Friday, May 30, 2008

Filch-it Friday: Why blog?

Today I'm filching (once again) from Foolery. This time it's her "Why Blog?" post.

A few short months ago if you had asked me what a blog was, I would have said "a political online journal." That was the only type of blog I'd heard of; they were linked to the online newspapers I read. I'd never taken the time to read more than a couple of lines of any of them.

Then in November a new friend entered my life, and she regaled me with stories from her sister's blog - "Simply Nutmeg". My interest was piqued and I read every post. Over the New Year's holiday I discovered Bye, Bye, Buy, in which June Can't-Buy-That wrote about her year of not spending any money. (Which has now morphed into Bye, Bye, Pie) - again, I read every post.

I've always been a gabby person, whether in person or in writing. I wrote long letters to my family back home in Oregon, then long emails - with way more information and detail than they probably ever wanted to know. Funny thing about all that writing - I didn't receive much response. My mom has always been great about writing and replying. Sis and Aunts wrote now and again, but nothing like I poured out to them. I may have had a better response if I had put my letter into a bottle and tossed it out to sea.

Why do I always have so much to say? I believe I inherited the gene from my Grandma W. Everyone in the family has stories to tell of taking her along someplace, and in the two minutes we stepped away, when we returned she would not only be in deep conversation with the person next to her, they would have exchanged phone numbers to continue their discussion. For many years she had a phone friendship with a woman she met while sitting on a bench at the mall (while we were in the store shopping).

Anyway. Why do I blog? It's pretty simple, really. I just seem to have a lot to say, and I type faster than I write by hand. This is better than a journal because I receive feedback via comments, and emails. And I don't even have to throw my laptop out to sea.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Image in the Looking Glass

Reading a recent post at Suburban Scrawl got me thinking. (Good job, Melisa!) Please bear with me.

Darling Daughter has gorgeous, thick, wavy hair. In my family, straight, thin, lifeless hair is the norm. Thank God Darling Daughter inherited her hair from The Hubs side of the family, maybe this 'thin hair' cycle is broken. I would LOVE to have hair like hers.

But Darling Daughter has mentioned more than once how lucky I am to have straight hair. And she just got her hair cut. Not just cut but thinned and layered. It looks very nice. But I cringed a little with each snip of the scissors, and admit I was envious of those long, thick locks that lay on the floor.

Not too long ago was I standing in the shampoo aisle at CVS, searching for a product that would give my lifeless hair some lift, some poof, some body...basically change it's nature completely. A miracle in a bottle. There was another woman in this shampoo aisle doing the same thing I was - reading each label to see what it promised. She had gorgeous thick, naturally curly hair. I felt so blah and self-conscious about my own hair just standing next to her.

We got to talking (because I am like that - I talk to EVERYONE!) and she told me she HATED her hair. She was studying each shampoo bottle to see if she could find one that would straighten her hair. Her hair was AMAZING, very Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. I was shocked that she appeared to so hate her hair.

Why does it always seem as though the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Why can't we accept ourselves, embrace ourselves as we are? So often we're our own worst enemy. We would NEVER tolerate a friend (some friend!) who spoke to us in the way we speak to ourselves.

I've tried to teach Darling Daughter to love who she is. I've "used my words" but clearly I haven't enacted it. Hair is only the most recent example. My own inner voice is a real downer much of the time. I'm going to try to work on that. And hopefully set a better example for my daughter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day

Photo taken in the Old Burial Ground in our small town

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Not So Friendly Skies

Did you see the recent news from American Airlines? Not only are they jacking prices again, but to check ONE BAG there is now a $15 fee. They're laying off hundreds of workers. Most likely the workers who would have handled the checked bags.

I used to love flying. I flew for the first time when I was 18 years old and a girlfriend and I visited multiple Hawaiian Islands. It really was something. The seats were comfortable with lots of leg room and personal space; the flight attendants were very polite and helpful. The food was even good!

