Monthly Archives: August 2013

Sunset Over Dollar General

Do Lar RalI mean DO LAR RAL. By not replacing light bulbs, they pass the savings on to you, the valued customer.  Or did someone just walk off with the ladder (for a dollar)?

Who cares? Red sky at night, holiday bargain hunter’s delight!



Mad Genius Makes Cool Portrait of Your Home

“Santa Lucia” in California
© 2012 Natalya Aikens

My SIL, a fiber artist, makes knockout “portraits” of people’s homes using objects they send her…fabric, photos, house plans, a map. What people supply her with to represent their homes is remarkable and touching  (mittens, fur, twigs, sheet music); seeing what Natalya selects to incorporate ~ and how ~ is fascinating. The whole thing makes me like people.

You can watch three unfold below:

I also love her blog. Unlike mine, none too chatty.


How to Change the Subject Heading in the New Gmail

Come on Gmail, make it easier!Don’t you detest new things? Rural Americans sure do.

In the new Gmail it’s harrrrrd to see where to alter your subject heading. Because we in rural America communicate constantly with (distant!) friends via e-mail, we don’t want to keep using the same $#%&*! subject heading. In the old, GOOD version it was obvious. In the new, BAD version our friends at “G” buried it.

Here’s how to do it. Know that they are talking about the arrow WITHIN THE REPLY YOU’VE STARTED, not the arrow within the e-mail you RECEIVED. Good luck and good scribbling.

Stand Up for Others ~ And Self

Apex Tech Logo gif One trait is evident in today’s Young People (hereinafter, the “YPs”).  In print at least (meaning, on Facebook), they seem to have more of a grip than we did. Better advised by parents and schools, they understand more which roads to go down—and which not to. We were kind of shooting in the dark, as I recall.  “You must have a liberal arts education!” we were told.  Sadly, I’d have been better off with a welding certificate from Apex Tech.

With their impressive grip, the YPs seem willing to protect and defend what they believe in. In prior generations, people considered it rude to speak up in polite conversation—at, say, a dinner party—regarding, say, marriage outside of one’s race or (specific!) religion.  Really, there’s nothing noble about listening to someone excoriate what you believe in, or (politely!) watching someone catch abuse. The YPs make a stand without being nasty about it.  We can be like them. Just say, “I disagree. Can we change the subject?” Or when it’s unsalvageable: “Hey wow, I forgot have a dental appointment. It starts in 10 minutes, and lasts the rest of my life.”

Sure, it’s uncomfortable to confront people, but as Rudolph the Reindeer’s father (Donder!) notes with a (Yankee?) disdain for self-indulgence, “Some things are more important than comfort. Like self-respect.”  Okay, so he says it regarding a fake nose cap he’s making his son wear to fit in.  I’m using it anyway.

Speaking of Rudolph, I have a friend with that name. He introduced himself to me years ago with, “Rudolph…as in ‘the Red-nosed Reindeer,’” a thrilling and crisp addendum. Ever since, when meeting people I imagine (silently!) what they could say to jazz it up (“White, as in the absence of color”; “Creamer, as in ‘non- dairy’”; “Joseph, as in ‘Jesus, Mary, and…’”; “Lava, as in ‘molten”; “Polly, as in “’…wanna cracker?’”) Let’s face it, in hard tymes, we can use all the laffs we can get. So if you have a name that’s a word in the English language, you might try this out for the benefit of All.

Back to protect/defend: many motorists dig those construction road signs with giant letters, “LET ‘EM WORK ~ LET’ EM LIVE.”  Succinct; clear; a trifle threatening. I’d like shirts saying that for protecting/defending. See someone getting picked on? Wear the shirt and stand around him all day. Hear an employee getting wailed on by an employer or customer? Speak up! Throw the shirt at the perp! Do something. Do it!

I have a post-menopausal acquaintance that looks younger (dammit) than I. There was a guy she liked who seemed interested but wasn’t asking her out. She told her friend that he’d better make his move because, “My clock is ticking.”  Friend’s response?  “Yeah, the big one.”  Not the biological clock, the big clock. The big clock is ticking, people. Don’t tarry. At age 32, another friend started getting cold feet about his relationship. Someone advised him to stay, suggested he was just panicking about giving up his solitary lifestyle. Two decades later, he’s glad he did. So I say if you’re (1) dilly dallying: knock it off and (2) putting up with dallying/dallying: knock it off. Speak up for yourself. Time’s a wastin’.

Now if you’re taking repeated punches from someone, the smart thing is to nip it in the bud. Let your attacker know his or her unkind behavior is being noted and that you are not falling for it—that this is not something you somehow “deserve.”  They’ll move on to other prey and, generally, it’s much more fun sticking up for someone else than for yourself. That’s why god invented bodyguards, wingmen, tailgunners, right-hand women, and riding shotgun. But remember, the pen is mightier than the shotgun.  As is a well-arched eyebrow.

Your monthly good news is that eco-protector/defender Mayor Bloomberg is crusading for New Yorkers to separate their garbage for composting. NYC plans to compost 100,000 tons of food scraps yearly, then build a plant to process this into bio-gas to generate electricity. Frisco and Seattle have already mandated same.  Right on.

I’ll leave you with this quote from John Caruso’s excellent YA novel, Hard Magic:  “They knew from then on… they could depend on each other. That was real. It was one thing to sit around a room and share information and speculate about the truth of things; it was another thing to use what you knew and go out into the world and change things for the better or, at least, keep things from getting worse.”

Get up. Stand up. Don’t give up the fight. Good day.

Come to Vermont ~ Tweed it!

Learn it. Love it. Live it.

Learn it. Love it. Live it.

There is no greater fun than the 5th annual Tweed River Music Festival, happening this weekend in the middle of Vermont.

Here is a schedule/overview of the artists. Stick around for musical wizard and host Bow Thayer, whose great new line-up is on at 9 pm on Friday; his other rockin’ outfit, Perfect Trainwreck, will perform Eden in its entirety on Saturday night (a spectacle!) Ask me now and I’ll give you particulars. Find me there, and I’ll tell you what to buy at the merch tent. We’ll dance.

Come! Camp or stay at an inn, swim & fish in Silver Lake or the Tweed & White River swimming holes…skinny-dip, tube, kayak, vegetate, and ~ oh yeah ~ listen  to kicka** music outdoors in gorgeous Vermont.

Kudos to Tweed River Productions for scheduling PERFECT weather: hot enough to swim by day, cool enough for jackets by night. Hey music fans, Tweet this Tweed!

Open wide and say Ahhhhhhhhhhh

Photo by Thomas O'Brien

Photo by Thomas O’Brien

Got yer meteor shower info right here.  Park your lawn chair (paper toweling?) after 11 pm (pref. after midnight) or right before dawn.

Maybe you’ll see a fireball.  As luck would have it, the Perseid meteor shower is the “Fireball Champion.” Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon will show up together just as the meteor shower reaches its peak. A dim Mars and bright Jupiter will be visible right before the sun rises, above the eastern horizon.

Best viewing spot? Rural America, of course!

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