Getting lost traveling from one garage sale to another last weekend resulted in this serendipitious find–a delightful Hypertufa Sculpture Garden on a small side road off the beaten track. How could one not stop and enjoy a few minutes along the shaded, quiet lane? I have been searching for just the right thing to put in front of my own house. I saw some really cool scrap metal sculptures, but that involves welding, a talent I have neither the equipment nor the knowledge to do. I have dabbled in hypertufa planter boxes, so a next logical step using that basic knowledge is to try someting that is three dimensional. This has me psyched and hankering for the enough spare time before cold weather hits.
Technology is not always my friend. The picture that was to be my “a picture is worth a thousand words” shot, the picture that was to underscore the headline, was, alas, accidentally erased. If we are very lucky, it won’t take a thousand words to set the scene, but the infectious fun of the moment is lost. Bah. Humbug.
While passing through the mall a few days ago, the giggles and laughter of children drew me, among many others, to see what was so exciting. All I can think of to explain what I saw is to ask you to picture a giant jumping jack machine. A child is strapped into a harness attached to four homongous bungee cords. A large padded base underneath provides a safe landing/launching zone. After a few hops, the kids are flying 15-20 feet high, with hair streaming, eyes dancing and giggles galore.
To say it was tempting is a classic understatement. Had there been someone present to egg me on, I know I would have gotten in line. The weight limit is 150 pounds. At 123 pounds, the operator said I was eligible. Duty called, but the notion of reaching the roof is resting in the back of my mind. If it is still set up the next time I go through there, who knows what might happen….
As children, there were many ways our Mother greeted us each morning. Depending on our willingness to cooperate, her mood could range from a cheery “Good Morning” to the jarring sound of the radio turned up as loud as the volume dial allowed–usually after we had ignored her one too many times. One morning we were wakened to the news that overnight, our family’s milk cow (and somewhat of a family pet) had delivered her calf. In western PA, specifically Somerset County, hummy is the Pennsylvania Dutch slang word for calf. “Molly had her hummy!” was immediately followed by 5 pairs of feet hitting the floor. No matter the means, the end result was accomplished, it was time to rise and shine.
Driving past one of the local universities recently, busy traffic and an even busier schedule precluded the time to stop for a more carefully executed shot, but I was reminded once again of the optimism and opportunity that this sculpture represents.
Before one can reach for the sky, one has to put one’s feet on the floor. Before one can reach for the sky, one literally does have to “Rise and shine!”
Yesterday, my travels took me on a 228-mile round trip journey for a special job related project. The destination was in and through the mountains to the east–the majority of which skirted the topmost ridges. What a view! Riding the highest peak for at least a 25 mile stretch offered clear lines of sight that stretched north and south.
My best guess is that the horizon was 20-25 miles away in some places. A wind farm paralleled part of the route on the next ridge over. In places, there were homes that were positioned to permanently capture exquisite mountain portraits in the frames of their living room windows.
The trip home was cold, crisp and dark, offering a dramatically different canvas. Spotlights at a 24-hour gravel/stone quarry riveted one’s eye on the fierce dust clouds swirling 100 feet above the plant. The twinkle of the further most light made me wonder if someone else was already at the end of their journey home. All-in-all a long day, but worth the trip.
In addition to Seasonal Affective Disorder form the shortened hours of daylight, favorite theories include feeling drained by the election coverage, being consumed by the financial crisis or both. Add your personal idea if something else comes to mind.
Having just returned from an annual job-related conference, the weekend has provided the downtime needed to ease back into a routine. Several days before leaving, the preoccupation of making sure the cat had enough food for the week, the right clothes were clean and pressed, the grass was cut–you get the idea–changed the automatic patterns that are second nature. Counting the weekend before leaving, a week of out-of-the-ordinary adds up to slightly out-or-sync.
Coming home Friday morning, checking e-mail and wordpress, paying bills online and returning promised phone calls about glass inquiries, to name a few, all took just a tad longer. The multiple passwords needed mental sorting, the phone numbers needed to be teased out of the list and matched to questions. The grass needed to be cut–again.
Daily routines make tasks become easier just because they are done every day. Fitting in the unexpected is easier as a result. Breaking routine also has benefits, because otherwise the predictable becomes too predictable. There is however, a comfort zone tied to the every day that is equally as sweet.
Today on Michael Feldman’s “What’Ya Know” radio show on NPR, a guest was describing an incident in her life that she found to be incredibly shameful. At a low point in her life, she was forced to sell everything she owned. At the yard sale, a man offered her $7.00 for her children’s pet dog, and she agreed. The dog was leashed and placed in the back of the man’s pick-up truck, and as the truck pulled out “that old hound looked me in the eye and I knew he knew what I had done.”
