Monday, December 31, 2012

Pink Martini- Eugene

A little night music for those of us at home this New year's Eve.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 30, 2012





It is the end of another year. Just for fun I compiled a Top 12 List of Goosepath posts. I picked out some of my favorite quotes from each month of the year.  Here goes:



JANUARY -  The bad news is I have freakin' chickenpox.  It stings and hurts and itches and I feel terrible. And everyday it is getting worse. I imagine myself as one of those poor waifish orphans in the time of the plague in Londontown,  languishing alone in some dreary basement flat. Daily growing more disfigured. 

FEBRUARY - THIS is reality television. The trials and tribulations of the entire world dumped into our livingrooms...as we mull over Superbowl squares and munch on snacks and drink cold beer.  A strange juxtaposition. The battles of good and evil, right and wrong, man versus weather....that'll still be there tomorrow. For today...it's chicken! 

MARCH-  My frustration with all the rhetoric out there is dragging me down. I get emotional and partisan and want to use four letter words and really lambaste people and make my points in capital letters. Hardly conducive to writing a civil post and putting out thoughts worth reading.

But I'll keep working at it.


APRIL- You see, they are mostly all "flat" graves, and they mow around them. It makes life easier for the living.But you don't really get to honor the dead. I stick plastic flowers in there for dad, but I don't feel really good about it. From the road it looks like every other vase with a plastic flower in it.


MAY -  This is where it got kind of far out to me, when the author attempted to remote heal her cat's kidney problems by imagining herself filtering the cat's blood. (Since I know you will never read this book, I'll give you the spoiler. The little cat wasn't healed, but he did fare pretty well in his last few months.)

JUNE - While the IV bag was dripping fluid in me, I laid there and thought of people dying in wilderness. (I'd seen too many cowboy movies lately) What a miserable death it would be to die of dehydration.You and your horse out there on the Conestoga trail.  Out of water. Nowhere to go. The canteen dry. Hmmph.  Then I started thinking of the POW's, in far off lands, way back when, sitting in prisons, dependent on their captors for the basics of life.....food,  water.... I was not in good shape.

JULY- Can you keep your sole by wrapping it with furnace tape? Zen again...I glanced up at him. For a split second, I think he considered it.

AUGUST - Ate some fudge. Admired the new style fancy chicken coops (with windows and shutters and a gabled roof). Sat on a bench for a while and saw far too many ugly tattoos. Why Why Why do people do that to themselves? Am I judging people or just expressing an opinion? Probably both.

SEPTEMBER - I remember an old friend who used to pick the same sheepshead mushroom off the same tree every year. I tried some once on a steak. It was tough and not really that great. I couldn't get the sight of the bugs floating down the drain when he cleaned it out of my head either. 

OCTOBER - Living in a Swing State means that you can't watch TV without your blood pressure going up because of all the war commercials.  The War on Coal, The War on Women, The War on the Catholic Church, etc. You don't really hear much about the REAL war though. Go Figure. I'm sick of the hyperbole. Let's just get this over with. But then it's onto The War On Christmas season... Santa versus Jesus. Maybe they could debate. It would be better than anything on TV right now. 

NOVEMBER -  The combination of chocolate and coffee is a drug itself. One year for Xmas I got Chocolate spoons. A simple concept really. Plastic spoons dipped in chocolate and hardened. Then you stir your coffee with it and it slowly melts....and you keep licking the spoon.  Oh my. 

DECEMBER - As we all continue to get ready for the holidays, let's remember it is really not about giving an IPAD or a Smartphone to your kid even when you can't afford it. It's about love.

What do you say?  You say, I love you. To your kids, to your family, to anyone who means something to you.  And you appreciate those bonds that tie us together, and you remember the ones whose holiday was shattered.... for years to come, by a madman with a gun.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Benny Hill

Saturday Morning Snow



All revved up on caffeine and no way to get out. Have high hopes of hitting the gym, maybe work off some of the pizzelles. Cat and I are looking out the window at the snowy trees and beyond that the snow covered and slippery roads. Have to dig out the driveway again in order to go anywhere.

 Hardly seems worth the effort to get all worn out and then go to the gym tired. Big snow blower in the garage, but I'm afraid of it.

 Decided to wait for someone to come and effortlessly and self propellingly do the driveway for me. Someone who enjoys that sort of thing. Flinging snow 14 feet away.


 More pizzelles. More coffee.

 Trapped here with three boxes of candy. Wisely I put them in the freezer. This way if I do lose all willpower it will take time to eat them.

 All kinds of animal tracks on the side of the house near the woods. Worried that a pterodactyl took up residence when I saw tracks about 6 feet apart. The eleven turkeys I saw the other day are tucked away. Looked for mouse tracks to see how they got in. Another dead one yesterday in the attic. No clues.

 Hmmm.

 Snowing harder now. Nice not to really HAVE to go anywhere.

There's always laundry to do. And the new vacuum cleaner showed up yesterday from Amazon. It really SUCKS. And that is a good thing.

 Or I can kill more time on here watching Youtube. Until the musical cat clock starts playing Christmas songs again. All work and no play makes me a dull girl.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Everybody's Talkin- Tedeschi/Trucks Band

Day After Christmas Update


Hello out there. Sipping coffee and procrastinating setting up a wireless router and waiting for the snow storm to hit.

I got what I wanted this year. My wish was for no one to be in the hospital, and for a new blow dryer and
a hot water bottle. Anything else was gravy. I don't know why I'm sharing this, but maybe it has to do with my New Year's Resolution to be more grateful.  Here goes:

Two beautiful scarves that are exactly what I would have bought if I had to choose them. Long and flouncy and modern. Earrings, gloves, candy, homemade cookies and treats, specialty cookies delivered to the house, homemade soup, an umbrella, a soft fleecy purple night shirt,  Susan Tedeschi/Derek Trucks band double live CD from King Bhumi, an electric screwdriver, more chocolate, money, gift cards, Christmas dish towels, two medical books--one on GERD and one called Anxiety for Dummies (thanks sis), and the cats got a ferminater and cat treats.

I did a good job resisting the urge to buy stuff for myself while shopping. Only two things: A Kevin Spacey movie and a bagless sweeper (Dirt Devil).

