Thursday, May 31, 2012

Funny Facets

What a funny day.  At least, I am looking at life's facets through humor-colored glasses today.

I awoke early as usual, started the coffee, and went in to check emails.  There was one from The College Boy, discussing his car.  The car that he has not driven in six months.  How can any American college boy go six months without driving his car?!  Funny, I tell you.

This afternoon daughter Gillian spent an enormous amount of time tutoring me on how to download Shakespeare from Amazon to iTunes, and consequently to my disc-to-burn.  The tutelage took more time than either of us would have liked.  But it is done and I have learned.  Just after we finished, she had a letter to mail.  How do we send letters out here in rural Kansas?  I had to explain to her: "Go out to the mailbox, put the letter in, and raise the red flag so the postman knows there's a letter in there."

So simple, and yet...what she was telling me was probably equally as simple to her.  Funny generational differences.

She leaves tomorrow for parts west, which will ultimately place her at points east:  Central China.  This week has been an ordeal of organization for her: moving from her grad school apartment, depositing all her worldly possessions here, and four days later, heading to Central China for the summer.  And - tack on to that: arriving back in the States five days before her sister's wedding, for which she is the Maid of Honor.  So, dear Gillian, pack for the unknown of China, but please pack a dress and heels and plan for a rehearsal dinner and wedding while you're at it.  Oh, the logistics!  Funny week of planning and re-thinking and crossing off lists, and laughs in between.

I have a dear friend who has had a pet Chihuahua for (what seems to me) a million years.  She loves her all her dogs, but this particular pet, Lola, is what I would term a "problem child".  Besides - Lola has always hated me.  HATED.  I am afraid of small dogs, and I know that pup honed in on my fear early on in her puppy years.  We moved away from my dear friend and her family eleven years ago, and yet that dog has always known it was me who was calling, and she would BARK BARK BARK GROWL BARK anytime I called.

Well.  Today my friend called.  Her Chihuahua had died.  In her arms, while they were on vacation in Colorado.  That is very sad.  Anyone who has loved a pet knows the sadness in the death of said pet.  I assumed they would bury Lola out there in Colorado, but apparently the ground is too rocky (Rocky Mountains??) to dig a Chihuahua grave, and so they put Lola in the freezer yesterday so that she can travel back to Oklahoma with them, and that will be her final resting place.  Now.  I will not make light of the fact that the dog that has barked over the phone at me for eleven years and has scared me at every meeting which has taken place between us, is now in a freezer, awaiting transport to better soil.

I did ask my dear friend, though, what her other two dogs must think as they make the drive back to Oklahoma, as to why their canine playmate is in a cooler in the back seat?  I bet those two pups don't misbehave one iota on the drive home.

And then, there are weeds...

The summer we moved to this property was a dried-out, crispy, heat-laden, grasshopper-ridden summer.  It was not a pleasant oasis in my mind's eye, trying to make a home out here in the middle of desert, dust-storm nowhere.  One day still stays in my memory - a man in an official county pick-up truck stopped by to tell me that the purple thistle growing out in our pasture (read: it had been our pasture for approximately 20 days) was a Noxious Weed in Kansas, and we could get fined for having it in our pasture.  I immediately eradicated it (i.e., cut it), and that was that.

But I have to tell you, purple thistle flowers are really pretty things.   It's one of those quandary things, like poison ivy and mosquitoes:  Why did God create them?

I give you, from the pasture-to-our-kitchen:


From noxious weeds to college boys riding bikes, it was a fun, funny day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sam and Yams


This is Sam.  He is from Nigeria.  

Sam is explaining to us that A) American yams are half as large as Nigerian yams, and B) he had to pay 42 yams (Nigerian ones, at that) to his wife's family, plus some goats and other worldly possessions in order to be allowed to marry her.

Sam is looking for a saxophone to take back to Nigeria, if anyone knows where he can find a free or really, really-reduced-rate one.  

What is Sam doing over here, anyway?
He is on a 6-month fellowship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture here in Kansas, doing research on post-harvest handling of grain.

