Saturday, February 24, 2007


Two ladies were seated close together by the square table in the center of the sun-lighted visitors room. The one in the straight back chair had scooted her chair up next to her friend in the wheelchair and could be heard to say, as she patted her friend's arm reassuringly, "Now that you're receiving a little pill, that should help." Her friend replied, "That's what I've been saying, if I had a small pillow..."

The above snatch of conversation was overheard as I passed through the room where these two ladies were seated. This is a small example of how misperceptions, misunderstandings do occur between people for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the results are modestly amusing, sometimes they are rip roaring funny, sometimes they can create problems, even be disastrous in a relationship. I find that clarification by asking about intent, or asking for a repeat is always better than risking assumption, when in doubt as to what has been said.

I think equally important is not becoming angry with the person seeking the clarification, which they may even need to do more than once. I feel glad that they cared enough about what I've said to want to understand me.

When I overheard the above conversation, or hear others from time to time, I invariably think of Rana over at "Notes From An Eclectic Mind" where I first happened on some of her brief quotes from bits of conversations she overheard in various situations. Often as I go about my daily activities, in and out of various locations, I hear only part of what is said between others, sometimes out of context. Then, sometimes, I hear a mini-story, as I note Rana wrote about on 2/23/07 here.

Reading some of these bits and pieces she has posted from time to time, I concluded I shared her same wave length. Reminded me of when I was young and thought it was funny to switch from station to station on the old dial radios, resulting in formulating a phrase or sentence from quite unrelated words at each station. The result sometimes made my friends and I laugh uproariously. But then, guess I've always had a weird warped sense of humor and find something to laugh about in the most unusual places at times.

Of course, we also enjoyed reading road signs, a habit I sometimes find myself doing even today. Yes, many of the so-called funny ones, are really corny -- and that's not even describing the old Burma Shave road signs. Some signs are written intentionally to be funny, other's inadvertently so. Perhaps, I'm not alone and others can identify with unusual sources where they, too, find humor when least expected.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


To have or not to have, with apologies to Shakespeare's Hamlet. Today, I was invited to purchase a golden tawny medium sized Chihuahua puppy. Haven't found any pictures on the Internet that looked quite as cute or even resembled the two puppies I saw today, one male, one female. Besides, I really prefer larger dogs. I must admit I do like a family member's Shih Tzu, much better than the Shar Pei they previously had, though he was really cute, wrinkles and all. The Shih Tzu is really smart and you can tell she even thinks, problem solves. I took a look at pictures of "Small Dog Breeds" here.

On the other hand, as long as I'm talking about pets, here's a link to pictures of different breeds of cats just in case I want to think about that possibility. The thing is, when I fall in love with a pet, there's just no limit to the care I want to provide.

I remember the challenges of providing care for a pet, needing to get home to feed the pet, or let it outside, if it was a house dog, housebreak it, clean up after the accidents. Or, if I had a cat, the cat box care, repetitive periodic urinary infections if it's a male and he's been neutered. We learned years ago from the vet, that was a common medical problem for neutered male cats which no one told us before the procedure on our cat.

For a few years we were spending more on medical care for our cat than our two children required, I think. Then if the cat's not neutered, that presents a whole different set of possible problems for territory marking, sometimes referred to as "spraying," and even more commonly described as p------ on the furniture. I won't even talk about clawing the furniture and I don't believe in de-clawing, either. Then there are the hairballs. There surely can be a lot of care involved.

I thought about the fact that if I want to be away from home for days or weeks at a time, finding a place for the pet to stay, or the cost of boarding and maybe traumatizing the poor creature just did not appeal to me. The thought of traveling with a pet is not an option for me and I told my children to leave their pets at home when they come to see me - a dog and three cats. I really don't understand the idea behind dragging a pet around which I can't imagine the pet enjoys very much, but a lot of people seem to do so today, some wearing their pets almost like jewelry, or stuffing them in their purse or a bag they carry with them everywhere they go.

