Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Proper Thank you for a Blogger's Kindness

A few weeks ago I asked if a little wall hanging quilt I saw on Julie Bagamary's quilting blog was for sale, and I was delighted to learn that it was.  And then I made a comment on another post on her blog and was randomly chosen to  receive a  giveaway she was offering, a 2010 Cloth Paper Scissors Calendar. 

 As Julie  acknowledged in her giveaway, we all  know the year is almost half done.
It is, isn't it?...when June is gone, oh June , we barely knew you ; today the 27th and the last Sunday in June, half of 2010 will be part of the past.
But marking time or remembering dentist appointments is not really the point of many calendars, they are often to inspire and amuse. And  it was fun to receive a gift from another blogger.
  Readers of the magazine of the same name, were asked to illustrate what, in any given month,  life is  like for them...and capture it in a 12' x 12' box. " Life is like a box of ..."

My favorite depiction is from the month of April...

Life is like a box of tools  use them wisely, know the rules, build your future make mistakes, be prepared to fix what breaks.
                                                                   July  for some people life is like a box of quilt squares...
But this one, by Jean K. Brown of Elgin Illinois in its ingenuity is my favorite and I think I will frame it to hang by my husband's workbench...the place where he so often and ingeniously fixes so many things. 
The last little image is a clay polymer heart held together by a small clamp steadied by a doll's hand.....
click on the photos to enlarge....
Thank you Julie!
I hope you will check out Julie's's inspiring.

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Anti-dote to Embedded Journalism Troubles

I recently met a man who doesn't read newspapers and doesn't watch television and is not, as he said, "an Internet person."  You can imagine all the things that us news followers have been deeply aware of that I did not tell him about.  I wonder if it is possible to not even hear about the oil in The Gulf or the "change of staff " and the folks in Afghanistan who may be wishing that they too had shunned the media. 

My mother, as I have mentioned before, told me to not write anything that I wouldn't want to have published in the morning news.  And we could add...and don't say anything you wouldn't want  interpretively written up by someone else. Just because a rolling stone won't gather moss you can't assume that nothing else will be collected.   It's important to be careful who you, as they say in the journalism world, embed.
I was thoroughly "embedded" myself this morning and I woke, not because I was ready, but because my cell phone was ringing.  I answered but no one spoke back to me. I put it on speakerphone. I could see who it was that was calling, and I waited, it was someone I'm always willing to talk to.  "Hello, hello, I'm here," I said.  Whistling came through, sweetly, loud and clear.

"Summertime"  was the melody and he can not only  carry a tune, he even mimicked the vibrato of singing.  As I lay in bed, in between giggling and waking,and enjoying the whistled tune. I realized it was an accidental call.  I was apparently the last call he'd made the prior evening and now some button had been pushed and his private whistling was being aired. As innocent as it all was, I felt strange, because he didn't know I could hear him nor had he intended to be heard.  He was free whistling, whistling in his own private moment for all he was worth.

 I hung up and called him back and when he answered I spouted, I wasn't up for singing yet,  the lyrics to the song of his tune:  "Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and ..."

"Ah, my meeting just started, can I call you back?" he said.  Did he sound somewhat bewildered or had he already figured out that he'd called and given me an unintended early morning cell phone concert?

That's how easy it is for information to be unintentionally shared, and while "Bread on the Water"  is no "Rolling Stone,"  here I am telling you about it, albeit not in any way injurious to the identity,  mission or hopefully even the feelings of the exposed whistler.  I'd like to think I'd protect him even if he wasn't someone very dear to me who I've known my entire life.

But think, you could accidentally push the button on your phone while you are making some ad hominem attack, some comment that reveals your  irritations or prejudices rather than your intellect or heart; these things can and do happen. 

I say with great respect that some people have impossibly hard jobs; I can't begin to understand all that some duties might entail.  So all I can suggest is, if at all possible, whistle while you work. It could cover, like love, a multitude of sins and it might even keep you out of the news...though you could still wind up in someone's blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Emergency Kits Earthquakes Expired Meds and Old Canned Food

The recent earthquakes in California and round the world have prompted us to take the time to renew our earthquake emergency supply box.

The box itself, and some of what is in the box we  inherited from grandma's supplies before she moved.  She has her new kit all in a five gallon can now.  The theory is you can grab it and take it with you,  but she said even that would be hard for her to lift.
We have a large box outside.  Inside our kit there are some satchels we could carry if necessary.  Why am I blogging about this?  Well, just to remind you to be prepared and even if you have been prepared in the past, you might want to check out the condition of your emergency supplies. Our  aging batteries needed to be replaced with newer ones.
I  guess if we were stranded we wouldn't mind if the beans were a little outdated, but we may not have been  able to "eat those beans, sister and like them."

And if you need a  painkiller, you at least want it to be marked good for this century, right? Out goes the 1999 bottle. So the good news is, we haven't needed the supplies that we've set by. 
When we took a break today we ate a can of wild salmon that was "best before July 2010."
If we were stranded we wouldn't be too worried about the BPA's in the canned food, but generally I have been trying not to buy canned food at all. And I must say, those pretty dry beans I have in glass jars look lovely in the pantry and I really do mean to remember to soak them the night before and cook them nice and slowly more often than I do.
But hey, today we remembered and acted upon cleaning and renewing our emergency supplies.  Just a little trip to the store and we will be all done.

