Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pushing Air

The hot weather arrived a few days ago. We will still have days of moderate or temperate weather, but the hot and humid days will return again and again until they arrive to stay.  Every year I hold off turning on the air-conditioner until June 1 if I can.  I live in the middle south and our summers are always hot and humid for at least two months.  With global climate change, it will be for three months (or more) in the years to come.

I closed my windows to create my climate cave shutting out all the sounds from outdoors.  I lose the bird and animal sounds and the sound of the wind pushing through the fat green leaves, but I do not mind closing out the teenage girl's loud radio that sits on her dock across the river every weekend.  I do not mind missing the sound of the lawn mowers and speed boats and barking dogs.   I do not mind muffling the loud museum concert that is being held just two miles away in the outdoor garden that I help weed!  I live in the woods where there should be little sound, but the water is a perfect surface for carrying the abundance of man-made noise on weekends.

Once the AC is on, we become spoiled.  We go outside to work or shop or visit early in the day until the sweat drips from our brows and nose and then we quickly retreat to the cool space of this house and rarely go out again.  We tend to hide and find indoor things to do in the middle of the day.  We get better about combining errands.

I find that I must also remember to bring sweaters to restaurants and movie theaters and museums because they crank up the AC much higher than I do.  I am always amazed at the way stores in the beautiful climate of Hawaii find it necessary to create rooms like refrigerators for shopping.

When I flipped the switch this year I was even more aware of how big a decision this was.  Even with zoned cooling, I am burning fossil fuels to heat rooms with high ceilings that I rarely use.  I am pushing artificially cooled air down hallways and into upstairs bedrooms.  What a luxury to burn this fossil fuel while people all over the world deal with the climate into which they were born, without AC!  Here in the mid-south people used to quit housework early and sit on porches under fans and pant until the sun set and they could move once again.  What a luxury to be able to afford this expense...for now.  I cannot help but think we as a society in North America are at the peak of of our life style.  I cannot help but think generations to follow will have many compromises to make in how they live their lives that would surprise us if we were here 40 years from now.

Monday, May 28, 2012



How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!  ~Maya Angelou

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Indexing This blog

I rarely look at my stats from Blogger since that is not my motivation for writing, but the other day I was curious as to the searches that lead to this blog...

famous russian drawings--4
osprey feather--3
bad karma stories--6
bob marley hold hands with president--2
chinese help americans during wwii--2
how does people dress in jamaica--2
how much is scrap metal worth in michigan--2
i think too far ahead--2
osprey feathers--10
fiddle and faddle photos--8

These searches were entered over the past month I think.  Anyway, while some of these are really nice, and others are very confusing,  I clearly need to do a better job in wording my titles and in creating subject labels for my posts!

Yesterday we took a drive to the north part of the county and I captured some lovely scenery.  Lets see what descriptions I can give these to get more interesting hits!

This is the historic George Peters house and I could find absolutely nothing on this house on the Internet.  Guess I will have to look around locally!

This is why the chicken crossed the road, because this was on the exact opposite side.  The beauty captured me so I almost walked into an oncoming car on this lonely stretch of road.
Speaking of chickens crossing the road...we were weren't we?... this was a surprise bird that was crossing the road!

He is so stunning that he could stop traffic anywhere!  (Now I am waiting for Purdue hits or maybe KFC--that is an inside U.S. joke.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


This is such a repetitive theme with my blog that I should start a separate blog devoted totally to how creative or stubborn I can become in putting things off.  (Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition.)  Many of these tasks are so easy, I just do not understand why I set them aside until they create sour thoughts when I look at my lists and they continue to sit at the top of a long list with nary a line through them.  Yes, I am a list maker, but that does not mean I regularly accomplish all on my list.  Some of the items I put on the list because I am a masochist, surely.

Cleaning the house items get ticked off cleanly and rapidly.  Bill paying, gardening chores, shopping items are all routinely completed.  BUT, answering invitations (those rare items) to weddings, graduations, and dinners get put off until the very last minute whether I am saying yes or no.  What is up with that?  Why do I find these so hard to complete?

Returning phone calls get postponed over returning emails and FB comments every time.

AND, of course, anything to do with exercise can be postponed until hell freezes over if my lack of guilt allows.  I have gone through periods of regular exercise activities...free weights, elliptical walking, aerobics tapes (Just the fact that I use the word tapes gives you a clue to how long ago I did that!) and yoga.  I felt so good after doing these each and every time.  But this period is easily interrupted by a trip, house guests, and most recently my ankle injury.  I still do lots of woods walking, but that is the exercise of last resort.  That is the exercise that people brag about...and it really is not exercise.  Admit it.  Do you work up a sweat?  Do you have sore muscles that need to be stretched at the end?  See, it is not exercise.  It is what we do...just like eating.

