Friday, December 30, 2022

Happy New Year!

Here's to 

May it be all that you want it to be, and then some!
Wishing all good things to all of you in the new year.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Picture Post, Day Two

New shoes.  New Socks.  New pants.  New hip.  Enjoying the late afternoon sunshine on Christmas day.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Picture Post, Day One

I'm going to pretend that I have a real job and I'm taking a real vacation.  There will be pictures, though, so you don't forget me.

As Queen T noted, it looks better the further away you step.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Merry and Happy Happy to You All!

This was first posted in 2009, when The Burrow was eight months old.  I still haven't found anything I like better to replace it.

I give you, today, my all-time favorite Xmas carol, courtesy of Walt Kelly and Pogo. Sing loudly and lustily to the tune of Deck the Halls.....

Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo! Nora's freezin' on the trolley, Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou? Trolley Molly don't love Harold, Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo! Donkey Bonny brays a carol, Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon, Willy, folly go through! Chollie's collie barks at Barrow, Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley, Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo! Chilly Filly's name is Chollie, Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof! Tizzy seas on melon collie! Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof (Picture is from Robert Sabuda's The Night Before Christmas Pop-Up Book)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

I Couldn't Stand It

I had the best of intentions, but the allure was too strong.  I spent part of last night and this morning reading the 154 pages of teh Jan 6th Committee's Executive Summary. 154 pages seems like a lot to be called a Summary, but I tackled it anyway.  

I will spare you the chore of reading it yourself by excerpting some of the highlights from the first 60 some pages.  This should get you through any water cooler conversations that might crop up this week.... if you can get past his taxes and Zelenskyy and the debt ceiling.

(Quotes from the Summary are in italics; the numbers following the quotes refer to the footnotes/documentation))


Who were these people who thought that storming the Capitol was the right thing to do?  Here's an answer:

12 • Lewis Cantwell testified: If “the President of the United States … [is] out on TV telling the world that it was stolen, what else would I believe, as a patriotic American who voted for him and wants to continue to see the country thrive as I thought it was?”


Lewis Cantwell wasn't the only one.  The Committee has compiled hundreds of similar statements from participants in the January 6th attack.17.”


There is snark    This Report supplies an immense volume of information and testimony assembled through the Select Committee’s investigation, including information obtained following litigation in Federal district and appellate courts, as well as in the U.S. Supreme Court.


They exonerated several entities.

 Although evidence identifies a likely miscommunication between members of the civilian leadership in the Department of Defense impacting the timing of deployment, the Committee has found no evidence that the Department of Defense intentionally delayed deployment of the National Guard. The Select Committee recognizes that some at the Department had genuine concerns, counseling caution, that President Trump might give an illegal order to use the military in support of his efforts to overturn the election.  


They took on Fox News    

Although the Committee’s hearings were viewed live by tens of millions of Americans and widely publicized in nearly every major news source,22 the Committee also recognizes that other news outlets and commentators have actively discouraged viewers from watching, and that millions of other Americans have not yet seen the actual evidence addressed by this Report. Accordingly, the Committee is also releasing video summaries of relevant evidence on each major topic investigated.


And then there's this.

According to testimony received by the Select Committee, the only advisor present who supported President Trump’s inclination to declare victory was Rudolph Giuliani, who appeared to be inebriated.40


And this

 Cipollone: They didn’t think that we were, you know – they didn’t think we believed this, you know, that there had been massive fraud in the election, and the reason they didn’t think we believed it is because we didn’t.


I'll be watching President Zelenskyy.  I'll be perusing the Trump tax documents.  I'll keep you informed as I plow through the Report and the Transcripts (I'm capitalizing them because they feel Important).

But right now, I'm going to dive into full on holiday mode, with the first Winter Solstice Party I've ever attended.  There will be a ceremony.  I'll tell you all about it next week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Do I Let Him In?

The tree is still unclothed, although TBG and I are hatching a plot to light it and put it outside the living room window if all else fails.  The kids wanted a real tree.  I remind them that everything they put on they have to take off.  Somehow, that does not seem to deter them.

