Saturday, February 27, 2010

Corner View: Street photography

Jane over at Spain Daily has a weekly theme on which we all write or offer pictures of our corner of the world. Be sure to visit her site and click on hers and the other participants' entries for this week's theme: Street photography.

A couple of years ago, I used to love to head into the city (Portland ME at that time) and take photos of things going on in the street. People, activity, stores, sales, events, fairs. All good. However, a lot has changed in the economy since then, and my little town of Comer GA is suffering. The main street is practically deserted, store fronts are sporting 'for sale' and for lease' signs. Not a person is seen strolling here on a mid-day Saturday. Pretty sad. Maybe things will pick up when the local Farmer's Market opens.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The storm that was here today and gone tomorrow

We had a pretty good snow storm last Friday. It closed schools and businesses, and dropped about 6 inches atop Georgians who are definitely not used to it but loved seeing the white stuff nonetheless. Not me. I'm from Maine and I have had enough of the vile fluffies. But the great thing about Georgia is, one day the snow was here:

And the next it was gone! So when the ground firmed up and the weather moderated by the following Friday, I took a springtime stroll around the lawn to see what and where the signs of the season may be. Look! There's one now! A tiny flower peeking out from behind the brown blades of grass:


Maybe the hawks spied it too.

A pecan that the squirrels missed, camouflaged there with the leaves and twigs.


Uh-oh, better paint the house. It's chipping.

A brown spot in the grass? Note, get grass seed.

Holy Solenopsis invicta, Batman! That's no bare spot! It's a fire ant farm!

First robin, looking pretty satisfied with himself, if you ask me!

Decorative rocks by my front door. Soon they will be covered with pots growing morning glories and lavender.
Happy Spring from Georgia!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Corner View: "Wisdom from an elder"

Jane at Spain Daily has a weekly theme on which people from all corners of the world respond. Please take a moment to visit her site and read the other Corner Views! This week's theme is "Wisdom from an Elder."

There are many Italians in the Providence RI area. My mother and I were visiting her friend and the friend took us over to her mother's and father's house to visit. The parents were in their 80's and had been married nearly 60 years. She was a homemaker, keeping a clean and neat house and offering espresso and Italian  cakes to her guests. The husband was still active as a handyman and went to and fro between the breezeway and the living room where the women were gathered busy on all his projects in progress. 

He, in his droopy carpenter pants and workboots and she in her old world house-dress and apron, the living room crowded with Victorian style with massive mahogany buffets and hutches, themselves crowded with dishes and mementos of family, the darkened living room containing the plastic covered furniture, seemed like a trip back into time. Another century perhaps.

However, despite the dark decor, their banter was light and loving. As the husband passed through the living room and asked constant "where is" questions, his wife, rather than annoyed with interruptions, joked with him and accommodated every request. He, though he made many trips between and among our conversation, never failed to gently touch her as he passed, peck her cheek, or softly sing or stop to chat.

Me, in my twenties and never having seen a marriage in force lasting longer than 10 years, was amazed at their obvious love despite being together for almost half a century, through hardship, heartache, wars, good times, and everything life had thrown at them.

Curious, I asked her, earnestly and plainly in awe, "Mrs So and So, what is the secret to a good marriage?"

She turned her bright eyes and wrinkled face to me, and putting up one arthritic, bent index finger, wagged it in the air for punctuation. Looking intently at me, she slowly said, "You have to overlook a lot of things."

And you know what, IT'S TRUE!

[photo not of Mrs So And So]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Numbers of words

I've always loved to write. You can't make a living at it but the Life of the Mind is one that appeals to me. So I write in my spare time. As long as I don't turn into Barton Fink, "a plodding, introspective, unsure intellectual whose lack of insight is matched only by his lack of talent." LOL. Fink's Life of the Mind is a bit darker than Thoreau's.

Once, I wrote as my profession, for newspapers. Writing for money is not all it's cracked up to be. And then of course the blog phenomenon came along and anyone and everyone could write and publish. That's the key, 'publish.' Anyone can write. But getting your piece in front of people's eyes is another matter, totally (almost totally) impossible until the field was equalized and blogs came along. For fun, the other day I decided to count the words I've written since 2000 when I started the weekly newspaper, up to today, as I still run two blogs and occasionally contribute a column to the local paper in my new town.

What got me thinking about all this is that The End Time has passed its 300th entry since I started it last year. The Quiet Life passed its 1000th. I never knew I had that much to say, but I guess I do!

Writing for The Monument Newspaper I was prodigious. I was the only writer for much of its life until I sold it. I wrote four articles a week plus an editorial. I'm not counting all the captions, blurbs, and re-written releases. So roughly estimating six years, 5 articles a week times 50 weeks a year times 6 years times an average of 800 words each article equals 1,200,000 words.

I started The Quiet Life in August 2006. There are 1,024 entries which roughly average 500 words each, equals 512,000 words.

The End Time entries are on average a bit longer. There are 300 entries averaging 700 words each, equals 210,000 words.

I wrote features for The Athens newspaper for about a year, three- to-four articles a week for an average of 600 words each for one year equals 90,000 words.

I wrote for the The Madison County paper for one year, a weekly column averaging 550 words 27,500 words.

Calculating that all up, words written since 2000 is 2,039,500. Two million. I'm speechless.

[word clouds courtesy wordle]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow in Georgia

We had a pretty big snowstorm here in North Georgia last night. Though the mountains to the north of us always get some snow, here south of I-85 rarely do. It is a big deal for the folks here to receive this much on the ground. Hopefully not too many people lost power. I did hear of one car flip accident nearby last night, hope that turned out OK.

