Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

I drove the twenty miles down Hwy 52 to La Jolla Shores this morning to take a long walk on the beach and snap some pictures for friends in Oklahoma and Ohio. Thought they might like to warm up a little. It was a beautiful, sunny day though not extremely warm. However, there were lots of walkers, surfers, joggers, and cyclists taking advantage of the sunny weather.

While walking down to the Scripps pier, my mind leaped from one topic to the next. So, this will most likely be somewhat disjointed, with no apparent organization. Not exactly stream of consciousness, but close.

On the way to the beach, I stopped for an oil change in the pickup since it had been over 5,000 miles since the last one. They tried to fix the “check engine” light, which has been on now for about two years. No place I’ve taken the vehicle has been able to figure out what is wrong. They reset it but the light comes back on as soon as I start the engine. So, I’ll take it into a mechanic next week to see if they can figure it out. I need to have the light stay off in order to pass the smog test here, needed to register the vehicle in California.

While listening to KPBS while driving, I heard an interview with the author of The Gangster We Are All Looking For. When asked her thoughts about living in San Diego, she said she thinks it’s necessary to leave for a while, then return, to really appreciate living here. Although I was born and lived here for 28 years, I loved my 35 years in Oregon and would go back in a minute. I also enjoyed my short time in Kansas and Oklahoma, except for the weather extremes. In the middle of a hot, muggy summer in Oklahoma, I attempted growing my hair longer and  found out it still had some natural curl. Not a pleasant sight.

No, I don’t like the high prices of everything here, the number of people, standing in long lines for just about everything, or freeway traffic. But, the weather trumps all of it. That, and the beach. My body must be composed of 99% saltwater or something.

After walking in the tide line down to the pier and back, I sat on top of a picnic table in the grassy area and just people-watched for a while. I pulled out a new package of Fig Newtons, marveling at the easy-open pull tab on the top. That made it just too easy to pig out a bit. At least those cookies are fairly healthy. There’s no way I’d dare to buy peanut butter filled Oreos with the same top: they’d be gone in less than ten minutes. And, my teeth would be black.

BTW, how do you eat Oreos? I’ve always carefully separated them, eating the filling first, then the cookies. My friend Lou eats the whole thing at once.

Back to the picnic table. I loved seeing the wonderfully-colored and decorated surfboards. One of them was blue and green plaid. Another was bright yellow with flowers. One guy had bought a bright, shiny red board, and someone else carried one that was light blue with a dark blue, diagonal stripe. All of them now come with an ankle strap to keep the board from getting away too far.

I watched a group of college guys play touch football in the sand. And, I read for a while, A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson. This quote made me think for a little bit: “Sometimes I think women are like the fog. We have a knowledge of what is underneath, but our real selves are obscured by what others think of us.”

Food for thought.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

For the past few days, I’ve been reading an excellent book by Paul Rogat Loeb,  Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. It looks like I have an older copy because in searching for the Amazon webpage, I found the subtitle is now “Living with Conviction in Challenging Times.” Interesting.

Several years ago my youngest daughter gave me one of Loeb’s other books, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear. The title was more prophetic than I believe she knew at the time.

 

However, this blog entry won’t be any kind of book review. No, I found two very meaningful quotes in Soul of a Citizen that I’d like to share. The first is from one of my favorite authors, Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen: “To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, ‘I no longer hold offense against you.’ But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the ‘offended one.’ The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to freedom of the children of God.”

 

The second quote is from Doris Donnelly: “Without forgiveness, hurts grow unchecked and we recycle failures, resentments, bitterness, and mistrust in our lives. With forgiveness, hurts are acknowledged and healed, and we are able to break a mindless cycle of retaliation by saying that the decisions of human life, even when they turn out badly are not beyond repair.”

