Monday, October 30, 2006

Bugs for Dinner

Before he headed back to school yesterday [he comes home most weekends for the chance to sleep in a bed that is actually long enough for him], the YB and I decided to go for a little hike in the Withlacoochee forest. It was still in there, and dappled and sunny and green. We moved along the trail as quietly as we could, the better to spot some "critters". Saw a good sized deer early in the hike, but, as he bounced off into the distance, we thought we'd have better luck if we stood as still as possible for as long as possible.

In mid standing-still-mode I heard a furtive but steady rustling in the leaves just off the path. No noisy gallumphing creature this. I peered towards the noise and saw --- a long, thick, glossy snake. A few years ago I would have taken to my heels at a high rate of speed. Now I stood, rooted to the spot, not breathing, signalling soundlessly to the YB to come see. "Rattlesnake," he whispered. He has always been a wildlife nut, but still I cocked an eyebrow at him to be sure he wasn't pulling my leg. "Look at the diamond shaped markings..." After his years of devouring Reptile magazine and keeping various kinds of snakes as pets, I didn't doubt him. I was glad, though, that I'd worn jeans and sneakers and thick socks. We watched for a while longer, then went quietly on our way, keeping a wary eye on the path for any of his friends.

Soon we heard more rustling . Much more vigorous this time, so we stopped, and listened again, and soon spotted the rustler. It was a large armidallo. He looked like a turtle on stilts, or a football, with his scrawny pointy-eared head on one end and his crazy tail on the other. Whatever bug he was finding must have been delicious, he was poking so enthusiastically in the leaves for more. We pretended we were trees as, snuffling this way and that in his quest for tasty bugs, he shuffled closer and closer. Every now and again he'd rear up on this hind legs and sniff the air. His underbelly was ridiculously pink and naked looking. He knew we were there, but it didn't seem to bother him. At least not until the YB lunged at him to see if he'd really roll himself into a ball! He didn't. He just took off nimbly into the bushes. Probably thinking "Silly humans . Why don't they go back where they came from and let me get on with dinner?"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

No Pressure.....

In the spirit of "Don't go out in the sun between ten and two," I'm making myself a new rule. Something like "Keep your butt away from the computer between the hours of, say, nine and six." Otherwise nothing gets done. There's a house to be maintained, weeds to be pulled, quilts to be finished. But, of more immediate importance, there are two cans of paint putting roots down through the tile in my laundry room. If I'm messing about on the 'puter the dull white walls will never be transformed to "pale cowslip", which I desperately want.

How to make this change now? With the NaBloPoMo thing looming? There will be a lot of drivel, my friends. As it is, I write reams of rubbish, then walk away, do a load of laundry, go grocery shopping, do sudoko. Later, I slash and burn my way through the verbiage in search of what I'm trying to say. Sometimes I find it. Other times I don't. You can always play with it some more tomorrow. Before nine. After six. No pressure......except in November. November should be a trip.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bemused, Beflustered and Besotted

Sometimes I stay up late, reading, puttering, making lists of what needs doing [instead of doing ....] So it's a rare morning that I'm up before seven. Except for last Friday. I am not a giddy person.[You, in the peanut gallery, have a little respect.] But last Friday, early, I knew it was going to be a giddy day. How did I know? My eyes flew open at five a.m. and would not close again. Lately I've noticed, the life in my mind is much more exciting than my real life. Hence, even though I have no trouble getting to sleep, once I'm there, I don't get much rest. Crazy dreams with whacko details, one tumbling over the other. Have to wake up to catch my breath.

So. Five a.m. Lying in the dark. Eyes wide open. A whisper in my head makes me bolt from the bed [move over Mr. Frost]. The OC 's coming home tonight! That's why my eyes are being so stubborn! Stumble to kitchen to make coffee. Shuffle to computer to check e-mail and write. Write? At five a.m.? Yes, write. To turn down the decibels on the din in my head. Besides blogging I have to write for a writing course. A course that is more encouragment than technique. Encouragement to stay off the roads and out of harm's way. Remember, I live in God's waiting wonder the OC jumped at the job up nawth [loved it, stole it from Jess]. Am I babbling ? Those dreams? Ideas. Have to nail 'em 'fore they fly away, nilly willy, like butterflies [I think it should be flutterbyes, but that's neither here nor there...]