When he is not working, he tells us funny stories about army ants and yams and other Nigerian wonders.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dog Tales


This morning, coffee cup in hand, I took the dogs out to the pasture for their sunrise jaunt.  I strolled along, sipping my coffee, while the dogs gamboled about.  Biserka is a dainty, albeit large, dog that tends towards prancing rather than bounding - bounding describes the bloodhound's movement.  


 
This morning Biserka suddenly took chase after a cottontail.  This is not her normal behavior.  I thought to myself, What are you going to do if you catch it?  Biserka would have no idea what to do with a rabbit.

Further down our path, I spied a large bone.  Actually, it was two long, slender bones, joined by...a joint.  I can only imagine that it was remnant of a fawn, sadly, because I can't think of another animal who has long slender leg bones.  I walked past it, but Biserka perked right up when she came upon it.  I thought, Great - she's going to pick up that nasty bone.  But no, Biserka did just what only Biserka would do: she lay down on her back and rolled all over the bone(s).  Roll, roll, roll, get those bone germs all over!!

And then the bloodhound bounded by.  And did a double-take when he caught the scent.  And he did what the normal dog might do: he picked the bone(s) up in his mouth and carried them away.

For the next half hour, he skulked around in the deepest grass in the pasture, bones hanging out of either side of his mouth, looking for someplace to bury his treasure.  Anytime he caught me looking at him, he would move further out of sight.  Finally he disappeared down towards the creek.  I headed back up to the house with Biserka.

After some time, the bloodhound came back to the house, and as he approached, I could see he was still carrying the treasure, both ends hanging out of the sides of his mouth.  But...wait!  WHAT?!!

Mais oui!

The bloodhound had carried home a french baguette.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Birds: Part Three: Another Year

I witnessed something odd in the avian world this morning.  I am still not sure what to make of it.

While I was out watering willows and petting dogs and smelling the roses, I heard a cacophony (truly) of birds up by the house.  I walked nearer, and saw ANGRY BIRDS in my grotto.  Really angry birds.

My grotto is a small, privacy-fenced area just out our back door.  It houses a small pond (complete with small fountain, which drowns out the noise from farm implements lumbering down the road), which in turn houses some giant goldfish.  My grotto also contains giant banana trees.  (I could be in Tahiti, for all I know), some herbs for the kitchen (or in Tuscany).  And really ancient cat that I acquired last fall.   We sadly lost our top two mousers last summer (presumably to Mrs. Fox), and was in need of a fine feline last fall.  I saw a courtesy listing in our local ASPCA, and inquired withing.  Is it an outdoor cat?  Yes. Will she catch mice?  Yes.  So, I took my cat carrier to go fetch our newest mouser, and what did I meet up with but a seriously elderly cat who has some walking issues (her two right legs take a step, and then her two left legs take a step, so she looks like she is lock-stepping all by  herself.), and what could I say to the kind lady in hospice who was trying to place her pets before she passed away?  I said, "She's perfect!"  I brought her home and let her out of the carrier, into our living room.  That Spouse o' Mine stared at her and observed, "She's not exactly mouser material, is she?"  And I replied, "No, she is not."  And now this amazingly elderly cat lives her spring and summer months in the grotto.  Just this morning I petted her and thought to myself, My gosh, does she ever get bored just sitting here?  Maybe she needs a cat toy out here.

Well, she must have divined my thoughts.

ANGRY BIRDS included three robins, an oriole, and a cardinal.  All fighting with each other.  In my grotto.

As I got closer and closer to the house, I watched (and listened to) the birds.  This was really odd.

Oh, NO!  I got it!!  There's a cat in the grotto!  The cat must be up to no good!  (I was thinking one of the other cats, not elderly non-mouser.)  I opened the gate to the grotto, and there she was:  our little, crippled, non-mouser, with a baby robin in her paws.

Just sitting there.  Not chewing on, threatening, or anything.  Just sitting there with her baby robin.

Boy, were those birds mad.  Herein lies my quandary:  Why were the oriole and cardinal involved?!  

