Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I know I should be extremely happy, but I am not.

"We" took out an evil person this weekend. People were rejoicing and partying in honor of the event. Across the oceans a similar party took place when the evil person's most evil deed happened a decade ago.

It seems that both are similar and nothing much to brag about.

I read this morning of a college prof who teaches a class that borders on this topic. Half of his students were exultant about what had happened, some had joined the party, the other half were more introspective and even a bit saddened.

I find my self in the latter category.

It is hard to find joy in the death of any person, good or otherwise. It would be good if their evil were to die along the way, but evil is often a one sided definition. A person who is evil to us may well be a hero to others, and visa versa.

Few in our relatively short history of a nation have changed the way we live and act as much as this man and his actions. We probably overreacted to all of this and surrendered a lot of what we used to think was what American was all about.

I grieve for those losses.

There are times when very unpleasant things have to happen. I know that, but that does not make me joyful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not quite the right color, but close.
It was a decent looking car for the time, but it was a mechanical horror.

the green pinto

When Miriam’s mother died we inherited her Pinto.

We also inherited her father. He had suffered with Parkinsons for some years and was not able to live alone, so we pushed the edges back in our small house and made room for him and his noisy TV.

The Pinto was almost new. Mom had fallen love with it for some reason (they were FORD people, for one thing). This one was a decked out model with two colors of paint and other little dressy tidbits that had little real usefulness.

When Miriam and Linda (who was about 6) took Marie to Mexico to get some cancer treatments, they drove the Pinto.

Each time I drove it I would put my hands on the shifter and it was always hot. That was not a good omen and I knew it.

Promptly at 25,000 the transmission went out. I was told they were “throw away” models and could not be repaired. We located a used one and had it installed.

All was good for another 25,000 miles and that one blew up. Again we replaced it. This time we were assured that the problems had been solved and that we should get good use from it. I was relieved.

But at 75,000, almost to the mile the third one blew and I was out of patience. Miriam had the title by then and I sold it for a song.

I am without much automobile brand loyalty, but that was the last Ford we ever owned.

My all time favorite vehicle was a Chevy, that is yet another story!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pear blossoms.
I have a pear tree that produces grainy hard to eat pears, but that tree produces a bushel of them each and every year without failure.
The failure is on my part to appreciate those pears, I guess.

not so slow cooker

I got up early and chopped veggies.

Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onion, Mushrooms, Turnip, Quinoa, TVP (fancy soy bean stuff- also known as "monkey meat")just about anything I could find in the pantry or refrigerator.

I put it all in the Slow Cooker, turned it on and went to church.

When I returned I popped the lid and jammed in a fork. Rats, my slow cooker was a LOT faster than I had expected. I made a green salad and sliced some good bread. It was not a bad meal, but it was not what I had intended.

For the next meal I put it all in a baking dish, added some tomato puree (I dried a lot of tomatoes last year and am having trouble figuring ways to use them. This time I took a fist full and soaked them in hot water, then buzzed them in the blender). On top of that I put a layer of biscuit dough and pushed it back in the oven.

There was too much water in the tomato sauce and it was all way too wet. The biscuits were nicely done on the top and not on the bottom. Intellectually I know that you put the dough on hot vegetables, and that it all had to be almost dry. I know all of that, on some mysterious level.

Miriam, who never complains, did not, but I was underjoyed.

Seems like my experiments are experimental.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

mother in law

Marie was Miriam’s mother.

She was short though not as short as Miriam will insist. She was about 5’ 3” and was always very thin. She was also very bright, though it was hard to recognize at times.

My memory is that she graduated from high school at about 14 or 15 and put in a year or two at business school by the time she was 17. She needed a job. She had a somewhat abrasive personality and had no luck finding employment in anything she had been trained to do.

She did get a job a housekeeper for a 35 year old widower who had three young sons. The boy’s mother had died not long after the younger was born.

For some odd reason (we always knew it was weird) she could never remember her wedding anniversary. When asked she would say “I don’t remember.”

The real story, we put together after she died was that the young widower had pressed his affection and she was pregnant when they married. And, rather than admit any shortcoming on her part (a lifelong characteristic) she “forgot” the date, hoping to keep her secret.

Of course kids were not dumb, but actual proof was not seen until after Marie died.

Miriam was born when Marie was 18, and in the next few year she had 3 more babies: one boy and three girls.

She was the step-mother of 3 rambunctious boys, and regularly bore more children. It was a busy time. She was not a particularly good cook and I am not sure she really enjoyed being a mother as much as her husband enjoyed providing her with babies.

When the last of her kids were out of the home, she went to college. Scholarship was easy for her and she graduated from the local state college. She taught grade school, high school a year or two and even college one year.

Somewhere along the line she picked up a Masters Degree.

But she was not a good teacher. She knew her material, but she did not work very well with children and she was not at all good at classroom discipline. Her teaching jobs would run a year or two and she would move on. She always finished the school year then was not rehired.

In the middle her last teaching gig she was fired. She took it very hard, but decided she would make a better nurse. She could have gone to a two year RN program, but instead she got a one year LPN, with the plan of going on to get her RN, while she was working.

Meanwhile her husband had retired because of Parkinsons, and while they had some money from the sale of their farm, she did need to work.

The trauma of getting fired was devastating. That next year, soon after she finished her LPN classes she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The cancer spread quite fast and within a short time she was gone.

Marie was not a good teacher, as I have said, but she might have been a good nurse. She worked at it a very short time before the cancer made her retire. When her illness becme acute Miriam (who was an LPN) stayed with her and took care of her until she died.

She was 57.