Monday, November 29, 2010

About Appliances

The first major appliance I owned was a gift from the old lady who lived in the apartment across the hall from me in Salt Lake.  There were three apartments in the old house, and we and she lived on the main floor. The hippy couple and their crotch sniffing German shepherd lived upstairs.

I was 18 years old in 1970, and if you are old enough to remember 1970, you will also remember that it was still during the age of the cloth diaper.  I had a baby, a husband that didn't come home either to visit, bring food, money or transportation.  He was a dear that way.

Mrs. Thomas took pity on me and gave me an old washing machine, and I was thrilled.  It was a drum on wheels that I had to shove across the kitchen and fill with a hose.  The laundry agitated for as long as I deemed fit, and the wringers dumped it into the rinse water in the sink.  After the rinse water, the wringers directed the laundry (mostly diapers, of course) into a basket to be taken out and line dried.  

The line was very short, so the only option for me was to hang the diapers three or four at a time.  It worked in the fall, but not so well when the snow flew.  When it turned so cold, they would hang out during the daylight hours, then I would drape them all over the house to finish drying over night.  It worked.

Fast forward 40 years to a different residence, a different husband, and different appliances.  It's hard to say which is the most dramatic change, to tell you the truth.  I am now the proud owner of a very decent house, a very decent husband, and the laundry room of the future.  You've come a long way, Baby!

 The tile may be from 1957, but the appliances are state of the art!  These little babies not only wash and dry the laundry with no shoving around on big wheels, filling or draining with a portable hose, or getting personal parts caught in the proverbial wringer, they are entertainment express.

1970: Push washer to sink, attach hose to faucet, fill washer with laundry, water, soap, plug in to begin agitation, etc., etc., etc.

2010: Load clothes, soap, and softener, press power button, turn dial to required setting, push play, sit down and watch the show!

These little babies do everything but wax the driveway!  On top of that, we can all sit around as a family group and watch the antics of the washer!  THAT, my friend, is entertainment.

When they finish, they don't grind to a stop or buzz like a smoke detector. They play a catchy little tune that even I can hear upstairs.

I guess change can be good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Death Discussed

Today I'm analyzing death.  I do that sometimes and have come up with a plethora of conclusions as a result.

To begin with, the thought of being dead doesn't bother me.  Getting dead is a little worrisome, but by and large, if being dead was such a bad thing,would so many do it?  I don't recall a single instance of hearing or reading about someone being dead for a year and came back because it was too much work.  I have, on the other hand, heard and read of the opinions of a variety of organized religions and their differing thoughts of what heaven is - and isn't.

Martha and George were married young and lived to a ripe old age. George is happy as a clam all their married life because Martha waits on him, raises the family, cleans the house, and never argues with him.  An eternity of this life is George's idea of heaven.  Martha, however, has something else in mind.

Martha's idea of heaven is being able to relax without an ornery, spoiled, grumpy bugger demanding every second of her time, telling her what her opinions are, and reminding her she's never done anything right since he met her.  She doesn't care a lick about which level of heaven she goes to, as long as it isn't with him.  Hmmmm.

None of us remember where we were before we got here, so who is to say we remember here when we get there?  Maybe we do remember so we can snort and guffaw about how stupid we were for a lifespan here.

Maybe we are just individuals without our earthly families -- you know, all God's children and all that?  Martha will know George and remember that he was a good provider and really did have a pretty good sense of humor. George will realize he was kind of a *ick, but he really did love her.  They might meet for coffee sometimes.

How about those of us who make bad mistakes? Do we have to do it over again because we were idiots?  I don't want to do it over again for any reason.

My brother is the reason for all these deep ruminations at this time.  He's dying.  He isn't in a rush and he is treating his cancer in an effort to postpone the inevitable, but it will kill him.  He will be 66 next month. I'm mourning the loss of a dear brother I lost 45 years ago. Deep thought, that. It's a whole 'nother story.

He's being pragmatic about the second most major event in one's life staring him in the face.  He isn't so much asking, why me? as, why not me?  In a nutshell: shit happens.  There ain't none of us getting out of this alive.