Ho Ho ho.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 23, 2012




I hate wrapping Christmas presents. This is something pretty much everyone knows about me. This morning I am looking at a mountain of presents and wrapping paper and bags and...a cat in the middle of that somewhere. I put it off thinking the world would end and I didn't want to use my time wrapping gifts that wouldn't be opened anyway.

So now I face this task.

Oh some people put so much joy into it. I have gotten gifts that are meticulously wrapped. Even, tight
corners.... colorful bows....even the printing on the paper matches up on the bottom somehow keeping the pattern just right. Those presents are never from me. I put thought into the gift itself, but the wrapping? Not so much. I usually sit on the floor with two cats tearing up tissue paper and fighting over the wrapping rolls... struggling to cut the paper, leaning over it and eventually tearing it and, then just taping it up and folding it over somehow and making it work. I bought bows, but I don't know where they are.

One time at a wedding shower, the bride to be opened my present and found the empty tape roll inside the
bowls I bought her.

Speaking of tape I have 4 rolls of mostly used up tape from last year. I started with one roll and probably lost it, started another, used most of it.....started another...and here I am a year later.

That said, gift bags are the answer for me. But somehow, it takes all the anticipation out of opening the gift. I remember I had this friend...one of THOSE PEOPLE, the meticulous ones....who not only carefully wrapped and hermetically sealed the edges and put a tight ribbon and bow on the package, but also TAPED THE BOXES shut with a million  little pieces of tape. It took like 10 minutes to open the gift.

When it takes that long to open a gift it better not be socks.




Wisdom


"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." -- Mister Rogers

Along Comes a Singer...and a Song

Stay with this... it really kicks in and kicks ass!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anthem- Leonard Cohen

What Do You Say?


What do you say?  Mostly you just stand there speechless and stare at the coverage of the tragedy and wait. More questions than answers in the school shooting that left 28 people dead. 

I've seen renewed arguments online about more aggressive gun control. This quickly spirals downward into a shouting match over "taking away guns" from honest citizens and the bad people will get them anyway. Or snarky questions, too, like "What regulated militia did this guy belong to?"

Or if you are Mike Huckabee on  Fox you blame it on "taking God out of schools."

Right. And movie theaters and malls....  C'mon.  He's not HELPING.

But situations like this do bring out the "good" people.  The "helpers" as Mr. Rogers used to call them.  "Look for the helpers," he used to say to the children in a bad situation. The police, the firemen, the first responders. The friends and neighbors. Families who reach out to one another in a great time of need.

As we all continue to get ready for the holidays, let's remember it is really not about giving an IPAD or a Smartphone to your kid even when you can't afford it. It's about love.

What do you say?  You say, I love you. To your kids, to your family, to anyone who means something to you.  And you appreciate those bonds that tie us together, and you remember the ones whose holiday was shattered.... for years to come, by a madman with a gun.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, December 9, 2012



It's a gray start to this Sunday morning with more rain expected. A good day to pay bills, write out Christmas cards and watch football and eat pizza.

Every day can't be a sunshiney bright day, right? If it was, I believe we would enjoy those days less. Here in PA, those perfect days are few and far between so we are used to gray and gloom. Some of us even take
Vitamin D just because we get so much less sunshine than the rest of the planet.

Inside though, it couldn't get more colorful and cheery. When I lived alone, I really didn't care all that much about decorating for the holidays. A wreath on the door, a small table size tree and a few snowmen, a sprig of mistletoe over the door frame and that was about it. Now that I'm here with mom, the holidays take over every corner of the house. Yes, it's all a bit overdone, and perhaps a bit cluttered, but you can't deny the spirit of the season here.

Except for the cats. I think Sweet Pea is Israel, trying to occupy more and more of the prime spots in the house, displacing Sambo who lived here first.  The battles are endless.

I wish Hillary would cut her hair. She is doing a great job, but her hair is getting in the way. Pulling it straight back is too harsh. When she wears it down she has good days and very bad days. Overall a shorter cut for her would make for a more consistent, classic look. I probably should take my own advice here too, but not just yet.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, Sunday, December 2, 2012


The rain and 60 degree temperature today is really going to clash with the Christmas music. That said, I won't really complain all that much. I am musing about what it will be like here maybe a hundred years from now when I am long dead and this is beach front Pennsylvania property with Tampa-like Winters. The rising of the ocean water from the melting icecaps and climate change is going to be a big real estate boon for my
neighborhood someday. But I won't be around to see it. Sigh.

I didn't hit the Powerball this week. Strange but unlike past Powerball fever frenzies, I didn't spend more than five minutes dreaming about what I would do with all that money. Instead, and maybe I'm getting jaded and older, I spent more time pondering how the heck I'd resolve the practical mess that comes with that amount of winnings. A million or so? Manageable. Hundreds of millions? I'd have to call Romney and ask how I can stash some of it in the Cayman Islands and how best to set up trust funds and such. He has time on his hands right now, I'm sure he would help. I'd probably have to start with a lawyer.  A pretty good one.
Expensive. I don't know any good enough to help me. I'd have to find someone to recommend one and I don't have any rich friends. 

You see where this is going?  Suddenly being rich is a big jolt of reality. After you buy a new house, a new car, take a vacation, and come back home, you have to decide what the hell you are going to DO with all this money? It can take over your life. Perhaps that is why my automatic first response when anyone asks
me what I'll do with a lot of money, I say I'll build a moat.  I need to preserve my solitude. Keep space for myself to think. Maybe even ban Christmas music from that space for all but two weeks of the year.




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just Sayin'


Hmmm?


The Sunday Morning Muse, November 25, 2012


A light snow is falling and it is a bit foggy. It's here. Winter. The Christmas music is already blaring away in the house. Every time I hear Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town, I get a little sad thinking of Clarence Clemons who died in 2011.

I love the classic Christmas music, but not so much the "remakes" that play endlessly in stores. I can do without the rap versions, too.

 Right now "I Want a Hippotamus for Christmas" in on. If I never hear that again all season, I won't be too sad either.


I used to work in radio and I can remember us having to unofficially "ban" "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." There were "live" DJs back then and regular listeners would call us a million times for that song. And if you played it, then others would call and say they just missed it, and could you play it again?  And if you didn't, they were smart enough to wait until the next DJ came on and talk them into playing it. Or they would just keep calling back asking when it would be on again. So for awhile we just told people we didn't have it. It was simpler that way.