The suggested things to stow might be different for your area so check it out with your local agency and see what you should have on hand.  Storing water is always important. Hopefully you will never need it, but you'll be glad to have it if you do.

 What a great collection of items were in the smaller little blue box packed back when by Grandma and pins, scissors, water purifers, a knife, bandages, reading glasses, soap, lighters, matches, pain pills, toothbrushes and .... yes, Grandma, we put the bottle of  brandy back all intact. Age in brandy is good thing, right? 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wild Life on the Coast Fortunately Unfortunately

Our dear daughter, R. used to write fortunately- unfortunately stories…this one is for her.
     Fortunately things went well for the wedding and by late Sunday afternoon all the folks who had been staying the last few weeks and the more recent influx of guests had left and we were home alone strategizing for the next gathering, which begins Wednesday.
     Unfortunately we don’t have quite as much recovery and prep time as would be truly graceful before the next demands, but fortunately we had talked ourselves into believing we can do it.
     If you read about Phoebe the cat’s narrow brush with death in the jaws of a bobcat last week, you’ll understand why we have diligently sought to bring and keep the cats inside before sunset, as sunrise and sunset are two of the times bobcats most like to prowl and hunt. Unfortunately, that is also true of spoiled little domestic cats.
     Fortunately, late yesterday afternoon, we cajoled both kitties inside. Unfortunately, Princess Kitty Bumpkins wasn’t happy about it and was crying rather loudly.
     Fortunately, the volume of K-Bump’s complaint and request did not stop me from hearing a human child’s cry in our driveway. Unfortunately, the child had not liked traveling the windy coast road in the back of her family’s car. Fortunately, the parents of this family of four were able to safely pull off in our drive. Unfortunately they did not have all the supplies their little emergency required. Fortunately I jumped through the hatch and ascertained what the travelers needed and called Mark on the phone.
     Fortunately he found and delivered through the hatch to me what help we could offer. Unfortunately Princess Kitty Bumpkins had a split second open door chance and she took it. Yes…
     It would be fortunate if I could end the story here…but as fortunate as we briefly felt when Mark succeeded in luring Kitty Bumpkins back to the house a few hours later, unfortunately she had been sprayed by a skunk.
     Fortunately, we decided she could safely pass the night in the garage. Unfortunately this has hurt her little cat feelings. Fortunately she smells somewhat better this morning and is now safely sleeping in her kitty bed.
     Unfortunately I don’t have time to hunt down any perfect pictures to accompany this story. Fortunately, for now, we still plan on coming out smelling like a rose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Conflicts in Nature Wildcats on the Coast

This is Phoebe's story...I was making jokes last week about having a kitty cam on our cats to see where they go.

I wish I did.

                                                               This is Phoebe
On Sunday I noticed fairly large wildcat scat on the southern path.

Tuesday night about 10 pm we were in the cottage with two friends. Phoebe,our cat, had been walking around with us at sunset and was currently right outside the front door underneath a chaise lounge.

Kitty Bumpkins, who also lives with us had been out and about since early afternoon and we were still waiting for her to show up for the night.

While sitting with our visitors, we heard a strange noise, a scraping, tumbling noise and we all jumped up.

Mark threw open the door and we saw a fleeting glimpse of flying calico and something larger chasing.

Then in the dark we hear a most horrible cry.

Our friends had been about to leave but F. helped us search for a little while and D. stayed with Gideon the dog who we weren't sure we should let out, though later we did to see if he could help us track the cats. Two visitors from the main house joined us briefly. We had headlamps and flashlights and sticks. Mark and I continued to search every bit of the 3.5 acres we could reach. Mark scoured the ravine and even went into the neighboring property.

                                          This is Kitty Bumpkins

At around midnight, back near the cottage, I saw Bumpkins. After some serious coaching, I got her inside.  One cat was now safe.

I sat out front of the house for a while calling and watching for Phoebe, my guts wrenching in distress. Mark and I called each other on our cell phones, each trying to cover different terrain. Now Mark was getting tired; well we had been tired when it all started. We didn't know what else to do; there was no sign of Phoebe or her attacker. We lay ourselves down in bed, but every 10 minutes or so I was up again, at the window, or outside, listening. What were the chances she could out run a bobcat?  Where could she go that the wildcat couldn't? I slept a little and woke to a noise. I searched around but found nothing. I lay down again and then some time after 3 in the morning I got up to use the bathroom. Without much hope I went to the front room and there, hunched on the top of a padded chair outside the front door, I saw through the window the curve of her little back. I was amazed and so relieved.

She was moving slowly and just wanted to get in her bed up on my desk where she generally spends the whole night. When I woke in the morning both the cats had gotten on our bed. Phoebe was curled right up against the small of my back, and though the two kitties have been been uniquely possessive and territorial about us, Bumpkins was sleeping peacefully only a few inches from Phoebe.

This morning we took Phoebe to the vet. She has no puncture wounds, or broken bones. She is limping, bruised and tore some claws. She has a fever and is on anti-biotic.

We'd like to figure out how to catch the bobcat and move it to the wilder wilds. There is a wedding here Saturday...maybe all the people on the place will discourage it from hiding and haunting here.

Grateful and relieved and too tired to realize how happy I am,