Left to my own devices, I'd stick to the candles and Santa pillows.

We've got Hanukkah on the gas fireplace hearth.....

.... someday to be a fusion fireplace hearth?.... with candles bought in Safad, Israel, with us in mind.  

The mail brings me love from Evanston and Belvedere.  Neighbors ring the bell with treats.

Amid all this wonderfulness, I'm having a hard time writing anything about the fact that a Congressional committee just sent criminal referrals regarding the former Chief Executive to the Department of Justice.  Instead, I'm going to send you to Rachel Maddow's podcast, Ultra.  She tells a story, over eight episodes, that is chillingly evocative of the current state of our current affairs.  Her conclusions are those I'd have made myself about today's situation if I were going to let him into my house again.

But I'm not. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the view.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Late Again

Big Cuter and Queen T and LiLou, our grandpig,  are visiting for a month.  

My house is full. My heart is full.  My plate is full, too. 

I've wrapped what needs to be wrapped.  I've mailed most of what must be mailed.  I've baked most of what must be baked.  And yet,  little pieces I've forgotten keep creeping up. 

It's annoying.  It's frustrating.  And,  ultimately,  it's funny.  More people to love. More joy to dispense.  

And a tree that's here,  but unclothed. 
It's bought and paid for.  It was driven home on top of The Uv,  with Queen T keeping it there by holding the tree stand through the sun roof. It was a long 4 mile drive home; I wish the church youth group 1 mile away had opened their shop again this year. 

We still have a lot to do.  I've given Queen T my desk so she can work from home.  I need to set myself up so that I can do the same.  Being on time is important to me.... and so are you. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Happy Hanukkah

And Happy Chanukah

Feel free to add n's and h's and c's and k's as you wish.

It's really spelled like this:  צ'ג אורים סמח

Friday, December 16, 2022

And, Once Again

The day has gotten away from me.  I've been productive at home and abroad, connecting near and far, with merchants and civil servants and automated devices.  My children have checked in and all is well in every corner of the universe, with many new facts and features to be admired and adored.  

I've heard, at the periphery of my day, that there are going to be...... and have been trying to avoid the rampant speculation that keeps the talking heads occupied and amps up my adrenaline in all sorts of unpleasant ways.  Nope, not going there at all. 

Today I did all manner of things, none of which took much time individually but all of which added up to it being dinnertime.  I wrapped and shipped and delivered.  I spent quality time with quality people.

All of which is much much better than what's coming on Monday afternoon.  

I'm going to enjoy these peaceful moments while I can.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


I spent yesterday outside,  gardening.  I transplanted and irrigated.  I lifted and dug. I examined and decided. 

What I didn't do was write a post.

I hung giant ornament balls on the lower branches of the trees... one red,  one green,  and one white and sparkly.  I put the colorful mylar wreaths on the mailbox post. 

What I didn't do was take any pictures. 

I was in the moment,  smiling,  singing,  digging in the dirt. I wasn't thinking of anything else. 

Sorry this is late.  Please don't begrudge me my lovely day. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

It's Raining, It's Pouring

and strangely, neither the old man nor the old woman are snoring.  We are both surprisingly productive.

The rain has been steady, without a lot of bluster.  Usually cloudy days make me sad; somehow, this rain has been different.  

It shows up at the oddest times.  5:30 in the morning, when even the sun knows better than to disturb my sleep.   10:30 at night, after a beautiful, clear, blue sky, sunny Arizona day, just when we walked outside to prowl the property before bed.  From 8 to 11am,  just enough to thwart any hope I might have had of going to Grandma's Garden.

The plants are delighted. During a dry spell, I walked up one street and down another in our neighborhood,  amazed at how healthy everything looked.  That prompted me to walk past my yard a few times, casting a critical eye on what it was now possible for me to do without pain.  I drew X's where things needed to go, knowing that I would enjoy trying to remember exactly the right plant to be placed there without leaving myself a note.  

