Thursday, November 29, 2007

And How Have You

been spending your free time this afternoon, Mrs. Kelley?

Well, I have been wasting an inordinate amount of time chasing these creatures away from my bird feeder by taking on the persona of one of these figures. My outfit for the afternoon actually comes close to the fashions posted here.
I do not like thee Mr. Jay.
Please fly away to someone else's feeder.
Your porcine manners enrage me.
Your rude and aggressive ways give me a pain, and
Your loud, obnoxious voice grates on my ears.
You truly may be one of God's little creatures, but so are flies, maggots and viruses.
Forgive me, but I have little use for you.

p.s. I think this is my 100th post and although it's filled with drivel, I thank each of you who come to visit. Your stopping by means a lot to me. Thanks and.....


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dear Reader,

I have one more Thanksgiving snippet to share. This is a short accounting of a man and a cat and a Thanksgiving turkey.
The man was my Uncle Angus, whom I have briefly mentioned before. He was my Daddy's younger brother. His true name was James, but for some reason he was known to many as Angus. In truth, Angus suited him much better than James. My sister and brother and I adored him. He is a difficult man for me to describe. Not a teddy bear type, perhaps more of an impish nature and one who never lost the twinkle in his eye. He and our aunt lived on the other side of the island of Oahu where we were raised. They had no children but they did have a cat and that cat's name was Available Jones. (He once had a dog called Binge, and years later one he named John the Baptist.) I don't really remember Available Jones as I was too young at the time, and it probably was prudent that Available not be left alone in the presence of such a small child. Considering his behavior, he must have been a formidable animal.
Apparently at Thanksgiving, my aunt opened the refrigerator door and Available Jones spied the turkey resting on the top shelf. In one magnificent leap he managed to straddle the turkey. He proceeded to help himself with determination. My aunt could not remove that cat from the turkey. He was so aggressively possessive that he probably consumed a greater part of it before he calmly removed himself to lick his chops and clean his paws.
I would venture a guess that was just one of many of Available Jones' transgressions, because shortly after the turkey debacle, Uncle Angus made a cage of sorts, packed Available in the cage, and left him on our porch for the Humane Society to pick up. My sister is convinced that the cage was purposely made in a flimsy fashion so that Available could escape. Escape he did. I believe that he eventually found his way home after several weeks. It's unclear what happened after that, but the conjecture is that Uncle Angus took Available Jones to a nearby military base where he was adopted. Given his tenacious personality, he was probably promoted to Second in Command.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

One More Thing

to be thankful for in this post Thanksgiving time. She was so beautiful, so overwhelming last night.
"That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, whom mortals call the moon."


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Today I will be with my family and will be thinking about all of the blessings that have been given. I think there are too many to pack into one day, so I shall try to continue to give thanks each day for gifts both great and small.
Wishing you and your loved ones a beautiful, safe and joyful day.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Practice What You Want To Become

...and you will become that. Did I make up this axiom? Probably not, but I am going to "Practice Practicing" and see what happens. I will be training and conditioning myself in the Habits of Happy Housekeeping. Why, you ask? Because I am determined to become one of those people who find joy in organizing, who experience Zen-like states as they employ their sponges, brooms, dusters and toilet bowl brushes. I want to clap my little hands in glee when I look at the calm and peaceful surfaces that surround me. I hope to find inspiration and Nirvana. I want to experience Enlightenment in bathroom mirrors whose toothpaste freckles are a memory, in toilet seats that are not decorated in Newfoundland dog hair, in ceilings, nooks and lampshades that are bereft of spider webs, and in refrigerators that house no molding remembrances of last week's soup.
If I had wanted this to be easy, I would never have gotten married, or at the very most I would have married an anal man. I did not marry a perfectionist. I chose a lovely, relaxed man who supports all of my tactics and diversions that prevent me from being a paradigm of organization and neatness. I would have chosen to remain childless. I did not. Although my children are long gone from this house, their ghosts linger. I would have lived in the city with its paved streets, sidewalks and orderliness. Instead, I live in the country. There are no sidewalks, no paved driveways and citified order. I would have lived in a part of the country where there is no mud nine months of the year. I would not live where my family has to wear rain pants, boots and slickers while they work....and where those accouterments have a proper place. They would not be hanging at the end of the day on the railing by the wood stove. (In fact, I would not have that railing at all as it justs shouts, "Hang anything and everything on me! I want your wet socks, your jackets and rain pants. I can hold the dog blankets and wet laundry too!"
I am going to begin today. I shall put on my serene and dreamy countenance. I shall commence by gathering all of my equipment in an organized fashion. Perhaps we'll have a little group hug, my vacuum, sponge, Swiffer and me.
Oh, hold on a second. I seem to be experiencing a cold sensation in my feet. I am beginning to think this is all akin to a Do It Yourself Lobotomy. That could have dangerous consequences. I am going to leave you with this poem I love, and then I am going to rethink some of these utterances.

Cleaning House

There's something wicked that empowers poets cleaning their houses
Poetry loves a fresh floor, a spotless toilet, even under the rim.

There are a thousand ways to get grout white again.
A thousand ways to shine tile, to polish a sink new.

Poetry lives between the bristles of a used toothbrush,
Metaphors choke when the poet touches the feather duster:

poetry loves grime. It's tired of living like an old washcloth,
wiping away staleness like lime from a spigot.

The garbage must be dumped, the dog washed, books alphabetized.
Help me, whatever it is that makes poems.

