Swat!

Built-in swatter

Monday, August 15, 2022

My house is full of flies, determined creatures way outnumbering my ability to control, or well, you know, kill the pesky intruders.

The person currently replacing my floor coverings keeps a large door wide open while working. That way, he exits quickly, carrying flooring, accesses a large power saw, and re-enters quickly. I’m okay with anything, even having a constant fly swatter in one hand, that facilitates flooring progress.

My home is chaotic. Furniture is shoved to the sides of rooms. Object collections, typically on display, are piled into boxes or stashed, unorganized, in guest bathrooms. Often, I can’t find a darned object on my mind. In searching for the darn thing, I might find something reminding me of an active interest in the “old floor” days. That sidetracks me until flies show up and I must find a swatter.

Targeting flies resembles pursuing mice. Spotting one creates the assumption of another thousand lurking nearby.

I’m also after mice. They’re rampant in the barn area. After turning my cat, Maxwell, into an inside-only guy so that the likable small wild critters may live and thrive, mice numbers have grown. Trying to trap them is frustrating.

In house and barn, I’m victimized by creatures low on the totem pole.

As always, there’s hope. Max could again be free to do his job. Cooling weather should reduce the fly population. My floors will be renewed, and disarranged items will be sorted. Basically, all these current annoyances will become history.

Dear Friends: Occasional episodes seemingly beyond our control take patience. Diana

Hi, Goodbye

Sunday, August 14, 2022

I’m scheduled to be at work at an unusually early starting time. I awakened early to write and couldn’t re-order my thoughts. They’re focused on handling routine chores and leaving on time. So, here’s a quick Hi and Goodbye.

I’m a checker at a supermarket and must be on time. After hiring new employees, the organization is experimenting with working schedules, and mine often change. I don’t mind changes, but with lots to do before leaving home, it’s challenging to leave early.

Anyway, here’s to moving on!

Dear Friends: Have a great day. Diana

Clues

Saturday, August 13, 2022

This morning I awakened thinking of coconut. Not its round, hard-shelled and real-time version, but its variations. Like pie, ice cream, cake, and dried chunks. But why?

My best reference became a weird moment yesterday. In my job as a checker, an item rolled across my register that was hard to identify. The customer bringing the not-quite round, muddy-colored object speculated it to be a yam or a sweet potato. In a wild guess, perhaps a coconut. We examined it and discussed the possibilities, deciding finally to process it as a sweet potato.

I forgot about that incident. Failed only in real-time.

My subconscious mind held onto that object, returning it to light as a dream. As dreams will, mine disguised the actual item by recreating it as delectables.

I love my dreams, mind mysteries, and puzzles. I “get into” trying to work them out and sometimes solve them. Dream items usually hint at deep emotions. Pursuing on might have me starting to recall one or more actual events.

Today, I’m remembering and wondering about that “coconut-looking” object. I’ve no sense of emotional impact beyond a shared moment of confusion with a customer.

My conclusions are (1) enjoying my customer’s sense of humor. And (2) becoming confused even in my third month on the job. And (3) recalling that I really do “heart coconut.”

Dear Friends: Today, I’ll buy something with coconut and add a lottery ticket. Diana

Labor Shortage

Friday, August 12, 2022

Like many other Americans, I wonder why there’s a shortage of people willing to seek jobs. Most folks I ask are quick to blame a lack of willing workers on generous benefits people are receiving from the Federal Government. That’s not a satisfactory explanation for today.

I keep wondering about this, as one in the front line, so to speak. In my grocery checker job, numerous customers buy groceries with Food Stamps, including young people who appear strong enough to work. Many Food Stamp customers purchase alcohol, too, using debit cards to pay for it.

Online research reveals that a critical cause of today’s worker shortage is an average of four million people retiring monthly. Retirees now have savings and assets and are in a good stock market environment. Many aren’t interested in returning anytime soon to work.

A population overweight in aging citizens seems a reasonable explanation. Added is the burnout factor caused by Covid, affecting workers in medical, service, and travel professions.

I get it, as an elder who doesn’t need to work. Nonetheless, I must. Working offers a way to be out there, to mix, mingle, feel current, and be involved.

Numerous permissive and non-permissive factors go into decisions about whether to keep working. Attitudes toward yea or nay are related to individual lives. Alongside whatever availability of assets, there are essential factors of differences in family ethos and living conditions.

