Friday, September 29, 2023

The Artist's Mother

Not-Kathy and I drove to Tempe to visit JannyLou and Fast Eddie in their new digs.  Their version of senior living resembles a 5 star Hyatt more than an old folks home.  There's a spa, a woodworking shop, a fully stocked art room, a cozy bar/pool table/big tv room and a more intimate room with a poker table surrounded by comfy arm chairs.  There's a beauty parlor and an auditorium, several restaurants, indoor parking with valet service, and the most fabulous light fixtures everywhere you turn.

After his last hospitalization, Fast Eddie spent a week in the on-site rehab facility, in a private room just an elevator ride away from JannyLou.  He had no complaints.  (That alone is the most important take-away.... who doesn't complain about the care they receive in rehab?)

After a delicious lunch served in one of the restaurants available on site, Fast Eddie took a nap and the girls went to Butterfly Wonderland.  

The butterflies were wonderful.

But we were there for the art.
Hidden among the plants, ceramic flowers on welded metal stems 

smiled at us at every turn.  We smiled right back.
Jim Holbert was commissioned by the Wonderland to install his creations.  He happens to be JannyLou's son.  We've admired his work at her house; this was the first time we'd seen them as an exhibit.  It was a lot more fun.

Do you think this is real? another patron wondered aloud.  We were happy to tell her the true origion story, and watch her gasp when we got to the she's his mother part of the story.

It's fun to watch a friend bask in the reflected glory of her child's achievements.

The larger pieces demanded more attention.
This one appeared out of the foliage several times before we followed the path around to a spot that was perfect for closer inspection.
This one grew more complex the more we looked.
Those three butterflies are real - red, blue and yellow seeking nectar where there is none.
If they were hungry, they should have flown over to the buffet in the corner.
That's one small part of a larger feast, lovingly cut into bite size.... suck-size?... pieces.

It was a wonderful if expensive experience..

Thursday, September 28, 2023

So Much Fun

I've given in.  I fought the good fight for nearly a decade.  It's time to throw in the towel (trowel?) and admit defeat.  Wiser minds have prevailed.  Observation confirmed my suspicion.  Though they love to plant seeds and eat what grows, the most fun the scholars have in the garden harkens back to a simpler time in their lives.  

They miss the sandbox.

One raised bed has been planted by "the big kids."  Somehow, the younger scholars have internalized the concept of delay of gratification.  They recognize that good things come to those who wait.  They respect the fact that the 2nd bed is the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade garden.  They look on it with admiration.  They caution one another to keep the digging activities to the 1st raised bed, the one I've decided is their sandbox.

Grandma's Garden has plenty of trowels.  We also have a big box filled with soil.  Every morning, there are new little shoots popping up.  The scholars notice them, wonder what they are (Grandma has no idea), and then proceed to dig them up.
We have almost as many watering cans as we do trowels.  First grade was quite interested in the patterns an overflowing pool can make in soft soil.  There were bridges built.  Imaginary plants drowned in enthusiastic watering, while other scholars, like the two in the back of this photo, water painted with the foam brushes.
Our tree stump was carefully cleaned.  The sap was sticky so I'm cleaning it up so that kids won't get stuck when they sit on the stump.
There's lots to do in Grandma's Garden.  Not all of it involves plants. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lids, vol.2

I've been complaining about it for a while. 

I wrote about it  last week.  

The situation isn't getting any better.  Not-Kathy and Dr. K watched the Notre Dame/Ohio State game with us on Saturday.  The game began at 4:30.  Snacks were called for, and Costco provided.  Mini peppers and tiny, multicolored tomatoes and salted pretzels and Coastal Aged Cheddar (another COstco favorite) and roasted-unsalted almonds covered the coffee table.

I smiled at the presentation, then realized I'd forgotten the main course (is there a main course when you're serving snacks?). 

The plastic lid came off in a snap (cue laughter... it really did make a snapping noise) because the Lift Here tab was clearly evident.  But, as evidenced above, the little foil tab on the cocktail sauce was reluctant to leave the nest.

Pinching is hard with my bent forefinger.  I was able to grasp the edge, but pulling it up just separated the tab from the rest of the top.  I cursed, I tore at it again, and then, following the advice Olga  and Carol left in the comments, I took a sharp steak knife and went at it.

