SUBSTANDARD? YOU THINK?

A paper is just a paper unless everyone abides by it. 

I had arranged for Shawn Perry (Clear Vision Construction) to fix the front door. He wasn’t doing the work himself, but sent two guys to do it. The quality of the work is possibly the worst I’ve seen.

No need to believe me. Here are photographs. This is less than 24 hours after the work was deemed “finished” and complete.

The name: Clear Vision Construction, Owner: Shawn Perry. If he was on your list, you might want to find a different guy. He has worked three other states and by now, he’s no doubt working a fourth. There are too many guys like this in the contractor or construction business. Typically, they target older people. We were perfect patsies.

They come into their “new” territory, do a few jobs, get a couple of recommendations. Next, they line up a batch of people like us, take the money and run. After all these years, you’d think I’d have learned. Sadly, you never get too old to get ripped off. It’s not only that they stole your money: it’s the humiliation of getting taken for a ride. Again. Trusting people used to be “the norm.” Now, it’s aberrant behavior. The world has turned.

You can write “the paper.” Sign it. But, in the end, if both parties don’t live up to an agreement, it’s a worthless. Substandard? I’m pretty sure this is at the bottom of substandard.

MY MOM’S ADVENTUROUS HONEYMOON – BY ELLIN CURLEY

At the age of 19, my mother married a 34-year-old doctor named Abraham. Her father’s name was also Abraham so her husband became known by his initials, A.O.

She and A.O. decided to honeymoon in Russia so Mom could meet her mother’s sister and the rest of the family who had never moved to America. It was 1936. They took an ocean liner, the elegant ‘Normandie’, to France and took a train through Europe to Russia. The train had to go through Nazi Germany to get to Russia. At the time, Jews traveling in Europe were already getting nervous.

Mom and her first husband, A.O.

At one of the stops just before entering Germany, A.O. decided to get off the train and get sandwiches for himself and his bride. It took longer than expected and as he came back out onto the tracks, holding the sandwiches, the train was just pulling out of the station. He had both of their ‘papers’ with him. So Mom was now entering Nazi Germany alone, with no papers!

The Nazi officers got on at the next stop and started questioning everyone. Mom and A.O. had struck up a conversation with another passenger, who was German or Austrian. Mom found him and told him her predicament. She was panicked, needless to say and he agreed to help her out.

When the German officers got to Mom, she and the good Samaritan tried to explain her situation. Husband with papers, getting sandwiches, missed train, etc. The Germans insisted on searching Mom’s luggage, which she happily agreed to. While they were still talking, quite tensely, there was a commotion outside the train. Mom stuck her head out the window and saw an incredible sight. There was a railroad hand car, pulling up behind the train, carrying a train employee and A.O., still holding the sandwiches!

Old fashioned railroad hand car

A.O., who spoke German, had been able to get someone at the train station to help him rescue his young bride in the only way available to them. It was a daring and a timely rescue. A.O. got back on the train, produced their papers and the German’s left, confused perhaps, but satisfied.

That’s not quite the end of the story. A.O. later told Mom that, unbeknownst to her, he had been smuggling information, in his suitcase, for the Russian government! He was a member of the Communist Party and he was acting as a courier between the party in the U.S. and Russia. Needless to say, if the Germans had found A.O’s hidden documents, I would not have been born.

Mom and A.O.

Mom was furious at A.O. for putting her in a potentially dangerous situation. He should never have agreed to carry ‘spy’ documents on his honeymoon and exposed Mom to such jeopardy.

I always loved this story though because it’s the closest thing I’ve ever been to a real life cloak and dagger drama. Cue the credits and the spy movie music!

LUST AND LONGING IN MID SUMMER

For the first time in more than a week, the sun in shining. The air is dry and just warm, not hot. The fullness of summer is upon the land.

Yea, verily and forsooth, too. Summer has come, dragging with it the lust and love of the season.