I've flown a lot over the years since then. I guess that's my problem. I remember when it used to be a pleasurable experience. Now it's my idea of Hell On Earth.

The flight is overbooked, so you better get your boarding pass early. You slowly shuffle forward like automatons, waiting your turn to go through security . Did you read how the security screeners missed the bomb parts but yanked the bottle of water IN THE SAME SUITCASE???

And again, same thing only this time they "caught" a bottle of shampoo???

They pack you in like sardines. You bring your own long before they charge you to carry on that lunch bag?

This comic from Mike Luchovich really hits the nail on the head:

I am in awe of Don Mills Diva, a pilot herself. How wonderful it would be if I could fly myself west? Unfortunately, if I want to see my parents, sister, or anyone else in my family I have to suffer through the indignities of airline travel. Something always goes wrong, I never have all four flights be event-free. I'm just dreading it.

I wish they'd hurry up and create a real Star Trek transporter. Beam me up, Scotty.

Monday, May 26, 2008

How much is gas in your location?

After passing several gas stations with $4.05 a gallon, when I came across one that still had $3.89 I stopped and filled up. I sure never thought that $3.89 would feel like a bargain. I'm in central Massachusetts.

How much is gas in your area? (Lurkers, please post too.)

Hints of the Summer to Come

Today was a GLORIOUS day! We've had sunshine for several days but it's been chilly. The nights were in the 40's!! That's dang cold for May but finally ... warmth ... heat ... SUMMER! I even wore thongs today! Footwear, not the underwear.

Every time I say "I'm going to go put on my thongs" in front of my daughter's friends, teenage heads whip around so fast I think they're gonna get whiplash. I'm not sure what they find most shocking - thinking I'm talking to them about underwear, or the thought of a chunky middle-aged mom wearing such a thing. You can imagine the sighs of relief when they realize I'm talking about my feet.

I know I'm dating myself by referring to summer shoes as THONGS. I try to remember to call them flip-flops. What Einstein came up with the idea of giving underwear a name that's been associated with sandals for 50 years? Or is that, in fact, Victoria's Secret? Heck, who came up with the idea of butt floss to begin with?


Beautiful day today. Ice cream season officially started April 1st and by now all the farm ice cream stands are open. Darling Daughter and I went out to our favorite. The line was pretty long but a nice warm day will do that. The hardest part is deciding what flavor!

What flavor would YOU choose?

I went with Reverse Chocolate Chip. It's chocolate ice cream with chunks of white chocolate. YUM.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Bible as told by a Child

I hope this doesn't offend anyone. It was forwarded to me and I thought it was pretty cute.

The Bible as told by a Child

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas.

The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one," but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the atom and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed upon the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of the New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn, too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say yes.

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Meme for Me-Me: The letter K

I've been working on this meme challenge I was tossed from Sue of As Cape Cod Turns. Melisa thought M was hard - but K was a challenge too!

Here are the rules: Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things. Nothing made up! You CAN'T use your own name, other than the first question.

What is your name: Kathryn
4 letter word: Krap (I assume it was supposed to be a naughty word...really struggled to think of one)
Vehicle: Kia
City: Kalamazoo
Boy's Name: Keith (Partridge?!)
Girl's Name: Katrina
Drink: Kahlua (YEAH, baby!)
Occupation: Knife sharpener
Something you wear: Kilt
Celebrity: Karen Allen
Food: Klondike Bar
Something found in a bathroom: Kleenex
Reason for Being Late: KEYS are missing!
Cartoon Character: Katzenjammer Kids (and HOW old am I!?)
Something you shout: Krud? KIDDING! Knucklehead!
Animal: Kangaroo
Body part: Knee
Word to describe you: Kind (krazy?!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Filch-It Friday: Seven Confessions

Today I am joining in Simply Nutmeg's Filch It Friday Extravaganza.

I'm tired and cranky so please keep that in mind when reading my Seven Confessions, as filched from the following folks: Ok where was I? and Foolery.

