Saturday, October 30, 2010

Swimming lesson

Early this morning, long before sun-up, I began to have this wonderful dream of nearly naked men and women having way too much fun.

The sylvan setting included an old rock building which had been restored as condos. A mountain stream ran alongside the property. Soft melodies filled the air.

Inside was a huge swimming pool (here comes the good part) with men and women older than me meditating, swaying to an inner music.

Unimpressed, I thought they were selfishly hogging the pool. Then I noticed someone was in the water floating in a happy way. To hell with it, I thought, and I decided to slip into the water and try not to make waves to disturb the meditators.

Next thing I know, my butt is hitting the floor.

I had thrown myself off the bed.

As I struggled to get up, the Mystery Woman just lay there, not saying a word, not offering a hand to help me get off the floor.

Once I struggled back into bed, I asked indignantly, “Why didn’t you help me get up?”

Her answer: “I didn’t want to get wet."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weather forecast -- that's easy up here

We took our three-season screened porch down yesterday. It’s a marker, the neighbors say, that red-lines reality from fall into winter. Reality that the first inch of our annual 48 inches of snow is due any day now.

Once again, Young Tom hired out to help us. He’s in his fifties. The task is just too much for us. We would have to set our pacemakers on stun to even attempt it alone – all that reaching, pulling, straining, hauling. Nope. It’s much easier to supervise. The Mystery Woman was born to supervise.

As the porch makes the passage from season to season, our world changes. Each year, we rush to set up our gauzy screen on the front porch. We start and end most every day in the little sanctuary. And, quite naturally, we drag our heels at taking it down.

But we must. The snows, the snows.

To honor the change, we put down a fire shield, drug out the fire extinguisher from the kitchen, set up the fire pit and whoosh, we enjoyed a fire on the front porch. A little early. The night-time temps were in the 60’s but the neighbors just smiled. They like to see old folks having fun -- near food and shelter.

For months, I have been saving any paperwork that might be useful if someone wanted to steal my identity. Don't laugh. The bastards already got most of my hair.

So last night, I burned the bills in the first fire of the season. Probably illegal. Not too smart, either. This morning, I discovered a piece of a torn check that included all the necessary numbers along with my name and address.

Wine makes you go blind.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity with Mystery Woman

One of these days, you’re going to find me laying in the gutter with my belly to the sun – the victim of a perfectly good ass-whipping.

Don’t bother calling the Mystery Woman. It will be her fault.

People who have just met her immediately put her in a “nice woman” box because she is a retired elementary school media specialist. But those of us who have been around her for any length of time know that she gets up every morning, gargles obscenities and brushes her teeth with barbed wire.

If you see us in a restaurant, and if you have noisy small children with you, run for your lives. If you don’t, it can get ugly.

Likewise if you like to talk in movie theaters. She has a patent on withering stares.

Let’s don’t even talk about traffic and patience.

What’s she up to now? What was that noise? Did you hear that? Sounds like a hammer pounding something into the ground.

Oh crap. The Mystery Woman was in the front yard planting a yard sign urging everyone to attend the Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity.”

Where did she get the poster? The normally mild-mannered school teacher downloaded Stewart’s artwork from the Internet, printed a small copy and took it to Kinko’s for a ginormous blow-up. A wire frame and a few staples later and there you have it.

An invitation for Tea Baggers to come whip my ass.

Already the neighborhood is reacting. A granny walked over with her toddler grandson to watch the tree-trimmers at work. When she saw our sign, she struck out her tongue. At the sign! Then she had the gall to sit on our front steps for half an hour to let the kid learn chain saw 101. True story.

I fear for my personal safety.

Take pity on me. Sure, I’m the guy the Mystery Woman came with but I’m old and only average size. Long ago, I forgot everything I know about karate. Just mutter and turn away.

Better still – join up 10.30.10 in Washington. Or organize a rally in your hometown.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Screened porch days are numbered

Not only do we talk about the weather, we do something about it, too.

We are pushing our luck on leaving the screen porch up too long. Once again, the little shelter gave us a summer of sanctuary. You know the routine: a little wine, a little music, the stars come out, the neighbors come over. Good stuff.

But reality comes out of the north in Minnesota. Soon, it will be too cold to sit outside so the screen porch has to come down in a few days.

Not this week. Thanks to Indian Summer weather. A generous gift.

Until I connected with Minnesota, I never had the opportunity to watch a whole forest change colors. Awesome, delicate beauty that you can almost taste. Texas, of course, has the Piney Woods but I grew up in Lubbock. Tumbleweeds don’t have brilliant hues unless you think gray is silver. And sage isn't purple unless you squint.

Between St. Paul and Minneapolis, the urban forest along the Mississippi River gorge offers a changing palate of gold -- yellow, orange and red trees against a shimmering blue sky.

I study the trees. Not to learn anything. I don’t even know their names. Wanda, maybe. I study the trees to relax and to feel good.

Many trees start changing colors from the top down. Golden tree tops touching the sky while reaching for the earth.

Some trees just can’t wait and start their new color scheme early. These trees literally pop in bright contrast to the dark greens trees next in nature's queue.

The slightest breeze can cast a spell of falling leaves. On some streets, when the tree canopy lets go, it’s like raining leaves. And it lifts your spirits. Magical.

I’m going to check with the Mystery Woman. She knows the weather up here pretty good after 31 years of bus duty while teaching in public schools.

I’ll ask her if we can leave the screen porch up a week or so longer.

We do love it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Take back America

After two weekends of demonstrations at the Washington Mall, we’re finally getting somewhere in the national discourse. The argument has narrowed down to this: who bussed in the most people? Which side had the biggest crowd? Size is important, especially when it comes to screwing the public.

This much we know for sure: the right wingers did a better job of cleaning up after themselves than did the communists. But the mess left on the Mall could be nothing more than the beginnings of a leftist jobs program.

Confession: I have a man crush on Jon Stewart. He is one of the best satirists ever. But now that CNN's Rick Sanchez has been fired after criticizing Jon and the Jews Who Control TV, I think Jon should take the high road and stop banging on the poor guy. After all, he did lose his job.

Republican Sharron Angle, senate candidate from Nevada, has changed her position and lied so many times I’ve lost count. Now she has been caught on tape blasting the GOP for losing their principles. Don’t let her kiss your baby.

Take back America -- if you still have the receipt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gadsden flag -- "don't talk to me"

So – you Tea Baggers want to take back America. What, may I ask, are your plans if you succeed?

I have to ask. And I have to ask over and over because your candidates for public office have a self-imposed gag rule in play. More and more, your candidates won’t talk to any legitimate reporters from the national press.

No, I do not consider Fox to be a legitimate news outlet. GOP fund-raising arm, yes. News organization, no.

But back to the fearless Tea Bagger candidates. Why do you, in some cases, actually run from the press? Sharon Angle literally ran from her own press conference. Christine O’Donnell says “no mas” to national interviews. Sarah Palin openly encourages her chicks to hide under the wings of Fox. (That metaphor sucks, but you get the idea.)

Before you whine about “biased, mainstream media” – ask yourself why the other candidates are not afraid to meet the press.

Your fear is real. You cannot justify some of the stupid things you’ve said. In America, we hold candidates accountable for their actions and their public utterances.

You Tea Party candidates are not accountable.

And your supporters are being duped by the likes of Dick Armey and Freedom Works.

The Gadsden flag means "don't tread on me." You folks think it means "don't talk to me."

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