thought and helping others realize how important thought is will be a new goal in retirement. The next time someone asks me what I will do when I retire, I will answer "Think more."



Friday, October 19, 2007

The Visual Aids for the Blogentry Below.


OK, here come the gray-haired ladies (AND the red-headed granny carrying three full shopping bags). Someone please pull the blanket over my head!!

This is what I am really feeling!!


But this is how I will express myself. This has been a very long day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Center of the Universe II

There seems to be an ongoing inter generational saga within my family. As you will remember from my prior blog I realized that my birthday (and therefore my arrival on the face of the earth) was significant. Recent events have confirmed this power has been transferred to those who follow me.

Let me elaborate. This week I am spending some vacation time with my husband and daughter and granddaughter in Williamsburg Virginia. This area is full of history on the beginning of our country. Williamsburg, Jamestown and nearby Yorktown are filled with historic places and museums and street plays about the beginning of our country. With the beautiful fall weather we have loved sauntering through the tree lined streets and reading about the fight of our ancestors against the Spanish and the British to gain their liberty. We attended a wonderful lecture by "Patrick Henry" where in getting a personal history filled with amusing anecdotes, I learned Patrick had something like 77 grandchildren before his 60-sum years came to an end.

Now, I am certain you are eager to see how I will tie Patrick Henry to my family as the Center of the Universe. No, I am not related to the gentlemen...although with 77 grandchildren, I am sure there are many ancestors who could step forward.

My granddaughter is also the Center of the Universe ---not just my universe--- but the universe in Williamsburg. We were continually, constantly, endlessly stopped on the streets so that people could comment on her "darlingness," ask her age and coo and fawn over her. Yes, most of these people were my age...already grandparents or wannabees. They were totally entranced. (It was beginning to get on my nerves.) We entered a lovely giftshop to look at holiday garlands and decorations and all three retail sales ladies stopped everything they were doing and talked to my granddaughter AND daughter for at least 15 minutes. Angel (my granddaughter) cooed and smiled and put on a perfect show for them. At two months she has already got this flirting thing down. My daughter got no shopping done.

My husband (who was the frequent babysitter on the benches outside while my daughter and I perused the shops), was always visting with 'a gray haired grande olde dame when we returned with our wares.' He was so amazed at this human phenomenon. If we could bottle it, imagine the drugs we could create.

The climax came today when eating lunch at a nearby Friday's before bidding goodbye to my daughter, a lovely elderly couple (he was the age of 91 and she 88) that sat across from us engaged us in a lengthy conversation once they saw there was a little baby under that blanket. This fascination with a small baby doesn't not seem to diminish with age. He was a jaded journalist who had retired from work at the White House just a year ago...and he still was interested in Angel!

(Pictures to follow...)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Center of the Universe

I am pretty sure my mother thought, for a very short time, that I was the Center of the Universe. After all, I was the first born of five sweet cherubs. The first of five smart futures. The first of five beautiful replicates. Unfortunately, she got over that idea in a few short months. Fortunately, I have never really accepted her theory that I am not one of the most important people in the world and that the Cosmos is not linked to the date of my entry into the world. Why, you may ask, in your serious interest in my life, do I think this? BECAUSE, recently this was confirmed by a number of cosmologists---note I did not write cosmetologists. (They are too expensive.)

I never have been much of an "end of days" or "apocolypse" person. S**t happens and we don't need to try to predict it. (Believe me, after living with two small people in diapers I know this.) But I saw a re-run of a program on TV a few nights ago and found that the Mayan Calendar ends on my 66th birthday. According to this calendar the poles of the earth and the magnetic forces shift on my 66th birthday. There is some re-alignment of milky way...I mean, are you surprised...really?

On August 3rd, the History Channel aired a program about my 66th birthday. See! According to the documentary my birthday will start a cataclysmic event in the history of the earth or perhaps it will mean an opportunity for monumental change for the good depending on which expert you believe. The History Channel is favoring disaster it appears, because after all, it sells. Disasters with blondes (Hilton, Spears, Lohan) sell. Why not disasters of the world? (Disasters with our illustrious leader are not nearly as commercially significant to the media...maybe too predictable?)

But some of the touchy feely experts think this change is going to be a transition to a better way of life. Go on and read this, I will wait.............And why not? I think that this version is just as good. (I sent my hubby this link and he sent me an email saying that this was perfectly understandable since marrying me was the beginning of his life...I know girls...you are sooo jealous.)