Seven Confessions

[1] My husband never finishes any project he begins at home. NEVER. I am not making this up. Twelve years ago he put in new stairs from the cellar to the kitchen. Never put up the hand rail. It's lying down cellar, probably rotting away. In fact after he took the old stairs out, it took him 2 years to put the new stairs in! I had to go OUTSIDE and down and around to get to my washer and dryer. Oh wait - this is supposed to be confessions about ME? Ok. HIS BEHAVIOR DRIVES ME TO THE BRINK OF INSANITY!!! There. Whew.

[2] I really am a terrible housekeeper. When I lived alone I loved keeping my place company-ready. Now I have these two extra people sharing living space (The Hubs and Darling Daughter) and it seems impossible. Just when I have something organized, one of them come along behind me and mess it up again. After a gazillion times I feel like, "Why bother?"

[3] As out of control as I feel at home, I am the opposite at work.

[4] I am seriously overweight and I need to deal with it soon. My weight is in direct proportion to my depression. With The Hubs' health spiraling downward these past couple of years, my weight has spiraled UP.

[5] As much as I love to read, I just don't DO libraries very well. I can roam them and browse for hours, check out books - and then I always forget to return them.

[6] Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, where you don't go to the beach without jeans and a parka (and that's in July), I think Cape Cod in the summertime is the greatest thing in the world. I've been to Hawaii, Mexico - I still love the Cape best.

[7] I'm not a huge nature lover, unless I'm protected by screens or walking on asphalt. Nope. Not into the whole bug, snake, creepy-crawly roughing-it kind of thing. Some people hear the call of the wild...I prefer to call room service. It's a cosmic joke that I now live in the country.

And there you have it. My seven confessions.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Battle is On

The damn raccoons have taken this fight up a notch.

The damn raccoons with their little opposable thumbs find it so easy to unlatch the garbage cans, dig into my trash and leave a huge mess all over my deck.

My husband has a big 4-wheel drive pick-up that gets horrible gas mileage and that we only use to haul trash to the transfer station (dump). It's really high off the ground, and until he had the step bar attached, I had to use a step stool to get inside. And I'm 5' 8" tall.

In my never-ending fight with the raccoons, I thought I would throw them off by putting the garbage directly into the back of the pick-up.

BUT....the damn raccoons figured out how to get IN to the back of the pick-up, opened the garbage, and made another huge mess!

It's ON, baby!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Vault

I have a habit that embarrasses Darling Daughter. Wait, who am I trying to kid? She's 13 - everything I do embarrasses her.

But this particular habit is that when I get out of the car to pump my own gas, and I swipe my credit card through the pump card reader, I put my credit card into my bra, and then start pumping gas. I usually forget it's there and then go to the store and think I've lost my card.

Hey, I'm middle-aged, gravity has already taken it's toll - it may as well be good for SOMETHING. Heck, I could stick a can of soda in there and smuggle it into the theater. But not chocolate. That would melt and make a mess.

I thought I was the only one who did this. My daughter has certainly made it clear that I'm a freak in this regard.

Then we had an event at the church, and I was approached by a visitor (a woman) who asked me for a phone number. I gave her my answer - and she wrote it down and TUCKED IT INTO HER BRA. (I was standing there at that precise moment with a credit card tucked into my OWN bra.)

Just then another women from church walked by and I asked her if I had given the correct phone number. "Hold on, let me check," she said, as she PULLED HER CELL PHONE OUT FROM HER BRA.

Now I have a new name for my bra. I call it THE VAULT.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm just a country mouse

This is the post in which I expose how much of a country bumpkin I have become.

I live in a very small (population 2600) very rural town. We have a small general store (about the size of your living room), but to do real grocery shopping I drive about 8 miles in any direction, to one of larger towns bordering our town. And while they are decent grocery stores, they're still rather on the small side.

WELL. I visited a friend who lives in "The Third Largest City in Massachusetts", and she and I went to the grocery store.

O.MY.GOD. I think it was bigger than the elementary school in our town! I had just done my own grocery shopping the day before, but I grabbed a cart and roamed the aisles with the intensity of a sailor on shore leave.

