Ponder this:

Monday, February 28, 2011

These are the things that make the world go 'round.

Husband phoned me at work early this afternoon. His truck had died at an intersection of country roads. I hung up and told Alan, "I have to go," and hurried out of the office, with Alan calling behind me, "If you can't get back, we'll hold the fort."
I reached my marooned spouse in good time and we needed to get the truck out of the road. I got in and steered and Husband pushed. A passing driver stopped and ran over to help. When the vehicle was safely off to the side of the road, the man jumped back in his car and went on his way. The sheriff stopped on his way past to see if everything was all right. Husband told him, "I have a tow truck coming for it . . . it just stopped!"
"They'll do that," the sheriff said, smiled, and went on his way. I delivered Husband to his appointment and went back to work.  
Mike had just helped Pete fix some glitch in Pete's computer.
Mike's vehicle wouldn't start and he needed to get to a class at three o'clock. Pete, whose work was finished, said he'd go get a burger to kill some time, and would come back and drive Mike to the class.
Husband called and said that neighbor Christopher had left a message on his cell phone. Chris had seen the truck on the shoulder of the road. "If you need some help, call me."


If a person never had things go wrong, he'd never find out how good and helpful people are.

A verbal exchange that owes something to "Seinfeld"

Sunday evening. 
Husband downing handfuls of grapes while I watch him, magazine in my hands.
He watches back, chewing.
After a few moments...


June:  You didn't even wash off those grapes, did you?
Husband:  No. We need a little bacteria in our systems to keep us healthy.
June:  It isn't the bacteria that I was thinking of, it's the pesticides.
Husband:  (chew, chew) I don't need any pests. I want to be pest-free. 


I went back to reading.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Isaac Mizrahi: "Color is like food for the spirit--plus it's not addictive or fattening."

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging up freshly-washed damp things to dry as wrinklelessly as they might. My hanging place is the top of an antique chest on chest. It's six-and-a-half-feet tall and has a big wide crown molding. It's a perfect place for clotheshangers, with room below for the items of clothing to be surrounded by air currents. One of the things I hung up was a magenta peachskin jacket. 
I keep folded things in the drawers of that chest. I opened a drawer to put away something and saw a scarf that I had forgotten I owned. It coordinated perfectly with the jacket. I draped the scarf over the shoulder of the jacket to remind myself to wear them together during that workweek. 

The workweek that followed included the Tuesday afternoon on which I protected the porch floor from a nasty dent by bouncing a log of firewood off my toe. In the following days, I wasn't much inclined to dress myself colorfully. Accessorizing was beyond the focus of my interest: simply applying body-coverings was adequate. So it wasn't until last Thursday that I got myself done up in those bright colors. Almost ready to come downstairs to leave for work, I saw an orangey-red necklace that was perfect with the scarf. 
Orangey-red with magenta? 
Well, sure, if there's a scarf between the two.

I felt stunning all day.


I am once again, and still, high on the magic of colorful accessories
And, have I mentioned (more than ten or twelve times) how much I love eBay?
This weekend I have eBayed my way into these beauties for $.99 apiece.

The only thing I own that I think might go with this is a blue shell. 
But who knows, once I hold it in front of the clothes in the closet, what might occur to me...
I do have a teal green silk shirt...

Oh! This! The jewel tones! The proportions of the thing!
How many ways could I wrap this around my neck . . . 
or fling it over my shoulder?

Mmmm . . . summer white slacks . . . 
any number of colorful tank tops . . . and this!

Tidy and tailored brown slacks/white shirt combo,
with this soft but tidy-and-tailored-looking scarf fluffing and flowing somewhere on my body...

Breathtaking as this one is . . . in its shimmery silvery blue, 
it pried out of me the princely sum of $4.








This necklace caught my eye. 
I looked at it closely. 
Looked at it again. 
"Looks like a bunch of baby's  toy blocks strung together," I thought, and passed  it. 
Then I went back and looked at it some more.

I am one of those who are called, politically correctly, "big girls." 
Dressing in classic neutral colors did nothing to make me look smaller. 
In fact, dressing conservatively made me feel as if I were trying to hide. 

