All so that we will be ready for a FALL wedding.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS.....PLEASE READ!
Somehow I feel better even though I have it!!
Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. -
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.
So, I decide to put the bills back
on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think,
since I'm going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table,
and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don't accidentally knock it over.
The Pepsi is getting warm,
and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye--they need water.
I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I'll be looking for the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
but first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers,
but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to
remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day,
and I'm really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem,
and I'll try to get some help for it,
but first I'll check my e-mail....
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Right after World War II, my grandfather--or Pappap, as we all called him--volunteered to help rebuild Europe by taking a load of horses to Poland. World War II was incredibly destructive--some 50 million people were displaced through all the fighting. Not only that, but most farm animals had been killed--either as a result of combat, or to be eaten as food for the starving people.
Here's what the advertisement said, in part:
"Two thousand men wanted to serve as livestock attendants on board ships carrying livestock to Europe to replace killed-off animals. Applicants must be able to work with animals, willing to do manual labor, and of good moral character. Men especially desired who will conduct themselves without reproach in foreign ports. Age 16-60. Trip takes 4 to 6 weeks. Pay $150.00 per trip."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
So, what's next?
True, I am a tad early, as far as the weather is concerned. Our cool spring continues--laced with days of crazy rain--that replenishes our parched earth, which suffered from a dearth of snow this winter.
Summertime got me to thinking of summers when I was in college. We would empty out our dorm rooms, and head off to various locations. With my parents in Africa, I sought summer work where I was a live-in maid. That meant travelling to Canada, and saying goodbye to my college boyfriend for the summer. And who knew if we would still be a couple when we returned to college in the fall? The romance usually didn't last.
Perhaps that separation tinged with the possibility of a stalled romance helped inspire some of the summer songs of my youth. One such sobby song was Bryan Hyland's "Sealed with a Kiss." And, yes, I know that song really (make that REALLY) dates me. So be it.
"Sealed with a Kiss" is number 53 on Entertainment Weekly's assembled list of the 100 Greatest Summer Songs of All Time.
Herewith the top 25:
1 The Lovin' Spoonful ''Summer in the City'' Summer of '66
2 The Beach Boys ''California Girls'' Summer of '65
3 Alice Cooper ''School's Out'' Summer of '72
4 Martha and the Vandellas ''Heat Wave'' Summer of '63
5 The Drifters ''Under the Boardwalk'' Summer of '64
6 The Doors ''Light My Fire'' Summer of '67
7 Martha and the Vandellas ''Dancing in the Street'' Summer of '64
8 Madonna ''Borderline'' Summer of '84
9 Sly & the Family Stone ''Hot Fun in the Summertime'' Summer of '69
10 The Rolling Stones ''(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'' Summer of '65
11 Eddie Cochran ''Summertime Blues'' Summer of '58
12 The Hues Corporation ''Rock the Boat'' Summer of '74
13 The Beach Boys ''I Get Around'' Summer of '64
14 Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five ''The Message'' Summer of '82
15 Mungo Jerry ''In the Summertime'' Summer of '70
16 Rod Stewart ''Maggie May'' Summer of '71
17 The Beatles ''A Hard Day's Night'' Summer of '64
18 The Surfaris ''Wipe Out'' Summer of '63
19 The Beach Boys ''Wouldn't It Be Nice'' Summer of '66
20 The Police ''Every Breath You Take'' Summer of '83
21 Raspberries ''Go All the Way'' Summer of '72
22 The Carpenters ''(They Long to Be) Close to You'' Summer of '70
23 Jefferson Airplane ''White Rabbit'' Summer of '67
24 Elton John and Kiki Dee ''Don't Go Breaking My Heart'' Summer of '76
25 Bob Dylan ''Like a Rolling Stone'' Summer of '65
To see the remaining 75, go here. You can also read the fun descriptions of these songs. Among my other favorites are numbers 5, 15, 35, and 47. And I can always listen to number 73--summertime or anytime.
Any favorites of yours in the list? Do tell.
Monday, May 11, 2009
In some of our European travels, I have purposefully watched along roadside to see whether or not it is apparent that Europe has the same excess of animal highway deaths as we do. Once, when I didn’t see any dead animals, I asked in innocence—do you have any road kill. Oh, yes—we do. But I wasn’t convinced. Then it occurred to me that, given how long Europe has been inhabited by humans, by now many of the wild animals have been driven away, thereby reducing the numbers that could be killed.
One of the reasons I so hate road kill is that unbridled growth in our part of the country has meant that more and more open fields and farm lands are being converted to sprawling suburban development. When my husband and I first moved to this part of Pennsylvania, the magnificent rolling mountain just to the north of where we live was open space. Albeit forested. Now, there are bare patches creeping up the mountain as more and more individual houses have been constructed. Recently a farm wonderfully named Whispering Winds was sold piecemeal to several developers. I can’t help but wonder when the houses begin to be built there where will the small creatures go? Displaced yet again, they will wander out on to local roads and get smooshed.
