Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Whimsical Word from G.K. Chesterton

"The Song of the Strange Ascetic"
If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have praised the purple vine,
My slaves should dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And his slaves grow lean and grey,
That he may drink some tepid milk
Exactly twice a day.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have crowned Neaera's curls,
And filled my life with love affairs,
My house with dancing girls;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And to lecture rooms is forced,
Where his aunts, who are not married,
Demand to be divorced.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have sent my armies forth,
And dragged behind my chariots
The Chieftains of the North.
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And he drives the dreary quill,
To lend the poor that funny cash
That makes them poorer still.

If I had been a Heathen,
I'd have piled my pyre on high,
And in a great red whirlwind
Gone roaring to the sky;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And a richer man than I:
And they put him in an oven,
Just as if he were a pie.

Now who that runs can read it,
The riddle that I write,
Of why this poor old sinner,
Should sin without delight-
But I, I cannot read it
(Although I run and run),
Of them that do not have the faith,
And will not have the fun.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

hot off the presses...in September

Let's play good news-bad news.
Good: I have an article appearing in the upcoming issue of Good News magazine called,
tentatively, "Darwin and Damascus: forks in the road to enlightenment," on the three atheists
I railed against on these fair blog pages.
Bad: I lost Scrabble last night.
Good: I have discovered Facebook. What a wonderful invention!
Bad: My poison ivy still drives me to the brink of insanity.
Good: I'm getting better at catching and throwing frisbees.
Bad: I didn't have coffee this morning.
Good: This morning I remembered how good it is simply to talk to God about whatever
is on my heart and mind.
Bad: My niece lives hours away.
Good: Grace makes beauty - out of ugly things (U2)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bag Lady

Well, it's official.
I'm a bag lady.
Not the kind that my grandma used to be. She's the only person I've ever known who had a part-time job as a bag lady. People would hire her to black out her teeth, mismatch her socks, put on a patched dress, and enter their bosses' domains to make a scene for about ten minutes before getting to the punchline - usually singing happy birthday to their unknowing, stressed out, embarrassed supervisor. Grocery stores, doctors' offices, my Grandma has been around. You may have seen Grandpa driving her around the Midwest, waiting in the car while she went in to her grand performance.
No, I specialize in other bags. Hand bags, purses, totes. A frenzy of creative color and accessories. I sat down at a sewing machine one day and out popped a purse. Then another. And another. I toted them down to the local coffee shop, who promptly purchased them, and Presto! I became a vendor.
The only problem with this hobby-turned-profitable-hobby is that I am accustomed to picking up and putting down projects at will. I crochet for three months, then lay it down for a year. I go through kicks and spurts. Which means that for the last several months every time I stop for a coffee Tim looks meaningfully at the bare hat rack that used to hold my wares. I need to give him a refill, but I'm nervous. Can I just sit down and do it again? Or must the Spirit move me?
Well, the thought of a small little bonus check for doing what I like anyway - being creative - certainly does drive creativity, now that I think of it. And, I did just rummage through some more vintage brooches to affix to my creations, thanks to Ebay. Maybe I do feel a creative spurt coming on. After all, one doesn't necessarily have to sing happy birthday in an IGA for kicks and giggles. But if I get bored with the purses, you never know.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Picnic basket full of goodies...

Spread out the blanket, swat the ants away. It's time for a midsummer picnic. Here is a sampling from under the Saran wrap:
*Check out a couple recipes on marthastewart.com, for fruit ambrosia and cold chicken
pasta salad with tomato, basil and feta. Also try brewing iced tea with loose tea - Upton's
blend "East Frisian" is an Assam/vanilla blend. Sweeten with brown sugar. Yum!
*For a deep belly laugh check out "Flight of the Conchords" on YouTube, especially
their "Business Time" and "Albi the Racist Dragon." While on YouTube, dip into "The
Office" leftovers with "Domo Arigato, Mr. Scotto."
*For a hammock-laden, idle, lazy summer pursuit, check out addicting game's "Impossible
*Oh bliss, oh joy! Over the Rhine has posted the entirety of their new album, "Trumpet Child," on their homepage, overtherhine.com. My favorite so far is "Trouble." The album is less
country than a couple others and more old-timey saloon inspired, slash European tightrope
walker. The title song Trumpet Child, however, hearkens all the OTR ghosts of former classic blend. Listening to the new album is like a letter from home.
*Play "Take" or "Take Two" with Scrabble pieces. It's basically speed scrabble, where you can continually edit your construct as you "take two" more tiles once you've used all of yours. It's tough when you get several tiles piled up and are frantically attempting to reconfigure your puzzle.
*Stock up on calamine lotion. For the first time ever, I have a summer scouting merit badge - poison ivy. (p.s., I'm allergic to the world.)
*Learn to skip stones. I finally learned this weekend. Now, instead of thinking I'm hopeless with throwing things, I know how to Huck Finn it with the rest. What a perfect July skill.
*Trade red,white and blue for black and white: I just took in "The Thin Man" and "After the Thin Man." Nick & Nora's company is quite lovely on summer evenings with crickets and cicadas buzzing in heavy humid air.
*Rummage around in an antique store or two: what fun, trying to discover the functions of
unfamiliar old objects, trying on a vintage hat or two, reading sixty year old letters, talking
yourself out of buying old milk bottles. On the other hand, milk bottles would be cool vases...hmm...
*Locate an old-time drugstore, complete with stools from which to sip a root beer float. I guarantee if you live in the midwest there's one within driving distance.
*Gather friends and read parts of a classic play or novel, accompanied, of course, with
Assam-vanilla/brown sugar iced tea.
I hope that you try at least one of these. Allow yourself a bit of classic firefly leisure and
let me know what turns up in your picnic basket. Share it with the rest of us.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Uh-oh, she has a camera.

I did it.
I bought a digital camera.
No snickers, no snorts allowed. Some of us take our time with these things. I plan to get an iPod by 2009. It was a purchase for "one of these days."
One of these days came a week ago Wednesday when a frantic message screamed over my voice mail (yes, I DO have a cellphone) that my niece was entering the world early. Nails fresh from a manicure, I went into hyperdrive and left town in record time. By the time I called my boss, decided whether to fly or drive, packed, drove to the rental place, had my car break down on the way to the rental place, get to the rental place ten minutes after it closed, batted my eyes into a rental car anyway, filled it up with gas, and stopped in a retail store only to point to a camera and say "I want THAT one", it took me only two hours and forty-five minutes from getting the message to leaving my nearby city.
Because, after all, one cannot take pictures of one's first niece or nephew with a DISPOSABLE camera. How tacky. I arrived two states away six hours later and made permanent friends with the nurses by sharing the Dunkin Donuts I picked up on the way. The night shift doesn't always get a lot of thanks.
Ok and my car kind of broke down on the way to the rental. But you can see how all these things FLYING through my mind did not lead me to check my gas gauge. And anyway, I'm pretty sure it's really the fuel pump's fault, or maybe the fuel filter. Nevermind, a nice realtor helped me on my way so it doesn't amount to anything.
My niece is ADORABLE. And, I am her favorite aunt. Since I am currently her ONLY aunt, I am smug in my uncontested status for some time to come.
Here are pictures of my niece with various proud relatives, along with "4th of July smalltown style." I did something I've never done before this year: I drove to the airfield with half the town, sat on the hood of my car, and indulged in one of my favorite holiday pastimes (fireworks put a silly grin on my face) - solo. No family around, friends had their own family in, others worried at the weather - so, I climbed into my '89 named Jezebel and took myself to see the show. Independence Day, indeed.