Monthly Archives: August 2008

Live and learn

I’m getting new cabinets in my kitchen, so there are a few things I need to get rid of as I clean out the kitchen. I decided to give away my microwave and toaster to make some room for new ones (that will match better in the kitchen). They were in working condition, so I decided to put them in the ally, since usually things will get taken away in an hour or so–presumably by people who want them (and maybe even need them). I put the microwave and toaster out there, and a few hours later I went to get in the car, thinking they would be gone. Instead, they were still there, but the electrical cords had been cut completely off. It was so sad! They had been perfectly good, and now they were worthless. I couldn’t figure out why someone would do that–just to be mean and destructive? But then I did a little internet sleuthing and found the following from Karen in Toronto:

“Last week someone left a nice big TV our building’s garbage area with note on it saying it works great, just needs a remote. I carried it home, only to find that the power cord had been cut off. The TV had been there less than an hour. In the past year I have seen many electrical devices with the cord cut off. I always assumed that meant they didn’t work.

I’ve since been told by two people that the cords are cut off to sell the copper. I found on the internet that the price of copper has gone up a lot in the past year.

So if you’ve seen cords cut off appliances lately, that explains it. You might want to advertise any old appliances that you think someone could use rather than leaving them around where their cords are likely to be cut off. And if the appliance is really dead, you might want to cut the cord off to reclaim the copper.”

OK, now it’s me again. So I have learned my lesson. I’ll put my things in the car and take them to Goodwill.


A riddle wrapped up in a puzzle and served with a conundrum

Ok, I still do not have a definitive answer about the scat I found in my back yard. I went to an expert, my friend Scott, who hunts deer with bow and arrow. His analysis (he’s holding the plastic bag in the photo) is that it is definitely not rabbit, could be deer, but is a very small pile to be a deer. He postulated raccoon, but I am not so sure. Please note his expert status. He didn’t even know I was coming over, and he is wearing a deer shirt and standing in front of deer he has killed–please note the arrows in their necks. On his truck there is a bumper sticker with a picture of a deer and it says, “Eat more fast food.” Anyway, I cannot give a prize until I check with a few more experts. The plastic bag with the poop is in my car. I’m going to a high priests quorum party tonight, so surely there’s someone who can identify it–and won’t it increase my popularity to bring something so interesting!?

By the way, Paul is making the chili for the aforementioned party, and I am really afraid he will be disappointed at its reception, because it’s with black beans, fresh cheese, and choriso. The term “pearls before swine” comes to mind.

Today is our 34th anniversary–the 32 happiest years of my life!

Memory and Smell

I just had one of those intense memory experiences. They say that smell is the most important sense for most mammals, and I think I believe that. I went past a fountain on campus and it smelled like chlorine and suddenly I was transported to the Provo swimming pool dressing room. I could see it vividly. I could see myself as a child with my swim suit wrapped in a towel and held together with a tight rubber band. I remembered how sometimes I had a nickel to spend in the vending machine outside the pool, and how much I liked buying “Root Beer Kegs” (which I haven’t seen in years). It was wonderful and sad simultaneously–it was a very happy memory, but there was a sense of sadness that the moment and I were separated by at least 45 years. Poignant longing is perhaps the best description–and a real sense of gratitude that I was blessed with a happy childhood (and a mother who was absolutely obsessed with having her children learn how to swim–since she couldn’t!)

The whole experience reminded me that it is time to read James Joyce’s story, “The Dead,” which I honestly believe is the best short story ever written–and evokes the same type of feeling I had today. I read it once a year at least to remind myself of my humanity.

In praise of drive-in movies

If the Lakeview Drive-in in Monticello is correct in its snack bar advertisements, there are only 400 drive-ins left in the U.S. Where I grew up, in Provo, Utah, there were two in the valley–and they are both gone now, victims of urban sprawl. So I feel pretty happy that this summer I’ve enjoyed going to two different venues–first in Mt. Pleasant, UT where I saw “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (it was much better than I expected–it made me laugh several times) and in Monticello, IN where this past Saturday I saw “Tropic Thunder,” which I enjoyed wholeheartedly even though I probably shouldn’t because it had SEVERAL very unpolitically correct jokes that I laughed heartily, though guiltily, at (Mrs. DeHart–my English teacher in H.S.–please forgive that very bad sentence construction and ending that bad sentence with a preposition!)

