Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thinking about Thanking

We live in a crazy world of our own design, where obscure markets fluctuate beyond our control while we buy crap we can't afford, and people blow each other up over whose magical story is better, and we seem addicted to fighting about our differences a lot more than appreciating just how much we have in common. That's life. That's the larger human condition at this moment in time. It's a mess, this great big human-built world.

But, I'm just a little, piddling thing, a wee and meager part of that larger human condition. And just as in physics, where the laws of the large fall apart at the wee and meager scale, things look a little different down here. While all these terrible, no good, very bad things swirl around, life down here sort of putters along with random ups and downs that have very little to do with those fluctuating markets and warring factions. You see, no matter what AIG is doing, my cat wants a lap and he wants it now. No matter how big the national debt gets, fresh pumpkin pie still tastes pretty awesome. No matter how many leaders meet to pontificate and promise about global change while doing nothing, my husband's smile and twinkly chestnut eyes still light up the room.

Things might be--well, are--a mess, but today and every day I am thankful for the wee and meager: that smile, that crazy cat, pie, my funny stepson with the gnatlike attention span and wonderfully good heart, bean plants that one day aren't there and the next day are waving at the sun with little heart-shaped hands, loving parents and lunatic sisters, the smell of wood fireplaces, lifelong friends, an office that's more like family, the soundtrack in the Grizzly Hills of Northrend, Grandmom Betty's butter nut cookies, good health and the wonder of muscles that move, modern medicines that help with that good health thing from time to time, a comfy bed, air conditioning, intestinal bacteria, stars that twinkle and planets that don't, winter sunsets on the Gulf, spinybacked orb weavers, El Cap cheeseburgers, a motorcycle ride on a cool day, breathing in and infinite list of wonders that make a wee and meager spot at the tail end of the messy human parade a pretty cool place to be.

I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Things You Learn

I finally ran the soil tests on samples from the garden boxes, and it isn't pretty. Last year's decision to use our well water to water the garden instead of the chloramine-laced city water has backfired spectacularly. Why? Because this is Florida, and pretty much every shallow well here is loaded with sulfur. A lot of sulfur. Our well water doesn't have that characteristic rotten-egg smell, but sulfur is there all the same, apparently. As a result of last year's watering, our garden boxes are now pools of acid. So much for trying to conserve city water. Add to that a total absence of nitrogen and other nice things due to depleted compost and the excess acid, and we are in big trouble here.

For the boxes that are already planted, I'll try to amend the soil and hope our rain barrel gets filled often enough during this dry season to avoid watering much with city water. The other two and half boxes? Might just dig them out completely and start anew. Not where I hoped we would be in this second year of gardening, but at least we're figuring it out while we still have about six or seven months of gardening time left. If I don't blow it all being an addle-brained lazybones, that is.

And apologies to Fox for image theft, but sometimes only Homer Simpson will do. D'oh, indeed!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Quick Musing

While wandering around here on the railway platform trying to decide what train to take, my mind tends to wander around a lot. Well, let's be honest, it wanders even when I feel full of direction and purpose, but that's beside the point.

I love history. I love imagining the past. I love thinking about all those tough and tender folk that went before me and the barely comprehensible but all too familiar times in which they lived. The WWII years, in particular, have always been fascinating because of the sheer grit and determination people had, along with their ability to make sacrifices that people would be horrified about today in our coddled and convenient world. Take the tires off the car and walk! Knit sweaters for the boys! VICTORY GARDENS, for pete's sake! What a vibrant, if frightening, time to be alive, when you really had to do for yourself in the service of the greater good.

And then I stumble on to something like this, and the 21st century suddenly doesn't look too bad, despite its lack of charming aprons. Click to embiggen a nice reminder that the nostalgia train doesn't always go to the place you imagined it would.