By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sat, May 01 2010 - 10:21 pm
May 31, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I have had a nagging feeling for a long time about the Internet. It is wonderful! It is like one big... well, encyclopedia, obviously. But even more, you can find the source of anything, almost. It is like one big...
Well, today I thought of the word I have been unconsciously seeking.
The Internet is like one big Concordance! At your fingertips if you have a computer at home.
You don't have to remember where you read something, all you have to do is type in the words. Or some of the words.
Oh, I'm sure there is a lot that isn't quite at our fingertips here. And I am worried that some people and things relatively recent have dropped off the face of our virtual earth.
Of course, I am now going to have to put all sorts of obscure phrases to the test of being found on the Internet.
But I am sure that we have a huge watershed here.
BI and AI. Before Internet and After Internet.
May 30, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I was reading Prick of Noon by Peter deVries this morning and one character twitted another. I was seized by a bizarre anachronistic displacement (the book was published in 1985) until I remembered the Internet term is "tweet" or is it "twitter?"
But can it be a verb? Isn't a twitter some thing you do? And isn't twittering for the birds? Of course, so is tweeting.
But twitting is another matter. I really believe only humans twit. Maybe the internet term should be "tweet" for something sweet and/or neutral, but "twit" for something teasing and/or negative.
In that case it would really be fun to twit Sarah Palin.
I'm talking about the verb now. I guess the noun "twit" refers to someone who is twitted all the time, or maybe a twitter...er.
Hmmm. It seems I have come full circle, here....
May 29, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Ah, life before air conditioning! I remember it well. I am remembering it forcibly now, because our air conditioner has lost its cool.
I don't know how old it was. Not as old as I am by a long shot, but I still preceded air conditioning in this old house, which is celebrating its one hundredth birthday this year.
When I was young I slept in the upstairs south bedroom, the hottest bedroom in the house. My older sister slept in there too, making the room hotter than ever with two bodies.
My nightly routine to avoid tossing and turning until 2 A.M. was to go to bed with a glass of ice cubes and rub my body all over with them and quick go to sleep before I could heat up again.
The basement was cool but nasty. Now it is nicer, and a good ten degrees cooler than the second floor. There is a bed down there now, albeit temporarily, and I am tempted to make it up and hang out down there for the duration. That is, for the next week until the new air conditioner is installed.
We have opted for the most efficient and most expensive one sold by our heating-cooling folks, figuring it is the best for the environment and the pocketbook of whoever lives here.
We may not get the federal rebate for our fabulous air conditioner because the furnace is older, but it will work even better with whatever new furnace is installed, and until then it is far superior to our old freon air conditioner.
Either one, however, is far superior to our old band-aid for the heat, Kool Ade!
May 28, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
So here I am at 8:35 p.m. I haven't written on (in?) my website yet, and I'm playing spider solitaire kind of as a displacement activity, when the phone rings.
My mother's phone.
I hustle myself downstairs to answer it because although she has a handset, she is watching TV and she often can't hear who is on the other end of the telephone even when the TV isn't blaring.
A very realistic tape named Rachel is on the phone, saying something about the interest rate on "your" credit card account. (Whose? My mom doesn't believe in credit cards and doesn't have one.) If I blah blah blah (I didn't catch it all (I have trouble hearing too, on the speaker phone)) press one.
What the hell. I press one. Someone named David answers and asks me who he's speaking to. I say, "You made the phone call. You tell me who you want to speak to."
"I didn't call you."
"Believe me you did, and - "
"I didn't call -"
Click. I hung up.
What a scam! What scum!
What a waste of my precious time, that I was so constructively spending on a terminal, no-win game of computer solitaire!
I should call David back and thank him for breaking me out of my wasteful addictive escapist cycle of virtual solitary gaming.
Except he's scum.
Besides, I don't have his number, because I didn't call him.
Too bad he didn't call me!
May 27, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
For once a fashion trend is moving outward from the Midwest to the Coasts! I just read an article about Silly Bandz, cheap bracelets invented in Toledo, Ohio, that began being popular in the middle of the country and are only now gaining traction in California and Texas.
