Memorial to Aborigines, photo by my Cousin Greg

My Cousin Greg Towner posted this photo on his facebook page.   Thanks Greg!

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Photo by Greg Towner.

Chatting with an Australian friend this morning, I mentioned this memorial and she asked if I could post it on my blog.    It strikes me as humorous that I am a go-between two Australians, here literally on the other side of the world.    Greg  has written and published some excellent accounts of our family and history of Australia.

At this point I have been trying to mention the kinship of Greg and Me.   After several stabs at it I decided that we are second cousins.  Close enough…these family relationships get complicated, and no one really cares about it anyway.  🙂    I have a family tree someplace.

Hey…where is everybody?

…just kidding!    I know you guys are out there doing your respective activities and chores.   It’s ME that has been absent for a long time.    So now I’m back.

No, it wasn’t you…its me.   Stuff happening just one after another, and although I thought about writing some of it in the blog, usually forgot about it until the next Big Thing came along.   Into some pouting, but that has been counter-productive, no one cares about most of the big-bugaboos that bug me.

Spending a lot of time playing with dolls…er, I mean getting dolls ready to list on ebay.  Back in my auction days a few summers ago I acquired a LOT of dolls.   Some I thought were next to worthless turn out to be money-makers, and some I hoped would make me rich were real duds.    As “doll people” know better than I do, Barbie Dolls can be worth their weight in gold…or not…bad hair days aside.   It seems most of these dolls don’t have any clothes, the ones that do have no shoes.     But Barbie never was just a pretty face, she has survived all sorts of adverse conditions, up to and including living out their lives with smiling faces in boxes and bags and drawers all over the world.

As for the “bad hair” which seems to be a characteristic of Barbie’s in general, price being no object, all their hair is subject to turmoil and stress.   On a whim, I googled “how to fix Barbie hair” and found all kinds of information on the subject very helpful, the  fact that much of the info is presented by eight-year-olds with video cameras notwithstanding.

The “test” Barbie looked like her waist-length black hair had been subjected to a wind tunnel.  So I followed the u-tubers advice, which involved washing the doll’s hair with shampoo or liquid soap, working up a good lather…then applying regular for-humans conditioner and rinsing it out.  Then the tricky part, brushing the doll’s hair.   The u-tubers say “never use a comb” but since I had to use a comb I did.   The trick is to start in the middle of the length of the hair, work downward toward the ends; then work in segments, not trying to do the entire length of the hair in one swoop.     It works like a charm…at least on that one Barbie.    The utube experts say the technique works on many other kinds of dolls.   I suppose the key is the rooted grounding of the hair in the scalp, not held together with glue.

I just ordered some high heel Barbie shoes online,

Well…I must say it feels good to write a blog entry.

 

 

 

My 2018 cat shelter (Part I)

Time to update the outside cat shelter.  Lots of straw, tarps, assorted crates and wood…and a big table… plus more to come.

Barbara, for faithful followers’ information, is the wild Calico Cat that lives outside and was rarely seen…until the greenhouse where she hung out for years was torn down last spring, leaving poor Barbara rather confused and homeless.    But now she has apparently decided to move into the shelter on my back deck.  She is not afraid of me, and comes out when I call her name.  All of the cats locally defer to and respect “crazy Barbara” as she is sometimes called…they make room at the food dish and water pan, and apparently tolerate the tough old lady.

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Barbara, an old soldier, three feet, feral, numerous kittens. Bad foot is from being hit by a car, we didn’t know until later.

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This guy doesn’t really live here, but is a frequent visitor who apparently likes the food..

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Fluffy staked out this nest early on.

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An early arrangement, under temporary cover.

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This big grey tarp from “mail away” covers the entire deck and stays up year round. There will be at least one more heavy tarp draped over the umbrella. The temps could get down to Zero degrees Fahrenheit later in the winter…or not. This is Ohio, we try to be prepared for whatever comes our way.

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early rain protection, the plants have moved into the house.

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under construction

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This is the house the APL Lady, Joyce, made a few years ago. It was Peggy’s house but now two or three cats call it home. It’s a big tub like for Christmas trees. I put new straw inside this year, and checked out the inside…very impressive, built with ledges and windows to allow light, fully lined with insulation.

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Fluffy

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View from the kitchen, the shelter will include the swing, several tarps and assorted boxes. It was still green outside when I took this shot.

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a view inside, the light in back of the tarps is coming from heavy plastic “windows” in the back of the right side, so it isn’t just a dark hole.