I still have a stiff ankle now and again and I readily use this as an excuse, a weak excuse, to avoid exercise.  I was going to start an exercise routine May 1.  I promised myself.  But then one day it rained and the next day the sun was shining.  OMG it is May 22 already!  Yesterday I ran after two rabbits that were in my flower bed and was shocked to find how strange and stiff running felt!

I absolutely must get off this pillow of fat on which I sit...after my second cup of coffee.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tail End of the City

This famous city was surprisingly clean and non-odoriferous.  At least not lots of bad odors.  Cleaning up car emissions over the years has improved the air in cities everywhere.  There was some noise due to car honking but around Central Park the most obvious noise was bird song!  Birds sing louder in cities and urban areas because they are competing with all the ambient noise.  The sidewalks and street gutters were also clean for such a large and busy city.   I felt very safe almost anywhere I went and we even walked all the way back after our evening dinner without incident.  We passed the Today Show studio and noticed it was directly across the street from a nice bakery.  We made a note to head that way in the morning for breakfast as it would be Sunday and the studio should not be open and therefore not much competition for breakfast.

But as they (whomever they are) say...the best laid plans are easily thwarted.  We got up bright and early and headed out only to discover that all the streets within two blocks of that bakery were blocked off.  When we asked if we could head to the bakery a young woman in jeans that were so tight they must stop circulation, barely looked up from her I-phone and said she was sorry but they had just flipped a car.  "They" we later learned was the movie crew who were filming  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller.  My daughter sighed and then said...well he is not exactly eye candy, and thus we walked on trying on her phone to find another bakery, and we did.  We were in New York, after all.  Below is one of the movie trucks although I am sure they have some special fancy name for them like grip wagon.

After breakfast we headed out to see the Frick Gallery which had been suggested by blogger guy, Stephen, The Chubby Chatterbox.  This was a perfect suggestion on Stephen's part as it was within walking distance, and I had never heard of it, and it ended up being a gorgeous collection of artwork by the masters.  We were surprised to see the beginning of a line 30 minutes before the museum opened and once inside we learned this was a donation Sunday.  Pay what you want!  I treated my daughter and I and paid the full price because I can afford it and it is a good cause.

The museum is a mansion on Central Park once owned by Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919).   I could not take pictures inside, but you can read all about it here.  At the end of this tour we headed out for lunch and found a street-side deli and had sandwiches and were most incorruptible by avoiding all the delicious bakery items in the case by the door.

The rest of the afternoon was devoted to street walking and shopping.  Daughter wanted to supplement her work wardrobe and I actually found a very few things that fit me.  Everyone is size 0 to 4 in those shops!  Once I tried on the Large size I actually found something that fit!  Those skinny Europeans do not play fair.

We then enjoyed the architecture of the city before catching our train back home.  While there was no time for a show or play, there is always time for another trip in the future.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

City Life Part II

My trip to the city was paid for by my daughter. For those who wondered where I stayed, it was at the Marriott in Mid-town and my daughter used her many points to pay for the overnight bill. My daughter figures that we walked an average of 20 blocks each day...but I think it must have been more. My ankle did not give me pain although my daughter showed due concern. My issue was just the old joints and muscles that reminded me I must slow down. Actually, if I kept walking I was fine.  Once we sat for an extensive time to rest on a Central Park bench both on the Saturday and the Sunday, moving again was a real challenge. Those of you who are my age realize how your joints fill with lactic acid when you have moved extensively and then refuse to move smoothly after extensive rest until you have forced the walk for another 10 minutes through the stiffness and pain and finally you return to the normal walking mode.

We paid for taxies as the day progressed and the deadines to be somewhere else were closing in on us, and these came to an average of about $8.00 each time.

The very first visit we made was to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art because I have been to N.Y. City only twice and never to this museum.  Most of my relatives are not into museums and I have given in to their interests on prior trips.  But Mother's Day was mine!  We saw only a tiny part of this HUGE museum.  We saw the Egyptian special exhibit which was not nearly as romantic or exotic or dusty as when I wandered the museum in Cairo many years ago.   But it was very informative.

