Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Today, it’s 50 and sunny. Blue skies with just a few swirls of clouds drifting by. A close to perfect fall day.
It’s going to be the same on Sunday.
Saturday, however, is another matter entirely. It’s going to snow! Lots! In October!
A super early Nor’easter is on the way. It’s supposed to hit in the wee hours, starting as rain mixed with snow, ending as heavy snow. Depending on which forecast you heed the prediction is 3-6 inches, 5-8 inches or 6-10 inches with visibilities of half a mile or less.
I can’t wait! Hey, it’s not going to last. The temperature here has been in the 60’s most days this week so the ground is too warm for it to stick for real. It won’t hang around and make parking a nuisance. It’ll just be pretty and white and fluffy, blanketing everything in a hush for a few hours.
Yes, I know that an early season wet storm such as this has great potential for damage since there are still plenty of leaves on the trees. Branches could break and cause power outages. I sincerely hope not much of that happens but as to the rest of it, I am going to enjoy it. I might go for a walk with my camera or I may just stay in and knit while I watch it snow. Either way I intend to have a wonderful Saturday. I recommend you do the same!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Earthworms. I can hear you asking “Why?” Stop it! My question to you is “Why not?” They are an extremely valuable natural resource so take a minute and learn about them.
First of all, they do not come to the surface when it’s raining to avoid drowning. They come out because it’s easier to move from point A to point B, where the tastier morsels are, by slithering across the ground rather than grinding their way through it. And when it rains, they don’t dry up while doing so. Kind of clever of them if you think about it.
The myth that a worm will survive when chopped in two is only partly true. Or, depending on how look at it, partly false. The front half can regenerate if there is a large enough portion. The back will always perish so don’t chop worms you find in your garden in half. Let them reproduce on their own! A pound of red worms will double in number, 1000 breeding to 2000, in a matter of weeks so there’s really no need for you to mess with them.
Some trivia. There are roughly 180 different varieties of earthworms burrowing around North America. The majority of which are descendants of European worms that came along with plants that were tucked away in the hulls of ships. So worms came over on the Mayflower and are original settlers, just like Pilgrims.
Rich farmland can support up to one million worms, while poor only a quarter of that. You want as many as possible since worms are so beneficial to soil. Their waste contains all sorts of good nutrients and their tunnels retain water so plants of all kinds love them!
Worms generally live one to two years though some make it as long as eight. Um, sorry. No clue how they know that one. Common red worms grow to three to four inches. Earthworms reach eight to ten. The US Giant Palouse can get up to two feet long and the South African Giant can grow to be 22 feet. Yes, that’s right. Twenty-two feet! Now I do try very hard not to toss any night crawlers when I’m weeding in my yard and I always “plant” any leftover worms after fishing but I sure hope I never encounter one of them.
There. Now you know too. Aren’t you glad you read this?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I’ve been dreaming again. Not good dreams. No, these are the kind that feel so real they leave me questioning whether or not they actually happened and out of sorts forever after waking.
The other night, people were trying to kill me. Nothing new in that. I’ve had the same unknown individual attempting that for years now. Let’s hope I never pass him on the street because I would not remain calm. But this dream was different. This time there were multiple people, including friends, wanting me out of the way in order to get to Beau. It seems they’ve finally realized just how powerful and wondrous his magick is and decided to have it for themselves. Hmm. Okay, kill me if you must but please don’t hurt Beau.
Then last night, I went visiting in my sleep. I thought I’d drop by and surprise some friends. Only, since I wasn’t expected, they didn’t know me. Yeah. Talk about upsetting. Now it’s stuck in my head that I can never ever make any unannounced visits. Ridiculous, I know but now that it’s out there it won’t go away.
I can’t ever decide which is worse, waking up screaming or waking up crying. Either one leaves me off balance. I’m once again afraid to sleep. So. Who wants to keep me company tonight?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Like moonlight in the dawn
My spark burns out
Leaving my soul
The river of my heart
Laughter rings no more
From my very being
A hollow, empty shell
That was once
But will never again
Monday, October 24, 2011
Busy, busy week this week so I’m not sure how much I’ll be here. So you don’t miss me too much, might I suggest you read one of my books? How about Close to Forever? It’s such a sweet, sweet romance and I just know you’ll love the characters! Here’s a peek…
Chloe ignored her disgruntled instructor’s tactless comment that she wasn’t up to the task and went about the required cleanup without complaint as she had every other class. She was still hoping to speak with him after the others had gone but his friend appeared before everyone else left. In her frustration, she slammed the drawer on the rolling toolbox with enough force to shove it back against the oil drum. The resulting racket drew both men immediately to her side, which left her embarrassed at her clumsiness for the second time in two hours.