 

Strong stuff – and particularly meaningful for me at this time.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Just a few evening observations after a very hot, windy day in Kanab, Utah. I’ve been sitting outside watching the sun set, enjoying a fairly large glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream, savoring the creamy taste. The wind has died down just enough to make it very pleasant to watch the gentle rustling of the cottonwood trees. My Earth Day flag blows sideways in the breeze. The temperature is just about perfect-not too hot, just right. I read a little from a library book, Miriam’s Kitchen, by Elizabeth Ehrlich about her growing understanding about the importance of preserving her Jewish roots. I think about all the shopping bags I’ve finished in the past few weeks, all of them now hanging in the front of my RV, awaiting new owners. I treasure all of the plants now doing well in our impossible garden in the high desert of Utah, composed of red, sandy dirt. Nothing except cactus would grow without copious quantities of purchased garden soil in large, black plastic pots. However, with daily early-morning watering, all the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lemon cucumbers, Swiss chard, radishes, Kentucky Wonder beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini are thriving. Petunias of all colors: purple and white striped, white, pink, and purple show off in baskets. Tiny Portulaca flowers spring out from small aluminum and pewter containers. Hummingbirds and orioles drink enough nectar to make daily refilling of their feeders a necessity. Part of a day was spent in Hurricane doing needed shopping with good friends and their dog.

Life is definitely good.

 


Read Full Post »

I was going to write Phase 3 of our garden saga. However, after spending the morning sewing in the clubhouse, making items for the Farmer’s Market/Craft Market, I felt the need to mellow out a little. It’s been a busy few days and was time to take a little time out. After some delicious French toast for brunch with Marcie and Jim, using the very fresh eggs from Koni’s chickens, I braved the ever-constant (or so it seems lately) strong wind and headed to my rig to read and listen to music before work in the barn tonight.

Right now I’ve got some George Winston piano music playing in the background while reading People with Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening, a book Marcie picked up at one of the yard sales last weekend. From the frontpiece: “Why do some people have their hands in dirt? What caused someone to become obsessed with the process of growing something, whether it is a tangle of flowers, chiles hot enough to make your eyes water, or a rambling rose plucked from a tumble-down house? Author Robin Chotzinoff took a road trip (several, actually) across America to find the answers.”

It’s the perfect book for a windy, mellow day, especially since I can look out over our own burgeoning garden plot while reading and listening. I can watch the cottonwood trees sway and bend in the wind, the hummingbirds and orioles argue for space at the feeders, and the flowers and herbs grow inch by inch as the ground gets warmer. And I can view all the tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants we’ve stuck into good soil in pots and hope they’ll produce some delicious feasts. I can watch the tiny radish seedlings emerge between the chard plants, three weeks later than they should have emerged. However, the weather has just been too cold.

Yes, it’s a beautiful, mellow day, one to take advantage of before hosting the movie, “Cattle Drive” in the barn tonight. Last night everyone applauded at the end of “Fort Dobbs.” That’s always a good sign they enjoyed themselves and the movie.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Marcie commented in my earlier blog, Garden Magic In Kanab, Utah – Phase 2  that I hadn’t mentioned the frustrations we’ve had with the weather lately. Here it is the end of May and we still need to watch the weather forecasts closely in order to keep plants alive.  Just last night we were supposed to get rain and snow showers. People who live here year-round have all said the same thing: this is definitely not a normal spring. One woman told me tonight that the temperature is usually in the 80s by now. I’ve bought plants several times and tried to keep them alive. Alas,  no luck. They seem to commit suicide regularly without fail.

I’ve been spoiled by spending many, many years gardening in Oregon. There, all I had to do was stick something in the ground–plant, seed, stick–and it would grow, lushly and lustily. It didn’t matter what it was – raspberry canes, snap peas, broccoli, tomatoes, fruit trees, tomatillos – everything grew. But here, in the high desert, it’s a whole other story. Very frustrating.

But, rather than mope around about the weather and gardening mishaps, I googled to see what others have written about the relation between plants, people,  and weather conditions. Hope you enjoy these.  At least they’ve gotten my mind off dead plants for a while.
————————————————————————-
My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.  ~H. Fred Dale

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.  ~Mirabel Osler

In gardens, beauty is a by-product.  The main business is sex and death.  ~Sam Llewelyn

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  ~Marcelene Cox

Plant carrots in January and you’ll never have to eat carrots.  ~Author Unknown

Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden…. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.  ~Michael P. Garafalo, gardendigest.com

There is no gardening without humility.  Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.  ~Alfred Aust
————————————————————————-
In the meantime, we have high hopes for these latest plantings of tomatoes, peppers, lavender, and cucumbers. Fingers, toes, and eyes are all crossed in hopes that these plants will survive to adulthood.










Read Full Post »