Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Forces Converge

It's 5:33 a.m. I've been up for about an hour and I can't say that I'm actually happy about it. On the other hand, horizontal wasn't working for me this morning with my cold and all. So, vertical wins and it's hard to be asleep and vertical at the same time. For me, anyway. Maybe I can develop that skill.

Anyway, I'm up. That's the first important factor.

The second important factor? Bananas. There were 3 bananas in the fruit bowl developing more and more banana age spots with every passing day (i.e. they were getting too old to eat).

The third important factor? Chip's not here. He doesn't like walnuts.

All these forces have converged and as I type, my first ever loaf of banana nut bread is in the oven baking.

Recipe from good ol' Fanny Farmer Cookbook
3 ripe bananas mashed
2 eggs
mix well
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
stir well
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Spread batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for an hour.

Baking does not get much easier than that, folks.

This may be the most inane blog I've ever posted. Hey, cut me some slack. I'm sick and it's not even 6am yet.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More Make Believe

The man wearing dirty cut-off jean shorts and lace-up leather work boots leers at her in the check-out aisle. His missing teeth accentuate the fact that he’s buying Oatmeal Cream Pies and five cases of Pepsi. It’s on a real deal this week. His yellow mesh half-shirt shows off proud chest hair. Rebecca squeezes her eyes closed and gently shakes her head to erase his image from her mind. The cussing he throws so casually at his kids she can’t squeeze from her ears. The stink of his B.O. can't be squeezed from her nose. She looks down at her credit card and waits for her turn at minimal interaction with the check out girl. The loud, asynchronous scanner noises from seven check-out lanes chisel away at Rebecca’s last remaining sense of hope. “Boop! Boop! Boop!” She turns to leave the aisle and the store. Just one more night of cereal for dinner, she promises herself.
Two isles over, the town loony proudly sports day-glo colors and a yellow tutu around his middle-aged waist. Today he’s hawking containers of sherbet ice cream to disdainful shoppers while waving a small American flag. “Lime Sherbet, Lemon Sherbet, Raspberry!” he whoops with enthusiasm. People give him a wide berth and make eye contact with each other to verify that they are sane and he is not. Rebecca watches a mother tell her children not to stare while an old man shuffles by, gaping with indiscretion. The town loony spins in a circle, happily singing the praises of sherbet ice cream in his sherbet colored clothes. He raises a container up in the air and looks around for a taker just as Rebecca considers orphaning her groceries at check-out five. Their eyes meet.
“Give it here.” Rebecca says. Her voice croaks into the fluorescent air. She has not spoken in two days. “Give me a raspberry, Sherbet Man.” she hollers.
He stops spinning and looks into her face. He sees her hands ready to catch and her words are not a taunt. He heaves the frozen plastic container over two full aisles in the ally-oop of his dreams.
Rebecca nearly misses completing the assist. A few bobbles later, the sherbet container is in line on the conveyor belt behind the makings for homemade pizza and a bottle of cheap red wine. She and Sherbet Man execute a long distance high five.
Mr. Oatmeal Cream Pie herds his dirty, crossed-eyed kids toward the twenty-five cent jewelry dispensers at the front of the store. They scream and whine for quarters. He’s got a cigarette already in his mouth. It’s finally Rebecca’s turn to check out.
“Did you find everything you were looking for today?”
“Yeah, actually, I did.”
It’s the first time she's ever told the truth.

Shameless Self Promotion

Shameless self promotion of my sophomore directorial effort.

Learning to make videos is pretty fun and quite a good waster of time. The learning curve for creating movies isn't as steep as I imagined, even if I am behind the general curve of discovering YouTube for more than just watching. Hey, I'm getting old...I'm allowed to be behind the tech curve now. I think my interest in making pointless movies to post on YouTube will wane quickly.

I would like to name Adrian (aka nehiker on YouTube) as my movie making role model and greatest influence. Please see his YouTube page, linked above, for more entertaining videos than mine.

In the past two days I have offered nothing to humanity other than this video. That's pretty lame and is not a sustainable way to be. I'm working on that.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rainy Sunday

The day started off slowly. Clouds came in, the sky darkened, the rain came down, thunder rumbled in the hills. Through the small, orange spray painted "solid state" GE radio in the kitchen (i.e. seriously old school) I'm listening to A Prairie Home Companion, drinking a steaming cup of coffee and glancing through the New York Times. Prairie Home Companion is happening in Ohio where it is also stormy. A crack of thunder is heard in the background at an opportune moment just before a punch line which sends the audience into peels of applause. A few minutes later I hear thunder here in Vermont. Jorma Kaukonen comes on to play some nice finger-picked blues. And then it's time for the Lake Wobegon story. No one tells a story like Garrison Keillor. What a pleasure to listen as he weaves words into life.