I remember someone offering to buy it for us so we could play it.

Radio sure has changed since then.

Sad, really.

Support whatever "live" local stations that are left.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 18, 2012



Cat and I looked out the window and saw stars about twenty minutes ago....now the rim of orange is over the valley, the stars are gone and sunrise is 15 minutes away.  Another day dawning.  Been trying to let things just be this week. Don't push the river. Live in the present. But it's hard to do sometimes.

Like, today is a good day to put up Christmas lights. Get ahead of the game. I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but if radio stations have already gone "all Xmas all the time," it's not me who is pushing things worse. I've already heard Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer. Personally, I think all this is silly. I'd be happy to limit the holiday season to just two weeks. Quality over quantity.  I wasn't happy with some major retailers telling workers they have to work Thanksgiving day to get a jump on Black Friday either.
All this is motivated by greed. Let these people celebrate THIS holiday with their families, before the whole
Christmas rush starts.





I Will Be There

Just a great tune, Cheering me up today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 11, 2012

The Sun is coming up over the valley and it's going to reach 70 degrees today. And it is Veteran's Day.  If that's climate change, I'll take it! Wow. 

I finally bought boots. Good boots for now shoveling and also a nice pair of brown low cowboy style boots for just kicking around in, and also a couple of pairs of tights. I'm ready when it does turn cold. The woolly worm has no stripe at all this year that means we will be in for a bad winter, eventually.  BUT NOT TODAY!!!:)

After a very cold couple of nights this week, Coco, the cat on the porch, will be happy to find the "door into summer" today. She has her cat mat out there under a covered table and has been huddled in there trying to stay warm. There is nothing that makes me smile more than to see her run out into the sun to her favorite tree. Her whole mood changes. 

Veteran's day is here. I just put the flag out. It's flying low because I lost the rod you stick in to make it longer. But it is out there. I'm proud of our country. The Mad Men versus Modern Family election is finally over. I'm done thinking about it. And I could care less who General Petraeus chooses to sleep with. I'm tired of scandal mongering. And I hate that 8 minutes of a 22 minute news cast has to focus on crap like this. Of course if you choose to live in the Fox News bubble you are already being programmed to think it is a huge
conspiracy to get rid of him because he was set to testify on Libya. The whole Libya scandal mongering done by Fox prior to the election continues.  Sigh.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Slavery, Killing and Stoning. Vote the Bible.



I saw Billy Graham's ad in an Ohio newpaper yesterday. A full page telling people to vote according to the Bible. Of course he means Anti-Gay, Anti-choice, etc. He never told people how to vote, but it is pretty clear he is not a Democrat. I get a chuckle out of people sometimes.

The first thing I thought of was a few lines from the TV Show The West Wing. President Bartlett, asking questions about some bible references:

"I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21 : 7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? 


My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35 : 2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? 

Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11 : 7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? 


Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? 

Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? 

Think about those questions, would you?"




Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 4, 2012





Another week in Swing State Hell. It will be over soon. Damn commercials. They still twist my gut, even though I have heard the lies over and over again.

Anyhow.

We survived Hurricane Sandy here where I live. We're far enough inland. But the sun was missing all week. Saw glimpses of it yesterday. I miss it. Halloween was rescheduled to yesterday. As usual we didn't get any Halloweeners and I am eating candy for breakfast. Hershey mini bars and bite size milky ways. The combination of chocolate and coffee is a drug itself. One year for Xmas I got Chocolate spoons. A simple concept really. Plastic spoons dipped in chocolate and hardened. Then you stir your coffee with it and it slowly melts....and you keep licking the spoon.  Oh my. 


Judy Dench Said...

Mr. Burns Endorses Romney

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, October 28, 2012


Oh what a beautiful fall week! Record highs,  beautiful sunshine.... but now we prepare for a drastic change in weather....

FRANKENSTORM.

Just in time for Halloween. It's exciting. Now instead of the endless election horse race stories, we get treated to something new.... endless storm track speculation and hype! Complete with colorful maps with loopy colors going all over it in a swatch of thousands of miles. Obligatory storm supply prep stories...(get your milk batteries generator canned goods water...CAT FOOD,)  This is GREAT. It gives the media's 24 hour news beast something  to feast on other than that chucklehead Donald Trump. Or it gives Fox News something to do besides endless Libya scandal mongering. (Colbert will explain it to you if you don't have a crazy uncle who watches Fox news all day who is drooling on himself over this.Just follow the link. It's funny. it is also a good primer on how to make your own scandal should you ever need to.)

Until the power goes out. Then...no internet....no FRIDGE.  Back to books and candlelight. Hmmm. And warm beer.

A shout out to Bruce Springsteen in Pittsburgh last night for an Obama rally. Screw the haters out there.  They can have that other chucklehead, Ted Nugent.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, October 21, 2012

It's a golden autumn day...the leaves have been beautiful this week, but are starting to fall off rapidly now. I took a picture of the gingko tree outback, it's still pretty green.  It's a strange tree in that one day all the leaves will fall off at one time and that will be it. Okay maybe not all in one day...but usually in two days. You could do a lottery with it. Pick a day. See if you come close. 

Living in a Swing State means that you can't watch TV without your blood pressure going up because of all the war commercials.  The War on Coal, The War on Women, The War on the Catholic Church, etc. You don't really hear much about the REAL war though. Go Figure. I'm sick of the hyperbole. Let's just get this over with. But then it's onto The War On Christmas season... Santa versus Jesus. Maybe they could debate.
It would be better than anything on TV right now. I'm still watching Pawn Stars and Jeopardy. And one episode of Honey Boo Boo just to find out what it was. Now I know. 

Van Morrison came out with a new CD this month. It sucks. I got a free one from a friend who said it sucked. Now I have nothing new musically to look forward to. 











Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, October 14, 2012

 

A nice fall Sunday morning. Temps in the 50s, going to 70, rain...later. Time enough to spend outside cleaning up the flower beds, and putting away my little yard toys.  The wind chime collection along the garage roof overhang came down yesterday. And I pulled out the giant balsam, thankfully the seeds were ripe enough to harvest. Wait till next year!  

