Archive for January, 2010

When someone searches for “story on magic carpet – about 2,000 words” I must suspect the possibility that they intend to pilfer another’s words for a class assignment. Not my words, please. I reserve all rights to everything written on this blog and all pictures posted. Kindly do your own work and learn something.

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When the freeze warnings hit Florida I knew the location of two Monarch chrysalises, which created a dilemma. The last time this situation came up the freeze was shortlived, and most important, I had my husband and granddaughters in the house that night. That was important because, as some of you know, I would be scared silly (yes, silly) with butterflies flitting around in my house. No worry as long as I had someone to take the Monarch out if it hatched overnight. It did. The broken branch was in a vase in my closed office so the cats would not harm it. That morning I opened to door to find him hanging onto the opened chrysalis. I quickly woke H-1 and she grabbed the branch and ran it outside to finish drying and fly away. We did not know where it was in this process. It was not far from flight as it turned out.

So back to the present. Not only did I not have aid, the freeze was to last almost two weeks. Releasing a fresh hatchling into that kind of temperature would probably have been sure death anyway. That fact salved my conscience as I covered the plants and reconciled the butterflies’ plight with nature.

Over the course of a week, I peeked at the one bright green womb with the brilliant gold crown. It had darkened and continued to darken long past it’s due date. Nature had taken care of the situation. Or so I thought. . .

This morning I spot a bright flutter in the driveway. It couldn’t be. It was. The Monarch was still wet from birth and the rain that had just stopped, but was trying to dry out. He looked fully formed and perfect. I was shocked. The sun was shining and wind blowing strong, so he would do just fine.

And now to check the freeze browned plant for signs of life in the leaves. There were a few green ones left at the bottom, but the real sign of life was another chrysalis, darkened and ready to soon release another butterfly. This is long past their normal gestation. I can only surmise that nature held onto the little creatures until the weather was hospitable. Now the challenge is for them to find a proper plant to live on. That is going to be a challenge for sure, but they have gotten this far so I have to think they’ll make it.

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A few weeks ago PBS radio (90.7 in Orlando) changed its broadcasting. Where I once listened to Sunday Baroque, string quartets, great orchestras there is now all talk, all the time. May I say this as gently as possible? PBS, your every thought is not all that fascinating. There are wonderful programs with spoken words, like Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, the rare literary shows, some sections of All Things Considered and the Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,  but the prater that replaced good classical music is often just pontificating, self-absorbed voices of our” intellectual superiors” who scrape the landscape for “untold stories.” Not all are bad or uninteresting, but there should be room for the cream of the crop as well as good classical music.

My informal poll of friends is running about 50/50. Some actually love being able to listen to talk on the way to their odd hour jobs, others resent losing our one spot for soothing classical music. What have most of us done? It seems we have switched channels to the local university public radio station (89.9) that plays wonderful, pure jazz all day. I’m sure UCF radio is thanking you.

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Because my older brother was shy and not socially adept, his talents were truly hidden. With a pencil he could make a lifelike sketch of the face of anyone he cared for and his singing voice was shockingly beautiful. Only our family knew because Bartell didn’t show his sketches, and would never think of singing in public, not even the church choir.

One day back in 1955 or so he began to sing a song and rave about this unknown singer. That one song was getting enough play on the Beeville, Texas radio station that he had learned every word. He told us endlessly that this new singer would be one of the greats. I had never heard my brother so excited. We finally listened when he called us to the radio the next time it came on. And then Bartell sat relaxed in his chair, stared into space and sang, “I Forgot to Remember to Forget,” by a new young artist we had never heard of named Elvis Pressley. He sounded exactly like the recording.

With such positive response, Bartell began to sing that tune often around the house. My husband-to-be heard him once, and we had confirmation outside our family that my brother was indeed talented. Jerry was determined others should hear him, so the night of the KIBL telethon for some charity he saw his chance. Callers pledged a donation to the station if they could pick up whomever the caller suggested and get them to perform an act, anything that would transmit on the airwaves. Jerry told them where they could find my brother and that he would pay to hear him sing “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” on air.

After my brother was picked up by the local police, we all waited by the radio until the announcer called him to the mike. “What is it you are going to sing, young man,” he asked.

“I Forgot . . .” my brother started in his slow Texas drawl.

“Well, when you remember let us know. Sit down and we’ll call you again.”

We were aghast, yelling, “Let him finish the sentence!” But it did no good.

The announcer could see he was nervous and periodically called my brother back to the mike throughout the evening to ask what he was going to sing.

“I Forgot” my slow talking brother would start and he’d be asked to sit down and let them know when he remembered what he was going to sing.

The telethon ran until midnight and my brother was returned home without the world, or our small Texas town, having heard his singing talent. And only a few of us would know Bartell’s innate ability to pluck from all the new rock-and-roll artists the one who would be most famous of all, Elvis.

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I brought my wreath with the solar lights  into the garage yesterday for storage. The minute the door closed and it got dark this is what happened. That wreath stayed lit from about noon yesterday to noon today. It looked freaky and alive in there.

All I can say is, if you don’t want to fool with cords or batteries next year, head for the solar lights. They rock. No expense once you buy them and they look beautiful.  Don’t fret about having to drive a stake through their hearts to get them to cut off. It’s all good.

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Today has been one year since Jerry died. I don’t like to revisit unpleasantness, but want to mark this day in some way for such a wonderful husband and father. His presence when he entered a life, or even a room, changed those who experienced him forever. I am lucky to have been the one closest to him, and am forever changed and strengthened because of it.

Last year when his ashes were delivered to me, my wonderful daughter came for support, and I suspected I might need her. We opened the door exactly at the allotted time to see a small box carried by Pee Wee Herman. Not really, of course, but the funeral home rep was small with cropped hair, pointy nose, mischievous eyes and a bow tie. Without sacrificing respect he carried out his duties in an upbeat manner. He even offered to help us see if the ashes would fit the favorite of two containers my friend Pat and I had purchased. It was close, but “Pee Wee” said he could usually “massage” these things into place. And he did. Surely Jerry had something to do with his delivery by the most perfect messenger. I put his card away in my Red Book of information and told Amy to be sure and call him personally when it is my time.

Maybe this is the time to post a poem I wrote this year and then back to living a life that takes all its parts in stride, including the ones that hurt.

Profound Pronouns

Must remember to say

I, not we

Me, not us

Mine, not ours

Was, not is

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In lieu of destined-to-fail resolutions I like to try new things in the new year. It seems fitting. So today I picked up one of the strange packages at the Publix counter where the Japanese man who makes them all day every day assured me it would be very good. Yes, I am the one person in America who has not tried sushi. WAS the one person in America.

What a way to start the new year! I chose California roll with brown rice. There was (artificial) crab meat, cucumber, avocado, seaweed and heaven. The green sauce (wasabi?) was bracing and I loved the slivers of ginger.

Okay, is this a better way to start the year than flagellating myself for things I never really intend to do? Finding new sushi restaurants I can do. Maybe that is as close to a resolution as I can get.

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Before watching Wild Hogs on TV tonight I had no New Year’s resolutions. Now I do. Number one is: “Slap a bull on his backside.” Until that is done, I won’t think of improving in other areas. If I show up no better a year from now, you’ll understand.

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