Hence my thoughts on life and death.  I thought I'd be first.  I want to go like Mom and drop like a rock, or simply wake up dead.  I'd give him some of my years, if I have any left.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall is Fell

I like fall best because I like crisp things.  The air, the leaves, the nights, and the apples are all things that should be crisp. 

I've raked about 15 bushels of chestnuts off the lawn, but Goldsberry rakes the leaves.  The leaves are easy-peasy to rake comparatively speaking, but he hauls them off to his garden.  Gavin, with the impeccable logic of a 5 year old says, "Why doesn't Gwampa put them in hith gahden?" 

Goldsberry shares his summer bounty all season, so we don't mind sharing the leaves.  

This is a very rambling post, so let's ramble somewhere else.  Have you ever seen a dog in a Halloween costume?  They are ridiculous.

 After you pay good money for a stupid costume, you have to get it on the dog. There is, however, entertainment value in watching a 90 pound girl wrestle an 85 pound dog into a costume that's too small.  Good thing they are both very good natured.

Then try to get a picture of the silly dog in the stupid costume that is too small, while the silly dog tries to lick the lens.  I cut off the parrot on top of her hat in the picture, then she broke the hat by shaking her head like a paint mixer.

I don't know why people waste money on things like this, and I'll never do it again.

I've been watching this tree through my kitchen window for a couple of weeks.  OK, I've been watching it though my kitchen window for 20 years, but I'm just talking about this year.  It gets more beautiful every day. 

If life is this good, how much better might the next one be?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cousin Richard

Meet my cousin, Richard.  

This is a man with oodles of gold medals from Special Olympics, a RED motorized chair, and an indomitable spirit.

He stopped by Missy's house yesterday on his way home from Walmart to see if she would spray his hair black for Halloween.  She suggested waiting until today, and I went to supervise.  He and his mom live just around the corner from me.

He doesn't drive, so he was thrilled when he got his chair.  I told him he has to stop hot rodding it or he'll get in a wreck.  He drives very fast.  It made him laugh. 

We took the project outside so we didn't get paint where it wasn't supposed to be. He covered his face with a towel, and the spraying began.  He loves his cousins.  His cousins love him.

Missy told him he looked 20 years younger!  It suited him to a T.  She didn't even end up with much over spray.  

The question is: why did he want his hair black for Halloween?  Well, he had two costumes and threw the banana over for . . . .

ELVIS! He, like any other normal, red-blooded American, loves Elvis.  He even has a kareoki machine to sing along.  He said if he could sing better, he could pick right up where Elvis left off, because now, with the costume, he can wiggle.

Richard will turn 65 on November 5th. You better write that down.

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School

My first day of school was in 1959.  In those days, kindergarten was only held for a couple of weeks in the summer and then they chucked us directly into first grade. Back then the ABCs and counting were taught in school instead of an entrance requirement.  

Mom made us each two new dresses for school.  My grandkids find that hard to believe, because they have wardrobes that fill the laundry baskets to overflowing. They only wear a couple of things, but they own thousands.

This was our first day of school in 1962-ish.  I was in third grade and Betty was in sixth.  I was wearing a hand-me-down dress with a portable collar that came from another sister who wore it about 1952-ish.  Things lasted then.

 My Katie Belle is still a standard model first day of schooler.  She likes to look nice and has pretty mild taste.  She is a couple of years older now than I was then.

 Then there's our Bay.  The last couple of years she has been a silent wallflower, but this year she bloomed.  She is loving life and has lots and lots of friends.  She has a friend, Joe, who is as eccentric and happy as she and they are a joy to be around.

Her big brother is in love and it is very trying.  He sneaked out before pictures this morning.