They had gizmos and doodads and giant economy-sized flimflams. I was amazed. I was awed. I was starstruck.

I ended up spending another $100 on groceries.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Honorably Mentioned

I'm quite honored (places hand on heart, demurely looks through lowered eyelashes) to be mentioned on Simply Nutmeg's blog as someone she thinks she could have a good chat with. I think so too. Simply Nutmeg cracks me is one of the things I do best!

[Quick Quiz...which came first...Me or THE DOLL? ]

[Answer: ME! But only by ONE YEAR. And yes, I did have my own Chatty Cathy doll when I was young.]

Thank you for the lovely compliment, Nutmeg!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Just Another Lazy Day Me

I hate to be the one to break it to you younger moms in your late 30's/early 40's, but the difference between age 40 and age 50 is huge. HUGE. And it surprised the heck out of me.

Most birthdays haven't bothered me. The only birthday I remember feeling blue about was my 3oth. I wore all black to work that day, and told everyone I was in mourning for my youth. God, I was so young and foolish!

The difference between 2o and 30 wasn't too great. Maybe I was more inclined to get a hangover if I drank too much. But physically I was in better shape and lower weight at 30 than at 20. (Maybe because I lost approximately 170 pounds of ex-husband...ya think?)

I had a lot of life changes in my 30's. I moved across the country; I remarried; I had my one and only child. I was afraid that my 40th birthday would be depressing but in fact it was rather exhilerating. I was amazed at how FREEING it felt. And I was still in pretty good shape, physically.

Now here I sit, on the cusp of 50, and I realize I am the laziest woman on the planet. I really should own about a tenth of the items I actually do, because I have no energy or interest in cleaning or dusting them.

Hubs is sleeping, having spent the last two days at work (after surgery on Monday - I knew he was overdoing it by going back too soon). Darling Daughter is off to the mall with her BFF. It's a beautiful sunny day, but other than a few loads of laundry I have spent most of the day on my butt laptop.

The garden is full of weeds, my house is full of clutter. I have a million "I should be doing _______" sentences running through my head. Yep, I really should. My mother, who is seventy-mumble-mumble years old, has more energy and gets more accomplished than me. I feel like my own lazy teenager.

But here I sit, surrounded by three sleeping cats who are putting the idea of a nap into my head.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go switch my laundry loads....yawn....snort....zzzzzzzz.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It ain't easy bein' green

Another chapter in Menopausal Memory Problems.

I've purchased, from several different stores, the reusable grocery bags that you see everywhere these days. I actually have quite a collection of them. They're a nice, sturdy bag. And they're going to last me forever because I ALWAYS FORGET THEM.

I had such good intentions when I bought each and every one of them. Well, a couple of them (the Trader Joe's bags) I bought just because they were unusual. But my intent was strong about using them all.

I think I've used them once. Then the groceries got carried into the house, and the bags were set aside, and there they sat for ages. Eventually I discovered them and carried them back out to the van. I then drove them around for months. They should have little travel stickers on their sides from all the places they've been. (Although they never made it out of the van.)

What gets me is I can have them sitting right next to me as I drive to the store. They will be right next to my purse. And I will grab my purse, lock my door and head off into the store. I don't actually SEE them until I get back in the van after I'm done shopping. It's like some kind of selective vision thing.

At least they'll never wear out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


On the outside I may appear to be a fat, middle-aged white woman with thinning hair.

But inside, I am a tall, thin, graceful young black woman with a killer voice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hubs update

Hubs is at home, resting as comfortably as possible. He had some trouble coming out of the anethesia, which is always scary.

He now has about 8" of rubber tubing coming out of his abdomen; this is what the dialysis needle will be hooked up to. He will start dialysis in 3-4 weeks. He will be attempting Peritoneal Dialysis which is done at home; which scares the crud out of me. I am so worried he will have a problem with sterilization and possible infection.