And, "One thing there's no getting by–
I've been a wicked girl," said I;
"But if I can't be sorry, why,
  I might as well be glad!"
~from The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay


Now that I am old I shall wear purple. And orange and blue and red and yellow. All together if I choose.
And whenever I catch a glimpse of myself mirrored in a winter-darkened window, 
I shall feel uplifted and rejuvenated.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One small dark ball


Husband went to the store to rent a couple of movies. It doesn't matter what they were because he hated both of them. When he returned, the dogs made their usual big hoo-haw and I let them out to greet him. 
Everybody came back inside and Max headed straight for his water dish. Husband with his supermarket bag next to him on the counter, Max at his water dish, and I make a triangle; I'm looking at and talking to Husband. I glance down and see, rolling an inch behind Max's rear feet, a small dark ball of poodlepoop.

I hurried to the bathroom to get a little toilet paper to pick up this stray Max poop ball, hoping I could do it before Husband saw it and was disgusted. Max is a little unreliable in some ways. This was a new one, but I wasn't surprised.

I came back, toilet paper in hand, and the poop ball was gone. 
Husband was chewing happily on a mouthful of . . . something.
I goggled at him. 

He reached into the supermarket bag and pulled out half a dozen more purple grapes, and popped a couple more in his mouth. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy crow

My breakfast yesterday was the last of the Valentine's Day chocolate covered strawberries.
As I walked to the barn, I threw the remaining bit out on top of the snow where the voles who live in the stone wall would find it.
I came home from work to find in the snow an impression of the tips of a crow's wing and a long meandering path that intersected with the strawberry's remains' last resting place.
The little elf cap of green leaves was gone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

One morning, the husband returns the boat to their 
lakeside cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.

Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.

She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up, 
and begins to read her book.

The peace and solitude are magnificent.

Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat.

He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 
'Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?'  

'Reading a book,' she replies, (thinking, 'Isn't that obvious?')


'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her. 

'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.'

'Yes, but I see you have all the equipment.
 
For all I know you could start at any moment.
 
I'll have to take you in and write you up.'


'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,' says the woman.


'But I haven't even touched you,' says the Game Warden.


'That's true, but you have all the equipment.. 
For all I know you could start at any moment.'


'Have a nice day ma'am,' and he left.


MORAL:     
Never argue with a woman who reads.   
 
It's likely she can also think.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The toe of the stargazer is often stubbed. ~Russian proverb

I am not a stupid person, but I have always been clumsy. I have always stubbed toes, dropped things, maneuvered only half my body through doorways, smashing the other half into the jambs. I have dropped an industrial-grade mop bucket on my foot, missed stair steps and skidded to the bottom with an unnaturally angled, and therefore badly sprained, ankle, nearly removed the tip of an index finger in a Hobart commercial slicer. On my way back to bed in the middle of one night, in an astonishing feat of precision, I managed to snag an electric cord between my toes, trip, and fall, breaking my ankle. In my youth, a boyfriend and I had a conversation about why all this should be so. I contended that the cause was deeply psychological, that my body image and self-perception were unclear, that I didn't know what size I was on the outside. He said, "I think you just don't pay attention to what you're doing." In the years since that conversation I have had innumerable occasions to recall it, and I believe he was correct: I don't pay attention to what I'm doing.

On Tuesday afternoon I came home from work, left my shoes at the door, prepared the dogs' supper with their pills carefully hidden in tiny dablets of butter on the side, made beds, mopped the floor, emptied the dishwasher, and went to the porch to load firewood into the wagon. I was tired, and feeling a little desperate to finish my chores. I had brought home some ready-made supper, so when I had brought in the firewood, I would allow myself to fill my glass with ice water and relax. 
I hurried. 

I had, perhaps, eight pieces of wood in the wagon when I hauled from the stack the crucial piece of wood that held the whole jigsaw puzzle together. Many . . . many . . . very well-dried, very hard and heavy chunks of wood rumbled out of the woodpile and dived for my feet. It happens often enough to be routine; I would wait until they had stopped moving, and resume my labor. At least one of those logs, however, landed on my foot. On my big toe, in fact. The impact caused me to make noises, some of them intelligible, few of those polite. 