 This, however is the man of the hour.  Today is his first day of school EVER.  He worried on the way over to the school about missing his family while he is there.  His parents helped him find his cubby, his seat, and his supplies, then stood off to the side for a while.  Mommy kissed him goodbye and he gave her the "Oh. You still here?" look.  He'll be fine, better than she will!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Meaning of Life

I have been waxing philosophic a lot lately, going on about clearing out my mind, moving on with life after work, and trips down memory lane.  After expounding on all these heavy, deep topics, I've been reveling in all the accumulated wisdom of my 58 years and have felt pretty superior about it all.  I'm on the cusp of @%@(#**&-ing nirvana! 

Trust a five year old to cut you off at the knees.

 "I'm going to my own woold now." 

(That's how you say 'world' when you can't pronounce r.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh ----


Well, is that what it takes?  It seems simple enough. He was good enough to explain the whole process, emphasizing the point that it has to be done on a hard floor (hahd floi).  

If one is trying to get back to basics and simplify one's life, why not take the advice of a five year old?  How much simpler and more basic could one get?  It's something to think about


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Evaluation Time

My 15 year old granddaughter is a free spirit.  She has funky hair and wears different colored socks. She plays with little kids and hangs out with other teens.  She tells her little brother evil penguins are going to take over the world, but even he doesn't believe that -- much.  She's a good student, but very scatterbrained.  She's what every young girl should be.

 I was a free spirit at that age too.  That was in the 60s and everyone thought I was stoned all the time.  I really wasn't.  I was happy, a happy hippy.  

I noticed a while ago that my brain feels heavy and tight.  You know how a high school kid's backpack full of books feels like a 50 pound dead weight?  You know that do-it-yourself guy who likes to tighten things just that one last turn?  That's how my head feels.

I look at my goofy girl now, and at my groovy hippy self then and compare it to now.  Experiences, thoughts, catastrophes, events, failures, decisions good and bad, responsibilities, and discipline have filled my brain up full and tightened it up to that last deadly turn.  

 It's time to clean house.  There are no more deadlines, no more reports due, no more children to raise, and my health is good.  Why would I need all that other crap?  My aim is to get rid of what isn't necessary to keep.  Can I use it?  Will it do someone else some good?  Will it help me in my future life?  If the answer is yes, I'll hold on to it, if it is no, out it goes.  

 I'm going to stop and smell the roses, and dodge sucker punches the best I can.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dereliction of Duty

Oatmeal cookies are one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and kidkind. I'm not talking about just any oatmeal cookies, but the homemade kind from my childhood.  They are big and brown and full of raisins and walnuts.  The whole neighborhood came around when Mom made oatmeal cookies.  In our old age, they are still remembered.

I've made the cookies in the years between then and now, but it was brought to my attention yesterday that I have failed to teach my youngest offspring the secrets of making them successfully. There goes Mother of the Year right out the window - again.

When I got married 40 years ago, at the tender age of 18, cookies were the only thing I knew how to make.  I figured that between my mom's oatmeal cookies and his mom's sugar cookies, the major food groups were covered.  Can you see that my 40 year old recipe has been rode hard and put away wet?  I can still read it just fine.

I went through the routine of mixing and sifting and measuring with daughter and her children.  The dough tasted just right, so I knew we were in good shape.  We used to only cook about half the dough, because we (six of us or more) ate the rest raw. Mmmmmm.

Did I tell you they smell wonderful, even before they are cooked?  They do.  After they are cooked, there is no smell that can compare, unless it is a new baby's little noggin, but that's not part of this story.

This, my dears, is a vision from my childhood.  This is heaven on earth.  This is oatmeal cookies.

It is a good thing we have lots of people in this family to help eat these, because if we didn't, I'd be obliged to eat them myself.  Today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

I'm ready for a good summer storm.  There should be lots of rain so it makes the gutters run crazy.  Lighting and thunder are a must,  and it should go on all day long and into the night.

I like storms more than the average person probably.  I like weather that does something. I want a gully washer! a turd floater!  We've been dry too long.

When I was young, every house had a ditch in the front.  Ours had a single concrete slab set at a drunken angle that served as a bridge.  We would wait until it was raining pitchforks and race from the front porch (which was really the side porch) out to the bridge and back again to see who got the least wet.  It got harder to tell as the trips out and back added up. We kept going until we were soaked to the skin and laughing like loons.