The rain here pours straight down in earnest, there's more lightning, more thunder. It's gonna be a good Sunday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Acadia Aborted

I'm going to steal the now classic "You deserve to burden yourself with insurmountable debt" commercial format:

14 of the past 32 hours spent in the car.
90 bucks for gas and tolls
50 bucks for camping and a park pass that go mostly unused
3 hours of sleep due to pain, worry and multiple trips to the bathroom
2 soaking wet tents to pack up (due to rain, not the peeing problem)
1 bladder infection

Doing all that with a friend who makes it fun anyway: priceless.

The video/photo quality got degraded quite a bit by You Tube. Oh well. You get the idea.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Things With Which I've Injured Myself

I know it's hard to believe, but I am not always graceful. I have a colorful history of odd injuries and stunning bruises. The short historical list:

  • I bruised the under part of my forearm on the handle of a wooden spoon
  • I cut my fingers with a plastic spatula
  • I smashed my face with the edges of a saucepan trying to sniff to see if it was clean
More recently I've:
  • Crashed my right thigh into the base of a theft detector at the grocery store while trying to maneuver around an old lady blocking the entire doorway
  • Wrenched my left big toe on my pajamas.
That one happened just last night. I was playing "chase the string" with the cat, running slowly back and forth between the two upstairs rooms. While looking over my shoulder to see if she was interested in the game, my left big toe somehow got tangled up in the bottom of my right pajama bottom. Both feet came off the ground and I fell into a heap on the bedroom floor. The cat trotted in behind me and sniffed at my face and at my feet. Then she alternated between cleaning herself and staring at her hysterically laughing caretaker. My toe feels a little funny this morning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grocery Store Rant

A trip to the local Shaw's in Springfield tends to give me plenty of food for thought. (yuk, yuk, yuk..good one Jen). Over the past 5 years I've noticed the growth of the "greenhouse" department on the walkway just outside the doors. Each spring there seem to be more and more plants for sale along with all the trappings in which to plant them such as dirt, fertilizer and mulch. Things have really gotten out of hand though. On a special rack with three different shelves sit flashy, resealable heavy-duty plastic bags brightly designed and very stylish looking. They are sold as "Flower Cuisine", "Veggie Cuisine", and "Herb Cuisine". Even our fertilizer has lost touch with reality. Shit is still shit even when you call it gourmet shit. Unless of course this is all man-made shit. Then shit is really just chemicals. These days even our plants are too good for manure.

Then in the produce section tonight I did a double take. Kind of like the time I saw plastic 4-packs of peaches being marketed using Spongebob Squarepants' likeness on the lid. Today the head-shaking discovery was another plastic 4-pack with Grapples in them. The tag line said, "Looks like an apple, tastes like a grape!" This is supposed to be exciting? Or good? Or what? I don't get it. Are we living in some kind of cartoon? You want grapes? Buy friggin' grapes! You want apples? Buy some damn apples! You want Dr. Seuss? Go to the library!

And why does the "Organic" section of Shaw's insist on packaging almost everything organic in Styrofoam, netting & plastic wrap? I like to buy organic local vegetable when possible. This stuff? Forget it. It's so moronic it makes me crazy.

There. I'm done now. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. All better.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Time for some make-believe

The cat is home. Doing just okay. Time will tell, I guess.

I got to thinking about the reality of keeping my stories to myself. That's silly and boring. This one is a little PG-13, but just barely. Hope it entertains.

Last Night

Last night I took Crit out for his evening roam behind the barn on Fisher’s property, just like I always do. It’s late August and we often get that temperature change or the dewpoint is just right or something. I don’t know exactly, I’m not a weather person or anything. But a layer of fog floated over the field at about the height of my head. I felt the moisture droplets condense on my face. The fog swallowed Crit as he tore after something that I couldn’t sense near the edge of the woods. I stood alone in the field listening to the late August night sounds and smelling the wood smoke from the neighbor's bonfire.

The crickets’ songs couldn’t hide the strange noises and shy laughter I heard out where the light on the barn didn’t reach. My approach went unnoticed and soon I could make out bits of a girl’s voice whispering gentle things: “Mmmm…”, “…like this”, “you don’t…?” It sounded like the new girl, her name’s Willow I think, and it sounded like she was fooling around with someone but I couldn’t hear the guy’s voice. I could only imagine what he was doing to keep his mouth so busy. I’m not quite thirteen yet and I’ve never had a girlfriend or anything. So, I only know about this stuff from TV movies and from my friend Bo, who has a girlfriend this summer. Although she lives in another state so I’m not exactly sure how he got so experienced. I’ll have to ask him about that.

