Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Camera Cleaning

Hamilton is taking several Advanced Placement classes, which means he can also receive college credit for them.  Bring them on. At upwards of $400 a credit hour in Ohio's public universities he can't save himself too much money.

The AP exams are imminent and he's been back to school in the evening for some extra study.  I picked Hamilton up Monday evening from a history review and he had a tee shirt his teacher had distributed.  "He's kinda goofy, Grandma.  We all like him."

The front of the shirt had a handsome young man's photo and said he was running for president in 2012.  The back of the shirt had answers.  One of them could be right if you were stuck on a question.  I laughed all the way home.

Here is the orchid Caroline gave me for my birthday a year ago March,  because I admired her ice cube a week orchid.  It's blooms lasted longer than I can recall, and then around my birthday this year a new spike began growing.  Look at all the buds.

I'm off to Broad Ripple and will bring a camera of pictures and a full show report.  Have a good weekend.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Freeze warning

Over the weekend we had a cookout featuring shish kebob, our traditional Memorial Day fare.  We held it in honor of Hazel and Tony, who will be leaving this week. I think we counted seventeen in the house, including my friend Linda, who’s generally up for a picnic.  The operative phrase is in the house. In spite of the new picnic table on the deck it was not warm enough for anyone to go outside.  Even the children worked up minimum enthusiasm for throwing a football in the late afternoon sunshine.

Linda produced her new phone to get some advice.  Rather like hiring on at a job and everyone else is an “old employee,” even if they started the day before.  Not even a year ago I was a flip phoner, just like her.  But I’ve had a smart phone for six or seven months, have six apps that I use regularly out on the home screen, and am the very local expert.  If a grandchild showed me how, I’m pretty good.

Linda has a new phone too, with a slide out keyboard.  She bought it for a reason I don’t recall plus it fits in her pocket holster.  She only makes and receives calls on it; no plan upgrade.  No extra charge because it was the phone that fit the holster.

Later this week I’m going to Indianapolis with her, her roadie for the Broad Ripple Art Fair.  A couple of years ago a severe storm with high winds tore right through the grounds and did severe damage to many artists’ work.  There was no warning except one volunteer who ran through the show shouting “Take cover.”

This year the Indianapolis Museum of Art has offered to send weather tweets to any artist who signs up to receive them.  In case you wonder where this story is headed, we’re on the way.  Linda wanted to know how to tweet.  There was a general consensus her phone could tweet, but nothing was tweet ready, including her plan. Then there is the whole learning curve business.  We seventy year olds take a little longer.

I said for her near future I would download Storm Shield, the weather app endorsed by the major local television station, to my phone.  I did that yesterday, read the directions, entered the local settings, put the phone back in my pocket.  I have to say I was a little disappointed to see I have to tell the app where I am.  Google maps and navigator always know where I am!  And, they were free. But, Thursday I will tell the app I’m in Indianapolis and we’re all set for the weekend.

My phone has several discreet tones to notify me.  A ring for calls, other notes for incoming texts, missed calls, appointments, that stuff.  Early this afternoon there was a new tone from my pocket and before I could retrieve the phone, a man’s voice:  “There is a freeze warning for this zone.  There is a freeze warning for this zone.”

So, I sent Hamilton to bring in the hanging flower basket tonight.  He brought it in Sunday night, too, before the app went into effect.  Local weather included a freeze warning.

Friday, May 10, 2013

One thing and another

When I was a young our house was cleaned every stinking Saturday.  I remember every Saturday of my childhood and know I scrubbed the upstairs floors and cleaned the bathroom every stinking Saturday.

Of course I grew up and eventually appreciated the value of organization over chaos.  My daughters and I cleaned every Saturday morning.  We could be done by noon and free to enjoy anything else planned for the day. 

We may have finished so quickly because the girls’ rooms were bypassed, except for vacuuming.  One time, while we were on vacation, our house was robbed.  The girls’ piggy banks were smashed on their bedroom floors.  The police remarked on the ransacking of their rooms. Except for piggy bank shards on the floor, that’s how they left them.

Cleaning this house has never come to the top of any list.  No excuses, but as if Mom, Jan and I were cleaned out.  We had Mark in the beginning, and he is a neat freak, so we could rely on him to sweep any particle up from any floor, and find an inconspicuous place for things he didn’t like to see. But he went off into the world to become a citizen and left us to dust bunnies of several cats and dogs.

We engaged cleaning people.  Some good, some not.  My friend Carol told me one is always looking for the next cleaning person.  She does know; she has twice the house and so many collections her cleaning ladies spend a day. We had cleaning ladies, too, right up to the time we decided we needed kids
I call them Child Help, Grandma’s Sole Proprietorship. They do a fine job.  Their rooms are never included in the schedule and the grown-ups take care of their rooms, so the job can’t be that onerous. Some weeks we give it a lick and a promise and some weeks we do a real job.