I'm staying home with him for a few days. He keeps insisting he will be back to work before the week is out. I'm afraid of him pushing himself too much. *sigh*

Democracy in Action

Did you know that Massachusetts is one of four states in the U.S. officially designated as a Commonwealth? (Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania are the other three).This means that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to Royal Colony status from Great Britain. Massachusetts is one of the original 13 colonies; we take our independence very seriously. Our town doesn't have a Mayor - we're governed by Town Meeting.

A New England Town Meeting is Democracy in Action. An average citizen can come to town meeting, voice their opinion, persuade their neighbors and fellow taxpayers one direction or another, and vote on issues that concern their community. One person can mean the difference between an article passing or failing.

Our Annual Town Meeting was this week. I've attended hit or miss in the past, but now that I'm involved in town government it's important to attend. There were more than 50 warrant articles to be voted on. My committee had a warrant on the agenda; it was pretty much a no-brainer, and it passed without any problem.

It went pretty quickly for Annual Meeting too. All articles were decided in one night, and the meeting ended about 11pm. Some years the meeting has to be extended to the next night to finish it all up.

Next week certain articles that were approved at Town Meeting have a requirement of show up on a ballot; also on the ballot are individuals running for election (or re-election) to town positions.

Though it may be boring to read about (sorry!) it's kind of an amazing process to be involved in; especially to me, transplanted from a part of the country where this is not the norm. I'm more involved than I have ever been in politics or government.

Thus endeth the Social Studies lesson for today.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Asking for your prayers

This morning I am taking The Hubs to the hospital for surgery. This is the first step towards his starting dialysis.

Please send prayers and good thoughts our way today.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It's here! It's here!

After weeks of little teases here and there (that Mother Nature is SUCH a flirt!) spring has really arrived here in our little corner of new england. Also arriving this spring: my new camera. Here's my proof of both:

Phlox, an early-spring bloomer

Don't know what this is but it's pretty!
My bleeding heart - which I love. The bright yellow bit is The Hubs ocean kayak.

The kayak is too long for the rack so it sticks into my garden each winter. But I'm REALLY not happy about it's location THIS year.

Playing around with the zoom...

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's gonna be one of those summers...

When you live in the country, you have to deal with wildlife in many forms. The transition from City Girl to Country Girl has not been an easy one for me, but I've slowly adapted. Mice, snakes, moles, moose, rabbits, woodchucks, fishercats, flying squirrels, regular squirrels, flocks of wild turkeys, birds of prey. Oh, it's a regular Wild Kingdom out here in the sticks.

Every summer I go to battle stations / red alert / crazy-mom-mode, because we have night creatures. Creatures that poke around on our deck, nosing around for midnight snacks. God help us if Darling Daughter puts the trash bag out on the deck without putting it away in a can. That's a veritable smorgasbord with a neon sign.

One summer it was possum. One summer it was skunk. Most summers, it's raccoons. This is a war that only I fight, because when they knock over the garbage can and pry it open with those cute little hands, then dump all our trash out on the deck...I am the one who ends up sweeping it up the next morning. And I get TIRED of it, believe me.

So it's WAR. I know when they show up - it's always between 11pm and 11:30pm. I swear I'm so in tune to their arrival I can be three rooms away from the deck and still hear the miniscule CLICK when they pop the top off the trash can.

After five consecutive summers of the racoon and I constantly trying to outsmart each other, things finally came to a head one night. As usual, The Hubs and Darling Daughter were sound asleep, but not I. I was on full alert. Lying in bed, waiting, listening, anticipating. Sure enough - I could hear him on the deck. Time to make my move. I grabbed my broom, made my kamikaze cry, and jumped out the back door (because they're smart buggers, after the 2nd or 3rd time of just banging on the window, they KNOW you aren't a threat).

Imagine my surprise to find not one racoon but six! A Mama and five babies. The babies were all lined up on the deck rail like birds on a wire, and Mama was prying the lid off my garbage can. We were both so startled neither of us moved for a moment. Then she turned tail and ran, leaving her babies still lined up on the deck rail!