Is this an example of Friedman's flattening of the world?
Everyone always acts as if anything new starts on the coasts and works its way inland to what are considered both heartland and provincial states.
Well, this time it is happening the other way.
Truth be told, maybe it happens a lot and I just don't know it. After all, Frank Lloyd Wright began in Chicago and arts and crafts style houses are certainly found all over the country now.
Maybe the coast to center stereotype of the flow of ideas is just that - a generalization that does not stand up to further scrutiny.
What do you think?
May 26, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I started the day mowing the lawn, creating shorn ground cover and aftermath with bovine-like chewing of grass.
Yesterday began the same way. It was a lot of fun taking handfuls of grass from the mower, wrapping them up with a weed that might have inspired velcro, and tossing them into the compost pile. They really were almost spherical!
I can hardly wait to see what they look like. I hope they aren't too dense to disintegrate into the compost pile when I mix everything up. If I can mix it all up! That compost pile is pretty daunting.
Coming home from the library I saw an attractive ground cover that looked very much like my "weed". How come what looks pretty at someone else's house looks out of control at mine?
Well. Probably they are not the same plant, but I reached down and that ground cover felt pretty sticky in a dry sort of way. Just like our weeds.
If it is dry tomorrow morning there is more mowing to do. I am tempted to hang my weedy grassballs from one of our potted trees that seems to have died for some unknown reason. At least it will look temporarily green in an odd ornamental way.
May 25, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I think this is our country's worst environmental disaster in my lifetime - the Gulf oil gush.
I know it doesn't represent the greatest loss to human life. But it is our worst environmental disaster, isn't it?
My partner says that someone interviewed on Chris Matthew's show last night said that oil tankers could have been mobilized to capture more of the oil, but that the oil companies have their tankers hanging around full to drive up the price of oil.
It is hard to believe that anyone would be that cold and cynical. Maybe we should just boycott them. How many of us couldn't get by with half as much fuel as we are using now?
Pipe dreaming, am I?
Well, maybe, but with a little time I'm sure most of us could arrange to use much less fuel.
I'm starting a revolution, and I'm starting with me.
May 24, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
The old saying goes, "Don't cry over spilt milk."
Would it be the same if the quantity we're talking about is hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk?
Oh, would that it were millions of gallons of milk churning into the Gulf of Mexico! Then there might be some hope for the wildlife on the shore.
If it is hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil disfiguring the southern coasts of our country, are we allowed then to cry?
I don't hear much crying. I hear outrage, anger, and frustration, but I think this is a tragedy worthy of lament.
Sure, let's work to try to stop it and clean it up. I'm not suggesting wallowing in an immobilizing quicksand of grief.
In fact, I wish more people, such as the Governor of Louisiana, had gone ahead and acted without authorization to protect the shores of his state. Easy enough to say from the irresponsible state of my easy chair!
It is such a sad thing that has happened. We should be loudly lamenting.
And loudly calling for alternative clean energies to prevent this happening ever again.
Oh, I am so tired of hearing and saying those words: never again!
May 22, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
This morning at 3 a.m. my visiting daughter stumbled going down the unfamiliar stairs in the dark.
My mom got up and things got a little comical, reminding me of James Thurber's "The Night the Bed Fell In."
Everybody went back to bed, the lights went out, and I decided I simply had to start a nano story.
I came into the room where my computer sleeps and found the f and j keys in the dark. I typed in my Yahoo messenger password (I thought) and got a signal that I had used an invalid password.
Okay. I obviously just can't do word processing in the dark.
I got up, turned the light on with the noisy one-hundred-year-old punch switch that I had been trying to avoid using before, and typed in the password again.
Then I realized I had been inappropriately using the password for my administration page.
How do I turn on the light in my mind?
May 21, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I'm feeling just a little aggrieved.
"They" have always said that April showers bring May flowers.
But this year, April was unseasonably warm and not that wet. Flowers bloomed galore! Plants that usually bloom in May were blooming in mid-April.
