Live and Let Live   2 comments

I love everything about summer but number two on my list, after going to the beach, is taking care of my garden. Like any mother I feed my plant babies and shop for them –  delicious foods  like fish emulsion and blood meal. I usually purchase these from Home Depot, but was in a hurry one Saturday and since I was already in Wal-Mart, decided to see if their garden department had what I needed.

Not only did they not have either,  but I was somewhat dismayed to find that the  products that supply plant nutrients were outnumbered by those that promised death –  to insects, weeds, moss – you name it

The Good

The Good

The Bad

The Bad

and the ugly!

and the Ugly!

I don’t know why but it troubled me on a deep fundamental level.  I actually feel sorry for the weeds I pull. Now I was on a quandary,  weighing  the end against the means.  Some people spray, I pull. It’s all the same to the weeds. Thankfully someone pointed out that I was protecting my flowers and vegetable plants because it’s a dog eat dog world, with everything sending down roots and competing for water.

As it turned out I could have left the weeds alone…….  because the deer got there first. I went out to water one morning and suffered instant numbing devastation. I kid you not. I was late getting to work because it took me a while to break out of shock. Was my live and let live attitude being tested?

Remember my tomato  plants and cucumber vines?

Back in July

Back in July

They don’t look like that anymore

In mid-August

In mid-August

The tomatoes fared a bit better,

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But they’re soldiering on. Wounded, but still nurturing their tomatoes.

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And so are the cucumbers,  bless their little hearts!

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

 

This called for action, but not too much. The most destructive I could get was repelling them with the noxious odor of musty rotten eggs.

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So far it’s worked. But the sixty-four thousand dollar question is……. Are they just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen?

Posted August 27, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening, Uncategorized

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A Summer Ritual: The Car Show   1 comment

I don’t k now about you but I can’t think of anything that transports me back to my teen summers quicker than old-time rock and roll. Throw in a lot full of classic 50’s cars,  ’60’s era muscle cars, a 70’s coupe or two and I’m  back there before you can say bell bottoms!

That’s why I make it one of my summer rituals to wander through the McDonald’s parking lot at Cortlandt Town Centre when the classic car lover faithful gather on Saturday evenings every summer to set up chairs no one ever sits on, and  show off their babies.

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Since the shopping center is  home to Home Depot, A&P, Marshalls, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, a ten theater movieplex, and three  – oh glory,yes three – shoe outlets including my all-time favorite , DSW, chances are I’m there on Saturdays although I only visit t he car show once a summer – when the music speaks to me.

You can hear it from near and far, Some times it’s The Rolling Stones, getting no satisfaction, other times it’s The Monkees, enjoying a Pleasant Valley Sunday, or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Going to a go-go, or of course, The Beach Boys getting around, or Jan and Dean serenading  their Little GTO (just googled that  and found it’s not Jan & Dean but Ronnie & the Daytonas whom I never heard of –  guess that shows it wasn’t one of my favorites!)

On this particular evening it was Diana Ross and The Supremes pleading Stop in the Name of Love. It had the opposite effect in me. I went – in search of a memory or two

And I found them.

DSCN1547My best friend in eighth grade, Gail Wilson’s father’s car a ’60 Buick (’59?)

DSCN1544My fifth grade teacher, Miss Brook’s ’56 Chevrolet (gray and white)

.DSCN1541The ’66 Dodge (1st car on the left) my Dad trusted me with to ferry my mother and brother back and forth to the beach all summer in  Cape Cod while he stayed in NY to work. Obviously we weren’t a two car family – yet

DSCN1545My brother Jim’s ’73 Dodge when we had become a three car family. It’s the brown car right next to the McDonald’s entrance which is quite appropriate as Jim kept McDonald’s in business!

DSCN1543The ’70’s era Dodge Dart my father bought when we were a four car family and there was no danger of my brothers or I driving his car. Except he didn’t race it so the engine didn’t have all that “stuff”

As Archie & Edith Bunker used to sing, “Those were the Days.”  Cars had their own distinctive look and you didn’t have to look for the name on the front to know what it was. Do you think that 40 years from now, today’s youth will be gathering to show off their Mazdas & Mitsubishis?

I won’t be around to find out, but you know what? I hope they will.

I Should Have Kept My Eye on The Ocean!!!!!   1 comment

I had one of the most bizarre occurences happen to me last Friday, and it’s all eerily related to last week’s blog post,  I Should Have My Eye on the Ocean. It centered around a day at the beach, and I referenced a line from the movie, Kindergarten cop “Kindergarten is like the ocean. Never turn your back on it.”

Let me digress for a moment to explain that I’ve established a pen-pal relationship with another blogger. Her blog is Reflections…by Kathy.  Kathy and I have some  kind of psychic connection. There have been more than one occasion where we post about the same topic. We always comment on each other’s blogs but sometimes a topic deserves a longer conversation and for that we resort to email.

The Kindergarten Cop quote was just such an occasion. I don’t recall her exact words but she  wrote something to the effect, “You must have been thinking of me. I find it hard to take my eye off the ocean — even if I’m reading a book.”