Whatever divine synapse clicks invisibly like a dust mote
in the darkness, gathering word upon word,

balling phrases under the bed where only the broom's
eyelashes touch; help me whatever thing drives the scouring pad,

the dish cloth, the mop, each hand latex-gloved, dumb and callous,
the pen dormant in its shell, but clean. Sloth saves poets

the way the sea saves painters: each wave decorating a new landscape
to love, every handful of sand, original, capricious.

I know each coffee stain on the sofa is a stanza waiting to set in,
that glass-ring on the nightstand an unending orb waiting for its tenor.

I'll just tidy up a little while poetry dies inside my sponge.
I live here among the dog hair, the mildew, the rust.
Nikki Moustaki

(apologies to the author, I don't know how to fix the breaks in the lines where they should not appear.)


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Favorite Things

Mrs G. at Derfwad Manor has enticed some bloggers to list a few of their favorite things. I am a day late, but what the heck. I'm not posting pictures because it's too early in the morning to rant and rave and turn the air blue with my swearing when I screw up trying to download something that inevitably I won't be able to find. are a few..

Waking up without an alarm
Breakfast, big, huge artery clogging breakfasts of eggs, hash browns, sausage and them, but don't eat them anymore. (well, hardly ever)
Books..forever and always
A clean and organized house (which is a dream, because you actually have to work to make that happen)
My family, funny, irreverent and loving
Things that kids say...often funny, often prophetic
A large glass (or two) of good Scotch
Sitting quietly and just looking out the window at the beauty that surrounds me (with that Scotch?)
Coming home, opening the door and just being here where I live.
Good and ridiculous jokes

There's more but it's not one of my favorite things to bore people to death, so I'll stop here.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

U if for Unfinished

....and this is barely the tip of the iceberg. I took a few other pictures, but the light is so bad in this house, especially in winter, so I'll spare you trying to figure out what the heck each one is.
Unfinished as in "do not complete anything before you start something else" seems to be my mantra. I could argue that it keeps me from being bored, but that's not true. I am never bored. I just love to start projects and now and then I even surprise myself by finishing.
I refuse to feel remorse. After all, my mother who was crafty and talented as all get out, started me over 65 years ago and I am still a Work in Progress. I am proud to be "Unfinished".


Thursday, November 8, 2007

T is for Teaching

...or memories of my first year.
Fresh out of college, I began my first year of teaching at West Gresham Grade School. I was to be one of two second grade teachers. My salary was a whopping $5,000. I had a tiny apartment right off of Stark Street. It cost me $79.50 a month. You could justifiably describe my apartment furnishings and possessions as Spartan. I had a few dishes, some pots and pans, a single bed, a clock radio, two small rattan chairs and a table that was smaller than most peoples' computer screens are today. I had no dresser, no t.v. and no car. My good friend "K" who was the other second grade teacher did have a car, so that solved my transportation problem in going to and from school. Did it bother me that I had next to nothing on the home front? Not a wit, because I had a teaching job. I was a teacher at last and I was raring to go. I was full of enthusiasm and happiness. It was going to be a great year!
Two students stand out in my mind from that little class. They were both boys and I adored them. "T" was a character whose father was a swimming coach. One day I noticed that he kept bringing out a small object that he had carefully wrapped in a Kleenex. He would pull it out only when he thought I wasn't looking. I kept quiet about it, but kept sneaking peeks to see what he was up to. I could finally tell that it was a very small, but dead lizard. "T" would carefully unwrap the lizard, gently trying to open its mouth, while blowing little puffs of air down its throat. He would then place it on his desk and just as gently, with carefully curved finger, apply a wee bit of pressure to the lizard's abdomen. He would repeat this process as often as he could, trying not to draw the attention of his teacher. It finally dawned on me what he was trying to do, and where he had learned this life saving technique. I think he would have continued with this all day if I hadn't finally convinced him that his lizard was truly dead and beyond resuscitation.
We reverently consigned him, wrapped snugly in his Kleenex, to the trash can at recess. I think we even said a few respectful words. I gave "T" some hugs and life went on.
My other vivid memory is of "J". He was a bright and engaging little guy, but one who would perform a very odd ritual now and then. This ritual was the methodical and intentional habit of licking the surface of his desk. These were not randomly or carelessly applied licks. "J" had a plan and he stuck to that plan, by golly. He would start at the bottom right hand corner of his desk, lick all the way up to the top in one fluid movement, turn the corner, go across the top, down the left hand side, and finish at the point where he had begun...always the same, never deviating from his thoughtful self appointed task. Ahh.
My guess is that "T" became a danged good swimming coach like his dad.(Forgive me, he "followed in his father's wake") I'm not so sure about "J", but I would venture that he's highly successful and works in Washington D.C. for the Federal Government.
It was a wonderful year. I loved every minute of it. Oh, wait a moment while I eat my last words. I didn't appreciate the whopping case of measles my dear class shared with me.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beautiful Saturday

Yesterday I took a walk around our nursery. I went through our small bit of woods and out to the fields. It was the most perfect of Fall days, so lovely, crisp and peaceful. I took number of pictures to share.
I hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend, though some of you may be in the midst of a storm. If the wind, rain and power outages are in your area, I hope that you are safe, warm and dry.


Thursday, November 1, 2007


Rest in Peace little garden. Though you are being surrounded by the greens of your lesser sisters the weeds, black flags are being raised for you. Black flags are heralding your impending journey...back to the cradle from whence you came.
Thank you for all your summer goodness, thank you for the color and nourishment that you so exuberantly provided. Thank you for sharing with us all of your bounty. Thank you for the promise that you bring every Spring. You were beautiful in all of your fulfillment. I miss you already. Though you are gently going, you are allowed to rage against the dying of the light.
Rest in Peace little garden and know that more black flags will wave in remembrance and mourning tomorrow.