Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice 2008

This is the scene on my front patio on Summer Solstice 2008. This is where I spend some time each morning, if at all possible, so solstice started like any other day in whirlingbetty world.

Summer solstice has held a special significance to me ever since my high school Honors Physics class, where was first introduced to solstice and equinox. In fact, my NY State Regents exam in physics was held on summer solstice of my senior year in high school, a fact that was not lost on me. I used that happy coincidence as a display of good luck, and I aced the exam. I have been in awe of summer solstice ever since.

This is one of my many Summer Solstice 2008 visitors. Most people never get to see one at such close range- he's a chipmunk. He's very intrigued by my bag of peanuts, and apparently, by my camera.

You have to look closely to see this hummingbird at my feeder. She's a ruby-throated variety, which her male partner (not pictured) makes obvious.

The Child has not yet reached a stage of life in which he's satisfied by sitting around observing nature. Alas, it's the toy store that holds allure for the likes of him. He wanted to check out their selection of "marshmallow shooters." (I'm not sure if the marshmallows are the intended targets or amunition.)

Not being much of a shopper, I always postpone the acquisition of groceries until the cupboards are bare. This opportunity next to the toy store presented itself on Summer Solstice 2008.

The result of the grocery shopping event resulted in this al fresco lunch back at home. I think that a Summer Solstice 2008 celebration deserves sushi.

Later it rained, lest Summer Solstice 2008 become too hot and unpleasant. The temperature dropped to a very pleasantly cool range. The park outside of my house, pictured above, emptied itself of visitors once the rain started.

The day was capped off with a feast of corn on the cob, which has been my favorite food since early childhood. The Child and I ate it while a fairly significant thunderstorm carried on outside.
Even though we were unable to appreciate the length of the day, due to the evening storm which darkened the skies, it was still a fitting end to Summer Solstice 2008.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

bringing back memories

You never know what's going to spark a memory.

I found this new Dunkin' Donuts ground coffee for sale at Target yesterday. I bought it because it was considerably cheaper (50%, to be exact) than the Starbucks I normally buy. And I used to like Dunkin' Donuts coffee way back when......

I wanted it to taste right, so in a move totally out of character, I actually followed the directions printed on the bag. It said to use a heaping tablespoon for 6 ounces of water. I measured the 6 ounces of water. I was a bit uncertain about the "heaping' part- summoning my very best judgment, I "heaped", creating a very reasonable-looking mountain of ground coffee on top of the tablespoon. (Being reasonable is not my area of expertise.)

As soon as the 6 ounces of water began to boil, I rushed it off the stove and poured it over the heaping tablespoon of grounds, where it drained slowly through the coffee filter. Then I allowed it to cool slightly.

I wasn't expecting much, so you can imagine my surprise when my first sip of this freshly-brewed coffee summoned long lost images of my mother. She had been a coffee drinker- not to the point of excess, mind you (she was a reasonable woman) but I'd say she used to drink a couple of percolated cups every morning. And on very special occasions she'd have coffee with desert.

I remember the mornings when she'd let me dunk graham cracker sandwiches into her coffee cup. I was preschool aged, and the sandwiches were just 2 stacked crackers with butter in between. I can still picture that long-ago breakfast table, with just the two of us sitting there, sometimes with the morning newspaper spread out, sometimes with her scurrying off to get dressed, leaving me to indulge in her coffee and crackers. It seemed like such a sinful treat.

That coffee wasn't Dunkin' Donuts, however- it was A&P brand. Back then, Dunkin' Donuts coffee had to be purchased at a Dunkin' Donuts store, and there was one within walking distance of the house in which I grew up. It was a big deal for us to go there for coffee and one of their vast assortment of donuts and pastries.

Looking back, I suppose that was my mother's version of decadence- having coffee and a donut at Dunkin' Donuts. (How she spawned a child like me I'll never know.) I was her willing partner in caloric crime, sometimes ingesting multiple fried pastries in one sitting at Dunkin' Donuts' counter. (They were always busy, 24 hours a day, so a booth was unthinkable. We nearly always sat at the counter.) I even had coffee, with lots of rich cream. I enjoyed observing the characters who were fellow customers as well, and the whirling waitresses. Everybody seemed upbeat from their caffeine and sugar highs. My own big sister was a waitress there for a year or so. (She seemed annoyed when my mother and I showed up during her shift, as if we cramped her style.)

Every time I go back for a visit, I have to stop at Dunkin' Donuts on my way out of town, although it does bother me to be there without my mother.

Today's Dunkin' Donuts coffee tasted exactly like it did back then, even though I now drink it black, no donuts. If I try hard enough, maybe I can summon the spirit of my mother, asking me if I have any Half & Half in the fridge, or at least some butter for those graham crackers.......

Thursday, June 12, 2008

first, the good news....

I'm alive, first of all. Most of us seem to fear death, so being alive must be a really good thing. The Child had an overnight guest last night, and we went into the ravine outside of our house this morning.

Boys seem to be drawn to creeks. My role was to constantly warn of poison ivy and slippery rocks.

We made our way down to the ponds, where I heard crickets chirping in the field. The crickets meant nothing to them, but their chirping was significant to me because it reminded me of home- the home which doesn't exist anymore. When I was growing up in upstate NY, we used to hang out in the cow pasture at the edge of the cemetery. It was inhabited with crickets. To me, it isn't summer until I've heard the crickets chirp.

I am homesick for the home which doesn't exist.

We walked through the rose garden on our way back to the house. The formal rose garden is in full bloom. That's good news, apparently to a lot of people, judging from the number of visitors. This, by the way, is my front yard. How strange to have a public front yard.

Here's a bird's eye view. Don't ask.

And now it's time to start the bad news segment. Remember this house which I made an offer on last month? Another party made an offer that same day. It went into contract. Still, I kept hoping.

It's sold.

This is obviously the last time I'm going to post a photo of this house. I thought of it as mine, but it's gone.

I couldn't resist this shot of the house's back porch. The ink on the deed hasn't even dried yet and they've already trashed the place. Not clearly visible in this shot on the porch floor are the remains of an apparent beer blast. I tell myself that I wouldn't have treated this house that way.

That's not the only bad news. The organization I have worked for since college shut down on June 1. Not a good time to buy a house, you say. Actually, it was. I was going to pay cash for the house using a HELOC loan. That loan then would have been paid off upon the sale of my current house. Then at least I wouldn't have had a mortgage debt!

I am not job searching. Why? There are no openings anywhere in the country. Jobs are extremely scarce and competitive in this field. I choose not to give details of what field I'm in because it's a very public type of work and annonymity in blogging is wise because of that. It's been difficult for me to not write about it, though.