Regardless of the outcome, it will happen on my 66th birthday. Let's all get together somewhere cool and celebrate!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday, Sunday

I am providing childcare this weekend. One parent is on a four-day golf trip and the other parent is on an overnight to watch a dance show!

My conversations with this small person revolve around Sally and McQueen although I have to listen carefully as it sounds like Sayee and Keen when discussing their various attributes or where they have hidden themselves. If you don't know who Sally and McQueen are, your life is bereft of meaning...what can I say.

He discovered his pockets this morning and found that both Sally and McQueen can fit inside them. This is a very good talent, because Grandma pointed out that his suicidal trips up and down stairs can now be hands free so that he can hang on to the banister, as opposed to holding a toy in both hands and attempting a heart stopping gymnastic balancing act. His Mother now has the fun of learning what small boys can cram in their pockets before or after doing the laundry. (This basement gets some rather large crickets as the weather cools, so that should be interesting.)

As I am writing this blog, the little guy went upstairs to the kitchen and I heard his little footfalls on the dining room floor. Then I heard him calling my name in great excitement. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying. It sounded like "Neeaa! Sum up!!" and when I made it to the dining room I saw it was filled with rays of bright golden sun and realized he was telling me that the Sun was up! This was what was making his day. (As you can guess he got me up before the sun.)

His grandfather cannot understand why all the doors and windows in the house must be closed as he goes from room to room and yet Xman wants none of his toys to remain in their containers when we straighten up the playroom.

He is the energizer bunny. My daughter was fighting a nasty cold earlier in the week and he was home from daycare fighting the last of the same germ, so she had both little ones to care for as well as herself. When I got home from work a little early she was so relieved. Near tears she told me that keeping up with one sick boy and a new baby when feeling so bad herself was about all she could take for the day. She told me just one of her adventures. She had to go to the bathroom (of course) and asked Xman to be a good little boy while she placed Angel in the baby rocker and then went to relieve herself. She told the me the results with tears in the corners of her eyes and a smile in the corners of her mouth. "Mom, everything was very quiet, but when I left the bathroom as I went to pick up the baby I saw that Angel had train stickers all over her forehead!"

We are going to the zoo this morning after Grandpa and I hit I-Hop. I will be bringing the camera and adding to my album of Xman. Probably to the thousands of photos already and he is only 2 and half. What will I do when his Sister, Angel, begins her activities?

Well, it is now 9:00 and I am still in my pajamas and wearing bedhead. Must get moving.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fall Freedom



The days are now crisp and clean and clear and the sky is children’s storybook blue. Clouds are downy and plump as they drift above. Below, the water dances with light as if diamonds had been sprinkled across its surface. Nighttime brings the big fat moon smiling down in the cool of the evening. Reptiles are now seen only in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The last of the summer birds have started their long, hard journey south. The few species of birds that come to stay over the winter months from up north will be arriving shortly. The last of the Pawpaws are making forest floor wine. This is my favorite time of the year.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Have Been a Bad Girl

My visit to the doctor this week brought me some expected news.

Ever since my move to my daughter's house, and even some months before, I have found my days too busy to find time to exercise. Unless I do it just before I fall into bed, which is not exactly the best time. Also, there is not really any room for good aerobic exercise where I now live. Any outside walking that I do involves the company of a little guy with short legs, so the only exercise I would get is the heavy weight of my grandson in my arms if we go too far and I have to provide his transportation on the return. I have tried to remember to walk during lunchtime at work, but I keep finding myself interrupted by yet another task or meeting. I know that I am rationalizing by telling myself that in less than a year I will be retired and can exercise all I want then!

In addition to this self-proclaimed moratorium on exercise (including lifting weights) I have gotten lazy and not renewed my Fosamax prescription for many many months.

Well my recent dexa scan reveals that I have early osteoporosis of the hip and osteopenia of my spine. This disorder is sneaky. It is not painful and years ago, before such excellent medical testing, it was only discovered after the spine started to fracture and the traditional dowagers hump appeared or you fell from an unknown hip fracture and got a broken hip.

This is not the end of the world as an aggressive campaign of taking the medicine and doing my exercise should return me somewhat to my former self. I guess I was being cavalier because there is no history of osteoporosis in my family. This new version of the medicine has a weekly vitamin D supplement (which helps to absorb Calcium) since I have been told that we cannot get enough vitamin D from winter sunshine alone.

In addition to my daily yogurt or cheese snack, I am also going to be taking a Calcium supplement. One 550 mg in the morning and one 500 mg in the evening. The body can effectively absorb only 500 mgs at a time, it appears.