Yesterday I went to the Friends of the Library indoor yard sale. My first job was at that library when I was just 14 years old.  They paid me $2.35 an hour, because you only qualified for minimum wage if you were 18. I didn't care. It was A JOB. I remember my dad looking at me and saying, do you really want to do this?   You will be working for the rest of your life. Why not wait a bit? 

The job meant freedom. Being away from the house. Among people. Access to the newest books! New friends! I fell in love with libraries from that day on. Later in college I spent 4 more years working in libraries.

I looked around the lecture room with tables of yard sale items and spotted a blender like the one I had in college for two bucks. A green Osterizer. Maybe since I was thinking of college, I bought it.  I don't have a blender. 

I want to write more but I can't for now. The incessant buzz of a train vaccuum is blaring from the train yard down the valley. I have to figure out who to complain to about  this because it is an everyday thing now. No peace this morning.






Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TLC [The Learning Channel] was founded in 1972 by NASA and the Health Department as an educational channel. It was privatized. Now it shows Honey Boo Boo. #savePBS

SAVE PUBLIC TELEVISION

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, October 7, 2012


I like October a lot. The ritual of cleaning out the garden, taking pictures of the colorful trees, pulling out sweaters from the closets.... decorating for Halloween....

I don't go overboard like some people, I just put a few subtle things around, like this skull in my rock garden, a few pumpkin heads and decorations and a few novelties on Coco's porch, but it's fun. A shame we don't get many Halloweeners anymore. Kids go to the better neighborhoods, plus there aren't many kids around here anyway. I buy candy just in case. But I end up eating it.

Another ritual I like is digging up old horror movies and watching them. Right now I'm watching Vincent Price's Diary of a Madman. I like the old movies better than the new slasher and violent type movies. House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax, Dr. Phibes...Vincent Price is great. My all time favorite horror movie is still Night of the Living Dead, made in Pittsburgh."They're comin' to get you, Barbraaaaa...."




Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 30, 2012

 Sunday morning once again. Cats fighting over a turn at the window and a sunrise over the valley, third cup of coffee almost gone. Pondering caffeine today. Wondering whether it would be a good thing to cut back on or quit altogether, but I just don't know. I enjoy coffee.  

In the market yesterday I bought a caffeine free tea. The name on it, Tension Tamer, drew me in immediately. Also a nice quote from Lao Tzu on the box. "Without even going out of the door, one can know the whole world." All that is nice, but what does it taste like?

The first ingredient is something called Eleuthero, which I never heard of. In the Blendmaster's Notes... it is described as an Asian herb popular because of the sense of calm and well being it imparts. If you believe the box, there is also a nice assortment of  peppermint, cinnamon, ginger and licorice, but also, strangely, catnip.  In Tea?

Hmmm. I tasted this concoction and it is drinkable. Not something to jump up and down about, and not something I'd drop coffee for right this moment, but I won't throw it away. That's a pretty half hearted endorsement.

Also pondering how much simpler life would be if the cats understood the word No. I asked Sweet Pea if she knew what no meant, and her skeptical look communicated quite clearly "No."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

219!!!!!!!

I've been humming this song most of the week. I am officially off Statin Drugs! My Statin Free Cholesterol is..... 219! No more side effects, no more pain.

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 23, 2012


September has to be the fastest month there is. One week to go and it seems it just started. My freak balsam is still blooming. It is beautiful. I am going to harvest seeds from it to see if I can grow huge ones again next year. It wasn't even in full bloom when I took this photo.

This week was a peaceful one. I managed to read all of Teacher Man,  the third in the Frank McCourt series. I enjoy listening to him talk so I searched out some YouTube clips. I would have loved his classes. His second two books, can't compare to Angela's Ashes, but they are still worth reading if you enjoy his style and his stories.

It's foggy over the valley this morning. The temps went into the 40's last night and I fired up the cat mat for Coco on the porch. It still works. It only has the heat of a small watt bulb but it gives comfort to her old bones. The two inside cats still hate each other, but love me more. They will sit on either side of me in bed while I read now. But never together. I still put them in cages for the night though. Sambo howls like I am taking her to her death. It is actually kind of funny now. The same routine every night. Howling the whole way down the cellar steps, then I stick her in the cage and she runs to the far end and hisses at me.  All is forgiven the next day and we start over.


Teacher Man

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 16, 2012


One of those gorgeous days. I  spent just about all of today outside. Perfect temps, low humidity, blue sky, music, a lawn chair and the cat. It's a rare day that I do absolutely nothing other than cook dinner. Nothing. And I'm lovin' it.

Probably a good thing I took it easy today. I got the sore throat that is going around.  I'm sucking on a Hall's cough drop as I type. The progression everyone else has taken is this:  Sore throat, then fatigue, a head cold,  then onward to the chest. People at work hacking and snorting all week.  I am hoping that with luck, maybe I can stop this thing dead at the sore throat stage just by refusing to be sick.  We'll see how I do.

I finished Tis, the second of the three Frank McCourt books. I ordered Teacher Man today and also a book by his brother called A Monk Swimming.   (blessed art thou a MONK'S SWIMMIN...)  I heard his brother is quite the character and it is full of some pretty good stories in his life.

September is half over. Sheesh. Looking for winter boots online today. It got depressing and I quit.  I'll wait till October. I really don't feel like buying boots right now.  Maybe winter won't come again this year.


When the Leaves Come Falling Down

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 9, 2012

  Celebrating another trip around the sun. Tomorrow I'll be 48 years old. I'll celebrate today and eat things I shouldn't and spending time with friends and family. I looked in the mirror today and had the strangest thought come into my head. What if, say 30 years ago someone could have shown me that reflection and said, this is how you are going to look at 48? What would I have thought? 

Or, if I could speak to that 18 year old, with all this wisdom of experience, just for five minutes, what would I say? Trite as it sounds, I would tell her, don't be afraid. You can do anything. Oh, and buy Microsoft! But sell it before the dot.com bubble breaks. Then buy APPLE! 

September is here. Temps in the 50's last night. "Fall" clouds in the sky this morning. Sunflowers still doing their best to cheer up the fading garden, but the other flowers are fading fast. I gave up on weeding all together. It is what it is.

