Thursday, February 13, 2020

Another day

With gritted teeth, I finished Siberia this morning. The man is besotted with Siberia, I said to myself. I riffed through the last fifty or so pages of notes, and closed down the back cover, only to read one of those obligatory blurbs. I'm not about to go get the book to quote, suffice it to say the blurb said Frazier is besotted with Russia. Not necessarily a bad thing.

I had a decent day. First I removed half a dozen inches of wet snow from my deck and steps.



Then I started in on my car. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow I hope not to cancel. It will be 13F overnight and a high of 17F tomorrow, and if the snow continues, as much tomorrow to clear away. Not to worry, it will be in the forties over the weekend.



All this because I had to take out the trash and start in on the car. Apparently Joseph is at work today. As he should be. Then I went to work myself.


The blue is far enough around the beam to separate it from the rose.


I cut it off at the "idle weave" space between, pinned the blue back onto the apron, wound it onto the take up beam, and there it will sit until I get back to it.


I weave with unmercerized cotton. That basically says the thread is cotton that is not preshrunk. Here is the rose, just off the loom.


If you count all the squares, it is 21" wide and 11 pattern repeats are 5". The fabric web was 22" on the loom, but off tension, the web loses an inch of width, and some length, too, but I've never measured that.

I have stabilized the ends of the web on my serger, and off to the washer and dryer.



The process is called "fulling". The web must be subjected to water, pressure and a fulling agent (soap). In the very old days, this happened in a trough, with people walking up and down. Now that job happens, for a hand weaver, in the washer and dryer.


This is the finished length of fabric that I'll make into towels. Now it is 18" wide and there are 14 repeats in 5".  The take up (shrinkage) is 15%. 

All the threads are thickly settled in and ready to do what cotton does well, soak up water. It only remains for me to cut the three hundred odd inches into towel lengths, and hem both ends.



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The devil and the deep blue lake

This may or may not be my final word on Ian Frazier and Travels in Siberia. First, I found the map. Jezus, Mary and Joseph, Russia plus Siberia length and width, is enormous beyond belief. 

Remember, Frazier traveled six thousand miles the first time, not understanding the language(s), with two guides he could barely speak to, who could not figure out why the hell this weird American who occasionally called home for money was on this trip and wanted to see prisons; gulags. 

Now Frazier is back several years later, with Sergio as his comrade and guide, to travel Siberia in the winter, and with his semi hidden agenda of visiting a prison. When the opportunity arises, Sergio wades through the thigh deep snow with him to visit a prison camp that built the road they are on, during Stalin's reign.

Frazier does not go in, but looks through windows and wanders about. Sergio does go in. Eventually Sergio urges his back to the bus, telling him the other passengers are waiting. And then, several pages of Frazier's compelling prose, that has kept me reading. 

Why don't we despise Stalin as we despise Hitler? Stalin killed  more people than Hitler dreamed of. Why don't Russians despise Stalin. Why do they embrace the disintegrating highways to nowhere, empty towns and cities, airports, built by slave labor of the gulags, for the glory of Stalin?

Which brings me to the other book I'm listening to, Al Roker's Ruthless Tide, the story of the Johnstown flood. I've read other accounts of this horrible tragedy, and am very familiar with exactly how the atmosphere conspired to pour an epic flood on to a failing dam. 

I'm at the point in Roker's narrative where the dam will fail momentarily. I put down my shuttle, erased the book from my player and came to find a more pleasant end to my day.

The deep rose is woven and finished, but I don't have the blue around the beam yet. It will be tomorrow before I can take off the deep rose and begin turning it into towels. The blue is called denim, and it's nice against the cream of the warp.


Sunday, February 9, 2020

My day

Yesterday left me so weary I did not get up until 9:30 this morning. Absolutely inexcusable. I was awake! But I was so warm...

After my morning chores, I arrived at the breakfast table at eleven.  Breakfast usually is toasted many grain bread with butter and boysenberry jam. Today was even better, as I'd arrived at the heel of the loaf. 

This is so good, compounded knowing that tomorrow there will be another heel for breakfast. And finally,  I opened the last section of Ian Fleming and Travels in Siberia, to learn No, he had not traveled in Siberia. Yes, he had traveled six thousand odd miles with two irritating guides knowing literally nothing of the language, sitting in the back seat and probably ruminating on all the heroes of literature, history, war he would corral to fill his book, but, 

He had not traveled in Siberia. One does not travel in Siberia except in winter! Ian has been back in touch with Sergi, who he now calls his comrade, immersed himself in a Russian language course for travelling the country, passed with almost a C. He misheard one word, and rather than asking for clarification attempted his usual bluff.

