I miss the blue jeans. The big wide bell bottoms denim jeans were the most flattering pants I ever wore. They made my legs look longer and my hips narrower. Of course, I was also 50 years younger, so that may have had something to do with it too … but still, I miss them.
From the year my son was born — 1969 — and for the next few years, fashion and I were in tune. It was probably the only time in my life when what was in fashion looked good on me and was also comfortable. I had not yet discovered the joy of elastic.
It was the happiest and hippiest of times …
I was young, in my early twenties. I wore bell bottoms. My favorite pair were patchwork jeans. By the end of a day wearing them, I looked as if I had been sitting on a waffle iron. I loved them anyway.
My shirts had fringes. Everything had fringes. I think my draperies had fringes too.
I wore granny glasses with rose-tinted lenses. I had my hair cut in a shag. I carried my baby in a sling on my hip, had a Leica on my shoulder and a song in my heart. That was a great time.
They are making them again now, but they aren’t cut the same way and aren’t flattering. And anyway, these days if it doesn’t stretch, I probably won’t wear them. I miss having a body and clothing. I really miss the Leica. Mostly, I want those old bell bottoms back!
I decided this morning that if our government doesn’t feel they need to obey laws, why should we? They have declared us as a non-government. They have no laws by which they need to abide, so why are we bothering?
Our president, good old mentally defective #45 doesn’t feel he owes us, the voters and citizens of this country, anything at all. Putting aside for the moment his obvious mental illness, stupidity, bigotry, viciousness, cruelty, and mean-spiritedness — he is a big bag of air, an empty nothingness.
Allegorically speaking, we don’t have a government. If our purported leader can do anything he wants, why can’t we? Why can’t we all do whatever we want, whenever we feel like it? We do we have to work? Or pay taxes? Why do we have to obey traffic laws? We can all carry guns and when we need something, we can just shove the gun in someone’s face and demand it. That’s what the prez does and I think he has set us a fine example of what the world he believes in.
If just one of us stops obeying laws, we’ll get busted. But what if ALL of us — the entire body politic — stopped obeying not one, but ALL laws? Stopped obeying even the most basic rules of common sense and civility? What if we all refused to send our children to school? Refused to stop for red lights and parked anywhere we felt like parking? We can all carry big guns so when we ran out of money or anything else, we can hold up the nearest store or bank. We’ll just take what we need, grab what we want, and when they try to arrest us, say “screw you” and shoot our way out.
They couldn’t catch all of us. After a while, I’m pretty sure they’d give up trying and take to chaos too. I bet the previous so-called police would be the best law-breakers of them all. They’ve got the training to do evil way better than me. Just wait until the military goes wild.
Do I really think this is a good idea? No. But that’s the example being set for us, so after a while, we have to begin to wonder “why not?” The wild west wasn’t nearly as wild as we could make today’s America.
So if you feel chaos and law-breaking is a good idea for Those People, it should be good for us too. That’s what allegory is all about, isn’t it? Or is that metaphor? So hard to be sure.
The tangent is a line that touches a curve or curved surface at a point, but if extended does not cross it. It’s also the line between the two arms of an equilateral triangle. How it came to also mean in common speech a completely different line of thought or action., or as we like to say, “a digression,” no one knows. I’m pretty sure most people have no idea what the word originally meant unless they are in fifth grade and learning the rudiments of geometry. I actually did very well in geometry — the only math course that didn’t lose me the first day in class. At least I could see what you might use it for. It was very useful when I was trying to measure the floor of my tepee.
A digression or tangent coming right up.
Tepees look round, but are more “egg-shaped.” It has to do with the positioning of poles. This is a bit of a measurement conundrum, so you have to visualize in segments and measure each, then add them together. You have to put a tepee on a deep layer of gravel to encourage drainage, but gravel is not comfortable. So one puts layers of coverings inside until it’s soft and cozy. I used an indoor-outdoor rug at the base and that piece needed to fit the tepee closely.
That is when everything I’d learned in geometry got used for the one and only time in my life, not counting sailing and figuring out how to configure the sail to the wind. One wet finger didn’t do it for me (second digression). Geometry let me figure out how big a rug I’d need before trimming. If you have enough money, you can buy all of this stuff, but we were shoe-stringing the project. Other than the canvas and instructions, it was a project of (for us) epic proportions.
In a bigger tepee, (I would have liked a big one and could have gotten a huge one for free if I could acquire the poles), poles are not easy to come by. Buying them was not expensive, but trucking them across the U.S. from Washington to Massachusetts cost more than the entire project times five. Maybe more.