This past month and a half has shown no evidence of this being one of our better summers. There has been the horror of the rotting front door. The attack of the carpenter ants. The collapse and demise of the hot water heater, not to mention one minor fender bender that has put a dent in our previously perfect front fender. And of course, the continuing insanity of our government.

There have also been a couple of lovely times. The days with Tom and Ellin in Connecticut were a definite “up.” The arrival of Duke the Dogge was another high point and one that shall continue for years to come. One of the most enjoyable parts of adopting a new pet is that they keep making you crazy and laughing for a long time. Vacations pass, but pets are in for the long haul.

Speaking of lust, Duke is one lusty little not-quite-a-boy pooch. One of his most obvious needs is a potent urge to hump Bonnie who, in her elderly wisdom is saying “Get off me you big lump! I’m a lady and I was neutered 9 years ago!”

Poor Duke the Dogge. He is packed full of youthful hormones and seeks only for a passionate humpette. Alas, none is to be found. His hormones will retreat as time moves on, but for the nonce, he’s pretty wild about Bonnie. Her feelings are, to put it politely, mixed. She is cautiously pleased by the attention and equally annoyed by Duke’s persistent nosing of her nether regions. And every time he tries to go “a little too far,” she snarls, then yaps at him for a long time. I swear she is yelling at him for being such a dog.

But what can he do? He is a dog!

The snarling and imploring of the two of them is either a Shakespearean tragedy or comedy. I’m not sure which, but perhaps contains elements of both.

So the summer moves on. I shall take my camera and see if I can acquire pictures of a scene in progress.

HOTTER THAN FIRE – RICH PASCHALL

Hot Summer Dancing, by Rich Paschall


Summer is in full swing, just like your dance moves.  The nights are hot and the days are sweltering.  We can tell by the sweat running down your flushed face that you are not just a Hot Child in the City, but that you have the Dance Fever.  It happens to many so do not be five alarmed.  In The Heat of the Night, you just have to get up and move.  We are not handing you a Hot Line, just our top ten HOT dance tunes.

If our last top ten list of Dance Songs did not get you out of your chair, we think these will do it.  They are hot, really hot.  In fact, they are so hot all the titles tell you so.  Yes, they all have heat (or fire) in the title.  Since you have heat in your shoes, get up and bust a move to these dance tunes. Click on any song title for the song and video, or get the entire playlist at the end.

10.  Hot Blooded, Foreigner.  Sometimes dancing is not enough in the 1978 hit.  “Well, I’m hot-blooded, check it and see / I got a fever of a hundred and three / Come on baby, do you do more than dance?”  The single sold more than a million copies and also appeared on the Double Vision album.

09. Heat Wave, Martha and the Vandellas.  There are many hot versions of this song, especially this one by Linda Ronstadt, but we thought it was best to go with this Classic version by Martha Reeves.  The 1963 release went to number one.  Yes, it was a hot hit.

08. Just Like Fire, Pink.  “Just like fire, burning out the way / If I can light the world up for just one day / Watch this madness, colorful charade / No one can be just like me any way.” And no one can be just like you on the dance floor.  Get up and groove to this 2016 pop hit.

07. Heat of the Moment, Asia.  This was a 1982 hit for the alternative rock group.  “It was the heat of the moment /Telling me what your heart meant /The heat of the moment shone in your eyes.”

06. Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone.   We can see that you are starting to pant, so it is time to slow the playlist down for a couple of songs before we have a scorching hot finish.  This 1969 hit added a bit of funk and a bit of soul to the hot tune.

05. Too Hot, Kool and the Gang. The smooth 1979 R&B hit should add some soul to your step.  “Oh it’s too hot, too hot, lady / Gotta run for shelter / Gotta run for shade.”

04. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer.  By 1979 the disco queen was rocking up the tempo with this single from her seventh studio album, Bad Girls.  “How’s ’bout some hot stuff, baby this evenin’ / I need some hot stuff baby tonight.”

