Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Neat Stuff for Me Josie


My school gave Nature Exploring Kits to all of us kindergarteners. There was a book about things to look for and binoculars to look with. And a butterfly net to catch bugs and tweezers to pick them up with and a little jar to put them in. And a lot of other stuff.

There was a blue dragonfly down at the goldfish pool, but I couldn't catch him. There were also lots of tadpoles and some frogs. I thought they would be happier in the water so I didn't catch them either.

I used my magnifying class to watch some ants. They move very fast.

Meema turned over rocks for me to explore under. I found some roly-poly bugs, all curled up and I collected one and put him in a jar with some dirt. Later, I let him go. Roly-polies are not very interesting pets.

Also, look what Meema and Grumpy gave me for graduation! There are a million crayons, and there are color pencils and fat markers and skinny markers. When I use them all together, Meema says I am doing mixed media.

There is a place for every crayon and pencil and marker, and I am very good at putting them back where they belong. And of course, I am careful to put the tops back on so they don't dry out.

When I was little, I had a big tub of broken crayons and mostly dried up markers. But now I am SIX and going to first grade.

Also, I have lost another tooth.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Gifts of Age


After putting it off for years, I finally took myself to the dermatologist to have a couple of suspicious spots looked at. 

"Gifts of age," she told me, after a biopsy revealed nothing sinister.  "Seborrhiac keratoses." Ditto for any number of little bumps here and there. I am blessed with gifts of age.

Her phrase, however, set me thinking about other gifts of age. Oh, sure, there's diminished strength, endurance, eyesight, hearing and many other gifts I'd just as soon not have. But there are other gifts of age that deserve appreciation.

There's an increased appreciation for little things like the smell of new mown grass, the flash of a yellow swallowtail against the spring green, the delicious cool of night air and the caressing warmth of the morning sun. Even simple things like scrambled eggs or sliding into bed between clean sheets are sensory delights.

I'd like to think too that another of my gifts of age is a philosophical tolerance. Increasingly, I find myself thinking, Not my circus, not my monkeys in reaction to some manufactured flap in the news or on social media.

Pronouns? Have at it. I'll do my best to honor your preferences. Lifestyle choices--clothing, hairstyles, body modifications--I'll nod, semi-appreciatively, and be glad I don't feel compelled to keep up.

I remember back when I was a teen, (that time when fitting in seems so important) one of my friends, who was very popular and attractive, confided that she looked forward to being an old lady so she could sit in a rocking chair and smoke a pipe.

That was never my ambition, but I do rejoice in the thought that I'll never wear high heels or panty hose again. 


Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day--The Old Lie

Dulce et Decorum Est 

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Lovely Luna

As we headed out on Thursday for Josie's graduation, this beauty was waiting for us on the trellis by the front steps.

Lunas are a rare sight and the appearance of this one seemed like a blessing on Josie's big day.

It was perfect when I spotted it in the morning; by evening, one of its trailers was gone.  And by nighttime, so was it. Gone, I hope, to find a mate and make more Lunas.

In this stage of their life, Luna do not feed--they have no mouth. They live about a week and their sole business is reproduction.

But what grace! What beauty!


Friday, May 26, 2023

Kindergarten Graduation!


A momentous day as four kindergarten classes graduated. There was a solemn procession in to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory," there were songs by the different classes, and there was the awarding of certificates and medals.  The gym was full of folks, cheering on their particular kids. (I was in the middle of the third or fourth row and trying to get pictures between the heads and phones of the folks in front of me. Some of the last few pics are from Claui's cell phone and from Grandma Namcy's camera.)

Josie is sad to leave kindergarten and especially her beloved Miz V, but she's looking forward to first grade too--as well as a summer full of fun.

                                   Josie adores Miz V.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A (Very) Long Time Favorite

I've been trying to adhere to an every other night vegetarian routine--various pastas, beans and rice, all kinds of tasty stuff. 

Last night we had Eggs in Hell, a recipe I first made in 1964 when we were living in Geiger Trailer Park at Camp LeJeune--Marine Corps (officially designated) Substandard Housing. I was not yet teaching, and we were on a tight budget. But we bought a little TV on time and, thrown in with the deal was a paperback cookbook modestly called The World's Best Recipes.

A collection of recipes from other cookbooks, famous people, and well known restaurants, it provided me with lots of aspirational reading and quite a few do-able recipes, one of which was Eggs in Hell. 

That was almost sixty years ago. Back then I generally opted for a jar of Ragu as the sauce, though I usually tarted it up with sauteed onions, garlic, and herbs. And red wine. 

It's been many a year since I used store bought spaghetti sauce because I found that, by the time I'd sauteed the onions, etc, it wasn't that difficult to just throw in a can of diced tomatoes and a goodly amount of tomato paste, along with the red wine. 

The tomato paste is what makes a quick and delicious sauce that tastes like something your Italian nonna spent hours stirring and simmering.

Break your eggs into this tasty stuff, cover and cook on low heat till eggs are as done as you want them. Serve over toasted English muffins with a good dose of Parmesan.

The little paperback cookbook finally fell apart and I found a used hardcover copy. It's still a fun read.

Coincidentally, after our Eggs in Hell last night, we had the last of the flan I'd made for company on Saturday. The flan recipe is even older than sixty years--and I make it regularly too. I wrote about flan HERE.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A Different Tarot

My older son (an English major) sent me (another English major) these literary Tarot cards for Mother's Day. Instead of Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. the suits are Light, Ink, Quills, and Parchment. (All a writer needs, right?)

Here's the fun thing: Each card in the deck pictures a different literary work--from ancient to considerably more recent. Trying to guess what each card represents is fun--and sometimes perplexing--even for an English major.

Some are world wide classics; others are a bit more obscure.

I haven't yet attempted a reading--I used to entertain myself with the classic Ryder cards but it's been a while. Fortunately, the set came with a nice little book of instructions, along with a key to the who's who of the cards.

Another nice thing is that the purchase of the cards contributes to literacy programs--and heaven knows we could use more of that.

There's lots more about these cards on their website HERE.