“It slipped,” she said hastily as she tried to free her arms from the hands firmly gripping them. “Sorry.” Chloe fought to maintain her smile when she looked up at the scowling face hovering above hers. “Um, could you please let go now?” His fingers tightened. His expression darkened and for one insane second she almost had the impression that he was going to kiss her. “You’re hurting me.”
Marc released her so forcefully that she almost stumbled. His hands returned to steady her even though his features showed he’d prefer to shove her as far away from him as he could. “Damn fool woman! Why the fuck didn’t you do us both a favor and stay the hell home tonight like you should have?”
George was so unprepared for Marc’s fury that his mouth opened and closed uselessly, so shocked he seemed to have lost the ability to speak. His face turned even redder than Chloe’s. It took him so long to react that by the time he thought to step between them it was too late.
“Just what is your problem?” she exclaimed, poking a finger into the middle of Marc’s solid chest. “I closed the drawer a little too hard and it slipped out of my hand. It is on wheels, you do know that, right? So what if it rolled a few inches and banged that barrel a smidge? It didn’t do anything to either, see?” She spun around, angling the toolbox so he could see that there was no damage. “It was an accident! Just an accident so you really don’t need to yell about it.”
Marc’s stony stare hardened. “Lady, you’re a real piece of work. I don’t know if you’re stubborn, stupid or both but whichever it is, it’s way past time for you to wise up here.”
“Marc,” George tried.
“Shut up, Hansen. I’m not finished.” The look he flashed his friend stunned him into silence once again. “You start out by all but keeling over. You spend the next two hours on your feet even though I suggest that you take a seat several times. You refuse to leave when I tell you to like a typical pigheaded, idiot female. And then you go all pissy-bitch on me because I try to keep you from bashing your head on something when it looks and sounds like you’re falling over again.”
“You passed out earlier?” George squealed.
Chloe said no as Marc said yes. “Not really,” she explained. “I had a very hectic day and felt a little lightheaded for a few seconds right after I got here. I was fine as soon as I had a minute. Contrary to popular opinion, I do know my own limits and assure you that had I at any time felt unable to competently participate in this evening’s lesson, I would have excused myself and gone home. I am not a quitter, Mr. Hughes, something I had hoped you might have realized by now. I finish what I start and that isn’t going to change. I have no idea what bug crawled up your high and mighty ass and frankly, I no longer care but nothing you say is going to drive me away from the remaining sessions. You obviously aren’t about to take my word on this so you just go ahead and give it your best shot. Bring it on, mister, but don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work.” When she stopped speaking, Chloe noticed that she was jabbing his rock-hard chest and had been the whole time. She was out of breath and hoping against hope that it masked the way she was shaking. She couldn’t remember ever being so angry in her entire life, which had her fascinated even in her annoyed state.
George used the pause to separate the pair. “Okay, kids, let’s just calm down here.”
He pushed Marc back a few feet with a hand firmly against his side while trying to maneuver Chloe in the opposite direction with a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Take some deeps breaths and relax. You both seem kind of edgy but there’s no need to get carried away. Settle down and then we’ll talk this through. Okay?”
“I know you mean well, Mr. Hansen, but there’s nothing to talk about. Mr. Hughes’ hostility began the first class when I walked in ten minutes, apparently an unforgivable offense in his book. Somewhat harsh in my opinion but he’s the instructor so it’s his prerogative. I’m a big girl and I’ve dealt with worse, trust me. The course is more than half over. I’ve made it this long so I’m sure I can handle it if he’s determined to continue acting like such a big jerk throughout the rest.”
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Things are often not as they first appear…
What’s a woman to do when faced with yet another in a never-ending cycle of anniversaries guaranteed to ruin her day?
Step one, respond when contacted on-line by a friendly couple.
Step two, accept the wife’s claim of the husband’s empathic sensitivities as fact.
Step three, go along quietly when the husband miraculously comes to the rescue just when he’s needed most.
