Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Having a fire is one of Ken's simple pleasures. We have noted, as well, that with the ceiling fans operating the heat circulates through the house reasonably well, shaving a tad of the expense off our utility bill.
As I was sitting in the wing chair by the fire earlier with my breakfast, I got a whiff of that distinctive wood-burning scent. Yankee Candle is missing out on an opportunity for significant sales by not having a candle scent of the same. For all those with gas fires who miss the scent of a "real" fire, this would do the trick. And of course a natural place to sell such candles would be hearth oriented retailers making sales to homes making the transition.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In the "sort of strange" department we saw our old couch on the news last week, in the home of a couple being interviewed for a local news piece. And not too long ago on an episode of Criminal Minds the fabric in which I reupholstered an arm chair was covering the couch on one of the sets used for that episode! Not sure what any of that means, if anything, but it just strikes me as a little strange.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It makes perfect sense that "liberals" would be associated with the notion of liberation and setting free. My musings sent me to the dictionary (something I should have done long ago related to this topic), and I was interested to learn that the root of the word also connotes "belonging to the people." Further exploration yields "the securing of equal social and economic rights," and "persons favoring progress and reform in politics, education, and institutions." I'm hearing a resonance with the goals and desires of the founders of this country, and words from our Declaration of Independence ring in my ears.
It's true that the extreme of such a view, what we call radical, can be over the top, and annoying and even disturbing even to those of us wear this "label" with pride. But as with most things, I am somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, following a heart of compassion and mercy, shaped by an ideology that advocates the common good, and desiring opportunity and choice for all.
I can think of worse things with which to be associated--far worse.
Friday, October 24, 2008
11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
20. However good or bad a situation, it will change.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Yesterday I saw an ad that, to me, depicts "smart." It was posted on a billboard by a stretch of downtown highway, an example of less-is-more wisdom. The ad read:
"Sex May Sell, But It Has Nothing to Do with the Making of Great Vodka."
Sobieski is the leading brand of vodka in Poland, and it is increasing its market niche in the US. I don't notice differences in vodka (probably don't drink enough of it to make such an observation), but in thanksgiving for their advertising alone, I just might buy this brand in the future.
Another example of their smarts? "Who Needs Superdelegates? We've Got a Whole Country Behind Us. The #1 Premium Vodka in Poland."
Okrzyki! (that means "cheers!")
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Rockwell's suggestions offer perhaps obvious reflections of what we say it means to be American, but more and more it sounds as though some people believe it applies to their own choices, and not the choices of others when differences emerge. The notion of difference appears to be very threatening to so many, and that is foundational to the problems we face as a society.
The false rumor spread about Obama being Muslim is a case in point. Colin Powell finally voiced what I have been saying for months. What if Obama were a Muslim (he's not, just in case anyone reading this isn't aware that he is a Christian)? Would that be a bad thing? Do people fear that a Muslim's beliefs might influence how he or she would shape policy? How is that different from how a Christian's views shape their own worldview? Or a Jew's, Hindu's or Budist's? (Remember, our government has branches with distinct responsibilities and powers that are designed to prevent autocracy from ruling our land.)
And let's talk for a moment about Jeremiah Wright, one of those being accused of being Anti-American. Are his views about being attacked on 9/11 any more radical than those of the Christian right who claim that the events of that day were God's judgment against America's sinfulness? Since when is being radical anti-American? Think for a moment about who fought the British in these colonies during the American Revolution, the movement for fair representation that led to the incredible freedoms citizens of this country now enjoy. The architects of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and our Constitution created a government that protected and provided for Americans that at that time came from all over Europe, represented a variety of cultures, spoke multiple languages and practiced divergent forms of religion. I wonder what it meant to them to be part of this country in its foundling years? And what would they say now to the bickering and the maligning?
We each hold our own view about what we value about our country, and we express those views and values in various ways. We may not understand how another arrives at their view, but the first responsibility we have is to learn from each other and to clarify misunderstandings before we assert our right to speak out against our neighbor. Being "American" too often is about freedom, and not often enough about the responsiblities that come with those freedoms.
I feel I'm leaning a bit toward a ramble, so I'll wind this down with a simple invitation to think about this question, and, if you're willing, to share your thoughts. Anyone?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
He proposed the following. For the next month:
--cut out white food (including pasta)
--don't drink anything with more than one calorie in it
--don't eat any "manmade" sweets
--walk 30 minutes every day
The eating regimen is familiar (except for the beverage portion), part of the philosophy I embraced two years ago when I lost weight effectively. I've also read some additional things to aid women over 40 struggling with weight issues, including avoiding wheat (gluten allergy), adding flax seed to my diet and drinking green tea. Yesterday I was able to eat the proper foods without too much trouble, and even made soup to take to last night's Gifts and Talents program that fit The Profile.
Recovering from depression, however, makes it more challenging to take on a discipline with consistency. My greatest loss is morning coffee, in which I MUST have half and half if I want to experience beverage bliss. As I mourned that loss yesterday morning Ken took sympathy on me and made the following offer. He would walk with me every morning at 6.
This morning we began. I'm grateful to have him join me on the walk--it gives us time together for uninterrupted conversation, keeps me accountable, and gets him walking too. Fortunately it is dark now at that hour, so he isn't starting work until a bit later. We should be able to make this part of our day for a long time.
And now if you'll excuse me, I hear the whistle of the kettle announcing that it's time for tea.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Turns out she's from Augusta, of all places, so we are thinking that Thanksgiving at Melrose might be in our collective future. Stay tuned for updates!