In case you are wondering why I am not taking "Sally Fields" Boniva which is a monthly dose (we should all look like her!), my doctor just likes the greater number of studies from Fosamax.

Getting old and can't deny it.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

For the Curious

I noticed that several bloggers have posted photos of where they blog, so you can see the place that stimulates their creativity. Many of them blog near a window that looks out on a vast scene to stimulate thought or distract them totally...whichever. My nook is in the photo below. The only window looks out on the roof and I can see a nice white spot of bird doo on the shingles which I have not allowed you to see. That is a real motivator!



The strange image in the foreground is more shingles. Those on a dollhouse that my father made for me many years ago and which I have plans to restore when I retire. Plans, plans, and more plans, helps me think I will live forever.

This weekend my work involved windows. I have LOTS of windows on this house because I love the views of the water and the views of the woods. But that also means I have lots of washing to do. I haven't really washed these windows since we moved in almost a year ago. So today was spent using my arms for the wash-on and wash-off exercise---Karate Kid fans. Tomorrow the car gets washed!

Well, husband has fixed a lovely perch dinner for me and so I will log off and go eat.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Beat Goes on...Arrhythmically

I was going to post something inane but after watching this I feel a little old.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drifting Along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds

I have no idea why I think the title above will relate to anything I feel like writing in this post...but it is what popped into my head like a stale piece of popcorn.

NO, no wine yet. Just aging stream of conscious writing.

We are awaiting the arrival of dinner guests (the kind that bring dinner because of the new baby.) I am really tired after work today, but both hubby and I are keeping our office clothes on and stifling yawns as one member of this dinner party may play a future role in my daughter's career in one way or another. I guess I feel lightheaded like a tumbling tumbleweed. The slightest air flow will carry me away.

In addition to the above I had called my son regarding some travel plans we have in October and found the following message on my cell:

"Hi...Mom. Just got your message. Just left the doctor's office. (pause) Don't know about October...yet... (pause) I have some projects. ....will be out of town this weekend...actually out of town on Saturday. (pause) Maybe I can join you the early part of the week in October....(pause) don't know yet. I guess I should drive out to see my sister and the new baby...(pause) (mumble mumble something)...still have that stupid cold...that's why I am at the doctor's office. (Pause) Don't want to give the baby my cold....(pause) (more mumbling)...well, guess that's all. ...hope you get this message. (pause) Love ya, .... bye."

I know that I did not raise him to be so rambling (tumbling) and incoherent. As hubby responded, "Hope he communicates better than that at work!"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #7 - Things I Have Learned Recently

I am living with (I think) Gen Y'ers. People born after the Gen X'ers? Anyway, people who are in their 30s. In the two weeks that I have been here, my daughter and SIL have had 4 dinners with guests. Lots of 30 somethings wend their way through this place. (Many with tiny people in diapers.)

Thus far I have learned these things:
  • People in their 30's will politely listen to you as an 'elder' but possibly not take what you are saying too seriously.
  • I was told that I must have been a Tomboy growing up. This I learned from my daughter. I thought I was pretty much a girl-girl, and I distinctly remember a green pair of hotpants, but I guess not.
  • You have to be moving all the time in this household. If you stand still too long, someone hands you a kid, a dirty plate or a load of laundry.
  • Although my bedroom is on the lowest floor in the basement, I must hit every single staircase at least twice during a day.
  • When you take the house alarm off of instant and then set the alarm for 'away' (since you are the first to leave in the morning,) it beeps for 45 times to let you know how much time you have to depart. I make sure that purse, lunch, coffee, dry cleaning and everything else are close at hand before I set the alarm.
  • Those expensive tasso coffee machines cannot be used with tall travel coffee mugs.
  • All those instinctive thoughts on taking care of a baby come back pretty fast.
  • My daughter watches the Food channel most of the day and by the time I get home, she is starving!
  • I keep thinking in the back of my mind, I am still waiting to exhale.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This Old Life

My life is in boxes
Wrapped in white paper
Resting securely
And tucked tight away.

My life is in stasis
With memories stalling;
Fads that have faded
In the warm light of day.

My life is outdated,
Stale themes in reclusion,
Old times held suspended
Will be forgotten some day

My life was electric,
At one time in neon
Billous loud green;
It's now just today.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Good Spot

I have been so busy moving out of the apartment and packing 80% for down at the house and 20% for the next few months that I will be living in my daughter's basement. She is only 30 minutes from work...and I still have to work at the monkey house (another long story.)