Then, after the rain, the world looked like it was brand new.  Colors were brighter, lines were crisper, and when the sun came out everything sort of twinkled with raindrops.  It kind of made you want to keep going to see what's next.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Family Feed

We used to have a lot of family feeds at our house, both summer and winter.  The sisters, their husbands, and their children came, and each family brought something to add to the feast.  For many years before I got a big house, we would go to Betty's to get together.

To sing my tired old refrain, time marches on.  Demographics have changed, but we try to get together a couple of times a year.  Both times are for Thanksgiving.  We do the same old Thanksgiving everyone else does in November,  but we try for another one around the end of June. 

Attendance has dropped way down because as families grow, priorities change.  It is understandable, but sometimes I long for the good ole days.  I also longed for decent weather in June, but it wasn't to happen.  Thanksgiving at the end of July is more than we bargained for heat-wise. 

Lord help us when I long for the good ole days.  Sometimes I can reminisce over the times when my kids were little, for when I was little, and for years before I was ever born.  I'm like that.


These tractor seat chairs were Mom's.  She kept them in the back yard under the black walnut tree.  I was giddy when no one else wanted them and we hauled them home. Mom needs a place to sit if she stops by to eat. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Those Girls

I took friend pictures yesterday of my granddaughter and pal.  They are 15 and ready to begin exploring the world.  They have loads of energy, they love to stand out in a crowd, and they are willing to try just about anything.  Scares me.

They totally love what they call the Punk Wall. (See? I used 'totally' in a teenager post!)   It is actually two walls that have been graffitied.  They are at an old quick stop type store that has been closed up for years.

It kind of reminds me of when I was 15.  That would have been 1967 -- do the math.  I met my first hippies that year. They were heading through on their way to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.  They were much older than I was, but they were very friendly.  They were the epitome of the hippy culture in the beginnings.  Aztec and I exchanged letters for the whole summer.

Aztec and his friends would have been blown away by this picture.  They would have thought it was groovy.  If Aztec is still alive, he is either a lawyer at the top of his profession or a dumpster diver burned out on acid.  Perhaps a lawyer burned out on acid?

 At any rate, these girls are getting ready to take on the world.  They spend hours on hair and makeup, they giggle over boys, and their fingers and phones are in permanent text mode.  They swoon over those pale boys on the vampire movies, mini-lust over rock stars, and plan their activities for the best exposure.

Then they come home and rearrange their Bratz dolls.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah

The garlic contest is done for another year, and Hubby took third place.  That's perfect for us.  Of all the entrants, only Arnold, Jerry, or Clint take first place -- ever.  They are getting about half tired of it.

It was an understated party this year, and that was also perfect for us.  Pa is getting on and only came out into the back yard because they made him.  He stayed for about half an hour, then had the good sense to go back inside to the swamp cooler and his book.

We visited a little and headed for Appleby's to eat.

Getting started.

The winner and still champeen - - - Jerry!

Third place is still in the money.

Pa enjoyed bits of the party at least.

I had to throw this in.  If I'd waited a 100th of a second, I could have captured an excellent smile. The light was metered the way I wanted it, so it was good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Harry Redoux

When our little man was two years old, Santa brought him a Nimbus 2000 broom, a wand, a golden nitch, and Harry Potter glasses.  His daddy was a Marine far away in Japan on deployment at the time, so we made movies to send to him so he could share Christmas with his family.

Last week Mommy found the CDs and they watched home movies for hours.  Bigger Little Man took some convincing that the little usurper in the movie was him.  The broom is still around to play with three years and more than a lifetime later, but the snitch, glasses, and wand have gone the way of all heavily used toys.  

Since then, there has been a heavy resurgence of Harry Potter playing around this house. The bigger kids have real wands, but they are collector type items, and the little plastic wand bit the big one years ago.  Mr. Wilson's rose bushes produced beautiful long stemmed roses this year that were turning into rose hips, so I went over and clipped four or five of them.  With the leaves and thorns removed from the stems, they made ideal wands.

