Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Extreme heat, trump worries, a minyan…and chocolate




I think I am in love. I discovered chocolate bark with blueberries and quinoa. I’m not a big quinoa fan but in this instance, it adds a nice crunch. Please keep me from eating the whole bag in one sitting. It was not cheap for one thing.

Oh, this heat wave. I haven’t felt stifled by the heat, but I live a pretty protected existence. Most days I’m in my cottage. If I go out, it’s in the evening, when the temperature has started down. This morning, Jordan and I went to the grocery, but we left at 9:30—still pleasant outside—and were home by a little after 10:30. Still I worry about those who are out in this extreme heat every day. Hope everyone is keeping hydrated and staying indoors as much as possible. I also worry about brown-outs—maybe I just worry as a natural habit.

Learned today that our extreme heat is caused by dust drifting over us from a storm in the Sahara Desert. Apparently, the dust just hovers, giving us skies that aren’t quite clear and beautiful sunsets but really hot days. And it’s not going anywhere—I can see that because when I look outside, not a leaf is stirring. No breeze. None. Supposed to move on in a week. Meantime Friday is going to be record-setting hot.

I am really scared for America. I’m scared that there are those who don’t see what’s happening, don’t see that trump’s actions are treasonous. Somewhere today Monte Negro, Estonia and other eastern European countries got into the mix. They are supposedly on Putin’s list as he goes about building a new Russian empire. Other rumors include Scandinavia and Finland. What would trump do if Russia invaded those countries?

Some former FBI agents claim trump shows all the characteristics of a managed spy, and I would desperately like to see that disproven. I have sworn not to discuss Republicans on the basis of appearance—no more talking about Trey Gowdy’s pointed head or McConnell’s resemblance to a turtle—but I think it’s fair to say that in pictures from the Helsinki summit, Putin looks smugly happy and composed; trump looked more rumpled than usual, his expression semi-confused, his eyes and hair wilder than usual. I reject the off-color hints of a sexual encounter (just plain bad taste, folks, about a really serious matter), but I think appearances support the idea of a puppet and his handler. Scary stuff, and I wait daily for an explosion that may not come. That may be the whole strategy—let the country build in tension until we self-destruct.

Strange and frustrating internet experience tonight. I cancelled my Wednesday Betty dinner to be at my computer at seven. A friend, a woman I’ve met only once but know better through a small and close-knit online writing group, has been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer and is hospitalized on total bedrest. Tonight, friends and colleagues were making a minyan for her in the hospital chapel, and we were all invited to attend via Facebook. I thought it was the only way I could show my support and planned my evening around it. But come seven o’clock, I couldn’t find it. About seven-thirty, as if by some strange fiber-optic magic, my screen popped up with a small window that said she was live now. So I was able to join in remotely—for a few minutes, and then it cut out again. It was a roomful of love, and I was glad to be able to add a comment that I was there in spirit.

Monday, July 16, 2018


A food day and a word about my blog

July 16, 2018

Another food day. Fixed chicken pot pie filling in puff pastry for my chef-friend Heather for lunch. It was an experiment, because the box clearly said not to use a toaster oven—and that, of course, is what I used. The puff pastries did not turn out as I expected nor as the picture on the box suggests, but Heather said they were pretty much like they should be. When I started to give Jacob leftovers, he pointed to the pastry, said “What’s that?” and didn’t even give me time to reply before he said, “I don’t want it.” Unperturbed, I kept spooning the filling onto the pastry. “Yes, you do,” I told him. “It’s just like the pastry you loved last time I fixed this.” He liked it.

This evening Subie and I had a nice dinner at Winslow’s Wine Café. I ordered meatloaf, but it had bell peppers mixed in it. Settled for a.crab cake and chocolate mousse. Decadent but oh so good. And a lovely visit.

A dear friend posted on Facebook this morning that she was glad when I gave up politics (must have been a brief and calm period)—she wants more Juju (my grandmotherly name) and less politics. For those of you who read my blog regularly, a word may be in order. I try not to post only about politics but sometimes I cannot help myself. And perhaps today of all days is a good one to explain why I post about politics.

