Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Rants

I was on a guided nature walk on the beach when a woman commented that she often wondered how pelicans were able to dive into the water as they do without breaking their necks. Would have been an awfully SHORT evolutionary history for pelicans if they weren't designed to dive into the water after fish. I don't care if you're of the Darwinian persuasion or the Divine Design persuasion--that was a stupid comment.

Bicycle riders are largely a menace here on the isle. Clearly marked bike lanes and still riders are going against traffic or riding on the sidewalks and snarking at pedestrians who don't jump off the sidewalk fast enough. Share the road, I think, means: "Make way for me and superior method of transportation--greener than a car, more efficient than walking."

I have worked long and hard, and successfully by and large, at overcoming my irrational childhood terror of dogs. Then the other day a dog bit me as I was walking to town. Apparently it was my fault because I inadvertently stepped on a dried leaf and "startled" the dog. Good thing I wasn't bleeding as dog and owner kept right on walking.

I was reading a book from the library, Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. This is a line from pages 146-147:

I reminded myself of my ancestor Robert Bruce Rannoch, whose right arm had been hacked off in the battle of Bannockburn and had promptly transferred his sword to his left hand and gone on fighting.

Maybe that reads a bit awkwardly, maybe it's lacking some punctuation mark. I can't say, but I do know that the correction some previous reader felt compelled to pencil in certainly would not be correct.

I reminded myself of my ancestor Robert Bruce Rannoch, whose right arm had been hacked off in the battle of Bannockburn,and He had promptly transferred his sword to his left hand and gone on fighting.

I torture myself by logging onto the Martha Stewart web site. I totally believe in folding sheet sets together. In fact, some consider me a bit nutty about it. But when a start tying a festive ribbon around each set, it will be time for me to get a job in the real world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Clean Up

I was watching Oprah the other day--part of a week long series, Oprah's clean up your messy house--with Peter Walsh and Candace Olsen. They made surprise stops at a few people's apartments in NYC and got them cleaned up, tidied and organized.

Now this kills me. Your every bedroom surface is covered with clothes. Your kitchen is a germ infested pile of dirty dishes and over flowing garbage. The refrigerator is growing fuzzy green phosphoescent slime. And someone, a professional organizer, is needed to tell you to do laundry, fold/hang up your clothes, take out the garbage, wash dishes and clean the fridge. It's not that I don't know plenty of people who live like that, and it's certainly not that I haven't experienced the overwhelming inertia of life's clutter gotten out of control. (For me, at least, it's called depression and prozac helps alot.) It is, partly, that I wish I had had the smarts to see a niche for the professional organizer and develop that career path, but also that I don't understand the willingness to let TV cameras into the house to expose to the world one's inability to cope.

Okay, I know. Reality television is all the rage as we sink to the lowest common denominator. Messy houses are even less offensive than bachelors looking for true love, shallow housewives, trading spouses. (ICK!)

And, okay, maybe we are a tad on the obsessive side. Books on my shelves are alphabetical by author, then by title if we have multiple books by a favorite author.
Garden books all together, history books all together, cook books all together, of course. But it is definitely not OCD--we haven't instituted the Dewey decimal system.

Hmmm...could be it's a lot about kicking myself for not being bold enough to turn my "talents" into a career. I actually stopped watching Oprah for a period af time after she had Martha Stewart on a segment. Martha was showing people how to fold sheets. FOLD SHEETS! The woman is a multi industry mogul because she knows how to fold sheets. I know how to fold sheets and towels, too. My linen closet is as neat as a pin. I refold the sheets in our rental house within the first day of arrival. (Yes, obsessive, NOT cumpulsive.)

Here's the thing...I would love for the "clean up your messy house" crew to come to my home for a redo. It's not that my house is messy or out-of-control disorganized, but I would love to have all the matching containers, color coordinated "zones," and a general spruce up as a gift from Miss Oprah. Seriously, where's the reward for a good life??