The kids and Harry Potter have progressed in the three years that have passed.  They have more spells to cast now than 'Eat slugs!'.  Did you ever wonder what an invisibility cloak looks like?

 Wonder no longer.  This small person that you do not see coming through the front room doorway is wearing his sister's newly converted invisibility cloak.  It also does service for a dementor, but leave us not be fussy.

This is a closer view of an invisible guy taken to test spot metering.  I can see how it would have possibilities in different applications.  Can't see Little Man, can you?

Ronald Weasley needs a bigger cloak if he's going to be invisible.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


When I was a kid, a long, LONG, time ago, I liked to watch my mom do the laundry.  Laundry was different in those days, and especially because there were nine of us some of the time, and eight most of the time.

We didn't have huge wardrobes then.  It seems like we each had two school dresses and a couple of changes of play clothes, and our Sunday Go to Meetings.  That makes it sound like easy duty, until you realize that all those, for everyone, had to be ironed.  Mom also ironed the pillow cases and hankies.  That's what I learned to iron first.

The wash was done Monday, weather permitting. We hung it out even if it was cloudy, because there were enough of us to run out and grab it back in if the raindrops started to fall.  Shirts and dresses were starched before they were hung out.  

In the winter the clothes would freeze.  We'd bring it all in, stiff as a board.  Some we would hang on the rack and wherever to finish drying, and some would thaw enough to be rolled up in the ironing bag for the following day.  In the summer they had to be sprinkled and rolled.

Tuesday was ironing day, and it did take all day.  Mom used the high stool, a little metal chair that did double duty as a high chair for whichever baby was on hand at the time.  It had no tray or belts.  The baby was tied in with a dish towel.  Mom would prop one cheek on the seat, one foot on the floor, and the other foot on the stretcher between the chair legs and iron for eight hours or so.  The finished ironing was on hangers on the wooden clothes horse until it was all done, then everyone put their own away.

I loved the smell of Monday and of Tuesday. Fels Naptha had a wonderful petroleum smell.  No bleach or detergent touched Mom's laundry, and we had the cleanest clothes in the neighborhood.  The warm smell of the ironing was homey and comforting.

The first time I did my own laundry was over 40 years ago.  I was 18, and I did the ironing.  Mom taught us to iron, so I did a good job.  I didn't have a wooden clothes horse to hang my ironed clothing on, so I hung it on on the kitchen door.  The shirts hung for days, because I adored seeing them there.

I still hang my clothes to dry whenever I can.  I usually leave them on the line overnight, and bring them in the following afternoon after work.  Now I can bring them in the next morning before the sun even hits that area.  

My friend made me the clothesline poles and my brothers-in-law put them up for me.  I wouldn't give them up for the world.  I only iron shirts and summer shorts now, but Hubby goes to work looking like someone cares.

Nobody looks like a bum in this family -- except me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Garlic Contest

It all began some years back.  All the Lowe boys and their wives would get together at their parents' house to play horseshoes, drink beer, talk big, barbecue, and admire Pa's huge elephant garlic.  

The Lowe boys, and some of their wives, are a highly competitive group.  Over time, they took it upon themselves to challenge Pa's authority as Garlic King, and began to grow and strut their own elephant garlics.  It got bad enough at one point that a tape measure (mine, since I was always knitting) was produced to measure exactly which was the largest, making its owner the garlic king for that year.

This progressed to an annual activity that was a full year in the making.  Ma held the bet money (I told you they were competitive) for the year and we had a feed to honor the day, usually in mid-July.  That's when the garlic is ready to harvest.

The trick is to dig the garlic a few hours before the contest.  They shrink up as they dry, so fresh is best.

This is our offering from last year.  We've never won in all these years, but he did place 3rd once.  The contest has evolved over the years and kind of grown out of control, but it continues.

 The garlic is dug, washed, and compared to find the biggest one.  A mere fraction of an inch could make all the difference.