I'm not going to tell you how long it took.  It's embarrassing.  There were little silver pieces randomly attached to the cup.  I planned to pour the sauce into a prettier container but I was so aggravated by the whole thing that I just took it to the coffee table and sat down in a huff.

This getting old stuff is starting to interfere with my social life.

Old Friends - A Snippet

We watched the Notre Dame/Ohio State football thriller at our house with Not-Kathy and Dr. K on Saturday night.  We had snacks and dinner and lots of wonderful conversation.

They've upgraded their television viewing experience from the always buffering T-Mobile to Comcast/Xfinity's smooth sailing.  Not-Kathy noted that we could now come to their house to watch sports, although we don't mind coming here.

To which her husband replied, I've been doing it for most of my life.

We paused.  We thought. We recognized that he's been watching sports with us, at our house, for almost 50 years.  

I've been hosting a tradition and I didn't realize it.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Breaking the Rules

There are certain things I count on.  

For example:

  • My children will answer the telephone if I call instead of texting.  They recognize that something is up if I'm using the phone the way Alexander Graham Bell intended.
  • In every episode of Law and Order, 20 minutes after the hour the criminal has been identified and the hunt is on.
  • The school bus drives past my window every morning and every afternoon at just about the same time.
  • Mysteries finish with the solution to the crime at hand.
When things go awry, I become stressed.  I'm not a big fan of chaos or change.  I like knowing what I'm getting into.  

Why am I telling you this?  Because I'm aggravated right now, after finishing a YA book I didn't realize was a YA book until I looked at the spine when the writing seems just a little off.  The TEEN marking above MYSTERY explained it all.  There was kissing angst and clothing angst and parent angst with little lessons stuck in between the action.  I was enjoying the story and not at all embarrassed by the fact that I was holding a children's book; The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite stories.

I curled up in my chair and joined the kids at the private school hidden away in the mountains of Vermont, a cozy mystery with interesting characters.  Maureen Johnson is apparently a prolific YA novelist, and her Truly, Devious is the hole into which I fell.  

It was a lovely hole.  The print was large enough.  The book itself was brand new.  The writing was crisp and, sometimes, surprisingly deep.  The mystery came closer and closer to a solution..... and then she stopped.

In media res.  The book ended.  I'm bereft.  

In searching out the link, I discovered that Truly, Devious is the first in a 5 series opus.  There was no such designation on the book itself.  I continued to be peeved.  Shifting my search to the Pima County Library site, I found that I could reserve the physical books without any problem.  The ebooks, however, were all in use, with waiting lists.

I'm left with two thoughts: 
  •  I really really really want to know what happens next and I want to know NOW.
  •  I'm thwarted in that endeavor because teens read books on-line
There are certain rules that should not be broken.  

Friday, September 22, 2023


There are months at a time where there is no football.  While TBG feels the loss acutely, I only notice that I have fewer opportunities to take out my hearing aids and nestle in my chair with a book, content that my spouse is occupied with something that makes him just as happy.

But then August rolls around and there is pre-season nonsense, which I feel quite justified in dismissing.  I try not to schedule events when there are games, but I don't worry when I do.  Once the regular season starts, though, all bets are off.  

There are windows of opportunity which suit us both.  There's always the DVR.  We get by, just as we have for 50 plus years.  There was a wonderful interlude when Big Cuter shared our living space and occupied the pillow next to his father on Sundays.  He was a Bears fan, then a 49'ers fan, and, like his dad, he tried not to miss any of their games.  

Once he moved away from home, they spent Sunday afternoons and Monday nights and then Thursday nights analyzing, arguing, laughing on the phone.  

Queen T entered our lives and I had a compatriot at last.  She was learning and caring and paying more attention than I was, but even in her natural state of once I decide to care, I care a lot!! she often joins me in the can we talk about something else space.  We say SPORTS in stentorian tones, laugh, and leave the boys to their pleasure.  

Then Honey Bunny arrived.  

She has her own spot on the boppy pillow, next to Big Cuter, so she can eat and watch the game at the same time.  There's room for Queen T, too, and they are both very glad to see her when she joins them after doing whatever she was doing that was not football.

What goes around, comes around.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

It's a beautiful afternoon,  The sun is low in the sky, the temperature is in the nineties, and there's almost a breeze rustling the tops of the trees.  It's my favorite time to be here, at my desk, looking out the window,  having just finished yesterday's post.  

