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Posts Tagged ‘Country’

As many of you know, Bob and I have listed our mountain home for sale. Which means when we are not in Nashville, we must vacate the premises periodically for a “showing” to potential buyers. In other words, super-clean the house and pack up Ms Bean for a two hour tour – cue the Gilligan’s Island theme song now!

You might think this is easy.

After all, we have no children in the house; no crumbs, or petrified hot dogs lurking about. A petrified mouse in the basement? Maybe. After all, we are a country house in the forest, with a long gravel driveway and a buried gas tank and a well…sooo, our windows may get dusty but more importantly, our dog gets car sick. Really, really car sick.

The first time we packed Ms Bean up for a ride into town we gave her the Vet’s super-duper anti-nausea pill. It must be given at least two hours ahead of time and costs about $20 per pill. This is the pill she gets for the nine hour ride to TN and the six hour ride to NJ. It lasts about 24 hours and I have to admit can make her a little loopy. We had a great time on the Historic Downtown Mall where dogs are welcome and almost every store is dog-friendly.

The second time a realtor called, we decided to try some people medicine on her, even though the Vet warned us against this tactic. Generic Benadryl costs a nickel for each 25 mg pill. On GoodRx, a coupon site for drugs, it’s half that price; pennies per pill. And its duration would be only four hours, which was more than enough time for someone to walk through our house and find their way down to the river.

It was a hazy, hot and muggy summer day, so we drove just a few miles to a local antique mall. I sheepishly asked the woman at the counter if my dog could come in, or should I leave her with my husband in the car? “She’s a very good dog,” I pleaded. Lucky for us, the woman calculated correctly, that a man sitting with a dog while his wife shops is a Win-Win. Bob was happy and Ms Bean was just fine! There was no foaming at the mouth, Benadryl for the goal!

Yesterday was the third time we had to pack up the dog, and yesterday was the charm. Since the weather was cooperating, dappled sunshine high 70s, we decided to stay in the neighborhood and take her for a walk. And we didn’t medicate her. We drove down the mountain to a development nearby and parked the car. Everything was going according to plan when I thought I saw a bear in the woods. Bean was pulling me hard toward a big black shape stomping through the leaves, but it turned out to be a goat! Mission accomplished. Car-sickness and bear-shaped goats were in our rear-view window.

And Ms Bean was fine! Our little special needs pup experienced no gagging, or foaming, she just curled up and relaxed for the ride.

So in anticipation of more impromptu, realtor-related car trips this summer, I suggested to Bob the idea of a service animal vest for Bean, that would get us out of the heat and into some air conditioning! After researching this a bit, we discovered you can purchase an “emotional support” vest for your dog on Amazon for about a hundred dollars. I mean what dog isn’t an emotional sponge for their owners? Some sites even offer certification, obviously the government hasn’t regulated these things which is why you may see a parrot on your next flight to Disney World.

Still, I’m a basically honest person and it just doesn’t seem right. Instead, I’d like to design a new vest for dogs – the “Shopping Support” vest! I will train my dog to sit and stay when she sees me pick up something I don’t need. If I don’t put it down immediately, she will lay down and not move. A silent protest. I will look down at her, come to my senses, and place the dreaded, overpriced article back on the shelf. This could work for any addiction. A second glass of wine? Walking toward a casino? The OCD dog vest could revolutionize treatment for millions of people.

I wonder if the new Republican Senate Healthcare bill would cover these vests? https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/whats-in-the-senate-republican-health-care-bill/531258/

After a long day in the car, Ms Bean rests her weary head on the lookout for rabbits. IMG_0846

 

 

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Ms Bean has treed a couple of wild turkeys just to start this morning off right! In other news, a brand new Costco store has opened up on Route 29, near Stonehenge (my pet name for a “new” shopping center in the area). It was supposed to be an upscale shopping experience, and I was hoping for a Nordstrom/or Macy’s/or Bloomies, but Costco will just have to do. All good progressives, I’ve learned, prefer this to Sam’s Club. I’ll most likely steer clear of the place this weekend, besides, do I really need a five year supply of chili powder?

If Bob were not working, we might take in The Albemarle County Fair! Some big rain and thunderstorms have moved through our hills and taken out our modem…again…and left us with some refreshingly cool air for these parts. Today is the first day of The Fair and it’s nearby, on the grounds of Ashlawn Highland, President Monroe’s beautiful estate. But going to something like this, alone, just doesn’t make sense. Meeting an 18th Century furniture maker, exploring the livestock tent, and watching handspinners in the peacock yard would be infinitely more fun with a partner in crime. Someone needs to share your fried dough, right?  http://albemarlecountyfair.com

But tomorrow night I am going to a vineyard in Madison County to celebrate the life of a dear friend and neighbor, Bill Greer. We met Bill and his lovely wife DeeDee at another fair, a Fiber Festival at Ashlawn right after we moved here from NJ. They had a tent for their alpacas, and DeeDee sold some of the softest, finest yarn I’ve ever had the pleasure to knit. alpaca scarfFBBob’s arm was in a sling after shoulder surgery, which got the conversational ball rolling. Then we found out, quite by accident, that we had just bought our land less than two miles up the road from their Rivanna River Alpaca Farm.