03. Hot, Hot, Hot, Buster Poindexter.  This infectious dance tune got an over-the-top performance in 1987 by singer David Johansen as Poindexter.  It will add a bit of calypso to your dancing feet.

02. The Heat Is On, Glenn Frey.  This tune was recorded for the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop.  It received a Grammy nomination for Frey and a lot of air play.  The music video was very popular in the early days of MTV.  “The heat is on (flames are burning higher) / The heat is on (baby can’t you feel it) .”

01. Hotter Than Fire, Eric Saade.  The Swedish pop star scored so big with the 2011 dance tune that there were actually two official videos.  The first one featured pictures and graphics, while the second one had Saade dancing through many sets.  You might be cooler than ice, but your dance moves are Hotter Than Fire.

Play the entire hot playlist with Bonus tracks here.
Related: Can’t Stop The Feeling

HOOK AND PAN – A VERY SHORT STORY

Shiver me timbers,” shouted Hook as, once again, Peter Pan eluded his grasp.

“Shiver me what?” teased Pan. “What timbers? Where?”

“You know,” said Hook. “Timbers. Like … I don’t know … the timbers on a roof. What do I know about wood? I’m a pirate, not a contractor!”

For a brief, confusing moment, Hook saw a mental image of himself. Contractor in a lovely, rather rural village. Overcharging customers. Taking his own, sweet time getting the job finished. A couple of assistants he could treat as slaves. Children and a wife to bully. Maybe piracy could be a land-based industry …

Nah. Too complicated. Besides, he already had a ship …

72-BW-Rigging-Beaver-3-052916_072

“Well,” teased Pan, “If you’re going to talk about timbers, you should at least know what you’re talking about.” Pan darted away and perched high in the rigging. Hook could hear the boy’s laughter and the soft bell-like sound of Tinkerbell’s merriment.

“Damned that fairy,” he muttered. “Someday I’ll get her. And that annoying lad. Just you wait … ”

But Pan and Tinkerbell were already gone. All that remained was a hint of sparkling pixie-dust falling slowly through the salty sea air.

DOGS WITH SUPERPOWERS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Tom and I have had some awesome dogs. And some of them had some mad skills.

For example, Tom had a Giant Schnauzer named George. He was a serious herder. When Tom had a party, everyone always ended up huddled together in the corner of one room. George would be happily asleep nearby.

In addition to herding humans, George was a skilled dog herder. Often when Tom came home from work, he’d find six to eight dogs from the neighborhood in his backyard. George had collected them and brought them home. Tom would have to shoo the dogs off and send them back to their own homes.

Tom had a radio show years ago and he wrote comedy skits for the show. One was about a dog advice columnist and was called “Ask Dr. Dog”. Tom would put George in front of a microphone and point at him and George would bark on cue. Another hand signal and George would stop. Better than most human radio personalities!

Friday was a Shepard mix of Tom’s. He would obsessively steal silverware. Tom never knew why, just that he would sneak off with forks or spoons or knives in his mouth.

One day, Tom followed Friday to see where he took his stolen dinnerware. Friday had a big stash behind his favorite chair. The amazing thing was that Friday had organized the cutlery by type. All the forks were together, all the spoons were together and all the knives were together. That requires a level of cognitive skills that dogs are not supposed to have. It was a surprising feat for a dog.

I had a wonderful Golden Retriever Border Collie mix named Sam. Everyone loved this beautiful dog. But he was an escape artist and a food thief. He got out of a locked crate and actually bent some of the bars in the process. He also got out of a house with all the doors shut. We have no idea how he did it. After that we nicknamed Sam, “Hairy Houdini”.

Sam’s other talent was stealing food very, very discreetly. One day I put a chicken sandwich on the kitchen table for my son, David. David called up to me asking why I had given him a lettuce sandwich. I insisted that I had made him a chicken sandwich. I went into the kitchen and David was right. There was no chicken in the sandwich. But the sandwich looked totally normal. No signs of tampering. Except for one telltale piece of lettuce on the floor next to the table. The smoking gun! We found out later that Tom had actually watched Sam carefully pull the chicken out of the sandwich, leaving the rest of the sandwich intact.