Sometimes there's a school bus, and I think of Christina-Taylor and I smile because she was wonderful.  Often, there are dogs on leashes attached to fit people striding or strolling, stopping to smell and investigate and leave their mark on The Doggie Internet (TBG's description of places dogs just have to pee).

Our part of the street is flat, and therefore welcoming for cyclists and runner of all shapes and sizes and ages.  One thing I never considered when assessing the ways they differ was politics.  Not until just now.

I was gazing and my mind was drifting and then a wiry, 40ish, white guy in tiny running shorts and a tank top in red white and blue came into view.  His legs appeared first; the trees blocked his upper body.  And then he was in front of me, running at a nice pace, and waving a very large Betsy Ross flag.

This flag thing was unusual in the neighborhood.  I can't remember ever seeing one being used as an exercise prop, and exercise it certainly was.  The flag was held aloft by one hand on a substantial pole, and it waved, side to side, rhytmically, slowly, making sure it was noticed.

Curious, I asked Mr. Google and what I read has taken me a moment or seven to process.

Apparently, that flag has been co-opted by right wing extremists.  "Under the guise of ‘heritage,’ symbols of early U.S. history have long been adopted by hate groups." was the article that made the most sense to me.

So sure, maybe he's just a guy who likes antique flags.  

But why do I have that creepy sense in my neck and shoulders?  Why do I suddenly feel not so safe any more.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Don't Worry About It

Medicare pays for me to visit the doctor every year for a total check up - inside my head and my body.  The visit was preceded by fasting labs taken a week before.  The results were in my portal but I didn't open them.  

I was weighed and volunteered to be measured.  It took me a moment to stand up straight enough to be five feet tall.  I surprised the assistant by pushing the measuring bar up into her hand, but she, too, is 5' tall and she understood me completely.

The on-line preparatory questionnaire took a while to complete.  Most of it was related to isolation.  The questions asked about the recent past - 7 days, 2 weeks - and how often I felt despondent, with no one to ask for help.  They danced around it, screen after screen, not once asking me how often I felt joy.

My doctor asked me that.  It's one of the many reasons I like her.  First thing out of our mouths was It's so good to see you! followed by my favorite question these days: How are the grands? We laugh, she asks her questions about my health naturally, and by the end my blood pressure is 5 points lower than the reading her lovely assistant took at the start of my visit.  

I'm at the top of some ranges of some things they tested, but they changed the ranges so who knows.

Her sole purpose seems to be to put me at ease.  I'm scheduled to retake the labs in three months, but I'm not worried about it.  Those are exactly the words you want to hear from a doctor you trust.  

Up on the exam table so she could hear my allergy plagued lungs and peer into my ears,  I asked about the ten pounds that have gathered around my middle over the past few years.  I am exercising, eating, sleeping, drinking the same as I have always been exercising, eating, sleeping, and drinking.  I could understand losing weight as muscle and bone mass decrease, but gaining weight?  

Don't worry about it.  She said that.  She smiled and went on with her exam of my totally flabbergasted body.  Then it hit me.

So, it's just another part of being an old person?  

I said it matter-of-factly but she was startled and almost concerned that I called myself old.  She was forced to agree that 71 are a lot of years to have survived on the planet, but I wanted to get back to my burgeoning waistline. 

Her answer was always the same. Don't worry about it.  Keep moving and don't worry about it.

I made her repeat it a few more times, trying to believe that it could be true.  She laughed when I told her I gave away all my belts and that I lived in elastic waisted garments.  

It's not affecting my health, therefore, I shouldn't worry about it.  She told me so, a bunch of times, in ever more delightful ways, as she set me up for my flu shot.  I left the office, made an appointment for the lab work, and left with a smile on my face.

Sure, there are things that bear watching, but I'm not going to worry about it.  Doctor's Orders.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


I'm a reasonably intelligent person.  I've lived 71 productive years on this planet and I've encountered all manner of things.  And then there was this.
I was able to discern the plastic wrap around the green lid. That was easy to remove.  The same could not be said for the rest of the container.  I tried twisting.  I tried lifting.  I tried squeezing.  I don't remember which one detached the green piece, but I wasn't in any better shape once it was gone.

I twisted. I pried.  
Then I touched the top .  It moved separately.  The deep edge stayed put.  
Looking and feeling produced a very small, very transparent, very stuck to the rim tab.
I managed to grab it (no mean trick with my bent, arthritic finger) and access the pesto.  It was yummy.