Many aging customers appear at my check-stand and ask why I am still working. It’s been curious, the questioning. While I may be viewed as a statistical outlier from the outside, from my perspective, those not working might be socially deficient.

I think of how such differences are playing out politically. The national turmoils around voting rights often are driven by social attitudes about having versus not having.

Dear Friends: It’s about a sense of how working relates to social awareness. Diana

“Cascadian Sunshine”

Thursday, August 11, 2022

This photo from last summer is of Sunni, pulling my friend, Dave Gilbert, and me. The event marked that season’s first time with Sunni in harness. She’s a superb driving horse.

Dave was our guide in a neighborhood east of the city. There he and Julie live with their horses, Ducky and Lynx. A very short distance from their front door are riding trails, which the couple frequents and loves. I’ve joined them, riding horseback on my Sunni or on my Rosie, while feeling a mix of pleasure and envy for the Gilberts’ proximity to great trails.

Their neighborhood has relatively quiet streets with slow-moving vehicles if any. The area is perfect for driving a horse on pavement. Sunni is good-natured, amiable, and performs with ease. She’s a breeze to drive.

We toured several local streets and Dave pointed out the area’s “Little Libraries.” He offered to build one for the street that fronts my house. It’s a questionable idea. My book titles which don’t necessarily match what’s popular, wouldn’t draw much interest.

The delightful header image was captured by Julie Gilbert. Following Dave’s ride, she joined me in the cart to travel a different neighborhood road network. Julie and I are “horse folks” and particularly admired the properties sporting paddocks with horses. We made plans to ride horseback again soon.

The Gilberts and I love Sunni. In fact, everybody who’s been a guest in the cart, or ridden Sunni on horseback, loves her.

Dear Friends: A Foundation Morgan, Sunni’s lineage goes to Justin Morgan’s Morgan. Diana

Summer Cool

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Central Oregon’s accessible irrigation canals also are cooling spots for humans and dogs. Flowing water maintains surrounding trees, grass, and shade in otherwise hot sandy areas. While hiking with my dogs, I may tote a lightweight folding seat. If a pretty spot makes me feel like pausing, I will take the time to observe satisfying water tripping over rocks in Lilly-lined channels. My pups play, drink, and swim.

My home is near several irrigation channels that my dogs and I enjoy. I reflect that this area, becoming ever more populated, is changing. Some significant visible irrigation flows are already being piped, intended to flow underground. Long term, all significant open flowings will be piped and hidden. The little canals dotting our neighborhood that my dogs and I love will begin disappearing, too, as farmlands become transformed into housing tracts.

My neighborhood, until recently, seemed rural. These days it seems almost cosmopolitan with housing tracts and the biggest shock of all, apartment buildings.

Mental note to myself: Get out ever more often to open flows. Take that portable seat, a camera, and the dogs. Keep ahead of change by recording what’s natural and available. The images eventually will become worth thousands of words.

Dear Friends: Get outside, find the cool, and have a great day.

Gladys Bentley

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

All this week, I must leave early for work. This will be short.

I want to write about accidentally discovering an early 20th Century singer Gladys Bentley, an African-American who became popular during the “Harlem Renaissance” era. She was a character, an off-beat, gutsy entertainer. She had a fabulous piano-playing style and an outstanding singing voice.

Bentley defined herself as a gay person. During her heyday in the Roaring Twenties, she emphasized her gender preferences, appearing on stage as a cross-dresser, always outfitted perfectly in a white tuxedo with tophat and tails. Her sense of self, over-the-top exhibitionism during those times, and her popularity, are fascinating from a sociological perspective.

Maybe, but what’s “the catcher” is her total musicality.

Here’s a clip of Bentley, in her fifties, appearing on Groucho Marx’s television show. They chat for a bit before he asks her to sing. She is gracious, sits at a piano, and brings it alive. The piano roars, and she sings in a voice outstanding for all time. How wonderful it would be to hear “what might have been” if her talent had been assisted by a modern skilled music producer.

Anyway, meet Bentley yourself in this two-minute clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-LTJNasTMc

Dear Friends: Have a wonderful day. Diana

Beatin’ The Heat

Monday, August 08, 2022

Hot days are watermelon days! Chickens and turkeys love melons, horses, too, and of course, goats. Chickens eat watermelon clean to a skinny green strip. Horses and goats loving every morsel consume entire rhines.

