Monday, April 27, 2009

Bea Arthur

I am a child of the 50's and 60's, being born in the early 40's.
Growing old has never been a looking-forward-to occupation. All my female elders looked 'so old' at 50, like my grandmother looked.
We were the generation that enjoyed rock 'n roll at its birth. Elvis, The Beatles, the Hippie phenomena with the peace 'explosion' at Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, Woodstock, and all the rest. I yearned to be involved, but missed being actively involved with the last two.
We owned a big, boxy motor home in the late 60's and I remember driving it and a 'youngster' drove by and flashed me the 'peace' sign. That was a monumental day. A mother with three little ones getting flashed the peace sign and an approval vote for driving the humongous motor home down the road.
Then reality set in. I was getting old. I didn't like how I looked. The hair was allowed to grow and got parted down the middle. I sought out books that allowed me to make clothing in the 'hippie' style. Loved those tops and shirts.
As I aged, resistance was a great part of my life.
Then Golden Girls became a program of 'Life'.
I watched and absolutely loved Bea Arthur's role. Here was a 'with-it', sassy, spoke-out-for-what-she-felt attitude woman and the took-no-prisoners type of character.
She had grey hair, was tall and dressed in flowing garments with those marvelous tall, suede desert boots. She had issues with her tiny mother and still loved her for all of it.
She showed me how to live gracefully and graciously with age.
Yes, I do know it was just a figment of a writer's imagination brought to life by an actress....but oh, how she brought it to life. With grace and graciousness and wonderful 'verve'. Maude was another of the shows she starred in. Same premise, but different situations and relationships and done equally as well as 'Golden Girls'.
I found my leader of sorts. Bea made all her roles 'believable', acted in and showed situations that were similar to real life and did it with the loveliness of age and wisdom. Giving us a road map to follow.
I may not have wisdom in abundance, but remembering this lovely woman with a great deal of sadness in the announcement this morning of her passing away.
Thank you Bea. You made 'getting old' something to attain with a generous dose of grace and love, but most importantly - humour.
I will miss you greatly.
Love and Huggs, Cait

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hubby is down in the cities doing his thing of 'garage saling'.
I do not go with.
Let me qualify.
First of all, if he left from home, and I was going along, it would mean that I would have to get up at 2 in order to be coherent enought to leave at 4.
4 A.M., people.
Do I look nuts?
Did I also mention that I am NOT a morning person?
I need caffeinated beverages in order to not show fangs and snarl and attack with claws.
I am not a particularly good caffeine person.
It is called a 'sensitivity' to caffeine. Took 100 cups of coffee/day while in college with three babies to get that way.
Sensitivity, not babies.
So he is off doing his thing and loving every minute of it. It is very similar to the cave man going out and hunting for the survival of his family. Gets very hairy out there for the 'beast' in the hunt. He does very well at it, and he has a group out there with him that love it just as much.
MY problem is that when I do go, I 'shop' for me or the house. Love knitting and especially my passion of 30+ years, counted cross stitch supplies. I bought the best, partially-completed leaf tablecloth that I finished and cannot tell where the old stitching ended and mine started.
I do not go to buy to resell. Part of my problem. I see things for me, not to sell and make money.
First of all, I do not have 'The Eye'. Which in transation, means, you know what you can buy for little or less money and sell for much more of the stuff.
Second, did I mention that you have to get up VERY early to do so. Yes, I know you are usually done by ten, and then you get to take a very satisfying nap around 10:45 after a very good breakfast, but you need to get up early! While it is still dark! Hmmpf.
I guess I will be satisfied to stay warm, comfy and cozy in my bed and do some stitching.
Or blogging.
Let me know if you see my husband 'sail' on by and where he is at.
Take care everyone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

While going through my email, I somehow stumbled upon a lady's blog that mentioned her grand mom visiting them in the depraved, outlandish area of Oklahoma from civilized Chicago and showing us the fabric she 'leaped over two old ladies pawing through the poly knit fabric' or something to that effect and showed us the purse she had made with a vivid thought of her grand mom in dresses with similar fabric. That brought to mind my own memory of a fabric so very, very similar to the one she showed.
This is the memory.
When my two girls were about to make their First Communions in the 60's, 'Moi', always yearning to be a San Francisco 'Hippie', but never attaining that status being a northern, mid-western-stated wife, divorced, then the pariah single mom back then in the 60's, made my two adorable girls their First Communion dresses. White on white printed fabric, empire style, with orange and pink floral panel 'aprons' attached to the front empire seam. No veils, no headdresses. Just clean, glowingly shining, parted down the middle Hippie Hair. Totally and innocently beautiful! I am sure all the other mothers were totally outraged that these two little 'Brides of Christ' were outfitted thusly. But you know what, that fabric eased the sting of being the 'pariah single mom' in those years. I was the first single, divorced woman in that neighborhood of 'couples' in suburbia.

