Sunday, January 31, 2010
This time we were joined by a rather unusually tame yellow crowned night heron. He noticed the french fries in my basket were not getting gobbled up and apparently thought he could help out with that. I pointed out a number of times the sign that was directly behind me: "DO NOT feed the birds! PLEASE!" He was quite pushy in his campaign to get me to believe that the sign referred to the gulls, not to a fine specimen such as himself. He was practically on my shoulder eyeballing those fries (which cannot be good for a heron's general health). Mike, always the soft touch when it comes to animals, did slip him some shrimp tails, and I have to say the bird was very polite about snatching them up.
When our stuff was cleared away, he moved on to the neighboring table where a man and two women were finishing up their lunches. One of the women freaked out, huddling into the wall in apparent terror. The other woman kept flapping at the bird, yelling, "Get away!" Of course, all the arm flapping meant to the bird was that she must be throwing it some food so it kept getting closer (kind of funny to watch). Then the man had to get up and start kicking at the bird (not funny to watch). I hope next time that trio chooses an indoor restaurant.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The down side is having to look for a place to rent. We'd hoped that we could rent our current place for several years. It's in a great location and it's roomy and well equipped. But now the owners have retired and want to use it themselves. We really cannot afford to own two homes and, more importantly, we really are not inclined to have to maintain two houses. So we will have to start looking around for another rental for next year and I will entertain myself on Sunday afternoons by going to open houses in the area and thinking about "someday."
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Anyway, I can remember one afternoon when my grandmother, mother and father had gone out shopping and my brothers and sister must have been off playing somewhere. My Grandpa and I were alone in the living room and watching TV, maybe Lawrence Welk, and a polka started playing. My Grandpa Sam got up and held out his hand to me. "Can you polka?" he asked.
"No I don't know how," I replied probably thinking along the lines of: "Duh, that's not the kind of dancing we do. Polka is for old people."
But he pulled me to my feet. "Every body should learn to polka. I'll show you. You'll always have fun at weddings if you know how to polka." So he taught me the basic step, told me to relax, and we swung around the living room together for the rest of the song. When it was done, I was praying for another polka to come on.
And on the subject...this from my e-mail:
An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas leading an old tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat. He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?" The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to." A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna' dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet. The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels. The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?" The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... but... I've always wanted to."
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Mike and I like to have Sunday morning breakfast--something a bit more than our usual coffee and English muffin with peanut butter. This morning I made waffles from scratch. This is the very first time in my life that I served waffles that did not pop out of the toaster. What a lot of work. Any recipe that requires separating eggs and whipping the yolks and whites separately is a major project in my book. They were good, though--light and tender--and we had brought some Vermont maple syrup down with us so we had that to pour over them.
Isn't it great to learn and do new things right into old age...er...maturity.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I caught two “texting” related items on the television this past week. Oprah did a show about the danger of texting while driving with deaths resulting. Yeegods, that seems like a no brainer and yet people were convinced they had the dexterity and driving skills to manage it. Of course, I have seen people putting on make-up, shaving, and reading the newspaper while driving so such inattention isn’t unique to the cell phone.
The other item was the tail end of a news story about an International Texting Competition. No kidding. I didn’t catch where this took place. The team of teens from Korea won and the United State team took second place.
Is a mixed message being given here?
P.S. I guess my computer is old. Spell check is not recognizing the word “texting.”
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Several years ago I was taking a class in counseling women as part of a post graduate program I was in at the University of Vermont. At one point the professor asked us first, what profession we each most admired, and second, what profession we each would choose if we were given a “do over.” There were probably a dozen women in the class and if memory serves me, eleven of them said they most admired dancers and they wished they could have been ballet dancers. (Maybe one or two admired and wanted to be classical musicians.) I felt kind of like an oddball when I said I most admired writers, but when we went around again to say what we would have liked as the idealized profession, I said I would have really loved to have been a publisher. Psychologically, this was supposed to demonstrate that I have a strong identity as a nurturer. I don’t know if that is true, but it is a subject for another post. Right now I want to explain why I am not a dancer.
So it’s really not a secret to anyone who actually knows me. I trip over my own feet. I have little to no sense of balance and an impaired awareness of my body in space and motion. My attempts at anything athletic used to embarrass my father and I was encouraged to be the studious one in a family that maybe valued athletic skills maybe more than academic. I’ve fallen off bicycles and skis more times than I can count. I was fired from the only witnessing job I ever had because of the spilling things on people and tipping trays of food on the floor. I would occasionally amuse students during my teaching career by backing into a chair or desk and landing on my bum right in the middle of some brilliant pedagogical point I was trying to make at the time.
I have scars to prove all this, if you think I exaggerate.
No it’s not a mystery why I didn’t end up a dancer, famous or otherwise, BUT that is exactly what my maternal grandfather envisioned for me on the very day of my birth. My grandfather was a Russian émigré of some education and culture. He was immediately convinced on viewing my little eight pound ball of a body for the first time that I would follow in the footsteps of the great Russian ballerinas he so admired.