We don’t live in an area of lodge-pole pines. Our trees, while sturdy, are all whorls, kinks, and miscellaneous lumps. You don’t know how truly crooked a sapling is until you try to turn it into a lodge-pole. Moreover, for obvious reasons, the bigger the tepee, the bigger the poles need to be — and you also need a lot more poles. It was difficult enough finding 18 poles for a small tepee. 27 poles of twice the height? Not likely.
We never had a properly smooth tepee because oak and sassafras won’t produce straight poles, no matter how much you trim them. They stay lumpy. Moreover, we have no flat land and it turns out, you can’t build a tepee that is going to stand more than overnight without a flat piece of ground under it. If it’s a temporary overnight construction (say something to stay in while you’re hunting), you can slapdash it together, but if you want to live in it, flat ground is a mandate.
Thus we had to create a flat piece of ground. We built what (had it been surrounded on three sides with water), a peninsula of land poking into the woods off the back west corner of the yard. That’s where our land drops off from sloping and dives down about eight feet, then slopes for another few hundred feet, after which it drops off another dozen feet. After which there is a flat area.
But we could not get there on foot without felling a dozen or more big red oaks and bringing in a plow to create a path. Even inside the flat area, there was a mighty oak in its center which would have caused construction issues.
Owen designed our spit of land. Our construction crew — Owen and Garry — determined that a 12-foot teepee was about as much as they could manage. Owen designed it with old railroad ties (from an old railroad … there were a lot of them and those ties are as close to eternal as any wood product could be) as the walls. The guys then filled it with dirt and sand. It was then covered with a dump-truck full of gravel, all of which had to be hauled down one wheelbarrow at a time from the top of the driveway to the edge of the woods.
Owen and Garry grew very muscular that summer.
All of this was followed by painting (my job). I had grand plans but eventually settled on painting the door flap, with an exterior of a buffalo headdress and an interior that was all our hand-prints. I copied the design from pictures. It came out better than I expected.
I would have liked to paint the whole thing, but once it was up, it stood more than 18 feet high I designed an interior cover for insulation. By this point, I was on my own, but it was fun. I also built a fire pit and learned to get the fire blazing in under three minutes. When it’s mid-winter in New England, getting that fire roaring fast is important because after that, your hands are frozen and you can’t manage the matches. The fire was big for the 12-foot tepee but it was super cozy.
The tepee was completed and dedicated in October. For five years afterward, we had the coldest, snowiest winters anyone remembered. Many evenings I spent with a blazing fire, sitting by the open flap because the tepee sometimes (often) got a bit sauna-like Sitting in the doorway watching the snowfall with the fire behind me was everything for which I had hoped.
The tepee stood for six years, all year round, after which it came down because the poles began to rot. Also, a bobcat had moved in and had a litter of kittens there. She did not want to leave. Still, it was a great five years, pre-bobcat.
So now, you’ve gotten the tangent as geometry plus a tangent as a digression. In one post! And welcome to the tepee.
I’m voting for Yang. Even if he isn’t the nominee, he’s my guy. Anyone who’ll give me magic mushrooms and enough money to live on? My man!
Does everyone feel as if they fell into the rabbit hole and that last mushroom made them huge — or tiny. My plastic flamingo is running around the garden laughing at me. I need to drink something that will make me … real.
There was a time … and not very long ago at that … when daily meant normal. Things that occurred on a daily basis were normal and we didn’t need to pay a lot of attention to them. These days, it’s a new crisis every day. Not a little crisis either. Major crises, Nearly end of the world crises. Stress and high blood pressure are the words of the year. Years. No matter how frightening yesterday was, we count on tomorrow being just as bad or worse.
It used to be as you got older, mostly you complained about the music the kids were playing. These days, we wonder if we are going to have a world to live in. Is it going to blow up? Drown as the ice melts? Will there be any birds or lions or elephants left?We are moving from a natural world into a world so highly mechanized that I barely understand it. Maybe I don’t want to recognize it.
The silly daily dilly-dally of the earlier years has turned into the terror of nuclear war and loss of our entire democracy. For once, being old isn’t so bad. We won’t need to see it all happen. At least that’s a good thing, right?
When we bought this house — 19 years ago — I figured there were only 12 stairs from the front door: six up and six down. We were moving from a three-story triplex in Boston, so a mere 12 steps didn’t seem like much. I could not imagine a time when I wouldn’t be able to climb six steps — or in a pinch, twelve with a landing int he middle.
Who knew? I have a stairlift for the top six, from the middle landing to where we live, bu the other six? “Haul away, men. She’s on her way.”
Garry now has to haul himself up by the handrail.