There is another aspect of road kill, of course: the sudden and inadvertent convergence of car and deer. My brother recently wrote of an experience he had, along with his wife and another passenger. Thankfully, they were all OK, though the car was a bit worse for wear.
One of my favorite poems is about road kill, in a way.
Traveling Through The Dark
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.
My fingers touching her side brought me the reason--
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.
The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.
I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.
I have used this poem in the composition course I teach—I ask the students, how many of you have hit an animal while you are driving? Usually many hands go up. Then I ask—did the experience make you think about the human condition, about mortality? No hands. Or, I ask, did any of you go right home and write a poem after the experience? Again, no hands.
Well, I still don’t like road kill. But I draw deep sustenance from the sentiment of William Stafford’s poem.
“I thought had for us all—my only swerving.”
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Since I was with my step-mother, the event got me to thinking about mothers. Herewith, a few thoughts.
What makes a woman a mother? You might think the obvious answer--she has a child or children. And, in a sense, you would be right--but I will be more expansive than your answer might have intended. To be the mother of a child means that you nourish someone, in a loving maternal way. And that does not require that you have actually borne a child.
She is the heart and soul of steady, unflinching goodness. My mother, Dorcas, would have been a hard act to follow. She was a great woman. Verna Mae had neither need nor inclination to compete with that kind of person. Verna Mae is calm, low-key, solid, and grounded. I don't think she has ever been threatened by the memory of my mother.
Here's part of what makes Verna Mae amazing to me--she had never been married before she married my father. Perhaps, she thought she would live her life out quite happily as an independent unmarried woman. That she was willing to consent to marry my father is a great thing for our family--that's the amazing part: her willingness to trade her life to that point for the unknown.
Maybe you begin to get the drift of this partly rambling reverie on motherhood. Verna Mae had no children--at least none that she gave birth to. But she has loved me and my brother and sister. She loves our children. So she is every bit a mother and grandmother to us all.
There have been several women in my life who are mothers without having had children. Previously, I have written about my favorite aunt. She has never married, and has never had children--but, oh, did she ever provide loving nurture to me. She nurtured a love of classical music in me. She took me to see movies when I was a child (which, truth be told, were verboten as far as my very strict grandfather was concerned), and she enthusiastically discusses politics with me.
She also exemplifies how being a mother (or grandmother) means nurturing children. She lives in a town in New York state, some 20 miles north of New York City. Across the street from her house lives a family where twins were born about 13 or 14 years ago. When the young couple who had the twins asked for my aunt's help caring for the babies, my aunt's first reaction was HELP. "I don't know anything about . . ." (fill in the blank with some essential baby care skill)--that's what she told me.
But, she pitched in. And over the years, she has become the grandmother for those twins. They come to her house every Sunday morning, giving their parents a wonderful time of quiet and respite. She has patiently answered the questions these sweet girls have asked. She lets them do things, such as draw on the walls, that would no doubt be absolutely forbidden in their own house.
Believe me, I could go on. It fills me with sweet comfort and deep pleasure to know that not only did my own mother, and grandmothers love me fiercely, but so do my step-mother and my aunt.
So, here's to all the mothers--whether the children they have were born from their bodies or from their hearts.
One more quick "mother" update. The first of the baby doves has hatched. Scrawny little thing, really. But the mother dove is rather fiercely protective of this seemingly inconsequential bit of fluff.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
Well, I thought--what has happened. Every so often, there is a story about this or that breach of personal safety with Facebook as the vehicle, or some other electronic mechanism.
For example, I heard about a couple who was sued, with the actual serving being accomplished through Facebook. This story came out of Australia--and even though I "googled" to find out more details, I couldn't verify what exactly happened.
Anyone in the job market should be cautious about the information available for the finding on Facebook, or other internet sites.
And, of course, there is cyberstalking.
When the local news got around to the Facebook story, it turned out a young woman was threatened with bodily harm by her ex-boyfriend on Facebook. So, the story was NOT that Facebook is dangerous, but that it was the MEANS whereby a very misdirected young man threatened someone.
Safety, of course, is a very important consideration. We should all be aware of ways that we are exposed, with the Internet magnifiying that exposure. But, Facebook itself is NOT to blame. You can set your profile in such a way that only approved people can view it. And you can turn down any and all requests that you have no idea where they originate.
I get the impression that local news features such stories partly because they want to sensationalize the issue, and partly because they don't understand the technology. What they clearly do NOT intend to do is provide useful information that reasonable people can act upon. So, what can we do?
Use common sense--it applies as easily in the new wired environment as it did before we have such a thing as cyberspace.