Monday, September 27, 2010


We were promised 100% rain today and tonight, and while it's sprinkled nicely, it hasn't been the gusher we were expecting. However, no complaints. We welcome this gray, soggy day with joy. Severe drought conditions have placed the county under strict water rationing. No watering grass, plants. No washing of cars. (Mine is bug-covered and needs it dreadfully, but hey, I'm a law abiding citizen!)

Our shower decided to bust a leak over the weekend, and rather than waste any water, we shut off the main water to the house. Cranked it back on for a quick shower, to run the dishwasher, then off again. It's amazing how many times I went to the sink to wash my hands or rinse something, and nothing . . . . (I can't tell you how often I hit the wall switch when the power is out, as happens often in my neighborhood.) This small deprivation (the shower was fixed at 8 a.m. this morning) made me think about the women in Africa and elsewhere who must walk long miles several times a day to fill buckets that they then haul home. We Americans take so much for granted. Like hot and cold running water. Abundant food. Cheap gas compared to the rest of the world. (Check on gas prices, per liter, in Europe if you want a shock.)

If the reservoir doesn't refill soon, we have approximately 125 days of water remaining. That's at approximately 25 million gallons a day. The world won't end in fire or ice. The world will end when we run out of fresh water. We need to conserve, people.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where is Fall?

Come on, people, enough already! It's in the mid 90s today, and that just isn't acceptable. I want to wear different clothes, different colors. I gaze longingly at my sweatshirts and clogs, hoping I'll be able to slip into their comfy-ness one of these days. Sigh. The question is, when? More than anything, I want to be able to stop shaving my legs (my beloved doesn't even notice, LOL) because I'll be wearing cords and long pants every day, not sundresses and skirts because it's so blamed hot. Walking the dog without my sun hat would be a nice change as well, since all it does is make my sweaty hair stick to my head. If I don't wear my sun hat, it's all over. Sunburn city. (Thanks for this fair Northern European skin, folks.)

Pumpkins tumble from pallets at the grocery store. Halloween decorations have been for sale for a month. Now I ask you, who feels like hot cider and caramel apples when it's 96 degrees out? Right. So much for getting in the spirit.

I refuse to turn on the AC. It's almost the end of September. If I pretend it's fall, will it really happen? Please?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ink Well

I've had a fountain pen for years. Since 1976, to be exact. Sterling silver, it has served me well, but it's getting darned expensive to buy its cartridges. Vaguely, I remembered an ink well my grandmother gave me a zillion years ago. Sterling silver, it's a remnant of another age, but it has held ink for me. Since my Parker came with a refillable cartridge, I would buy colored inks and fill the pen up from this well. When I felt the urge to write in emerald green, I'd go at it.

Lo and behold, I found the ink well. It's a bit battered (heaven knows how old it is), and it has a half-glass, half green baize (I think that's the word for the fabric) bottom. You can see inside where there's a metal well (maybe tin?) sitting in the glass, and the silver is formed around the glass. You stick the pen in the well, pump the cartridge holder vigorously, and voila! Ink.

Now I have to find ink in a jar. I'll probably have to shop at an art supply store, but we writers are artists, right?

There's nothing in the world like watching words flow on the page from a beautiful pen. I'm gonna have a trip down memory lane. If I can find the ink, that is.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Richmond - sigh.

You know how much I love the racing at Richmond, right? It's short track Nirvana.

No longer.

Nascar is killing itself from the inside. I think it's the car. Sure, the safety aspects are marvelous. But this isn't IROC. (Which is dead, btw.) Putting the teams in nearly identical cars, with only sponsors, numbers, and colors to distinguish them, has made this the most boring set of races we attend every year. And we may be ready to quit.

Single file racing for hours on end. Very polite passing. Everyone on their best behaviour.

Where's a fake caution when you need one, I ask you!

Not even going to post any pictures. Too disappointed with the whole race.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pre-Race Production

From the outside, it appears I'm staging a Formula 1 race around my block of suburbia and feeding the thousands who will show up to watch it. I'm not kidding, I just came home and unloaded the car. With food. Tons of food. You'd think I'm planning to feed Patton's army.

It's actually only six people. I've rationalized my excesses with "if we don't eat it all at the track, you can have it for lunch next week" excuse. The plain truth is, I'm a Southerner, and you don't ask people to bring food when you're the one who has done the inviting. And there's no disgrace more horrifying (except wearing ratty underwear when you get hit by a bus, or fake pearls)(no, not hit by the fake pearls, wearing them). Anyway, there's nothing more humiliating than running out of food. It MUST not happen. Hence the coolers that will be stuffed to the gills. Remember, I'm feeding six people who will have nothing to do all day until the race starts about 7 p.m. Well, they can chat and be sociable, and discuss drivers and who has the best chance to win the Chase, but they can't bring food. Verboten.

We were once invited to a dinner party, I accepted (by phone with the inviting person), at which point the invitor said "oh, and bring a casserole." Now, if I wanted to cook that night, I'd stay home and do it. So I thought about it for half a second, and said "Oh, I'm so sorry, I just found my husband's calendar, and we can't make it after all." It's not a dinner party if I'm taking dinner to someone else's house, and I wasn't a willing cook. My husband, the mid-westerner, sees nothing wrong with asking people to bring food to a party, but I'd rather wear fake pearls and ratty underwear, and believe me when I say, it'll be a cold day in hell when I do.

Just sayin'. . . .

On to Richmond! Can't wait for this weekend and tailgating, shopping the trailers, and a wonderful race.

Monday, September 06, 2010

English Ivy and its Perverse Nature

The weather has given us a wonderful gift the past few days, and I hate to squander it inside, so I've been playing in the yard. Any excuse. . . and this time, it was the ivy.

Years ago, I decided our fence would look nice covered with ivy, so I planted a few tendrils and waited for them to do their thing. Some understood their mission in life and went after it with a vengeance. I carefully wove their sprouts (or whatever you call them) in and out of the fence slats, and considered it to be a success.

Until the miniature English ivy rebelled. I coaxed. I watered. I promised sunshine and fertilizer. Nothing. Those suckers lay limpidly (is that a word?) where I'd planted them and refused to do their job. Grow and entwine.

So I did what any self-respecting gardener would do, I ignored those traitors. Turned a blind eye through this summer's drought. Pretended I didn't know they were there. Until today, when I went to check on the climbing rose I'd planted on this same stretch of fence, and there they were.

What should I see, but long flowing tendrils of English ivy, a superabundance of it. It would appear that neglect made the recalcitrant ivy rethink its miserable existence, and the trailers are now long enough to weave, to dart in and out of fence slats. It's not only happy, it's prolific. How was I supposed to know that heat and drought were the correct prescription to make the damned stuff grow?

Lesson learned. I'll ignore it from now on.