Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hawks, Johnson, and Time

Hawks fascinate me. There’s something about seeing them floating on the air currents with little or no effort on their parts that causes me to feel a bit of longing for something unnamed. Somehow it seems so mysterious to me because I know little of the science that explains how the birds glide so effortlessly; maybe it’s the freedom it symbolizes. I don’t know, but every time I see one I am enthralled.

Yesterday Mr. Fixit and I were driving along the highway when a hawk floated by. It brought to mind a line from “Jeremiah Johnson.” Johnson and Caleb are clearing land when a hawk lazily riding the air currents glides past. Jeremiah says, “Hawk--going for the Mussel Shoal. Take me a week’s riding, and he’ll be there in . . .hell, he’s there already.” I couldn’t remember the quote verbatim. I couldn’t remember if he said, “. . .he’ll be there in an hour” or some other quantified length of time. (I had to look for the quote.)

My mind then wandered to the subject of time. How could a person living without time-keeping devices such as Johnson or people living in older times manage without clocks. How did they keep appointments? For instance, if a person said, “I’ll be in town tomorrow at 9:00 am” how did he know it was 9:00 am and not 9:30 am? Perhaps making appointments was an urban phenomenon, clocks being available for the public or perhaps the rural folks who didn’t have time pieces made general appointments. “I’ll be there mid-morning.”

If so, were mornings divided into accepted increments? Early morning could mean between sunup and 8:00 am; midmorning could have been from 8:00 am to 10:00 am; late morning could have been 10:00 am to noon. That would work during the summers. In winter the sun rises later and sets earlier--that would throw a wrench into the works.

This whole stream of consciousness kept my mind occupied for the rest of the 20 minute drive. My final conclusions were that I feel pangs of envy for hawks for some reason, it would neat for clocks to become unnecessary, and sometimes after one of these little flights of imagination, I realize how weird I am.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring. . .

The rain is pouring. We've had light rain for most of the day. We did manage to complete one baseball game. Levi's very little guys' game was cancelled. So far we have no watches or warnings, but according to the weatherman, it could get nasty a little later. I've never been in a tornado and have no desire whatsoever to see one first hand. Whoa! Thunder and lightning! Time to disconnect all the computers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Great Opossum Mystery

Why do you think all those smooshed opossums along the highways and byways of this great nation crossed the road? Are they like the chickens who cross the road to get to the other side, or could there be some other reason they risk, and lose, I might add, their lives. If I could talk to the animals the first question I would ask is what is so important on the other side of the road that they take such chances. Perhaps the answer is simple; they are as stupid as they are ugly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Azaleas & Lilacs

The azaleas have been spectacular this year. The lilacs are fading a bit but have lasted longer than normal. The rain has helped so much.

As I was taking these pictures a big bee was a bit upset with me when I disturbed him at his work on the lilac bush. He buzzed my head a few times before I got the point and let him “bee.” Groan!

(Click on Photo to See the Bee)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Too Old To Be Goofy and Girly

Clothes have never interested me much. I try to wear appropriate clothing for whatever I'm doing. When I worked in business settings, I wore dresses, suits, or pant suits and heels. I very seldom wear bright colors or fadish styles. I'm a basics, pastel sort of a person. When I go to Walmart, I wear jeans. When we eat at McDonald's (or is that Mac?), I wear jeans. If we go to nicer places, I wear nicer clothes. I don't mind wearing last year's clothing. In other words, I only care if what I'm wearing is decent and appropriate. I do have one little fashion obsession—shoes and purses. I love them!

Today Mr. Fixit and I had some errands. I dressed in dark jeans, a white shirt, and black sandals. The day before I had been wearing pink pants, a white shirt, and white sandals. (My pink sandals didn't match the pink pants.) I carried a multicolored purse that had same pink in the fabric as the pants and white. My black purse, which is my basic purse, was in the trunk of the car because the one I carried yesterday isn't big enough to carry the junk I might need. As I was standing at the trunk of the car transferring the stuff from the multicolored purse to black one, Mr. Fixit said, “What are you doing?” I explained that I was changing purses. He said, “Why do you need to change purses?” I didn't say anything, I just pointed at my black shoes. He said, “Why did you point to your shoes instead of saying that you didn't want to carry colored purse with black shoes?”

I felt my blush rise in my face. I said, “Okay, okay, you've got me. I didn't want to say out loud that I am uncomfortable unless my shoes and purse match. So now I've said it, and I don't want to hear one word from you on the subject.” He said, “Okay,” but he smirked for the next five minutes. I want to point out that we have been married for 44 years. Has he never noticed that my shoes and purse almost always match? Or if they do happen to be a different color as they were yesterday, either the purse or the shoes match what I'm wearing.

I don't know why I was embarrassed to say that I hate it when my shoes and purse don't match. Maybe it's because it sounds so silly and girly. It's one of those things that my grandmother and mother taught me along with the rule that you never wear white shoes before Good Friday or after Labor Day. 