But it didn't end there.  The recipe called for 1/4 cup of white wine.  This Yellow Tail pinot grigio was no easier to open than the pesto.

You can see where I bent the cap, trying a bottle opener when the twisting suggest3ed by the ribbing didn't move anything at all.  I tried to cut the black stuff (you can see the slice marks from the scissors) and failed.  My rubber gripping pad and several well placed expletives finally managed to open the damn thing.  
I was thinking about this post while the french fries were in the air fryer.  I took out the new bottle of ketchup and easily unscrewed the top.  It's big enough to be comfortable in my hand but not too big to grasp.  

And then there was this:

Pinching those little extensions while pulling up while not ripping the material was more than my poor old hands could manage.  

There are many reasons I love my husband.  His ability to penetrate the impenetrable is high on the list.

Monday, September 18, 2023

A Smile and A Wish

What does this license plate say to you?

    M C H U G H 1

I suppose that it's really someone's name, y'know like Jim McHugh.

But all I (and Little Cuter when I ran it by her from the car) could see was Yiddish - meshugah.


It's the year 5783, according the calendar I learned about in Hebrew School.  A friend of ours was born in 5700.  Rosh Hashana (The New Year) is how we remember his age.

It's a time for casting last year's woes and baggage into the sea

Tashlik at Baker Beach 2023

and for apples and honey for a sweet new year.  

This is the rare Jewish holiday that isn't They tried to kill us, they failed, let's eat centric.  This is about taking some time to evaluate where you've been and where you're going and taking responsibility for it all. 

It was also when I got my new dress up clothes, when Daddooooo took endless photos and 8mm movies, when I sang the same tunes my great-grandparents sang.  It was the past and the present and the future all at the same time.  

Shana Tovah Umetuka  - A Happy and Sweet New Year - from me and mine to you and yours.  

Friday, September 15, 2023

There Was A Lot Going On Today

A friend helped me fix the leaky spots in the irrigation system this morning.  I felt comfortable turning it on again.  We were finished with our work by 8:30. After reading Bear Despair to the most well-behaved 5 and 6 year olds I've ever encountered, I was back in the garden to supervise some serious planting.
Purple basil and the tomato cage.

The starts were newly delivered.  The racks were full with happy basil and lemon grass and red bell peppers and lettuce plants just waiting to be photographed on the garden bench.
Note giant water bottle and carrots - staying fortified in the hot sun.

While some scholars were new to the garden and requested  Lily The Garden Leader 's help,

others were quite content to use the foam brushes to water paint the bricks

and the fence.  
It's strangely soothing, in an I-can't-believe-I-am-doing-this kind of way.  The kids think they are in heaven.

And then there were the scholars who were interested in planting the Halloween decor I bought at the Dollar Store with some of JannyLou's donation.  Apparently, it is possible to use the natural fissures in a stump to impale scarecrows-on-a-stick.
It is also very interesting to arrange them by size, by color, by sparkly-ness, and with reckless abandon in the flower bed.

Once this one saw that the stump was made for sitting upon, 
she claimed it as her own.
She wanted to be certain that the photo showed her tights and her boots.  It was 90 something degrees in the now totally unshaded garden, but she didn't seem to be bothered at all.
And there is still more to go.  
Tomorrow's To Do list is in the bed's left corner.  Sweet 100's, 2 kinds of basil, and red peppers are in.


Thursday, September 14, 2023

What Am I Missing?

Fulton County DA Fani Willis has indicted 19 people for the same crime.  

Several of those charged want to sever their cases from the others. I don't know these other people seems to be at the basis of their request.  I was only doing my job is also underpinning the court filings.  

It seems pretty obvious to me that the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States of America is not placing his own phone calls.  Shouting Get me the guy in Georgia who's in charge of all of this to Cassidy Hutchinson seems to me a more likely scenario than Mark Meadows doing his own Google search for the phone number to the Secretary of State's office, and then dialing direct.  

Aside from the fact (it's in the Constitution) that the Office of the President has no job duties relating to the administration of elections happening in the various states,  I don't think that participating in an illegal activity (creating votes where there were none) is in anyone's job description, let alone someone who is assisting the President.

His job should have been to tell the lying liar that his quest was unreasonable, that such a  phone call was outside the bounds of good judgement, and that neither of them should participate in the endeavor.  