Her purse floral fabric is blue, now imagine it in outrageous oranges and pinks with a splash of yellow thrown in and you have my precious two daughters First Communion 'aprons'!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

still have some fauna around

Good morning everyone,
well at 9:30 this morning while I was setting up the laptop on the desk, I observed my woodchuck and my wild rabbit in the yard. Took too much time to get the binoculars on the woodchuck, but my bunny seems to be well and sassy.
The original thought was what do woodchucks do? Haven't the foggiest, but it is nice to see that this one survived our particularly nasty winter. I knew the rabbit was around in the winter, and frequently threw out bread and tortillas for the bunny population, mainly to keep it away from hubby's, young Father's Day gift from daughter and son-in-law of a Norwegian Maple. Somewhere along the line, I failed and part of the maple's trunk was chewed, or blistered from the extreme cold we had this winter. Will have to see if it survived.
For those of you that don't know what a Norwegian Maple is, it is a maple tree, engineered here at the University of Minnesota, with lighter, creamier-green edges. If you see just all green leaves on the tree, you need to clip those off or the tree will revert to all green leaves. We have two and they are a delightful light green bright spot in the yard. There is a full grown Norwegian Maple in the Roseville, Minnesota, area and it is spectacular!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Good Morning everyone.....
It is Monday, April 13, 2009, and it is 11:30 in the morning.
My thermometer outside reads 52 degrees. I am sooo ready for spring-ier weather and warmth. I don't generally mind winter, well, except when you are the recipient of the unexpected 'black ice' swishy-swerve across a small bridge covering a branch of the Rum River.
Most of the time I look upon winter as a time of re-grouping, nesting in, cozy times with a blanket and a stash of knitting, my passion of 30+ years in counted cross stitch, reading which is a life-long passion, etc., and in hubby's case, American Idol (Yuck-o) and not necessarily in that order.
After years of dreading the winter when having to work out in the unheated (except for the kilns) and uninsulated barn with our pottery, we no longer have to. Bobby's hands going through icy glaze or near ice clay has been a painful experience. So Winter has become a time of reflection for me.
I have cancelled many an appointment in the cities, 65 + miles to the south, this past winter. Not because I am a wimp, but because many of the cancellations have included my 93 year old Father in the blend of things. I will not put him at risk (more than the normal amount of risk required for transporting him in regular, maniac, stupid kids AND ADULTS comprising of and in general population of driving traffic) in extremely bad weather.
I have a small 'chick-pickup'...a 2000 Ford Ranger. I dearly love that little pickup and am constantly surprised to see men driving one. I will go on record here that it is the perfect truck for a female. Even a short little turd like me. The only thing that I am not fond of is the fact that the tail end is 'swishy' in icy or snowy conditions. But with the 4-wheel drive, and slower, reasonable speeds, I have made it home safely. The book says to not go faster than 45 mph when in 4-wheel and there have been speeds much, much lower in really bad weather for this driver.
Now with all this preamble, coming to the subject listed in the title.
On Hoda and Kathie Lee's program this morning, I caught a blurb from them of researchers trying to re-set a woman's biological clock so that women would be able to have children in her 70's and 80's.
Not that there haven't been times when I yearned for a fourth child with all the marvelous help and doulas and such, people out there now, I really think I object to that procedure.
I am 66, soon to be 67. My Mother has passed away at the age of 83, but my Father is still with us, as mentioned - 93. I call him every day to make sure he counts out the right number of meds and takes them at 7 p.m. to make sure he isn't getting too close to the morning meds, or gets confused as to take the morning meds again. My sister Dee has lovingly taken over the morning shift, as I simply cannot be a morning person, no matter how hard I try. He and I are conversing more now than in the previous 65 years. It isn't much, just what ever he wants to share of his day. Some days he rambles, some days he is still very clear. He mourned for the people in the Red River Valley between Minnesota and the Dakotas this spring. He remembers when his brother Hank and his wife (also named Helen) were living in Rochester, MN, and the floods would yearly flood his little doughnut store. Hank and Helen finally had enough and moved back to the cities.
If my Mother had the option of having myself (the oldest child of six) in her 70's or 80's, I would not be fortunate to have had the opportunity of coming to know my Father in his 90's. He can be exasperating at times, don't get me wrong, but most times lately since I have included him in my daily prayers, he is a delight. I can hear him 'toootlin' to the bedroom to retrieve his meds. He talks to the wall or doorway and telling it to 'stay' there, or he whistles (something that he is fairly good at), talks to me on the phone even though he has put the phone down on the table, or he sings and talks nonsense much like a mother does for her child. He comes back with the proper box and counts out the meds. He is always surprised that there are only four. He has ten in the mornings meds. Quite a feat for a 93 year old person. A lot of his meds are just 'fluff'....eye vitamins, calcium, senior vitamin, 81 mg aspirin, etc. Very few are for medical issues.
If he and my mother had had me, the first born, when they were in their 70's and 80's, I would have been robbed of the rich times they had when they were both young.....the few memories I have of my youth as in traveling with my Dad to deliver my Mother's apple tea rings for example. Watching my Mother make bread weekly. Mom struggling with the bills for a family of eight. She and I were not very close, and I sincerely regret that, but she tried her very best to make me an independent woman. My daughter-in-law Beth has a marvelous relationship with her Mom. She has often said that her Mom "Rocks". Sometimes the whole scenario of who your parents are is a big, if you will, crap-shoot. Parents do their best to raise their children as they were taught. My parents were brought up by very "Old World" parents. Dad was born in 1915 and Mom in 1917 to give you the timeline.
I think that science is making a big mistake here in extending the reproductive years for a woman. Sometimes scientists are superior in book-learnin', but not so much in common sense.
I am going on record here for people to object to this method of biological clock reversals. It just wouldn't be right nor fair for the child to be robbed of a steadying influence of a parent. I know there are parents out there that are nuts and really do not know how to parent a child, but so much more do. Leave it at that.
Huggs to all, CJ