Step four, have the courage to put complete control in his more than capable hands.
Step five, don’t think. Go with the flow. Be open to all possibilities. Relax and enjoy.
Step six, repeat frequently.
Available from Total-E-Bound. Click here for more information.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Suppose there was once a person who spent many years living with someone very bad. Suppose at one time, said bad individual locked the person in the basement. After turning off the lights. And placing heavy items on the outside cellar door so there was little chance of escape. Suppose, after the person sustained both bodily injury and emotional wounds breaking out of the cellar, the bad individual, upon return several hours later, claimed that it was all a joke.
Fast forward several years, totally different environment. Suppose someone has to go to a basement to retrieve work-related supplies. Suppose a coworker, thinking to pull a prank, locks the door. Suppose a minute later when the door is opened that someone is upset which makes the coworker angry since it was just a joke.
The first situation is not at all in any way, shape or form humorous. Neither is the second. My point? Prank with care. You never know what hornet’s nest of memories you may be stirring up and though the coworker was honestly contrite upon receiving an explanation it doesn’t help re-fade old scars.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Chirping in the moonlight
Echoing in the crisp chilled air
Louder now that its time is coming to an end
Full of desperation
Reaching the end of my days
I too sing at the top of my lungs
Tuneless and hollow
My caterwauling fills the void
Calling out for all I’ve lost
All I never found
My heart thuds
Thunder inside my head
Though no one hears
For like the lone cricket
I am the last of my kind
Left alive in the cold bleakness
Of this early winter’s eve
Hoping against hope
But there is no reply
My tune slows
To a dirge
Soon to be silenced
By the frost
That ices my soul
© Barbara Huffert 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Yesterday, I got up and did my usual morning stuff. It was an average start to my day. Or so it seemed until I checked my email.
In an account I use for only certain things I found 22 messages. I never have 22 messages there, not even spam. Curious, to say the least. Even curiouser, all 22 were from my phone. The phone that is on my bedside table every night when I turn in. It was there in the morning, just as it should be. Needless to say, I was a tad confused.
And then I read the messages, beginning with the oldest. After opening the first, I got out Beau’s notebook and transcribed them. Yep, the wicked, little guy was at it again. When all was said and done I ended up with two complete pages of what I’m guessing is the first half of a very creepy new tale he’s working on. He’s left things in the Notes folder on the phone but this is the first time he’s emailed me. I must say, I’m impressed. He realized it was too long and would take up far too much room so he solved the dilemma in a very effective way.
When I asked Beau about it, he gave me that cute “Who me?” look of his and scampered off to pounce on Kya. I was hoping he’d finish it up last night but nope, there was nothing this morning. I suspect that is because the house alarm went off as it does at random times for no reason and interrupted his creative flow. Perhaps tonight…
Monday, October 17, 2011
I had the coolest teacher when I was in fifth grade. She would let us do extra credit to earn rewards. A sweet treat, being permitted to chew gum in class, a block of time outside to read. The last was always my choice. I did lots of extra work over the winter and spent most of the first days of spring lounging under a tree.
There was a book I read that I remember enjoying immensely. Sadly, the title has escaped me, though I would recognize the back cover if I saw it again.
It was an adventure novel. And a huge book for a ten-year-old, several hundreds of pages. I recall something about a boy going off on a journey to fight battles with a General who happened to be a red ant. There were several other companions with them, critters of various sorts. I know they didn’t return completely unscathed though the boy did return to his yard in the end.
Does any of this ring a bell with you? I love to reread books I enjoyed as a child. Like the Edward Eager Half Magic series. Highly recommended. And so is this other book, if only I can find out its title. Anyone?
Friday, October 14, 2011
Remember the cat who came to stay during the storm? I visited her and the kittens tonight. She's as purry and sweet as ever. The kittens are too cute! They're still very wobbling, falling all over each other. I'm going to go back to see them again in another few weeks. They'll be racing all over by then.
Anyone interested in adopting, please contact me. They all need homes, including Mama.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Has a scathingly brilliant idea. Or so I believe. But he'd like thoughts/comments/input. Feel free to post here and I'll make sure he gets whatever you say. Who's Cutter, you ask? What? You don't already know? How can you not? This man is genius. He will one day be THE writer of this era. Below is a note he posted. Please read it and let me know what you think.
