Good morning, Shelob

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Once again, I almost met a spider face to face the other morning.  Yes, I tore the web down with a stick.  I don’t mind if she builds one over the compost pile to pick up as many flies as she wants, or on the garage wall by the picnic table and feast on the ample supply of mosquitoes.  Just not next to the light switch that I need each morning when I go outside, thank you very much!

So hello to the spider on her web (I say “her”, for those of us who may remember either Charlotte or Shelob), and as slight as it might seem, the gossamer tensile strength of the web is formidable, yet it undulates with the Continue reading “Good morning, Shelob”

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Bad Coffee

This is a terrific read from a blog called “Give Me Everyday” and is so very encouraging. I am pleased to reblog it here. (And I don’t even like “good” coffee….) –dawnlizjones

Give Me Everyday


I love bad coffee: acidic, burnt and beyond hope no matter how much cream or sugar you add to it. I love a cup of coffee that is so bad that you cannot help but wrinkle your nose in disgust, and you need to muster up all of your courage just to swallow it. I love a cup of coffee poured from a neglected pot and carrying with it the flavors and charred remains of a hundred burnt pots before it. A cup of coffee like that, I can hold in my hand for hours and often feel more luxurious than when drinking a perfectly hand-crafted latte from a reputable coffee artisan. I have come to find that often the worse my coffee tastes, the greater the adventure is that surrounds the tasting.

Yesterday morning I found myself drinking one of the worst cups of coffee I have ever had…

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Pickup truck optional


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A few years back one of our trees lost yet another branch.  That’s one thing about Midwest storms—even if the winds don’t rotate, they can still be mighty ferocious.  And somehow we had gotten this far into homeownership without a chain saw.  (We don’t have a pickup truck yet either, but we do have a Chevy Silverado Sub that comes in handy, so maybe that sort of counts.)  Bob basically looked out the window with an inward groan, since all he had was an axe, and this limb was definitely more than a simple axe job.

Out my faithful husband goes with what he had in his hand to begin the arduous clean up task.  Before long, here Continue reading “Pickup truck optional”

George Jetson lives!

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I grew up with the Jetsons.  I mean the cartoon family, their boy Elroy, Astro the dog, and “Jane, stop this crazy thing”, etc.  One of the staples of that futuristic show was the TV/phone where you could see the person you were speaking with. 

Yeah, right.

So here I find myself still alive and well, video chatting with my daughter half a continent away.  It’s amazing, regardless of the pixelatingly bad reception they get in L.A.   However, one day I set up to “call” and noticed my image was upside down.  This is unfortunate, as I would really like for my one-year-old granddaughter to recognize me right-side-up when she sees me again. 

I tried everything I knew how, and just about everything I didn’t know how and went online to learn.  I even resorted Continue reading “George Jetson lives!”

Are the bagworms winning?

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What is it with these bag worm things??  Sheesh!  The trees around town look like Mordor. 

I am told by my gardening guru at work, that the weather conditions have been very friendly for the proliferation of these wicked creatures that are nibbling steadily away at what was to be my beautiful autumn color.

The good news, she tells me, is that no matter how bad the tree looks, the timing of this outbreak is just right in that the trees are shedding their leaves anyway, and this will take care of the problem before the trees are killed off.

Timing.  Hmmm. 

I’m not always real good with that concept.  We have a special word in English for what I’m feeling:

“NOW”

I’m not sure waiting gets all that much easier in adulthood than from when we were two.  Our expectations tend to Continue reading “Are the bagworms winning?”

Star Trek, from my car

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Bob and I like stargazing.  I know that sounds romantic, and I suppose it is, until you consider that we get up in the wee pre-dawn hours to drive (further) out into the country (only about 10 minutes) to an isolated farm-access gravel road between a corn patch and a cow field.  In August are the Perseids, an annual meteorological lightshow that is worth craning your neck to see, unless you like to just stretch out on top of the car’s hood, like me. 

Staring into the galaxy beyond the fireballs that are “up close and personal”, you know, like Proxima Centauri which is a mere 4.2 light years away, you can see why our spiral in the universe is called the “Milky Way”.   How many stars can I actually see out here? One estimate I read was less than 0.000003%.  It’s beyond what my depth Continue reading “Star Trek, from my car”

Juggling life

One of my faves from Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
One of my faves from Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

I was graced one morning recently with a solitary leaf waiting for me on my picnic table.  No fanfare when it floated silently from its arboreal perch announcing, in the only way it could, the inevitability of autumn. 

Ahhhh! Autumn!  Probably my favorite of all seasons, and one of the many reasons I love living in the Midwest.  Summer here is the growing season, tending the crops through the challenging heat and sweat and too little or too much rain.  (Too much this year, BTW, just saying, in case you notice a price increase in all things wheat and corn…)

Now, however, we can anticipate beautiful trees, cooler temps, and the final big harvest before the dormant season kicks in.  The nights get longer, its own way of saying it’s time to rest more after a hard season of work.  And it’s time for the trees to shed their leaves, as they too must rest from the labor of growth in preparation for Continue reading “Juggling life”

Hand me the hose

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Water.  Simple H2O.  We drink it, fish in it, splash each other with it in the summertime.  Then in the winter, we shovel it, make snowmen out of it, and sometimes shovel it some more.  And most significantly, at least here in the US of A, we tend to take it for granted, (our brethren in California notwithstanding.)

When the girls were in school, we were flying over St. Louis on a family vaca.  It was just after an unusually disastrous downpour in the Midwest, and the aerial view of the city was amazing, sad, but amazing.  St. Louis was basically under water.  While up in the air, I was perusing a newspaper.  Someone had taken sequential photos from the same deluge, again from an aerial viewpoint, of a beautiful big farmhouse next to a dam.  The photographer caught it all: the dam breaking, the water rushing unrestrained toward the now-unprotected home, Continue reading “Hand me the hose”

Growing Together (Literally!!)

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Our eldest daughter, Jessica, lives with her family in southern California.  That, in itself, conjures up pictures of palm trees (which, she informs me, are not endemic to the area, and are sucking up the much-needed water in the currently drought-stricken area), and movie stars, (which ARE endemic to area, editorial comments notwithstanding…)  What is able to grow there, seemingly with little effort, is the aloe vera plant.  On one of our walks with that b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l granddaughter of mine, Jessie pointed out a particular aloe specimen she thought very poignant.

In looking closely at the plant, you’ll notice that some of the leaves/branches are actually fused together (photo #3).  My daughter Continue reading “Growing Together (Literally!!)”

Hold the spandex

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An open letter to my family and loved ones:  I regret to inform you that the man I married, your father/brother/brother-in-law/uncle/friend is not the man I thought him to be 36 years ago.  Bob Jones (ha! I should have suspected even then…anyone could easily get lost in the system with a name like that!), the mildly irascible, small town college professor, has revealed his true identity.  With an name unpronounceable to the human tongue, this long lost alien from another world (and, incidentally, good friends with Zaphod Beeblebrox), is none Continue reading “Hold the spandex”