I scooped up the baby robin.  All the birds kept it up with their noise.  Little, crippled, non-mouser just looked at me as I walked away.  So sad - that may have been her thrill of the year.  I took a good look at the baby bird.  He looked fairly mature, with feathers and all.  I looked around for a tree to place him in, but all our trees are so old (and tall) that I didn't have a good place to set him.  This is where bad judgement gets me every time when it comes to birds in the wild.  (See: Birds: Part One) I took another look at baby bird.  He looked mature.  So I THREW him as high as I could up in the air.  My rationale was that, as he reached apex, he would take flight and fly away to his happy nest.

Wow.  I was really wrong on that notion.  He reached apex and fell to the ground.  The birds were really angry now.

OK.  I scooped him up again, and walked around and thought and thought.  Finally, I laid him gently in my jasmine.  He stayed there.  The oriole and the cardinal flew away.  The robins calmed down.

This afternoon. I went out to check on him.  He is still there.  His elders are keeping watch.  So!  If no possum, skunk, coon, or fox gets him tonight, maybe he will have a long and healthy life ahead.

Kansas Morning

Antelope Creek Road, 6:30 am


This is what the fields look like this week, with no rain:
The morning jaunt:
 Nose always to the ground...
 And the apr├Ęs-jaunt horse tank:
(You just gotta love this hound dog.)

 Until we moved to The Sunflower State, I did not know that sunflowers will follow the sun's light, from east to west, during the course of the day.  It's pretty impressive to see acres and acres of farmed sunflowers, all facing the sun.

Last year I decided to plant hollyhocks.
Such an old-fashioned flower!
I am enjoying this horticultural venture...





Thursday, May 24, 2012

If...?

If I get up early and water the entire yard and all the gardens,
          Will it rain?

If I leave the lawnmowers and rototillers out in the yard,
          Will it rain?

If I hang laundry out on the line today,
          Will it rain?

Generally that's how things occur around here,
          But it hasn't rained.
 Thursday evening postscript:
 It did not rain today.




Monday, May 21, 2012

What's On My Mind?

Facebook routinely asks: "What's on your mind?"

On my mind is a daughter's graduation, another daughter's wedding, a son's homecoming, and more.

Daughter Gillian is leaving in a couple of weeks for Xining.  China.  Central China.  Where they speak Tibetan more than Mandarin.  (I think.)  If this is an accurate statement, then Gillian will be in good stead, having studied the Tibetan language for two years.  She is also, she tells me, toting along a Mandarin "travel book" which will help her in the other parts of China, where she knows no one and might need the visual aids.

Where she is headed, she knows people.  Thank goodness.  During her undergrad and grad school life, Gillian has worked in the ESL department at her school, working with international students coming to KU.  In this time she has met many Tibetans, and that is where her Chinese interest lies.  So off she goes in June, staying a youth hostel or two, and staying with families of the students she has worked with at KU.  Some of the families are nomads.  They herd yaks during the summer months.  That will be exciting!  Additionally, a Buddhist monastery near Xining has asked Gillian if she would teach there during her visit, teaching English to students ages 10-21.  She is assuming it will be a volunteer project, and one that she will be happy to do - to give back to that community.    

So!  That is on my mind.  I would like to go there myself!

Next on my mind, the wedding of the summer (in my mind).  Daughter Claire called just this evening, from Virginia, to ask protocol about a wedding invitation, blah blah blah.  And we talked for another half hour, blah blah blah.  I love daughters.  Love that they are headed down the aisle or to China.  Daughters are fun fun fun.

And then, the College Boy.  My son.  He is coming home this summer!  I cannot contain my excitement (though I am trying to, in case something better rears its head on the West Coast.)  He is at Western Washington (Bellingham), and what a terrific place to be.  To live.  To study.  He picked it right.

Interestingly, a few short weeks after his Spring Break, he called home and said he might like to come home for the summer.

He misses us.

He misses Kansas.

I love that boy more than words can express.