And I was right.  

There was sunshine enough to dig in the dirt, which, softened by the incessant and persistent and most of all steady rainfall, was delightfully decadent to dig through.  Granted, there were large stones and pebbles and lots of grit in my trowel, but I was transplanting flora which had proven their ability to survive, if not thrive, in that exact same soil.  

I dug away, with abandon.  The yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise has been the same size since it was planted in the ought's; it gave up its residence without much of a struggle and looks pretty happy outside my office window in its new home, under a volunteer palo verde.  

I dug out stumps of barrel cacti gone bad, toppling over from geocentrism and an inability for their roots to keep up with their lean.  I suppose I could get Not-Kathy to devise another sling for them.

I have empty spots due to their demise and the death of the big tree.  I also have rapidly reproducing succulents. My trowel and I disengaged pups from the mother plant

and redistributed them broadly and widely.
It wont' take long until they grow big and tall and wide, and make pups of their own to fill the field.  

I forgot how satisfying it is to dig in the dirt, and not have it fight you with every turn.  It feeds my soul.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Review

Giblet liked the ballet.  

He was told that he could applaud when so moved.  Being a child surrounded by affirmations at home and at school, he was right on it.  Every time someone leapt, he clapped his hands and encouraged them, loudly.  You're doing great!  Keep going!  Good job!

The notion of intermission flummoxed him.  Leaving and then going back was not on his agenda.  When you leave your seat, it's over.... right?  There was no convincing him to return, and so they did not.

Maga's suggestion of a fancy dinner held no allure, either.  McDonald's, please.

After that, they went back to Maga and Papa's house where the kid played happily in Papa's big truck (pushing buttons and turning levers and turning dials and light toggles is his idea of heaven) until it was time to go home.

Grandma to Grandma, I feel for Maga.

Grandma to Giblet, I'm glad there were rides after the ballet.  

Monday, December 12, 2022

Another Plan Gone Slightly Awry

Maga, grandmother only to boys, was delighted with FlapJilly's arrival for many reasons.  Among them was taking a little girl to see The Nutcracker ballet.  FlapJilly was thrilled to have a chance, after COVID delayed it for two years, to dress up, to do fashion, until a fever and tummy troubles woke her up the night before.  Maga had to agree; the kid looked awful.

Giblet was happy to tap in.  He dressed himself in his handsome pants (khaki's) and his handsome sweater.  Without prompting, he brushed his teeth and did his hair (just like Daddy would).

And, of course, there were questions.  

What will it be like?  (Flummoxed parents scramble to describe seeing a live performance to a COVID sheltered 4 year old.)   

It's like a movie in a big theatre only with live people on a real stage.

And the ballet has dancing, a lot of dancing, and the dancers' bodies are so strong, and so fit, and they jump so high, it's really amazing.

As amazing as Captain America? (N.B. His father is frequently seen in a Captain America t-shirt.)

Yes, as amazing as Captain America.

I think that there will be rides there.

(cue giggles from parental units) 

No, honey, there are no rides at the ballet.


There are no rides at the ballet..... like Rick and the waters at Casablanca, he was misinformed..... I'm going to have to put that phrase in my lexicon, right up there with you can't always get what you want.

And, of course, it didn't matter because it was special time with Maga, and that beats rides anyday.

Friday, December 9, 2022

A Plan Gone Slightly Awry

I left the box of sidewalk chalk out in plain sight on Tuesday.

Obviously, that was a tactical error.
My plan to examine the seedlings and try to figure out what they'd flower into was quickly laid to waste.
They have a great time covering the top of the wall with chalk. Some break out and coat the small gate.

All of them have fun walking their hands through the chalk dust   

and giving each other high fives and applauding one another and playing tag.