 The rest is tied into bundles and  hung around the patio to dry.  I can't pass up Hubby's concentration face as he ties the bundles.  His mouth goes to one side, then to the other side, then back again for as long as the operation lasts.  

As I said, the garlic contest has evolved over the years.  Ma has been gone these 10 years, Pa is 91 and hasn't had a garden since Ma passed away.  The sisters have joined the competition (welcome sisters) as have children, and now grandchildren.

The winner gets the bulk of the money and the honor of owning for a year and signing the traveling trophy, a garlic hat.  The winner is also obligated to host the 35 to 40 guests at the following year's garlic contest.  

I hope Hubby never wins.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Camera Training

I've been studying my camera manual.  It's high time that I found out just what it will do and how to do it.  There was a time when I could read and absorb and retain instructions without a second thought, but that time is long gone.

Pioneer Woman and Miz Booshay have taught me all I know about photography, and it ain't much.  This is not for lack of trying on their parts, but more for brain blockage on mine. Their cameras of choice are Nikon, and mine is Canon.  They are all amazingly generous with information on their web sites, giving full details on their photos.  Under each instructional photo they list f numbers and ISO numbers and exposure, and all that other stuff that doesn't mean a thing to me.  

I have a camera that does everything a camera should do and I use it as a point and shoot.  Now I have more time on my hands and my memory banks are emptying out, I'm determined to give learning my camera another try. 

Yesterday my little book told me how to go about changing all the stuff the ladies talk about on their web sites.  Today I need to find out what the settings do and try a few out.  That's the beauty of digital photography - thousands of photos don't cost a red cent.  Scroll through, choose the ones that look good, trash the rest.  

 These are more testers of AEB (automatic exposure bracketing) and they all have something in common.  Look closely and you will figure it out.  They were all taken from my regular vantage point, on my arse in my chair!  No one who knows me would doubt that.  

AEB is down pat, and I need to move on to something else.  I also need to get my arse out of the chair.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Written Word

I love words. I like long ones and short ones, easy speaks and tongue twisters, blunt or flowery.  Words are an author's artistic medium and I have the highest regard for anyone who can call the right combination at a moment's notice.  I think of the right thing to say the day after it was needed.

Oscar Wilde was a genius and assembled his words into masterpieces, comic and otherwise.  Ogden Nash was also a master.  Who can forget "A panther is like a leopard / except it hasn't been peppered. / If you ever see a panther crouch / prepare to say ouch" ?  

The true premier of words was Edgar Allen Poe.  The drunken, drug addicted sot had a working vocabulary of 80,000 words.  The master of the macabre made $20 words dance a complicated ballet across the page, leaving the reader with nightmares for a week.

Then there are the hubbies.  Sisters and I married able, intelligent men.  My brothers-in-law can do anything, fix anything, build anything. My hubby has a rapier wit.  None of them can get words right to save them, but they all try.  

My guy was going to put a gazebo in my crazy pills to see if I would be able to tell, gets phlagm in his throat in the winter and likes to watch Katherine Hefburn and Earl Flynn movies on tv.

Sister's husband said things 'leak like a fizz', other sister's husband gets his colostopies regularly for his health. 

Of course, there are many more examples, but I can only remember a few at any given time.  They are a constant source of giggles for us.  It's fair though, because we have given them plenty to laugh at as well.  It goes both ways.

My hands-down favorite is Calvin and Hobbes.  Bully approaches Calvin and said, "Gimme a quarter, Twinky."  Calvin looks up at said bully and responds, "Your simian countenance denotes a heritage rich in species diversity."  Bully says, "Huh?"  Calvin flips him the quarter and said, "It was worth it."

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Second Monday of My Exile

This place is really undergoing a reorganization.  It's great.  The kids cleaned the garage, got rid of a lot of garbage, added shelves, hooks, and other sorts of hangey-uppey things.  That made it possible to move the mops and such outside into the garage, opening another area for more shelves, quadrupling our closet storage.

