Archive | August, 2009

Some Things Really Do Change

31 Aug

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

We’ve all heard that phrase one way or another:  the more things change, the more they stay the same.   And we can all name examples.  Politics, for one.

But enough of that.  Here are two stories showing how that phrase is sometimes not true.

When we took Isaac to college yesterday, we went early, because he wished it.  Therefore we sat in the car, in a line of cars, waiting with all the other families who listened to their first-year children who wished to come early (to beat the rush don’t you know) so they could get into their dorm rooms before everyone else.  It had been obvious to Isaac that we knew nothing about the process.  His friend Sam knew.  So we sat there for half an hour.

When we arrived at the designated unloading spot we made fun of the family which had a Hertz Rental Moving Van for their child’s stuff!  What were they thinking?  Maybe they were the first of their family ever to go to college.

After unpacking the car,  the kids got a trolley and guarded the stuff, and the parents went,  parked the car,  and walked back.

Then we all shuffled his stuff into his room, made him fill out the form detailing the degree of soundness in his room, made him unpack the two suitcases and cloth carrying bags so we could take them home, and after all this parental harassment, walked with him to the large gym where he went to his college table and got given free stuff: shirts, a backpack bag, a calendar, a planner, a highlighter, etc.  We walked around the gym looking at all the tables, ate a few bites of free food and then he walked us to the car, where we said our good-byes and he ran away.  Literally.  Smiling a Cheshire Cat smile.

It took us less than 1.5 hours.  It was now one hour into the three hours given for his designated living area to come unload.

And when we walked past the waiting-in-car-lines parking lot, guess how many cars were there, waiting?  None.  Zero.  Zip.

Huh.  What about that?


When my father got ready to go to college, in 1947, his father took him early Monday morning to the pawnbroker in downtown Rochester because my grandfather knew that the dealer gave a 10% discount on the first sale of the day.  Grandpa bought his son a used leather satchel.

Wednesday morning of that week, my grandparents dropped their youngest child and only son off on the intersection of two main roads.  It took him three days to hitchhike to Kansas State University.  The satchel was his only piece of luggage.

It didn’t seem to harm him a bit.

Just Wondering

31 Aug

Who would want to knit a beet?

The Morning Walk

31 Aug

Isaac is off to Institute, pleased as Punch.  The girl as we drove away was asking exactly how did one acquire a driver’s license and how soon after turning the proper age.  Note that she has more than two years to that age.

This morning it was 44 degrees.  I wore a vest.  The cabbage fields were full of lovely shadows and colors in the early morning light.  Hawthorne loves the cooler weather and jumps and skips, twirls and snaps for joy.  The squash and pumpkins will have a hard time getting ripe if we stay in this mode for long, though.

Instead of walking up the runway as I usually do, I walked in the broad median of the cabbage field.  The first third are green cabbage, then a broad strip of red, then another of green.  Even with all their giant leaves, the largest cabbages are not yet very large.  Their leaves looked lovely and I thought momentarily of heisting one home.  Just to eat the leaves.  But no.  There is a reason there are perfect leaves and no weeds at all in the field, and it goes far beyond intense cultivation.  Cabbage production on a large scale requires a considerable array of pesticides and herbicides applied at specific intervals to make the round heads you see in the store.

Hawthorne was running in the soil margin, which I sadly note has had all the tilth knocked out of it (and probably has a hardpan now to boot) by the giant equipment the renters use, and he snuffed along the verge and ran up and down the runway, across it, into the alfalfa on the other side.

Near the end of the field I noticed, finally, a group of deer about 200+ yards away in the field and sun near the headland and stopped.  Hawthorne was busy with toilet duties and did not notice.

Perhaps because my boots made no noise in the soil as I came,  quite surely in the stillness of the morning air no scent betrayed us, and possibly because Hawthorne is fawn-sized, eventually three deer detached themselves from the small herd and walked towards us, cutting more than a third of the distance between us.  H. still was unaware of their presence.  I stood fixedly and observed them.  There were nine in all.  The largest four all had antlers and hung back.  The rest I think were a mix of does and fawns and the ones approaching were most likely fawns.  They were of good size.

When Hawthorne finally saw them the three deer were still coming towards us.  Hawthorne is not afraid of deer.  He goes out of his way to avoid cattle.  I think he thought these might be more cattle, like the ones two fields closer to home.  He stood quite still, sniffing, and finally came to me as I called sotto voce.

That bending over to hold Hawthorne broke the spell.  The deer turned and high-tailed it to their kin.  They all broke and jumped through the hedgerow into the woods.

Another Reason to Dislike Cell Phones

28 Aug

This article  on the loss of ‘silent fluency’ in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Read it and talk to your children face-to-face.

Next-to Last Supper

28 Aug

for Isaac at home was Wednesday night.  John , Audrey, and Heather came bringing the wonderful little plum cakes and their attendant chocolate cram sauce from Baking with Julia.

Audrey, Suzanne and I went to see Julia and Julia a week or so ago.  I read My Life in France in the weeks before–and not the movie tie-in version either!  It is a wonderful biography.  Cooking was what Julia found to “have something to do”  since they were unable to have children and her husband did not wish to adopt.  Her infertility makes me feel quite simpatico towards her and her work.  That and her love for butter.

In addition to cakes we ate

-Sungold tomatoes, both whole and cut in half for salad which could be dressed with Balsamic/Rice vinegar Good Seasons Italian home mix

-a finely sliced large Romanian striped cucumber with Balsamic vinegar

-sweet corn too large to eat off the cob, so it was cooked, cut off the cobs, and then mixed with chopped onion and tomato and cooked in butter.

-finely sliced garlic and kale cooked in olive oil and butter

-venison flank steaks cut about 1/3 inch thick and mixed with sesame oil, ginger, white pepper, salt and brown sugar then allowed to sit all day in the fridge before coming out an hour or so before being quickly pan sauteed.

Tonight I think we will have hot dogs for the first time this summer.


27 Aug

The fall webworms think so:

fall webworm


The poison ivy says “Not yet”:


The anemone japonica thinks fall is coming:


There was fog heavy as rain this morning and our elderly neighbor thinks it might freeze tonight.


His Room, But not for long

24 Aug

Isaac's room

And aren’t you glad you can not see what the rest of it looks like?  He has to be at school Sunday.

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