Monday, November 12, 2018

I enjoyed this book . . .

Familiar Things by Hwang Sok-Yong (translated from the Korean original)

This is a work of fiction although the conditions do exist in the world.  A thirteen year old boy's father has been taken away to be "re-educated" by the South Korean government. Bugeye, as he is known on the streets, and his mother sink from poverty into extreme poverty. In order to survive, they end up  on Flower Island, a make shift community of tiny shacks around a huge landfill where the people spend their days sifting through garbage to forage what ever they can find to eat or wear or sell. Dirty and dangerous work.

They have to pay a fee in order to be licensed to do this recycling work.

The refuse sifters are not the only beings on the island.  There are those, mostly unseen, who remember the island's history.

It has so much potential to be a bleak and depressing story and yet there is so much humanity and a bright spirit that shines through.  I really loved it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Folly of Frugality

There are people my age who still have at least one living parent.  Had my mother lived past the age of 92, she would today be 105.  Had my father lived past the age of 73, he would be 108.

Well, that doesn't make objective sense, but you know what I mean.

I had older parents although I didn't notice at the time because all parents were old then.  My point started out to be that my parents were just coming into adulthood during the great depression and they were tremendously affected by it. Habits of frugality got handed down.

I don't leave lights on. I try not to waste food. I repair and reuse before I replace. So . . . in my shower this morning, I was determined to use that last little bit of shampoo.  I put water in and shook it, poured out the watery shampoo and suds up my head.

Then I decided to turn around and put the shampoo bottle on the back edge of the tub so I would remember to put in the recycle bin. I had to bend over a bit to place it on the tub rim and some got in my eyes. I whipped myself around to get my face under the shower water. My foot slipped. I reached for the grab bar which I couldn't actually see because of my stinging eyeballs. I found it but wrenched my back a little in the process.

I didn't really hurt myself. I thank my yoga practice for what strength and balance I may have. But the experience did make me contemplate the wisdom of a fraction of a penny's worth of shampoo versus the costs of medical care today.

And let's not even contemplate the scenario of falling, knocking myself out, drowning in the shower or, worse yet, having to be rescued while naked on the tub floor.

Stay safe and VOTE if you haven't yet.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


I have been watching Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown on Netflix.

Let me say that I am not a foodie.  Frankly, there is nothing about this series that makes me interested in world cuisines. The food that man would put in his mouth. Nope, not for me. There are limits on my willingness to try new things.

I continue to watch for the glimpse into different cultures, the spirit of the people, and the scenery.  Incredible scenery. No matter what I think, the food that people grow up with is certainly meaningful in their lives. It's a sense of home, a sense of family, a sense of their history. And so many countries have been affected by wars and conflicts.

And of course there is knowing that Bourdain ended his life with suicide. I look for signs of depression in him and pop an extra Prozac for myself. It makes my heart ache for the human condition because it seems so clear that we are all fundamentally the same and yet there is so much discord in the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trick or Treat

Three trick or treaters came to my door last night.  That is the most little beggars I have seen at my door since 1992.

Three years ago neighbors who moved away by the next Halloween brought their toddler. Then no one until this year.

The first time the doorbell rang a handsome young police officer was standing there.  He was little and his parents had to prompt him to say "trick or treat" and "thank-you."  A bit later two youngsters, probably six and seven years old, tapped on the door. I greeted them with a "Happy Halloween" and dropped candy into their little buckets. They immediately said "thank-you" and then the little boy said
"Have a wonderful rest of your evening."

Politeness.  What a very amazing thing.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Apple Bake

I may have shared this recipe before.  It is one I pull out every year during apple picking time.

It's good.  It's simple to put together.  And it was given to me by I woman I used to work with and I hear her voice as I read the recipe.

 6-8 apples peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put these three ingredients into a pie plate.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 stick melted butter

Mix flour, sugar, egg and butter into a bowl until goopy.
Using a spoon plop dough onto the top of the apples.

Bake at 350º (F) for 50 to 60 minutes.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Smugglers' Notch

My grandson noticed snow on Mt. Mansfield (VT's tallest mountain) and wanted to take a ride to see if could find some snow on Friday.  He had the day off from school so parent-teacher conferences could be held all day.

We took a ride through Smugglers' Notch. There were signs warning that the road would be closed for the season on Saturday.  There was snow, although not that much.  We explored a cave or two, but it was already getting dark.  We made a plan to return next summer and spend a full day climbing on rocks.

Actually we started a whole list of things we want to do and explore next summer. For Dane, it will be the summer between elementary school and starting middle school.  I really hope he will still be interested in doing things with his old granny then! I of course have no worries about having the stamina to keep up with him. I take my vitamins.

Monday, October 15, 2018


Just when I was so frustrated I was about to give up blogging altogether I got a reply from Blogger Help.  i thought that I was commenting on some blogs but then I noticed comments I thought went through were not showing up -- even comments on my own blog.

 It seems that the problem is with my browser.  If I am using Safari all my comments disappear.  When I switched to Chrome, it seems I can make comments.  It seems Safari has some kind of problematic filter.  I don't know if it is worth trying to figure out how to "fix" Safari or not. My technology learning curve is dauntingly steep.