After a long building stage, and an exhausting two day move, they had us over for dinner with the Bride and Groom. That night on their deck was perfect. We were both Yankees, they had moved here from Chicago. And we fell into a friendship that wasn’t forced or contrived. I immediately felt like I could tell DeeDee anything, like we had known each other in another life. Once you get to be an empty-nester, making new friends, the kind who know where the spoons are in your kitchen, doesn’t come easy. I’d join a knitting group in DeeDee’s studio, and bring visiting children over to see new alpaca babies. I even toyed with getting some alpacas, or goats, or chickens!

Like us, DeeDee and Bill had one of those second chance love affairs. They’d been married before, and were really newlyweds when we met, blending a large family of adult children all over the world. I’ll always remember Bill sitting out on our deck, just gazing at the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains, telling us we had the best view. Bob would maintain that Bill’s access to the river was even better. And his face, when he saw his wife, was like a kid at Christmastime. I wish I could channel DeeDee’s zest for life, her energy is contagious, and her compassion is a thing of beauty. I know she’ll be fine, but I also know this kind of loss is a palpably heavy weight.

Bill was only 68 when he passed away this past March, much too soon. I’m hoping Bob can leave the hospital early, for DeeDee, and for me. We will always remember his glad hug, his smile of recognition when a joke hits home, and his absolute devotion to DeeDee. She lost a prince of a man, and he will be sorely missed.  http://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/article/20150330/NEWS/150339921

Bob and Bill

Bob and Bill

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…this video contains profanity.”

If you happen to be one of those people, you know the kind that think feminism isn’t an issue anymore, that’s it’s been taken over by Lesbians, that it’s so over, well think again. Did you hear the news this morning about the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella? Apparently he thinks women in his company should just trust in Karma. Don’t ask your boss for a raise ladies, just trust in The Man Karma to make it happen.

Caitlin Moran doesn’t trust anybody to make her life happen, except herself. She’s an irreverent comic, a Times UK columnist and a best-selling novelist who also happens to be a die-hard feminist. Not exactly sure when she first caught my attention, but it may have been a brilliant essay about why safe and legal abortions should be part and parcel of every country. Her writing spares no one. Her latest book, “How to Build a Girl,” is a coming of age tale:

“I want to be a self-made woman. I want to conjure myself out of every sparkling, fast-moving thing I can see,” she declares, “I want to be the creator of me. I’m gonna begat myself.” First, she’ll change her name. This, then, is how to build a girl: find a cause; identify your image; let nothing stand in your way.” http://www.npr.org/2014/09/29/350891370/novelist-caitlin-moran-wryly-shows-how-to-build-a-girl

In this Youtube interview, and don’t forget she might swear, filmed last month in Canada, she lets it all hang out, literally. She admonishes girls to do three things regularly: 1) go on long, country walks, 2) masturbate frequently, and 3) start a revolution! You can see where this video is going with its warning. She snorts when someone asks her the age-old question about childcare, and asks does anyone ask a man interviewing for a job about childcare? Then gamely suggests that editors should make male columnists write about childcare.

Moran’s pearl of an idea is that in order to change our patriarchal culture we have got to use Art – writing, media, painting, film – to make it Cool. Marching around with placards and petitions, arguments at town hall meetings are all well and good, but once we see Dr Who kissing the bisexual Captain Jack Harkness, well then the younger generation says that’s alright! On our side of the pond, I think Ellen DeGeneres’ show is partly responsible for the fast pace of the marriage equality movement.

Moran wrote her book about girl-building because when she was 16 she wished she’d had a book like this. Today, a 17 year old girl won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Malala Yousafzai.

Pakistani child advocate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the face for believing that girls should have every right to an education as boys, has certainly let nothing stand in her way. Shining her light on the deplorable conditions of child slavery and work in her country, she has started a revolution! Malala is deliberate in her cause, even as a Pakistani womens’ rights lawyer was executed by her government last week. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29564935

So as headlines like, “Mother of Three Heads up BBC”  are still cranked out by old white men, and an American CEO can tell his female employees they should not ask for a raise, the popular media backlash to Western corporations is telling. We are all laughing, Isn’t that funny? But in Malala’s world, the Muslim world, women are not laughing. “Overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center. But many supporters of sharia say it should apply only to their country’s Muslim population.” http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/

Just try to imagine if that “17 (18,19??) Kids and Counting” crazy Quivering Christian movement were the law of our land. I know, I’d get pretty profane and stop laughing too.