There is a lesson here. Children, your parents may return! They may move in, actually, if you have a basement with a tiny bedroom, small kitchen and teeny weeny bathroom. But unlike family members who move back in with laundry, your parents will do their own laundry! They also work as free babysitters, allowing you to check your email or nurse your baby or take that well earned sitz bath at your leisure. Guess what, some of us even pay a token rent!!

As you will notice, your Daddy does the lawn, sweeps the driveway, picks up at day care and is great at BBQ.

Your mom, granny, allows small infants to throw up on her without flinching and can help with planning dinner and shopping. She is also great at playing with Thomas the Train for an hour before her head explodes. And at the age of 60, she can bend over and push a little plastic car around the park chasing her grandson as he pushes the other toddler car for quite a few laps. Of course, after a half dozen laps around the park, she looks a little hunched in the back area when she tries to stand upright. But does she complain about the pain? Never--unless you count that groan that scares the little poodle on the bike path.

Then like the good guests (hired help) that they are, they disappear on the weekends to their own place, so you are left to entertain the people of your generation who also have munchkins and talk about important things like reality TV and football.

In all honesty this little hiccup in our life has worked out far better than one would think. We are a help, we give them their space, and we contribute to costs. (Also, in another 'all honesty' hubby is having his challenges remembering to put every pen, pencil and laptop out of the reach of a toddler. He completely forgot to bring his laptop down this weekend as he had put it high on the mantel and ended up grabbing an empty backpack!)

In return, I have gotten so close to both grandchildren and fully realize how very very very rare and special this time is.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Celestial Messenger


Aha, I think somewhere in my soul the writing angel is moving and stretching much like this little angel stretched and moved until her birthday August 16. (The same as our anniversary.) But the writing angel will have to wait. I now have some stroking and smelling and kissing and patting and humming to do with this angel. You do understand, don't you? I thought you would.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Your So Mundane


Mundaneness is taking over my spirit these days...a kind of plodding but contradictory busy mundaneness is filling every corner of my soul and sapping my elder strength. My blog entries have been what oil on the water I can corner and then send in razor thinness over the boring (to me) and flat blog ocean.

When my days and hours become like 'sand through the hourglass' it is time to take a break and restore one's soul.

Maybe the birth of the new one will inspire.




Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Stars Were in Alignment


My weekend with guests was fantabulous. We are all from the same generation and four had science backgrounds and the other two (me included) were in information dissemination or information technology work. We talked grandkids -- everyone's are gorgeous --- how about that? We talked the bureaucracy of our government and how it is keeping out the good scientists but letting in more budget analysts and policy wonks...whose primary role is to perpetuate their jobs, not necessarily make the program more productive. That was a depressing part of the conversation. We never got to any movies, as we talked ourselves silly into the night.

The day was hotter than you-know-what, but we still had a lovely boat ride and saw about TEN eagles, dozens of osprey, seagulls and pelicans and even tried to catch something in a school of bluefish chasing baitfish. No luck, but still fun.

The meals that I served were also excellent if I do say so myself, and maybe this weekend I will post the recipes if anyone is interested-- Most of which I sort of made up, but they came out luscious anyway.

Prince Harry visited and the guests loved him and his gentle ways. My daughter's pending child did not interrupt the weekend, and we even celebrated my husband's birthday on Sunday with a breakfast sitting outside at a restaurant overlooking a finger of the bay.

If this is a preview of retirement, I am so looking forward and not backward.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Waning Moon and Deer Talk

We are once again moving more 'stuff' into the house and arrived late. We headed out to dinner once we got here and then returned in the dark to be greeted by two deer (one a fawn) on the side of the road. When we got into the front yard, another deer at the side of the woods carefully and with confidence moved away from us in stops and starts staring at us as if he was trying to communicate. I decided to take the opportunity to talk to him and proceeded to explain that he was welcome in the yard, but it would be greatly appreciated if he restricted his diet to the wild food and not our planted ornamentals and vegetables. I don't know if he understood the English, but I am going to work on deer language.

I woke up at four this morning, perhaps eager and nervous to get my house cleaned and menus planned for company, or just my usual insomnia due to stress at work, but sitting outside on the deck and looking at the stars I entered the zen time zone. Far away from the land of deadlines and people needs and artificiality. Slipping into the quiet black velvet of the forest just as it is sighing itself awake, I have noticed that down here there is a showtime...somewhat predictable, but always mesmerizing. The frogs sing rhythmically to put me to sleep at night, they drift off and then the crickets are in full song in the early morning before the sun breaks the horizon.