I have a good friend who makes me look meek as an activist. She’s a progressive, a feminist, an ardent Episcopalian, and a fighter for all the causes I hold dear. She’s intelligent, outspoken, and never at a loss for comments and contributions. But she’s also a devoted grandmother, an animal lover who can’t resist a furry face, be it canine or feline, and a skilled gardener with a huge property to maintain. She posts a lost of activist messages, but she also posts about her grandsons, known as the best boys, her animals, and her garden. She told me once she posts the personal because she wants people to know there’s a warm, fuzzy side to her, to know that she’s much more than a shrill activist.

I try to take a leaf from her book, and, in fact, I think my posts are proportionately more personal than political. But I cannot and will not keep quiet about the divisive turmoil in this country, the fact that many experts agree we have been led a good distance down the road to fascism. And the fact today that the supposed president of our country sold us out to Putin.

People say to me that they’re so tired of politics they just tune it out. That, to me, is a most dangerous attitude. It’s exactly what Putin and trump want. They want to accustom us, bit by bit, to an erosion of our values, to categorizing some humans as inferior and dangerous, to slowly encroaching cruelty until we’re numb to it. I keep remembering Martin Niemoller’s poem that begins, “First they came for the socialists…and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.” It ends, “And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

I know many disagree with me, but I will continue to speak out against the destruction of all that America has stood for: for the alienation of our international allies and destruction of the world order, against the increasing racism and hate in our country, against harsh and cruel immigration procedures, against the increase in climate warming and the rollback of regulations protecting the environment, against laws which favor the rich and rob the poor of health care, education, even food, against the control of women’s bodies by old white men.

I think it’s important, however, to stick to the issues—and I urge my fellow progressives to do that. It’s easy to pick on trump, pence, mcconnell and others for their personal appearance and foibles—why doesn’t the orange buffoon learn to button his coat? And did he really walk in front of the Queen?—but that defeats our cause and turns people away. Stick to the major issues that are destroying our world; try to ignore those easy quick jabs (though, Lord, that’s hard sometimes).

November is coming. Sometimes I feel it’s our only hope. This blog started out to be about grandmothering, writing, and cooking. Politics crept in because I can’t keep it out. I hope you’ll stick with me through all topics.

A food day and a word about my blog

July 16, 2018

Another food day. Fixed chicken pot pie filling in puff pastry for my chef-friend Heather for lunch. It was an experiment, because the box clearly said not to use a toaster oven—and that, of course, is what I used. The puff pastries did not turn out as I expected nor as the picture on the box suggests, but Heather said they were pretty much like they should be. When I started to give Jacob leftovers, he pointed to the pastry, said “What’s that?” and didn’t even give me time to reply before he said, “I don’t want it.” Unperturbed, I kept spooning the filling onto the pastry. “Yes, you do,” I told him. “It’s just like the pastry you loved last time I fixed this.” He liked it.

This evening Subie and I had a nice dinner at Winslow’s Wine Café. I ordered meatloaf, but it had bell peppers mixed in it. Settled for a.crab cake and chocolate mousse. Decadent but oh so good. And a lovely visit.

A dear friend posted on Facebook this morning that she was glad when I gave up politics (must have been a brief and calm period)—she wants more Juju (my grandmotherly name) and less politics. For those of you who read my blog regularly, a word may be in order. I try not to post only about politics but sometimes I cannot help myself. And perhaps today of all days is a good one to explain why I post about politics.

I have a good friend who makes me look meek as an activist. She’s a progressive, a feminist, an ardent Episcopalian, and a fighter for all the causes I hold dear. She’s intelligent, outspoken, and never at a loss for comments and contributions. But she’s also a devoted grandmother, an animal lover who can’t resist a furry face, be it canine or feline, and a skilled gardener with a huge property to maintain. She posts a lost of activist messages, but she also posts about her grandsons, known as the best boys, her animals, and her garden. She told me once she posts the personal because she wants people to know there’s a warm, fuzzy side to her, to know that she’s much more than a shrill activist.