THEN, Shawn moved the water softener to the other side of the water heater, using an empty and generally inaccessible 16 square feet-ish and freeing up more area in the main part of the room for - - - shelves!  Moving the water softener was a Herculean effort accomplished mainly by Shawn and burly grandson Chris, while Sarah and I got in the way. 

Now my front room is marvelously clean, the kitchen sparkles, the bathroom walls are clean, the garage is shining and organized, the laundry room looks great, and life is good.

I changed laundry day from Sunday to Monday so the weekends can be free when Rex goes back to work.  It will also help avoid conflict with Sunday barbecues.  Besides, my mom washed on Mondays and ironed on Tuesdays. 

I have projects stacked up for the last 20 years or so that I have just been waiting for when I have the necessary time to devote to them.  It would seem that time could be now, if I wanted it to be.  I'll have to take an inventory and prioritize.

Right now I have a pair of socks, three shawls, and at least two cross stitches in various stages of completion ranging from at least 10 years ago.  

It's time to get off my arse and accomplish something productive.  Hmph. Like that's going to happen! 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Best Planned Lays of Mice and Men . . .

We've been doing a lot more running around than I am used to doing. I think it's affecting me mentally.  (Twitch, twitch)  It has been my sacrifice to the alter of family sanity.  Having Honey off work for four-plus weeks, bored to tears, with a cast on his arm severely limiting any activity, has made for a real challenge.  

Don't get me wrong, spending time with Honey isn't any sacrifice, but spending time with him away from home is. I like to be home.  I prefer to be home.  I love my home, so why would I want to be anywhere else?

Yesterday, my plan was to go no farther away than the patio.  The best planned lays, etc. etc.  Then we wound up borrowing Sister's pickup truck to make a trip to the landfill.  Cleaning the garage produced more garbage than a little bit.  

Sarah was under the impression that the landfill was still down at the edge of our small town, approximately a mile and a half from here.  No such luck.  The old boneyard closed up around five years ago.  The new landfill is clear out at Little Mountain, by Thiokol.

Sarah gets car sick, so Shawn and I took a road trip.  Neither of us saw any signs making reference to landfill, so we wound up almost to Promontory.  You know, meeting of the railroads, Golden Spike, and all that rot?

I still have connections, so I called Garbage Driver Mike.  He told us how to get there.  He also told me that things have gone to hell since I've been gone.  I don't care if he was lying through his teeth, I'm taking him at his word.

Long and short, we were in the truck, on the road for well over an hour.  Understand this:  it was farther than my patio! 

This is a token picture.  I've been playing with my photo editing software again.  It keeps me off the streets and out of landfills.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Many years ago, I had a friend who owned her very own teeter totter. It was in her back yard by a tree.  The paint never chipped or peeled on the sturdy board, and the pipes it was mounted on were substantial and cemented into the ground.  This was a quality teeter totter.  I couldn't figure out why it never had handles.  We had to hold on to the board itself, and although this wasn't a problem, it was a curiosity.

One summer when we were older, almost teenagers, we figured it out.  We would sit on the board backwards and lie with our heads toward the middle, going up and down for hours.  

We watched the clouds and solved all the world problems right there in her back yard in the old neighborhood.  Summer clouds are the best.  They change constantly, and on a hot summer afternoon they get huge and white and billowy. That's when you can find ships and animals and about any old thing in them.  It was a great summer.

 I'm really old now, but not as old as I hope to become.  During the span of years between then and now, there were times when things looked very different to me than they did when I was almost a teenager.  There were times when what I saw wasn't necessarily what was before my face.  I saw what I wanted to see, but it could get pretty distorted.  

Being almost a teenager was better.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On the Other Hand

This is going to be another fun-filled day.  We have to go to Logan to get a tool box this morning, then to the doctor to get Honey's cast off, then to Layton to drop off old tv/internet equipment and eat at Red Lobster.  This is not my idea of retired bliss.  

On the other hand, it's still cool in the morning, and if I have to be in the car, the canyon is one of my two favorite drives.  The other one is out through Honeyville.   We don't have to go all the way IN to Logan, just on the canyon side.  That's a plus, because Logan traffic is as bad as Layton traffic, which is a nightmare.  We won't think about Layton at this time.