NOTE: Please do not think I in anyway mean to denigrate sufferers of OCD. It is a terrible condition whose victims suffer immensely.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Memorium

Our cat--sprawled out in a sunny spot on a winter day.
He was big. He was playfully wild or wildly playful in his youth. He was slow and cranky in his dotage.
He had tons of personality--most of it bad. He ruled our house and we loved him beyond all reason.
He left for cat heaven, 09/04/2005, and we miss him still. There can never be another.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Satin Sheets

Our Florida rental came with a set of satin sheets. Now sheets are a wonderful thing in life. I happen to like to snuggle into smooth, soft, clean sheets. New cotton, high quality, sheets are wonderful, but those sheets washed and washed to a silky smoothness--ahh. Maybe I still miss my silk baby blanket. But I’m getting off the point, which is those satin sheets.
I went to and asked, “Why satin sheets?” In reply, I found Ann’s Satin Sheet Guide, http://ann', to wit:

What is so great about Satin Sheets?
It's the Look and Feel
For most people, satin sheets are great for two reasons:
Smoothness comes from the small size and tight weaving of the fibers. The tighter the weave, the smoother the surface - often described using a term called "thread-count." In order to pack so many threads in a small space, the threads must be very thin. Imagine how rough a sheet made of button thread would be! Man-made fibers like polyester, nylon, and acetate can be made very fine, which makes them perfect for high-thread-count fabrics.
Shininess comes from the type of thread. Very few natural fibers are shiny; so usually you must use a man-made fiber like polyester, nylon, or acetate to get a shiny surface. In fact, you've probably seen sheets described as "Sateen." These are usually cotton sheets with very high thread counts (over 300 per inch) that feel as smooth as normal satin sheets, but since they are made of cotton, they are not shiny. So they really aren't satin as the world typically views it.

But, of course, smooth and shiny have to be code for “SEXY.” I assume all the advertising references to “bridal quality” satin sheets are meant to evoke tingly anticipation of one’s honeymoon--or in my case, found memories thereof.
I have to mention that the usual sheets at this house are a cotton-modal blend, which do have a smooth feel but my husband finds these “too slippery.” Sexy is not a word he was likely to apply to satin sheets. A satin sheeted bed,--just not a bed he is going to climb into. Open to new experiences?--not that much. We don’t mind having our own beds, though, so I decided to try out those satin sheets myself.
Into the second bedroom I march armed with satin sheets and the determination to remain (in my 60’s and beyond) willing, even eager, to try new and different things. The fitted bottom sheet smoothed right over the mattress. I’m thinking I’ll wake up with unmussed hair. I remember seeing an ad for satin pillow cases making that a feature. I’m thinking I’ll sleep the sleep of child clutching her treasured silky (my many sleep problems being the reason we often end up in separate beds). I snap open the top sheet and glide it effortlessly over the bed. It slid, just as effortlessly, right off the bed to the floor--the entire sheet--to the floor. Okay, obviously a bit too much snap. One has to go gentle with satin sheets, slide it the top carefully up and -- whoops. Okay, maybe start from the head and work to the foot of the bed -- whoops -- but almost! Okay, third time is the charm. Next, the comforter -- acck -- slides to the floor and the top sheet crumbles half way down the bed. Okay, okay, okay, even three attempts isn’t doing it this time. “Mike, can you come hold the sheets down while I finish making the bed??” Turns out is possible to make up a bed with satin sheets, but it takes two people at a minimum. Four people would have certainly been better, but why bother the neighbors for something like that.
Bed time comes. I slip into the bed and the satin is cool and soft on my skin. It feels kind of good, kind of sexy. I wiggle then stretch luxuriously. Fortunately, it’s a warm night. The comforter slides to the floor. The top sheets does stay tucked under my chin, but the pillows skid across the mattress slowly--just like the racing rocks in Death Valley. I wake up with a case of bedhead and high humidity ,Florida hair.
I strip the bed, wash the satin sheets, and put them away--neatly folded of course, but that being a whole story in itself. New experiences keep you young. When the grand kids come, I’ll pull the mattress to the floor, cover it with satin sheets, dress them in satin pajamas, surround the room with every pillow in the house, and let them play pretend waterslide.