And those three kids are what are on my mind today.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Always Remindful

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I love a Haiku!

I...love a haiku!
Fun to count the syllables
Fun to think up words

I...love a haiku!
Iambic pentameter
Also improves it

Ok,ok, serious haiku by serious writers: 
(first in phonetic Japanese, and then the English translations:

me wa yoko ni
hana wa tate nari
haru no hana

Eyes, back and forth, 
nose, up and down - 
the flowers of spring!
- Onitsura (1600-1738)

yuyami ni
mi o sagaseruka
eda no tori

Birds on the branches
in the evening darkness - 
can they find berries?
- Sasabune (contemporary)

I have no idea what the attraction to haiku is, but I love to read it and write it.  I think it must be a smidgeon of poetry, intermingled with some WordPuzzleGameQuizVocabularyFuntime in my wee head.

Feel free to add your own, here or on your own blog.  And really?  No grades here - just fun and funny Haiku Time.  I celebrate it often...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom is Wise

It's days like today when I just need to call my Mom and ask her to repeat to me, EXACTLY and verbatim, what she told me some 34 years ago, upon my graduation from high school.  They were wise words, and I try to dredge up the exact quote once or twice every year, because what she said rang true then and now.  My recollection of her words, though, fall far short of her eloquence.  But here goes:

A mother should celebrate her child's steps forward and upwards and out of the nest.  One should not boo-hoo when your baby hits Kindy or when graduates from high school.  One should not shudder when the offspring embarks on travels to places unknown.  One should celebrate these marvelous steps forward.  There are mothers whose children will not be capable of these forward steps.  My mother had a friend who thrilled when her child, a teenager, spoke his first words.

When I became a mother, I held my Mom's words close to my heart.  They were a comfort to me as my kids got older and bolder and tried new things and, as my Mom once pointed out about my son, as he severed the "maternal" umbilical cord.  (Harsh words those were, but truer than true about letting my son grow up.)

My Mom is wise.  I am sure some of it comes from birthing and raising five of us.  I think most of it just comes from Mom being wise.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. 

I received two wonderful phone calls today, Mother's Day, from my daughter on the East Coast, and from my son on the West Coast.  And to add cream to the Mother's Day Corn Flakes, bright and early this morning that Spouse o' Mine and I drove to the University of Kansas campus to witness our older daughter, The Grad Student, at her hooding ceremony.   

Gillian Louise Armstrong:


No longer "The Grad Student"!








And so, there she goes, out of grad school and into a summer of traveling western China - before she embarks on her new life in curatorial/museum biz.  

Again, my wise mother:  "I recall having a daughter who spent one summer traveling to Iceland and Europe, all by herself.  I think Gillian will be fine."

OK. The sage speaketh.  

And I?  Guilty as charged.  

(Iceland was magnificent, I have to say.)  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It Makes me Want to Run - Fast!

Yesterday as I was entering the outskirts of town, I saw one, then another, and then more young pedestrians (young being college-aged, mind you.) out and about in the gorgeous day.  It was remarkable, and I did so remark to myself, that these specimens of youth looked healthy.  Really, really healthy.  Not the run-of-the-mill, standard-issue college students, who in these parts more often than not are  overweight and seem to dress to accentuate the problem.

And then it hit me: the conversation I had with my own College Boy the day before: the Big Twelve Collegiate Track and Field Championships were in Kansas this weekend.  MY TOWN!

Huh.  That's why all these lithe and sprite-walking PEDESTRIANS looked above the norm: I was witnessing healthy lifestyles exemplified by ah! sweet youth. 

I just think it was interesting that I would remark to myself how healthy these people looked, walking around our town.  So interesting was it, that I also remarked upon it to my lunch date friend, and my son (had to call him - he thought I was very funny), and then that Spouse o' Mine. 