I try to take a leaf from her book, and, in fact, I think my posts are proportionately more personal than political. But I cannot and will not keep quiet about the divisive turmoil in this country, the fact that many experts agree we have been led a good distance down the road to fascism. And the fact today that the supposed president of our country sold us out to Putin.

People say to me that they’re so tired of politics they just tune it out. That, to me, is a most dangerous attitude. It’s exactly what Putin and trump want. They want to accustom us, bit by bit, to an erosion of our values, to categorizing some humans as inferior and dangerous, to slowly encroaching cruelty until we’re numb to it. I keep remembering Martin Niemoller’s poem that begins, “First they came for the socialists…and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.” It ends, “And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

I know many disagree with me, but I will continue to speak out against the destruction of all that America has stood for: for the alienation of our international allies and destruction of the world order, against the increasing racism and hate in our country, against harsh and cruel immigration procedures, against the increase in climate warming and the rollback of regulations protecting the environment, against laws which favor the rich and rob the poor of health care, education, even food, against the control of women’s bodies by old white men.

I think it’s important, however, to stick to the issues—and I urge my fellow progressives to do that. It’s easy to pick on trump, pence, mcconnell and others for their personal appearance and foibles—why doesn’t the orange buffoon learn to button his coat? And did he really walk in front of the Queen?—but that defeats our cause and turns people away. Stick to the major issues that are destroying our world; try to ignore those easy quick jabs (though, Lord, that’s hard sometimes).

November is coming. Sometimes I feel it’s our only hope. This blog started out to be about grandmothering, writing, and cooking. Politics crept in because I can’t keep it out. I hope you’ll stick with me through all topics.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Weekend cooking




After going to church on my computer, I got busy and did my most hated chore: boning a chicken. This one was pre-cooked which makes it easier, sort of, but as much of a blessing as those rotisserie chickens are, they are greasy and hard to deal with. Often, I can find a rotisserie chicken breast, which is easier to work with and provides more meat—much plumper breasts—than a whole chicken. But we went to the wrong store this week, and no such luck.

Tomorrow I’ll make chicken pot pie for my chef friend, Heather. We intend to bake it in puff pastry shells and thereby disprove the label on the puff pastry box that says not to use a toaster oven. But today I stole some chicken and made chicken salad for my lunch: whirred the chicken in the food processor, added salt and pepper, a diced scallion, juice of half a lemon, and just enough mayo to bind. It was so good I ate more than I should have.

Then, made ambitious by having gotten the chicken behind me, I washed lettuce and checked to be sure I had enough for a salad for lunch tomorrow.

Tonight, I’m making a radish/cucumber/feta/herb salad for Christian, who loves radishes. Not sure how he’ll feel about the herbs, but they’re mostly cilantro, with a bit of chives, parsley, and mint. He’s grilling trout, a fish he’s never had before. I think trout is such a delicate fish that all it needs is salt, pepper, and lemon (I don’t even need those traditional almonds), but Christian, a little unsure about fish perhaps, likes marinades, so I found one that calls for sherry and soy. Should be a good dinner. Might have to grill a hot dog for Jacob.

I’ve spent some of the day reading about the Gilded Age. They weren’t very attractive people, those idle rich like the Astors and the Vanderbilts. All for the trappings of wealth, but not much character beneath it. And the descendants of those who fought for our freedom began, after the Civil War, and even earlier, to turn toward Europe as the model of culture. Every socially ambitious woman wanted to marry her daughter off to a European or English noble, and castles of all sorts and varieties began to appear in this country. One who intrigues me is Lady Randolph Churchill, born Jennie Jerome in Brooklyn. Even if I don’t like most of the people, it’s interesting reading, and I’m learning and enjoying.