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The (R) edge of the tarp will come down to anchor the main part of the shelter.

 

Cat Decisions

 

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Now what?

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Pearl isn’t sure.

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Bob considers the situation.

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say what?

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Closer, so we don’t have to shout

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Time for a nap.

(photos ©Sometimes,2018)  The colors in these shots are overwhelmed by the bright sunlight coming in the windows…except for Pearl, who is completely black and requires different camera settings to see her face.   The green paint is prettier than it appears, but could use a fresh coat of paint.   (The very thought of painting scares me!    and yes, I know we should have painted before we put the flooring down.   yikes!)

Flooring update half-way there!

The workers are here installing the new floor, which looks great.    We will paint or stain the baseboards so they are nice when they go back up.    The living room area is about half of the job, so it’s a relief to have it so far along.   However, everybody knows what happens when major new infrastructure goes in…. right…. the walls look crappy now and also incidental window frames and of course the cabinetry in the kitchen, which needs only a good cleaning.

The rest of the walls in the house were re-painted a couple of years ago when the ceilings had to have major replacement work due to ice getting in below the roofing and the insurance company paid some big bucks to repair the ceilings.   It was mostly drywall, but the insurance also covered having the ceilings AND the affected rooms re-painted.      Now we need to paint the living room walls, because they look shabby compared to the new floor and the recently-new rusty-orange paint of the kitchen/dining area.

Man…these people make a LOT of noise.   The owner(s) of the company do much of the labor themselves.   Incidentally, I have known these people for decades…the owners’ mother was a police dispatcher when I was a news reporter, and although I haven’t seen her in decades the name came to me as I thought of a local flooring company.

I’d like to paint…well, to rephrase that, it would be nice if the walls were painted.  The dusty green color is still nice and I like it as much as when it originally went on the walls fifteen years or so ago.

Well the living room part of the floor is in place, and Thursday they will do the kitchen and dining area.   The baseboards need to be spruced up, so I bought a can of water-based stain (at Home Depot) to paint them with.   The paint/stain dries in one hour, so that is a break.   All the paintings and miscellany are off the walls, all the furniture is lounging in the dining area.

ah…those of you who are still awake…thanks for following along on my housewife work musings.

A Word About Words From the OED

The Oxford English Dictionary remains THE word bible of the English language.   The OED is available online, with a Word-of-the-Day feature to which one can subscribe without cost.   A full subscription is beyond my budget, and I do respect the OED’s the prohibition against re-posting in its entirety.   Anyone can subscribe to the daily word post  through the OED web site at http://www.oed.com/ to receive the without-cost daily.

Often these selected words grab my attention for various reasons, not only to find out what they mean, but also as discussion topics.

A recent word that intrigued me especially is  —  dis-candy — which means literally liquifying or melting candy (lemon drops, or life savers for example,) from its candied/solid state to the sticky gooey mess that sticks to everything when melted.

Shakespeare used the word to good advantage, with a metaphorical meaning, as taking the overly-sweet or romantic useage of cleaning up “purple prose” or misplaced or just overstated descriptions in a line of poetry or speech.    English teachers often like to “dis-candy” students’ writing.

My wonder isn’t really the word itself, but the prefix (DIS -candy. )    Some substance that starts out as a sticky-sweet solid that  deteriorates into a liquid, or disappears; or a cringe-worthy saccharine sweetness in speech or prose.     Upon consideration I suppose that (DE-candy) would have a different connotation, perhaps meaning some of the  ingredients or adjectives of said substance (i.e. lollypop,) or line of spoken words would be present originally, but removed from the final product never having existed.

Beside the point, neither of my two little desk go-to-dictionaries: The New Oxford Spelling Dictionary, 2014;   nor  The Merriam Webster Dictionary New Edition, 2004 include the word dis-candy.     My criteria for go-to-dictionaries is that they are small paperbacks that sit on a shelf above my computer and can be retrieved with one hand.

 

 

 

 

 

Books of Childhood

In a previous poem I wrote about a gift I received for Christmas, which my mother had concealed in an Oxydol Soap box…a book which our teacher had read out loud to the class.  That book, is called Snow Treasure, by author Marie McSwigan, was first published in 1942.

At age eight or nine I was very impressed with this book about Norwegian children who smuggled their town’s gold down mountain, past occupying German troops,  to a fiord, where an uncle waited with his ship to whisk the treasure away to safety.    The story is said to really have happened.