Huge puffy mushrooms in the damp back yard. Wonder if they are poisonous. My they spring up fast.
One day nothing, next day as big as a baseball. I remember an old friend who used to pick the same sheepshead mushroom off the same tree every year. I tried some once on a steak. It was tough and not really that great. I couldn't get the sight of the bugs floating down the drain  when he cleaned it out of my head either. 



Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 2, 2012


Serious rain yesterday. My prize two and a half foot balsam is sprawled on the driveway with a 4 foot amaranthys drooped on top of it. Sunflowers leaning to the left, bushes of crackerjack marigolds doubled over a low fence. Worst for last: 16 foot castor bean stalk with huge leaves, now bent like an old man, pulling out the tomato stake behind it. More rain to come.

Thankfully the power stayed on. No computer problems. TV is okay to watch golf today.

Musing about things I learned this week. A new respect for abject poverty, while reading Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Growing up in the Irish slums eating bread and tea and pretty much that was it. Living in squalor, babies dying of pneumonia. Little lives lost. I picked up "Tis" the sequel to the first novel. It is also a good read. Now I am out of the slums and into the Army Now... McCourt's memoir takes a very different turn in the second novel. No longer life lived through the eyes of a child. The language is a bit colorful, but rings true. McCourt is a great storyteller. This book begins with his adventure coming to America as a young man, struggles with his Catholicism, and years in the Army. I see me picking up Teacher Man, the third book, in the near future.

Seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan this week reminds me how fragile everything is. Breaks my heart to see people lose everything, just like that. Puts my flower loss in perspective.

On politics this week...Paul Ryan didn't run a marathon in under three hours. I knew it was BS when I heard it. He lies when the truth is better. His whole speech the other night should have been rated "pants on fire." The five biggest lies are found here. And this isn't partisan BS. These are clear lies or omissions that interfere with the truth. It is pure cynicism to count on people being stupid.

The whole Clint Eastwood thing was just Bizarre. The Daily Show was all over it. It was a gift to the comedy writers. An angry, old white man with seven kids to five women, talking to a chair. He came across like Grandpa Simpson.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon


As I write this I can see the "blue" moon out my window. This morning on the way to work I saw the moon, too... looking huge and pinkish just along the tops of the trees of the horizon at the top of the hill.

Flags were flown at half staff today for Neil Armstrong. I can't think of a bigger hero.

And a blue moon on the day of his burial. Perfect.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sold American

The Sunday Morning Muse, August 19, 2012




An unseasonably cool and cloudy morning as the cat peers out the window at the bird on the newly trimmed bush under the window. It feels like fall weather. August may not be more 90 degree days after all. And I'm good with that. We had more than our share.

It's nice to be outside. Away from the campaign ads assaulting the airwaves. I visited the county fair this week, and it was a perfect day... nice blue sky puffy clouds. Walking from the parking lot in the wide open field toward the main gate, I remembered how excited I used to be at fair time. The rides, the food, the demo derby. Especially when I was in high school. It was a time for seeing your school friends for the first time in weeks. Or how about throwing darts to win a big mirror with a picture of a Queen Album cover etched into it? I kept that thing, schlepping it around for 25 years of my life, finally getting rid of it when it was damaged in one of my numerous moves.

These days I am juggling a slice of pizza while walking around the booths and talking to people selling things. Perhaps some new casement windows for the house? Sure, come see me. Give me a bid. Or a stroll through the flower barn. A peppermint Zinna won first place. I have several of those here. I could of had a blue ribbon.... but my sunflower isn't that high. Sheesh. That big one must have been 15 feet.

Didn't want a picture of myself with a python for 5 bucks. Not even if they paid ME the five bucks to have my picture taken with their python.

Ate some fudge. Admired the new style fancy chicken coops (with windows and shutters and a gabled roof).
Sat on a bench for a while and saw far too many ugly tattoos. Why Why Why do people do that to themselves? Am I judging people or just expressing an opinion? Probably both.

Time to go.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, August 12, 2012



I got up early today and went out to look for shooting stars. This weekend is the height of the Perseids Meteor Shower. I didn't see anything streaking across the sky but it was a treat to see the beautiful moon with two planets in a line and a few stars nearby.

It was great to see that NASA had a successful Mars landing this past week!  I think it is truly amazing that we can land something on a planet 350 million miles away. There are some really smart people on this planet.
I'm even doubly happy that they succeeded in the mission because I won't have to listen to the dumb cluck naysayers bitching about it, preferring more tax cuts for the very rich or something.

I love space exploration. It is our only hope. I have said it a million times. This planet isn't gonna last forever.
If whatever is left of the human race can survive beyond that, we have to get started at some point.

Ron Meets Chad Everett



 I listen to This American Life every week. I just love it, and if you have an IPOD you can download free episodes through Stitcher or just go to their site and listen on your desktop. This past week I listened to the stories of Special Ed, and this is a clip of Ron meeting his hero, Chad Everett.  It is heartwarming. This is Ron's dream. Ron said everyone must have a dream, and he was able to make his come true during a bus trip across the country where he eventually got to interview his favorite TV star.

Hang On Little Tomato

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Lesson on Statins




I've been a bit under the weather recently so bear with me. I learned a valuable lesson this week. Statin drugs have a lot of side effects. By now everyone knows someone who gets joint pain from statins. Despite the marketing, it is a common side effect, not a rare one. I had that, and switched to another, and got the pains again, and switched to another, and got them again. And now I am on yet another. No joint pain, this time, but my stomach went to Hell, which caught be by suprize.

 I only mention this, not to whine, but to point out that this is a serious side effect. I suffered for a few weeks now and didn't really know why. I was waiting for the joint pain...and didn't even think about a statin causing such stomach problems. I refused to look up the side effects, because that always "works on your mind" and you end up with most of them. When I finally did, and saw the many patients who reported stomach pain and all sorts of other stomach trouble, a bell went off.

 Long story short, I quit taking the statin, and I am amazed at how quickly I got better. I feel like me again. I am exercising, and eating pierogis, and not clutching my stomach all the time, thinking I was destined for gall bladder surgery. Even drank a half a beer.


