Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Most of the plants in our yard have been chosen to attract bees, butterflies, and/or hummingbirds. Many times our bottlebrush bush or salvia bed is throbbing with the hum of bees working the flowers. Early this year we had as many bees as usual but at some time in May, our bees disappeared. Not just decreased in number but were gone, all of them. It wasn't because we had no blooming flowers because we did. We have been bee-less since then until today. I was taking a letter out to the mailbox and passing by the line of gorgeous blooming crepe myrtles along the drive, when I heard the crepe myrtles humming. Sure enough, there were the bees all over the blooms. It was so good to see and hear them again.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Listening to the radio today, I heard much talk a out the penalties levied against Penn State by the NCAA. This got me to thinking about my lifelong antipathy toward organized sports. I was in elementary school long enough ago that recess time was free for jumping rope, hopscotch, and generally moving around freely. I had no problem with this as long as the pesky boys left us girls alone. Then came junior high school with one period each day devoted to P.E. I cannot express enough my loathing for this daily dose of distress. Privacy was unknown in the changing area and showers and I detested the dirty benches and showers. I am totally unopposed to physical activity; I've always loved to bicycle and take long walks. But I truly hated team sports, partly because I am not good at them but mostly because I could never see the point. In addition, the competition seems to bring out the worst in many. Winning is all.

I feel the same way today. I don't watch baseball or football. I may watch some of track races during the Olympics. It seems like sports of all types are industrialized and corporatized and served up to make money from dull consumers. Not my thing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weight Watchers

I couldn't go to WW last week because it was pouring rain. So this is a two week report. I lost 2.6 lb. Total lost 19.8 lb. weight 154.8 lb. I certainly feel better as this weight comes off.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Casserole Ladies

Our church has a freezer with a stack of casseroles in it.  If you know of someone who needs a casserole-- new baby, just out of the hospital, or just going through a bad time, you go get a casserole and take it over.  There's no lock on the freezer and you don't need an OK, you just go get a casserole and take it to someone who needs it.  These casseroles are prepared by The Casserole Ladies who generally make a double batch when making a casserole for their family once or twice a month.  The casseroles go into an 8x8 inch aluminum pan and are frozen at home and then transported to the church freezer.  A note is taped to the top telling what is in the casserole and how to reheat & serve it.  I have just begun my casserole ministry as one of The Casserole Ladies. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ruminations on old pictures, old memories

JMM is going through all our old photographs and digitizing them. It is a Herculean task as we have pictures going back to Creation, we probably have an old sepia print of the original Higgs Boson, but I digress. Some of the albums are composed of thick paper sheets with the pictures held in place with little sticky corner tabs. Others are more problematic in that they are in albums where the pictures are held in place on sticky sheets and covered in plastic. It is hard to get the pictures out without damaging them. Then there are the photos that have come loose and are not in an album at all. JMM asks me, who can barely remember yesterday, to identify the people, place, and date. Oddly enough, many times, I can.

So many of them are dead now. And for some, I may be the only person living who remembers them. It is to be expected as one gets older but it is still a lonely feeling. And memories do come flooding back.

Some of the pictures are of my three nieces, the daughters of my deceased older brother. One of the nieces died a year ago. They were such beautiful girls. But something went wrong and their lives went awry. I have spent much of yesterday and today wondering if I had stayed in closer contact with them, if things may have been different for them. I'll never know for sure but probably not. They had so much going against them: unstable parents, low educational attainment, no church, smoking & alcohol, serial relationships, and serial bad decisions.

 It was and is just a sad, sad situation.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Neighbor's Yard

It would be hard to overstate the perfection of my neighbor's yard.  The grass is a perfectly  smooth carpet of green perfectly edged and trimmed. No leaf or blade of grass sullies the porch, walk, or driveway. The flowers are promptly removed and replaced as soon as the blooms fade.  And this vision of perfection exists not only after yard work has been accomplished, it is all the time.  The neighborhood association may as well cement the Yard of the Month sign in place because no one else even comes close.  But I call the place the Dead Zone because you'll never see anything living there. It's kind of like a horticultural Stepford Wives. It looks perfect but it's not really alive.   The green of the grass is chemically induced. Pesticides keep any creepy crawly thing from making an appearance which means there are no bees on the sterile flowers, no butterflies, no dragonflies, and I doubt if a mosquito stands much of a chance either. All undergrowth has been removed out of fear of snakes. This means there are no birds, raccoons, possums, snakes, lizards, toads, or armadillos.  I honestly can't think why someone would buy acreage in the country and then proceed to make it uninhabitable for any living thing. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Weight Watchers

This week I lost 0.6 lb.; total lost 17.2 lb.; weight 157.4 lb. This is certainly better than last week when I had gained 1.4 lb.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Oven Roasted Sweet Corn

Probably everyone on earth except me already knew how to do this but on the slight chance that someone else doesn't know, here's how to make the world's best sweet corn on the cob. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Do not husk the corn, do not wrap in aluminum foil. Just lay the unhusked ears on a baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove husks and silk. A bit of butter and you've got some seriously good eating in front of you.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

I grew up in a small post war community much like Port William. The sense of belonging and the sense of things just being the way they should always be we're as familiar to me as they were to Hannah Coulter.  Like Hannah's children I left and so did the majority of my classmates. And after we left or because we left, everything changed.  I loved this book and recommend it highly. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grace Leads Me Home by Marlene Miller

Grace Leads Me Home by Marlene Miller--done. Explains in detail why I am not Amish.  Let me enumerate some of the more obvious reasons: 1. The Bible teaches eternal salvation of the believer; they do not. 2. 10 children in 13 years. 3. Grinding poverty like having your child wear shoes held together with duct tape because you could not afford a new pair of shoes. 4. Unending work in unsafe conditions. I believe that the Lord gave us a brain and expects us to use it.