Sam also got some Rugellah I had left in the car with him for a few minutes. But the cookies were tightly wrapped in two layers of aluminum foil. When I got back to the car, the two layers of foil had been carefully unwrapped. There wasn’t a single tear anywhere in the foil. And there were only a few crumbs left sitting in the middle of the package.

One other dog of mine and Tom’s also had a superpower. His name was Caley and he was a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. He was an extraordinary Frisbee dog. He could catch almost any Frisbee you could throw at him. He’d jump in the air and do all kinds of twists and flips, backwards and forwards, to get to the Frisbee. As impressive as that is, many dogs can do that. Caley could do something else.

When we had landscapers working in our yard, they had to pick the rocks out of the soil to create planting areas. Caley was out with the landscapers. The boss knocked on my door and asked me to please keep Caley inside. Apparently when the men threw a rock away, Caley would retrieve it and bring it back to them. So he was slowing the work down. We tested him to see if he was bringing back the same rocks that had been thrown. And he was.

A year later, the landscaper was standing outside the house with me, reminiscing about the amazing rock trick Caley had done the previous year. Caley came running outside and went right up to the landscaper. Then he ran off. He came back with a rock in his mouth and dropped it excitedly at the landscaper’s feet. He waited, wagging his tail, for the rock to be thrown for him. He remembered the rock game and wanted to play it again!

There are a lot of talented dogs out there. These are just some of our stories about our dogs with unique talents.

DUKE, THE NEW DOG

Duke is a pest.


He’s also funny, smart, playful, and ready to run, romp, and generally make a mess of everything. He has two buttons. Asleep and runaround like mad throwing toys, barking, leaping, grabbing more toys, trying to get you to keep throwing toys. Followed by more running, barking, leaping and knocking things off shelves. Stuff is falling all around us and I’m not even sure where it was before it fell down.

Gibbs with The Duke

He is hilarious. He is also a pest because … he is a dog who fetches. Fetching dogs come in two varieties: the occasional fetcher and the obsessed fetcher. He is an obsessed fetcher. If you throw the ball once, you have started a game that will never end. I’m pretty sure this is a dog who, with the addition of a few tennis balls, will never care about anything else again.

Except food.

The nearness of any kind of food turns him into a vibrating wire. He is seriously hungry. All the time. I know it’s his youth, but we’ve had other dogs like this and they did not outgrow the food drive. Even when they were a whole lot bigger than they ought to be, they still wanted more food. More and more and more food. This little dog is food-driven and we are trying to keep at least this dog from becoming obese. Good luck to us!

He is a pest. He is also charming and fun and endearing. Right now he is outside growling and barking at … Gibbs maybe? Sticks and stones? He likes sticks and stones, too.

ABOUT THAT ITCHY RASH

I have a rash. It itches. Occasionally it hurts, but mostly it itches so much I’m ready to tear my skin off. Cortisone (or chemical equivalents) help, but nothing cures it. What is it?

I don’t know. I’ve had it for my whole life as did my mother before me. More than 20 million people suffer from itching skin rashes of unknown origins. Most, like mine, come and go with no obvious cause. I have found a couple of natural creams that help and corn starch powder with zinc oxide sometimes helps, too. But mostly, medical science has made no significant progress in curing it. Whatever it is.

Until a couple of weeks ago, it only attacked areas of my body that are normally covered by clothing. At least I didn’t have to suffer the indignity of answering the time-worn question: “Oh my God, what’s wrong with you?”

Or, the ever-popular: “What the hell is THAT?”

Thank you for sharing your horror at my condition. Recently, my eczema or dermatitis (take your pick, it’s been called both) spread to my right forearm. I admit it’s not pretty, but it isn’t contagious and it won’t kill me. It may, however, drive me insane with the itching.