Coffee's ready. To the fridge for cream. Encounter chunk of cow [courtesy of Joke--I'm thieving all over the map today...] It's been sitting in there , shivering , for days. Waiting for me to make pot roast. Brown the cow [how now brown cow? feeling better--a little warmer at least?] Onions, garlic, broth, beer, s & p, herbs. Cover, simmer. Prompt from brain-- "get dressed". Wander out to garden. Sun is up and climbing. Weeds , as usual, flourishing. Fill the birdfeeder. Haven't done so in a while. Not since seeing small, furry, black creature, under the tree, feeding on seeds dumped out by bratboy, the squirrel. It was either a large mouse or a ---no---don't even want to think it.......When I opened the birdfeeder two creatures scuttled. Two large, shiny, black bugs--- the crunchy kind, the kind that make my skin crawl. Poured in birdseed, gingerly, to avoid contact with creatures, in which event the screams would be Buffalo.....but muffaloed by snow.

The afternoon creeps by. The phone rings. It's the YB, at the airport--- "can't find him." Five minutes later, ring, ring, "we're on our way!" Forty five minutes. Serious pacing. Go sit out front on the porch in the balmy darkness , waiting for lights to turn into the driveway..... Happiness! They're here. The two remaining people from the life I used to have, who stoically clench their jaws and put up with me. Who alternately make me crazy, and keep me from falling over the edge into the abyss. I'm so glad to have them home.

It's been a week. Time to move on. Yawn. New topic tomorrow. Promise.

CSM [Chocolate Seeking Missile].

There is no trouble in life whose sting cannot be, at least temporarily, alleviated by chocolate. I have prowled the pantry late at night, searching, searching......."What are you hungry for when you don't know what you're hungry for?" Chocolate! Don't know what sets the craving in motion. A full moon? A strange cosmic beam? A particular alignment of heavenly bodies?Or sadness? Longing? Loneliness? Whatever. It will not be ignored!

From the snows of the north he came, to where the palm trees grow, just for the weekend. And when he left again I realised just how lonesome I've been without my Old Curmudgeon. Almost four tumultuous decades and many mutinous plots to pack and leave and now, I miss him? So much that the lonely drive back from the airport triggered a craving. To the kitchen, the kitchen. I'm a chocolate seeking missile. Mutter, mutter, mutter, gotta be here somewhere. At last. In the refrigerator. Two week old, dried out, crusty brownies. That still tasted like heaven!

Munching, munching. Thought occurs. How did we get from there--- when a pan of brownies was GONE before the pan cooled, to here---when a pan of brownies lasts for WEEKS?

Better now. Will survive 'til Thanksgiving. And still they linger. Anyone for a crusty, dried out, two week old brownie? It'll cure what ails ya, guaranteed!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Been There

I never thought the word "poop" would appear on a post here, let alone be the main feature! But after reading some intensive and hilarious discussions, cruising through "mommyblogland", the hour is at hand. As starry-eyed new parents, thirty some odd years ago, we quickly discovered that poop, henceforth, would be looming large in our lives. We had just come in the door from the hospital with our first wee bundle and were standing, still in our coats, not sure how to proceed, when said wee bundle let fly. Through diapers and receiving blankets the yellow, breast- fed- baby poop shot noiselessly out, all over my nice grey wool coat. We looked at each other, aghast. For five days we'd been cosseted and babied at the AF hospital. We had been shown how to hold, nurse, burp, diaper, and bathe the baby, but it didn't prepare us for the enormity of the realization that we were alone now; this tiny scrap of humanity was totally dependent on us [ yes US! Had God lost his mind??] for survival. And next thing I knew, the Old Curmudgeon , who was then only a trainee curmudgeon, was cackling maniacally. Why not? the alternative was uncontrollable weeping....

That first wee bundle grew and thrived, to our delight and amazement. She has always been a very private person, even when she was a very small person. Her grandmother, who is a very clean person, could spot the poop clouds gathering when she was a toddler, and would try to scoop her up and get her to the toilet before another diaper was soiled [no Huggies or Pampers in those days!]. But she would knit her brow and frown, and intone, as she disappeared under a table or to some similarly private location, "Go away Grandma, I don't like you anymore!" This same clever child later coined the word "ire-a-dia".