Now it is May, and May has been pretty darn wet this year.
So what is the new saying going to be? "The last month of winter's crappy slush makes April blooming mush?"
There isn't too much to be aggrieved about. The columbine at Ogden Gardens make it seem like Fairyland, even in the midst of a thundershower.
So what if April and May traded places this year? All it did was disillusion me about yet another preachy proverb.
No, not peachy, preachy!
Ha, ha, I have a good idea! Let's turn the Tea Party topsy-turvy! Let's start a new party - The Green Tea Party!
How about starting a new religion? The Fundamentalist Evolutionary Church? The New Rage Agnostics? The Secret Spiritual Congregation of Chosen Know-Nothings?
April has traded with May in another way - in me! I'm a May fool! Must be a reaction to all this crazy rain.
May 19, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Contemplating the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil gush, I couldn't help but think that the after math of such a disaster is way more complicated than the ante math.
Finally, after all these years, the two words converge in my mind! I think, how cool! Aftermath is the problem you are left with after something happens! (Usually a disaster, the online dictionaries say.)
It got me curious about where the word "math" comes from.
Of course "math" is short for mathematics, which comes from a Greek word for science or learning.
But the "math" part of "aftermath" comes from a different word entirely, the Anglo-Saxon word that means "mowing."
Now I'm going to feel guilty, mowing my lawn. What a disaster it is for so many little creatures!
Well, I already stagger my mowing so that the bunnies and other little beasties have enough plantain and other weedfood to eat. (Any suggestion that this is a rationalization of my mowing habits and not the true cause (laziness) will be met on my part with instant acquiescence! Ha, ha!)
To avoid having disastrous aftermaths, how about if we do more premath in the form of story problems?
What are the possible consequences (in as much detail as possible, please) of doing this as opposed to that? How dire might they be?
And oh, what the hell, might as well do a little real math to help make the decision of whether a part which was designed (with a lot of help from mathematics, I'm sure) can do the same job it was mathematically designed to do while it is cracking and breaking up!
What to do? What to do? When in doubt, substitute money for math!
May 18, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
What do you do with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? I have read the story a couple of times decades ago, but I don't remember what happened to him.
Dr. Jekyll: BP - one of four biggest solar manufacturers in the world
Mr. Hyde: BP - creator of the worst off-shore oil drilling spill in history
Dr. Jekyll: George W. Bush, when he promoted and signed into law incentives in Texas to increase production of clean energy
Mr. Hyde: George W. Bush, almost all the rest of the time, when he promoted the good of the oil business over the good of the country via production of clean energy
What other Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde combinations can you come up with?
What should we do with them?
I guess I'll have to read Robert Louis Stevenson's story again to find out his solution!
But is his solution, whatever it is, the best one?
Maybe we should work out our own solution before rereading the old tale!
May 17, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Thrillers are gonna kill me.
I read in some kind of Asian holistic health article that my body/personality/whatever type shouldn't watch thrillers. They're not good for my delicate nervous system.
Well, I don't always watch thrillers. But for someone like me, even comedies are thrillers. I get so involved, so wrapped up, so tense, that even if I'm not already dead in my chair someone will think that I have rigor mortis and am shrouded for burial and bury me.
My dad made it to 86 years, my mom is 91 and still chugging, but not me, I fear.
I'm addicted to films, and they kill.
Just look in the DVD player for the perp.
May 16, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
It is a scrumptious Sunday.
The greens are sumptious, the blossom-crops still bumptious!
There is a light breeze, not at all presumptuous or rambunctious -
A day not suitable for spelunktious caving, but for unctious sun-bathing!
The trees are stretching trunctiously, seed and flower-petalling promiscuously,
Slip on clothing frilly or frumptious, and come outside withus!
May 15, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Sub-prime housing loans have wreaked havoc on our economy. Everyone knows it.
But what about student loans? No person should have a $90,000 upon graduating with a master's degree unless they are lined up for the most lucrative careers in our society.