Well!  Anything that has to do with speed and athleticism (besides football) calls my name.  And yesterday and today we have been enjoying Track and Field at its finest: national collegiate competition, right here in our own back yard.  It can't get much better than that, let me tell you.  And the fun thing about track and field?  Why - there's so much going on all over the place, one is never bored.  Watch the pole vaulting, but then cast a glance over to the shot put.  And then amble over (and watch overhead as well) to the hammer throw.  During all of the field events, keep an ear toward the track to catch all the races and relays.  And hurdles.  And long jump.  And ...

... such fun!  

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Mr. SendaK and Mr. Colbert: January

 Author Maurice Sendak passed away this week. I was well aware of his works, having worked in children's' libraries for years, and I sure did get a kick out of this interview with Stephen Colbert back in January (or so). Colbert made this author come alive!


Colbert interview w/ Sendak  (#1)

Colbert interview w/ Sendak (#2)

Short Stories

Short stories are difficult to write. 

And on occasion, difficult to read - for me, anyway.  My difficulty lies in my need, after reading through the short story, to continue on with the drama written.  I can remember even in grade school when we had those reading exercises which held some exercise where we would read about three paragraphs of a story, and then we were expected to answer reading comprehension questions about the meager paragraphs.  I always found myself already lost in the story after paragraph Number Two, and frustrated that the reading was only ~ three paragraphs long, when I would have much preferred to spend an entire afternoon of reading about said subject.

A few years ago, my family, in its perpetual Competition-On-All-Levels, issued a Short Story Contest over the Christmas holidays.  It was well-received, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  We Reese-Websters have some REALLY fine writers in our midst!

As I think now, though, about writing short stories, I realize how difficult the art/craft/talent/profession is.  Hmmm...  must study up on this thing...

Two-Cents' and opinions are eagerly accepted.

I, Mechanic

Last week the remote key thing for my car failed.  I assumed it was the battery, and today I finally got around to bringing the key in from the car (remember, this is rural Kansas...).  I couldn't find a hex key small enough to open the little gadget, and so I used my largest butcher knife.

It worked.

I stopped by an electronics store while in town this afternoon and picked up a new battery.  Back home, I took the butcher knife to the remote once again (I am sure Volvo doesn't see this as a viable tool option, but it works in most cases.)  I replaced the dead battery, shut and screwed everything closed again, and...nothing.  I repeated my steps.  Nothing.  That Spouse o' Mine, with his wonderful engineering degree and all, had his try at it.

Nothing.

Finally, I took the remote out of his hands and began banging it  - HARD - on our wrought iron picnic table.  BANG  BANG  BANG  BANG  BANG  BANG  BANG  BANG!!

Sweet victory was mine.  It worked! 

I went inside, keys and remote in hand, having validated my worth to this world.

Not five minutes later, that Spouse o' Mine stuck his head in the door.  He said my car was locking all by itself.  Outside.  With the keys inside the house with me.

No, I said.  Can't be.  I went out, unlocked the car, and returned five minutes later.  The car was locked again. 

I read the manual, and it did not mention phantom locking.  It didn't mention NOT banging the remote on wrought iron...

I got into the car, started the engine for a minute or so, and then turned it off, and went inside.  That was an hour ago.  Upon checking, the car is still unlocked.

I, Mechanic.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I am Tired

Please do not email me with your diagnoses and opinions and medications and suggestions and ideas.

I am tired.

I am tired because:

I arose at 4:30 am yesterday morning, simply because I was awake; why wait around, I ask?  No nap yesterday, and I was in bed by 11:00 pm.

I arose this morning at 5:00-ish, and got up to watch the moonset.  Yes, it was pretty.  While I was already up, why not get started on things?  After coffee was made, there was porch time to be had (complete with prayers in the dark), and as soon as the sun peeked into the horizon, there was major gardening/mowing/landscaping to be done.  To be done, mind you, before that insipid wind started up.  And so I was running full-speed-ahead until 11:30 am.  And my engine came to a halt: Must have something more than caffeine.  

I ate, visited with a neighbor who stopped by, and went on with the gardening and animal care and such.
By mid-afternoon, I was done.  Toast.  I showered and put on some linen pants and a top that looked...Resortish?  Not Rural Kansan?  That Spouse o' Mine came home from his 60-mile bike ride, and we watched Giro d'Italia and the Kentucky Derby (We enjoy the drug "speed" in a different definition, apparently.)

