Ponder this:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why not just wipe out half the alphabet and mix up the remaining letters like Scrabble tiles and make up words out of those?

No one who reads this blog would be in danger of suffering my ire over this, but there are people who think that adverse means the same as averse, e.g. "I would not be adverse to holding a special meeting." Apparently those people don't know that those are two different words. It's one of those errors that I so want to correct, but if I did, I just know the speaker would say, "Well! You knew what I meant!" 
Oh, well then . . . if that's the qualification, just feel free to point to the sky while you exclaim that your car has a flat tire. It makes as much sense. 

A planning board granted approval to a project, noting that a certain feature needed to be similar to the same feature at an existing business. When the store was built and the project was finished, the board members were outraged that the feature in question was not exactly like the pre-existing site. They didn't know that similar and identical mean different things.

Back in the days of June as Church Lady, I was acquainted with a prissy little woman who consistently said "pacific" when she meant "specific." For a long time I thought she had a speech impediment but she would correct other people when they said, "specific." 
"The minister gave specific dates as options for the..."
"Oh," she'd interrupt, "Yes, yes, he mentioned some dates pacifically."

I know, I know. These are small small sins and it is small, small of me to be so bothered, but there it is. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Night magic

It has been a beautiful week, sunshiny and exactly the right combination of warm and cool, thoroughly amazing weather for this time of year. Had I known, last October and November, that the winter would be so pleasantly painless, I would have been a far happier woman for all these months.

A few nights ago I got in bed and spent a long time lying in the dark looking through the windows at the stars. The night sky was so clear, and the stars so bright that night! When I was little, bright stars in the black night sky did the same thing to me as thoughts of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy: they gave me physical thrills, chills that ran from the top of my scalp to my heels, accompanied by nearly audible harp glissandi. I imagined other people out there in the far far places standing in their back yards, looking at their night skies, thinking of the possibility of someone else in the far away mysterious spaces that they watched. Magic!

The other night as I lay in my bed, and watched the fairy lights twinkling way up in the far far dark, I felt, for a second, the same feeling of excited possibility . . . the thought that what I know of life and what I hear from other people about life is not all there is to Life, not all there is at all.
I felt, for just a few quickly passing seconds . . . Magic.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The dogs' breakfast was steeping, my coffee was waiting to be drunk, a new pot was brewing.
Angus and I stood at the open door watching the world wearing its new sunshine and waiting for the planets to be aligned in such a way as to allow his exit from the house. It's a delicate operation, his leaving the house: it needs to be timed perfectly . . . and Angus is the only judge. So we stood and waited.

A flash of movement in the driveway: a gray squirrel dashing from the lawn toward the stone wall, a red-winged blackbird swooping, herding him from five feet above his head. 
As I stood contemplating what I had just seen, thinking, "Now, there's something I've never seen before, although I bet it happens all the time," the scene repeated itself in all its parts, except that the bird was a robin. Squirrel #2 dashed at the same speed as had squirrel #1, the robin flew at exactly the same height as had the blackbird, and the whole second scene was over . . . the squirrel up the stone wall, the bird off up into the sky . . . within ten seconds, five seconds, just like the first.

Imagine my having lived all my life without having seen that and then seeing the same chase scene twice within a minute! 
Then again, maybe I just forgot.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2012 Winners Announced

On behalf of our little local high school . . . which is first among the five grand prize winners . . . thank you!

A MiMau memory

One of Carolynn's "little observations" reminded me of an evening about a month after MiMau came to live here. The whole famdamily was in bed for the evening, two of us reading, the other three . . . Max, Angus, MiMau . . . arranged as they wished on the comforter. 
MiMau sat up and drew herself close to Angus, who quivered with joy and anticipation. He loves his kittysis.

Quick as a wink, MiMau raised her furry arm, made a furry fist and knocked three times -- bang!bang!bang! -- right in the middle of Angus' head, exactly between the roots of his ears. The three knocks were quite distinctly audible . . . Angoo's head as percussion instrument.
Angus didn't duck or growl or react in any way. 
He just stared at MiMau: "What did I do?"

They've been best buds ever since.
She just had to make sure he knew that she wasn't going to be buying into that dogs-harassing-cats thing.

For more on MiMau's benevolent despot behavior, see MiMau and the Importance of Keeping the Upper Paw.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eastern coyote

Image from leslieland.com

A couple of weeks ago I stood at the window and watched a coyote trotting back and forth, back and forth, way down at the top of the next lower field. It appeared that he was trying to find the rabbit that had left a scent trail, and was having a far easier time finding the beginning of the trail than the pot of golden bunny at the end of it. 
The coyotes have been yelling loudly and . . . closely! in the middle of the night recently. No wonder the dogs and cat don't want to stay outside for long once dark has descended. 
Devils out there, Mom!
I like living where I see these sights.
It's like having a PBS Nature episode every day, sometimes several times a day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It is 6:30. Really 5:30.

Daylight Saving Time.
I turned the clocks one hour ahead last night. My ghastly early hour of rising is now an acceptable time for rising, although, perhaps, not on the weekend. Either way, it suits my early-up, morning-nap Sunday routine. In somebody's blog yesterday I read the oft-repeated question: Why do we have to live by clocks, anyway? When I woke up at 4am (really 3am) today, and realized that even for me that would be too early to get up on any day of the week, I was thinking that over the length of this soon to be past winter I have lived less by the clock than ever in my life before. I went to bed at will, sometimes as soon after getting home from work as possible, staying there until time to get up for work. In the winter, that's fine with the dogs now that they are old. We all want to hibernate. Living without a television goes a long way toward not living by the official time. 