When the first wee bundle was fifteen we brought home the fifth wee bundle who, upon attaining toddlerhood, developed his own line of "alphabet poop." Every day the siblings would be summoned to the bathroom by his excited cries, so they could take their best guess at the featured "letter" of the day!

Reading all these "mommyblogs" is a trip down memory lane. I'm so happy to no longer be intimately involved with anyone else's personal plumbing. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Blue for a Boy

Somedays I get an overwhelming urge to do something new and creative---and no, if I've been working on it for two years it doesn't qualify! Yesterday
was such a day. Having recently let my mouth get me in trouble [repeat after me: "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing,"] I have been summarily lopped from the family tree, perhaps permanently. Maybe creativity justifies use of space and oxygen. Who knows? Not me.

And so to the sewing room! Some friends of the YB recently provided a reason for creativity. They had a baby. "And it must follow as the night the day," when someone has a baby, I make a quilt. Not a five year project, painstakingly hand stitched for a sweet grandson who has our blood coursing through his veins, obviously, but a quickly and enthusiastically machine stitched project I can race to the finish line with before the devil knows what I'm up to.

I had a small stack of six-inch churn dash blocks, in various shades of blue on a light blue background. I had made them a few years ago, for the quilt I was making for T, my first grandson. But I changed my mind [a woman's prerogative!] , and that quilt went in a different direction. The blocks had been languishing, unloved, in a box ever since. "But today, my darlings, is your lucky day. You're going to be the stars of my next production!"

I spread them out on the floor, El Pussygato's cue to arrive on the scene and throw himself down for a langurous stretch right in the middle. That's one quilt-crazy cat. Or maybe he's just trying to get my attention? Hello? She's making a quilt - aha! If I throw myself down here she's bound to notice me and scratch behind my left ear --- or, at the very least, throw a pincushion my way --- some acknowledgement of my existence.

Too much blue, I thought. With more blue background and some yellow in hand, I sat in front of my sewing machine. Soon I had a happy arrangement of blocks, the yellow adding some oomph! to the blues.

Several days later.....

Top finished, borders on, layered, basted, bound and DONE!! And its only five days since I started. QED ---- that it could be done [by me, the queen of procrastination.]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Words, Feathers and Sport Cars

Born in Europe after the end of WWII, my husband's first language was Ukrainian. When he was still a baby, his family set sail for South America, where they learned to speak Spanish. No sooner was he fluent in Spanish than they decided to move again, this time to New York ,and more linguistic challenges. He was in about first grade and one day a teacher called him "stupid", because he did not yet know enough English to understand her. He did understand what "stupid" meant. I can't imagine what he felt that day, at the mercy of that thoughtless, cruel woman, but it made him resolve to learn to speak English so well that no one would ever call him that again. He has a great ear for languages and accents, and in addition to fluent Ukrainian and Spanish, he has a working knowledge of German and French. He doesn't speak Italian, but after growing up cheek by jowl with so many Italians in Brooklyn, he understands it pretty well [or maybe it's the hand gestures!] And let's not forget that he can curse fluently in Lithunian.

I think what my children probably remember best are the litanies of incantations, in strange tongues, that Dad would let fly as he struggled with flashlights and wrenches under the hoods of our various cars. Then on a trip to Ireland one year, he kissed the Blarney Stone! Coals to Newcastle! Suffice to say the man is never tongue tied. While I think, hours later, of perfect snappy comebacks, they roll off his tongue with exquisite timing, exactly when he needs them.

Today I was reminded of one of his favorite quips [ not coined by him, but funny just the same]. I was filling up at the gas station and a really cool sports car pulled up at the next pump. Out struggled an old geezer of about ninety, bald and wrinkled, with a sizeable paunch. "What a waste", the OB would say! I pulled back out onto the road, and the old geezer in the cool car followed, then moved into the left lane and passed, but kept his signal on, and on, and on! And the OB's voice echoed in my head, "If only I had that car and he had a feather up his a__, we'd both be tickled to death!"