Weeds

It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Plants that grow and thrive without tender care are weeds. Plants that require constant tender care, and additives from Big Ag, and glyphosate to kill off the competition, are flowers.

My husband refers to me as “Buttercup,” but I am cultivating my inner dandelion!

In a Mid-Atlantic state, here’s what happens when yard tenders refuse to coddle turf grasses. Gather your vetches and fescues while ye may!

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Ratchet

Basic Knowledge 101

A Brief Quiz:

Do you know what a ratchet is?

Have you ever used a ratchet?

If so, when, and for what purpose?

Somehow, I missed Basic Knowledge 101. Sure, I can turn on a stove, and cook dinner, but if my stove or oven were to break, I would simply use the grill or the camp stove. That is, unless the camp stove is stashed somewhere inacessible in the rafters. The problem is, I don’t know how to repair or maintain household objects, or appliances, or even my own bicycle.

I am always prepared for vehicular emergencies, but I have never changed a tire. On that note, I think I will order a headlamp-style flashlight to keep in my car, and at least watch a YouTube video on changing a tire.

In the last two weeks I have threaded a bobbin on an expletive-inducing, unnecesarily complex, sewing machine. I also figured out how to start and use the electric lawnmower.

Yesterday, I learned what a ratchet is for, and how to use one. My newfound knowledge of ratchets is courtesy of my husband, who was confidently employing one and let me try. I had no idea why he was doing something noisy to the inside of the garage doors. He was tightening nuts. Or was he tightening bolts?

A kind, if amused, friend helped with verbal and visual explanations. He even forwarded two gifs. They made sense, since I had already had a kinesthetic learning experience.

To learn, I must do it myself. Observation alone is insufficient.

A bit of background: I am not unable to create  things with my hands, but words are the tools I employ regularly. I can knit, crochet, sew, embroider, cook, and grow a plant from seed. Yes, I am a woman. My education included home economics, but not shop or carpentry. My parents, apparently, did not consider learning how to build or fix anything mechanical part of my basic education. Or else I resisted learning. I was busy reading, playing dress-ups, climbing trees, journaling, and helping with housework and retail sales in a family-owned shop. Enough about the past!

What tool should I use next? For what basic task?

I await your suggestions. I also hope to figure out how to enable pingbacks. I will try to include a pingback in my next post. This one has languished unpublished for several months.

Perhaps my first goal should be to overcome my new fear of publishing and writers block: Time to ratchet up my writing!

Circe

Men at Work

Men at work. The beautiful. amazing, and dare I say, unusual thing about these scenes are that the men are working quietly, and getting exercise and fresh air, not to mention gaining a sense of accomplishment. Who doesn’t love clean gutters?! Um, well, I don’t think about them very often, so I guess love is going overboard. I’m not even sure what terrible things might occur if water and leaves were to coexist in our gutters. Of course I realize that the gutters would become clogged, and water would run down the side of the house, and not neatly through the downspouts. It’s just not the sort of thing this blogger thinks about often. I also did my small part today: I planned my morning so that I had those extra ten minutes to walk to the gym instead of driving. Not only did I get fresh air there and back, but because I was on foot, had a chance to have a 1.5 minute conversation with a friend I rarely see while she was stuck at the red light. (This pleasant impromptu meeting does confirm my fear that it is best not to walk when feeling antisocial. There is no sensible route that doesn’t involve crossing one of the main roads in town, while standing out in the open for several minutes. Yes, I can be a real hermit at times.)

It helps not to be a perfectionist if you are going to have DIY leaf removal with the assistance of two guys in their teens.

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Gutter Guy by Circespeaks

Thanks to one of our volunteers, another few piles of leaves were raked up and stuffed into compostable bags. At some point they will be removed by the town crews. What a big fuss over leaves on lawns! Since I have my noise issues–which I now know is a condition called misophonia that I share with many others–I do need to check the calendar and be sure to be elsewhere when the leaf collection vehicles come scraping and beeping by sometime soon again. It was, I promise, more than my imagination: they really were here off and on from 7am to almost 4pm last time. Had I only known, I would have planned to be elsewhere.

