Thursday, July 26, 2012

We are pleased to announce

I received this in the post today: 

"We are pleased to announce you may qualify for the Funeral Advantage Program that will pay your family in the event of your death an insurance cash benefit up to $20,000 TAX FREE. " If I answer today, I will also get a pamphlet called "My Final Wishes".   Why on earth would anyone be "pleased to announce" this?  Who wrote this?  Am I meant to be pleased to be told this?  I was sitting here opening envelopes as I do in a once a week depressing ritual:  Bill, bill, bill, bill, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE and we are PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE IT.  The next bill seemed positively cheerful.  How delightful.  I owe $118 dollars for 400 tv stations I don't want to watch, but at least they aren't pleased to announce my impending death.  They just want their 118 bucks .Then on the computer  I received notification of another review on Trip Advisor.  Great. I really need another critic writing in a lacto intolerant gluten free feather allergy snit about a squeaky door. I'm still paying the price in my rankings exacted by a woman who loathed me about 3 years ago the result of which was a  very nasty albeit hilarious review which I suppose will follow me to my gravestone. One depends on the common sense of the Trip Advisor readers.  Anyhow, I took a deep breath and found the review and Mon Dieu!    It was nice.  Somebody liked me.   Someone came here, had a good time and was nice enough to say so.  They liked the birds.  They liked my house.  They thought I was incredibly beautiful and youthful looking. (That part was just sort of implied.) Not the sort of person at all who would qualify for a funeral advantage program.

Friday, July 20, 2012

'Goat Man' Spotted in Mountains of Northern Utah -

'Goat Man' Spotted in Mountains of Northern Utah -

Are these ornamental?

There are three decanters grouped on the table:  onange juice, cranberry juice and apple juice. 
There are 7 guests, one of whom has recently had eye surgery.  "Are these ornamental?" the recent surgeree asks, gesturing vaguely to the juices.  I'm thinking, "how on earth did you travel here from Michigan by yourself?"but say, "No.  They are juices.  Orange, cranberry and apple."  "Oh," she says.  Later I notice that she is drinking orange juice out of a teacup while telling the other guests about her trip which involved a diversion to Atlanta , a night in a chair in Orlando and then a flight to somewhere like Connecticut.  I'm almost in tears thinking about this lady catching all the wrong planes and thinking that airport flower arrangements are salads when I notice that there are no glasses on the table. In the meantime, guests are chiming in about the storms up and down the east coast that disrupted everyone's travel plans yesterday. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sounds of a Summer Morning

At 6:19, the local NPR weatherman informs us what to expect in the coming day.  That is to say, he ought to.   Instead, he often tells us that the day ahead will be 'decent'.  After 10 years, we still are not sure what this means.  "Do I need to wear a hat?" my husband shouts at the radio.  He, the weatherman, (I'm beginning to sound like Hilary Mantel "he, Cromwell, ...".  Nevermind.  If you read it you get it if you didn't, you won't.) also doesn't like hot weather.  He is, it must be said, a bit podgy, and perhaps finds heat uncomfy.  However, to be told that in July the temperature will be back down in the 50's "where it belongs" is annoying.  This is all beside the point.  The point is that BEFORE Lou McNally annoyed us, a sound like a chainsaw going through a cement block with great difficulty, assaulted us.  I shot up in bed.  My husband shot out of the bathroom.  Jack lifted his head wondering if this was the arrival of the mother of all bad bikkies.  You may remember my neighbour who burnt his house down?  I remember it because I'm still picking pieces of his house out of my hair.  Well, he's now building a new house.  I am resigned to the sound of it - indeed we built the world's biggest garage workshop a few years back and my neighbours suffered in silence through much annoying hoopla.  But not at 6:19 in the morning.  At 6:19 in the morning, we should be listening to the birds and Lou McNally.  I telephoned my neighbours.  They did not answer.  I suspect they are on holiday, blissfully unaware that their builders are running amok.  I pulled on clothing and applied red lipstick. 
I jumped in my car (neighbours here are not 'next door' in the usual sense of the word) and drove down the road to my neighbours' driveway.  I roared up and parked behind a youth who, headphones  clasped on his head ,was unaware that he was to meet a cranky neighbour.  He smiled.   Guess what he was doing?  HE WAS SAWING A CONCRETE BLOCK IN HALF WITH A CHAINSAW".   Pouring water on it, by the way.  I pass that tip on in case you ever want to SAW A CONCRETE BLOCK IN HALF.  Anyhow, he seemed a nice enough kid who clearly had a lousey job.  But as luck would have it, the builder drove in at that moment in his spiffy truck .  Thinking only of my 9 guests tucked up in bed no doubt having classic dental terror dreams, I calmly shrieked that it was 6:19 in the morning.  It wasn't, of course, a fact he made obvious by glancing at his watch and raising his (furry) eyebrows.  It was by now about twenty to seven  Nonetheless, early to be SAWING A CONCRETE BLOCK.   A meeting of minds was not achieved.  I jumped back in my car only to realise that he had me parked in.  Undeterred, I proceeded to turn my car around by backing up and going forward about 30 times.  Fast.  Now, at 9:28, my guests sit at the table, replete with the first of our local blueberries, scrambled egg and ham, homemade muesli, bread and jam.  Happy as clams.  They are from New York.  They tell me how peaceful it is here.  They ask the weather forecast.  I tell them to wear a hard hat.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The swallows have left Canterbury Cathedral.  This is the bird house Peter built a few years ago and which stands on a tall, slightly akimbo post, out by his vegetable patch.  For a couple of weeks we have weeded and watered while listening to the sweet gurglings of the babies.  In England we had a swallows nest just outside one of our bedroom windows and we would occasionally wake to hear the mother soothing her brood in the night. There is no sound so comforting to my ear.  We made it a condition of the sale of our house that the nest would remain untouched.  One year, here at Blue Skye,  we had a  baby who simply would not leave the church.  He got fatter and fatter until we feared that by the time he had the courage to go that he would no longer fit through the hole through which he viewed the terrifying world.  His parents cajoled and nagged but he would not budge.  I saw a parent at the end of her patience, having tempted him with all manner of treats, fly toward the hole with the biggest dragon fly I'd ever seen.  Moby Fly.  Fatso was beside himself with excitement and stretched his enormous mouth to receive the incoming feast.   She zoomed by brushing the enormous bug across the coward's head and flew off.  He looked bemused.  She did it again.  He was agitated.  She did it again.  He chased her.  We applauded him and discussed the comparative pull of greed to fear.  We dismissed hunger as an incentive which of course trumps all else, on the basis that smaller treats were disdained.  Meanwhile, eight guests at the table wonder where their breakfast is and why I keep running past the window waving a pancake.