Saturday, April 30, 2005

My Sister's Jealosy

Regarding certain physical attributes, I am well-endowed; my youngest sister is not. I have tried to explain that our relative places in the line when those features were being passed out are the reasons for this---I am the oldest of four sisters and she is the youngest. She refuses to accept this and keeps referring to my "shelf".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Word of the Day: Plebeian

I ran across the word “plebeian” when I was doing a crossword puzzle recently. Now there’s a noun I can’t recall using in conversation since I was in college. Today, it strikes me as a a word used by an elitist.. Other than academics, who would use that expression in a normal exchange? In no time at all, my imagination was off and running trying to envision how “plebeian” would come up in every day conversations:

  • The butler at the French embassy in Washington approaches his boss at the breakfast table and said, “Monsieur, there’s a plebeian at the door who says his name is George Bush? Do you wish to see him?”
  • One A- lister says to another, “Jean, this caviar is wonderful! Let the plebeians have their Friday night fish fry dinners. I’ll stick with this.”
  • One cat to another: “Let’s see how long it takes these plebeians to figure out that calling us does no good. Why don’t they just leave a message? I’ll get back to them when it’s convenient.. If it’s convenient….”
  • A sales associate at Neiman Marcus’s to a friend: “I hate spending time with these plebeians. Doesn’t Wal-mart carry Rolex watches?”

Any of you other plebeians have more examples?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Internet Scams

Dan Tynan discusses the top five online scams in an article in PC World. Briefly they are:

  • Auction fraud
  • Phishing scams
  • Nigerian 419 letter
  • Postal forwarding/reshipping scam
  • Congratulations, you've won an XBox (IPod, plasma tv, etc.)

Personally, I think we are most vulnerable to phishing because even if you just go to the link out of curiousity and don't fill in any blanks, you have already unknowingly given out information. Beware!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Lazy Day

Today was an unremarkable lazy, rainy Saturday shared with two remarkable lazy, sleepy cats.
Lazy Cats! Posted by Hello

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Misnomer

If a vacuum is an "absence of matter," how can you clean it with a vacuum cleaner? What's there to clean? And while I'm on the subject, whoever dreamed up the spelling of vacuum?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Our Neighbor Molly

Here's a picture of Molly who lives nearby. She visits us frequently and greatly adds to the richness of our lives today. She's about the size of our cats, who have not welcomed her with open arms. Ryder is quite fascinated by her and follows her around whenever she is here. Molly just ignores him. Shasta, armed with a full set of claws, hides when Molly comes.

Molly Posted by Hello

A Test of Courage

Last night I was telling a group of neighbors about the time my personal courage was really tested. We were living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts at the time. One Sunday night, I was folding clothes and watching TV in the living room and my husband was watching TV in a room upstairs. All of a sudden, our front door opened and a strange man stumbles into the room. I start shrieking "Who are you? What do you want?" and he's muttering incoherently. There was a decorative sword on the wall and I grabbed it down and brandished it threateningly between me and the stranger. I called my husband (only time in his life he's heard me on the first call) and he comes running downstairs. My husband tells me to call the police and I tell him I don't know how. In the meantime, he's pushing the intruder out the door. One of us finally called the police.

Later that evening, the police came back to tell us the man who burst in had once lived in Manchester. He had gone to a reunion and inbibed a bit too much and then decided to visit an old friend who had once lived in the house where we were. They stated that they thought he was more frightened by our confrontation than we were.

They obviously didn't know that my personal bravery had been tested and I failed miserably.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Clive Cussler Novels

Everytime I start reading a Clive Cussler novel, I make a firm decision not to read any more of them because of the gore. Unfortunately, by the time I make that decision, I'm already caught up in the intrigue so of course, I have to finish that book. And by the time I finish the book, I'm so impressed that I can't wait to start another Clive Cussler. Another of life's so-called vicious circles.