It took a couple of years to arrange the logistics, and especially enforce that this time Sergi will show him what he wants to see, prisons. They are travelling this time by train. I left them at a joyful reunion, a sad case of food poisoning, and a start at the railway station, complete with winter gear for Siberia. Also, no camping. 

I am sucked back in.

I wove some towels, then back at Facebook. My answer to my complete inability to comprehend selling on Facebook is to show my pictures and send everyone to my blog. The link works. Take that, Facebook. 



Morning chores included shoving the melting two inches of snow off the deck and steps. A snowball for the cat.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Too much work, work, work

After the ice a couple of days ago, the snow came yesterday. I had an appointment, which I cancelled, and sat at the window, watching the snow and reading Travels in Siberia. Then thump, thump, thump and scrape, scrape, scrape, and Joe was working off my several inches of snow.

I remade my appointment, told Joe I would pay him after I got some money, "See you later!" 

"OK, honey". No, I'm not going to pull feminine rank on a probably unemployed young man who shows up and cleans my deck, steps, car and drive, and remind him my name is not honey. Well, maybe next time. What do you think.

I went grocery shopping on the way home, and Joe carried in three bags of groceries that were too heavy for me to handle, because I should have brought five bags into the grocery store.

After supper I wove a couple more towels, out of guilt, and kept reading Travels. I got up this morning with a work plan to hand. It didn't start until perhaps eleven in the morning. Travels, you know. But then I seriously wove off half a dozen bobbins of the dusty rose I'm working on now. I need a new color mixed into my stock.



That's my left shoe. I must remove it to treadle the six treadle sequence without stepping on two treadles at once. I thought my shoe was purple, but next to rose... In the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

Then, it was the new job of revamping my Facebook page, Joanne Noragon Weaver. I literally was, and remain clueless. First I deleted all the old pictures from selling in the gallery. Then I deleted all the old posts, to give myself a blank page to begin with. 

Facebook will not be so easy, because I have only one page to work with, as far as I know. But I forged on with my opening statement, and then began listing all the towels on hand. It seems they must go above, not under that statement. Bummer. 

But, I continued. For a while all the towels were under the "How to buy towels". Then, they all disappeared. I cannot find them. Tomorrow I will have another go at Facebook.

So, I ate supper and read Travels. They came out at Vladivostock, five weeks and two days in, on September 11. Frazier had to zing his readers one last time; they traveled along that river into the city that one of his great heroes had traveled in eighteen whatever; could we remember? The next morning he called his wife, who immediately said she and the children were safe. It still was September 11, 2001 in New Jersey. He and his companions had no idea.

His wife booked him on a South Korean flight, several days later, and he is boarding the plane, when I quit him tonight. Only half an inch of pages remain. Perhaps they mostly are credits. If there is much more narrative of Russian names, I'll just thumb on through and close the book.

Sadly, I could not relate to the names; could not put my head or tongue around them. Worse by far, there is no map showing their route or the names of the places they saw and camped in. My overwhelming impression is of a land of decaying, sinking buildings and trash of every description.  I cannot remember the heroes and martyrs who fill the book's pages.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Winter ice storm

In the midst of the winter that isn't, an overnight storm was more than I expected. I had to go out today, if for no more than starting the trash on its journey to the curb.



I applied ice melter liberally and twice before I left for an errand.


The disappearing tower was apparent to me all the way into Cuyahoga Falls, and I hoped I would have opportunity to pull in and take a picture somewhere.

The tower is on the Ernest Angley Ministries property, currently for sale. It was built by Rex Humbard as the Cathedral of Tomorrow, a Pentecostal church. It was started in about 1958, and is looking for its next incarnation.


As luck would have it, I needed a parking area quite nearby. On my way home I looked for more winter ice photo opportunities. They were disappointing, but here are a couple more.




Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How can I dismiss Travels in Siberia?

Probably I'm half through this long, long book. Why can't I quit it? It's only a 6,000 mile journey, or the equivalent of a lot of Iowa cornfields, or a lot of Utah salt flats, or a trip across the United States and back, nonstop, in a mad uncle's vintage Volkswagen camper, not restored. 

No, wait, we get to stop. Russia and Siberia are a trash dump. Now that I know that every mile so far traversed has population but no trash collection, I guess I can understand why industrial, agricultural and personal refuse is becoming the substrata of Russia. Let's just sit on junk and eat lunch or supper.

Page after page is packed with tidbits of Frazier's vast knowledge of Russian history, musings on the language, economics, politics, the exiles, the people, from prehistoric to the sister of a friend of a friend whose home they are in tonight.

I will plow on, in spite of the new stack of books that arrived yesterday and today. I'm afraid I may find myself reading Great Plains or On the Rez.