Didn’t realize dinner was in the cottage tonight but suddenly there came a parade of three—Jordan, Christian, and Jacob, each carrying a dish. Jordan bustled about, got out plates and flatware, and served the plates. After we were all seated around the coffee table, I asked where the asparagus was. Oops. She popped up and served it—nice thin, tender young stalks. Whole dinner was delicious. The trout still delicate and lightly enough cooked, the asparagus tender. Another time I’d make the salad of cucumber, radish, nuts and feta and forget the herbs, except maybe chopped chives. The cilantro and others were just hard to eat, and the vegetables, in a light olive oil/lemon dressing, were delicious.

A busy week looms, and I’m glad of that. Hope yours is as busy as you want it to be, and happier than you thought it could be.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Searching for my groove




I’m an author without a subject, a writer without a project. And it makes me antsy. For days I’ve had this slightly dissatisfied, uncomfortable feeling. I don’t even have a book to read that rivets me—one that interests me, yes, but not one that draws me at odd hours of the day and keeps me up too late. One result? I’ve been spending way too much time on Facebook, following the drama in D.C. and the U.K. both. Beyond that, I’m irritated with myself for idling away time. I think what I’ve done every day is what many retirees do all day every day, but my old Protestant work ethic is slapping me in the face.

But today, I’ve done something about it. I’ve begun some background reading, and already I’m narrowing my interests. The history of women in the nineteenth century has long been my major interest, particularly the women of the American West. In the 1990s I wrote four books about strong women married to husbands or attached to men who were flawed in one way or another—Elizabeth Bacon (Libby) Custer, Jessie Benton Frémont, Lucille Mulhall (Cherokee Rose), and Etta place with her ties to both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

My more recent title, The Gilded Cage, sprang from my Chicago background, but it also drew me to a woman married to a robber baron. Bertha Honoré (Cissy) Palmer, married to Potter Palmer, builder of the Palmer House in Chicago and one of the handful of men who directed that city’s fortune in the last half of the nineteenth century.

Today I started reading The Gilded Age, a critical study of several individuals written by Milton Rugoff. I read about some women of the period, principally abolitionists and suffragists, and while both those causes interest me, I decided those weren’t the women I want to write about. I’m turning my attention to the wives of the Gilded Age—women married to robber barons. Were they weak, submissive—or was there some steel in their backbones? The last half of that century fascinates me in many ways—the world was still reeling from the transition from agrarian to urban society, and the roles of women were changing dramatically. It was a time of terrific social upheaval.

So, I’m back to being a student of the Victorian era, and I love it. Who knows if something will come of it or not? At least for a few days I feel a purpose driving my days again, and I’m a happy camper.

Lovely dinner tonight celebrating my friend Betty’s birthday—shh, I’m not saying which one. She and her husband own the Star Café in the Fort Worth Stockyards and entertained fourteen of us for supper. As is our custom, Betty and I split chicken-fried steak—so good. And good to see people I really enjoy.

Today is Bastille Day—an easy way to remember Betty’s birthday. But it is also a day when we celebrate the French Revolution and, in simple terms, the rise of the people and the fall of the monarchy. What I most remember about that event is being forced to read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and hating how bloody it was. And then hating how long the book was. But today, in this time of political turmoil, I think it’s instructive to consider radical, sudden change in government in contrast to the way it’s supposed to work here when the people make their will known. It’s a cautionary tale that would urge all of us to vote this fall.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Days of drama


            How was Friday the 13th for everyone? I have the feeling this day will be much more momentous in history than we realize now. We are watching a great drama unfold before us. Today was perhaps the fourth act, with building tension.

Trying to think back to Watergate and remember if we sensed at the time the history that was playing out in front of us. I have a great deal of faith that justice and our democracy will triumph again, as they did then. That’s something perhaps neither Putin nor Trump recognized or anticipated. I don’t think Nixon did either, until the last minute when he saw impeachment staring him in the face. One thing I think about today is that this will mark a turning point. Some Republican Congress members were beginning to turn away from Trump already, and yesterday’s interrogation of Peter Strzok disgusted more of them. Perhaps after these two dramatic days in a row, more will grow a spine. Trump’s bumbling about Europe didn’t help his cause. It will be interesting to see what happens in Helsinki.