Our canyon isn't like Oregon or Washington, or even Wyoming canyons.  We have very few pines and only some brush and trees, but it's still very nice to look at.  These mountains tell me I am home.

I especially like them in the spring.  Everything is new and green and fresh.  We may not have forty shades of green, but we have lots.  Driving through the canyon is a trip into 150 years ago.  

On the other hand,  I sure like the mountains in the summer.  It is always cooler in the canyon than it is in town.  The poppies bloom in the field, and rodent critters run all over the place.  Nut cakes are out on the reservoir water skiing, and fisher persons are fishing.

On the other hand, my very favorite time to go through the canyon is in the fall.  The fall colors are fabulous.  Warm days and cold nights make it a joy to be alive.

On the other hand, you can forget about the canyon in winter.  The roads are slick, people drive too fast and kill each other, and it's 120 below.  

I'm glad, since we have to go, that we are still kind of spring-ish, with summer and fall yet to come.  I could do them over and over again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


There are two things about me that anyone who has spent more than a day with me recognizesThe first thing is that I am stubborn.  We aren't talking about a delicate reluctance that will occasionally rear its dainty head, but a full-on, bullheaded, heels in the dirt, obstinacy.  

The second thing is that I hate change.  If you can imagine change in any form, whether it be good or bad, keep it away from me. The two things fit hand in glove, and each feeds the monster of the other.

When affronted with the inevitable, change, there is only one course of action to be taken and that is to go to sleep.  It is the only logical conclusion.

I didn't want UTOPIA.  Big deal if it's a fiber optic network.  My internet worked just fine.  The City torked me off when they agreed to support the stupid thing, putting future generations in debt.  Our tv/phone/internet bundle was just fine, and we'd had it for years.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  I didn't want to support UTOPIA, and I didn't want to switch providers.  Period.  Full stop.

Honey wanted UTOPIA. Since he gives me my own way on 98% of issues in our marriage, we have UTOPIA.  

They came to hook us up yesterday, so I went to sleep.  Although I'm a marathon sleeper, they still weren't done when I got up.  That ticked me off too.  

The end of the story is:  we have UTOPIA, we have a new provider, and now we need to figure out how to do everything all over again.  I'm going back to sleep.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Johnson Brain Trust

We always said that between us, we sisters had a brain.  It's God's honest truth.  I've noticed over the years that sometimes we share, and sometimes one or more of us go without and the other(s) pick up the slack.

Such is the case with my camera dilemma.  Remember?  I was trying to follow simple directions to set up my camera to do the three exposures in a triple burst thing?  Well, Betty read the book, just like I did, and figured it out.  It must have taken all of 30 seconds.  After that, they figured out how to do the same thing on Missy's camera. I say "they" because I'm evidently not firing on all cylinders lately.

The object of the game is to take this:

and turn it into this:


 Into this:
And this:

Into this:

I realize it begs the question, "Why?!" But they say art is for its own sake.  (That was pitiful, wasn't it?)  I particularly liked the one of the baby that turned out looking like he'd done the breast stroke in the coal bin.

Sisters and their troops had come over for a picnic/bubba q that went pretty well yesterday.  The kids made pulled pork and some brought salads, some deserts.  The little ones played, the big ones laughed, and a good time was had by all.  The main plan of the party didn't have anything to do with the 4th of July, as such.  It was to help Betty get through her first anniversary without her husband.  She said it helped.

Grandpa and I went to bed early, as usual, and the kids did their fireworks.  My little guy came into the bedroom part way through the show to get me to hold his hand while he went potty.  He's had visions recently of a slimy monster coming out of the bathtub drain to get him while he's in there alone.  It's only common sense, under those conditions, not to be alone in the bathroom. 

It's good to have one's family close.  It makes it possible to share a pleasant Sunday afternoon, to know someone cares, and to have safe receptacles for the community brain cells.