I sent those who were running out to the playground , and got down to the real work with the six big kids who were left.  We unpacked the six pack of lettuces, unwound the roots from the root ball, dug holes just as deep and twice as wide

and then patted the plants into those holes, filling from bottom to top to avoid air pockets.
There were 6 lettuces and 6 scholar gardeners.  I love it when a plan comes together.
The lettuce are planted just beyond the beet seeds some of the 3rd graders and I set in earlier in the morning.  This year's garden is going to be organized.... or so it seems at the moment.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

What Does Georgia Mean?

The result was pleasing, there's no doubt about it.  The margin of victory will be right around 3% when all the ballots are counted and certified (don't you love how cognizant of the minutiae of voting we've become?).  That's not very much, but it's more than enough to avoid a recount.

On the other hand by Wednesday afternoon it was reported that 1,719,483 Georgians had cast their ballot for a man who lived in Texas until he declared his candidacy for the Georgia Senate.  How can they imagine that he knows what their concerns are, let alone represent them in Congress?  

How did they reconcile the stories of the women who described his abuses with their decision that he was of sufficient moral character to be their Senator?  Like DeShaun Watson, his exploits on the field seem to provide blanket coverage for all other actions.

And I'm not even close to the part about his inability to find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. If he articulated a set of principles, I was unable to find it.  His campaign website is full of platitudes but short on specifics.... except his promise to cut government red tape.

It's nice to know that 1,816,096 Georgians saw through the nonsense.  Reverend Warnock picked up votes in red counties since the General Election in November.  Some people were paying attention.

But there are about 7million voters in Georgia; it's complicated and not that interesting and the link explains it all.  Half of those eligible to vote chose not to do so.  I do not understand that at all, unless they were Republicans who could never vote for a Democrat - strictly on policy issues, of course - but could not bring themselves to vote for Mr. Walker.  

But were there really 3.5million of those voters?  I doubt it.  

This election was consequential on so many levels.  I'm flummoxed by those who would choose to not participate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Duck, Duck, Goose

I really did plan to get the lettuce 6pack into the garden bed.  I brought my sharp digging tools so that the big kids could continue their work on the holes for the rosemary and the blackberry bush.  With all the rain that's fallen, our normally rock solid ground is just a bit more pliable; I anticipated great progress being made.

I didn't find a parking space close enough for my greedy satisfaction by the back gate near the garden, so I drove to the front parking lot and walked in the main door, carrying my bag of tools and a smaller bag of brownies for each of the kindergarten teachers.  I distributed single foil wrapped home baked goods to the receptionist and the Principal's assistant and the nurse and the Native People's Outreach worker on my way out the door, to cross the playground and walk to the garden.

I didn't get very far.

Grandma!  Grandma! and then there were kindergarten kids, 4 rows deep, trying to get their arms around me.  I was hooked.  Sure, I would be delighted to play Duck, Duck, Goose with them as I wondered if my struggle to get down to the ground was more evidence that I'm growing old or if I could still blame it on my hip repair.  It took several turns before I was the goose; I got up much quicker than I got down.  

The game devolved into several two person races at the same time, when one of them asked to go to the garden.  So we trucked across the grass, ate some stevia from the only plant in the veggie garden that's actually planted, looked at the small seedlings which are emerging from the seeds we put down last month, and I found myself agreeing to read them a story after recess.

I looked sorrowfully at the lettuce still living in its 6pack, and followed the leader back to the teacher and the line and the classroom where I sat on top of a student-sized desk and read Leo Lioni's Swimmy to a rapt audience. 

The lettuce will be there tomorrow.  This morning I was kidnapped by a band of 5 and 6 year olds.... and I didn't resist too hard.

Monday, December 5, 2022

And Suddenly...

.... it is 8:51 and the football game is almost over and I've still not written tomorrow's post. 

I'm always finished before the football game is over.  

In my defense,  I've been busy turning this
into dozens of packages of brownies; a giant box of gifts for my grandchildren (the cost of shipping made me reconsider, for a moment, how far from them we ought to be); and into this
which is just part of the memory filled decorating I'm doing, day by day, filling the house with lots of little pillows
which amuse and annoy TBG in equal measure,  each of which tells me a story. 