I lived in New England for so many years, Maine mostly, that I had grown to dislike snow and everything about it by the time I relocated to Georgia. I still dislike it but I can bear with this because it is already melting. The mounds fall off the branches onto my metal awnings with a PLONK and the dripping from the gutters sounds like rain. It is a good sound because it means that the snow will be gone by tomorrow. Ahhh, living in the south is fine.

My side yard

My front yard

My back yard
My birdfeeder!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Coming home from church, I travel a small road parallel to the railroad tracks, and come to a stop sign. Before I turn left, cross the tracks and ascend the hill to the highway, I'm staring at the Weyerhauser plant, nestled in among rolling hills and farmland and cows. This Sunday, even though it was cold out, the sky was vivid blue. I was struck by the yellow against the blue sky, and the symmetry of the three ladders. It's not as vivid as it was in real life because I shot it through my windshield, which has brown tint on it. LOL, it was too cold to get out of the car.

Everyone is all excited around here because it's supposed to snow a good snow tomorrow. I'm over it, having lived in New England for 46 years. But it would be nice to nestle down and have tea and my books and computer and cats and ...oh wait, I say that every day regardless of whether it's snowing!

We have a week vacation next week. School's out! This is the time of year when everyone is tired and dragged out form the continuous rounds of adult colds and bronchitis and kids' ear aches and strep throat. I am one of those. I have had bronchitis for over a week now and it is just not going away. I'm glad that people will have a chance to rest and recover from the "stuff" that's going around.

If it snows, I'll go outside and snap photos. But I sure am looking forward to March, when the flowers start to come out. I love flowers! All kinds. So even though I'm looking for color in any place, including the industrial plant, here are a few shots to get us through till the real colors in flowers shows up:






Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Corner View: Repurposed

Jane over at Spain Daily has a weekly theme called "Corner View" in which we all write on a theme from our corner view of the world. This week it's "Repurposed: one object in my house that I´ve found another use for." Be sure to visit the link and see her Corner View and all the links to the others!

At a sweet yard sale one fine summer day, I saw this wonderful little end table. It was handmade, real wood, just the right height for my apartment and couch. The only problem had a huge hole in it, lol. It seems that it is an antique, and the hole was to place a large wash bowl. I still wanted the table, but obviously it cannot be used like this.

At the same yard sale was a heavy piece of Carrara marble for sale was a cutting board. It just happened to be the same size as the table top. Voila! Two items, repurposed for a new use.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Slice of life

Rain rain rain!

I was sitting here, thinking, and I realized there is an irony in my life. I love ironies. Anyway, here it is: for a person who dislikes sports as much as I do, and watches it so little, I have had the happy accident of frequently seeing some of the world's most amazing sports moments live. On March 28, 1976 I saw the American Cup Gymnastics Championships featuring Nadia Comaneci, who scored the first perfect 10.0 ever in international competition in the floor exercise. I remember Jim McKay from Wide World of Sports' amazement at the moment. November 23, 1984 when Doug Flutie sent his Hail Mary pass between the Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes. I was watching it with my father and he went crazy as the pass of 63 yards against 30mph winds landed safely in the end zone and the arms of receiver Gerard Phelan. 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, where I believed in miracles after the US Ice Hockey team beat the Russians, considered the best team in the world.

Not bad for a casual observer and sometime-sports enthusiast.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Too big to copy

Corner View: Sweets

This week's Corner View theme is on "Sweets." Amble on over to Jane's Spain Daily, the originator of the Corner View, to see her response and to click on the links to all the other participants' responses.

I am not big on big sweets. American picnics, dinner parties, and restaurants serve humongous slices of pie and cake at the end of the meal. Personally, I don't need a large dessert. I like to extend the meal over conversation and nibbles. But in America, there are no desserts to order that are nibble types. No cookies or small bowls of something.

I was introduced to the height of the nibble dessert in a Florentine restaurant. Visiting Florence with my husband some years ago, we connected with the waiter who was gregarious and friendly. We allowed him to give us a gustatory tour of Florence through the menu. He appeared with each course, flourishing it and explaining it fully, along with history and context. LOL, he was wonderful. At the end, he introduced us to Cantucci and Vin Santo.

Cantucci are twice baked biscuits (biscotti) with almonds. The traditional biscotti dough is shaped into a log, baked, evenly slice on the diagonal, and then baked again. The second baking removes the moisture making them hard. That's where Vin Santo comes in, a sweet dessert wine. Dipping the hard almond Cantucci into the sweet wine makes for a delightful combination, and just the right amount of sweetness to finish off a dessert. Nibble.

Here in rural Georgia, finding Cantucci is impossible. I must rely on my memory of the lovely restaurant in Florence so many years ago. It is enough. I have had cantucci and vin santo, thus, I have lived.

IRS is buying shotguns

Is it because a gaggle of number-crunchers are headed to the Great Woods for a little deer hunting? Naw.

"The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division."

Nice to know.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The family couch

Last Wednesday for Corner View theme I wrote about "My Favorite Hangout." My favorite hangout is my couch in my living room. Here is a typical scene during any given evening: the family couch. My two kitties, Bert and Luke pile on when they hear me pile on, and assume various positions throughout the evening. Luke likes to curl up under the blanket. Notice the cat I wash the blanket a lot.


Bert likes to put his chin on my foot. They purr a lot. They cuddle with me a lot. It's a good couch.


Monday, February 01, 2010

'Twas a frosty morn

A heavy frost covered everything this morning, including the front yard, and this lone magnolia seed pod.