Instead, he wants to be absolved because his boss would have yelled at him.

You can't make this shit up.

Wanting to sever yourself from others in the conspiracy charge is asking the judge to decide that there was no conspiracy at all.  You can't pull one thread out of an interlocking offense.  Each piece is related to the other, even if the participants are working, separately, on different pieces of the project.  

There's a reason that the lying liar is the first person listed in the indictment.  The others were his minions.  They may have been in different silos, but they were all feeding the same fool.

The fact that Republicans trust the information they get from that fool more what they hear form family or friends or the media leaves me without hope for them..... except for this, the first part of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.  

“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”

Notice that it does not say Inaugurated or Sworn in nor Serve as.  It just says elected.  

Let's play this out.  Your Great Aunt Tillie accepts, fully and completely, that the lying liar won the 2020 election.  She believes that he was elected.  

She is hoisted by her own petard.  

According to the Constitution  his 2020 "win" makes 2024 his third election for the office of the President.  That is expressly prohibited by the verbiage of the Constitution.

Proving that the fool instigated and supported the insurrection, as do the lawsuits arguing the 14th Amendment, is a more complicated argument than your Great Aunt Tillie wants to hear.  I'm suggesting you offer an explanation that acknowledges her premise -  he was elected in 2020.

I'm looking forward to trying this out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

It Rained!

Both TBG and Taos Bubbe were awakened by a gigantic flash of lightning at 4:30 this morning.  It was followed by a choo-choo train's worth of thunder.

I, of course, slept through the whole thing.

The difference this time was that all that noise and electricity was followed by rain.  Real rain this time,  not seven drops over five minutes.  The down spouts were redistributing streams of water.  They weren't' the torrents of a true monsoon, but there was enough run off to fill the troughs leading out to the open space beyond.

I drove to get my fasting lab blood work done with the windshield wipers doing their magic.  I drove home the same way.  

TBG took me to breakfast and I wore my purple suede loafers.  I forgot about puddles in parking lots.  It's a good thing I can leap over them now.  The rain just kept coming.  

It rained when I drove to Pilates but it was only drizzling when I came out.  That was enough to keep the Prince-lings inside for recess so Taos Bubbe and I decided to take advantage of the rain-fueled cooler temperature and walk under the clouds.

The mile out was perfect.  A little breeze, clouds hiding the sun, a raindrop here and there to amuse us.  It was lovely.  

Then, the sun came out.

The clouds were burned away.  The temperature rose.  The humidity was no longer 100%.  (That was when it was raining.)  Instead, it was 98% and we were walking through it.  I could barely see through the sweat rolling down my face. My shirt was stuck to my front and my back.  My tights felt like they were glued on.

We decided to turn around at the milepost.  It was a wise decision.  

We skipped lunch.  We both wanted a shower more than food.

The tree that refuses to thrive had tiny green sprouts on some of the branches when I drove down the driveway. The succulents are happier than they were yesterday.  I was sweaty enough not to mind deadheading before I stood under the cold water and washed away the grime.

It rained.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Living in the Wash

Taos Bubbe and I have started walking the Chuck Huckleberry Loop again.  We start early in the morning, before it's too hot.  The path goes behind office complexes and apartments sprawled over paved lots, separated from the path by fencing, or low border ledges, or sometimes nothing at all.  Large trees shade the path and provide screening for the residents and worker bees.

Underneath those large trees, on the grassy verge between exercise and real life, there are tents.  There are bbq's and lawn chairs and laundry lines.  There are fire pits and piles of beer cans.  There are people engaged in meaningful conversations with invisible interlocutors.  

When there are others on the Loop, we continue walking past the encampments.  When there's no one else around, we turn back.  We are sympathetic to their plight.  We are also scared out of our wits. 

Yesterday there were tree trimmers clearing the overhanging branches sheltering one of these gathering spots.  Nestled against a chain link fence, shaded by the Desert Willow, lives were on full display as the workers chopped and security personnel from the neighboring apartment complex looked on.

One gentleman was almost through packing up his life.  A grandma shopping cart (the kind little old ladies take to the store then shlep behind themselves on the way home)
was surrounded by a colorful plastic storage tote or two
and several oversized shopping bags (think IKEA size).
The man himself was neatly dressed.  His belongings were secured with bungee cords.
I have all these items at home.

So did he.

