Hi there! Welcome to my very miscellaneous blog. Here, I write about everything from mis-used words to gardening, to bad habits in society to going places and seeing things! Enjoy my ramblings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Retrospective on Family...

   Once again, my friend Molly Campbell's blog has provided the spark for an article of my own.  It is funny, how things in your past sit dormant in the file cabinet of your mind until you read something that makes you go, "Oh, yeaaahhh...I remember when...." 
 Some of you will go read her blog via the link; some will not.  For those who do click the link, you might want to skip the following paragraph, as it is a 'spoiler.'

   For those opt not to go read her post: briefly, she was discussing the difference between raising sons and daughters.  There is more to it than that, but I'm not going to re-post her content.  Suffice it to say, she raised girls, and did not envy her friends who had boys; her friends seem to think her daughters will end up with boys as a final irony.

Here, then, is my story.

   I raised 2 girls.

 My elder daughter has 2 sons--and I see the other side of the equation second-hand;  my younger daughter has 2 girls. She lucked out--or did she? At age 7, the eldest is already a drama queen, knows it, and can give you a spot-on definition of the meaning of that term!

   I, on the other hand, struggled, even with girls, because they were siblings. I had none. I had no idea how sisters interacted with each other--only a naive concept of how I thought they should act. I was woefully unprepared for the reality.  The endless squabbles over petty nonsense--I didn't think there was any angst left over for the rest of the girls in the world.  I'm sure that looking back, neither of them could tell you now what they were squawking about back in the 'bad ol' days.'

   I grew up in a quiet household. I value "peace and quiet."  We were readers.  We had no TV, for my father would not buy one.  Apparently, he'd been exposed to TV shows somewhere away from home, but he had formed his opinion, and refused to allow a TV on the grounds that, "The commercials insult your intelligence."  (Turns out, he was right!)

   So, our household was quiet, calm and peaceful.  We read, we listened to records (yeah, those old-fashioned plastic discs with grooves carved into them:  they came in "45's" and "LP's."), and my mother and I played the piano. (Well, truthfully, Mother played the piano--I played with it--you'd never know I had 4 years of lessons!)

   When there would be a family gathering, with aunts and uncles, was the only time we got really rowdy, and put on the "Sing Along with Mitch" records.  Mitch Miller and the Gang was a popular band of the mid-to-late 1950's; they had released a series of LP's complete with lyric sheets to be passed around the room.  That was as noisy as it ever got.  If we were reading, we were reading.  There was no radio on; no records playing.  It was quiet.  If we'd had a grandfather clock, you could have heard it ticking quite plainly.

   Ergo, I find it very diffucult to concentrate with a lot of noise in the background.  Even if  I'm not particularly concentrating, a constant stream of noise/music/chatter makes me edgy.  This became a huge problem about the time my daughters reached junior high age.  They hung out with their friends; they were exposed to the "in" music of the day, and wanted to listen constantly.

   My elder daughter is more like me, and values peace and quiet; does not like a lot of noise and ruckus; does not need that constant 'background noise' effect.  She does and did listen to music, but not while she was doing homework...to this day, she has my preference for peace and quiet.

   Unlike her sister and me, my younger daughter claims she "can't think" if it's too quiet, and will always have music playing or the TV on "for background noise." UGH. This drove me crazy when they were living at home! How I valued my daytimes alone in peace and quiet while they were at school.  How I dreaded their return, when my peaceful, quiet house would be set  pulsing to the music of "Chicago," "Air Supply," "Foreigner,"  Phil Collins, Cyndi Lauper, or I forget what others were then popular.  "Turn it dowwwwwnnnnnn!!! " became my constant battle cry. 

   Worse, each girl,  in her own room, would be listening to her choice of music.  For them, sequestered in their rooms, they were each close enough to the music source to hear only their own.  For me, downstairs, I got "treated" to a blend that was not pleasant.  It might be "Chicago" mixed with Kenny Rogers, or "Air Supply" mixed with Cyndi Lauper.  OMG!   How I wished we lived in a climate where I could have escaped to the backyard--but alas, we lived in a cold and foggy clime.