This world goes on like this and wanes with the seasons and the moon. Even though everything is the same when I get here each weekend, it is all very different.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Calling all movie buffs--HELP

I am having my first real house guests down at the new house this weekend! Yay! Hurrah! EEEEK. (Yes, I did have daughter, son, son-in-law and son-in-laws folks last Christmas, but that doesn't count.) The people we have invited are old friends that we see so rarely. I am going to tell you a little bit about them (you get a peak) and then I am going to ask for some help. But you must respond before Thursday at 3:00 as I will be on my way down to the house. One couple we have worked with over the decades and after our car pool broke up we have not had chance to see them. They are Chinese American. He is a very traditional Asian husband and she is very perfect. She is sweet and diplomatic and smart---the kind of person you would like to be president of the United states. The second couple we have known for a long, long time but we rarely get together because everyone's lives are crazy. He is retired after being a leader in an office in the FDA and we met when he and his wife were graduate students with my husband. She is a lovely but also very smart chemist from Thailand who has lived in this country and raised her family here after meeting him in graduate school in Hawaii. OK, enough info. Now my stupid but important question, which you are totally not expecting. Has anyone seen the movie, "The Good German?" We have it from Netflix and I am thinking of showing it the night we are all together after we have talked each other out and are tired from spending the day on the boat. Is there anything that we would be embarrassed by? God am I so OLD asking this question, but I really don't want to see something like this with my good old-fart friends. Anyone? Anyone??

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Best Restaurant in the Area


Some days were are very very rich. Take this dinner we had down at the house just before we left to come back to the city.

THE MENU

Fresh croaker and fresh white perch stuffed with garlic, butter, onions and freshly picked sage leaves, salt and pepper and grilled in foil over the BBQ.

Box mix macaroni and cheese (we have a case of this stuff!)

A salad of freshly picked tomatoes--lemon boy and tangerine; a freshly picked cucumber, all topped with avocado, freshly picked basil and a topping of olive oil and vinegar.

All washed down with lemonade.

Yum.

PS--Yes, Croakers do"croak" but I try not to think about that when I am thinking of eating them.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gutter cleaning and other dangers


Why installing gutters makes me depressed. No, it is NOT the cost.

We had gutter covers installed on the gutters of our new house over the weekend. We had been debating long and hard about what type of gutter protection we could use. We are in the middle of the woods and the trees constantly shed their branches and leaves like dandruff. The more famous brands like Gutter Guard which are the more substantial come with fees in the thousands of dollars which is like $15-25 a foot...this is just the cap not the installation of the gutter. We clearly saw this as a ripoff. So, we looked around for a gutter cleaning service to get their take on this.

My husband interviewed a number of folks and decided on a very nice young man who ran his own business. He was about 35-40 and quite nice in looks and personality. He explained that these permanent gutter guards still need to have gutter cleaning as wasps nests and small soot and seeds do get under the cap. They are harder to clean because of the substantial cap. I did some research on the internet and found the same information.

Therefore, we decided to go along with some snap-in screens that can be cleaned without removal or easily removed if major cleaning is required. Hubby is not doing this installation because there are parts of our roof that are THREE STORIES high due to the way the hill falls on one side.

The young man got busy cleaning the gutters which were full of stuff having not been cleaned since late last fall. My daughter was visiting and the young man saw her huge belly and they started talking about kids. He has four. Both my husband and I immediately thought about the dangers involved in this job where he has to move about on the roof and lean over or climb up large ladders. We asked about insurance for injury or accident. He said that he had a million dollars insurance for his customers (us): in case a ladder falls on us, I guess. But when he looked into insurance for himself it was almost $700 a month and he said he just couldn't afford that.

My heart stopped in my chest and I felt that I couldn't breathe well and after visions of my recent viewing of the movie Sicko flashed through my head I felt very very very depressed. I do not handle the vulnerabilities of nice hard-working people very well. I had to go inside and hide and I was depressed the rest of the day.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #6--All About the News

1. There was a news special this week called "Hotties on the Hill." Yeah, it was all about the beautiful people that work in the Capital. Does anyone besides me find this really annoying, irritating and just plan STUPID!! I was guessing that there would be no one over 35 on the list, and while they didn't give ages, I was pretty much right. Clearly being sexy in politics can have its disadvantages if history proves anything to anyone who follows history. Most of those interviewed thought it was a 'career move' to be selected. Maybe I am just jealous because I was never placed on a 'hottie' list.