Reminds me of the junior high school experience some sex education classes have as an assignment -- to carry an uncooked egg in a shell around without cracking or breaking it, to understand 24/7 responsibilities. I know what responsibility for another is and I decided I like the idea of being footloose and fancy free with responsibility for only myself right now.

Then, I was visiting on the Internet and what should I find, but pictures at "Joy of Six" which had me thinking I need a puppy and a kitten, 'cause there are some really cute photos of some there. Joy's poem that tells the story is just as cute. Maybe I should just settle on poems and pictures about pets.

I think I'll get out some of my childhood favorite books like "Lad A Dog," ; alas, the DVD is not available.

I also have Ouida's (pseudonym for Marie Louise de la Reme'e) a "Dog of Flanders." , and see it's available on DVD.

Always there's Jack London's "Call of the Wild" which can be downloaded here for listening. (Note: they have a catalog of other public domain free audio books here . Some may even be able to volunteer on this project.)

Then there's the illustrated book with Ray Bradbury's poem "With Cat For Comforter" I was able to have the author autograph a few years ago, so I could give it to a family member who appreciates cats and books. Maybe she would loan me the book.

If I desire a little more action, I could probably consider some movie DVDs as there seem to be quite a few old movies, though I suspect not all are available on DVD. Here's a listing of movies about dogs . Then, here are the "Top 5 Movies About Cats"

Maybe I should think about fish, or better yet maybe a turtle. Birds would probably require too much care though parrots reportedly can talk and could be fun. I'll bet there are pets out there I haven't even thought of yet. I use to think a raccoon, a de-flowered skunk, or a monkey (my brother had one in Indonesia and they really liked it) would be good pets. I don't think I want any snakes, spiders, mice or rats, but lizards might be a consideration.

Perhaps geckos are also a possibility as a pet. I was searching for a good photo of a gecko and found this special site with some spectacular photos not only of the gecko, but all of those other Big Island views are enough to make me think I should go there.

Well, if I'm going to travel to Hawaii's Big Island, then I think I'll resist a pet for now. But any suggestions would be welcome, just don't hold your breath until I get a pet, as I don't think that will be happening any time soon. I think I'll just visit family and friends who have pets and enjoy theirs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


(This started out as an intended humorous commentary about a mundane aggravating frustrating unwelcomed after-holiday experience I had, then I clearly seem to have lost control of the content as the words went elsewhere on their own and I, too, became just another reader.)

ONCE IN A WHILE I get a hankering for various foods that I can picture in my mind, almost literally smell and taste in my mouth. I had been thinking about one particular such food combination around the time I gave thought to menu planning for the the past holidays. "What was there to plan?" I asked myself at that time, since there was only me at home, so instead I went out to eat on Thanksgiving -- an account about which I wrote previously.

Despite the fact I could have been with friends, I wanted to see what being alone on a traditional family holiday would be like. My reasoning was I might just as well become accustomed to being alone, since that was my life now. Somehow it seemed to me the longer I waited to have that experience, the more difficult adaptation might be. I didn't expect any serious issues, so I had no negative self-fulfilling prophecies. After all, there are people all over the world who for one reason or another, by choice or not, find themselves alone.

That's not to minimize the feelings, reactions to memories I found myself experiencing on that occasion, but I could embrace the sadness, the loss, the wistful longing, along with remembering the joyful, happy, loving feelings I experienced, all as discrete elements combining to contribute to the richness of my life.

My Christmas holidays were quite a different matter. I would have some very special family members present for what would be my first Christmas alone since -- well, I can't remember since when, or maybe never. For our holiday dinner I allowed them to select the foods of their choice. The primary determination centered on the meat -- turkey, ham, prime rib, or some other preference.

We had previously made plans for a number of activities for various days, so a variety of ways for simple quick food preparation was desired. Along with Christmas preparations including decorating the tree, baking cookies, shopping, there was to be a trip to the taping of a TV show in L.A. that my granddaughter was anticipating; then an afternoon and evening at Griffith Observatory, and another day a matinee lunch featuring a special Christmas musical at a nearby dinner theatre. Then after Christmas the younger set wanted to participate in decorating a Rose Parade float, an activity which had become an instant tradition after their having done so the previous year for the first time.