It’s hard work to schlep heavy pieces down to the barn. There’s bound to be an easier way of getting watermelon to the critters. They love this treat; I will figure out a more convenient way of keeping it going for them.

I have streamed two old movies directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews. One is “Victor-Victoria” and the other is “It’s Life.” I remembered both, sort of. “Victor-Victoria” has a particularly terrific performance by Leslie Ann Warren as a jealous girlfriend. As for the movie itself, it works and is entertaining, but takes effort to reimagine Julie Andrews as masculine in her role as a cross-dresser. She just ain’t and that’s all.

In another of their joint ventures, “It’s Life,” the Edwards-Andrews team perfectly hit the ball out of the park. Her co-star, Jack Lemon, at his top, is an attention deficit husband and father. Andrews, too, is at her top, as a wife, mother, and professional singer, keeping to herself a diagnosed threat of potential throat cancer, and having a great fear of the possibility.

This picture was filmed in the couple’s home, which is gorgeous and on the beach in Los Angeles. Their adult children, played by actors unfamiliar to me, are terrific in their roles. I am familiar with Sally Kellerman, who is superb as an emotionally unpredictable neighbor.

Above all, the film is pure Julie Andrews. She’s kind, reassuring, multi-tasking, in control, and authentically emotional. Lovely as herself, and as most of us would suspect, or imagine her to be, in real life.

Dear Friends: This is a modern “summer take” on watermelon and movies. Diana

Catching Up

Sunday, August 07, 2022

The header photo is of my friend, Julie, overseeing the rough playing of those two, almost obliterated in their billowing dust.

We were meeting up for a long-planned puppy playday. Julie brought her Border Collie, Nick, and her Border Terrier, Petey. I was with Chase, my six-month-old lookalike to a standard Manchester Terrier, and Little Mitzvah, my Jack Russell-Poodle mix.

We are long-time friends meeting again to catch up with one another. We strolled, dodging the ever-busy, clumsy Chase, and watching dogs interact as we chatted. Julie and I have much in common. Our world views are compatible, and while many of our life experiences differ, we similarly process information. We two experience events deeply and often reassure one another. This outing was no exception.

We are making plans to meet again soon. We are consummate readers. Pre-pandemic, we’d meet up occasionally for coffee. We’d bring books we were reading or had read that felt important. We would share and discuss what might have made specific works stand out and seem worthwhile. These days for various reasons, we neither frequent restaurants. Instead, we talked about re-starting our occasional book meet-ups at pretty parks over picnic tables.

Meanwhile, we weren’t sure from moment to moment what Chase next might do. He’s active in mid-puppyhood, feeling new strengths and testing boundaries. He insisted on playing rough with tough little Terrier, Petey, who held his own.

Border Terriers are small, unique packages. In my Kansas City days, one of my friends had a Border Terrier. She trained him for Search and Rescue, and he became an active and excellent rescue team member.

Here and again, they’re at it.

Dear Friends: Here’s to the wonder of lasting friendships, despite life’s diversions. Diana

Other World

Saturday, August 06, 2022

That’s me in the supermarket where I work; I’ve just got off work and am holding a beautiful Bearded Dragon. She was riding on the shoulder of a lady shopper and calm as a cucumber before her person passed her to me. The critter immediately knew that my shoulder was the wrong one. She became a wriggling handful to escape. The lady laughed and reassured me that a Bearded Dragon, sleepy as it might appear, is highly aware of its surroundings and what’s happening. This pet was convincing; she needed to return to her mom.

That inspired me to learn more about animals with which I’m less familiar. I’ve begun exploring introductory online courses like biology, zoology, and anthropology. The amount of learning accessible and often free is impressive. I’ll find a program offered by a capable university and sign up to expand my understanding of the larger social world.

I’ve only recently become interested in learning about reptiles. The area never drew me before talking with folks who keep as pets snakes and lizards. It appears that a reptile’s appeal as a pet isn’t as intellectual as I had imagined but also has a huge emotional component. They feel close to and enjoy them.

Dear Friends: Now, off to feed the ordinaries, my horses, chicks, and dogs. Diana