Something is not right.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Happy Birthday, Christina-Taylor Green

She was born on a tragic day.  She died on a tragic day.  In between she was magic. 

She was 6 going on 16 when I met her.  We bonded over pick up sticks.  She played well with others.
Big Cuter, CTG, and her big brother breaking out the 30 year old dinosaurs in 2010.

She was interested in politics and religion and family connections.  She was brash and silly and full of energy.  She was my friend, always willing to go on an adventure, right up until our last one.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.  I miss you every day.

Friday, September 8, 2023

I'm Done

We were up late.  I was up and out early. 

It was just too hot to be outside, even with my gigantic thermal water bottle keeping me hydrated.

To-Go-Cup for comparison purposes only

Triple digits on the thermometer at 5 in the afternoon could not deter me.  I lolled on the pool mat, doing leg and ab work while letting my mind drift.  I lasted about 20 minutes.  

My brain and my body are fried - literally and figuratively.  I'm going to watch Coco Gauff play tennis (once the protester is removed from the scene) and regroup.  

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend if you can, and spare a thought for the parents of young children, who never really have a day off at all.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

10 Million and Counting - A Snippet

E. Jean Carroll's second suit against the lying liar was to start in January.  Instead, that trial will be about the money.

The judge said that since the lying liar had already been found to have assaulted her, there was no reason to relitigate the issue.  Facts are facts.  All that's left is to decide how much he owes her.  

He's already been assessed $5 million. 

She's asking for $10 million this time.

Just keep talking, Don.  That's what you're good at.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Critical Thinking

 Tom Hanks is worried that his son isn't learning geography.

I am worried that they are not teaching critical thinking.  This happened:

4:30pm  Pizza Place We've Never Tried opens for the day.

4:37pm  I call PPWNT and order a pizza.  The Delightful Young Woman's voice tells me it will be ready in 20-30 minutes, and that I should expect a text when it's ready.  I set an alarm to get me there in 15 minutes (because I'm always early) as TBG and I laugh that the text should say Your pizza will be ready in X minutes. Otherwise they are just telling you that your pizza is sitting there getting cold.

4:48pm  My phone chimes with a text:  It's time! Your order is ready! Total time elapsed: 11minutes. 

4:48:30 I get in The UV and drive the 6 minutes to the shopping center with all my favorite restaurants in just that many minutes (never varies, no matter the time of day or amount of traffic, I don't understand it but it's true).

4:54pm  I park in the Pick Up spot, enter the lovely space, which is empty except for the wait staff and cooks and one guy at the counter who looks like a manager, and greet TDYW 4 minutes before the earliest time she told me the pizza would be mine.  

Total time elapsed: 17 minutes.  

And yes, there was my pizza, sitting in a warming bag like the delivery guys use.  I wondered how she could have miscalculated so badly, two or three times miscalculated, when I could have left and been there, waiting when the thing came out of the oven.  After all, the restaurant was empty.  All she had to do was turn around and look.

I felt an emotional trauma coming on, my poor sad pie, sitting there, getting colder by the second, egging me on.  Channeling my inner Ted Lasso, I kept all that inside, smiled, and said That is one fast pizza.  

She laughed, so I wondered why they didn't send a 10 minute warning message instead.  She smiled right back.   

I'm required to say 20-30 minutes because we don't know about the kitchen.

Sam and Noah came immediately to mind.  

There was no one in the place.  The cooks were hanging out.  The phone wasn't ringing.  Mine was the only order waiting to be claimed. The ability to peek outside the box, to examine the context, to react to what is - all that was missing from TDYW's lovely face.  

Perhaps critical thinking is overrated.  The air fryer is a great way to reheat cool pizza. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Written on Labor Day

This is a day when no one should work.  Laborers should be celebrating and celebrated.  

When I expressed dismay about her having to work today, my favorite Penzey's lady smiled and said Time and a Half!

When I similarly commiserated with the cashier-just-a-little-younger-than-I as she helped me navigate the self-checkout at Safeway this morning, she gave me the same response.  

Then she shrugged and said What else would I do?  I moved here and I love it but it's hard to meet people. One very full, very large, very well insulated grocery tote later, she was thanking me for the link to The Happy Ladies Club.

Tomorrow I have many things to do.  Today, I am going to lie back and enjoy the fruits of my labors. And to all those who cannot share in my plan, I hope life gives you time and a half today.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Labor Day

  Here's my Labor Day post, recycled and improved every year since 2012.

