Friday, January 24, 2020

A short story

There generally is a pie bird sitting in the frying pan on the back of my stove. It's a lovely pie bird, and I wish I knew more about it. I do know why it's special to me.

I leave the little frying pan on the stove because it's most generally used. I must use two hands to deal with the rest of my cast iron. This one, though heavy, is manageable, and big enough for whatever I am usually frying up.

Four years ago, when the big house sold, I moved to the trailer park with Laura and Blake (nee Emily). I had everything to start housekeeping except kitchen ware. I intended to go shopping at our local thrift store for a kitchen table, pots and pans.

My weaver friend, Linda, said I could scavenge the downstairs apartment of her house for whatever I needed. Her mother, Alberta, had lived there since the two of them moved from New York, but now Alberta was in Florida, with her youngest daughter.

Linda was exhibiting at Boston Mills, a local art show, the weekend we moved, and I called her several times to verify it was OK to take what I took, which included Linda's depression era enamel kitchen table that she and her roommates had used through college. 

Alberta left two little things I have always wished were mine. A little red glass bird, that now hangs in my kitchen window. And a pie bird! If I could have only one, it would be the pie bird. But Linda said, "Take them both!", and so I did.

Linda was staying with us at the old house, a block away, that weekend, and came over to see our arrangement of the little trailer. She was pleased with the arrangement of Alberta's kitchen and dining ware in the new trailer. A gift well placed.

As for the pie bird: it has E. B. Vena painted in precise letters on its front inside edge. When I google that, together with 'pie bird', I get back more pie birds, similarly decorated. I cannot get past that, so I know no more.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Central Command - a short short

Much as I like cooking, there are countless drawbacks, and the two worst of them involve arthritis of the hands and crushed vertebrae of the lower spine. 

The faster I'm off my feet, the better the back. But my hands don't work quickly and efficiently, like the old days. Worse yet, thinly sliced whatever comes out great chunks. So does finely chopped.

I've tried some "solutions". My sister gave me a beautiful knife that must be hand washed, its tempered steel is that sensitive. I can't control it well enough for fast chopping, and even drove the tip of it across a pad of my palm. Fortunately I learned butterfly bandages way back in Y Camp.

I bought something with sharp plastic blades to push against the chopees. Exhausting and ineffectual. I used to have a little bladed machine that whipped through onions and stuff. I couldn't make it work, so I sent it home with Laura. My hands might be strong enough now, but, damn, they hurt.

Internet perusal led me to a little machine like that, only people powered, no cord involved. The reviews were rave or bah-humbug. The bah's were mostly that it had to be hand washed and it's too complicated to understand. 

That's it, back there with the red handle. I like it well enough to give it a semi permanent place on the counter. The handle looks like a game controller.

Last night I decimated two scallions, white then green, four cloves of garlic and a half a cup of finely diced onions. When I cleaned up after supper, I rinsed all the parts of my chopper and left it draining on the counter.

I did cut myself! It came with blade guards on the three blades. I jammed the back edge of the first blade guard removal well into my thumb. I'm still wearing that butterfly bandage.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

I understand why people have such enormous television sets! Yesterday I settled down to watch Frankie and Grace, on a TV I have found large enough for at least fifteen years. It has a fifteen or seventeen inch screen. I don't remember, except it's measured diagonally. I never saw need to give a monster place in my living room, until now.

In the past the screen held all the information I needed. But now, the screen is divided and subdivided with bits of information stashed in the subdivisions, too small to read. And I have good bifocals!

I've been up and off on a timely basis for the last couple of weeks. Not more covers over the head 'for just a minute'! That doesn't work and we know it. I've managed to quit it, for the time being.

Every day this week I've been to the post office, but not when school is done. I wrote to the superintendent of the school this school is in affiliation with. They seem interested in resolving the problem:

Good Evening, Joanne,

I spoke with our Head- of-School about the Post Office drive being blocked by cars in our pick-up line at the end of the school day. A request to keep the entrance and exit to the building will go home in a newsletter to our families this Friday. Hopefully that will rectify the situation.

Have a nice evening!

I'm very near the end of my warp. The beam is full of a lot of periwinkle and a half dozen purple, left over from my fabric experiment.

The end sticking up is from a join, one bobbin to another. Sometimes an end escapes, and I have to weave it back in.  

Today I wove several bobbins of natural on the natural warp. I always end a warp with natural towels. Starting a color would be wasteful, and I couldn't bring myself to do it, even when I gave away towels.

All this went through the washer and dryer tonight, and tomorrow I'll begin making towels. When I finish the warp, I'll begin turning a new warp onto the back beam. That should take much of next week.

But mostly, this week will be towels.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Can't even snow right

It rained not too long ago. It sounded like wet, cold bad news, and it was. 

For the first time since the bus accident, I felt like knitting. I think because I looked down and saw my sock toe needed repair, sooner than later, I felt sock darning coming over me. I only do that in front of the TV, and I still won't pay forty dollars a month to watch HGTV and knit and darn socks.