In fact, no one should have to be in debt beyond a few (like 2 or 3) thousand when they graduate from college.
If we want an educated populace, we can't keep punishing those who go to school with monumental debt that will not go away, even if you declare bankruptcy!
I credit reading and getting a higher education for keeping me civilized when I might have been tempted to go off the deep end. An education not only made me more philosophical, it also provided me with a bigger toolbox of coping mechanisms than I would have had without it. Society should appreciate what a higher degree does for many people in the general life department.
I also credit my college education with giving me some of the tools I needed to do really well at at least one low level job, helping me earn more than the close-to-minimum wage I started at.
Neither of these practical results of my college education would have worked if I had been saddled with debt upon graduation.
Instead of providing an advantage to our youth, it seems that often the good stuff a college education provides does not make up for its extreme disadvantage in the way of burdensome, undischargeable debt.
Many people who tried to buy houses they couldn't really afford are getting some relief.
What about college graduates who earned a degree that, as it turned out, they couldn't afford?
Record numbers of college students (admittedly, many of them undergraduate drop-outs) are defaulting on their loans. Like sub-prime mortgage debtors, it is not because they do not care. Why have we set up such a harsh, punishing system for our children?
Honestly, it is like dealing with a loan shark: "I don't care, fuck you, pay me."
May 14, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I have complained on this site (which doesn't keep me from complaining conversationally, too) about old people who think that it is really important that certain things be done - by young people!
I have decided to be this way about how rich people can spend their money. I'm relatively poor by American standards, but it is really important that rich people invest in clean energy.
A wealthy woman recently made sure her livestock would be cared for after her death, arranging to donate $2,000,000 to this cause.
Well, okay, but how about spending an equal sum on making sure the human race survives (not to mention hundreds of other species we are destroying with our dirty technology)?
I've been reading in Thomas Friedman's book Hot, Flat, and Crowded that Americans are not investing nearly enough to drive alternative energies to affordability.
Come on, rich people, how about it? I would love to risk my money on clean energy - better than dirty gambling any day! How about it?
I checked Jay Leno's website today to read again about his green garage. Some source was quoted as saying the technology to generate enough electricity to power his (very large) garage (and send some back to the grid) cost half a million dollars.
Just think how wonderful it would be for some wealthy philanthropist to help lots of entrepreneurs and householders by paying for their clean energy business/home overhaul. I would jump at such a chance! (Most such projects wouldn't cost half a million dollars, and could contribute clean electrons back to the power companies for others to use!)
Thomas Friedman says that conservation efforts on the part of individuals is marginal; he says we need systems to really revamp our power grid and save the planet from hyperwarming. But if enough people have these household energy-saving set-ups, they (being the Joneses) will help create demand for more individual solutions. These purchases would help drive the market towards greener industry.
How 'bout it, rich people? Feed the starving people and the starving green technology industries! Invest in the best!
May 13, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Alert! Alert! Read on!
As I have mentioned in passing, I recently had a colonoscopy.
I got a big mongo bill from the place it was done that I assumed also covered the doctor's part in the procedure. The check was on the bookshelf in its stamped envelope ready to mail. Then, before I got around to mailing it, I got a bill from the doctor's office.
What the f? I called the doctor's office in confusion and they sorted me out. In all, I should get four bills. The huge bill I got was probably (definitely!) a mistake, so I should call the people who sent it to me.
I'm waiting for their return call as I write, but I learned something from this experience:
Do not pay any medical bills for one procedure until you have them all in hand!
And next time I go, uninsured, for a procedure, I'm going to ask the physician's office how many bills I should anticipate before I even undergo the ordeal (er, test).
I paid at the front desk when I went for my colonoscopy. There might be more to pay because of what actually occurred during the procedure (in my case, the removal of a polyp.)
But I have learned from this experience that it is good to know the exact division of labor before you pay your bills. I would have been much more anxious about getting the money back if I had already sent out that big weighty check!
Another little incident, not to do with medical bills, happened with my daughter recently.
