ABOUT THOSE SOCKS

Two years ago, I order 30 pairs of socks in all different colors and patterns. I realized, finally, that I was down to a bare two or three pairs and I wasn’t even sure they were real pairs, but they were at least more or less the same color. Around the same time, I also bought a lot of underwear on the theory that we wouldn’t have to do laundry nearly as often if I didn’t run out of underwear. Oh, and I refilled Garry’s sock and underwear collection too.

socks without partners cartoon

Yesterday, Garry did laundry. My 30 pairs of socks have shrunk to about half a dozen pairs. I swear to you not only am I really careful about keeping pairs together, but Garry is passionate about matching them up and keeping them clean. Which isn’t always easy because I wear them as slippers and have been known to go outside in socks … not really a good thing to do.

socks-lost-in-the-dryer

Nonetheless, I realized no matter how much I didn’t want to face the crisis, I had to buy more socks. I found socks on Amazon — 12 pairs for $14.00 and they are all exactly the same. Because I know. We all know. Socks vanish. No matter how careful you are. No matter how hard you try to keep track of them, over time, attrition will chew at the edges until you have no more than a few days worth of socks in your drawer. You will search that drawer.

Socks-lost-in-space

“Who took my socks?” you cry, but no answer will come to you. They are gone through the black hole in the universe (via your clothes dryer) into which all the single socks are eventually drawn. The mythical land or planet where a single sock can live forever. They are looking down on us and laughing. Because we persist in looking for them. Foolish humans.

Garry, despite my assurances that there is nothing more he can do, that socks will go missing regardless, is sure I’m accusing him of sock-napping. He does not yet understand. There is nothing anyone can do. There are greater forces at work here than mere humans can control.

Socks-come-backSo this time, I’m ordering 12 identical pairs. As each sock disappears, I can wear it with another lonely sock. Variety is not the spice of life when discussing socks.

MORNING LIGHT – MUNDANE MONDAY CHALLENGE #60

MUNDANE MONDAY CHALLENGE #60


It’s a beautiful, sunny day in our neighborhood. This is a lovely time of day for us, when the morning sun comes through the windows and lights up the deck and the kitchen. Later, there’s will be light on the other side of the house, but these are all in the light of morning.


Morning sun through the dining room French doors

Morning sun through the dining room French doors

The deck -- like a treehouse -- in the woods

The deck — like a treehouse — in the woods

Where the cameras live

Where the cameras live

The fence -- and this year, we WILL refinish it!

The fence — and this year, we WILL refinish it!

Can't resist the fuchsias glowing in the early sunshine

Can’t resist the fuchsias glowing in the early sunshine

And back inside for one more cup of coffee!

And back inside for one more cup of coffee!

RAINDROPS KEPT FALLING ON HIS HEAD

I wanted another pet. But I wanted a pet that was quiet, didn’t eat much. Obedient, attractive, friendly. A really easy keeper.

72-Raindrops on Flamingo-052216_16

72-Flamingo-052216_13

Meet Fred. He’s undemanding, always cheerful and very bright. When I snapped this, the rain had just stopped a minute before. Say “HI Fred!”

A Photo a Week Challenge Rain Drops

CRAFT SHOWS AND FARMER’S MARKETS IN LA – ELLIN CURLEY

I went to two Craft Shows and a Farmer’s Market when I recently visited my daughter in LA. I go to these events at home in Connecticut as well so I can see some regional differences in style and substance. The first thing that struck me is that unlike Connecticut, the LA Craft Show sold lots of plants.

craft show plants

The most interesting plant related item I saw was something called  LA Urban Farms. They are large, tiered, plastic structures designed to hold shoots of plants and keep them efficiently watered. These shoots will grow into full-fledged fruits, vegetables, flowers or herbs, whatever you choose to plant.

Urban Farm

These gardens not only conserve space and water but they are easier to care for. For those of us in the East, you don’t have to deal with the rocky, poor quality soil in your backyard. Check out LA Urban Farms at http://laurbanfarms.com/.