I do know that from now on whenever I buy shoes, he will remind me of my little quirk, and I will feel goofy and girly. Somehow being goofy and girly at 64 years of age isn't quite dignified.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Clash of the Titans" - A Reminder

One of my all time favorite fantasy movies is “Clash of the Titans” (1981). When I saw that it was being remade in 3-D I decided to see it even though this is definitely not Mr. Fixit’s kind of movie. (The man has no imagination.) We very seldom go to the movies. We both love them and watch them on TV, and Netflix keeps us supplied.

We went to the 4:00 pm showing when the admission is cheaper, and, of course, we qualify for the senior discount. No one told us that that there is a $3.00 “surcharge” for 3-D movies. The cost of our admission was $17.00 for the two of us! After spending that much on admission, we decided to forego the usual popcorn and soda which would have probably added another $l0 or $15 to the tab. Somehow not having greasy popcorn lessened the whole theater experience.

The special effects were interesting and the 3D effects were quite good, but the jumpy camera work made it uncomfortable and confusing to watch. Sam Worthington, Perseus, can’t quite compare to Harry Hamlin in the same role in the 1981 version. It’s very shallow of me, but Mr. Hamlin was quite handsome. Liam Neeson plays Zeus in the new version, Laurence Olivier was Zeus in the old version. The mechanical owl from the earlier version had a “cameo” in the new version. Pegasus was black. I always pictured ole Peg as the typical white flying horse. The first version was more story-driven. The new 3D version is understandably action-driven. It is violent, but with the jumpy camera work, you can't really tell what was going on.

At the end of the film, it was suggested that we recycle our 3D glasses. Are they nuts? We paid a $3 “surcharge’ for those glasses. Mine went right into my purse. These glasses were much better than the ones they gave you when I was a kid. Those were cardboard; these were hard plastic that actually stayed on.

As we were leaving the theater, I remembered why we don’t go the movies often. The volume is uncomfortably loud, there are few new films that I care to see (some make me feel like a sleazy voyeur), and it’s just too darned expensive. The unreturned glasses will serve as a reminder the next time I decide that I want to see a movie in the theater.

(Does anyone remember the 3D comic books that came out in the '50's? I loved those! I also remember the first 3D movie I ever saw. I think Raymond Burr had the starring role, and the plot concerned a homocidal gorilla at a circus. That was also in the '50's I think.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Play Ball!

                                        Levi on Third

Levi, 4, had his first baseball Saturday morning. One of life's great pleasures is watching a group of 4-year-old's play ball. It's wonderful!

I realized later that Mr. Fixit and I have one grandson playing for the Angels and one playing for the Devils. (The name of Noah's team is Dirt Devils, but they shorten it, of course, to Devils.)

After Levi's game, we went to Cole JV team's 50-inning marathon. After that we went to the first two games of Noah's weekend tournament. They started very late in the afternoon. We saw all three grandsons play in one day. Owen decided he didn't want to play the spring session. It's lucky all the games were in the same town, but the games were played in 4 different locations. Sunday Noah's last two games were played. He did very well.

Cole has a JV game this afternoon. There is a season-ending tournament for the JV season this coming weekend. Then he begins his travel team season.

It's going to be another busy summer. I have my chair, canopy, and sunscreen; I'm ready!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Sandra Brown usually writes entertaining (at least for me) contemporary fiction with an emphasis on romance, sex, and mystery. Her work is pure escapism. Rainwater is a departure from her usual fare.

The action takes place in Texas in 1934 during dreadful drought conditions, the Depression, and the corruption that sometimes come with governmental programs that are meant to ease the suffering of those in need. It also deals with rampant racism and with the condition we now know as autism.

It did bring a tear or two at the conclusion, but it wasn’t sappy. The only criticism I have is that the main characters were too good. They were living with horrible circumstances in their lives, but they handled everything perfectly.

I finished the book in less than 4 hours; it was a quick read. It was a nice way for me to while away the stormy afternoon and to learn something about a time about which I know very little.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


(Click on Photo to see detail)

This morning after I put the garbage can on the street I was walking on the driveway back to the house, I noticed a trail of my footprints. At first I thought the prints were made because my shoes were wet with dew after stepping into the grass to move the can. When I looked behind me and saw two trails of my prints, I realized the prints were made in the pollen on the driveway. The pollen seems to get worse every year.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bouncing Around in My Brain

Spring is progressing nicely. There are a few daffodils and tulips still blooming, the forsythia is yellow, the white blossoms on the Bradford pear trees are flying, and the trees are turning green. If you hesitate on your walk to the mailbox, you turn a shade of yellow that is almost as bright as forsythia because the thick pollen covers everything.

Discounting a bit of a problem with transportation, we had a very nice Easter. Alisa, our daughter-in-law, invited us to lunch Easter Sunday. Her father and her grandmother are visiting for a few days. They are very pleasant company.

Mr. Fixit is having problems with his truck. I’m thankful that if it had to happen this was the time. The weather is warm, and he won’t have to freeze working on it outside. The radiator has developed a very impressive leak.

