Monday, August 29, 2016

About vacations

This is a re-post from August 2011.  It seemed appropriate as we prepare to visit family in Illinois.

In years past, we have taken big trips.  I don’t know why we feel we have to take a big trip, but back then we must have seen big trips were a rite of passage.  We visited our daughter and husband in Switzerland in 2007.  We went on a jaunt to Utah in 2008.  We went to Hawaii in 2009.  In 2010, I made numerous small trips to Illinois to visit my dying mother.  In April 2011, we made a final trip to Illinois.

All but the 2010 trip involved many suitcases, copious planning, mail put on hold, newspaper redirection, instructions for plant watering, and many snippy- tight lipped words to each other about not forgetting things (well, mostly from me).

“Why do we do this?”  We asked ourselves just a few weeks ago.  So we did a ‘mini-trip.’ And here are the results.
Watching a movie with Sunshine and Bright Eyes

Swimming with grandkids and their friends

My own personal 'Bear in the Forest"

Our Cabin at Woodlandpark Manor in Idyllwild, CA

Alpine strawberries--incredibly sweet

Holly berries?

The new totem pole in down town Idyllwild, Ca

Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild, CA

Flowers are everywhere in Idyllwild, CA

To check out this awesome mountain town, click on Idyllwild, California 

Now, I ask you, which is the best thing to do:  take a big trip, or just take a trip? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Millions and Billions of Cats.

For some people who are near my age know few television shows for children existed.  
File:Bob Keeshan Hugh Brannum Captain Kangaroo 1960.JPG
Source: Wikipedia, God Bless 'Em
My favorite: Captain Kangaroo, who was an affable fellow who did very little except talk to us---the kids watching the show.  He read books to us, showing pages as he read.  Ingenious!

Wanda Gag Millions of Cats-book cover.jpg

The book I best remember is Millions of Cats, written and illustrated by Wanda Gág in 1928 and the oldest American picture book still in print.  The text was hand-lettered by her brother.  This book won the Newbery Honor award in 1929, one of the very few picture books achieving this honor.

Ms. Gag was the first children book author to have the image and story extend from one page to the next.

Enough.  The story is about an elderly couple who discover they are lonely and think having a cat would help.  The husband heads out to find the most beautiful cat possible for his wife. 

He travels far from home, until he comes upon a hill covered with in cats.  “Cats here, cats there, Cats and kittens everywhere.  Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats.  Millions and billions and trillions of cats…”  This phrase repeats all through the book.

NOTE: The man cannot decide, so he walks back home with all the cats trailing after him. 

 His wife is upset with him, since he doesn't seem to realize how impossible it would be to feed and care for all these cats. Wouldn't we all??

Wise wife told the cats that they could decide which one should stay by asking “Which one of you is the prettiest?”

All hell breaks loose as the cats erupt in an incredible cat fight.  The couple lock themselves up in the house.  When there is silence outside, they emerge to see no cats.  They had apparently eaten each other up in their jealous fury!

They find a skinny scraggly cat hiding in tall grass—safe because it didn’t think it was pretty.  They took the cat home and all were happy.

Now, isn't that this the most amazing story to read to a four or five year old youngster sitting in front of the television?  Then, no child would think or question about the blood and guts that would be lying around.  But still, I have never forgotten it.

This post was from Feb. 5, 2014.  This book is firmly imprinted on my brain. This re-posting is to bring such a deligh

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Time with End

My camp for the night was a small creek at the base of the mountain range at the very end of this straight section of road

Boxes still surround us.  Books from boxes topple from bookcases.  This all seems unending, moving and unpacking.  Then, how about finding space in which to place our treasures? This is all unending, a chore that we did not see at the beginning of escrow.

This brings up the subject of “unending”.  Thinking over the years, ghosts of “unending” appear to nag and torment. In the theme of “unending” lies a list, an “unending” list about those ghosts:

Replacing an engine, discovering missing parts and tools, with more auto parts littering the floor.  Oh, sure, friendly veteran sang a story about an old war injury prevented him from using manual shift, so that's why there are only 75,000 miles on the speedometer.  You drive classic car home, finding smoke and clanks following you. Not such a good deal, and when online sites send replacement parts, there is always a screw short.

Being in labor for hour after hour definitely makes the list. (45 hours? Followed by C-Section.) After ten hours, just when you beg for an epidural, An army nurse briskly tells you that it is too late to give one.  

Flights to the other side of the world.  Australia?  South Africa? Switzerland?  You find yourself in cheap seats, middle seat packed in, next to someone who hasn't taken a bath in the last year.

Image result for teachers on playground duty
oh so true
Playground duty. You are the only teacher with 300 children racing around an one acre playground.  You clutch a clipboard under one arm and grip the teacher whistle in  a tightly clenched fist.  

Waiting for Santa. You are 6 years old and this night is one wished for all year. Tick, Tick, Tick...eyes want to shut but you won't let them...tick, tick, tick...

Picking strawberries day after day after day. No joy after the fifth day. Mid-May arrives with garden full of red berries peeking from green leaves.  First day is like discovering rubies, sweet rubies. Leads onto the second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day....Enough already.  This won't ever end.

Waiting in an emergency room, filled with sneezing and coughing. You have a brain-splitting migraine and your blood pressure is 177/85.  With your head dropping to your knees and a throw-up bowl beneath, you watch as a child with sinusitis(#45) is called in.  You are #62.  You won't live to see the end of this day. 

Driving through Death Valley in summer. (Been there, done that) Long straight road over flat desolate land, you see in distance, heat waves fooling you to think it is water.  It is 121 degrees and you watch your car's gas light like a hawk.

Standing in the line at DMV, until legs are shaking, growing light-headed. Husband is home, too sick to go into the line from hell to transfer registration.  You are three months pregnant, and hours pass.  At the third hour, you tell the kind lady behind you that you are pregnant and wonder if...then you open your eyes as you lie on the floor.  Registration was expedited. 

Shopping on the day after Christmas and you find there are no bargains worth this amount of physical abuse.

YouTube has numerous of Curling videos

Being forced to watch “curling” during the Winter Olympics. Your family is Nordic, and cheer for some team.  Crushed between Olaf and Sven, you decide to develop a tummy-bug, staying in the bathroom.

Re-modeling a bathroom and/or kitchen the week before company arrives--this is your spouse's idea.  Tearing out the sink and cabinet reveal rot and mold.  Company will be staying in the hotel with you, as your entire house is being examined and treated.

Sitting in rush hour traffic on the Friday of a four-day weekend. A black juiced up muscle car is shaking with the bass turned up high.  You have windows rolled up, and yet you are vibrating as well.

Most or all of this involve unending waiting…and more waiting…including walls of boxes lined up like heavy soldiers.

 What about you?  Can you add to this list your own unending events?