She got a charge that she didn't understand or didn't feel was warranted, and confronted the billing party about it.
They backed away instantly. No argument!
But how many busy, harassed, wealthier people would have just paid up, not wanting to bother to deal with the anomaly?
Do not pay for charges you feel are undeserved, without asking for an explanation of why they are on your bill!
If you want to give away your money, send some to me instead!
Ha, ha, ha, ha!
May 12, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Why are we Northern Americans so afraid of being deprived?
Never has a people had so many reasons not to feel this way!
How have we developed the attitude of "my way" to the detriment of our own bodies and our environment?
We are so rich!
I think maybe Nancy Reagan might be a person to emulate. From what I read of her, she never had dessert (during the reign of one White House chef, anyway.)
She was rich and could have anything she wanted, but she could still say "no" to herself.
Why don't we acknowledge our wealth, and emulate Nancy Reagan? Yes, we have the money for all sorts of unnecessary products and the means to develop all sorts of self-destructive habits, but we still can't afford them in the long run.
Let's say "yes" to all the healthy riches around us, and "no" to all the destructive stuff!
Except dessert, of course. I'm not wealthy enough to always be able to say "no" to dessert!
May 11, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Rainy day blues hit today. Last night as I was lying in bed, listening to the rain, thinking about the now-sopping recycling stuff in my blue bins, I felt, as Thomas Friedman discusses in Hot, Flat, and Crowded: How can I take weather for granted anymore?
How can I listen to the rain outside and not worry that we might get twenty inches and floods instead of the normal spring allotment?
Sure, weather has done awful things to people. But as Thomas Friedman argues, now it might be our fault. And knowing that we are changing things, we know even less about how skewed they might become.
The formerly roughly predictable now feels wildly unpredictable.
Which should give a little edge of excitement to rainy day blues.
But it doesn't.
All I can think, as if it were guaranteed, "Only four more days of rain to go - this time 'round!"
May 10, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Mystery of the day: what is a smaller-than-a-robin, dark gray or black bird seen from the top (dorsal) side only, with a fan-shaped tail edged in white (at least 1/2 inch strip along the back (ouside) ends of the tail? It looked very even, that white strip, and it was the only other color I could see on the otherwise dark bird. If anything, the head seemed darker than the rest. I saw it make a short flight (1-2 ft.)from the ground at the edge of the road into the woods, and cannot find anything that looks like it (so far) in my bird books. (P.S. It might be an Eastern Kingbird, maybe skinnier than a robin and a little longer than I thought!)
Actually we have another very sad mystery also. Our chipping sparrow has abandoned her nest, either because she died or because she was frightened away for some reason. The rhododendron she laid three eggs in (unless they are cowbird eggs - I'll have to measure them!) is beginning to bloom lusciously and there is no little bird family to enjoy it.
When I was working at Flowerland in Corvallis Oregon, a robin had a nest in a hanging fuchsia basket. I can really relate to such luxurious tastes! If I had my way I would live in a flowery bower, too!
May 9, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Maybe it is time to invent a day of celebration for those women who are not mothers.
The way the world is going, with global hyperwarming and all, maybe the best contribution women can make is to not be mothers.
Today I read a depressing piece in the May 14, 2010 issue of The Week about the fact that highly religious people tend to have more children, and that secularists are more an endangered species than religious people.
Well, Mother Nature, who is anything but motherly, is not going to ask anyone whether he or she is religious or not when flooding, drought, death and destruction due to global hyperwarming occurs. Your mother she is not!
Time the human species woke up to the fact that we are all endangered by our behavior. Maybe it is time for secularists to proselytize and try to win converts to survival of, not the fittest, but the whole globe.
May 8, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Emmitt Smith, former running back for the Dallas Cowboys, tracked down ancestors born in slavery (we watched the show on MSNBC last night, but I think this series, which includes similar ancestral diggings by and on the behalf of Brooke Shields, Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and others - I've only seen a few - is having multiple airings.)