Drive-in movies are great for many reasons:
1. You can bring in tons of your own food that would be hard to get into a regular theater, i.e. edamame, cans of diet Vernor’s, sesame sticks, etc.
2. You can talk during the movie and nobody cares because nobody is close enough to hear.
3. You can make vulgar noises and only the person you’re with can complain.
4. Nobody will kick the back of your seat (unless you go with your kids).
5. Nobody will be constantly text messaging next to you.
6. You can see a double feature–if I’d had enough energy, I could have stayed on Saturday to see “Step Brothers.”

I rest my case.

What IS this?

OK, I will award a prize to the person who can correctly identify this–this–whatever it is! I found it next to the little shed behind our house. There were several little piles in a row. The individual units looked like black beans or blueberries and were about that same size. I think it could be some type of feces–but what kind????? Or is it something else??? It will be a good prize I promise. What IS this????

On the other side of the spectrum, I saw this beautiful butterfly on one of my zinnias. Kind of made up for the other thing.

Barbara’s so long at the fair (and no bonny blue ribbon)

Friday I spent the day at the Indiana State Fair–a pretty interesting place to be, what with the world’s biggest boar, llamas, Honey Princesses (girls with crowns who were beekeepers), 4-H projects, fried Twinkies, and other interesting sights.
I had to work in the morning (touting the benefits of a liberal arts education at my beloved instiitution), but then after that I wandered the fairgrounds soaking in the ambience. Things I noticed:
1. There were a LOT of adults driving little rentable carts. It made me wonder–is there a correlation between going to the fair and eating all that fried food and the inability to walk in later life?
2. There are many cool things to be interested in–basket weaving, cake decorating, scrapbooking, and more. Paul wants to enter some food next year. We have to figure out how to enter.
3. There is NOTHING healthy to eat at the fair–let’s see, there are corndogs, turkey drumsticks (ok, that’s probably not too bad, along with corn on the cob), milkshakes, aforementioned deep fried Twinkies, funnel cakes, elephant ears (what do they do with the rest of the elephant?), and so on. I opted for the deep fried vegetables, deluding myself into thinking that was healthy!
I took the following picture of the world’s biggest boar (not to be confused with the world’s biggest bore, who teaches my Sunday School class:

This adorable little piglet was in a nearby pen with the world’s largest sow:

My friend Arwin does “roach racing” and here he is with one of his roaches at Roachill Downs.

I did about the single stupidest thing a human female can do, however. I wore new shoes. A bad idea on so many levels. Think sawdust, llama spit, pigs, and so on. And then think comfort level–they weren’t tried and true as comfortable shoes, and indeed, they gave me a blister. Then I had to go to the first aid station to ask for a bandaid. And they made me leave my name–so that I couldn’t steal bandaids at all the stations without sever repurcussions?
Anayway, I am pretty sure why Johnny was so long at the fair–sore feet.


In this photo I must have been about 7. I think we were singing Christmas carols.
Today I was walking to a meeting (being very serious, wearing my serious go-to-meeting duds) and there in my path was a spiky sweetgum ball sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. It was impossible to resist–I had to kick it. And then I had to kick it again. And then I was playing a very old game of mine where I would find something to kick (rock, seed, can) and kick it ahead of me as I walked. It got into the grass, so I followed it into the grass and kicked it back. It went into the street, so I went into the street. It was really really fun, and I realized I should play more. Why don’t I? The answer soon came to me as someone approached from the opposite direction and I immediately abandoned my play so that I wouldn’t look childish. But is there really anything so bad about being childish? It made the time between buildings so much more enjoyable. I’m gonna spend some time looking for my inner kid.