Then we visited the Dutch gallery, saw some Vermeer, and of course, Rembrandt.  Then a short walk to see the Degas collection.  With over two million works housed here there were so many artists we missed, but we had the audio and those paintings that we actually studied were rich in audio description.  For lunch we ate at the museum 'wine bar" and had just a salad and wine. The waiting area was filled with shadows and light and created a feeling of magic as if stepping back in time.

We waited in the lunch line next to an elderly woman who was alone and nicely dressed.  We got to talking and she explained that she lived near the museum and came often.  When I perused the entire collection in the brochure I realized she could come every day for years and years and never really catch up.  She must have had lots of money because living off of Central Park is not for the middle class and for a brief time I was envious.

After lunch, my daughter wanted to peruse the flea market at Hell's Kitchen and this was certainly a dramatic change from the atmosphere at the Met.  It was like going from the Palace to the market place in a medieval city.  She likes to look at antique costume jewelry.  There was lots in the way of junky treasures sitting on folding tables under plastic tents, and even those old pieces that were most intersting could be priced over a hundred dollars unless you were a good bargainer.  We looked at clothing, purses, hats, kitchen ware, lamps, 'antique' books, and junk without definition.  I thought about those men and women who sat each day selling this stuff and wondered if, indeed, it supplemented their disability or social security income.  I also thought about the many prior owners of all of this stuff.  Had they passed on and their relatives sold this stuff or did they sell it because they needed the money?  Or was this stuff found in dumpsters along the streets of New York?  We did not buy anything.

This flea market was in sharp contrast to the antique store on 5th Avenue that we had walked through.  Every piece in the antique store was thousands of dollars even though it was at a marked down price because of the store's closing.  I looked at the jewelry and mused (out loud) about what had occurred to force the owners to sell their diamonds and emeralds and rubies and works of art.  The nephew (mentioned in the prior post) chuckled and told me not to be concerned.  Most of these people were trading up for larger pieces of jewelry he said.  I keep forgetting about the 1%.  I am so out of orbit with these folks!

We ate that evening at A Voce – the Columbia location, a new Italian restaurant that had a write up in our hotel's brochure as one of the top ten new restaurants in the area.  We were impressed because there are hundreds of high end restaurants in the area to write about.  Alas, I was disappointed in the food.  Al dente was too chewy and nothing was exceptional in my estimation, other than an exceptional 'by the glass' wine list.  Neither of us finished our expensive meals, but I did not complain as this was my treat from daughter.

Sunday's activities in the next post...so you can skip this blog for a while if following someone's boring travel is not to your tastes.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I find it more noticeable the changes in feelings that I have when returning home from a very different place than I am used to.  I no longer adjust with slippery ease.  New York City (and the mid-town Manhattan area where I stayed) is a totally different planet than that in my woods where I live. The rigid buildings standing high and imposing block all but a few hours of sunshine.  When you think about all the people and all the activities taking place just above your head it is very imposing.  Cars and taxis are moving to "important" places constantly.  I also saw my share of stretch limos and a Rolls Royce or two...probably paid for in some strategic way by my tax payments!  I think the magic of this place is the compression of all of humanity in one place...rich, poor, lucky, unlucky, smart, not-so-smart, old and young.

Some streets are so full of tourists (everyone else is in in their offices working hard paying for the high rent on the closet where they live) that you can barely pass.  We all seem to adjust as we cross streets, avoid hot coffee and limp cigarettes.  I saw Park Avenue matrons in spring suits walking tiny whippet dogs.  I saw a transvestite or two.  Various gay guys dressed so carefully casual.  Lots of families with strollers.  Mothers and sons and daughters carrying bouquets and lost in the love of their mom on Mother's Day.  The young man below was delivering Mother's Day bouquets to women who lived overlooking Central Park!

I saw many people from other countries speaking in languages I did not recognize and wearing clothing styles that were clearly European.  I saw a few women in Burkas and a few nuns in traditional dress.  I also viewed several wealthy Asians enjoying their money spending vacation.  Many typical New Yorkers of every ethnicity working the streets, the cabs, the hotel lobbies, the storefronts with resigned looks on their faces accepting another day, and a few college age couples enjoying spring.  People watching is the best past time in New York.  Every human phenom on the planet is there.  I did not see any celebrities but I am sure some ran past me in sweaty exercise gear.  My daughter and I sat for a few hours on a Central Park bench resting my weary feet and I was fascinated!  As we people-watched we visited with a new grandfather who was touring with his daughter and her new born grandchild from Boston...the conversation was interspersed with that musical accent that Bostonian' s have.