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

Young Man Wielding Ancient Implement by Circespeaks

And now that the leaves are gutter free, two guys at work have begun, and almost completed, another seasonal ritual: putting up the Christmas lights. When we moved here from North County, San Diego, and kept up the tradition of festooning the house–not just the tree–with lights, I was sure that this would be looked upon as terribly déclassé. Much to my surprise, neighborhood friends and acquaintances often remark upon how much they enjoy our Christmas lights. And those who find them cheap and tacky are probably kind enough to keep such thoughts to themselves 🙂 These days a peace symbol joins the lights. Though Dr. Bronner–whose philosophy I must research one day–doesn’t live here, and we don’t proselytize “All One God Faith,” the peace symbol includes one and all. Didn’t someone called Tiny Tim once say something similar at the end of a book by Charles Dickens? Am I already getting into the holiday mood?

Peace,

Circe

The Day After: Another Protest

No, as far as I know, it’s not the “End Times” or anything like that. For many of us, this is a quiet day of restoration and relaxation. Not for those who work or shop on Black Friday. Have we become so trivial that everyone in the United States knows that is a day of shopping? I understand why Christians set aside a day for Good Friday (even though I must often explain what the “good” part of crucifixion is, and why it is not instead called “Bad Friday.”) I do not understand how our culture has become so superficial that we have a National Day of Insane Shopping!

I took an online pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving, and I’m not sure what someone would have to do to convince me to participate in the entire Black Friday fracas. Yes, I admit it: I don’t like shopping. Consumerism makes me feel fairly ill. Why does our economy have to be built on throw-away items that need to be frequently replaced? It is largely forging ahead without me.

Today was spent working, visiting with friends and family, at the gym (which also involves visiting with friends) and now, having sent off yet another version of a document on which I have been working for months, I think I am going to rest with a book or my headphones, but away from all screens until it is time to get up and do it again. May the leftovers suffice! Since no one in this family has even ventured into a grocery store, they will have to. What was really missing from today was a nice, long walk.

My sincerest apologies for causing a crisis in the global economy. Could it be I am having delusions of grandeur and really need a nap?! No doubt Walmart did just fine without me.

Here’s to the semi-simple life. Naturally a bit hyper, this takes some effort for me.

Circe, put the lid down on the laptop. This post is not even an imperfectly formed essay, haiku (which I just almost spelled highku…) poem, or anything, but some thoughts on consumerism and my personal resistance to being totally sucked into the dementor thought process of “BUY..BUY…BUY.”

As American as Apple Pie

Home Made Apple Pie by Circespeaks

Home Made Apple Pie by Circespeaks

My son and I made apple pie. We even made the crust from scratch. I was surprised at how good he was at this until her reminded me that he is a ceramicist. Used to working with clay, he is very good at pounding and crimping doughy substances. We won’t fire this particular creation, though.

How American we are is another matter. Of his four grandparents, only one was born in the United States. Thanksgiving is, however, an easy holiday to adopt. Though I do confess that in my childhood home there was very little discussion of the Indigenous North Americans who made the original–if much mythologized–Thanksgiving real. That was a school event, and practiced more assiduously by my children’s teachers than my own.

Did your family or school teachers remind you of the origins of Thanksgiving? Or did you all gather, thankful for family and food, and dwell instead on the present or on the religious overtones that Thanksgiving–originally, I believe, a secular holiday–has taken on?

Wishing everyone a warm and peaceful Thanksgiving, with good and wholesome food to eat!

Circe

Haikus: High School Redux

High School Redux

Wearing blue sweater,
Laughing, leaning against tree–
Forever fall day.

Sister’s purple room,
Entwined in discovery–
Lethargic at school.

Basketball warmup,
Entangled, breathless on mats–
The gym door slammed shut.

Christmas gift in hand,
Eggnog nutmeg forgetful–
We reignited.

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