After the kids realized mom had skedaddled, they started mewing and tried to scatter. They all went different directions; one went the wrong way and ended up on the roof of our mudroom. Oh, what a wail HE put up.

I ran inside and grabbed my camera, but it was so dark, mostly all I could pick up was red glowing eyes in on a black screen.

About twenty minutes later I heard yelling and banging from a neighbor's house, so they must have made their way over to HIS garbage can.

Oddly enough, that was about four years ago, and we haven't had raccoons since.


I'm sitting here at the kitchen table, plugging away on my laptop, and I kept hearing little noises on the deck. It's lightly raining so at first I thought that was it...but it just didn't sound right. SOMEONE was definitely on the deck! So I grasped the mini blind cord in one hand and the light switch in the other, and went for it. And there on the deck was the garbage bag that Darling Daughter once again did NOT put in a trashcan but merely plopped on the deck, and a masked face with red eyes glaring up at me.

It's our first encounter of the season, so I was able to scare him off by banging on the window this time. I brought the trash bag in until we can stick it in the can tomorrow.

It's gonna be one of those summers.

Filch-It Friday: What's in YOUR tote bag?

Hurray for Filch-It Friday! Today I'm filching the idea from Ava Von Snarky and her What's in YOUR bag? post.

I just purchased a new handbag. I don't change bags very often. But I love bright colors and I'd still been carrying the black bag I used for a funeral last month. I saw this bright one at Target and it was on sale so I took a chance on it.

I always have such high hopes for my handbags. I have strict requirements (like an outside pocket for my keys, an inside pocket for tic-tacs and lipstick, etc., place for my cell phone) And I truly want to be a tiny handbag person but I never will be. I just carry TOO MUCH STUFF. And, really looking at everything I carry, I can see part of my problem. Four different pairs of eyeglasses, for one thing. Prescription sunglasses, prescription distance glasses, and two pairs of magnifying reading glasses. What was I thinking?

New Handbag from Target (pronounced tar-GHAY)

And here's the sorry mess I carry around with me...two out of three cats had to come see what I was doing as soon as I started this project. They're the dark furry lumps at the outside edges...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is it summer yet??

For my family, our daily routine feels more difficult this time of year. Blooming flowers begin to sweeten the air. The days are longer. We're more active. We stay up later in the evening. The end of the school year is on the horizon, and suddenly it's a lot harder to drag our butts out of bed in the morning.

My sister out on the Left Coast seems to be going through the same thing. Her kids may not know how many days are left in the school year, but sis has it counted out and the days marked on her calendar. I haven't counted our days yet. A few were added on because the kids had several 'snow days' this winter.

I always have such high hopes for summer. There are so many things I think I'm going to accomplish, and every year I think, "This will be THE YEAR." I'm going to clear out my hutch of dishware I haven't used in ages; organize bookshelves; alphabetize our DVD's. Get my sewing machine out and do all the little projects I keep thinking about. Clean out the attic (This one I'm actually working on!) Finally send off to charity all the clothes Darling Daughter has outgrown. (Sometimes I feel like we're up to our ears in stacks of clothes.) Get rid of the clutter that seems to follow me like a dark cloud.

I start out the season with bursts of energy, buying annuals, filling planters, setting out summer furniture. Of course you really shouldn't plant anything but pansies before the end of May in New England, as we'll still get a few freezing nights. I remember snowfall on Mother's day a few years ago.

Despite what the calendar says, the first day of summer starts the minute Darling Daughter gets home that last day of school. It's so great to not have to deal with the morning rush! The days stretch out before me and I know, "THIS IS THE YEAR!!"

Unfortunately my good intentions are short-lived and our days are quickly filled with another routine - our summer routine.

Schleppng Darling Daughter to and from sleepovers, or extra kids at our house. Vacation Bible School, which I'm very involved with (I'm usually in charge of Arts & Crafts). Many years we take a trip out to visit my family Oregon.