I soon learned that you cannot walk more than two blocks before you encounter either building, sidewalk, or street construction.  This city is used to pieces!  But I did find that all the locals whether waiting on me or standing in line waiting with me were extremely polite and helpful.  I did not get the finger once, although I did have to be aggressive with a taxi that wanted to drive where I was walking once!! "Hey, I am walking here!"

We shopped an antique store that was closing due to retirement of the owner.  I talked to his nephew (my age) who explained his uncle was 88 and retiring to his horse ranch in Ocala, Florida next door to John Travolta.  It appears they share an airplane runway!  I hope he lives a long time.

A few places including one on the famous 5th Avenue were empty and looking for tenants.

I cannot even begin to think how expensive the rental on this retail space would be...but as the ad tells you...YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT.  And in New York, if you have to ask...you cannot afford it.  More next post.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Off to New YAWK city for a girlie weekend with my daughter. She had planned on taking me to the photography museum when she made train reservations several months ago and we now find it is closed for several weeks! She is more disappointed than I because I just love her to death and want to spend time with her.
So some window shopping and maybe the Metropolitan Museum and certainly some eating!  No posting for a while, but maybe some New York photos later.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


As you begin to read this, please realize this is not a 'political' post. Many of my American readers will remember Governor Romney's comment where he said he "liked to fire people."  Of course, the Democrats ran with that statement and used it ad nauseum to show how distant he was from the common man.  Those with common sense realize that Mr. Romney did not mean he liked to fire people...he does not have the Donald Trump personality which gets off on making people smaller.  Mr. Romney meant he had no resistance in firing people he hired who did not meet the standards he expected when he hired them. 

This might be a clue why he and I are different in fair and honest ways.  Recently we hired a small landscape company run by a 'good old boy' to tackle our lawn every other week.  Hubby likes to mow for the exercise, but sometimes it gets away from him if he has to travel or we get busy, so I talked him into hiring this young man and his crew.  They did a good job last year and their weed-eating saved me lots of time and it looked great!

This year we signed a new contract with them.  I read it carefully and since they had listed an agreement to mow into November I crossed that out and said only through October.  They showed up the second week of April and did a very nice job.  They are quick and the three of them race through our yard in an hour.  The next time they were supposed to be here they did not show.  The days passed and the lawn got high and the weeds went to seed heads!  I am so clearly a liberal because I thought perhaps they did not really want our contract and they had better money makers on their list.  (Romney would have called and fired them then and there.)  Hubby finally called and he got some whiney excuse from the young man that they had not seen the grass growing much in their area and so did not head to our yard.

Well, when they did show up 6 days LATE, the young man admitted that he had taken on a large mulching contract in the early spring and had fallen way behind!  He and hubby talked about how to run an effective business and how to make sure you communicate with your customers.  The young man apologized and admitted he had been completely at fault and said that he did not want to lose us as a customer.  He had looked so different, he had changed his eating habits and lost 60 pounds, which made us even more supportive of his efforts.

We are dyed in the wool liberals, because we are giving them another chance.  They are due in two days...we will see.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Your Visions

In my prior post I wanted to see what my readers thought of as personal peace and beauty.  I also wanted to see how similar we might all be in our visions.  I thank those of you who were brave and honest enough to post an answer.  My little mental picture is written below.  I wrote the description before I posted the prior post and read your answers for an honest comparison.  It is interesting to see how similar many of us are in our need for water which I am sure psychologists will say has something to do with our mother's womb.  Most of us also needed the outdoors, and some of us our loved ones.  Granny was the adventurer and just wanted to be out and about and Peruby and Gigihawaii went back in time to a magic moment.

My vision:
The waters are like a mirror and it is end of a warm and sunny day.  Everything is now being bathed with golden and peachy light.  I see a friend returning in a kayak at the mouth of the river waving and I wave back.  I see another friend tacking his sailboat one last time into his dock.  I hear my grandchildren laughing and running down the hill to join me at the dock in watching the sunset with their parents talking quietly behind.  Birds are still singing but beginning to sing more calmly as they tuck in.  Hubby joins me and brings an iced tea for him and a glass of white wine for me.  We watch the shorebirds begin their flight away to safer areas for the night.  (I also have a nice little mutt that sits at my feet adoringly which is not true in real life.)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Little Experiment

Imagine you are in a room of diverse people who are there to learn how to prioritize their goals, how to evaluate issues and how to reduce stress.  The instructor asks each person to close their eyes and to describe a scene (real or imagined) that is their favorite scene or would be a favorite situation if they could be there.  What would you describe?