The problem is, I guess, that this is a hilly region, There are no flat areas and what few there are, are occupied by farms. That’s where our local fresh corn comes from. And the local grapes, cucumbers, and other produce. Mostly these days, we seem to be breeding horses — saddle horses and huge Clydesdales and Percherons. Do we have any particular use for these gigantic (and beautiful) horses? No, not really, but they are glorious animals.
Four Clydesdales hooked to a dressy rig is a great entrance for a couple getting married., The saddle horses are owned by academies. If these places have flat areas, these are used as a ring for training riders and horses. Most places bring in bulldozers to flatten sections.
We had to bring in a bulldozer to flatten our backyard. You can ask a lot more for houses if by some quirk it happens to be on flat ground at the top of a hill so water runs down and away from it.
We are in the middle of the hill. A long slide down the driveway from the road is our personal Bunny Slope. Thus our backyard is flat, but still needs a canal of its own so the water that collects at the base of the driveway can roll down to the woods.
From the read of the back lawn, there is a precipitous drop through some impressive boulders to a flat area at the bottom, after which the land rises again. Since the entire area is networked by bodies of water — rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and canals initially used by factories and spinning mills to move goods to the main canal or ultimately, the railroad.
The long drop from the Worcester hill into the hill-and-dale of the watershed means almost no houses can be build on flat land. Newer houses — like ours — are either split levels or Georgian-style brick buildings built into the hills. Like a split level before there were split levels.
Pretty much every house has stairs. The parks have long stairways because that’s what you can do on these rolling hills. This house is a raised ranch. The lower level has one area that is a real basement. The rest of the level includes a den with a fireplace, a big bedroom. a tiny bedroom now used as a closet, another unheated room for storage, plus a bathroom with a shower, toilet, sink, and the washer, and dryer. What remains of the original garage is a work area.
We find ourselves going up and down often. We store extra food on the shelves downstairs. A lot of items that come and go in the house — little table, pictures, wrapping paper, winter coats in the summer, summer clothing in the winter. The attic was never finished. It doesn’t have a complete floor and is full of loose fiberglass for insulation. We don’t go there since its pull-down wooden stairs feel dangerously creaky.
Yet, when we moved in, I hopped up and down the stairs like they were nothing. I didn’t even mind the three-story townhouse in Boston, though I could tell a time would come when I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. By then we also had two dogs and a cat and I wanted a yard for the dogs. With a fence.
Just 12 steps, but sometimes, they feel like so many more.
I don’t want to complain. Okay, I really do want to complain.
I was just beginning to feel a little optimistic about the house. We got the rotting door removed the side of the house. It’s a lot warmer without the draft. The front door has been insulated, finished and if we get it painted, it’ll be perfect. We put up a set of gutters which, with a little luck, will help our roof survive.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a banging sound and I could never figure out where it was coming from. I thought it was outside, that the drain pipes from the gutter were banging against the house.
It turned out to be the boiler. It was replaced was in 2009. Which turns out to have been 10 years ago. Ten years?
2009 was ten years ago? How did THAT happen? I calculated last night that our boiler was 12 years old when we bought this house in 2000. Which meant that our boiler is 31 years old. We’ve been pretty good about getting it serviced regularly. The parts we’ve replaced have all been parts that normally need replacement. Sort of like the boiler version of changing the oil, replacing brakes, tires, and windshield wipers.
Thirty-one years for this boiler is a lot. About 10 years longer than this system was supposed to work, since it was an inexpensive unit. While I was busy congratulating myself on having somehow, with the grace, love, and caring of friends, the boiler was quietly aging.
In addition to all the other indignities of getting old, you get to outlive your “stuff.” Your new roof gets old.
It’s not fair! I still maintain that one roof is the only roof you should ever need. You shouldn’t need three front doors or four hot water heaters. The shed shouldn’t rot. The Hollyhocks shouldn’t die. The well shouldn’t need major repairs. Having fixed the septic system, it should survive us.
Whatever deities you may worship, Murphy’s Law rules them all. How in the world can I save up five or six thousand dollars for a new boiler?
Okay. I’ve complained enough for one day. Maybe for an entire month or two. And there really is no way to live without central heating in this climate. I’d love to say we’re going to save up the money but there are still other things that need fixing. I guess something will work out.
Either this, that, or some other thing will happen. I have to believe. It’s the only option I have.
Oh, what a difference there is between these two similar words. You’d think “indulgences” would be the plural of “indulge” — except it isn’t. To indulge is to allow yourself or someone else to eat or have or use something special. Chocolate. Rare wine. Fancy clothing.
Indulgence is what you paid the medieval church to “pay off” one or more of your sins. It was a major issue in Luther’s 95 Theses:
“Analysis Of Martin Luther 95 Theses
The message of 95 Theses gave the summary and expressed the feelings of many of his peers already had about the corruption of Christ’s teachings. Luther illustrated the spiritual, material, and psychological truths behind abuses in the practice of buying and selling indulgences.”