If it hurt, I can ignore pain, but itching blocks all other sensations. All you can think about is how much you’d like to scratch. You know if you start scratching, it will get worse, though sometimes that barely seems possible.

DEALING WITH FRIENDS who have A RASH


  1. Try not to look horrified.
  2. Don’t stare.
  3. Do not let your jaw drop and tongue loll. That is most unattractive.
  4. Do not ask “Doesn’t that bother you?” Of course it bothers him/her/me.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the concern, but if you look sufficiently awestruck at the rash on my arm, I will feel obliged to give you my entire spiel on rashes, the history of how dermatology has made no advances in treating itching skin conditions, and how aggravating people who itch find people acting so alarmed at those of us who do (itch, that is).

Eczema or dermatitis “of unknown origin,” also called “contact dermatitis” (contact with what?) is really common. There is a very good chance that you will — at some point in your life — have a rash that itches. It will be red and ugly. And annoying people will ask you about it.

You will have no idea what caused it. Your doctor will have no better idea than you. Over-the-counter cortisone cream won’t help much. The slightly stronger prescription goop from your doctor will help slightly (but not much) more.

Coal tar soap and ointments may also help to lessen the itching, but it turns everything — towels and wash clothes — black. Which is weird. I’ve also got several kinds of natural creams that include a lots of aloe and other vegetation — and more than a dozen other things including bee pollen. Generally, this works better than anything else, but sometimes, only the doctor’s stuff works. I use whatever works in no particular order and if it is bad enough, I’ll just smear on everything and hope that something works.

MacArthur-Quote-1

It gets better, it gets worse. Washing makes it better or worse and you have to be careful what soap you use — and how hot the water is. Hot water can make it worse. Ice can make it itch less. This is not just me, it’s general rule, but no one knows why it is true.

Essentially, no one knows anything much about this itching rash thing. Since it’s not lethal and non-contagious and the companies that make all the ointments make money making the ointments, I’m betting that there isn’t a vast army of doctors seeking cures for non-specific rashes of indeterminate origins. Meanwhile, the older I get, the more permanent the rash has become. It used to go away for years at a time, but these days, it retreats, but never completely disappears.

If it finally goes away for a while, I know that like General MacArthur, it will return.

The next time someone asks me “What’s that?” I plan to tell them: “Leprosy. Easily controlled by antibiotics.” That should end the conversation fast,

MY MOTHER COULD’VE BEEN MARILYN MONROE’S THERAPIST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

In 1962, Marilyn Monroe was working on her last movie, “Something’s Got to Give”, by 20th Century Fox. One of the producers on that film was a man named Henry Weinstein. He was brought into the production because it was thought that he could relate to and handle the very difficult Marilyn.

Henry was a long time friend of my parents. He was also married to one of my mother’s best friends. Because both my parents were psychologists and practicing therapists, Henry talked to them about Marilyn’s problems and often asked for advice about her.

Marilyn Monroe and Henry Weinstein

At the time, Marilyn was in particularly bad shape psychologically. Henry knew she was mentally very ill and thought she was becoming paranoid as well. She also had extreme stage fright. She cried on Henry’s shoulder often. Henry had already come to her aid after a barbiturate overdose.

Marilyn was creating high drama on Henry’s set. And Henry was tearing his hair out. She showed up late, sometimes very late. Other times, not at all. She couldn’t remember her lines. She was needy, emotional, and had meltdowns on a regular basis. She would walk off the sets in tears. Lonely and alone, Marilyn was allegedly having an affair with the script girl.

Marilyn Monroe on the set of her last movie

None of this was good for Henry’s bottom line. He had to try to get the movie made on time. So he called my mother a lot, asking for help in dealing with Marilyn and her issues. He eventually asked Mom to fly out to L.A. to be Marilyn’s on set therapist. Mom refused.

My Mother believed Marilyn was too emotionally unbalanced to be helped by ordinary therapy. Mom had a delicate ego herself. She didn’t want to be known as the therapist who was called in to rescue Marilyn Monroe — and failed. Mom was also afraid Marilyn was suicidal and terrified she might kill herself on my Mom’s watch.