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I am at my computer desk in front of the south window next to the door. I am watching an awful lot of birdies out in the lawn and front drive.
I am watching the robins do an aerobatic fly-up off the ground with each other and when they got tired of that, a super-sonic fly-by that equals the Air Force's Thunderbird's speed. I guess it is just the season. Winter coldness giving way to springier temperatures. They feel it in the air and are rejoicing in it.
I also have a 'flock' of dark-eyed juncos on our lawn area. They are funny little birds. It is hard to describe the dance they do while hunting for seeds and such to eat off in the grass. It is sort of a little hop up with a back and forth scratch motion with the one foot which makes their little bodies move back and forth and up.
As much as I like watching them, I do wish they would go away. for if you still have dark-eyed juncos in the yard, it is still the weather for snow. Evidently they like cool temps and the cooler the better.

Fly away little birds.
I haven't seen the Northern Cardinals yet.
The poor female just about knocked herself out last year. They nest about 6' off the ground and are very territorial. I finally had to cover the mirrors on my little chick pick-up Ford Ranger last year because she would perch on the door by the side windows and launch herself at the mirror to try and get that other female northern cardinal out of her territory. I had female bird snot all over both rear view side mirrors like you wouldn't believe! She also started to attack the west windows of the house and even traveled to the north bedroom window while perching on top of the air conditioner.
That action drove our male cat, Silver, absolutely bonkers.
Now this is a 13.5# cat.
You DO NOT want a 13.5# cat hurling himself at an air conditioner off the bed in a humongous leap. Wonder what the impact of a cat that large over three feet of space and with 'velocity' would be. Thirty miles an hour? Close?
Every spring we get my favourite bird, the Red Winged Blackbird, in our trees. They stay just briefly in the scheme of things. We are the highest point around, being on top of the highest hill in the area. So after the male scouts have been here for a week or two, the females and the rest of the flock arrive.
Our trees, being the highest point around, gets the whole flock that nest in our area, to stop and reconnoiter for an hour or two. Then the whole flock disperses to their nesting areas in the surrounding areas.
This year it was April 1st. I happened to walk out to the truck to leave and they were doing their thing in the trees. Chattering, chittering, warbling, whoopin' and a hollerin'.
There are two days in the year when I am smiling like an idiot with a grin and tears flowing down my face as fast as they can go. The first is the day they arrive and the second is the day they all congregate in the trees before their arduous task of flying to their southern homes for the winter.
Most years I get to see both times, and both times I cry, laugh, grin for hours. Some years I miss them. Either I am in the house and don't hear them or I am gone already in my chick pick-up.
I love their song. It is like 'Kong-a-rrhheee' with a lower tone on the kong and a higher tone on the rrheee. I frequently stop at the four corners, south of us by a half mile, and just open the windows and listen. I have had people stop and ask if I need help and am all right, much to my embarrassment. How do you answer? "No, I am all right, but thanks for asking, I just stopped to listen to my favourite birds sing their songs."

I mean I am already pegged for a loony, and that observed action would just about bring the men in white jackets to me. I have since learned to check the roads all four ways to make sure that there are no cars approaching.
Our son Peter and his lovely wife Beth, have no such problem. All they have to do is open their windows and patio door. They are fortunate to have them in the cat tails around the catch basin pond the builders planned in the community.
Daughter Margaret and husband Jack also have them in their trees, but I don't know where the cat tails and water source are in their area, but they have them. I am not so sure Tracy and Tad have them in their area.
It is a joy for me to visit the two homes in the summer so I can get my fill of bird song.
Wild life is abounding in the yard this morning. Along with the birds, I have noticed a squirrel, and a feral cat. So far no fox nor the woodchuck that makes its home in the woods. I have seen an opossum south of our buildings on the road-side, so I imagine there are one or two roosting around somewhere. So far no raccoons. I am grateful for not having those around. They make me nervous. I had enough with a pride (?) (just looked it up and the term is 'gaze' of raccoons) of them living in the granary for years. They got mad at me for locking down the cat food bin in a metal garbage can and took it out on my clean laundry getting an overnight sun-bleach out on the clothes line. I had muddy paw prints all over the sheets and towels, just to let me know that they were not happy at not getting their dinner in the middle of the night.
Well, time to check email and addresses. I finished a counted cross stitched gift last night, bathed it, hung it to dry and pressed it this morning, and need to photograph it before I send it on to Donna, (Hi Donna M!) so finding where I stashed the camera is also in order.
Enjoy your day where ever you are. Warmer weather is almost here in the northern climes of the United States. It will get better.