It’s amazing to me how successful Putin’s plan has been in—what? —two years if you count the campaign and election. Our country is more divided than it ever has been. Collegiality has gone out the window, replaced by vituperative hate. Racial incidents are dramatically up, because as some claim trump has given permission for well-hidden hate to rise to the surface and become public. Our environment is taking hit after hit—pollution of air and water as industry regulations are abandoned; public lands are sold off to mining industries. Our sitting (or should I say squatting) president has alienated most of our allies, chummed up with traditional antagonists, and drawn us out of carefully crafted treaties and alliances. And we’ve separated who knows how many children from their parents, with no idea how to reunite them.  If Putin wanted to tear apart America, he’s doing damn good job—and we’re letting him do it.

It’s a good time for us to remember Michelle Obama’s words: when they go low, we go high. It’s what we must do to heal the corrosive division among us. We must temper anger with reason.

An old friend and I frequently spar on Facebook. Our opinions are diametrically opposed. But the other day, when someone told me to quit bitching about things I had no control over, my friend jumped to my defense, asking the offender to “stand down” and explaining that we are friends who respect each other’s differing opinions. I remain grateful to him, and I cite him as a model for all of us to follow, while I admit I haven’t always followed my own words. I’ve sometimes been impatient with him and others.

So, go do something nice for a neighbor, maybe that one that thinks your dog is pooping on his lawn or the one who mows his lawn at six a.m. on Saturday. Me? I’m going to sit on my patio and count my blessings.






Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thunder, lightning, and rain!


The weatherman said 40% chance of showers this afternoon, but I’ve lost all faith in him. As Christian says, when the TV says pop-up showers, they never pop up at our house. But about two o’clock, we had light rain and distant thunder that I found encouraging. Sure enough, soon this incredible thunder boomed, the kind that sounds like fireworks going off right in front of you and then is followed by silence and stillness so profound that you think the storm has sucked all the air out of the atmosphere. It makes you hold breath. Good heavy rain followed.

Sophie was a pain all morning. Our sprinklers had gone off, plus I suspected maybe a light rain, and I didn’t want her running hither and yon chasing squirrels and then bringing all the mud from the outdoors inside. But she was desperate to go outside, jumping up on the couch (no, I’m not a good disciplinarian) where she could look out one window at the squirrels and another at the chickens. I finally let her out thinking she would want to relieve herself before I went to lunch. Nope, she wanted to chase squirrels. Mary, who came to go to lunch with me, gamely went out into the yard waving a piece of Velveeta and calling Sophie. It probably took ten minutes to entice her into the house. I hated to reward bad behavior, but we had waved that cheese in front of her. She looked stunned with disappointment when we told her goodbye and left.

Mary took me to an early birthday lunch since she’ll be away when we celebrate. We both like Swiss Pastry Bakery because we like sausage and kraut—we do share German heritage. Delicious as always, though filling. I came home with potato salad and kraut and will probably have that with some salami for supper. The outing gave me yet another chance to drive my car.

None of the local critters enjoyed the storms. I looked at the chickens this afternoon, and they were all four perched on the crossbar in their pen, as though they didn’t want to get their feet in that mud. Didn’t know chickens were that finicky.

Tonight, after all that unsuccessful fiddling with Skype, I talked to a book club of teachers in Henderson, Texas via Facetime. We chatted for just under thirty minutes, and I think it went well. I just put aside m conviction that Facetime makes me look like an old hag. I tried to hold the phone as high as I could, as I’ve watched Jordan do with selfies, but that gets tiring. Pretty soon I quit worrying about my looks and enjoyed the conversation. I was pleased that some of them had read other books of mine than the one they read together. We chatted a bit about writing historical fiction and about everything from Chicago to my grandchildren. Readlly fun. I’d like to do more of that.