 I know I'll have to fess up to the doc and tell him I am not taking these statins anymore. And I'm sure there will be a conversation about cholesterol again. But quality of life is important, too. People suffer on these drugs. Why can I rattle off names of several relatives who have had to quit taking them, or just take two pills a week? The side effects are bad, and they are common.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rainy Day

The Sunday Morning Muse, August 5, 2012




It's a stormy Sunday morning, and play has been suspended over in Akron, OH for the WGC.  Looking out my window at the muddy bluish grey sky, and checking the radar,  what they have now for weather will be coming here next.

One of the great things about all this new technology is knowing how to brace for the weather when it gets bad. I get obsessed with checking the radar, and predicting storm paths and such. You feel like your own meteorologist.  I'm no longer watching TV waiting for someone to break into programming and tell me to get under a heavy table.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, July 29th 2012



So much fog outside today I can't see the bridge in the distance or even the trees and houses across the valley. I'm living in a fog. Hmmm. Little Sambo is here with me. Sleeping on the desk with her head upside down, like cats do sometimes. No interest in looking out the window today. Nothing really to see.

Another week of summer is gone. The welcome rains this week made me happy (especially since I have no storm damage), and the greener grass makes me think we are going back to June.... although I know a hot August lies ahead and the green-ness may soon change back to brown-ness rather quickly. The blueberries are almost past their peak, still so many to pick though. They were small this year, despite half hearted attempts semi-weekly to carry buckets of water up the hill to put on the roots. Just not enough rain.

 I am juggling a lot lately, so I try to limit any daily outrage that uses up energy and puts me in a bad mood. That is why I'm not ranting today about the Voter ID law. I actually ranted quite a bit about it this week to anyone within earshot and I'm in overload mode, so I'll suffice to add a link here to Sally Kalson who said it better than I could without using four letter words.  On a personal note I have a disabled, elderly mother, so this issue hits me in the gut. The logistical issues alone for the handicapped and older people should postpone this needless law at the very least. Though I think the blatant politics behind it should stop it cold. Thank you ACLU for taking it to court.




Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Night Stream of Consciousness...


    I'm reading an old book of my father's written by Deepok Chopra about aging well, living a long time.  If you can beat the odds and not get cancer or heart problems, there seems to be a lot you can do to make it to 100. That said, some days I feel like 100 now.  I just don't know where all these aches and pains come from. I'd still have a whole second life to go.... I wish they can speed up science and figure out how to manipulate genes already so cells don't wear out as fast. Seems like people want to live a long time but they don't want to get "old."

  The cat is getting old, but I don't know how old. Coco showed up here sometime in her mid life and her teeth are bad...and she is having kidney trouble now, too. Got a tooth pulled yesterday and she is doing better but the kidney thing scares me. She is such a sweetie.

  Don't ever let anyone scare you away from Yoga. The year I spent in Yoga class taught me lessons I will have for the rest of my life. I try to use some of those lessons everyday. Breathing, stretching, letting go of stress and centering yourself. Yoga is a good thing.





Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, July 22, 2012

  

Here it is Sunday Morning again. Hard to believe, but I don't have a lot to say this morning.   I rarely dream but last night I had this seemingly endless dream and I woke up exhausted. The dream centered around ants. I had ants in my desk where I work, and ants all over the floor and in corners.... and no one would help me.
Finally after pointing out that the ants were now spotted in other places in the building, someone agreed to look into the problem, if I would go to Long John Silvers to get lunch. And also run an errand involving getting some kind of plane ticket straightened out with the airlines.

Bizarre. So I went and ordered lunch at Long John's and while waiting, I went to a "ticket counter" to try and arrange a return flight back home...get this...for someone who died years ago. I wasn't at all concerned that he was dead. I was just trying to get him back from San Diego, or where it was that he went.

Well, the snags that occurred involving the plane ticket became a lengthy ordeal, and now the fish from Long John's was getting cold....and I was still thinking about all those ants... and I really didn't want to deal with any of this anymore. I just wanted to wake up.

Stress. 

When the alarm clock finally rang, I was thankfully launched back to reality, but still left with that feeling of
stress.

The dream book says to dream of ants, as pests, will mean "a lot of frustration and hard work before I achieve independence."

Nice.  Why can't I dream of an "antelope" instead?  (A sudden improvement of financial status...)

Hmmm..browsing through the book now...

I couldn't really find anything in there about flying a dead person back home. If I had to guess it would probably be even more frustration and hard work.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Watching the British Open Today



As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round. 
-Ben Hogan 


 At the British Open: Not many roses as far as I can see...mostly pot bunkers and bleachers. Go Tiger!

Bulbs



One of my favorite VM songs. "batteries are corroded...and a 100 watt bulb just blew."


Friday, July 20, 2012

Who Elected this Guy?




After all the hype and excitement surrounding the new Batman movie, now the nation is mourning the loss of a dozen people at the hands of a crazed gunman. We don't even have a motive in the shootings yet, and already a Republican, (from Texas, of course) is trying to link it to attacks on Christian beliefs.

I saw in the comments section of that article that someone asked, wouldn't it be something if this shooter comes out and said "God" told him to do it.  What then? 


It's stupid, inflammatory and self-serving to even inject religion into this situation without letting the facts unfold. It's just as stupid, this early on, anyway, to suggest that perhaps this guy was just enraged by Rush Limbaugh's comments this week....that the movie was somehow a liberal Hollywood plot to put the name "Bain" in a bad context in an election year to hurt Romney.  (Read more here, if you missed that trumped up outrage. Great column, Tony Norman)

And since this Texan still wants America to be the wild west, he is also lamenting about why didn't someone in the theater have a gun to take down the shooter? 

Of course everyone wants to live in a place where you feel you need to take guns with them to the movie theater, "just in case." 

Sheesh. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Love My Shirt- Donovan

The Sunday Morning Muse, July 15, 2012



"Be polite to all, but intimate with few." Thomas Jefferson


Good advice from a very smart man with big ideas and wild hair.Today I am musing about how Jefferson would have handled Twitter and Facebook. I suspect he would be quite perplexed at first. Why would anyone put out half baked thoughts and serve up their private life for public scrutiny? Isn't that what newspapers do?

After all, this is a man who worked on heavy things like the Declaration of Independence.