Smith found out that slave-owners bred their slaves like animals: socially-condoned rape of both participants, essentially. I had not been aware of that grisly reality. These breeders kept track of the breeding of their horses, but didn't bother with slaves. Plantation owners must have known which of their people were the best workers, but there was no recognition, no reward, and no record, in spite of the fact that cotton production has more impact on most people's lives than a fancy horse that can run faster than other horses..
How ironic, then, and how satisfying, to know how good a mating job they did - and the offspring of some of these forced pairings for strength, stamina and energy are now, like Emmitt Smith, empowered to bring down millions in earnings and praise from millions of people for the non-essential activity of sports-watching, while the slaveowners' own acknowledged white descendants - well, where are they?
Hopefully - despite the deprivation of their ancestors of the privilege of having forced labor, forced sex, and forced child-bearing pushed upon them - hopefully they also have managed to live lives of meaning, money and achievement!
As for me, if I knew my great-great-grandchild would be a happy, fulfilled multi-millionaire, would I be willing to live such an unfree, awful life? Maybe not!
And the slaves whose fates had such magnificence outcomes for their descendants are rare, although as Emmitt Smith commented, we in the States don't always realize how good we have it or how wonderful we might be able to make it.
These shows are fascinating - I would love watching them even if they were just about random people just picked off the street. How about it? Let more people have 15 minutes of fame just for existing and having interesting ancestral tales! I for one would love to watch.
May 7, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
For those who have reached this website by accident, my apologies and my invitations to explore it a little as long as you have stumbled over me!
It is what I call my blahg, with no limit on subject matter (I write whatever I feel like writing, pretty much) but definite limits on technical subject matter: there basically isn't any here.
Anybody out there offering grants for rants?
Remuneration for rumination?
Never mind, you are welcome to read for free.
Writing this website helps to sustain me - spiritually.
May 6, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
The Kentucky Derby is always fun. I try to remember to watch it every year, and I'm neither working nor forgetful about half the time.
I used to have a little yellow-green iris named Kentucky Derby that was always blooming on Derby Day, but that was in another state. Hopefully it is blooming still, but it isn't here to remind me of that most famous of American horseraces.
This year the TV told me I could bet online, so I decided to go for it. From the list I chose a horse from the field of twenty, and logged onto a website. It didn't let me in.
I tried another website, and it said I had to have an account to bet. Oh, well, racetime was upon us and I wasn't going to bother with that!
One of my many daydreams has been to be one of the people who hang out at the races and study and learn enough about the horses to win a little. It is so exciting so see horses and riders and flashing silks come across the finish line! Especially with a bet on one of them.
This is not the same experience when you are watching indoors on TV. Not at all!
But I think that choosing a horse on the irrational basis of name alone and watching Backtalk come in last of a field of twenty is an auspicious beginning for my retirement career, don't you?
After all, I didn't lose any money!
May 5, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Indiana - the Scapegoat State.
That's what it should say on the bumper stickers here, and I am sick and tired of it.
What brought this on? Last night we were watching Manhattan Murder Mystery. We loved it, but in one scene Diane Keaton's character (and, if she was ad-libbing, Diane Keaton herself), reading from a newspaper, says, "Oh, my God, in Indiana a man was killing people and eating them!"
For one thing, the guy who did that was from Wisconsin. But could they say that in the movie? Hell, no. Wisconsin is supposed to be all sane and healthy. It's the land of milk and cheese, right? So what to do? Pick on Indiana!
For another thing, who is a New Yorker to talk? The only difference between New York and everyplace else is that in New York, violence isn't news anymore. Too ordinary.
And, if there is someone killing and eating people in New York (which there undoubtedly is) no one would ever know.
This kind of Indiana smear goes on all the time. A disproportionate number of arch-conservatives and tea-party members, judging from the throw-away lines of news pundits, would seem to come from Indiana.
Well, lay off it. Last election we voted for Obama.
So I'm trying to figure it out. Why do people pick on Indiana? We are no more benighted than, say, Iowa, the citizens of which have been documented as failing to vote for their own financial interests.