   Even my then-husband contributed to the mayhem.  He grew up in a large family with constant noise, and had that 'need for background noise' built in.  The first thing he would do when he got up was turn on the TV.  Then, he would leave for work, and leave the TV on!!!!!!  That was crazy-making for me.  He knew I did not want to watch or listen to TV--particularly daytime TV!  90% of the time, he could not tell you what he was watching, because he wasn't really watching--the TV was simply on

    I often wonder if his upbringing resulted in a genetic coding for the 'need for noise' that got passed on to my youngest.....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Progresses--and So Does the Garden!

Well, after much impatient foot-tapping, and wondering if I was going to have to start all over with the eggplants, they have finally decided to sprout!  It only took about three times longer than it said on the package--what's up with that?!?

Next, the radishes do us proud!  They are doing the best of anything we've planted from seed:

The corn is doing nicely, though still slow, and not all of the seeds have sprouted:

The tomatoes and bell pepper are doing really well; however they were not from seeds, but starter-size plants from the nursery:

The tomatoes, above left, have about tripled their size, and the bell pepper, above right, is nearly doubled.

The green onions, on the other hand, have still not shown themselves.  They are way past the germination "deadline" given on the seed packet.  I am very disappointed in them.

I've not taken new photos of the parsely and basil in their pots, as they have not grown a lot from their nursery-pack size.  I may have put them into too large of a pot.  Did you know that when you transplant something, it really should only go into the next pot size up?  If you put it into something huge, the plant will send all its energy to root production, working to fill that space before increasing the size of the actual plant.

Here is our lemon tree, in its pot:

There must be at least 20 blossoms/miniature lemon buds on each branch!  We will have to prop up the branches so they don't break!  In point of fact, what will probably have to happen is to cull several of these budding lemons, in order to send the plant's energy to the largest, and not over-tax the plant trying to produce so much fruit.  Besides, if we let them all be, some probably would not make it, and the rest would likely end up as miniatures.

And now, for the newest addition.  I call it our "surprise garden."  Hubby was out pulling weeds at the other end of the yard today, and one that was hidden amongst others, turned out to be a walnut seedling.  We have no walnut trees, have planted no walnuts, nor have we eaten any outdoors, so none could have been dropped that way.  It was most likely dropped by a crow--and those we do have in fair numbers.

We've put it in this pot for now, so we can keep an eye on it, and be sure it stays watered, until we decide where to plant it.  We already have some ancient almond trees that came with the property, but we don't bother to harvest them, as we don't really know how to 'process' the almonds.  Those, we leave to the squirrels and birds.

The final entries in the "surprise garden" category are not edibles, but volunteers, found in the same way as the walnut:  a pair of oak trees.  So, we planted those out in the "back 40," one near the fence, and the other about 10 feet away behind the shed where we store our molds.

And that, friends, is the garden journal for today.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Comment Form De-Mystified

Greetings, one and all!

I have had a fair number of people tell me recently that they have had trouble leaving comments due to difficulty ‘signing in.’ I actually have anonymous comments enabled on this blog, (as well as my other 2), so no sign-in should be required.

Please bear with me--I tried to make this very simple, with illustrations, but for some reason, Blogger is not letting me paste in the screenshots.  So, I'll have to ask you to do a little bit of jumping up and down between the post and the comment form.

Now, if you will click on the comment button (just under this post--the word 'comments' in blue), as if you are going to leave a comment, you will see first any comments that have already been left.  If so, then go to the very top of that box and click on 'jump to comment form.'  (If no comments have been left previously, the comment form is what you will see straightaway.)

You will see the blank square in which you may write your comments.  Below that, the word-verification box shows—I do have this enabled, to thwart spam-bots—we’re all accustomed to using this device.

Now, scroll down a bit, so you can see the rest of the options underneath the 'word verification' box.

Note that under, “Choose Identity,” there are numerous options. Yes, “Google Account”, asking for name and password is the first thing you see. This is probably understandable, as this blog is written on Google’s platform. I’m sure they want to encourage subscribers to their service. 