Then before I know it's I'm up to my ears in packing up the people-mover, and we're off on our annual family vacation at Cape Cod. It's our favorite time of the whole year. The Hubs gets in some kayaking; Darling Daughter reconnects with summer friends. I take a tote bag full of books and work my way through them at the pool or beach.

It seems like I barely blink and it's September already. And my hutch is still chock full, and the bookshelves are still in disarray, and the DVD's are not in order. My sewing projects are not done. We buy new school clothes, thereby creating yet another stack of clothes to send off to charity.

Wait a minute - I'm anticipating the sadness of summer ending and it hasn't even begun yet!

I'm done. I'm off to bed, hoping I'll awaken to warm, sunny weather, so we can get this party started. Bring on Summer!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where, exactly, is HOME?

I moved across the country, from Oregon to Massachusetts, to marry my husband. I didn't choose the location, I chose HIM. Fortunately I like my little town very much. I'm very active in town and church, and have made wonderful friends. I've lived here 15 years.

Fifteen years, yet I still call Oregon home. My parents, sister and her family, aunts & uncles, cousins, all are in Oregon. If I lived there I probably wouldn't see most of the extended family that often, but I sure miss not being able to get together with them all.

The thing is, living in Massachustts, I call Oregon home. When I'm in Oregon, I refer to Massachusetts as home. This polarity drives me a little nutty sometimes. I feel a constant pull to Oregon; yet I have roots here, too.

In my own perfect world, Massachusetts would be about where Idaho is. Close enough I could still drive home for family gatherings and visits.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else experiences this mixed bag of emotions about HOME. Maybe it's a KathyLikesPink phenomenon.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Lazy, Rainy Sunday Afternoon

After teaching Sunday School in the morning, I had a pretty lazy afternoon. Made a trip to Borders with Darling Daughter, and watched a good movie. Book stores are always dangerous places for me as I can spend a lot of money very quickly!
Here are my purchases, with links, in alphabetical order:

(I'm going to use this one in my Sunday School class)

(I get this every summer and try to take Darling Daughter to at least one of the places written up)

I also watched a good movie, "Evening." It starred Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Natasha Richardson; Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gummer; Toni Collette; Claire Danes. Here's the trailer:

And how was YOUR Sunday?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Food for thought...

Is it considered bad form to poke through the Cookie Dough ice cream with a spoon, eat some chunks of cookie dough, and put the whole thing back in the freezer?

I'm just askin'.

The Cat Lady

When I moved here 15 years ago, my neighborhood was, as it is now, a very pleasant place. Nice, friendly people. I soon learned an interesting piece of neighborhood lore. The neigbors across the street bought their Victorian home from an elderly lady who was known far and wide as The Cat Lady.

Miss J. was a very sweet woman who never married and who loved cats. [Why do the two go hand in hand so often??]

She had dozens of them; and when people had cats or a litter of kittens they didn't want, they would pull a drive-by/drop-off. [I believe our 14 year old cat may have been dropped off in the neighborhood by someone who didn't realize she has passed on.] I've also heard that when her windows were open during the hot and humid summers New England is famous for, the stench of cat urine wafted into neighboring homes.

That said - I must share with you something I discovered on the Internets...

Crazy Cat Lady
Every town has a Crazy Cat Lady. She's the one who lives in a tiny house full of feral felines. This 5-1/4" tall, hard vinyl Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure has a wild look in her eye and comes with six cats. ARE YOU A CRAZY CAT PERSON?

I've always loved and owned cats. I've previously posted about how Cheerios was named, and the bad news we are currently living with. Now I'm constantly monitoring their habits like CSI, trying to determine if this feline disease has gotten worse (it doesn't seem so, yet).

Because of my increase in attention, our three cats now have fixated on me love me even more. The three of them follow me everywhere I go in this house. I have tripped over them, bumped into them, knocked them a little silly with my ankles because they are always underfoot.