The wood stopped falling. Wounded Angry I recommenced, with renewed vigor, to chuck wood into the wagon. As I reached near my feet to pitch one of the offenders onto the load, I noticed a bright bulb of dense red at the corner of my toe. Hm. Broken skin then, not just the usual contusion. I pulled the wagon through the doorway, removed my knee-high stocking, took a quick look at the injury, wrapped a paper towel around my toe, and limped over to energetically transfer the wagonload of wood into the woodbox. Behind me, the dogs took up their habitual muttering at each other. Their noise shredded my last nerve, causing me to apprise them in stentorian tones of the facts that they were very lucky little dogs, had no problems about which to complain, and they needed to shut. up. now.  Intelligent little canines that they are, they, in fact, did shut. up. which fact may have saved their fuzzy little lives.

I performed the dance routine that enabled me to keep the door open long enough to angle the emptied wagon properly and roll it back to the porch and added some of the freshly-gathered wood to the rekindling fire in the stove. I filled my glass with ice and water, took a long swallow. My toe throbbed and I had begun to shake with fear of what I might find when I unwrapped the paper towel, which was quickly absorbing (should I write an appreciative letter to the people who make Bounty paper towels?) an alarming quantity of blood. 

We do what we have to do: I turned on some good bright lights and unwrapped my toe. 
My toenail was broken. Not across, but diagonal, a third of an inch from the tip toward the cuticle. Horrifying sight, and extremely painful. The log had made a good dent in that poor toe.

That was about the time Husband arrived home and came through the front door to find me breathing heavily, gasping a little, replacing the paper towel as snugly as I could bear. 
"What happened? Are you hurt?"
I explained to him.
"Do you want me to take you to the emergency room?"
Going to the hospital would require that I first walk all the way to the car and then sit in the vehicle without thrashing like a wounded bear for sixteen miles. I didn't think I could do all that. I hunched over the kitchen counter and growled, "Oh, what are they gonna do?" 
I ingested a quantity of over-the-counter pain medication, and perhaps a few of the dog's Tramadol tablets, and settled on the couch with my foot on the coffee table. After a couple of hours my toe stopped paining me enough that I could breathe in regular in/out rhythm. I observed mournfully, "My poor feet."
Husband looked up from his reading. "You do have a lot of trouble with your extremities."
I laughed tremulously. "I have a lot of trouble with my whole body!"

Ascending the stairs to my bed was surprisingly painless, and I slept well for three hours. I got up and swallowed more Tylenol, and perhaps a couple more of Max's Tramadol tablets, and went back to sleep. At 6:45 yesterday morning I got out of bed and considered my options. 
  • I could call in sick, but the likelihood was that this particular difficulty would be painful for some time, and I would need a doctor's excuse to be absent from work for the two weeks I anticipated I would need to recover. 
  • I could go to the emergency room and call work from there.
  • I could go to work and call the doctor's office and see how soon I could get in at the clinic.
I opted for the last: it seemed like the thing a normal person would choose.

Closed shoes of any description would be impossible: I wore sandals out into the 28-degree weather. At work, I moved haltingly up the stairway and into the Morning Job office. Morning Boss, who, upon my return to work two weeks after last summer's mastectomy,  asked me, "Now, what was it you had done, June?" noticed nothing. I overheard her telling someone she would need to be out of the office for a short time. I asked her when she expected to be out and I said I needed to go to the doctor's office at some point during the day. I related the story as amusingly as I could, and called the clinic. My doctor would be in meetings until noon, and was booked up after that. He would call me back. 
Fine.

At 1:00pm, Afternoon Boss observed that I was getting a little raggedy and suggested I stop waiting for the doctor to call and just go to the emergency room. My whole leg had begun to twitch with pain, and medical attention for my toe had moved to the forefront of my mind. I hied myself off to the hospital. My greatest concern was that the exposed nail bed would get infected and I would grow, and forevermore sport, one of those oddly shaped toenails that you sometimes see on Old Women In Clunky Sandals. 
As it happened, however, the doctor was less concerned about infection than he was the "distal undisplaced fracture of the great toe." There's really not much to be done with it, except wait for it to heal, and not go on long hikes while it's doing that. 