Levi, our 4-year-old grandson, has begun his baseball career. He’s playing on a church league tee ball team. They haven’t had a game yet, but he has been practicing. Watching 4-year-olds play “organized” sports is GREAT!

Sunday Cole, our soon-to-be 15-year-old grandson was talking about getting his learner’s permit this summer. It was only yesterday when he was playing tee ball. I wish I could slow Time down a bit.

Why does the press think it has the right to question celebrities about the most personal parts of their lives? I am appalled that the press and maybe the general public want to know about Tiger Woods’ marriage. How would the interviewer feel if anyone questioned him about his marriage? Frankly, it’s none of my business. He’s a golfer; I don’t think he ever pretended to be the epitome of rectitude. He’s not the Pope, he’s not a religious leader, and he’s not a politician touting family values. He hits a little ball with a stick, and he does it better than 99 percent of the world’s population. It’s none of my business if he’s a sleazy guy.

And speaking of moral rectitude--I have a bit of advice for the Pope (When I’m being presumptuous, I go all out. How could anything be more presumptuous than giving the Pope advice?). I think he should tell his representatives to tone down the rhetoric. I don’t think comparing the discomfort he is experiencing now regarding his lack of action dealing with the huge problem of the molestation of children by priests with the persecution of Jews is helpful if he is trying to gain the sympathy and understanding of the world. I was personally offended when another of his representatives said that he (the Pope) is being victimized by “petty gossip.” I fear that attitude could be one of the reasons that the church has not dealt with the problem. Child molestation is considered to be “petty gossip” by the church hierarchy. And if he feels is being victimized, he should compare the feelings of the children who suffered real physical and mental agony with his own embarrassment and discomfort because his own lack of action.

There is one more case of “open mouth, insert foot” in the news. It seems to me that Mr. Steele of the RNC would be better off if he said, “Mistakes have been made, but I will do my best to rectify the situation.” I really don’t understand why he seems to be saying that the criticism leveled at him now is because he’s black rather than his seeming carelessness with donated funds and his lack of oversight of fund raising venues.

I think it might be the time to just shut the hell up for both the Pope’s reps and Mr. Steele. But that’s just my opinion, and we all know what that’s worth, right?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Income Taxes - Paying Your Fair Share (Or Not)

There is a commercial on television that makes me very angry. There is a firm that specializes in reaching agreements between their clients and the IRS concerning owed taxes. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with using every ethical means of paying only what is required. Of course, the claims of the firm are outrageous and probably not 100% true, but I still almost blow a gasket every time I see the ad. (I know, I know. It doesn't take much to make the angry sometimes. And I spend way too much time thinking about perceived inequities that have very little to do with me.)

One person says, “I owed the IRS $300,000 and the IRS settled for $2.43.” Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but their numbers sound just as unbelievable. How long do you have to fail to pay taxes, or how much money do you have to make, to owe $300,000? Do the people owing $300,000 in taxes have no clue about managing their money? Maybe they simply over-extended their budgets with too many houses, too many cars, and too many vacations. Is that an acceptable excuse for not paying their fair share? It reminds me of a certain lady who said, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

My problem with the idea is that we, like most citizens, pay every cent we owe to the government without too much complaining. We don’t even itemize deductions since the children left home. The closest we ever came to cheating on our taxes was years ago when we did itemize deductions. Mr. Fixit saw a check made to Dr. Smith in the amount of $20.00 and added it to our medical expenses. It was only later after the return was mailed that I noticed the error on our copy of the return. Dr. Smith was our vet. Even though our dog was a member of the family, I don’t think her expenses were deductible.

This commercial makes me angry because it’s rather like shoplifting or insurance fraud. When someone shoplifts, retail prices go up. When some jerk commits insurance fraud, everyone’s rates go up. If that person who owes $300,000 doesn’t pay his share of his taxes, that means we all lose. No, not all of us lose; the guy who settles his huge debt with the IRS for a small sum makes out like a bandit and the company that represents him probably does better than anyone.

It would be interesting to know if the ad reflects the actual results of the firm’s advocacy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Continuing Education via "Sally Forth"

This “Sally Forth” comic strip appeared a few days ago.

I am able to recognize several acronyms. I know that "PDR" is “Physician’s Desk Reference” and “asap” means “as soon as possible.” I also know the meaning and the origin of the acronym that has become the word “snafu.” “AWOL” is known to me, too. I know “pdq,” "lol,” and “CPR.” I’m still trying to figure out  “USB” and “NORAD.” Of course, I know what they are, but I’m a little hazy about the exact words the initials represent. I'll look them up one day.

Getting back to the comic strip, I had never heard of “DSM-IV.” I was sent to the internet for clarification. I found "DSM-IV" is “Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition.” Once again, Sally Forth has contributed to my sadly lacking education, and I am thankful for my computer even though I go absolutely nuts when a snafu occurs and I want it fixed pdq. I’m sure there is a section in the DSM-IV relating to my irrational frustration.

(Click on strip to enlarge.)