 

 

 

 

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To the town of Moore, OK – Please accept my sincerest apologies for Wolf Blitzer. Did you see the part where he asked a young woman with her 18 month old if she thought God was with her on Monday because she had the guts to get out of her bathtub and get into her car and drive south, away from that tornado. And when she didn’t answer fast enough he kept pummeling her with this most important question, “Was God with you?” Finally, she smiled and said, “Well actually I’m an atheist.” Sorry Wolf, guess God didn’t run that twister into 2 elementary schools for kicks and giggles either.

This is what I was starting to write about on Monday night; not the sounds of a tornado and the bloviating sounds of carnivorous reporters. I was going to tell you about the sweet country sounds of Spring.

I have a beautiful sister, Kay, who has lived alone in NYC for far too long IMHO. When she visits me, the silence of the country is deafening. No taxis, no jackhammers (well there are the woodpeckers), no gun shots or calls for help. I take that back, we do have hunters shooting in the woods on occasion. No, really, she finds our little mountainous region a bit too serene for her taste. Not much to do, except maybe go to the Earlysville firemen’s spaghetti dinner, or the farmer’s “City” market in Cville. Well not anymore.

This morning I was helping Bob plant a few fig trees in the lower forty. By “helping” I mean I was directing and supervising and cleaning up. Our soil is Albemarle red clay, as hard as bricks and mixed in with flint rocks as big as baseballs. Added to that, I have a bum right shoulder. Lifting and hauling my beautiful little 20+ pounder Love Bug around the last couple of visits has taken its toll. Some physical therapist should invent the grandmother workout – prepare your body for the most lovely, intense physical labor ever! And Jane Fonda should NOT do the video. Here she is very proud of herself for pulling herself up in her crib after a nap! 264582_10200580364125708_198299485_n

Anyway, I was in the woods with Bob when I turned and saw these big, ugly, larvae-looking brown bugs clinging to a small evergreen. I dropped everything and insisted that Bob get his glasses and get a look at them. It’s happened. The cicadas are here!

I’ve been hearing about it on the news, every 17 years la de da. I really didn’t pay much attention, but sure enough, here it is in black and white: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/05/13/theyre-here-cicadas-are-emerging/

It’s been raining for days and the ground temperature must have just hit 65 degrees. Bob said, “Listen.” So I listened and screened out the  usual noises of tree frogs and crickets and those pesky woodpeckers and various birdsongs, and underneath it all was this whoosh. Whoose Whoose Whoose. It’s like I wanted the Rocker to come and record it, it was that good. It was like a helicopter getting ready to take off in the distance…it’s the cicadas…

photo copy 3

And that, coupled with the magnificent red cardinal who’s been banging his head against my guest bedroom windows for almost a week now, should put my sister at ease. His mate must be nesting nearby, and he’s telling that mirror reflection of himself to go take a hike. He sits on the sill, then will fly up, wings extended in glorious crimson and attack the window! It’s the territorial imperative at its finest. I thought about that for a second. We could really end all war if we could just get over this territorial thing.photo copy

So please Kay, come back to Virginia. We love you and want to see you.

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The dwarf Korean lilacs are in bloom outside my sleeping porch. They perfume the air as we clean the gutters, slip into the hot tub, or take a break to read under the twirling ceiling fan. Although I directed the builders at the very last minute to attach a porch off the master bedroom, we don’t actually sleep there, like true Southerners might have done in pre-AC days. But we do rest there, on our zero-gravity chairs, and smell the lilacs.

Lilacs bloomed outside my bedroom window when I was a girl, my foster mother Nell would mound them in mason jars on the kitchen table. She had a beautiful smile, and the best sense of humor. At some point in my young life, I decided it was my mission to make her laugh. Her husband Jim, made me doll houses out of Popsicle sticks, and together they created a home. A home full of love and laughter. And although Nell didn’t drive, because in those days women rarely did, I felt as if anything was possible.

I planted lilacs outside our home in NJ, in Nell’s honor. Every morning, a Great Blue Heron would swoop out over them toward the river to fish for breakfast. And I brought pressed lilacs to the 9/11 widow two houses away who’s husband, Michael Patrick Tucker, worked at Cantor Fitzgerald. Our little borough lost 13 people on that day. As I stood at the memorial weeks later, I remember thinking, “How can I put this into words?” There were no words.

Which is why I enjoyed reading this article at NPR’s website, about the ambivalence of hearing about the death of the BinLaden. “…because terrorism partakes of both crime and war, it is perfectly natural, and perhaps legitimate, to have both of these attitudes towards Osama bin Laden: to think that we had to disable him, and to think that he deserved to die.”

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/03/135927693/is-it-wrong-to-celebrate-bin-ladens-death?sc=fb&cc=fp

If a Harvard professor of Philosophy thinks it’s perfectly legitimate to rejoice in someone’s death while still thinking he was a sorry old man, probably sick in so many different ways; and that each person’s death diminishes me, to semi-quote John Donne, leaves me feeling hopeful. And thinking I may have to take a philosophy book out on my porch, and shut off the news of the day.

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