And here comes the weekend!




Wednesday, July 11, 2018


A technological nightmare

July 11, 2018

Today was a nice day at home, quietly at my computer, the day darkened only by sad, sad news about the health of someone special in a small writers group I am part of. But the day in general was a welcome respite from yesterday when the tech gods were after me.

My start to yesterday was iffy. Getting ready to drive myself to a breakfast meeting, I dropped my handicap parking tag, had to get the walker/chair to bend and get it. Got to the car and realized the car key was no longer on my key ring. Back into the house to retrieve the key. Then trouble backing out of the driveway—after my teasing about people who can’t do my skinny driveway, I’m getting payback. I have two excuses: I haven’t done it in a long time and am still getting my skill back, and—more pertinent—in case someone wants to park beside me, I have to park at an awkward angle, far to one side. By the time I got to breakfast, I thought maybe toast at home would have been easier.

But then real trouble started. I tried to figure out Skype so that I can talk to a book club tomorrow night. They’ve read my very first adult novel, Mattie, and I am looking forward to talking to them. Blessings on Sandra Siler who was patient beyond measure with my bumbling attempts to make it work. We tried more times than I can count, but neither of us could make it work. The effort consumed a couple of hours of my day and much of my energy. We finally gave up and will use Facebook tomorrow night.

Christian activated my new phone, but it said, “No service.” So I called AT&T on the old phone to fix that. The agent told me she’d call right back on the new phone. Everyone thinks she did and I missed it, but the truth is the phone was right next to me on the desk and it never rang or vibrated. Only thing that changed was that I lost service on the old phone. So there I was, with no way to contact the outer world except email which doesn’t get instant response. And no way to call AT&T.

My friend Linda came along about 4:30, called, did the talking because when those agents talk fast and a lot, my old ears lose it. Linda, with Jordan who wandered along, fixed it—except it still didn’t ring. I had it on vibrate, not ring. Christian fixed that. Today I still missed two calls. Somehow it was on “Do not disturb” which I swear I have never done. Oh me. I hope tonight it is all straightened out.

Linda took me to Hotel Madrid for supper last night—an advance birthday treat because she’ll be gone for my birthday. We both had white anchovies (so nice to have a friend who shares my taste). Shared fried goat cheese and a salad and had flan for dessert. Absolutely stuffed, mostly from the flan which is so rich. We ate on the patio and had the kind of visit, one on one, that longtime friends need from time to time. We’ve known each other at least forty years.

Tonight, to cap off my quiet day, I sautéed a lamb chop and some zucchini. Both meals so good. I’m getting lazy, writing less, following current events more. Surely this too is a phase that will pass.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Random thoughts on a day stolen by the dentist….




The airwaves and the internet have us all holding our collective breath until the last man is rescued from the cave in Thailand. And yet, some have asked, “If we have that much concern about a soccer team trapped in a cave, why don’t we care equally about 3,000 (or however many—the number keeps changing from anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000) children in cages? I think it’s the wrong question.

The American people made it plain loud and clear that we care desperately about the caged children. World leaders have joined the outcry. But those boys in the cave are in a life-or-death situation, one with a terrible immediacy about it. At any hour, monsoons could wipe out their escape route, dooming them. The escape itself is full of dangers, even with skilled divers to guide them. Their window of opportunity is short. Pray God they all escape safely and can go on with their soccer game and their lives.

The caged children, on the other hand, face long term consequences from their forced separation from their parents. Even when and if—and for someit’s a big “if”—they are reunited. Some may come out unscathed, but most will suffer the results of this cruel treatment the rest of their lives. They will require our continued support, and as Americans, the country that imprisoned them, I think we will owe them that.