This time I read Sahara. And ladies, check out Dirk Pitt.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My "Blonde" Cat

Not long after getting our white cat, Shasta, I came up with the theory that white cats are the equivalent of blondes. Just as the blonde who didn't make ice cubes because she didn't have the recipe, Shasta struggles through life without the benefit of a User's Guide. She tries to bury her food and water and never buries you-know-what. She has a hard time making decisions. Every day, it takes several tries of peering out the door before she decides to go out. But in spite of her difficulties, she is a devoted sidekick and I love her dearly.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You'll Get a Kick Out of This

My sister-in-law, who always looks and acts like a real lady, recently locked herself out of the house. She briefly contemplated breaking in the front door, a wood and beveled and etched glass beauty. She decided her husband might not appreciate that so she rethought her position. She kicked in the cellar door. She said it felt so good that she recommends that everyone kick in a door at least once in their lifetime.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cooking Follow-Up

They did it again. By "they" I mean my family--- the undeclared enemies, the camp of cooks, whatever. Just when you think a meal can't be topped, they manage to do it. Yesterday's meal was one for the books. The array of salads, vegetable dishes, and desserts was phenomenal but the piece de resistance was the meat course of pulled pork. It was cooked over a charcoal fire with hickory for eight hours and the taste was incredible.

There was plenty of humor on the side but my favorite was when my great-nephew, Alex, was finishing a piece of chocolate cake. He said, "Hey, Dad. You know that rule about only having only one piece of chocolate cake? Well, a raccoon ate about half of mine.........."

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Family of Cooks

Tomorrow is a big family gathering and I am faced with the same dilemma each of these occasions brings---what will I take for our "dish to pass"? I know it's not a competition but I feel so inadequate because I happen to come from a family of cooks. It all started with my mother who cooked for a living. Along came my siblings and they all took after my mother (except for one brother who had sense enough to declare kitchens were for eating in). Then my siblings married---yep, you've got it. They all married good cooks. And it didn't stop there. They had offspring who all excelled in cooking, even my nephews who are more like c-h-e-f-s.

Now I've never had any great fascination for cooking. I'd rather read, or listen to music, or build things. So where does that leave me? Stressed out.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Inertia vs. Interest

These days, I feel my body and my mind are constantly battling with each other. Something grabs my attention and my mind says "Go check it out!" My body says "Are you crazy? I don't feel like doing that!" With that, the war is on between inertia and interest. So far, there is no clear winner.

Misery Loves Company

Last night I watched Jane Fonda plug her new book on the Larry King Live show on CNN. After all, Jane starred in two of my favorite movies---On Golden Pond and Barefoot in the Park. From her interview, three revelations especially interested me. Firstly, how close she has stayed to all her exes and their families. Secondly, how much she regrets posing on an enemy tank during her activist days and lastly, she is in need of hip replacement. Yep. Jane Fonda has to have her hips replaced. All of a sudden, my arthritic knees didn't hurt as much.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

An Old Poem

I don't know if anyone out there is interested in amateur poetry but I just ran across this poem I wrote more than twenty-five years ago. It's entitled "Confession."

The pages of the sketchbook you gave me
are covered with word drawings.
The paints I use are the words
I brush in with my pen.

I intended to paint bright, pleasing pictures
for the eye
But somehow I got caught up with elusive images
perceived by the mind.

The challenge is in the infinite combinations
of composition, color and style
On the tiny canvas
of a few short lines.

Robins and Spring

Today we woke up to Daylight Standard Time, the painful loss of a giant figure for our time, and four inches of fresh new snow. These three things have nothing in common except, as the Pope said in his previously quoted Letter to Artists, "the mysterious unity of things."

But that is leading me away from the robins. I told a friend a couple of days ago that I had yet to see a robin this spring. But as I look out now, there are about thirty robins milling around in the snow, just outside my window. I wonder if they are there to reassure me that spring will come. At the moment, I am less worried about spring coming than the snow going.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Revisiting The Pope's Letter to Artists

Regardless of your religion or politics, I am sure that at some point today you have thought of Pope John Paul II. In mulling over some of his accomplishments, I recalled a letter he wrote some years ago to artists---yes, artists. I think you can get some idea of his great intellect by reading this letter.

It was written on April 4, 1999 and among many significant observations, he writes "
Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things. "

You can read in its entirety The Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, April 4, 1999.