Considering our activity plans, we decided we would like leftovers that could readily be made into sandwiches, eaten cold if we chose. Comparing notes we discovered we'd all had turkey at Thanksgiving, so choosing ham for a variation was logical and easy. Almost immediately, I began envisioning my dining future when I was once again alone, concluding my advanced planning would insure the ham bone would be left with lots of ham still attached.

Past years on those holidays when my husband and I had ham, toward the end of the ham's life we followed what became a tradition we took for granted. This unofficial tradition evolved before the children were born, and we discovered that we both liked very ordinary soup beans with ham and cornbread. We did, however, disagree as to whether or not the beans should be small or large size -- just one of those topics that can stimulate conversation, give new meaning to the word compromise, increase awareness for the need of "adjustments" in order to enhance the possiblity of relationship compatability, since neither of us could recall our wedding vows specifically covering that bean topic. I've also realized we couldn't have avoided those issues even if we had merely lived together instead of marrying.

I think the bean issue must be an example of the fact that partners in a relationship may handle major items reasonably well, but it's the little things that can be wearing over time. Despite all that, sometime, at least once yearly, during each of those five years with just the two of us, we managed the ham 'n beans with cornbread routine. The size of the bean usually depended upon who purchased them at the store. The meaty combination was always better when reheated, whatever the size bean, beginning especially with the second day, so we made a pretty big pot of beans.

Our bean soup tradition became even more special to us when two years after we wed, we bought our first house, set in the outskirts of a rapidly growing area of 300,000 which is now the fifteenth largest city in the U.S. Our house and acre an-a-third property has long since been devoured by a housing development of million dollar homes. We sold it when my husband's employment required we move, ultimately, to a distant location. Too bad! If we had lived there only a few more years, we would have made a significant amount of money on our property -- IF we had been willing to sell to the developers. If we hadn't been willing to sell they probably would have figured out a way to get it through eminent domain in the name of progress.

I can still envision in that house our first real working fireplace, an activity described in songwriter vocalist Mel Torme's The Christmas Song lyrics "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." In my memory as the chestnuts roast, I'm gazing out our front picture window at snow-covered leafless maple trees in regal stance at irregularly spaced intervals in arc shape around our house, as though we were in the midst of a forest clearing. Interspersed among them were varying numbers of birch, elm, oak, smaller red bud trees, tall evergreen trees with one mixed grouping appearing as though they were standing protective guard around a seemingly radiating little blue spruce tree which will always be the most beautiful blue spruce I have ever seen. When I think of that house, that idyllic picturesque location, I always feel nostalgic, a sense of sadness wondering what happened to our blue spruce tree? This, as with much in life, is a question for which there will never be an answer for me to know.

Back to the present, the holidays are over, family members are gone, I am once again alone. The first month of a brand new year has arrived, bringing with it what comes to feel like a "holiday letdown" of some sort. My thoughts turn to those soup beans with ham and cornbread. I forgot to mention, our children never liked that food combination, so we didn't really resume that long ago routine regularly, until after they had left home and, once again, there was just the two of us. Now, there would be just me to savor this very ordinary dining fare so I began the simple preparations.

The large size soup beans had successfully soaked through the night swelling to even much larger proportion, having absorbed so much of the water in which I had placed them. I poured off the small amount of excess water as my mother long ago taught me, that was a cautionary but highly recommended technique to prevent the confirmation of my father's oft-voiced conviction expressed in rhyme, "beans, beans, the musical fruit." The simple addition of fresh warm water to the now-swelled beans along with adding the ham bone with lots of ham and additional cut-up ham cubes as well as onions, which was all my husband every wanted in the bean pot, was all that was necessary before moving the pot and contents to the stove top. The mixture then simmered on the stove top burner for a couple of hours, or however long I wanted to leave it.