Henry begged Mom to come to L.A. to help him. She still refused. Henry ended up firing Marilyn in June of 1962 for excessive absenteeism. Two months later, on August 5, 1962, Marilyn died of another barbiturate overdose. Some people think her death was a suicide. Others think it was accidental. Regardless, the film was scrapped.

Who knows whether or not my mother would have made a difference with Marilyn short-term. She might have been able to help her through this specific crisis, but a fatal overdose inevitable — intentional or accidental. I doubt anyone could have saved her from herself.

Marilyn on the set of Henry’s film, shortly before her death

Here is an interesting, unrelated theory about Marilyn Monroe’s death. It has to do with the Kennedys. I read an article that talked about a book dealing with Marilyn and the Kennedy family. Marilyn had affairs with both John and Robert Kennedy. She began to get clingy and demanding. Started discussing going public about the affairs, which had been kept completely under the radar and out of the news. The Kennedy ‘people’ felt Marilyn was becoming a dangerous liability. So they banned her from seeing or communicating with either brother. She was expelled, cold turkey, from the inner circle.

Marilyn Monroe and Bobby Kennedy

This happened just a few months before her death. There are those who believe this expulsion along with the movie firing, significantly contributed to her final downward spiral. As evidence, Marilyn made several phone calls after she took her fatal overdose. One call was to Bobby Kennedy. Why? Maybe she was trying to get back into the Kennedy boys’ good graces.

We’ll never know for sure. It’s part of the mystery that was Marilyn’s life and death.

PATHS AND STAIRWAYS BY THE ROARING DAM

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – July 28, 2017


Roaring Dam is part of the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor park system and there are many walking paths within it. If you take the trails along the river and walk long enough, you’ll discover that all the parks are linked by the river itself.

First, a little history …

Not the best steps if you aren’t light on your feet!

Kaity on the path by the rapids

SUPERSTITIOUS? QUESTIONS FROM PATIENCE

Am I superstitious?

A little bit, maybe. Mostly involving things that would otherwise be pure luck. Sports. Lotteries. Weather. But not really superstitious because I don’t believe anything I do will actually change an event, but I wish I could. If wishing would make it so! Viewing my answer to this, I think I’m pretty much not superstitious. Everyone has a little thing someone in them, though. All kids are at least a little bit superstitious.

Here are Patience’s questions — and my answers.


1  Do you knock on wood, or use something similar (like cross your fingers), for good luck?

No salt throwing, no crossed anything (except I use the words when I’m writing a story, but don’t actually do it).

2  Does Friday the 13th have any significant meaning for you? 

Thirteen is a lucky number for Jews, but I don’t think any numbers are lucky or unlucky. They are just numbers.

3  What do you do with spilled salt, aside from cleaning it up?

Is there something else I should be doing? If so, I have no idea what it might be.

4  When you move into a new house, what’s the first thing you bring through the door?

Honestly, in all the years I’ve been in various new homes, I have never thought about it. There were a lot of rituals in Israel and I had to have our house exorcised because we failed to do the appropriate stuff. I thought it was pretty strange. Who knew? No one told me.

Superstition mountains, Arizona

5  Do you now, or have you ever, had a good luck charm? If so, what is it?

No.

6  Is there any one thing that you refuse to do because it is “bad luck”? If so, what is it?

I never say “What could possibly go wrong?” ever because inevitably, fate will demonstrate what could go wrong. I try to not even think it. The same goes for “What more could go wrong?” and “We can’t possibly lose this game.” Something more definitely can go wrong … and you sure can lose that game, no matter how many runs you’ve accumulated!

7  There’s a ladder leaning against the wall and the only way to get to where you want to go is under it, what do you do?

Look up, make sure nothing will fall on me, then move on.

8  When you move out of an old house, do you leave anything behind, aside from memories?

Probably a ton of dirt and old canned goods. Is that lucky or not?