Dear Legion of Mad, Creative and Dangerous Friends,
I have a query. I need honest feedback on this, if you would be so kind, thoughts, ideas, and suggestions will be most welcome.
I am thinking about doing a series of one off books. My plan is to buy neat but unusual journal type books, then filling them with original poetry, essays, Haiku, sketches, found objects, photographs, all created by me. Then the idea will be to auction them off on ebay, with the first pages reserved to be customized for the winning bidder. None of the pieces in these will have ever been published, nor will they be ever after so each book will be a work of singular existence.
I will keep copies of all work just to protect myself of course, but if it should happen that I do become famous then these will be something unique to have. I also am willing to do customized books for gifts or to fit a theme with enough warning.
Some of the thoughts I have are I may write poems on autumn leaves, record pieces on cd's then enclose them in the book, add bits of flotsum I find on my travels and just generally make each book as individual as possible.
The auctions would have a minimum bid of probably 25 - 30 dollars to cover my costs and would be signed to the buyer if they wished and sent as soon as the auction was completed.
Thoughts? Ideas? Condemnations? Derision and vehement hatred? Let me know what you think...
Thank you all,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Optimism. There’s a study out now that concludes how being perpetually optimistic can be bad for you. Not acknowledging that there is the possibility of something bad going on out there could lead to hasty, harmful decisions.
But don’t feel bad if you’re a Little Miss Sunshine. It’s not your fault. Your brain is defective. Or so the study suggests. When faced with negativity, there is less activity in the frontal lobe in overly optimistic people which causes them not to revise their expectations as much as someone less consistently positive.
In other words, in bad economic times optimistic people are more likely to let an investment ride, leaving them more open to potentially losing everything than someone who adjusts investments accordingly. Or forgetting about safe sex because no way could they pick up any of those nasty diseases out there even when presented with indisputable statistics.
As I see it this just goes to prove that there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of Eeyore in you.
Yesterday, vitamins. Today, optimism. Tomorrow? Can’t wait to find out. Yep, still searching for that sarcasm font.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I’ve heard over and over, “Don’t forget to take your vitamins.” Only now there’s a new study that says multi-vitamins with minerals will shorten the lives of women who are of a certain age. But there’s a vitamin formulated specifically for these same women.
So do I take them or not? I haven’t reached the minimum age quoted in the study but I have taken vitamins most of my life. If I stop now am I safe? Or should I take them up until the day before I reach that age? Do they suddenly become lethal overnight? What to do, what to do?
Oh, here’s another idea. Is it a plot, generated by men who statistically have shorter life spans, trying to even things up? Are they paying the vitamin manufacturers to do away with us just because we live longer? Or have the mothers-in-law been getting on the nerves of the CEOs of major companies and this is their way of dealing with them? I’m sure there’s some sort of conspiracy here. I just know it.
Damn, still haven't found that sarcasm font.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I took a little road trip to Carlisle. I was told it was my responsibility to arrange for a headstone for my great aunt’s grave. Hmm. Not sure of the reasoning that led to that conclusion but okay, I chose to deal with it.
Before heading off to the marker making folks I had a little wander around the cemetery. It’s the Old Graveyard, owned by the town, full of all sorts of history. I went to see what was there, stone-wise, as I wanted Irva’s to blend in. She was like that in life, blending in, so I thought she’d be most comfortable being the same in death.
What I found when I reached her plot hurt. A tremendous lot. She died in January. There has been no grass planted. The graves of her grandparents, who are beside her, are untended, covered in poison ivy and weeds. Had I known, I would have ventured there sooner and spread some grass seeds myself. Not much I can do about the poison. I get it just by standing in a breeze that has blown over it.
This place is old. Very old. And, with how it’s arranged, I suspect very tedious to tend. Lots of gated areas, raised areas, and old, delicate stones. But it is tended. Or parts of it are. Molly Pitcher. The PA Supreme Court justices. You know, the “important” people. Perhaps my ancestors aren’t as noteworthy as some but we do have a bit of history to us. Irva’s grandmother was the daughter of Brigadier General William Irvine. Before he joined the war effort, he was a doctor in Carlisle. A tidbit of history - Mary Ludwig Hays, better known as Molly Pitcher, actually worked for him. Her husband was part of his regiment.