But I also think as Americans we’re capable of both kinds of compassion. Worrying about one group doesn’t cancel our worry about another. We are Americans. Our compassion is not a finite pie with a certain number of pre-cut pieces—it is infinite, unlimited. It expands as needed. As crisis after crisis arises, I am struck by how many good people there are in this country. In fact, in moments of hope, I think this current debacle may ultimately cause us to right wrongs that belong not just to this administration but to generations before.

A specific incident concerning the separated families sticks in my mind. By now you’ve probably seen the video clip—it’s gone viral—of the well-dressed woman, self-identified as a concerned grandmother, who went to a detention center, as part of a demonstration, her arms filled with toys and stuffed animals to comfort the children being held. Not only was she turned away, her gifts confiscated, she was taken away in handcuffs for refusing to step back a few feet. As far as I could tell, she did not resist the officers, she was not angry, dangerous, any of the things you might expect. She was compliant, even submissive, so what was her crime? Is that the point we’ve reached, where people are arrested for caring, for trying to be kind?

And that leads me to another question: how do the police officers who cuffed this woman feel about their duty? How about the ICE deportation officers? Are we back to the My Lai defense of “I was only following orders”? Who is giving those orders? I know God’s eye is on the sparrow, but Mr. Trump’s eye is far too busy with a golf ball to have time to reach so far down in the ranks as to command the arrest of a grandmother bringing toys to hostage children. Is it Jeff Sessions? I doubt he has the time either. How far down the chain of command does this infestation (I used Mr. Trump’s word deliberately) extend?



As for the dentist, yeah, the day was shot. Ten o’clock appointment, so I didn’t get anything done before because I was getting ready physically and emotionally. Two and a half stressful hours later, I walked out of the office, had lunch with a kind friend, came home and slept for another two and a half hours. It really did take up the whole day. Dental phobia dating back to my 1940s childhood when the drill was slow and bumbling. So glad this day is behind me.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

A thousand points of light




You probably know about trump dissing on Former President George H. W. Bush’s program that he dubbed, “A Thousand Points of Light.” The sitting president said he never got that, but Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, sure did, and she let trump know in clear terms that it referred to people volunteering, people caring for others. So important at this time in our history.

I see stories and hear them of people caring, taking the extra step, going out of their way to help other people. Look how the world has responded to the saga of the children in cages and the trapped soccer team in Thailand. It reassures me to hear these stories, just as it reassures me when people step back and hold the door for me and my walker. There really are good people in this world, and I believe they will triumph

I like to think of President Bush when I look at my own thousand points of light. When I was out of town for Thanksgiving last fall, Jordan worked hard to make a fairyland of the backyard I look out on every day and night. She festooned the deck and driveway fence with lights. But the biggest thing, to me, was the device she put on the half-wall outside my patio doors. It projects at least a thousand tiny points of green light. Last winter, when the trees were bare, the lights landed on the wall of the guest house next door, though our neighbor said some jumped the single-story building and mysteriously showed up on the other side.

Now that it’s summer, though, these lights cluster on a small herb just beside the projector and then land in q wonderful random pattern on the leaves of the pecan tree that shelters the patio. Someone a few red dots are sprinkled in with the green. It’s all truly magical, and I wish I could take a picture of the scene. I never remember to turn the lights on, but they have a mind of their own and come on at dusk. I have to remember to turn them off before I go to bed. If I forget and wake in the night, I can see them clearly from my bedroom. Cool beans, as the saying goes. And yes, Mr. President, I get it.

So tired of everything looking droopy in the yard. We water and water, but it’s an uphill battle. I worried about the fig tree, so Christian put a donut sprinkler on it, and it looks better. Tonight, the turk’s cap looks droopy, and the basil is a lost cause—planted from seed, and I think the weather got hot before the plant got strong enough. At any rate, as Christian says, it’s committing suicide.

Report on the Irish coddle: really good, except that the ring sausage we bought had red pepper in it and is too spicy for me. We also made enough for Coxie’s Army—will be eating it forever. But we have voted the recipe a keeper.

It’s dusk, and my thousand points of light just came on. Sweet dreams, everyone.