Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How many men does it take to...

....pick up a dead deer. Yes, unfortunately, we saw one of the big deer lying dead at the shoulder of the road by our house the other morning when we left for the “big city.” The department of transportation is fairly quick about picking up the road kill (of course it isn’t the “road” that kills them, it’s the cars and trucks, duuuh). One would assume that two men and a pick up truck could get the job done. One guy get the front, one guy get the back, and heave her into the truck bed. Yes, it was a big deer, but did it really require a huge front-end loader and a dump truck? We’re talking the giant-sized skip loader here and a full-sized dump truck, both of which had to be driven over from the DOT yard. True, it’s not that far, but still.... Our tax dollars at work.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I can see clearly now...

Just before we left on our vacation, a contractor hired by the electric co-op came by and told us they would be clearing the right of way under the power line that cuts across our field from the church to our house. They were as good as their word, but my goodness, we were in for a shock when we got back from our trip. When they did this about 5 years ago, they just trimmed the trees and didn't do much else, and within a year you couldn't tell anything had been done. This time it was different—much different. I am very glad that we were gone when they came, because we would have been very upset. They cut a wide swath across the field, but it was more than just cutting down the trees. The 30-foot (?) right-of-way is now bare ground. Course it won't be bare ground for long, because already maybe 1000 mimosa trees have started to sprout, but in any event, we have a clear view of the church and they have a nice view of our propane tank. One of the trees that is now exposed is an apple tree. We never got any apples off of it in the years after noticed it was blooming because we couldn't get to it, and then we forgot about it. The deer knew it was there, and all along have been eating the apples off the ground, but we never saw them. Now, just about every day, we have the pleasure of seeing a doe and her fawn under the tree eating apples; and a couple of days later: a doe and twin fawns.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Charles Chaplin

My father’s mother worked as a seamstress in the wardrobe department for one of the film studios in the Los Angles area. This would likely have been in 1920-1930. My sister took on the task of making copies of important photos that my mom and dad have so that all of the sibs can have them. My mother, I think, is trying to cover her bases -- she doesn't want her children fighting over "stuff." I received my set when we were there on vacation at the end of July. Amongst the photographs that came to my father when his father and mother became late, and copied by my sister, is this candid snapshot of Charles Chaplin. That this is not a professional publicity photo should be obvious. I don’t know how my grandmother came by this picture, whether she took the picture on her own camera (she did have one, because she took pictures of her kids when they were little), or if someone else at the studio took it and gave it to her, but that my grandmother should have had this photo has “blown us away” to speak.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Yesterday at the used bookstore I found a book I have been looking for since last December, when I happened upon it at the bookstore at the airport (in Houston? or was it Dallas?) and began reading a few pages of it while waiting (at umpteen dollars I was only briefly tempted to buy it) for my flight to Los Angeles. It appears to be a brand-new hardback for only $3.00. When I am finished I will donate it to the library so someone else may enjoy it too. He surprised me yesterday by coming in with the brochure from the “Center for the Performing Arts” and pointing out that the Wailin’ Jennys will be in concert there in April. I looked up and said, “Oh, can we....” and before I even finished he showed me a layout of the auditorium and where our seats are located. I am thrilled to the core. They are a wonderful singing group and I can hardly wait until I get to hear them. Clicking on segment 3 at this website will allow you to hear them if your computer is set up correctly. The song is “Long Time Traveler.” And today I figured out the secret, finally, to using liquid hand soap. I usually loose about 90% of each squirt. Now that there is barely 1/4 inch left in the bottom of the bottle, I realize one is not supposed to wet one’s hands before squirting on the soap.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Yes, I am back in the saddle again. It was at about this time last Thursday, 6:30ish, that we were into New Mexico with Albuquerque and dinner the next goal. Albuquerque is always so beautiful to see coming over the hills with the setting sun shining on it -- and this time there was a thunderstorm and a beautiful rainbow in the distance to make the picture even lovelier. Having said that, we generalky hate driving in Albuquerque, but I won't go into the difficulty we had getting to the restaurant. We ended up eating in a 1950s-syle sort of diner with a big owl on it, appropriately named "The Owl Cafe. (Go ahead, do a Google search and you will find a picture). It was very noisy from sound echoing off the walls and unpleasantly remined us of the miserable atmosphere at the Circus Circus restaurant we ate at during the "Las Vegas leg" of the trip. The Owl Cafe had some really cool old music on the juke box. I selected two songs for a quarter, but could barely hear either one of them on the speakers. The specialty of the house was a hamburger with green chili sauce. We both ordered it, but I got almost no chili and R’s was drenched with it. Seems to be the story of my life. It happens with depressing frequency that whenever we go out to eat, Richard ends up getting a really good meal but mine ends up being "not quite right."

The trip home was very different than the trip out. Going was fun – Route 400 across Kansas was delightful. I got a “sense of place” for the area in Colorado where my mother grew up on a small ranch. And we saw breathtaking scenery on I 70 leaving Denver – Glenwood Canyon was just beautiful, and the Rocky Mountains were---high!

But the trip home? Exhausting and irritating. About every 20 miles or so on I 40 there was some sort of road construction, and we felt like cattle being shunted through the chutes at the sale barn. It was very frustrating because just as it seemed we were making progress, here came another “reduced speed ahead, fines doubled in construction zone" sign. After our experience in Arizona several years ago getting zapped with a $250 fine in a construction zone (I did get to stand on a corner in Winslow Arizona, though) we take no chances.

I was very surprised that we made it home by 8 pm, but that was because we did not stop for dinner. By this point we were very tired of eating out and we had food in the cooler to eat.And what did we find when we came home? Well, terrible mess in the refrigerator. Before we left, I had unplugged the refrigerator, cleaned it and the freezer thoroughly, and left the doors open. Unfortunately, R shut the doors as he went from room to room around the house with his checklist because they were blocking the door to his office. I forgot to open the doors again before we left. We discussed briefly calling N and having him go in the house and open frig doors, but we decided against it, and that was a big mistake. I suspected the refrigerator would be in bad shape by the time we got back, and I was not disappointed. The insides were covered in mold (mildew?) whatever it was. I had enough bleach to get started, but R had to go to the store to get more. I spent at least an hour recleaning every surface of the refrigerator. I now have a extremely clean refrigerator.