But, one thing and another, we have done nothing except keep the kitchen clean for several weeks.  And tomorrow is the big family Memorial Day picnic, before Hazel and Tony go home.  As soon as my proprietary cleaners come home from school we will tuck in and get it done.  We could be done before supper. 

There may be pictures of grandchildren scrubbing floors on hands and knees.  Nothing makes my seventy year old knees feel better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Treasurer for Life

Jan, Mom and I turned in our old homes and moved here twenty five years ago for the sole reason that Jan and I wanted to move our weaving business to the next level and needed a studio. 

We moved to the Township of Boston, a big square in Northeastern Ohio, exactly the size Northwest Ordinance of 1786 decreed, with a couple of chunks now gone due to the succession of Boston Heights a hundred years ago, and some annexation by the greedy city to the south.  The Village of Peninsula runs along part of the ragged edges of the Township.

The charming little village is locked into its canal days appearance by an historic designation obtained by some previous visionary in the village. The old houses have unchanged facades, failing septic systems and cisterns serviced weekly by the water truck.  It is so quaint it attracts tourists.  Peninsula is as art centric as they come. 

The man who locked up most of the village as an historic district had a vision without a plan, leaving behind a village that tourists love to visit, but tend to spend little money in.  It is hard to be comfortable lingering in shops when the nearest public restroom is in the next city.

Way back in the nineties, shortly after we moved here, a young whippersnapper with a vision to promote his hometown moved back and opened a gallery.  Then another.  He took over another.  A group of merchants coalesced around him.   We called ourselves the Peninsula Merchants Co-Op.  Another member and I opened the Co-Op’s first checking account, and I settled into being Treasurer for Life.

With our young visionary leading, the Co-Op promoted the town, organized events, took advantage of events already in place such as the national Boston Mills Art Festival, held in the township.  We started the village web site.  Funding came from grants written by young Turks with local businesses to promote. 

Jan’s and my business is up the hill from Peninsula and around the corner, off in the township. I resisted the urging of friends in town to move shop to the village.  Our overhead was too darn comfortable and our art show business model wasn’t compatible with moving our work to a place in town.  But I liked my associates, and was learning a lot.  Treasurer for Life was OK, until they got the first five thousand dollar grant and were working on another.  The checking account had my social security number on it!

Thus, I am responsible for the existence of the Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce.  I got the federal ID number, filled out the reams of paperwork, chased down other officers for life to get signatures and filed in time to open a Chamber checking account with its own ID for the money on hand and the grants zooming down the pipeline.

Ten years into Treasurer for Life our own business had grown to twelve employees, our own accountant was retiring and a new business came to town.  A young public accountant set up business in her kitchen.

She dropped in to visit us and see what weavers do.  I engaged her on the spot and also asked her to be Treasurer for Life of the Chamber. She agreed.  As I recall, she showed up at the next meeting with the records and said “Hi, I’m your new Treasurer for Life.”  She’s been at it for the last thirteen years.

Some post scripts:  my friend, the young whippersnapper, eventually filed for bankruptcy, a not unexpected turn for a visionary in a town with no facilities.  He is now an international designer.

Mr. Bob, our accountant of many years, was in his eighties when he retired.  Every single year, because of the amount of cash he knew I could have on leaving a show, he asked me if I carried a gun.  Every year I said “No, Bob.  I carry a phone.”

My accountant for life outgrew her kitchen and now has an office in the township hall, down the hall from mine.  Her cat is so pleased.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Starting with pancake breakfast

We did not set out to do so much in a day, it just happened.  We did plan on pancakes at the fire station this morning, and when that plan shifted from noon to nine in the morning the rest of the day just got longer.

After pancakes we (royal we) mulched the garden.  Then Jan and Hazel and Laura and I went shopping for a new picnic table for the back deck.  That had been slated for tomorrow and happened today.  Tomorrow Tom and Tony will surely assemble the new outfit.  At least one of them won’t rest until he knows what we bought.

Without further ado:

Some of the equipment the fire district put on display.  They move it all outdoors for pancake breakfast morning so the equipment garage becomes the dining hall.  On the right, the pumper.  Its cab, at least.  I forgot my camera and put Emily in charge of taking pictures with my phone.  On the left, the squad.  Personally, I would call it an ambulance.  It is the very one I rode in to the hospital when I had a stroke three years ago.

For the first time I remember a medi-vac helicopter came for the public to inspect.  Geoff told me they have been on the field the last three years; I guess I've just been missing it.  I was not about to walk on the very lumpy field to take a picture of Hamilton, Laura and Emily together so they passed the phone among themselves. Someone forgot to tell Hamilton the color scheme du jour.