I noticed at the craft shows that LA is obsessed with their dogs. There were lots of booths devoted solely to dog products, like collars and leashes, dog biscuits and themed chatchkis. What shocked me were the number of booths devoted to dog clothes! They sold hats, shirts and dresses that looked like they were meant for children. At one craft show, I saw someone pushing a specially designed dog stroller for small dogs!

craft show dog photos

craft show dog with hat

I also discovered the world of vegan chocolate. It is delicious! There were several booths devoted to vegan products but this one blew me away. Apparently regular chocolate contains all kinds of chemicals and even wax that act as stabilizers and preservatives. Vegan chocolate is chemical free and only contains pure, basic ingredients. The taste was rich and intense and the texture was smoother and creamier than any chocolate I have ever tasted. I plan to order Vegan chocolates to serve to my friends at home.

vegan chocolates

I went to a Los Angeles Farmer’s Market as well. I was struck by the tables filled with different loose teas and mixed spices. I haven’t seen that much variety and volume on the east coast. The only place I’ve seen that before is on my trips to markets in France.

farm mkt spices

farm mkt teas

The citrus fruits were also stars at the LA market, as expected. The displays were beautiful and bountiful

As were the tables that were overflowing with fresh vegetables like beets and carrots. I particularly loved the table covered with at least 6 baskets of funky mushrooms in all shapes and sizes.

farm mkt mushrooms 2

farm mkt mushrooms

I was intrigued by the variety of food products as well as life styles that were on display at the LA markets and shows. That is one of my favorite things about traveling – getting a glimpse into how other people’s everyday lives differ from mine in my home state.

craft show LA art

JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY SAGA

This has been a weird week. I do not say this lightly. It is the kind of week from which great after dinner stories come, though it might take a while before our curdled brains settle down and we get everything in order.

72-Tractor-Columbine-Driveway-052216_021

Exactly a week ago, our granddaughter had a blow up with her mother, with whom she usually lives. Of course, being mostly out of touch with both Kaity and her mom, we didn’t know anything about this until our son, Kaity’s father, came by to explain that Kaity and Sandy were in a bad place. Oh, and by the way, Kaity is on her way over. As he said that, there was Kaity. With boyfriend and puppy. And all her belongings. Moving in.

Garry was in the bathroom, so imagine his surprise when he came out and discovered Kaity was in the process of moving in. He looked a bit dazed, but recovered his feet pretty fast.

Two days later, Kaity yells up the stair to tell us she is moving out. Mom’s doing better and see you later. Maybe I’ll be back.

The next day, Owen’s coworker needed a place to stay. Recovering alcoholic, but hey, who isn’t a recovering something, right? He gave us some cash for the room and moved all his stuff in. He and Garry really hit it off and everything was good.

72-Driveway with Flamingo-052216_18

The next day, I noticed he hadn’t come home and when I went down to check, he — and all his stuff — was gone. I called Owen. Owen said Kirk had not shown up at work, either … but had told the boss he’d checked himself into rehab. I guess that was some shaky wagon he was on.

Not a word to us or Owen.

Today is Sunday again. A week has passed since the drama began. Garry lost his bag, found his bag. Kaity moved in, moved out, and went back to mom. Kirk is somewhere in time and space and good luck to him.

Our saga continues as nightly, until the wee hours, Garry and I follow the adventures of Angel, the Vampire with a soul.

I think the problem is demons. We are infested with demons and they are wreaking havoc with our lives. It’s the only possible explanation.

SAGA | THE DAILY POST

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES

The Elephant in the Room, by Rich Paschall


Let’s talk about it, shall we?  I am referring to the elephant.  No, not a Ringling Brothers elephant.  That matter has been resolved to almost everyone’s satisfaction.  I say “almost” because there are some who object to the choice of land where the elephants may roam free, but that is another issue for another time.

Photo Credit: Charles W. Cushman Collection

Photo Credit: Charles W. Cushman Collection

The elephant in the room belongs to the Republicans.  You know them as the Grand Old Party, but nothing seems too grand these days.  They have splintered into pieces and the one left standing, the presumptive nominee for President of the United States of America (POTUS for you social media guys), is not one of the regular Republican politicians at all.  The Donald has ridden the anti government wave all the way to the top.  It is a wave that was ironically created by the regular Republicans and their supporters.  They now find themselves asking, “How did this happen?”  It certainly was not the game plan.