About 70 years later I obtained a copy of the book that had been discarded by a public library, and available at a book sale.    Marveling at my luck, I quickly paid the pittance asked and left with this great treasure of my own.

 

Housewife Work revisited

Once my youngest son commented that there were tasks that definitely fell under the rubric “Housewife Work.”     That immediately got my attention, and the phrase has become part of our family lingo.

One of the things I have always enjoyed about moving household was that it involved clean cupboards, drawers, closets, having been cleared of collections and extra belongings that did not and never did belong to anyone who ever lived in the house.   Although I admit there is the occasional “junk drawer,” that defies sorting out and/or disposal of its contents, that arrives intact at the new location.

We have arranged to have a flooring company come in and install vinyl planking in our main living, kitchen and dining room areas.   What that entails is packing up the things from the china cabinets, moving all the small furniture like tables and chairs, and moving out the refrigerator, which really moves pretty easily on wheels…and the stove, which has never been moved since it was installed about 17 years ago.

The problem is that all those things removed from the affected areas have to go someplace temporarily.

I do have a lot of stuff, but the bulk of it is books, as I’ve written before.   I sell books exclusively online now, but my inventory is housed here, in addition to my personal book collection and thousands of unlisted (that is not in the inventory) titles in the process of being listed.    A few years ago I had two bookshops, one at the indoor flea market, the other at an antique mall.

So my dilemma is that before I can accomplish A I need to complete B; and so on from room to room.   Sigh.   A bit of organization goes a long way, that’s true…so I better get to work.

Writing about it helps to solidify my thought process…such as it is.

 

 

A walk with Sister down back…

The closing date is near, and soon most of these blooming trees in the photos will be gone forever.   Not all…the part being sold is about 1.7 acres, but the remaining six or so acres will remain family property.   Here are a few of the phots I took the other day when Sister (my calico house cat) and I took a walk to the back, where the highway fence marks the edge of our land.   Thanks for tagging along!

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Daisies and a little bug.  

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Sister surveying from a bird’s eye view.  

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Pond through the trees.  

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Redbud and other blooming trees.

 

 

 

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A walk with Peggy through nature’s beauty…and the heavy hand of man.

Here are some shots from my walk to the back of our property.    The flowers and trees are glorious this time of year, but as is obvious from some of these pictures the church clean-up crew did not seem to notice.   They wanted to trim the foliage along the highway fence so traffic could see their church.   We refused them access from our side of the fence, but the highway side was pretty well vulnerable to attack…the fence cut and some kind of heavy destruction equipment used to “trim” the trees.    Reminds me for all the world of a small scale Mt. St. Helens after the volcano.

Farewell the Muse

… and yet again with an oldie from “back in the day.”

SOMETIMES

I’ll never write another word
–ever– I think, maybe a bit longer.

The Muse has left me, alone and mute
singing quietly inside…but it isn’t writing
not bringing forth words of rhyme
or golden thoughts or phrases that soar
with the uplifting quality that speaks of fulfillment
of the annunciation of the soul
(if that is even the right word.)

What does that mean?   My Muse does not respond.
Silence echoes across the lines, across the fields,
rich and full, and absence of sensation…or character.
There is no solution, no evolution…no rhythmic flow
of syllables, or stanzas, flights of fancy…
clever ways to express a notion
…or just to form  a simple phrase–
no silver tinged sunsets,
no tales from the depths of despair…
no soaring ecstasy of the bliss of a kiss.
Words which once were at the edges of my
repertoire –within easy reach of the empty…

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will o’ the whisper

More about me and my Muse…

SOMETIMES

OH!     Where do the great ideas go…
those flashes of brilliance
that should have better resilience
and remain in the Brain Cabinet
long enough for establishment
to take hold in the Eureka! compartment.

How many times in the course of the day
does  the lightbulb flash in the idea flow
and tug at coat-tails for attention;
hoping and praying that no intervention
takes precedence over the outstanding thought
that begs to be recorded–NOT discarded!

That’s it!   Hurry–get to the tablet or pad
and hope there’s a pencil or pen nearby
Scribble or print in quick succession
the words piling together inside…
One after another the poignant confession
or ground-breaking thought to abide
ensconced forever in handwriting or symbol,
keywords or brilliant asides.

The Muse is waiting and prompting the prose
or rhymes that are aching to flow ever forth,
to leap from the pen to the pristine page–

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when the Muse keeps quiet

Here’s a re-run of a blogging commentary I published here on Sometimes a while back….

SOMETIMES

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment…

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