9  Does February 29th hold any significance for you?

Sadie Hawkins Day. Everyone knows that!

10  It’s the first day of the New Year, is there anything special that you should do?

I used to make a big, fancy feast. Everyone else had New Year’s Eve parties. I didn’t like driving on New Year’s Eve. Too many drunks on the road, but I figured by New Year’s Day, no one had much to do except recover from a hangover, so that’s when I had a party. These New Year’s Day party were traditional in England … 100 years ago, anyway. They were good parties.

11  What do you do with the “wishbone” of the bird you just cooked and/or ate? (if you’re a meat eater.)

When I was a kid, my  brother and I used to break them with our pinkies. I’m pretty sure nothing much resulted from this activity.

12  Do you believe in omens, good and bad? Or do you think that they are self-fulfilling prophecies?

I think if you believe you are a failure, you are likely to be one. If people keep telling you that you “can’t” do whatever it is, you won’t be able to do it. Kids believe a lot of stuff, even if they don’t want to believe it. It gets stuck in their heads.

13  Would you ever open your umbrella inside the house?

Yes, because otherwise, they don’t dry off properly.

14  If you see a penny on the ground, what do you do?

Ignore it. They aren’t worth anything anyhow.

15  In your mind, are black cats any different than other cats?

No, but I’m nice to them. They’ve had a historically difficult time.

16  What, if anything, do you do when passing a cemetery?

I’m glad I’m not (yet) in it.

17  Do you believe in premonitions? Have you ever experienced one?

Yes, and yes. Death has broad wings and you can feel the sweep of them when they are near.

18  Your mirror broke! What do you do? Aside from sweep up the glass?

I don’t think I’ve ever broken a mirror, but I doubt I’d worry about it.

19  Do you avoid whistling indoors?

I can’t whistle.

20  A bird has flown into your home! What does it mean?

I try to corral it and move it out before the dogs eat it. The dogs are not superstitious, just hungry.

21  Do you avoid setting new shoes on the kitchen/dining room table?

Yes. Shoes are dirty. I eat on my tables. I do put them in the sink to clean them when they are muddy. I’d use the basement sink — if I had one.

22  Your palm itches for no apparent reason, does this mean anything to you?

No. The soles of my feet are itchier than my hands, so if that means something, let me know.

23  Someone has just sneezed near you, what, if anything, do you say to them?

Take your disease elsewhere. I don’t need your cold!

24  You happen to be in a field of clover and find a four-leaf clover, what do you do?

Say “Oh, cool! I found a four-leaf clover!” Then everyone says “Oh, wow, nice.” That’s huge.

25  It’s the last day of the Old Year, what should be done before midnight?

Kiss my husband, of course.

THE NEWS AND NOTHING BUT – SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – July 24, 2017


List some of your favorites types of teas.

I like green tea with Japanese food. Black tea with everything else.

But mostly, I really like coffee. Tea is okay. I don’t hate it, but I have no real passion for tea.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

Make me laugh? Commiserate? Offer useful suggestions? Pass along the phone number for someone who has the skills to fix something? If it’s just sadness and grief, there’s little to be done except listen. If there’s an actual problem that can be fixed, I’m ready to listen.

I rarely complain about how I feel unless I’m really pissed off. I don’t like whining, mine or anyone else’s and I’m a big girl. At 70, I hope I’ve got enough self control to not need to publicly air my feelings on social media.

Regardless of your physical fitness, coördination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do?

Bob-sledding. That always looked like serious fun. Furiously fast down an icy mountain? Assuming you don’t crash and break into little pieces, I think that would be great. Like skiing, but not having to balance on the poles.

SATISFACTION: THE ROARING DAM ON THE BLACKSTONE RIVER

WORDPRESS PHOTO CHALLENGE: SATISFACTION


There were at last count, 46 dams on the Blackstone River. That’s not counting any of its tributaries, most of which also have dams. We’ve seen maybe a dozen of them locally, but today, my granddaughter and I discovered another: Roaring Dam in Blackstone, Massachusetts.