2. There was also a news item on vandalism of Hummers (the car - not the guy who sits behind you in church) in some local neighborhoods. Several vehicles were all but destroyed by what appeared to be metal bats (the sports equipment not some robotic air mammal). Theoretically these acts were linked to environmental passions. This was deduced by some graffiti scratched on the side of the car. I don't think breaking the law is going to win any points with those of us who really think the environment needs help.

3. The weather service keeps predicting major storms...never happening in my area. Must be REALLY localized stuff they have been talking about for days and days. My poor lawn is not even gasping anymore. It is just lying down and dying.

4. My television station has a blog site that asks you to vote for which news item you want to see. When did the decision on the news become a popularity contest voted on by the type of people that would vote on news stories? You're right, the voter is that guy who sits on his porch in the same T-shirt every afternoon watching the world go by and I am not interested in any news he is interested in. Or perhaps it is that high school student who wants more information on P.H. (I am not referring to the student's paper on battery acid, urine and drain cleaner.)

5. No, I don't think I will comment on the leaking of the latest Harry Potter book. I will leave this to anthropoligists and historians who will provide a better perspective 100 years from now.

6. OK, I admit that I am leaning towards John Edwards even though he is third on the ticket. That wife of his has faced death's door and is more honest than you or I could ever be and he loves her enough to let her take that ride. He has real values and is very intelligent and strong and has experience both in politics and negotiations. I would like to see a John Edwards/Barrack Obama ticket and I do consider myself a feminist. Feminists don't vote for women just because they are women.

7. I really think Soccer is a supercool sport (was a big fan when my son played it and my husband coached it---it is STILL soccer folks even if big bucks are not involved) and I thought it quite intriguing to watch onTV...more so than that smash and bam football. But I don't think Beckham and his exotic wife are helping...?

8. And this leaves me speechless (blog textless?).

9. On a final note my husband is currently negotiating a part-time job in Korea. He has a 50/50 chance of solidifying the project. After this news article I am thinking maybe spending part-time in Korea might be good for my health!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In Memory of Texas Highways and the Lady


I lived in Texas for a few years and was able to see what fields of bluebonnets looked like. They are breathtaking and worth a visit if you have not been in Texas during bluebonnet season. We annually covered a lot of highway space...either between Texas and Colorado or between Texas and Florida visiting relatives and showing off our children. Thus, we gained a great appreciation for beautiful highways. The photo above is of my daughter and son out in a field in Texas picking wildflowers. It is a 'faded photograph' but you can guess how lovely the flowers were if they intrigued children of that age. Lady Bird Johnson left a wonderful heritage. She was a true Southern Bluebell.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #5

1) The absolutely best meetings take place in rooms with high ceilings and high windows where the sun hits your shoulders...like in church. Where thunder and lightning are all around but you feel safe. You feel good even if your mind is not on the task at hand.

2) Free career advice: when you are a female and 50 it is time to stop 'shadowing' the most dynamic people in the office and to stop telling them they are "Awesome." It is too late for that approach. Waaaay too late!

3) After you reach 60 there will be days when absolutely everything is going super well and you cannot keep your mind off the thought that some bad news must be just down the way...at least some of us feel this way. Optimists you need to share more (are you listening Colleen?).

4) I saw "Sicko" last night with friends. Michael Moore is getting really good a pushing peoples' buttons. Thank goodness he is funny because this is a tragic movie. You need to see it and then write your Congressional representatives to see where they stand. Most of the criticisms of the movie cannot hold a bandage.

5) I live in two places--at least for a short while longer. I can never remember which refrigerator has the Redi-Whip and this is really, really, REALLY irritating. I also have arguments with my husband about which things go in the little cooler back and forth! Do they address issues like this in marriage counseling?

6) A younger colleague who has a chip on her shoulder but looks up to me found a FEDEX envelope--unopened--on a desk in a corner of an unused cubicle. I remember how it got there. I was trying to help the team secretary juggling her duties and handed her this envelope I had been given and she threw it in the corner in frustration. I thought for sure that she would retrieve it when she calmed down. That was June 28. The Secretary has gone on a family emergency. Guess what was in the envelope...someone's official passport!

7) On another work note, two people came to me this week asking if they could use me as a reference in jobs they are applying for. Can you tell I work in a not-so-pleasant place?

8) Hubby left for Hawaii yesterday...I'm just a little jealous but also looking forward to a weekend all alone down at the house.