Tony, Tom and my nephew Mark up close and personal inspecting the chopper.  Tom left, Tony right in the right hand picture.  Hazel calls them "the stomachs."  

Passed Geoff in the parking lot and got a hug.  I worked for the fire district for four years, through the construction of the new station garage.  My favorite:  construction accounting for a government entity.  Not.  

The first day I went into the station house, a building already on the site, construction was all around.  2x4's on the floor, marked up drawings on long tables, a to do list on a chalk board.  Item one on the list:  Fire Geoff. They're a pretty loose lot when they don't have to be serious and apparently firing Geoff seemed like a good idea that day.

At work back at the house.  Mark took pity on them after a dozen bags of mulch and unloaded the bags from the tractor.  My knees should be as young as Laura's knees! I am keeping an eye on the lettuce tower in the lower left picture and will soon have a report.


My little corner vignette. I moved in one of my lavendar plants, added the pansy pot and pulled all the weeds from around the blarney stone and the indian.  Mulch compliments of my grandkids.

Finally.  Look at this young man's dirty feet.  A black and white with dirty feet.  I finally realized when we are outdoors he lays at the storm door with his front paws pushed as far as possible underneath.  Feeling the breeze?  He does not try to leave when we open the door, although we have to push him aside or try to step around.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two worms

My garden crew is doing a nice job of clearing the overgrown grass and getting down to bare earth so I can plant some things Nina gifted me from her garden.  I only know which ones are pinks.  Nina knows everything about plants, so I’ll be fine.

Our years of neglect has resulted in quite the tangled root mass below the surface.  Fibrous runners and tap roots.  This from the two oldest who amuse themselves with biology lessons on clover and dandelions while loosening their roots.

Laura’s job is to go along the edges and excavate the plants the excellent pronged twisty thing can’t dislodge.  Leading to this exchange:

Laura: Ooh, a worm.  I don’t want to hurt him.

Grandma:  He’ll be fine Laura.  If you cut one in half there simply will be two worms.

Hamilton:  It depends on where you cut it, Grandma.

Grandma:  There will be two worms, Hamilton.

Emily:  It depends on what kind of worm it is.

Grandma:  There will be two worms, Emily.

Laura:  So it won’t hurt if I accidently cut the worm?  There will just be two.

Grandma:  That’s right, Laura.  Two worms.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day, 1955

May Day, May 1st, is such a forgotten holiday in America. A good pagan holiday that couldn’t keep up with the times.

My parents had little to say about the holiday.  Coming off the Great Depression and then a World War, I can appreciate they didn’t find the day special.  I recall, when I carried home from school the news that the day was May Day, a bitter remark from my father that the day had been co-opted by the communists for International Workers’ Day

May Day had a place in school, nevertheless.  I attended the same elementary school for all those seven years from kindergarten through sixth grade.  We had a May Day celebration, organized by one of the sixth grade teachers.  Every year the sixth grade girls danced around the May Pole.  I wonder if it was the dream of every girl watching on the play ground to be one of the dancers.

Miss Horning, the mistress of the dance, tried so hard to keep “the gentle arts” alive.  There was a piano in her room, and in my sixth grade year she made me play.  My mother played well, we had a piano at home and I was given lessons.  I was no good.  As I’ve often said, I have a tin ear.  

Once a week I had to follow the only other piano player, a girl named Joy, who played quite well, and bumble through the piece Miss Horning selected for me.  Miss Horning did not allow me to not play, in spite of my protestations.  Eventually I appealed to my mother, who wrote a note to Miss Horning, and my performances were cancelled.

About April Miss Horning assembled the sixth grade girls around the May Pole to practice during recess.  The May Pole, I now realize, was the tether ball pole.  How did she convince the janitor to substitute ribbons?  I cannot imagine.  Perhaps Miss Horning taught the dance to more competent students before my time.   We just went round and round the pole making a spiral of our ribbons.  On May Day we performed for the entire school at a special assembly.

Surely the ceremony was much longer than our short performance of wrapping ribbons around a tether ball pole.  That is all I recall.

 I loved the May Day celebration we learned in second grade.  We wove baskets from paper strips, filled them with daffodils and tulips from the garden, and gave them to our mothers.  My mother told me they should be hung on the door knob, then knock and hide and watch the surprise of the recipient. I made another basket for Mrs. Cole.  I jumped up and down so from excitement she saw me hiding.

My sister says in her day, ten years later, there was no May Pole.  She did remember the flowers; she took hers to Mrs. Rich.  I still associate May Day with bouquets of flowers and the May Pole dance in 1955.