The breeze picked up and the fog thinned a little. My eyes had adjusted to the dark and the nearly full moon illuminated things enough for me to make out shapes in the tall grass. Stems and stalks of the late summer field brushed against my skin as I crept closer. I thought I might get in trouble if they caught me spying, but I had to see what they were doing. I considered it education, not spying. In about 10 slow steps I could make out blue-white curves and purple-black shadows of moon lit skin. The back of a dark-haired head contrasted against pale legs. Fingers pulled at the hair and a body squirmed. Surprised inhalations and sighing exhalations floated into the night sky. I needed to get closer, I had to see more.

My eyes fell on Willow’s pale face and I froze in mid-step with my breath caught in my chest. I heard Crit barking off in the distance near the old tree house. Willow squeezed her eyes shut and her mouth hung open slightly. The expression on her face changed like cloud shadows moving across the field on a windy afternoon. She lay sprawled on a beach towel just like the one I use down at the swimming hole and arched her body into the person between her legs. I still couldn’t identify the guy. Not that I spent much time studying him. I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I’d never before seen in real life, naked breasts. Then everything got weirder than any movie I’d ever seen on cable over at Bo’s house.

The dark haired head lifted and turned. My sister’s profile popped into view. Willow’s eyes opened to look at Lydia which also happened to be in my general direction. She caught me spying, caught me with my hand down my pants, caught me staring at her lying in the field with my sister. Willow looked surprised for a second and I thought for sure she’d rat me out, but she didn’t. She just closed her eyes and put her hand on my sister’s head to guide it.

I crashed away into the dark and heard Lydia’s nervous voice yelp, “What was that?” And Willow’s confident answer, “Just a deer, that’s all. We spooked it. I saw its white tail and then it was gone.”

I start school at the junior high next week and I turn 13 in October. I feel charged with electricity, like a storm cloud full of lightning, ready to strike but not knowing where. I didn’t used to be scared of stuff all that much, but suddenly, I’m scared of everything.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Patience

It's been 48 hours. I want my kitty friend back home where she belongs. I still don't know what the outcome will be.

I am tired of waiting for diagnoses. For both human friends and pet friends alike. I want health and well-being for every one I love. Is that so much to ask? I guess maybe it is.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Goodbye, Hello and Can't Wait

Today I said goodbye to my office, goodbye to my coworkers, goodbye to my seven years at Austine and goodbye to eleven years as an Audiologist. Although I made the decision months ago and have been anxiously awaiting today's arrival, it feels surprisingly strange and sad. I've said goodbye to several hundred people in the last couple months, some I've known for 7 years. I said goodbye to my old routine. I won't be stopping in to Mocha Joe's on a regular basis in the morning to start my day. For a while, as I'm figuring out what to do next, I won't be helping people in such a direct and tangible way and I wonder how that will affect me. The whole thing feels rather unreal and almost like heading into a grieving process to be honest. Maybe I am.

Two days ago our cat stopped eating, drinking and pooping. She replaced those activities with hiding under the bed, puking and losing her general joie de vivre. In four years I've never needed to take her to the vet. Today after I left work for the last time, I loaded her in a carrying case and my dad and I took her to the vet. I was so nervous about it. How would she act? Would she scratch and bite? Meow her head off? Shake and quiver? Well, she did some of those things, but was too sick to put up much resistance. I had to leave her there for testing and I.V. fluid replacement due to dehydration. I said goodbye and held back my tears as I returned to the waiting room with an empty cat carrier. You can't explain to a cat that you'll be back, that you're sorry it's scared and doesn't feel well. You can't be sure it knows how special it is in your life and that the house feels so empty without her presence. I can't wait until she's back.

Sunday I learned a new skill. Chain sawing. It's cool. I like the smell of the two cycle engine and the way the saw dust flies back as the blade slices through the wood. I like how it sounds when I increase and back off on the throttle. We're cutting back more unruly bushes tomorrow. I can't wait.

With lots of help from my Dad I now have a compost bin (which we built with entirely free materials from the remnant pile at the hardware store) and a clothesline. Tomorrow we're going to rent a power washer to blast the deck in preparation for a much needed paint job. I'm saying hello to my new free time this summer by getting dirty, sweaty and learning how to take care of our home. Not a bad way to start.

This entry was really, really bloggy. Sorry to those who hoped for something different. I needed to get this out of my system. I am also ready for something more "creative" here. Definitely. I will have lots of time to work on that. Can't wait.