And here we are, evening.  I have practiced cello, and am starting dinner.

And I am tired.

Shrimp fettuccine coming up, along with radishes and collard greens, from our garden.

Tired.  Content.

Tired...both of us.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Derby Day

When I was a kid, my parents took us kids on fun vacations. Time and money probably played a part in some of the summer trips for our family of seven.  There were a couple of "big trips": a month in California, and a two-week camping trip to Grand and Bryce Canyons.  And smaller, weekend trips to our boathouse on the lake, where we swam, and water skied, and fished, and learned about frogs and snakes and poison ivy and sun burns.  

There are two vacation venues (nay, three), that hold top slots in my memory.  One, when my parents would take us to Arkansas to go diamond hunting.  There was/is a place there (the name of which escapes me), where we would go with our pails and trowels and spend the summer day digging in dirt for diamonds.  I loved these trips!  Not so much because I knew what a diamond was or anything, but I loved digging in the dirt and coming up with interesting things.  Fossils.  Colored rocks.  Anything.

The second, and tippy-top BEST slot in my memory is when my parents would take me for a weekend of thoroughbred horse racing.  YES!  Either to Hot Springs, or AksArben (no longer).  I was in my element there, looking out at the track, running down to check the line-up in the paddock before Riders-Up, and scurrying back to our seats to give my Dad my Win-Place-Show picks.  I loved (and still do) horses, and this was the BEST vacation.  Better still? Somehow, one season, my Dad managed to arrange an early morning tour of one of the racing stables for us, during their breezing.  In heaven, I was.  

And I grew up, got married, had kids of my own, and what do you know: they asked for horses.  We had the means, more or less, to acquire horses - meaning time and energy, but not that much money.  What type of horse does that dredge up, out there in Pony Club world?  It trailers in the Thoroughbreds "off the track", that's what type.  "Off the track" means, in quick-read, a horse that was saddled at a very young age and trained to run.  RUN RUN RUN.  There is little other training in a young race horse's first few years.  They know no ground manners, no walk-trot. Only RUN RUN RUN.  Once their racing career is over, they are only good for ...poor Pony Club families who will (hopefully) make a difference in their lives.

And, so, vice- versa.

We have enjoyed quite a few horses "off the track".  Two of our best ponies (my lingo) were Zephyr and Socks.  Zephyr was fast, and we chanced to see our daughter Gillian race him one weekend alongside another T'bred "off the track".  Gillian remarked that her eyes were stinging and watering, they were moving so fast.  I only remember the thunder of hooves and a prayer under my breath.  Those horses MOVED.

Mr. Socks was sadly a skittish, terrified horse that trusted no one.  It took us hours to lead him (kindly) into our trailer to bring him home with us.  It was weeks, or maybe months, before our other daughter Claire could ride him without her hands becoming bloodied from his constant pulling on the reins.  Sad Boy Socks turned into the world's sweetest pony in a couple of years under Claire's patience.  He was a good boy, and he died just last summer.


Too, there was Cody, who was a sane giant whose job was as a racetrack pony - one of the giants who "catch" the T'breds as they cross the finish line, and slow them to a mild gallop, then canter, and finally a trot, to walk.  He was the pony who allowed daughter Claire to lie on his back as he grazed out in the pecan grove.  He grazed, she dreamed.

And there are many more horse/pony stories in our lives' archives.  George, Dollie GoLightly, Red, Pearl, Max, and many more.  (In Pony Club {USPC} one has the opportunity to ride/loan/borrow ponies/horses as needed.  It is a great national organization.)

Claire & Cody, 
Graham & Dollie Golightly, 
and Gillian and Zephyr Blue


Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby.  Though in the past couple of years there have been some trackside heartaches, I will be there - watching the paddock saddling and Riders-Up! and I will have my three picks.  No mint julep in hand, but a thorough look-see of the field and a thrill in my heart.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

In our Little Village...