While both sides of the aisle sit and contemplate how such a man, regarded by some as a bigot and misogynist, could have stolen the lead of a major political party, the real surprise is not just that this person has a following and is running for office.  The wonder is that there are so many supporters.  Republican strategists have been trying to craft a plan that would stop their own leading candidate from gaining the presidential nomination.   While stopping the New York billionaire seems to be on Republican and Democratic minds, the problems of the major parties are just a symptom of what ails us.

Elephant in the room

Elephant in the room

Andy Borowitz, satirist, commentator and best-selling New York Times author puts it like this, “Stopping Trump is a short-term solution. The long-term solution, and it will be more difficult, is fixing the educational system that has created so many people ignorant enough to vote for Trump.”  You may have seen this quote being spread around social media like wildfire under a hot sun.  This quote is one of the ones that are true, however.  As for your other memes…

If there is one thing this campaign has proven, it is that there are a lot of stupid people.  Social media have allowed many folks to demonstrate just how stupid they are.  Since they are stupid to begin with, they do not realize how much stupidity they are demonstrating.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and (yikes!) even Word Press have given the ability to many to spread stupid all over the internet, and thus, all over the world.

There have been many times that I have tried to stop stupid in its tracks.  When I see obviously incorrect statements on facebook I like to post a Snopes rebuttal or article from a reputable news source to refute the incorrect statement, but stupid will have none of it.  People go on commenting as if the truth is unavailable and this internet mythology must certainly be true.  In this regard, I am like a pebble on the beach being stomped on by flip-flops, Crocs and other ignoble beachwear.

While US News and World Report reported the higher education system as third best in the world, elementary and secondary schools did not fare so well by others.  In the 2012 Program For International Student Assessment, among 15 year olds Americans ranked 35th in the world in math and 27th in science.  In 2015 the Pew Research Center reported “29% of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM) as above average or the best in the world.”  That’s rather low.  American scientists gave education a lower mark.

While major American school systems are broke, politicians talk about tax breaks for the rich and “trickle down” style economics.  Teachers in Detroit work for a school system that can not afford to educate children and teachers wonder how long they will get paid.  If you think Detroit is unique, you better have a look around.  Chicago is barely surviving while school districts in richer communities in Illinois get more money per student than those in the places where education is more difficult to administer.

Google (used as a verb) American education problems and look at the long list of articles and reports by reputable sources.  You can spend the next month reading how we have slipped into a mediocre education system, or I should say, series of systems.  The value of education in some states is rather low and some of the courses dictated by local school boards would better be categorized as propaganda than education.

With such a gap in education quality across the nation, it becomes much easier for spin machines to do their work.  While I generally hate the “back in my day” approach, or statements beginning “when I was young,” here we go anyway.  There was a time when there were only three major television networks, a few major radio outlets, a relative handful of newspaper conglomerates and news services (eg. Reuters, UPI, AP).  They worked hard at getting the story first and getting it right.  Reporting was also educating and many of them knew it.

Now the news reporting is barely that.  Networks bring on so-called experts to spin the news and in many cases it is nothing more than biased viewpoints thrown at the uneducated masses for the purpose of swaying opinion.  When I think of certain right-wing outlets (you know the ones) I think of a lot of angry guys telling us what to think.  It may have been what the Republicans wanted from their media supporters at one time, but it seems to have blown up in their faces.  Insert the Donald Trump “I love the poorly educated” statement here.

Perhaps it is best to contemplate this statement from a Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin.  Yes, this widely spread statement is true: “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.

 

Note:  While some rank the USA as number one in higher education in the world based on the sheer number of quality universities, no one ranks the overall education or systems of schools in the United States as anywhere near the top.

Sources: Pew Research Center
“Watch Trump Brag About Uneducated Voters, “The Hispanics,” Rolling Stone
“U.S. Millennials Come Up Short in Global Skills Study”, Education Week
“US Students Slide In Global Ranking,” NPR