Monday, October 13, 2008
It is close to impossible to tell that there is a new dishwasher. To the left of the stove in the "before" picture is the hot-water heatercovered, and the top takes the shape of a counter-top. You really can't see a difference in the picture!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I went to my facebook page and clicked to confirm, then clicked on the link to take me to Paul’s page. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but the news that he lives in Wasilla! I knew he was in Alaska, but how small a world is it (considering the size of that state) that he should be living in the most Googled small town in America. It’s almost frightening to consider that I might be two degrees separated from Ms. P!
Hmmm, maybe I should suggest that we arrange a pulpit swap. Now that might be interesting! Not to mention that it's snowing there...
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
It has been what we call in this family a typical Melrose Project –nothing goes quite as one would expect. The most challenging aspect of installing the new kitchen cabinets is the direct result of “this old house.” There is no such thing as a level floor or a plumb wall. The variance in floor pitch is nearly four inches from one end of the cabinets to the other, and there is some fluidity, as well, from the primary wall in toward the room. This makes for truly fun times! It took Ken an entire day to get the floor and base cabinets level and installed. This morning we went to place the countertop and discovered that the drawers and cabinet doors below could not be opened because of the countertop overhang. I won’t repeat Ken’s response to this newest of setbacks.
The good news is that the end is in sight. Little details remain, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be time consuming. Under-cabinet lights need to be installed; trim added to hide their presence; molding placed above the wall cabinets to give a finished look; “kick plate” and additional trim installed at “floor level” to hide the necessary elevations; drawer and door knobs attached…” You get the idea. Although I have been useful here and there providing a second pair of hands, vacuuming sawdust, painting and so on, Ken has done the heavy lifting, literally and figuratively. He has persevered like a trooper in the face of annoying delays and painstaking attention to detail. I have at times felt helpless to lessen his stress and grateful for some time to tend to other things and be out of earshot of the running commentary that emanates from the kitchen.
As I type the faucet is being hooked up, so tonight we will have use of the (new) kitchen sink again for the first time since Friday morning. We set up a makeshift dishwashing area outside where, fortuitously, hot and cold water spigots were installed last spring (see picture).
I promise that pictures will be forthcoming soon. In the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy the little taste of Melrose beauty as demonstrated by last night’s sunset, and the more-than-content butterfly.
Until next time,
The ever-patient, and mostly sane, wife
Monday, October 06, 2008
I suffer at times, as well, from the intuitive dilemma of forgetfulness. When what I read makes internal sense the information is absorbed into the inner pool of knowledge and I lose its source and, often, the specifics. Case in point: I read Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat when it came out several years ago. Now I can’t remember what I read. Time to read it again.
All of this is underscored whenever we are at Melrose. We disappear into the black hole of “no news” (radio signal is weak, and there is no television here). Hungry for news, on Saturday Ken set out to find a decent newspaper while we were in town picking up a few things for The Project. We stopped at three drug stores, one convenience store and a grocery store, only to find the local paper (Augusta Chronicle) and a day-old USA Today. Venturing to Starbucks might have yielded a New York Times, but traveling to pick it up involved more time and gas than he wanted to expend at that point in the day.
We’ve read a few headlines online: OJ was convicted, and Sarah is accusing Obama of running with Terrorists. We’re interested in something more substantive. If only we could figure out how to get a dsl line out here…
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Except for a few years toward the end of my great-grandparents’ lives, no one has lived here year-round. It has never been updated with insulation or any kind of HVAC system, and a phone wasn’t installed until sometime after I was in high school. There are two temperate times of year to be here: spring and fall. The cool days are helped by space heaters and the fireplaces in the living and dining rooms. Hot days are less tolerable, but are helped by ceiling fans and breezes that come up the hill from the Savannah River valley.
I mention this so that you know this is a country place. The determined snake can find its way into the house through cracks in the floor around the plumbing, and mice make a habit of homesteading in our absence. Snakes in the house are rare, however, and not harmful. Mice are more of a problem.
When we first arrive a ritual setting of mousetraps is essential. Our first night here on this trip we spotted four individual mice. As of this writing the body count is seven (sorry if that is disturbing).
I was therefore amused when I received the following in an email today. It’s good for a laugh and a smile, whether you’re plagued by mice or not.
Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!'
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, 'Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.'
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.
But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.
The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.
We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.
Friday, October 03, 2008
It was a beautiful day yesterday for travel, and we were here with plenty of time to unload and settle in before the sunset. Although it was a fairly ordinary sunset (no clouds, but some richly colored bands above the horizon), it's still wonderful to be able to sit and watch it unfold. The "title picture" above is a Melrose sunset.
The debate was boring, but I give SP credit for doing a credible job of delivery. If only there weren't so many lies and if only she would actually answer the questions. She's proven that she can memorize talking points, and her TV broadcast experience comes in handy. I just wish she'd quit dropping her g's.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
What’s frightening about this goes beyond the increasingly abundant evidence that Sarah Palin can’t answer a direct question with a direct answer. What is evident here is that she has no curiosity about the world. The question posed to her was about what shaped her worldview. She could have offered a local rag as her print source, TV news, CNN alerts via email, or the significant relationships she has with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. But no, she offered nothing. She lacks curiosity about, interest in and concern for others. Consider her comments about her "best friend" of 30 years who "happens" to be gay. After 30 years in a close relationship like that you would think Palin would come to understand that being gay isn't a choice, and yet that is how she sees it.
We have an inherently myopic individual who lacks any kind of sufficient base for making essential decisions for anyone besides herself (and even then I suspect her resources are unselfconsciously limited). Her crash course in domestic and foreign affairs have become memory minutes, not integrated knowledge, and with each foray into the unscripted public arena she demonstrates the weakest of grasps of what is essential and important for this country at this critical "juncture" (thank you, W). The lens through which she looks at life must be is frighteningly akin to gossamer wings
Country first? Only if it's the countryside offering up moose and game for sport.