I like our trash man.

I must clarify: I like the small business run by our neighbor down the road (1.5 miles, approximately.)  Some man and his wife built a house and did some dandy landscaping, and also built a very large shed to house several trash trucks, and thereby began his local garbage collection business.  Our trash was already being picked up by a nationally-known waste management company, but one day as I backed out of our drive, and onto the road, a man standing by a white trash truck stopped what he was doing and stood out in the middle of the road.  Apparently he wanted to talk to me.  Assuming I had an errant dog, duck, or horse on the loose, I slowed down and rolled down my window.  (This is rural Kansas, not Flatbush.)  This man smiled and handed me a business card.  That's all.  I read it, and told him I would sign up for his local service as soon as our "national" service expired: three months.

And so I did. 

This man is very nice, as is his wife (the office person behind the scenes), and too, his employees.  Like our UPS and Fed Ex men, they are kind to our nitwit canines.  They are smiling, greeting folk.  In this little neck of the Tall Grass Prairie, nice goes a long way.  And I like that I can ride my bike down the road to their house to pay our bill.  Pet their dog.  Talk about golf and Department of Transportation business with them.

Early this morning that Spouse o' Mine and I were outside sizing up the clouds and trying to determine whether or not he should ride his bike 17 miles into work, or should I drive him in?  And while staring up into the heavens, we were brought back to earth by a honk-honk-honk out in the road:  the trash truck was driving by, and having seen that we had yet to set our bin out, honked a reminder as he passed.

Good on ya', sir.
That's a good business.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Certainly: Ramblings

I had so much fun at my cello lesson today!  This, two days after my instructor's recital.  She has a PhD in cello performance, so she is way up there on the scale of good cello-ing, as opposed to me.  I learned so much just from having sat a mere 2 pews' length from her cello and her, on Sunday.  So today she and I had a recital "debriefing", when I asked her all sorts of questions about Schumann, Mendelssohn, Poulenc, and her performance.  A fun lesson for this grasshopper.

That Spouse o' Mine and I, last fall, decided to grow lavender out in our horse-less pasture.  But last night, he suggested another venue for the lavender I have been propagating for the past seven months: Mount Paul.

Mount Paul.  It's a huge mound of dirt out in our back yard. When I say back yard, I am saying...out in the north 1/3 of the back yard of maybe two acres of our entire yard.  (The rest of the 15 acres...pasture and creek and a bit of wheat or something.)  So - Mount Paul is easily identifiable.  And how it came about? Huh.  By a wife's somewhat near-stubborn submission to her husband.  There must be a Biblical verse on which to call me out, but let's let it go...

When we were putting the addition on to this ca. 1887 Civil War soldier's home, the contractor approached me one evening and said "We need to know where you and Paul want the excavated dirt to go, by morning."  (Every move and decision was : "by morning".)  When that Spouse o' Mine got home that evening, I relayed the message to him.  Where should we put the dirt?  I had a good idea (north of the barn.)  But that Spouse o' Mine said, " Have them put it here."  (Here, being smack dab in the middle of what ever "back yard" we had.  I questioned him, not once, not twice, not thrice. Was it REALLY a good place to put a whole lot of dirt?  He ascertained, it would be a good place to put a whole lot of dirt. And so...

...the next morning, the builders DID put a whole lot of dirt right where that Spouse o' Mine dedicated.  A WHOLE LOT OF DIRT.  So much dirt, in fact, that he (that Spouse o' Mine) could have reached up and touched the high-line wires overhead, had he summited the top of the mound of dirt.  It was huge.

I was not happy.

That night when that Spouse o' Mine got home, he got out of his car, looked at the mound of dirt, and calmly commented, "I didn't think it would be that tall."


And from that evening forward, that mound of dirt became Mt. Paul.

So, fast-forward years later, and that Spouse o' Mine has an idea:  Plant the lavender on Mt. Paul (his words, mind you), in undulating rows.

He's a good artist, after all...

More to come in this growing season...
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