And I haven't even thought about the 8 days of Hanukkah yet. 

Smiles on a Rainy Day

Yes, it rains in the desert.  Not often, but enough so that plants actually green up and flowers bloom.  We're usually very happy to see the rain.  The smell of creosote, the happy plants, the water reflecting off the leaves as the sun sets..... I'm usually smiling pretty hard.

But it's been non-stop raining for the past two days, and I've had enough.  

Every joint in my body hurts, except my mechanical hip.  My bent finger is screeching at me every time I hit the h or the y or the b.  TBG's dropping barometer migraine sidelined him for the day; it was just too much on top of a major reaction to the shingles vaccine.*

I had plans to blow dry my hair, finish my holiday shopping, and attend the Cornell Club's Holiday Luncheon.  The rain put the kibosh to the first two parts of my day, but did nothing to diminish the beauty of the venue.  Tucson has some very nice public meeting spaces, most of them with delicious food.  This fell right in line.

The last Cornell Club event I attended was a year ago.  We ate outdoors seated at many long tables set on uneven pavers at the cafe in the garden at Tohono Chul park.  I was President of the Club; I felt it was my duty to greet everyone, to chat at length with some, to make sure everything ran smoothly.  

My hip was so bad that I was holding onto the backs of the folding chairs as I made my way from table to table.  I spent a lot of time leaning against whatever was available, trying to silence the discomfort.  Soon thereafter Big Cuter told us that it was time to get our bodies repaired; he was of the opinion that it was well past time but he'd waited long enough to insist.  The combination of the two and the decreasing COVID infection numbers were what propelled me to have surgery in May.

I missed the May Cornell Club Picnic because I was still recovering.  Today was the first time most of these people had seen me in a year.  

A poet cried.  A pilot grinned from ear to ear.  Old friends giggled as I did my I'm Fixed dance, appreciating that twitching my repaired hip without a grimace or a groan was remarkable progress. 

It put the sunshine into a cloudy day.  It's nice to make people smile just by showing up.  

Friday, December 2, 2022


I know all about the avian virus that was destined to wreak havoc on Thanksgiving this year.  But the grocery store revealed something else.

There were plenty of frozen turkeys in the freezer section.  There were pre-packaged breasts and thighs and tenders further down the aisle.  But there were no eggs.

There were also no eggs at Albertsons.

There were no eggs at Costco today.  There haven't been eggs at Costco for a few weeks.  

I tried to go somewhere with the whole which came first thing, but I got nowhere.  Feel free to improvise on your own.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Scrap Yard

In the years leading up to WW2, my Uncle Irving bought junk.  Out of commission machinery, steel shelving from abandoned warehouses, roll up metal shutters that once protected businesses, all were organized and stored and then sold to the government not that many years later when ships and planes were being built at a furious pace.  

He was alternately proud and embarrassed by his success selling junk.  His younger and only brother was a doctor, still married to his first wife, and much admired by his 6 sisters.  On our tour of his building he told my parents, in Yiddish, from shit you make money.  

He was my favorite uncle.

Today, I spent a lot of time with Uncle Irving on my shoulder, perusing this establishment:

in an attempt to rectify this situation at the entrance to my neighborhood:    
Not-Kathy volunteered her nascent welding skills if I'd supply the materials, so off we drove this morning to one of her Happy Places.  While she measured and figured and hefted, 
I looked down at the path, a mixture of gravel and small metal bearings and nuts and bolts.
There were bins of small stuff

and acres

and acres


of big stuff. 

Some of the small stuff was welded into big stuff.
We imagined planters and sculptures as we walked further into the yard and saw potential path lights
and colored possible almost anythings.

There were, of course, junk yard dogs, two frisky, non-threatening, medium sized beasts, who circled us once then moved on.  And, there were chickens.
Not-Kathy took my HOA's $9.13 worth of scrap metal
and created this adjustable support system

 for the no-longer-drooping vegetation:
I have very talented friends.