 He would probably warm to Facebook in some way. Accumulate a lot of "friends" but, on his Close Friends list....now that is where the real thought provoking ideas would go. Assuming he can figure out the privacy settings....which can confound  Mensa members, I'd say he would really love it.


Twitter is another story all together. I'd say Jefferson wouldn't tweet. That's just me basing it on nothing other than lack of gravitas. I think he'd want more than 146 characters to get his points across.  And he wouldn't tweet short sighted, unpondered thoughts. He was a letter writer after all. Loved to put quill to paper.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Losing A Sole


Being thrifty is a relative thing.

Like, I'm pretty thrifty. I recycle, I reuse plastic bags, I've been known to wander yard sales and thrift stores for bargains, and I don't own a lot of big gawdy jewelry or designer clothes. I've made birdhouses out of plastic pop bottles. Well, one, anyway. I have other birdhouses, too. Probably too many around here. We are switching to something called "chicken scratch" instead of bird seed because it is getting expensive to feed the birds, and that certainly is not being thrifty. Day old bread torn up and thrown outside would be the thriftiest choice, but I digress.

I pitch things or donate things I don't need. And I don't ask for a receipt either. To me that is not really "giving" just to give. I just give because I'd rather someone be using it than it taking up space here.

But on a scale of thriftiness I'm not, say, an extreme coupon clipper or someone who buys 10 of something to get a deal. I do own about eight pairs of tennis shoes but they have been justified (at least till now) as too good to throw away but something no one would want. I could "garden" in them or do really dirty jobs where you get muddy, and throw them away if they get too bad. Besides I have two other "good" pairs to wear in public. Muddy jobs have been few and far between for a few years. I'll be ready though.

Talking to neighbor Al today I got a better picture of where I stand on the scale of thriftiness. Al was wearing his "good" tennis shoes (I can relate) and mentioned that one of his other pairs (gardening type) lost a sole.

Huh? How do you lose a sole? I pondered the Zen-ness of this for a moment and then kept listening. Yeah, one day he was walking, and it caught on something or another and the sole got separated from the shoe. Just like that.

My first thought was, I wonder if they were made in China, but instead I said, well, you threw them away right? No.... the shoe part is still good, he said. But it felt too strange to wear them with one sole on and one without, so he ripped the sole off the other one and still wears them as "garden" shoes.

Mom suggested he wrap them back onto the shoes with furnace tape. I'm not even sure what furnace tape is, but I know she was kidding him.

Can you keep your sole by wrapping it with furnace tape? Zen again...

I glanced up at him.

For a split second, I think he considered it.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

High Summer

The Sunday Morning Muse, July 8, 2012



Today is the day we get a reprieve from the hot weather. It is only going to be 85 degrees. (Everything is relative I guess.) The oppressive heat of the last few days (94 on porch yesterday)led to a big increase in perspiration but also a huge decrease in inspiration. There I times I was content with doing nothing at all. Just open a book, sit my butt down, and banish any thoughts of yard work, messing with with flowers, painting the porch, cleaning out the garage, washing the car, or doing much of anything  really.

Not like me at all. 

So I'm trying to look at it as a recharge of batteries. Time to let go of the stress of life. Rest, peace, enjoying what I have instead of fussing over rearranging and taking care of things. Just details, after all.

But with "better" weather coming my thoughts today turn to reigniting the match. Inspiration....literally "in spirit." Where will that spirit to get back at it...whatever "it" is, come from? What inspires you?

If I had to answer that one, I'd have to say seeing others do good work inspires me. Even something as simple as watering the flowers. I coveted my neighbor's new "watering wand" gadget for their hose. The spray of water on the extended wand with a shower head on the end was perfect for hard to reach spots, baskets and such. Efficient in ways that my leaking nozzle that didn't shut off anymore could ever compete with. A dozen settings, water amount adjuster, nice bicycle type squeeze handle. 

The neighbors were having "fun" watering, whereas I was like an old mule hauling water from the rain barrel up on the hill,(empty now, anyway,) or worse yet, battling the bad nozzle, getting soaking wet everytime and wasting all that water. I need the new watering wand. In fact, I deserve it. I grew most of these flowers from seed, and this is the hottest summer, in almost ever....and may even be the LAST summer if you believe the Mayans...

There ya go. Now I'm inspired. I got the new watering wand. It has all kinds of water spray settings and it reaches baskets without me struggling with water jugs. It saves on water because it actually does shut off. It's gonna pay for itself in a year or so with all that saved water.

And yes, it is kind of fun with it's squeeze handle, a nice spray, a good soak...and that intense Jet setting....take dead aim. My personal blaster.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thirty Minute Love Affair...Paloma's new one!

Last to Know Department- News Flash



Anderson.... Gay?  Wow, can you imagine? The next thing you know we will find out Liberace was gay too.
You mean he is? I mean, was? I mean, like, sheesh, what is the world coming to? I thought it was bad enough that under Obamacare we will be forced to marry gay doctors. Or is that Let gay doctors get married? Hell, I don't know. It would be nice to marry a doctor anyway. Best way to get free healthcare.

What is the world coming to? Andy Griffith is dead, Mayberry was an imaginary town.

Happy Freaking July Fourth!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, July 1, 2012


It's gonna be hot again today. But I got no complaints when I see the wildfires out west, the flooding in the south and the many states where the temp is over 100 degrees.

I heard Van Morrison is coming out with a new CD on October. Born to Sing: No Plan B. It's been awhile
since he last put out a new one, and I'm anxious to see what it will be like. I really have gotten away from music in the old traditional way of buying a CD and putting it on and playing it over and over in the car. Lately, I just put on Pandora and punch around to the various "stations" I have set up and it plays me more or less what I want to hear. 

But somehow something has been lost in this generation. Back in the days of Top 40 radio being the biggest source of music for me, at least, until I could save up my allowance to buy cassettes or records, everyone was listening to pretty much the same thing.  People bonded over the music. Now everyone can listen to anything from anytime in any order....in any genre... and it is as if we are all in our own little worlds. Listening alone. That's how I feel anyway. 







Saturday, June 30, 2012

and the Winner is....


