Thursday, August 14, 2008

War in Iraq

Well, I guess that last post really was a nothing. I don't know what happened, but I suspect Cheney is monitoring this site. Creepy thought.

I just got word from my cousin Rita that her daughter is home from Iraq in one piece. We are happy, and a little surprised, because she's a bomb defuser. Many people come home in one piece, but she was there as a mercenary, paid $300,000 a year to defuse bombs. This raises many questions.

1. For that kind of money, did they send her after ones no one else would touch? She must be pretty good at her job.

2. How many people do we have on our payroll at that rate?

3. How do the ordinary soldiers feel, who work alongside these mercenaries?

Anyway, welcome home, Dawn, you had us worried.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I wonder whatever became of Paula. She was a recognizable member of Clearwater's homeless group, and an old buddy of mine. When the county was getting ready to build the Bayside Bridge, she lived in the very footprints of the approach road. She had lived there since the days when she and Henry, her husband, had run a bait shop at a little dock. Actually, she didn't live in their house, because it was crammed to the rafters with stuff she had brought home from dumpsters. Her car quit running and she filled it up too, then the tent where she had lived for awhile. We condemned all that property, and paid her with a check for whatever her interests were. She wouldn't cash the check, and lived on the street.
I was there when the bulldozer flattened her little house, and her stuff went flying everywhere. A full-sized naked mannequin flew up and toward the dozer operator, who needed medical attention. The pile of dumpster treasures was easily three times as big as the house. She lived on the street, and wore a T-shirt that said "The Bayside Bridge tore down my house." On cooler days she wore a pink satin windbreaker advertising a topless bar. Her trademark was a terrycloth turban that she wore rain or shine. I'll bet she still does.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


We have about 100 trillion cells in our bodies, made of molecules, mostly empty space, except for atoms, mostly empty space. These cells are being replaced constantly. Some regenerate every day or so, some last much longer. It's safe to say we don't have any body parts that were there a few years ago.

Trees do the same thing with their cells. Some shed their leaves all at once, some gradually, while the rest of the tree replaces its cells slowly but constantly, as we do. Flowers disappear, leaves and all, and return in the spring.

What if we shed our cells all at once? Would we disappear, or just be invisible? Notice these are not the same, because by disappearing I mean left town, maybe for a day, maybe for the season.
This is something I think about when I get a haircut or trim my nails. Try not to think about it in the middle of the night.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


There are real people out there who do not eat garlic for fear of bad breath. Either pop a breath mint, or feed garlic to the group. I always cook garlic, which reduces its potency, or at least no one has offered me a breath mint after dinner. Other than key lime pie, it's hard to think of one item that can improve so many foods.

Our daughter, June, has inherited this garlic gene, and brings home great ideas. Kevin shares her enthusiasm. Saute fresh or frozen spinach in a little garlic oil, and you will never eat it plain again. Any time you have to use the oven for an hour, wrap a head of garlic in aluminum foil with a little olive oil, roast it, then squeeze out the soft cloves to eat on crackers or whatever. Even better is to put equal parts of olive oil and peeled cloves (say a cup of each) in a bowl, add a can of anchovies (or half a tube of paste) and let it bake for an hour or so. You can dip bread in it, pour some over pasta or roast some vegetables with it. Add about half as much vinegar to it, shake it up, you've got a great salad dressing. The best thing since sliced bread is the peeled garlic in a jar. And it's good for you.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's not my fault

I guess it was Anne Morrow Lindberg, in A Gift from the Sea, that introduced me to the idea that our perception of reality is based on our own filters. Thus, if we are in a foul mood, we only see the bad side of things, and filter out the good and the beautiful. Conversely, of course, Pollyanna or Carol on a good day sees only the best in everyone and everything. This may work as a philosophy, but it fails to explain a bad day.

A bad day is not catastrophic, just a day full of glitches. I needed to call a company, call it Ajax. After listening to a litany of worthless options, I got through to "Chuck" from Bosnia, who has trouble pronouncing Ajax, and is useless. Try the website for the company, try "Contact Us," and you get two options: scroll through a page of FAQ's that don't apply, or call the new number, and you're back to Chuck.

I gave up, wrote them a letter, put it with the rest of the mail, including some thoughtful cards for friends with special occasions. We sent to the mailbox at the post office, always on the passenger side, and CJ tries to mail the stack of envelopes. He gives them a little toss, they all miss the slot and land in the gutter full of swiftly flowing water. I jump out, wade after them, squeeze past the car behind us, and got some of the sopping envelopes, but not Ajax, before they went down the storm drain.

My attitude did not cause these events. It's not my fault.