And he wasn’t one for idle wishful thinking either. Before I could even walk, he had set up a foot high ballet bar across the middle of our living room--exclusively for my training as it must have been quite the inconvenience for everyone else. Then one day he found an old tennis racquet in the basement. This gave him (what he considered to be) a brilliant idea. He took out the useless strings and, yes he did, put the racquet over my head and settled it around my middle so he could train my wonky little legs to hold me up and twirl me around.
I blame being encouraged to stand, walk, and dance before I even learned to crawl for derailing something in my neural development. My grandfather thought he was training a ballerina. In reality, he was dooming me to the life of a klutz.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Today I saw a bumper sticker: CRONE--creative researcher of new experiences. Now, that's a group I would join on Facebook.
Both Mary Matalin Corville (on CNN) and Rudy Giuliani (on ABC) stated publicly that there were no terrorist attacks on the United States during the George Bush presidency. UH, I guess if you don't count 9/11...
On the subject of terrorism, I TOTALLY believe blogger Betty (http://bettysnewtrick.blogspot.com/2010/01/chasing-terrorism.html) has the answer. I hope she will run for president.
I want to be just like Helen Philpot (http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/) when I grow up.
When is common sense going to return to our political process in this country? Every recent development seems fueled by anger. It's not healthy and it's certainly not productive.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Today, I was loading some groceries into the back seat of the car at the Publix when a woman stopped. "Excuse me," she said. "I'm new here. I'm from Michigan. I'm looking for a nail salon. Can you tell me where I could find one?"
Not a very observant individual. First of all, I look like the snow bird that I am. (I wore shorts to the beach the other day and someone notified the Coast Guard that someone was sending a crazy SOS signal because the sun was bouncing off my knobby white knees.) If the lack of sun tint wasn't clue enough, I was standing next to my car with its Vermont license plates. Finally, with the return to typical Florida weather and its humidity, my hair was blowing wild in a frizz tangle and my hands...clean, but hardly manicured. Let's just say I am not the likely candidate to direct anyone to the area's beauty services.
Actually, I've been coming to Venice enough so I did actually know the locations of several nail salons and day spas (because I happen to walk by them a lot). I gave her directions even though I could tell she was noticing my stubby fingernails by then. I got in my car and drove back home...making a wrong turn one block away from the house.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
just adding so needlessly to to the suffering--bogus 'relief' agencies, price gouging and black markets. Nature can be cruel enough; it seems like human beings ought to come together in a situation like this.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A very old man lay dying in his bed. In death's doorway, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookie wafting up the stairs.
He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands.
With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven.
There, spread out up on newspapers on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.
Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?
Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table. The aged and withered hand, shaking, made its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when he was suddenly smacked with a wooden spoon by his wife.
"Stay out of those," she said. "They're for the funeral."
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
The car trip from Vermont to Florida is a long one--something like 1580 miles--so it provides a lot of time to think. Every once in a while I would think of something that I wanted to remember as a topic for my blog. Whenever that happened, I reached into my bag and pulled out the pocket sized notebook I keep as an external brain, then jotted down notes to myself. As the first day wore on, Mike saw me do this several times. Finally he was unable to contain himself any longer and asked, “Just what are you doing in that notebook you keep writing stuff in?”
My answer had to be, “I’m making notes of every time you do something annoying so I can remember and bring things up at an appropriate time in the future.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I was afraid of!”
Are those not the words of a man obviously feeling guilty, knowing his annoyance potential when focused on driving a long distance with his long suffering wife by his side?
When he starts the car the schedule is set and unalterable (annoying*)--right down to each gas station stop (planned in advance: annoying*) at which exit number (and he remembers them: annoying*) “because that’s where we stopped the last time…” (not open to new experiences: annoying*). Fortunately, years of teaching conditioned me to maintain bladder control for long periods of time, but that is beside the point.
*I really hadn’t written any of this stuff in my notebook, but when I think about it, it is kind of annoying.
On the first day of our trip this year, we ended up leaving early because of a snow storm predicted for mid morning and it made sense to try to get ahead of it, which we did. I thought that gave us a little extra cushion of time, so I suggested, as we were driving down PA route 81 that we get off and I would show him my home town, the place where I was born and my ancestral home--Olyphant, PA. He’s always been half convinced it is a place my family made up as an insider joke on the rest of the world. Thirty minute detour, tops, but no deal, not on the schedule, never likely to be.
I have contented myself with looking up 534 Delaware Avenue in Olyphant, PA on Google Earth. There’s a good picture of it actually. I haven’t been there since the early 1980’s but it hasn’t changed much.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Lucky is an older book that I never got around to reading before. It is Alice Sebold's memoir of her brutal rape as a college freshman, the conviction of the rapist, and the long term effects all this had on her life. It was a pretty rough read, but worth it for the reminder of the intersecting cultures of women, police officers, the judicial system, and victims of violence. It sparked some good discussion even though some it was the boring bits about addiction.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Now that we are here, we are enjoying the "new" house that we rented. It is in the same neighborhood as the house we used to rent (which went into foreclosure last March and is for sale by the bank now) but it is bigger and more updated. The kitchen here is equipped as well (or better than--newer appliances) as my own. If it had a gas stove and and a Kitchenaid mixer I might be forced to live here forever.