The batch of kiwi towels went on the shelf today, too:



I just wrote a mini review of The Gentlemen, that I saw this week with Cathy. I was expounding on the play within a play when I managed to delete the entire paragraph. No better place to stop.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Stack of Books



Wheels of Fortune, The Story of Rubber in Akron, Steve Love and David Giffels
The Odd Woman and the City, Vivian Gornick
The Old Ways, a Journey on Foot, Robert McFarlane
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
Negroland: A Memoir, Margo Jefferson
H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
Travels in Siberia, Ian Frazier

When I moved into this unit last June, there was a lot to keep me busy, indoors and out. I had a loom and recorded books; who could ask for much more? I was listening to “The Salt Path”, by Raynor Winn. I was captivated, so captured by the book that at its end I backspaced to the beginning—four times. My wonder spilled over into the blog, so awkwardly I had to figure out how to attempt a review.

Everything about books now is also about brain injury. Someday I may lock myself in a room for a month and attempt an analysis of mine.

In the local paper I came across mention of “Wheels of Fortune”, edited in part by Dave Giffels. Anything Dave writes, is on my book shelf. He writes about Akron, our home town. I could say only “home town”, irrespective of its name or place, and anyone could make a place connection.

Then, NYT published a list of books to read before one died. Because my list "left me", I went through and made a list of books to buy, after “Wheels of Fortune”. The list also represents the order of the intended reading sequence, after all came in.

The sequence changed once, when my daughter asked for “Negroland”, and I was working on “The Odd Woman”, the second time. Beth was accumulating books to read with one foot in the air, following meniscus repair of her knee.

Every one of these books is about a journey. As is every book, you say. But, there is a physical journey in each book, as well as mental. Almost as if I picked right up from “The Salt Path”.

“The Odd Woman” is me, a solitary person, in fact, not by choice. It also is a memoir of a woman whose mornings are spent writing, afternoons and evenings spent walking the New York, threading transit passengers and footpaths of her city.

Two thirds through this book, Beth told me she couldn’t find what I saw in it. I didn’t tell her I read it twice, but  to pass it along, together with the other books I sent.

Then I read “Negroland”, Margo Jefferson’s memoir. Beth really wanted the book, so I only read it once. I didn’t “get it” until two thirds through, when the whole tone of the book purposely changed and the author made her point. I don’t know that it deserved a second reading; the first two thirds were tough to get through.

It is an autobiography of growing up in the fifties and sixties, in the black upper class. It was another childhood, during my childhood, and about characters I might have known in my own neighborhood. I knew white girls like the black girls in the book, but was not accepted by them. I knew black girls, not like the black girls in the book. The book, in the end, is about coming of age in this country at that time.

Next I picked up “The Old Ways”. I found the author’s pretentious presentation rather similar to Margo Jefferson’s childhood, and that condensed into the chapter I managed before I put “The Old Ways” into the stack of books for Beth. When she asked a reading order, I put it on the bottom, and indicated it might interest France.

Next, “A Walk in the Woods”. Bill Bryson is gearing himself to walk the Appalachian Trail, bottom to top. He pulled me into mental exertion of facing one’s unfilled goals and the physical exertion of attempts to execute. Bill decided he could use a companion, and could solicit only one, Steve Katz. He’d travelled Europe with Katz in college days, and remembered Katz nearly drove him nuts.

Nevertheless, they set off. Bryson remains seriously mentally engaged, and so does Katz, in his way. Several weeks into Virginia they split up; Katz to keep a summer job engagement and Bryson to hike on alone. Bill finds ‘alone’ seriously unfulfilling, and his wife gives him a lift home. After Katz’ summer job, the two meet up again. They decide they have hiked the best and the worst of the trail, and if they tackle the brutal end of it, ‘The Hundred Mile Wilderness’ in Maine, they could claim victory.

A life or death experience there in the Hundred Mile Wilderness cinches it. Katz is horrified, Bryson mentally crushed. With so many months, miles and experiences past their feet, they say the important is done. They tried.

And so I picked up “H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald. The book is exhausting, mentally and to the imagination. Macdonald purchases a goshawk, intending to train it, as she has trained many hawks in the past. She runs for miles across English hills, training the hawk, and coming to what peace she can with the unexpected death of her father. It is a book I will read again, but for now it is on the bookshelf.

And to the bottom of the pile, “Travels in Siberia” by Ian Frazier. I believe there are five or six hundred pages in this book. I have probably a hundred fifty down. I am finally settling into what this book is.  So far I've read about Russian and Siberian history; Frazier learning it and the language; then applying history and language in excursions to the country to experience what he read.

The book is not a tough slog if one does not bog down in the extensive history and languages of the countries that I do take as fact, being no expert. Several times I’ve felt I could doze away and am slapped awake by discussions of what he is seeing resembling Akron, Cleveland, Ohio during my and his childhood. He is a native of Hudson, Ohio.