10) Millie commented on my new icon blog photo. I have not tweaked the picture...but I don't really look like that. It's the 20% of my face that looks alright. The rest of me looks normal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Succulence





The morning’s warm humid caress
Falls upon the child’s perfect arm.
The spicy smell of a vine’s blossoms
Halts all but our soft intake of breath.

Elegant petite red jewels
Catch the angled sunlight.
The promise of their rich sweetness
Barely lingers from yesterday’s memory.

This summer’s day gift
Will not endure beyond tomorrow
It is accepted with the reverence
And wonder that miracles deserve.




Monday, July 09, 2007

My Simple Holiday

My 4th was spent in an historic small town. If you look at the sign below you will see that these people are straightforward and honest.

A pending storm made us think the pilots would have a daisychain to untangle rather than enjoy the fireworks...but not so. Tornado watch and yet no touchdown, storm and hail warnings and we were spared!

Did I mention it was a small town? The traditional parade included a jazzercise class among other things (i.e. a Caribbean Santa Clause). Only in America can you get so funky on a holiday.

So, can you guess where I was? (Stop on over at Room Without Walls to see the cutest little fruit gobbler ever.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The other George

Fourth of July (U.S. Independence Day) is good time to think about those with vision who helped build this country on principles, that while inconvenient for some of our leaders today, are the reason we are still around. Hubby and I took a trip to George's Washington's birthplace recently. This is not the more famous Mt. Vernon area but 80 acres set aside in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The old farmstead used to be 600 acres, and thanks to Washington's interest in surveying, the extent of the original farm, formerly belonging to his parents, is well documented. This is one of several farms owned by his family. While George grew up in a situation of reasonable wealth he was the only child that did not get a formal education, interestingly enough. There is nothing left of the original farm -- no buildings. They are still discovering where they think the original farm was located through an ongoing archaeological dig.

This building above in the distance was at one time thought to have been one of the original structures on the farm, but research indicates it is newer and was built after he died.

There is a visitor's centers and a small traditional garden in the back. Above is tobacco which was one of the primary economic crops during that time. They also grew grapes, and while we asked the volunteer which grape this was, we never could find out.

Below is cotton, another important crop for the South.

These historic places operate on a very tight budget, and if it wasn't for gracious volunteers like the woman below, they would probably be unattended acres of ground.

We walked down the hillside and along the Rappahanock River and then back up into a wildflower meadow that they had planted. It was full of butterflies and bees. The brochure also said that it was a great place for bird watching in the spring and fall and we made a mental note to return again during one of those seasons.HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY in one of the best countries in the world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reveling in My Genetics


The images set by television are so insidious in their effect on how we view ourselves and decide what is beautiful and what is not. Certainly in this American culture aging is not beautiful. We must plump the lines, pull up the sags, remove the spots, dye the hair, remove the protruding veins, and in general strive for Stepfordness in any way that we can afford. If you don't look good then you are not good. Of course this change is for those in their 40's (and idiots in their 30's). All the rest of us are over the hill and no amount of tweaking is going to bring us back into the mover and shaker fold.

I have succumbed to thinking about this calling vanity. I would like to pull up the sags so that I don't look so grumpy and tired. I am much happier and perkier than I look! But I am also cheap and cannot allow myself the expense for that vanity.

My husband and I were watching a show on television and there was some comment by one of the characters regarding baldness and thinning hair. The woman in the TV show deleted the male character from her "Candidates to Date" list due to his receding hairline.

I mentioned to my husband (who is almost bald) how I like guys with hair but also find baldness very sexy...which I do. I mean picture Jean Luc Piccard with hair? Puhleeze! I like my husband's wisp of silver that barely covers the top of his little pointed head.

My husband, who has never had any sense of vanity in his life, smiled and said:
"I revel in my genetics."

And shouldn't we all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

And the b(h)eat goes on

Waves of heat fry the brain
Drops of sweat fall like rain
Pulsing in and pushing out
Mother weather shows her clout
Humid air and growing weeds
Set the party for ticks with needs
Roses bow their withered heads
Too much scorch upon the beds
Poison ivy spreads its arms
Tabor rejects with much alarm
Take sweating tea in a tall glass
This too shall eventually pass

(I know, its pretty pathetic. But my brain is fried.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Longest Day


I can remember a long time ago when the start of summer meant sleeping late and then moving to the hammock outside on the lawn, still in my pajamas, with the first book from the top of the pile that I brought home from the library in my hand. And then I was lost for the rest of the morning in another world until my mother's patience wore thin and she had me doing errands or ironing or cleaning.