We have a long way to go yet, but we are on our way!  Health care passed this week!  From Paul Krugman's column:



In short, unless you belong to that tiny class of wealthy Americans who are insulated and isolated from the realities of most people’s lives, the winners from that Supreme Court decision are your friends, your relatives, the people you work with — and, very likely, you. 

(snip)


But what was and is really striking about the anti-reformers is their cruelty. It would be one thing if, at any point, they had offered any hint of an alternative proposal to help Americans with pre-existing conditions, Americans who simply can’t afford expensive individual insurance, Americans who lose coverage along with their jobs. But it has long been obvious that the opposition’s goal is simply to kill reform, never mind the human consequences. We should all be thankful that, for the moment at least, that effort has failed.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Sunday Morning Muse, June 24, 2012



Sitting on a chair outside the garage the other day, I heard a strange sound and looked up. The MetLife blimp was overhead, meandering around the sky. Not in a straight path, but instead, a wide, loopy path across the valley, giving me time to take several pictures. It's nice to take pictures of something other than cats and flowers for a change.

The really hot weather has finally left us for a while. June is supposed to be 70's not 90's. One is not supposed to suffer heat exhaustion in June, but that is was happened to me this week. Amazing how fast it comes on. One minute you are fine and the next you can't do the smallest thing.  Like swallow. The hospital people were very nice, and once again, for two times in a row now, the whole ER experience was like clockwork. Mom's last trip went great, and now this time, I got great care in record time.

While the IV bag was dripping fluid in me, I laid there and thought of people dying in wilderness. (I'd seen too many cowboy movies lately) What a miserable death it would be to die of dehydration.You and your horse out there on the Conestoga trail.  Out of water. Nowhere to go. The canteen dry. Hmmph.

Then I started thinking of the POW's, in far off lands, way back when, sitting in prisons, dependent on their captors for the basics of life.....food,  water....

I was not in good shape.

But 1000cc's later I started perking up. Started thinking about food again. Didn't want the other IV Bag, I wanted a nice big cup of water with extra ice! Maybe I'd make it after all.






Saturday, June 23, 2012

Asking for a Sign


I went to Millie's grave today. It was a whim. On the way home. I just wanted to see if the perennials came up. They did. Nothing was really blooming yet, but  the grave looked nice, and I was glad. 


I looked around the quiet cemetery. A gorgeous day. White puffy clouds, a blue sky....and that little
stream of sun streaming through the branches of a tree. And I thought: Millie, if you can, why don't you send me a sign?

The thought was there. You've had those thoughts haven't you? Mostly they are right after someone died. You still feel close to them, and you think....if there is a way...could they....would they contact me? And you remember Houdini and "Rosabelle... Believe."   (Mrs. Houdini kept trying for 10 years, wanting to hear from her husband. Nothing was proven.)

She later said after she herself died, anyone who claimed to hear from her would be a fraud, because when she dies, she will be gone for good.

So I was standing there at the grave, looking at that beam of light and I actually said it aloud. I was quiet, so that no one would think I was crazy, but I said, Millie, I really need to know right now if my life is on the right track. I need a sign from you. Anything will do. Something I will KNOW.

I left the cemetery, and went about my business for the day. Actually I completely forgot about Millie. I wasn't feeling well, and all my mental effort was in trying to make myself feel well enough to attend a party later in the day. Once there, of course I felt fine. I was enjoying the beautiful flowers, good company, and delicious food, and the music.

And then suddenly there it was.

The DJ, who had played Jimmy Buffett, 80's rock, and reggae music all afternoon, out of nowhere played
Brother Louie. From 1973. Looieeee looieeeee looieee, looo- weeeee!!! Millie hated that song. I even wrote a post, years ago, about how she hated that song. "What do you young people"see in this music????" She would exclaim.

This was my sign. It's the one and only song that screams MILLIE to me anytime I hear it. (which is seldom)
I can go YEARS without ever hearing that song.

Do I really believe in such things? That Millie is up there and can hear me? That somehow we do survive
life after death?Heck, I'm not sure of anything. But it did make me smile.

And I needed to let someone know about Brother Louie. The song Millie hated.



(Photo is Me and Millie. About 1970.)




Getting to Mars



This is really amazing. I admire the creativity and brains of these people. I can't wait to see if this works!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Coco Kitty-- Inscrutable Face



The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.  Paula Poundstone


The Sunday Morning Muse, June 17, 2012


Do You Know the KOOKLEE MAN?

Spending time with my Finnish cousins this week has been great fun, and one of the things I have loved about it the most is listening to their conversations in Finnish. It is a musical language, and it can be very difficult to translate. I loved to watch Mia at our family picnic struggle to keep track of who she could speak to in Finn and who she couldn't. (Some of my aunts and uncles are still fluent...but rusty.) She laughed with me, as she stopped mid sentence in Finnish and said "No..Nooo sorry, You are NOT one of the ones who speak Finnish." Then she launched into whatever she wanted to say in English, sometimes deferring to her sister
Kaisa for a special word or phrase.

Pictures were taken and beers were passed around, and I caught a phrase that seems, well really funny in an odd sort of way.

They were talking about the Kooklee man. "Do you know the Kooklee man?"

She said it as one word. The KOOKLEEMAN.

I shook my head, and she insisted.  The KOOKLEEMAN!  He come to my house!  He come to your house! He come to Salmela! I looked around the table, and indeed, some people had seen the Kookleeman.
They nodded their heads and went on with their conversations. It seems I was the only one who clearly
had no clue what this was about.

Tejho jumped up and said we must go in the house and see the Kookleeman, and off he went...and soon the
others were following. I waited a few minutes, still puzzled and then joined them in the livingroom. Tejho was
firing up the computer. The next thing I knew he was doing a search for his home in Finland. He wanted me to see his new house, the beautiful lake, his summer cottage, and also the nearby family farm, Salmela.

He was drawing down on the Google map....and I could see his country, his city....and suddenly he clicks on the "street level view" on the screen...the LITTLE MAN.  The Kookleeman! You see, it is now obvious.

Their "g's" sound like "k's"... and they knew nothing about our "silent e"...

The 'GOO-GLE' MAN!

The screen suddenly was filled with a lovely little olive house with a red car out front, and a very blue lake
visible in the back and lots of trees....the Kooklee man had been at his house!