When the beans started cooking, I selected a time in my mind when I would want to pre-heat my oven, mix my cornbread -- again plain, no variations with creamed or whole corn kernels or jalapenos that I found tasty -- perhaps another year I'll bake cornbread variations. The batter is poured into the readied 9 inch square pan, but what is this -- the external light has not gone out, which signals the oven has reached the desired temperature for baking the golden corn bread which I am now highly anticipating eating. I wait...and I wait...and I wait some more. Finally, I hesitantly open the oven door, quickly thrusting my hand inside in order to feel the heat, prepared to just as quickly remove it lest my flesh be cooked. What heat? The oven is barely warm, and I can see only the filaments barely lit up inside the crystal clear light bulb in the back of the oven. Obviously, there is a problem, my oven has died!

I pride myself in adaptive compensatory skills for whatever life throws my way, including a loved ones earlier death and now this present terminal condition of my oven. I hastily pre-heat a toaster oven which has imprecise temperature setting markings, so I just guess. I grab muffin tins from the shelf beneath my stove top, paper liners from my pantry, spoon cornbread batter into each cup from the previously filled 9 inch square cornbread batter-filled pan, then place the muffin tin in the toaster oven for a duration of time at which I again guess. When the top of the muffins start browning, I conclude they are done. In fact, they turned out to be more than done, and the muffins golden yellow dry insides had hardly the moisture, texture and flavor I had come to highly anticipate. The ham 'n beans were tasty, the corn muffins edible at best.

I'll have the oven repaired or replaced in time, but am having difficulty finding service since this is an oven probably dating to when this house was built forty or fifty years ago. I use the microwave and toaster oven for myself most of the time anyway. I'll bake a fresh pan of cornbread to enjoy with some other desired food of my choice when my taste buds next prod me to do so, or perhaps I'll do that to check out the oven function when next I have one that works.

I couldn't help thinking, though, isn't this so like life? We have periods of high anticipation, instances of lowered expectations, events of desolation, but begin examining what we must do to rectify problems, and in so doing focus on a glimmer of hope. Then, in a more calm aftermath we relish the richness of what we have, settle for some of the mediocrity, consider our future, begin further thinking, dreaming, planning and anticipating what we want and hope to be able to realistically achieve in the years ahead. I believe this to be a true, viable manner in which to view and approach life experiences, whatever our age and circumstances. I also have become aware that over the years, as with my bean soup 'n cornbread, the very ordinary often does become extraordinary, upon reflection


Sunday, February 11, 2007


FYI the progression of blog features I hope to add here has been, and for a time will continue to be, rather erratic and slow. The same is true for my visiting other blogs and for adding new blogs to my sidebar listing. To partially make up for lost time, there are some very special blogs that I want to add to the list of interesting blogs, all of which I was introduced to in various ways in the beginning weeks and months I visited the blogosphere. I consider all the blogs to which I provide links worthwhile reading on any given day and leave it to each reader to determine which ones are of special interest to them which is exactly what I assess for myself.

I first entered the blogosphere from an address I read about in a United Press newspaper article explaining weblogs (blogs) and providing some web addresses where I might find these "blogs." I wrote about this and my evolution to becoming a blogger myself when I wrote my very first posts entitled "Seduction" found in the October 2006 archives listed on this page's right sidebar. The website I first visited is called "The Ageless Project" where one of the ways bloggers are listed is by their birth year.

One of the blogs listed there that I visited which piqued my interest for return reading as a "lurker/hoverer" (someone who visits, may read, but doesn't make their presence known by commenting) was called "My Mom's Blog By Thoroughly Modern Millie," written by Millie Garfield.

I'm finally adding Millie's blog, though it was one of the first I visited and enjoyed, which showcases her as a delightful humorous commenter on life. Occasionally, with her son, Steve, who I understand piqued her blogging interest in the beginning, they have made some funny videos demonstrating the frustrations she and many of us experience trying to get inside packaging today to retrieve the product we purchased.

I had just such an experience recently as I struggled to open a package that almost found me slicing an artery several times on the sharp heavy duty plastic edges that surfaced when I finally penetrated the hard clear plastic with a sharp object to enlarge the opening, so I could actually access the contents on the inside. In the midst of my undertaking I thought of Millie and Steve and what a hey day of frustration and laughter they would have had showcasing this debacle as they've done with so many of their videos.