I miss the fresh joy of youth. The kick-up-the-heels giggle at long warm days at the small town swimming pool. I miss the bookmobile that stopped at the end of the road and, like a metal wrapped present with smells of musty paper, offered adventure and travel and more laughter. I miss the energy of chasing after the ice cream truck and licking creamy hands as the ice cream in the cones melted faster than could be consumed.

Feet were always dusty and dirty no matter how much we swam or bathed. We never wore shoes. Bikes were for racing and getting a cool breeze going in your face and then hitting the top of the hill and putting your feet up on the handle bars and coasting down the long road on the other side.

If there was errand money, I could spend the afternoon in the cool darkness of the movie theater, and then after the movie ended and the credits rolled being totally disoriented emerging in the bright light and heat of the day feeling as if I had just landed on some alien planet.

Now I only notice the details of the season in passing. I spend most of my time in a climate controlled office and hear the complaints of others about the heat. Here it is the first day of summer and the crepe myrtles are starting to bloom! They used to be the late July flowers. They were what I planted for late summer color when all the other plants had wilted or dried under the intense heat. Is this global warming? Or just because I live in the micro-climate of the city. Or am I just being forgetful?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Easy to like, hard to help

Stole this blog title from an article I was reading in the local village voice this past weekend. The article I read in addtion to "Full Fathom Five's Father's Day post motivated this blog entry. It really should be posted in my Room Without Walls blog, since it is about my outdoor rooms, but, I think after reading MLF's entry, other people are also good Samaritans when it comes to helping these slow and gentle creatures--although I don't think her turtle was a box turtle.

Anyway, her husband actually stopped traffic to help a turtle off the highway on Father's Day. And in perhaps not an odd coincidence, we did the very same thing the morning of the very same day. We were leaving the house and heading up the hill just beyond a blind curve. I made hubby put on the hazards even though the road was quiet, because the teenagers sometimes take that country road like a speedway. I dashed out to pick up this small box turtle and put him gently in the grass on the side of the road where he was headed.

We have at least two resident box turtles in our land at the house. (I guess when I finally move there full time I won't keep making the above a qualifying statement.) Anyway, one is particularly lovely with the brightest yellow.

Earlier in this same weekend when I was sitting in my easy chair I came across an article about box turtles. This is what I learned: Box turtles are rare in our area. They need a "mosaic" of environments to survive---more than just woodlands. Picking up the animal can be stressful and endanger its health. If you move a box turtle too far from its path or turn it in the opposite direction, documented research shows that it can become disoriented, dehydrated and eventually die. The author did say that you can pick up a box turtle on the highway and help it go in the direction it intended.

So, we did our good deed and maybe saved this rare fellow who might have been a father. So, now you know.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

For the Birdwatchers

Here is something that may be of interest to those of you who find birdwatching more than a past time. The Birdwatcher's Guide to Global Warming

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #4

1) I still can't get the image out of my mind of hitting a brick wall and facing lots of unending silence when I retire. I am so busy these days it will be hard to wind down over the next year if I decide I can afford to retire. Going from everything to nothing is kind of scary. No challenges? What will I do?

2) I am on page 27 of "blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and thus far most intrigued.

3) I watched "Babel" last night. It was enjoyable, but could have been a lot tighter and dialog could have been clearer.

4) Did you also know that 90% of toys you buy for toddlers are battery operated? So much for environmental sustainability.

5) On a good environmental note, did you know that a salmon protein recovery venture in Alaska means they want to process fish waste into usable oil products. In an article from the Alaska Journal of Commerce "
Lane estimates that Taku Fisheries processed about 10 million pounds of fish annually, and given about 35 percent waste, was grinding and dumping some 3 million pounds of fish wastes annually. "
Now where in pristine Alaska were they dumping all this, I wonder?

6)
Did you know that Thomas the Train stories were originated by a minister and that some of the episodes are narrated by Alec Baldwin? Yes, THAT Alec Baldwin.

7)
My daughter has moved into her next house and with the help of her parents and friends is really 50% done. (She still has lots of stuff at our house...she will be taking that back sometime soon, won't she, don'cha think?)

8)
I spent much of Sunday afternoon unpacking daughter's boxes. I will wager that every single person that had a wedding (no matter how long ago and no matter whether it lasted or not) has at least one kitchen item that still has the bar code on it.

9) I
am moving into my daughter's house at the end of September. Apartment rent here has increased another $300. She has a basement bedroom and small extra kitchen but is about an hour from my work. Ah, yes, another challenge in my life.