My Zaydeh was a paperhanger. So was my uncle, his son,. They belonged to the Paperhanger's Union. When he retired, my Zaydeh got a lapel pin and a photograph of himself. The also-retiring Union Rep got a pension and health insurance. No one knows if he got a copy of the photograph, too.

It was that kind of complicated relationship to Labor, with a capital L, that dominated my growing up years. Daddooooo's father owned a business. G'ma's father was a worker. In the same way that her parents' accented speech and his parents' religious devotion were cudgels in their relationship, management/labor spent a lot of time bruising the edges.

I sat on Zaydeh's shoulders, bouncing around the living room to his enthusiastic rendition of Zum Gali Gali, a Zionist/Socialist work song.  When I needed a biography for a book report in second grade, his daughter, my mother, suggested Eugene Debs. I was the only one in the class who wrote about the Wobblies, who knew that, before Bernie Sanders, a Socialist, a man who understood the plight of the working man, ran for President.

On the other hand, Daddooooo inherited his father's bridal shop, working alongside my uncle,  his brother, and the cutters and pressers and seamstresses he'd known his entire life. He took care of the girls, the worker bees, the ones who created what he tried to sell. He struggled to make a success, and failed, and among those he held accountable were the Union Guys.

He was unable to make a go of a business he'd rather not have owned.  He was living a life unlike that which he'd imagined in college.  It was not making him happy, nor was it paying the oil bill.  His generalized anger at his life was unassailable; the Union Guys were real.

I knew that we needed unions - the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire proved that management had no interest in protecting the welfare of the worker, that 
protections were necessary.  Without collective action, nothing could be achieved.  I was still the 8 year old in love with Eugene V. Debs, who ran for President from prison (sigh.... in 2024 this precedent seems ready to repeat itself).

Those feelings didn't seem incompatible with the boss's daughter piece of me, the one who loved seeing her Daddy's name on the showroom door, loved the fact that the shop was his.  

But the ladies who sewed and who did the piece-work always had time to smile and chatter at me, in Italian.  The cutter, an imposing fellow with a gigantic pair of scissors, shared a small corner of his even more gigantic table with me, as I worked beside them, trimming lace, doing idiot work in my father's parlance, completely content, with a foot on each side of the divide.

When Daddooooo wasn't  around to hear, 
G'ma told stories of marching with her parents in Solidarity Parades  Daddooooo railed about union bullies, but rarely in G'ma's presence.

The battle between labor and management, waged over my kitchen table.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Dealing With a Fallen Saguaro

It must be noted that there are very strict rules about what one can do with a saguaro.  They only sprout arms after 75 or 100 years of growth.  This is what the healthy insides look like.
This is what the dead parts of the inside look like. 
Once the knob calcified around to the juncture with the healthy arm (see above) the whole thing detached itself and landed on my driveway.  It took The HandyMan heavy work gloves, straps rated to 1000 pounds (the 500 pound ones failed), and all his superhuman-since-his-car-accident strength to maneuver it into place.  

This is at the end of what we were dealing with.

It was gooey.  It was sticky.  It was firmly attached. And it stank.  Not just smelled bad.  It stank.  Plus, it left little pieces of thick goo and a rancid looking and stinking streak up the middle of the driveway.  It's too far from the hose bibs to be sprayed away.  We laughed at each other as we said, with ironic synchronicity, Rain will wash it away.

I walked behind as The HandyMan dragged the carcass behind his not-very-fuel-efficient-but-fits-his-needs-perfectly shiny new black truck.
Bear witness to the failure of the 500 pound test strap's failure.  
This video is quiet enough for work.

There is video of the perilous left turn and our general dissatisfaction with the awkward placement of my landscaping.  There was no great place to offload the thing. Rolling it was not an option - the arm that managed to remain attached was in the way.  There was no way for the truck to maneuver it from the road to the front yard and leave unscathed.

Remember that inhuman strength? Remember the frayed 500 test strap?  That piece of the saguaro weighed at least 600 pounds and he's dragging it through pebbles that do not want to join the fun.

Is it exactly where I want it to live?  Probably not.  But that's as far as it was going and that was that.  The Yard Guys are coming soon; by then I should have a plan.  

For now, I'll hope that these clouds and this wind brings some rain.  That stain is really annoying.