In the end, undramatic. 
...except for the eventual shedding of the toenail. It has grown increasingly ugly in color and shape since Tuesday afternoon. I shall avoid clunky sandals until it's back to normal. In the meantime, I circle the firewood carefully, aim for the dead centers of doorways, grip stair handrails tightly. I know from experience that I can handle only one of these minor disasters at a time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superman

...of snow!

The eyes are paint can lids, the mouth is a swimming noodle, the pipe is a whiffle ball bat with a bucket on the end and the nose is a traffic cone. 
The hat is made of 4-inch-thick black drainage pipe, coiled up. 
The scarf is made from a plastic tablecloth and the arms from long scraps of wood.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Proud to be . . . what?

Two days ago I received yet another one of those despicable email screeds. It was entitled "Proud to be White," and claimed that it reproduced Michael Richards' defense speech in court. It was, of course, a load of horse puckey. Snopes.com cleared up the author question: it wasn't Michael Richards. Those distasteful messages that claim to have been authored by any celebrity, I find, rarely were. I am offended particularly because I received that ignorant, evil message during Black History Month.

I don't know why people send me that stuff. I won't be reading any more of that person's emails: my personal email will recognize her now as Junk. For a while I was receiving lots of Let's All Hate Mexicans rantings. The last one of those that I received was the last one because I replied, mentioning my Mexicana friend Estela. I can't respond to this latest email, though. I am too angry.

For years, I worked in the heart of a black ghetto. I was never mugged, never shot at, never carjacked. I was never called Whitey, Cracker, or Honky. I was never sneered at as I passed one of the residents on the street. When I was in high school I telephoned a black friend. Her brother answered the phone, I asked for Margery, and he hung up on me. She called me back and said, "He doesn't like white people, and . . . you know . . . you can tell from the voice..." To that young man, I was a white voice, nothing more than one of them, and therefore disconnection-worthy. That's about as close, I think, as I have ever come to suffering racial discrimination, and it felt awful. I felt . . . invisible. I can't imagine what it would be like to, daily, get that treatment to any degree. Other than that one incident, I am not aware of ever having suffered from any kind of discrimination. I have always been white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. I've always been female, but I think I was always able to work that to my advantage.

A black coworker once told me that her cousin had started work on their family's genealogy. She got back a hundred years or so, and couldn't find a thread to follow: there was no record of her family. Another friend of mine, a Jew, told me that her mother had corresponded with her cousin in Poland every week since she was a little girl. During World War II the letters sent to her cousin came back; her cousin's town no longer existed. Presumably, neither did her cousin. Those of us who are able to trace our family history, who never had people just . . . disappear . . . from the face of the earth or from historical records are fortunate indeed.

Black History Month Project

My email correspondent who is now Junk needs to be educated. But you can't educate somebody who has so little empathy, and limps along under such a big concrete chip on her shoulder, that she will not learn. I am in a poor position to enlighten her: she is one of the people who pay my salary via her tax dollars, and a member of one of "my" boards. The emailed diatribe was preceded by a personal message that people should turn the other cheek, that when she was a kid she had been called names, and she never let it bother her. If being called names had been the worst thing that happened to you, I guess that would be relatively easy to overcome. If members of your lineage had been tortured and killed while being called those names . . . that's a different kettle of fish, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No matter how much fun you have today, your Wednesday won't hold a candle to mine!


I know I'll be enjoying my Wednesday!
Today is Colonoscopy Day!




Red heart shaped border with little heartsRed heart shaped border with little hearts
We love our little colon;
We've made it squeaky clean.
No fear how far the scope will go,
All will be peachy keen.
I've eaten nothing that I shoul'n't:
No skins, no nut, no bean.

Send up the tiny colon cam!
I'm ready as can be!
And on the way back home, madame,
For th'love of God, please feed me!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Better days are coming. I have seen proof!

I wasn't ready to be out and about this morning when it was time to leave for a hair appointment. I needed more coffee. But strong and hardy as I am I forged ahead with the chores: having my head washed and cut and dried; returning library books (and despite my best intentions, bringing home yet more! when I have a dozen unread on my shelves); grocery shopping.