Just as this story was being told, I glanced to my left and noticed a pick-up truck was passing my car. In the back of the truck was a large black dog tied to a leash standing in the bed of the truck! If you listen carefully, you can hear the spooky Twilight Zone music playing.
Just about one month ago, wistful notions of once again driving my now departed Saab convertible rushed through my veins. It was a beautiful spring day and other Saab nuts were out tooling around having fun–making me incredibly jealous and lonely for just one drive.
Fortunately, sanity returned in short order, but the real end of the story has to include how I found a buyer for the object of my admiration. When the sad decision was finally made that my beautiful Saab Turbo Convertible was going to be sold, the first way to go about it seemed to be obvious–an ad was placed in the classifieds.
Calls were received, appointments were made and that, my dear, is as far as it went. Caller after caller gave credence to what became a new pet theory–courtesy ain’t what it used to be. After re-arranging my schedule on a regular basis to be sure to be available at the appointed time, no one came, nor did any one bother to call to cancel. Now what? Fool me once…etc.
Then one morning as I was parking my other car in the parking lot at the near-by Target, a Saab coupe pulled in and parked next to me. Nothing ventured is nothing gained, so I asked the couple if they knew anyone who might be interested in buying a Saab 900 Turbo convertible. A slight look passed between them. “Is it a manual transmission?” he asked. My heart sank, thinking that the automatic transmission in my car would kill any further interest. “No, it’s an automatic.” “Really? What year is it?” There were definite signs of interest. The basic facts of color, mileage and condition were exchanged. The Saab world around here is a small one. They knew the mechanic who had worked on my Saab (many times) because as the owners of many older Saabs themselves, he had worked on their vehicles, too. This was a tremendous advantage in my favor. They knew him to be reliable and honest.
They went home and talked it over. It turns out that the automatic transmission was a major plus to them. The car was to be for the wife, who was recovering from recent knee surgery. I ran into them about 9:00 AM. At 4:00 PM they came for a test drive, decided the price was right and wrote the check. I was sad and glad at the same time. Sad and glad to sell the car, but especially glad that someone who would really appreciate it’s quirky nature had bought it. Also glad that it was someone who knew how much TLC is required to keep the wheels on the Saab going round and round.
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For reasons that elude me, muscle cramps in my legs seem to have become the bane of my existence. After having eaten enough bananas to turn yellow (extra potassium), stretched my legs and feet before retiring (to counter the effects of potential overuse), and forcing fluids (possible issues with dehydration), the problem recurs on an unpleasantly regular basis.
Desperation even induced me to try a solution straight out of Ann Landers: about 6 months ago I put a bar of soap under the sheets at the foot of my bed. Felt silly doing so, but that 2:00 AM jolt of pain has a way of discarding any feelings of foolishness. Hoping against hope, for awhile it seemed as if the curse had been lifted. All the people who wrote in to share their success stories were close to having a new disciple. There were a few instances of some minor cramping, but nothing to get upset about. Well, let me tell you, last night all the muscle cramps that had been circumvented decided to come home to mama.
Without belaboring the point, just let me share that it really, really hurts to have muscle cramps going in both shins at the same time. No amount of rubbing, stretching, crying or begging did anything to make them go away until they were ready to.
Tonight there is going to be a new bar of soap in place. Maybe I missed part of the instructions, like change the dang thing every so many weeks or months. There has to be something that helps, doesn’t there?
Miss my Saab. Convertible weather has arrived. A few years ago, I gave in to my long submerged urge to own a 1993 or earlier Saab convertible. It had a tan interior on a black body. 900 Turbo. Oooh, what fun it was to drive. I’m not even really a convertible kind of girl, but there is something about that body style that just makes me smile. Much prettier than the coupe.
Today was a perfect Saab kind of day. Not too hot, not too cool, it was ju-s-s-s-t right. The past few days have brought several of the local Saab nuts out of their garages for a spin. When I see one, there is a slight twinge–like seeing that summer love from your “summer of love.” Always have a soft spot for him, even though you know he wasn’t really good for you.
Selling my Saab is akin to the famous boat story. “What is the second happiest day of your life?” “The day I bought my boat.” “Really? Well then, what was the happiest day of your life?” “The day I sold it.” I loved my Saab. I miss my Saab. I smile when I see that swoopy shape, and always get a slight twinge (OK, a big twinge) when one passes by, but then I remember the other love affair that comes with owning a quirky, unusual automobile–my frequent trips to the mechanic. Eventually I sobbed over the maintenance costs. Ultimately, the sobbing over my Saab overtook the pleasure and fun.
For today though, that fine line of knowing the difference between sobbing over my Saab and sobbing over my Saab blurred just enough to make me wish for a split second that we could try one more time to make it work, at least until the end of the season….