It's reached the point that I can't sit down without being joined by three furry little beasts. Yesterday I was lying on my bed reading and I had one cat sleeping under my neck, another on my belly, and the last one between my knees.

My daughter has started calling me the Crazy Cat Lady.

Watch out, Hubs.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Filch it Friday: The Book Meme

Today my Filch-It Friday subject is stolen from Foolery's "My Sad Pathetic Little Book Meme".

I've always been a voracious reader. I was a shy, quiet kid - which I eventually outgrew - and I spent most of my time reading. I knew the meanings of multiple-syllable words long before I could pronounce them. (I mention this because it was an embarrasment to me, but I was too shy to ask anyone how to pronounce anything!)

I always had a book 'in process' stashed under or near every chair in our house, so if I happened to sit there I could whip it out and read. I had no problem simultaneously reading several books at once. (Ahh, youth!)

That said, it's been rather hard to narrow down selections to what is asked of this meme. But here goes...

List three books you’ve always meant to read,but haven’t gotten around to reading.

  1. "Crime and Punishment", by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I have to admit to a fascination with Russian literature, while at the same time being bored to tears with it! I guess I need Russian Lite. I read - or should say, struggled through - "The Brothers Karamazov". I just can't bring myself to start "Crime and Punishment".

  2. Goethe's "Faust". See comments above, omit Russian, insert German.

  3. "The Odyssey" by Homer. I'll settle for the Coen Brothers version, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Share the two books that changed your life.

  1. "Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders," by Vincent Bugliosi. I read this at the age of 13 and it scared the cr@p out of me. I slept with my bedroom light on for a loooong time afterwards. I still think of it if I get up in the morning and my purse is not where I think I left it the night before.

  2. Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle". Just call me creepy. Something about Merricat's little spells and peculiarities really connected with me. I actually wanted to name Darling Daughter Mary Catherine so I could nick-name her Merricat. The Hubs vetoed it. (Note: Anything by Shirley Jackson is excellent.)

Recommend the one book you've talked about
since the very first day you read it.

I don't think I can do this. I'm not surrounded by readers, so I don't talk about the books I read very much. I've also noticed that in my middle age, if I don't really like a book, I can just stop reading it and move on to something else, so that means every book I finish I really like. (When I was younger I was compelled to finish every book I started, love it or hate it.)

Maybe I will just list a few books that I have read many times over, in no particular order.

"Little Women," by Louisa May Alcott. Given to me by my sister when I was 15 and spent a summer with my leg in a cast. Now I live less than half an hour from Orchard House, and I take all my out-of-state visitors there.

"The Godfather", by Mario Puzo. First read when I was 13. I've read it many times. I was annoyed when Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail" didn't understand the phrase, "Go to the mattresses".

"The Stand," by Stephen King. A classic good vs. evil epic.

"Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Brontë.

"The Group," by Mary McCarthy.

"Persuasion," by Jane Austen.

I'd love to read your own choices! Please let me know if you take on this challenge!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Murphy's Law

It seems that the times when I'm running late and really struggling to get somewhere on time, things conspire against me.

This morning Darling Daughter overslept. We were running late, and she was upset as her "perfect record" of getting to school on time was going to be shot. Small town, small rural school seven miles away down a narrow two lane road.

"Don't worry honey, we'll make it," I confidentally told her. Looked like smooth sailing - until we hit the main intersection. Usually I can just pull out and make my left turn. But this morning? A "slow moving vehicle" with 17 cars behind it. ARGH.

Later in the morning I had to leave my small rural town to go to a doctor's appointment in "The Third Largest City in Massachusetts". The appointment was only to be fifteen minutes, squeezed in to the schedule. It takes longer to get there than the amount of time spent in the office. I generally leave home with plenty of time to spare, but today I left later than I would have liked. Traffic was clear, I was making good time - until I got within one block of the doctor's office and had to pass a funeral home.

It must have been the funeral of a very important person, because there were FOUR State Police cruisers just pulling out to stop traffic. And then it began. The enormous funeral line of cars. With me on the wrong side. I should never have left home.