So then I went to the monument place. It turns out the man running the place was a student of Irva’s. Many, many, many years ago. Yeah, chatting with him was very difficult but I managed. Mission accomplished. Perhaps when I go back to see the stone in place things will be in better shape than they were this trip. Maybe, if I’m not as upset as I was Friday I’ll do some wandering around town and take some more pictures for you. Dickinson Law College, now part of Penn State, is in the center of town and is gorgeous.
Carlisle is a very pretty place. If you’ve never been there you should go sometime. If you visit the cemetery stop by and say hello to Irva. She always adored meeting new people.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
"Power returns to city after outage
Power has returned to Reading after a large power outage darkened much of the city for about 30 minutes, according to city police.
The lights went out about 8:15 p.m. and there was no power to most of the northeast and parts of northwest Reading.
Police do not know what caused the outage.
Met-Ed has a Website that shows how many customers lost service and where but the site was down Friday night for planned maintenance.”
This is the article that appeared in this morning’s paper. I looked for it specifically to find out what was going on last night. Yes, I was here in the dark, chuckling at all the people exiting the bar just as the Phillies pre-game show was about to begin. Which means the power went out shortly before 8:00, not at 8:15. More like 7:53. I always check because of the things in the freezer. Force of habit. Before the power company made some changes the electric used to go off all the time. It came back on at 8:48. Yeah, I checked again. Now I don’t know about you but to me that’s closer to an hour than half an hour.
About the rest of the article? Pretty darn useless, isn’t it? I’m so full of confidence at the moment you wouldn’t believe! (Where is that sarcasm font when you need it?)
You may now return to your regularly scheduled activities.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I’ve begun the search for yarn for my next project. This one isn’t going to be easy. The thing is, I know what I want so only that will do. Problem. I’m not sure it exists. But I’m open to possibilities.
One interesting thing I’ve learned since I began knitting again. Yarns which contain wool have a certain level of magic all of their own. From the critters that contributed it. Knitting enhances that.
Sadly, cottons do not inherently have this feature. But cotton yarns, some of them, transform and come to life when you work with them. Yes indeed, they can be spectacular. The tricky part is knowing which will absorb all the magic you have to offer, magnifying it exponentially, and which will remain what they began as, a pretty colored cotton yarn.
This could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. You see, I’m going to test my possibilities by knitting them up into a very pretty hat pattern I’ve found. So that means come winter, some of you may be getting a hat. Of course how many of you is all contingent on how many yarns I need to sample before I find the perfect one.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
More births are recording on October 5th than any other day. You know, New Year’s Eve…
Monty Python’s Flying Circus debuted on BBC in 1969. Wow! Pretty racy for then, wasn’t it?
Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s was born in 1902. Ew.
So was Glynis Johns, 1923. I adore her! So funny in While You were Sleeping.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” was released by Harry Chapin in 1975. That song never fails to make me sniffle.
Rodney Dangerfield died in 2004. Are you sure? I think I’ve seen him more recently than that.
In 1921 the World Series was broadcast on the radio for the first time. Too bad it made it to TV. If it had stopped with the radio then I could have gone next door for dinner tonight but no, all those silly people think they need to go watch the Phillies vie for a spot in this year’s upcoming World Series.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
In case you haven’t heard, Nestlé Purina has launched a TV commercial for their Beneful dog food geared specifically for dogs. It’s 23 seconds long and contains a high-pitched frequency similar to dog whistles. It also features some of the sounds made by squeaky toys.
Hmm. Where to begin? Perhaps with the marketing department that came up with the idea? Just a guess but I bet they got paid a heck of a lot to formulate this one. My opinion, and only that, perhaps the money would have been better spent on a free spay and neuter clinic, discounted rabies shots for pets of people who have lost their jobs in these tough economic times or supporting a gazillion animal shelters.
Next. The sounds toys make? Okay, that might probably get your dogs attention. A high-pitched whistle? Yeah, same for that. But so what? What makes them think that just because a dog responds to certain sounds it means that the same dog will a) like a particular flavor dog food and b) be able to convince its owner to rush right out and buy some?
My cat used to love the giggle of the sun on the Teletubbies show but that didn’t inspire me to feed him the pudding they were eating or go out and purchase him all things Teletubbies. All either one means is that animals react to sounds.
Yep, makes you wonder, doesn’t it?