Well, there I was at the beach Friday. Reading my book – not really that close to the surf when…….

 

See the wet sand. That’s where we were sitting. Notice the rogue wave encompassed nothing else.

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I tossed my towel and my bag with camera and phone in it up to the dry sand but my sunglasses got left behind.

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but despite a few war wounds, they survivedDSCN1641

 

OK OK, I’m not dense. I get the message. I’m going to listen to Kathy, and the K-cop. From now on, I’ll read a sentence….check on the ocean…. read a sentence….check on the ocean.

 

Or maybe I’ll just stick to my local beach.

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It’s on a lake.

Posted August 12, 2014 by virginiafair in Uncategorized

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I Should Have My Eye on the Ocean   4 comments

I’m usually terrible at remembering the names of movies and actors, let alone quoting lines. With one exception – Kindergarten Cop! I’m probably the only person who remembers the movie, let alone quotes a line from this Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Yes, I have, and, warning –  I’m  about to do so again.

Arnold, an undercover cop,  is “teaching” a kindergarten class as part of his cover. When he turns his attention to something or other (see what I mean about remembering movies)  the kids, as Kindergarteners are wont to do, see their chance and have a free for all worthy of the food fight scene in Animal House - but without the food.

Another teacher who happens to be his love interest comes in and instantly restores order, than leaves him with the parting words. “Kindergarten is like the ocean. Never turn your back on it.”

 

Oh how I love this line ! I was a kindergarten teacher at the time the movie came out, and believe me, no truer words were ever spoken.  Maybe I’ll have it engraved on my tombstone!

What brought the line to mind? The ocean, of course. I was strolling along the beach and realized the power of  the ocean.

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Fortunately she’d harnessed it and put it to good use – as a re-decorator.

See this continuous ridge of sand along the beach?

 DSCN1522

It wasn’t there last year.

 

And how about these stones?

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Have you ever seen anything so perfect and smooth?

I wasn’t the only one taking in the serenity,

DSCN1534So were the year round residents.

 DSCN1535

You’ll notice the sea gulls are not turning their back on the ocean. I wish I hadn’t either because when I did, I saw a sight that stopped me dead in my tracks. WTF is that? I asked.

 

Now why would anyone want to come to the beach and wall themselves off from Mother Nature’s marvelous creations

DSCN1527

And OMG,  – another one!

DSCN1526

Where do they sell them? And Why? Why come to the beach if you’re going to sit surrounded by a striped fence? Did they hate the wind? Blowing sand? Want privacy?

I don’t know, I give up.   It wasn’t worth getting so worked up over. Besides it was none of my business.  As I gave them one last look, another quote came to mind and I sent the thought it conveyed to  the enveloped beachgoers.

It was  my dad’s old stand-by  from the 60’s when the teenaged me would ask him

Daddy do you like my new hairstyle?

or

Daddy, look at these great bell  bottoms!”

or

Daddy, look at this mini-skirt I just bought.”

He’d give me his full attention, look carefully, and reply

As  long as it makes you happy, that’s all the matters.

 

 

 

Making Summer Last   2 comments

Summertime and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.

This song spoke to me when I was a child. It was the epitome of  long lazy days made expressly for play. Summers seemed  to last longer when there was nothing to do but go out and play from morning to night. When did they start to fly by in the wink of an eye? I’m on a mission this summer – to try to make this summer go as slowly as it can. I switch radio stations in the car if I hear the words Back to School. I grab the remote when I hear the word football coming from the TV.  I delete e-mailed ads that mention Fall Fashions or Back to School.

Just the thought of winter sends shudders through my soul. You see, I’m chilly when the temperature dips south of 75 .  I am that one person in the world who actually loves, yes loves heat and humidity. So if you ever run into me on one of my kind of days do not, I repeat do not, make the mistake of complaining about either the h or the h. If you do, you’ll hear me growl “Would you prefer the polar vortex?

So how am I making my summer last? By handing it over to my senses.

Sometimes hearing gets there first. My ears are early risers. Some mornings, I haven’t even opened my eyes when my ears are already on the job, trying to decipher the calls of the birds who  compete to fill the air with their own particular calls. There are chitterers and tritterers, the chatterers, trillers and squawkers. There’s even a Yankee fan bird who calls Jeter, Jeter, Jeter.

Some days touch steps up to bat.  I step outside and my skin actually sings for joy as the warmth bathes it

Sight’s been putting in duty since early spring, pointing out the first crocus brave enough to break through the frigid soil next to my front walk. Sight also distracted my driving each April morning,  showing me the first leaf buds on the skeletal trees, and keeping track each morning  as   they unfurled and grew  into fragile green miracles. Anticipating the summer to come, I’d always call out the window. “Welcome to the world, little ones.”

As for taste. Coffee never tastes as good as it does when I take that first sip of coffee out on the deck in the fresh calm of a weekend morning.

DSCN1581

Unfortunately I have no time for coffee al fresco Monday through Friday, but thankfully I work in an office complex with lots of outdoor spots to satisfy my senses.

  There’s the bench where I take a five-minute nonsmoker’s break mid-morning.