I've decided it is a historical/hysterical prejudice against native Americans, or, as they were formerly called, "Indians."
That inaccurate appellation has survived in the name of our state. So, I analyze, either for our anachronism or our association with native Americans, Indiana has been fair game for all kinds of slurs and scape-goatism.
Well, no more.
Esther the Queen of Introspection (hmm, this takes on a new interpretation in light of my recent colonoscopy!) proclaims:
"The use of the state of Indiana as a catch-all for the source of ignorant, violent, and stupid behavior is now officially pronounced to be politically incorrect because of the association of Indiana with native-Americans."
Go find another scapegoat, or better yet, sacrifice a little humor for the sake of accuracy.
And Indiana, enjoy my advocacy while you've got it, because as soon as I can, I'm getting the hell out of this state!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
May 4, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
We got a brochure from the public service company with our statement that says we should call 811 before digging in our yards.
I've heard this before, but I thought it didn't apply to us because (I thought) I knew where the pipes were.
This new instruction says to call even if you think you know what is under the ground at your home.
Well, okay, I guess - better safe than sorry, right?
The notice goes on to say to call at least "a couple of days" before you plan to dig.
Is no behavior allowed to be spontaneous anymore?
Buying plane tickets a month ahead, reservations in advance for camping at national parks and... digging in our gardens?
There oughta be a law.
In fact there is a law.
My law: the I'm-not-gonna-do-it law.
May 3, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Cowbirds are notorious even among birds for bad behavior. Today I was surprised - shocked! How dare they? - to see not one but five cowbirds in our side yard. The only one who was female was the only one talking.
Yak, yak, yak, yak! She was uttering constantly while the males presumably did her bidding. I don't know if they were her sons or interested males, or what. She was so plain - I felt kind of the same way I feel when a quite ordinary woman manages to marry five men, then dispatch them for their money. What is the magic there?
Low standards, maybe. Anyway, these males all looked alike to me. They could have been brothers!
Ha, ha! Maybe she was making fun of me. Yak, yak.
("You're milking the cowbird story," my partner tells me. "Instead of going tweet, tweet cowbirds go, "Teat, teat!"")
To change the subject, I have seen more goldfinches than usual in town. I'm wondering if it is because there are more dandelions than there used to be.
I read a comment lately uncomplimentary towards lawns without dandelions.
All I have to say, is good luck! Ignore your dandelions and you will have nothing else (but goldfinches, maybe - and I read they prefer thistle.) Try to keep your dandelions down and you will still find escapees in your yard. Trust me, you will enjoy them much more in small numbers, like, say, one.
Anyway, your neighbors will usually have plenty of dandelions for your viewing pleasure!
May 2, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Reading Stephen Jay Gould may have started me thinking about lumpers and splitters again.
By all means, scientists and specialists in the humanities, be splitters. Split away!
But it being Sunday, I would like to exhort everybody with regards to religion: Let's be lumpers! Let's not split down into little sects and what-everyone-else-will-call-cult or -heresy. In fact, how about if we give over irreligions called Islam and Christianity? How about we lump ourselves with all of humanity? Believe in a God if you will, that calls all of us children!
When it comes to religion, let's be lumpers and stop the ungodly wrangling!
May 1, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
When I was a girl on May Day we used to make little cones and baskets out of colored construction paper, put flowers in them, take them to the neighbors' doors, knock and run away quickly.
Often the weather was so cool the most we could come up with were a few small blue scylla and a crocus or two.
When I had my kids do the same thing in Santa Fe, New Mexico (well, once or twice anyway - it didn't seem to be a custom there) the same thing would happen. The baskets of flowers were often paltry. Why bother?
Now here I am, expecting some of my children later in what is supposed to be the bloomingest time in May, and what is happening? Everything is in bloom now, and all at once! If I wanted to give a basket of flowers representative of the neighborhood now, the posies would have to be delivered in a bushel or laundry basket!
Instead of quietly stealing away, I would be collapsing under the weight, crying, "M'aidez! M'aidez!"
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