It’s easy to see how the one word could morph into another, although I think it’s possible that it went in the other direction, that “indulgences” came first and “indulge” was a less charged version of the original term.
I indulge in cameras, computers, lenses and all the software that goes with the cameras and lenses and pictures. I originally “arting” as a painter. With oil paint. Probably because my mother worked with oils and I had spent a lot of years watching her work, so I had a few clues about how to use them.
I was not a great painter, but for some obscure reason, people really liked the pieces and one day, when I had stopped painting because I’d just had a baby and I couldn’t leave the easel standing because toddlers and easels are not a good mix. There were also dogs and cats and they were very good at tipping the easel over. Oil paint doesn’t come out of rugs or at least I never figured out high. Acrylics were just coming out, but they dried too fast for me. I needed time to go back and mess with an image.
That was when I realized that I didn’t own a single picture I’d painted. I had sold them. I tried to buy a couple back, but no one would sell me one. I doubt any of them still exist, either. I really didn’t know how to stretch a canvas properly, so I’m pretty sure the pictures all disintegrated through the past 50 years. Serves them right. I would have thought ONE person would have sold me ONE picture. Sheesh.
I never went back to painting because by then I had discovered photography. I loved photography and got pretty good at it almost immediately. Of course, cameras were so much simpler back in the 1960s. Film speed, shutter speed, Lens opening size (f-stop), focus. The rest was art.
Most cameras didn’t even have built-in light meters. I got really good at looking at the light and gauging how to set the camera. I couldn’t do that anymore. I’ve become so dependent on autofocus and electronic gauges, I’ve lost those instincts.
If I’m going to indulge in anything other than photographic stuff, it’ll be socks. I love socks. My feet have been cold since childhood and I’m so enjoying the pleasure of well-fitted wool socks.
Once upon a time, to indulge had a lot to do with horses, but my spine said no. You just can’t argue with your spine. You can try, but you never get the answers you are looking for. Mostly, you get pain and silence.
This is one of those words that sounds like what it means. Skulking in the shadows in the darkened alleys of Gotham. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! The man in the black coat and fedora gum-shoeing after him. And somewhere, a cop, an FBI agent, and private-eye are lurking, waiting for the moment of truth if there is any such thing.
It’s a great, cold day here on the Atlantic coast. A good day for skulking. Even the birds seem rather sinister. I think I’m too tired to feel sinister. And we have an evening event. At least the hearings are over and I can go back to having a permanent nervous breakdown.
Does anyone believe we are already supposedly “in the holiday spirit?” I’m not sure what that means anymore. I think it’s mostly about taking my tree from last year, plugging it in and making it ready to do its annual job as “tree of the holidays.”
Personally, before the subject comes up (again), I don’t care whether you say Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Good Chanuka, Felice Navidad, or Happy Kwanza. Or just “Hi, how are you?”
I do not care! It’s the thought that counts … and a fat envelope full of greenbacks wouldn’t hurt either.
Someone asked me what I would do if I were twelve again. Twelve. A little too young to be a teenager, too old to be a ‘child.’ It’s the middle-age of childhood. There might be a few things I could do — or, more to the point — NOT do that might make old age feel less old. I could avoid those events where I broke my back, for example. Or maybe not. We all know that changing the past doesn’t usually work. Somehow, you either don’t exist at all, or whatever happens lands you back in the same place you were in anyway.
But I’m up for a try, as long as I don’t have to go back to school. Ever.
I’ve got all the diplomas I’ll ever need. I’m an adult. I get Social Security. Pensions. And never to be forgotten, Senior discounts. At 12 I had my full height and was a smart as I would ever be. I looked old for my age anyway.
Smarter. We reach our maximum intelligence in our early teens. It seems like a waste, but it isn’t really. That’s when we are collecting the knowledge that will enable us to decide what want to do with the rest of our lives. In this case, I already know.
I know what I want and I know how to get there. I know what to avoid, which may be the most important part. It’s a perfect second life. With all the body parts still working and foreknowledge of what may come.
To the good part. A 12-year-old body you say? Before I broke my back. I get the chance to protect my spine and avoid the big issues I’m facing now.
There are some issues to be worked out. Young, growing bodies have needs. But in my head, I’m old and wily, so I know what to do. I have the body of a youngster, the brain of a senior. Oh, joy. This is the best of both worlds! Garry would be 17 — just about to go into the Marines. This wouldn’t be fun without him.
We will have legs that can run and minds that remember everything. But this time, without dysfunctional parents and all those stupid rules?
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.