DSCN1556

 

Where I walk at lunchtime

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And what’s lunchtime without a place to eat lunch.

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That’s my secret for slowing down summer. It’s like John Lennon said.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round. I just love to watch them turn.

Actually I’m just sitting here watching my tomatoes grow

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And my peppers

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And my cucumbers

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She Can’t Hear Me Either   4 comments

One of my nieces is a prosecutor and it appears that she developed an eye for inconsistent statements early.

My mother had a way of calling the refrigerator an ice box, as did many of her generation.  When she did, Niece J would very politely remind her “Grandma, you don’t have an icebox.”

When the phone rang in the middle of dinner preparations, my mother would turn down the burners before padding into the living room, a la Edith Bunker, calling “I’m coming, I’m coming.”

Niece J would shake her head, and gently say”Grandma, they can’t hear you.”

I wonder what Niece J would say about her Aunt V last Sunday.

I took a giant step toward the 21st Century and got a router so I can set up a  wireless  network in The House of Mars.  Network? Ha! It’s a network of one device, my laptop. I still don’t have a smartphone or tablet, but I’m looking forward to checking my email, or writing blog posts from out on the deck.

 

DSCN1521Thanks to Rudy Router, this post  is the first to come to you “cable-less.”

 

 

I had no problem setting up the router but I must have done something wrong in setting a network name and password because I kept getting an error message advising me I had the wrong security key. So I called Optimum,  my internet service provider. As I feared, a computer-generated voice interrogated me with multiple choice questions, none of which fit my dilemma. The closest choice to my problem was  Unable to access the internet.

I chose it, and (n-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!!), I found myself talking to the computer-generated  help lady. Now I’d spoken to this lady before, so I knew her spiel, and that she’d be useless in helping me with my problem.

“NO, NO,”  I yelled into the phone. “REPRESENTATIVE ! REPRESENTATIVE!”

On she went, asking me irrelevant questions to diagnose my problem. I pounded on the # key (ha ha pounded on the pound key)  Someone once told me that pounding on  the # key could get you to a real live person. It didn’t. As soon as I let up on the pounding, she kept asking me questions

“REPRESENTATIVE!!!!! REPRESENTATIVE!!!!!!!”

#### ####

I know it was a delusion, but I imagined someone, there in the background, would actually hear me. So I yelled louder and pounded harder

Finally I got a different voice, a male – not a real one, but at least it wasn’t her!

“Please hold, we are transferring your call to an agent,” “he” told me

Agent, I noted, I should have yelled AGENT!!!!!!

Finally  a very patient, real,  flesh and blood, young man, er agent,  (real, as in flesh and blood) came on, set my network name and password for me, and voila, I’m now effortlessly wireless and loving it.

All’s well that end well but it ‘s good that prosecutor niece J wasn’t here. I can imagine  her looking at me with pity and whispering  “Aunt V, they can’t hear you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Comprehension vs Word Recognition   1 comment

Back when I was in elementary school we had to take a yearly tests in reading and math.  I can’t recall what they were called, but I guess they were similar to what today’s kids take although they didn’t carry the weight  No Child Left Behind did. Although I was an avid reader and a good student I never scored as well in reading comprehension as I did in word recognition. Well folks, it looks like the tables have turned on me

If you recall I recently wrote about the occasional difference between what I hear and what TV personalities are saying, actually an improvement if you are a fan of the absurd. Well my eyes are in cahoots. Here’s a few alterations that resulted from reading too fast.

 

At work I was researching  red light cameras for a blog I was writing.

red light camera

 

I found an article about their extreme unpopularity and how many drivers feel they’re less about keeping the roads safe and more about generating money. It went on to state that some states are sensitive to the criticism and make sure some of the money goes to a good cause. Here,  you read what they do.

Some states limit where any excess revenue generated from the program can go. In Texas, for example, any revenue in excess of what it costs cities to run the program goes to trauma care centers that care for car crash victims.”

I though it said car wash victims.

I thought of poor old Dukie Dog, our family pet. He loved nothing better than going for a ride. He just had to hear the word and he was whining and circling about. One day I took him for a ride in my VW –  to the drive thru car wash. He was traumatized.

 

car wash

 

Then there was the day last winter in the midst of the polar Vortex. So many people  ended up with frozen pipes that plumbers couldn’t keep up with demand. And of course this being the era of social media, a friend posted her experience on Facebook. She’d finally found a service who could come out to her house the same day. Clog Busters.

I was stumped. Did they send little dachshunds through the  pipes.

dachsunds

Then I realized it didn’t say Dog Busters.

 

 

I read a blog about a photographer who published a book about homeless men in London in the 1970’s. He visited a shelter for alcoholics and got their permission to take their picture. To show his appreciation he came back and gave each man a print.

I couldn’t believe the agency let him do that. Then I saw the r.

 

I thought he gave them pints as the British refer to a 16 ounce glass of beer.

pint

 

And last but not least Let’s start with this advertisement I got in the mail.

 DSCN1116

 

Wow I thought, there’s a hair stylist with a sense of humor.

I thought it said Shaky Michaels

 

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