On the next-to-last lap homeward I saw proof that spring intends to come this year: three hen turkeys crossed the road and clambered up the brushy, snowy bank. I stopped the car to watch them. It's been a long time since I saw anything other than crows and hawks alive and moving outdoors, and I just needed to look.  The poor girl in the lead was traveling (or not) about as well as I do in deep snow. With every step her feet sank down to her knees and she made poor progress. She appeared to rethink the route and turned toward the road again, but her sisters were in her way. They were in consultation when I went on; I didn't need to be part of their problem.

I guess I lied when I said it's been a long time...
Yesterday morning on the way down the hill, a deer, much smaller than it should be at this time of year, hurried a quarter mile ahead of me. Instead of heading off into the woods on either side, it loped straight down the road: odd. I got a little closer and saw it wasn't a deer; it was a young coyote, small as one of its western cousins, its coat not fully fluffy and brushy. 


The little guy stayed right on the road to the bottom of the hill and then made a left to travel east on the paved two-lane state route. It's coyote breeding season. I'm thinking he had moved a little far afield from home in search of Love, and was taking the most direct route back . . . or to the next willing female. 

Sure, it's sleeting right now . . . but it's all the way up to thirty-one degrees! ...and if the animals know spring will come, I will trust them.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Importance of Capitalization


Those of us who fall into the world of business should take note of the importance of correct grammar.

I have noticed that many who text messages and email have forgotten the "art" of capitalization.
Capitalization is the difference between
helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and
helping your uncle jack off a horse.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stuff that works

In her Good Stuff post, Carolynn inspired me to share a couple of my favorite . . . what? . . . products.  I'm borrowing her disclaimer, too, because it seems prudent so to do:  I don't work for these companies, have not been approached to advertise or promote these products, nor am I receiving any compensation of any description. This is unsolicited information, freely given, based on my own personal experience using these products. 

Out The Door Out The Door-Super Fast Dry Top Coat


product image

Out The Door topcoat for nails.
I'm old; I've tried a lot of these things. This one works. Dries fast, dries hard, lasts. You can get it on eBay or elsewhere online. One caveat: make sure the polish underneath is good and dry because once it's sealed underneath Out The Door, it has no chance to dry and harden.



Whatever you use to clean stainless steel pots with cooked on stuff and the grills on your gas range or the drip pans on your electric range, or the barbecue grill, throw it away and start using spray on oven cleaner. Put the dirty things in the sink, spray 'em down and let 'em sit overnight. Then put 'em right in the dishwasher or wash them by hand the next day. This is one of the many lessons I took from working in restaurants.


You know those nice cast iron steamers for the tops of wood stoves?  They look like this...
...and cost the earth. I got one on eBay for cheap because the seller said it was all yucky from having steamed potpourri in it. It arrived all crusty and coated with . . . perma-residue. Oven cleaner and the dishwasher made it all shiny and new.

I've raved about Wool Wax before, but it's so good for winter hands that here it is again. I put it on before I load wood into the wood wagon and it somehow keeps me from getting splinters. (I don't use gloves because I have to feel what I'm doing.)

Two weeks ago I got my hair cut. I have stopped using hair color, probably haven't used it for a year. My hair is nicely salt-and-peppered and I like it. So that day the hairdresser says to me, she says: It's time to start using purple shampoo. You're getting that platinum, and purple shampoo will keep it from discoloring and turning yellow.
So I comes home and I jumps online and I checks the Avon website on accounta cawz I loves me my Avon. And what did I find me but some purple shampoo and a purple conditioner. The shampoo is $1.99! I have become blindingly sparkly. That picture I posted a few days ago was one that I took to show off my sparkles.












Here's my all-time favorite: a real winter necessity.  
I call it Husband-With-Tractor-Attachment.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Third time lucky

Today was the reschedule date for the procedure.
The doctor postponed it due to excessive snow and ice. 
...on the roads, I mean.


At least this time I knew it was scrubbed before I drank the fifty-five-gallon drum of whatever-it-is.
toilet paper stack

Tuesday, February 1, 2011