 Don’t be put off by that. Keep reading down the list. You will also see: "Sign up for a Google Account," "E-mail follow-up coments to...," "Open ID," "Name/URL," and finally "Anonymous."

I’m not going to go into explaining the middle options. If you do not have or don’t want a Google account, then “Anonymous” is the one you want to use.

If you simply do not want to sign up for a Google account, but do want to let me know who you are, then simply sign off your actual comment using your name or online screen-name identity, whichever you prefer, within the comment box itself.

Voila! No sign-in necessary! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for leaving comments!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poisson d'Avril.....

....as they say in French...literally, "April Fish."   If the Wikipedia article on the history of April Fool's is to be believed, the French tradition is one of attempting to attach a paper fish onto someone's back without their notice. 

   I've not done a lot of research, and the list of historical pranks played was lengthy.  Given what day it is, I also do not grant much credence to the statement at the top of the Wiki article claiming that said article was about to be removed.  Such is the nature of this day.

   Normally, one should probably believe less than a third of what appears on the internet.  Today--I'd slice that allowance in half, at least.  That's not to say I have a problem with April Fool's Day.  Au contraire, it has always ranked among my favorite days of the year!  I've played some fine pranks myself, and had others played on me.

   One of the most classic to which I ever fell victim was shortly after I had graduated from high school, and was beginning the process of job-hunting.  I came home from an errand one day to find a message from my dad, instructing me to call such-and-such a number and ask for a Mr. Lamb, regarding an interview.  Great!  I was all excited, and dialed the number dad had written down.

   At the time, I was not even paying attention to what day it was, so I did not immediately tumble to the nature of the joke when the phone was answered, "American Wool Growers Association."   I dutifully (and innocently) asked to speak to "Mr. Lamb."   At this point, I'm sure the gal on the other end of the phone thought that I was a prank caller.  In a way, I was an unwitting perpetrator: dear ol'  Dad had masterminded this one into a double-edged gag!

   After learning that I must have dialed wrong, and that there was no such person at that number, I rang off, and went in search of my father.  Somehow or another, it still had not dawned on me that it was April 1st.  I proceeded to chastise my father for writing down the number wrong, and costing me a possible job lead.  He began to snicker, then burst out laughing.  I was not so amused.  Finally, he managed to say, "April Fool!"  It was not until that point that I realized I had been the victim of a deliberate prank.  Well done, Daddy-O! 

   Coming from prankster stock, I took on a few of my own, but my childish versions were not always so amusing to my parents.  There was the year I dumped the contents of the sugar bowl back into the canister, and substituted salt.  Mom did not enjoy her first sip of coffee.  I had barely been able to contain myself, waiting for the moment, and when she made that awful face, I screeched "April Fool!" amidst howls of laughter.  Mother granted the joke, but proceeded to point out that jokes of that nature are likely to cause other problems, such as what if she had been going to make cookies?  The whole batch would have gone to waste.  (Both my parents were Yankee born and bred--I was raised with a very high 'waste-consciousness.')  At age 8, though, that had not occurred to me.

   I have to be the practical joker.  I'm no good at spoken jokes/falsifications.  I simply do not have a poker face, and cannot keep from cracking up and giving myself away.  The only way I can pull off a spoken prank is over the phone or by writing it out via E-mail, Instant Message, or Text message.  Mind you, I'm not a 'texter'--I don't even own a cell phone--but I can text my daughters via Yahoo's instant message interface.  Hmmm... what prank can I pull on them today???

  The best prank I've pulled on anyone dates back into my kids' very young years.  I think my eldest was perhaps in 1st or 2nd grade; the younger was still pre-school-age.  I called them out for breakfast one morning, and they sat down to their kiddie-sized table to find 'breakfast' fully laid out for them.  Fried eggs, toast, and a banana.  All made from construction paper.  They said, 'Hey!' then started to giggle.  They were too young to have paid attention to the fact that there had been no cooking sounds or smells wafting through the house at the time I called them to come eat.

  I've had fun with April Fool's Day all my life--I hope you have as well.  Feel free to add your favorite joke or gag to the comments, whether you were the victim or the perpetrator...it's all good.