My bookmark is left at Frazier’s meeting of the two guides who will accompany him across Siberia, in a rickety van. He does not like the first, and the second even less.

If I were to write about the books, it’s now or never. Who know when I will finish “Travels in Siberia”. The first time.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

On the road again, with Ruth

A while back I took a load of books to my daughter, convalescing at her mother-in-law's house. Beth's biggest amusement that day was her mother and her mother-in-law syncing calendars, to arrange their annual days out.

Today was the Cleveland Botanical Gardens annual orchid display. Every year the display has a theme, and this year it was orchids of Vietnam. Ruth also has a date to go with Francis.

Orchids are pretty much orchids to me, so here is my pick of the best of today.



That jade tree behind the ribbon is descended from our brother, Melvin, and nurtured to mammoth size by my sister Janice. The last time we wrassled it out the front door to be repotted, I suggested to Jan it probably was the last trip through the front door and we should consider donating it to the Botanical Gardens. And we did.
I last saw it four years ago.

Then we started around. I have culled down to pictures of interest. 




Orchids, birds and butterflies were everywhere. Pass on the bananas, but the melon looks mighty fine.


Here the turtle is late to lunch. We quit waiting for him.


This is the avenue of fragrant orchids. Ruth tested them. Some did smell nice. My nose closed, half a dozen down.


Bromelid


Banana


A Christmas Cactus like I grew up with.



Then we went upstairs, and I fell prey to my best habit of people watching. In my next life, I will again have hair like the woman in black. Heck, I'll even settle for the woman in wellies.


When we stepped off the elevator and passed the young girl in black, I said to Ruth, "I had identical trousers in college," and Ruth said, "They are vintage! Did you see the little pleats at the waist?"

She was in the same spot when we left, so of course we told her our observations on her trousers. Her face lit up. "My mom will be so pleased. She gave them to me!" No, I did not reach over and stroke them. They were of that fine, light wool I've not seen since the sixties!


And finally, we looked at all the specialty orchids. This is the one we both picked to take home. Dendrobium something or the other.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Tools and towels

A couple of years ago my stocking had a funny gift. It's the oval, black doodad in the picture.


I was told its an illuminating magnifying glass, for reading the concert program in dim light, or for reading a menu in a posh restaurant. How funny. 

It hung out on my dresser until the last set of towels, when I could not associate the thread with the color patch. I went straight for the illuminating device. When I pull open at the oval, an led light comes on and superbly illuminates whatever is being magnified. Doing those things to a thread strand makes it very easy to mate the thread to a color swatch.

My next set of towels will be with that acid green. The last towels of the warp wooshed out of here so quickly I didn't mention they happened.  The purple are completely gone. In fact, here is the state of my inventory shelf:


Left to right, lime, cream, cerise, yellow-orange (melon, in my opinion), khaki, yellow and periwinkle.


At quitting time tonight, only three bouts remained to be tied on. I'm looking forward to that new green, which has a far nicer name than acid, I know. I'll look tomorrow.

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.





Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Michigan and necromancy

I have a friend who has a friend since childhood, who has let bad decisions mold her mind. She has drifted to waiting for the rapture. She begs her friend to join her, and not be left behind. Trump is prominent in the present and future of the childhood friend's thinking.

My friend truly fears for the sanity of her friend, for the future of her children. A few months ago, knowing my friend would see her friend shortly, I took a deep breath and asked my friend to ask her friend, directly, why she considers Trump a biblical character of intangible power.

And her friend's husband joined in and said Trump's power over their 401K says all. For four years it has risen, as promised.

This morning I listened to NPR's Morning Edition, interviewing Michigan residents, in conjunction with Trump signing the first phase of his trade deal with China. In the last presidential election, Trump took Michigan, a first for a Republican since H.W. in 88. 

There was a lot of talk of the hundreds of thousands who threw away their vote on a third party candidate rather than vote for a woman; that useless woulda, coulda, shoulda talk.  The main point was, Michigan is energized to elect a Democrat as president. 

Except Detroit. It seems Detroit remains a crap shoot. Its population is decimated, and those remaining seem apportioned between haves and have nots. The later still live in substandard housing, have substandard city services, have borderline jobs. And the former watch their 401K's climb.

Personally, I feel we all are treading black treacle every day. Hang on; we go to the polls in November.


Another day in the sixties, but descending to thirty some degrees for the rest of the week. Whenever I go past, I look closely at my pots for signs of bulbs popping up. In spite of the weather, nothing.

Well, one of two things. One, my bulbs have followed the calendar, not the weather, and are hibernating until spring. Two, my bulbs have become fertilizer.