Another blog to which I returned repeatedly and with increasing frequency was "Time Goes By" written by Ronni Bennett, who was my junior in age, with my birthday falling between Millie's and Ronni's.

I was immediately caught up in the premise of the "Time Goes By" blog as focusing on "What It's Really Like To Get Older." I probably learned more about blogs and blogging at that site than any other blog I visited, long before I ever even commented on a blog myself. I found suggestions as to optimal print, paragraphs spacing and more, when writing a blog, periodic brief descriptions of new blogs, and old blogs but new to me, from which I could choose some I might want to visit. I periodically visited the blogs of those whose comments on her pieces I found interesting. Sometimes I just randomly picked a blog on her blog roll whose title intrigued me. This all became possible when I discovered the magic of a click on links which she so readily provides in her posts and all over her site as I then began to realize other bloggers also provided.

One day my attention, through my usual sources described above, I became aware of a blog called "Octogenarian" written by Mortart. What a pleasure to find this blog since I'm a bit of a news junkie, and here was a real live newsman writing educated professional commentary pieces on pertinent events of the day taking place all over the world. Also, he added a bonus of personal accounts of some of his life experiences. fascinating family history and even more. I became intrigued with that blog on my very first visit. Most recently he has written an interesting personal account of his pen pal writing while serving in our armed forces during WWII.

Another blog I have delighted in finding is written by a personable lady who has a way with words, known to those of us who love to laugh, remember and ponder life's complexities with her, as Lucy at Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal. She is delightfully open, honest and straightforward sharing with us the joys, pleasures, challenges of her life, having made a dramatic change in living environment moving from Florida to Colorado which meant significant weather changes too.

A unique blog I located along the way is one written by Mary Lee called "Full Fathom Five." This is an intriguing title that has to do with submarines, but I'll leave it to those of you who are interested to learn the reasons for it in posts there, or directly from the writer. She writes some of the most descriptive mental pictures of the country and ocean side area surrounding where she lives, provides actual photos which demonstrate of what she writes. She also writes about books which she is reading, all designed to stimulate serious thought on issues we've probably all thought about at one time or another, or soon will once we read her post.

All of these bloggers, those on my sidebar and others created an environment that resulted in my feeling quite welcome in this community whenever I offered comments on their blogs long before I ever became a blogger. They certainly contributed to my desire to "live" part of my life in this blog world. There are so many blogs I have enjoyed over time since I've entered the blogging community, that I want to provide links so others who visit me can readily enjoy them also if they choose. That is why I've written this post today.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I just watched a fascinating video featuring a French entertainer, Jerome Murat, that you can see here. The question is, "How did he do that?"

Special thanks to singer /artist, DiAne Gillespie, for bringing this video to my attention. A link to DiAne's site is here.

I've been a bit of a "ham" most of my life, actively involved in amateur theatre in my young single days, and in my heart ever after that time. I've never been a singer or a mime but thoroughly enjoy these performers as do so many others.

I also have had a romantic love affair with France, the language, the people and everything about the country for much of my life which probably continued to be stimulated with George Gershwin music as I've written in my previous post "Music In My Soul."

I've enjoyed some French performing artists such as Edith Piaf, with a number of her songs you can listen to here , if you scroll down the page a bit.

Another French singer, Maruice Chevalier, is showcased here. He appeared in a number of very popular American movies, singing a number of songs in French and English including this one, "Thank Heaven For Little Girls."

Then we have our very own vocalist, Eartha Kitt, who sang in France, was known in the U.S. too, as you can read here. Her signature song was C'est Si Bon," but many will likely recall a sensual tune she sang entitled "Let's Do It."

Other French entertainers who have fascinated me have been some of those who pantomime, "mime" for short. Probably the one mime who stands out above all the rest is the Frenchman, Marcel Marceau, about whom you can read more, then see and hear this video here.

In America we've have mimes Shields and Yarnell, who continue to do a few performances. This is a link for more information%