I can't blame it on Google, it's more like the mind of Chrome. I truly do not understand how alternate programming works. I googled, of course, and got a chart comparing Netflix and Hulu and other unimportant things. Ever since, little nibbles for Hulu and Netflix have been floating by. When I had Netflix for Laura, it was ten dollars a month. Now it's eight ninety five. I bought it.

Then I was dead in the water for several days because I could not get down and plug in the power bar.

In the meantime, that rain turned into slush, and kept on and on until it turned into snow, and kept on and on, all day Saturday and half of Sunday.

In the meantime, my friend Linda, who's getting a new knee on Thursday, called me Sunday, after church. Some time ago she was given a list of equipment to purchase. I recommended she purchase nothing. It was the same list I followed when I broke my foot, leg and shoulder, one, two, three. She was welcome to come shopping in my shed for anything she wanted to borrow.

But my deck was in no shape for trodding, and I called Donny. No answer. No service. That man has a new phone weekly, but never gets around to telling customers the new number. So I went out, grabbed a snow shovel and attempted to move the layer of snow and ice. Nothing happened. Head down, shoulders hunched, I tried and tried and tried.

Then a young man I had not seen approaching said "Can I help you?"

He cleaned this frozen slush mess from the deck, the steps, the car. He pulled up both wipers. I went out with some bills rolled up and asked him to take them "No, no. I'm just paying it forward." And I put it in his jacket pocket and told him I was paying it forward too, to his truck down the road.

And all went off that day. Nancy borrowed my walker and other things, and her husband plugged in my power bar.

And come evening, I sat down to investigate Netflix. I couldn't get off the Roku screen, which is my streaming device. Don't ask me.
 I called Netflix, and after following some button pushing instructions, the technician said "Perhaps your Roku remote needs new batteries." A job for the next day, today.

I looked out this morning at four new inches of snow. I took a shower.

I ate breakfast. I put on clothes to go out and shovel snow, as I did not get Joseph's number.

I opened the door and a slip of paper blew in from the screen door.

And so, I spent my morning weaving, went to cards, lost happily, stopped at the hardware store and bought salt and triple A batteries for the Roku transmitter.

I started watching Grace and Frankie. I made myself quit! My knitting is in another room, and I need to figure out how Netflix works, and then I'll watch it. Thirty days for free. WooHoo.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

What goes around does not always come around

Once, and for a long time, there was a public elementary school in Peninsula, across the street from the post office. For the most part, they rubbed along, amicably. How could they not, you ask? Well, parents of elementary students sometimes had as much self-control as their children, and thought nothing of commandeering the post office parking lot for important events in the lives of their children, like Christmas concerts, spring graduations, spring concerts, grandparent lunch days, and so forth and so on.

Posting notices to please not use the post office lot for overflow parking did not work; on the whole these parents seemed not to use the post office. So Sue, the Postmaster, took to posting signs outside. Eventually they had to include the threat of ticketing and towing, but grammar school parents learned to parallel park on the adjacent street, and taxpayers could again use the post office.

Then the school district completed its jillion dollar plan, and moved the elementary school to the educational campus on the old Quick Orchard. The building did not stay empty, no indeed. The elementary school building was sold to the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, which opened the Heritage Classical Academy, preschool through sixth grade.

The Academy opened a year ago. A year ago I seldom used the post office, so the resurgence of rude behavior went unnoticed by me. Until a recent Monday. I played cards, from one to three. I did not go home; I continued on to the post office, with towels to mail. I turned from Riverview to Bronson, to a dead halt in a line of traffic to turn into the school, two blocks away.  Not to worry; they would not block the entrance to the post office, I decided, and proceeded cautiously up the hill.

Well, yes they would! I “double stopped” next to the car behind the post office drive. When the blockage car cleared, that car surely would notice my right turn blinker and let me in. Wrong. She pulled up to block the drive. I pulled beside her, rolled down my passenger window, to let out maximum noise, and blew the horn loudly. Eventually she cautiously glanced over. I extended my left index finger and stroked it a few times with the right. Surely any elementary school parent recognized the universal “Shame On You” notation. She looked away.

I made as much engine and brake noise as possible in half a block, turned right onto Emerson and right into the post office exit. I said to the nice young man, in the slew of turnover since Postmaster Sue, “Is your drive often blocked by parents at pick up time?”

“Oh, yes. They do it all the time.”

“You need a ‘Do Not Block Drive’ sign,” said I. “I’ll call the mayor.” And I came home.

I was barely in the door and my phone rang, with a call from a Restricted Number. I wonder how they do that?

The caller identified himself as The Mayor. “My god, that got through town awfully fast!” said I.

The Mayor said he actually wanted to talk business with me, but was mighty curious about what went through town so fast. I explained the rude young parent problem; he promised to bring up the sign to the Planning Commission, and now, he would like to ask me if I would be interested in the position of Fiscal Officer.
And I told him, had he asked me last June, when I was casting about for something meaningful to do again, I very likely would have told him “Yes.”

“But now, I have a job I like very much.”

Oh, the irony. I was the township fiscal officer for thirteen years, until the accident in DC.  What goes around does not always come around. Hopefully excepting curing elementary school parents of rudeness.