There was a large factory here, now long gone. Every time you see a dam, you know there was a factory of some kind that used the power from that dam. The group managing the river has been trying to remove dams, so I don’t know how many dams remain and I couldn’t find a count anywhere. I’m guessing fewer than the original 46.

I have no idea which ones have been taken down and which remain. Removing the dams would allow the river to run freely and encourage trout and other fish to return.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of polluted soil buried near the dams. The river has come back a long way from being the most polluted river in the country during the mid 1970s. This is not a minor problem. The amount of pollution in the earth in those areas is hazardous to humans, animals, and the water itself.

This is a water shed. We all drink this water, whether we realize it or not.

But we are satisfied with how far the river has come. It’s hard to even explain how evil this river was. It was pure poison from top to bottom and now, areas are safe for boating and even a few area are safe for swimming. Anything that might upset the balance must be undertaken with the greatest care.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

MEMORIES OF MAO

Long ago in a land far away, we had a Siamese cat. Mao — “cat” in Chinese. I don’t know if that’s Mandarin, Cantonese or some other dialect, but it was a good name.

English: A two-year-old seal point "tradi...

We got Mao as a tiny kitten. From day one, he was a feisty, chatty cat.  He was also our first cat, which his name reflected. Mao Ee (Cat 1). There were, of course, many more cats over the decades, in all the houses in I’ve called home (except this one where it has been only dogs). Regardless, there was never another cat like Mao.

When we traveled, friends took care of our house. I was a great grower of plants back then. Feeding the cats was one part of the job … but watering the 200 plus plants was — or should have been — the bigger task. Frank — best friend’s husband — was often tasked with house care in our absence. Mao was a thinking cat. A logical cat. He decided we were gone because Frank had driven us away. If Mao could drive Frank away, we would come home.

Therefore, when Frank came to the house to feed and water cats and plants, Mao attacked him. I don’t mean a little pounce, a playful swat. It was all out warfare. Mao crouched in shadows and attacked, all 20 claws outstretched, going for gore. Poor Frank loved cats and he and Mao had always gotten along fine. He had no idea why Mao was out to get him.

The moment we came back, Mao was back to normal, friend to the world. He had obviously been right. We were back … ergo, it must have been because he drove The Invader (Frank) away. Logical, yes?

After that, Mao attacked everyone who took care of the house in our absence. He was the terror of Our Crowd. It got increasingly difficult to get someone to take care of things while we were gone.

The years moved on and Mao moved with us. There were children, jobs, bigger houses, dogs. Life. We held celebrations … big Thanksgiving dinners. One memorable occasion, we had a full house including a dozen and half people and featuring a huge turkey. When the turkey was roasted, I put it out on the counter to set while I moved food in the dining room and greeted arriving guests.

Thanksgiving006

I wasn’t gone 10 minutes. When I got back to the kitchen, Mao was on the counter, finishing off a drumstick. Its remains were still attached to the turkey — a ragged, conspicuously gnawed hole. Not the presentation I had in mind.

The husband and I consulted. We agreed and served the bird as it was.

“What happened to the turkey,” asked friends and family.

“Mao got it,” I said.

“Oh,” they said. “Pass the bird.”

It was a good Thanksgiving. Mao was some cat.

WHICH REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST THE HEALTHCARE BILL?

Just so you know, these are the Republican Senators who voted against the “healthcare” bill:


Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Virginia
Susan Collins, R-Maine
Dean Heller, R-Nevada
John McCain, R-Arizona
Rob Portman, R-Ohio
Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee (Chair of the Senate Health Committee)

Check your sources. Keep checking your sources. I can’t believe I have to keep saying this to people who really ought to know better.

Thank you, all of you Republicans who did the right thing for all of us. Now, how about a few more Republicans grow a pair and vote this disaster down, then work to create a healthcare bill that will serve all American people. You know … the folks who elected you?

Yes, those people.