I never was a habitual moviegoer, but now that I no longer see trailers for movies on tv, I don't know any of the celebrities whose names I see. Husband and I have been watching dvds of movies we saw in theaters years ago. Those actors' names, I know! 

Somebody said to me last week, "...back when Brad Pitt was good-looking," and I knew exactly what she meant. Brad has nothing to prove anymore and he's all scraggly and shopworn. Is he cutting his hair by sticking it in a blender? Robert DeNiro's always been kind of scruffy when he's on his own time. I recently mentioned that to somebody and he said, "He doesn't have to impress anybody." Well, yes, that's true. But in theory, none of us has to impress anybody and we don't walk around looking like ungroomed messes.
What an Old Lady I sound like!

And now it's 6:43 (really 5:43).  At one clock-changing time when I was twelve I kept doing that "It's really..." that  and my friend L sputtered, "Well! If you're going to keep doing that...!" the implication being that I might as well not change the clocks at all.
There y'go!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

For the first time this season

The voice of the male red-winged blackbird is heard in the land.
And I am a happy woman.
Life will go on.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I do love me a sunset with cotton candy pink and molten gold and cool thick heavy mauvy purples . . . and just enough of the day's pale blue gauzy sky left to float above.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Simple Harmonic (and non-harmonic) Motion

This is one of those random emails that came to me. I'm passing it along before I file it under Fun Facts to Know and Tell.

The scientific explanation notwithstanding, this is some neat stuff to watch!

Harvard built a device with a series of fifteen pendulums in a row, each one of them slightly longer than its neighbor. 
The pendulums were set into motion and the result was captured on video. 
The patterns that appear in this short video are fascinating to watch. 
Prepare to be captivated by this simple device!
Pendulum Waves


Sunday, March 4, 2012

I have just returned from a supermarket run. I went to the new store (that is now a year or more old) that I can reach by traveling northward, more or less along the top of the ridge instead of having to go all the way down the valley and back up. The views during the drive are beautiful and I love the store. Everybody loves this store. The employees are all . . . not just professionally helpful, but genuinely friendly. Whenever I leave after finishing the shopping I feel as if I've spent time with friends. It's a nice feeling.

One hot day last summer I said to the young man who was checking out my order, and with whom, during our interaction, I'd exchanged opinions of the brand of gelato I'd bought, "Now, if only I had trained the dogs to help me carry all of this into the house!"
"For fifty bucks, I'll do it," he said. I looked at him and he looked back, his blue eyes unusually direct and penetrating for a kid still in high school. He was perfectly serious, and had I been feeling flush, I might have taken him up on his proposal, if only to encourage his ambition. I came home and told Husband about this young man, who reminded me of the way young males were when I was in my teens. It seemed like everybody (except The Rich Kids and The Protected Kids) had part-time jobs after school and on weekends, and everybody was eager to do any kind of work for a few dollars. 
I know this sounds like those "five miles to school every day and uphill both ways" stories, but it's true. As soon as we looked responsible enough to be paid for doing something we all had paper routes or regular babysitting jobs.

Today, a different young man (sporting a hopeful yet skimpy soul patch on his lower lip) was checking out my order and upholding the store's Friendly Employee reputation when Serious Blue Eyes came by, a big hank of keys in his hand. 
"Hey, how's it goin'," he said to his fellow red shirt. "How'd you like to cash out and do a bottle drop for me?"
"Love to," said Soul Patch.
"Great. And then you can go on break."
"Okay!" said Soul Patch.
Serious Blue Eyes has been promoted from checkout clerk to shift supervisor or whatever title this store's system gives the lackeys who rank just above the clerks. I am so pleased. I am pleased that there are still young people who take an interest in doing well at their jobs. I am pleased that those young people are recognized and given more responsibility.
I feel so good.
I am so glad I went to that store today.
Sometimes I find the greatest pleasures in the most commonplace activities.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2012

Samsung is running the Solve for Tomorrow Projectwith gazillions of dollars of technological equipment as prizes, and guess what! the local little bitty country high school is a finalist! To determine which schools win the biggest jackpots, they have an online voting campaign here
What the project asks is for people to vote daily for your favorite school. 
What I'm asking is that you vote, daily until March 12, for Schoharie High School
The registration process, necessary to vote, does ask for your email, but that is just to make sure you're a real person . . . much like the beloved word verification . . . but easier.
Schoharie High School's video entry explores the effects of last summer's floods on the local agricultural industry . . . which is pretty much the only industry around here. I wrote a couple of posts about that horror: Moi apres le deluge and Drying out the Village 

To be honest, I haven't looked at anybody else's videos . . . they must be good or they would not have reached the finalist stage . . . but I just couldn't vote for anybody but the hometown. I would like to see the local school win a grand prize, but no matter what, I'm pretty proud that they've done as well as they have. 
So . . . thank you if you do decide to vote for Schoharie. And thank you if you decide to vote for somebody else. All the videos represent excellent work.
...and thank you for stopping by and reading today.