Monthly Archives: July 2022

baking, etc.

I guess I haven’t been out in the world enough . Not enough to comprehend the new trends , the “in” things , the latest technologies . The heat in the Los Angeles area lately has slowed me down a lot . I have more time to think and wonder about it all ; but of course I don’t seem to .

A former colleague of mine sent me a phone message : there’s an informal get-together Sunday at his place . I found the message kind of by accident when I fired up my tablet . There was his little face in a round little frame ; so I responded : no , no way this Sunday . Then I thought maybe the message was an old one ; could be years old . Things pop up on my devices sometimes that’re way out of date . A Polish friend of mine who passed away years ago commented a couple of days ago on a post of mine . Luckily it was a positive comment.

I need to pay more attention . My first assumption is that for sure I haven’t discovered some new passage to the world of the dead , the celestial sphere , the netherworld . That’s a given . And the former colleague’s invitation to the gathering ? He sells real estate now and I’m 99.9% sure that the underlying intention behind the invite is to hawk his wares . I don’t care if the message is years old or just minutes old ; the answer is the same : no. Good luck and good hunting , but it ain’t me babe . No , no ,no ; it ain’t me babe ( Bobby Zimmerman said that ).

Right after I graduated from UCLA an old high school buddy of mine gave me a call . I was thrilled to hear from him after four or five years . Two minutes into our reminiscing he asked if I was married . No . Then he asked if I planned to get married some day . Yeah . Then he gave up the pretense- of- friendship introductory ruse and started heavy with his sales pitch : Well , when you marry and have kids you’ll need life insurance …………… He was selling life insurance . He could not care less about me otherwise . That was clear . Bye , Steve , I said , and hung up . Good luck and good hunting . Hope you don’t alienate too many more people in the process .

Not that I’m against salespeople . My grandpa was a salesman and I spent some of the best days of my childhood following him around the garden . I carried the shovel and he planted the potatoes . He never tried to sell me anything , now that I think of it . I have good friends who are , or were , salespeople . No problem with sales people . Live and let live . To each his own.

Well , I hope the old colleague real estate broker didn’t send me that message recently . I hope that it indeed was sent years ago . He’ll now get my timely response . I had to think it over for awhile , after all . I don’t want to rush things .

I’m gonna bake some chicken for tomorrow’s dinner . Ada and her sister took a trip up to Seattle and they will be back tomorrow . They’ll have to bake in 105 degree heat during the day tomorrow while driving down Interstate 5 . They’ll pass not too far from Bakersfield — an apropos name , eh ? Arcadia will be a cool paradise weatherwise for them by then , I’m sure . A relief. Everything is relative .

I plugged in a new router /modem today . Our internet service provider sent it to me free of charge after a 15-20 minute video chat . The wait time for a phone call would have been about two hours . At least they warn you ! The system they have , or pretend to have , to automatically call me back when my turn finally comes up didn’t work . I tried to request it a few times before I gave up and I started a video chat .

I got the new router after only two business days . I had bought two previous routers in the weeks before , trying to solve on my own some small issues with our internet . Proceeding from a position of almost total ignorance , I nevertheless pushed ahead with my project . It’s one of those things in life that should be easy , I said to myself . Where there’s a will there’s a way . As my neighbor on the mountain says : Nothing is impossible ; and if it’s impossible it just takes a little longer . So I forged ahead .

Eventually , though , I returned both of those routers in defeat and called our internet provider. I resorted to a video chat . I tried to explain my problem and we discussed this and that and whatever for ten or fifteen minutes . She took a few short breaks during the chat ( To laugh at me , I wouldn’t be surprised ; or to curse me out to her colleagues , perhaps ) Then I suggested that a tech who knows what’s what be sent out to the house . Her tone of voice on the video chat ( I know, know , there’s no voice ! But still ! ) said NO WAY ! ; we don’t do that ( unless they want to sell you something , I think ) . The best we can do , the company chat person ( or robot ? ) said , is to send us a new router in two to three business days .

Okay .

All I know is the new router works , the chicken is marinating , Ada is on her way home , and it’s not too hot yet today . If a travelling salesman comes to the door , though , I’ll let you know . [ Sorry : salesperson ( let’s not forget the girl scouts ! ). ] Maybe someone will try to sell me solar power ; one never knows .

There’s a guy who contacts me every 6 months by phone and mail too who wants to service our air-conditioning unit . We don’t have one , but he keeps trying . Maybe I should suggest to him that instead of hawking service to a non-existing unit , he try to sell me one . On the other hand : no . It ain’t me babe ( Johnny Cash said that ).


Filed under humor


I have a spitting headache

Well , not really . I wanted to report about some further splitting of wood , mostly eucalyptus , up at my cabin . My neighbor Dave was good enough to leave his splitter behind my cabin .

We’re almost done . I say ” we ” because Dave has been helping me all along . He came over with one of his chain saws yesterday and did a few finishing cuts of the logs that have been sitting around waiting . ( What else do logs have to look forward to ? )

I had some splitting work to do . I dragged the cut pieces across the lot to the splitter . I could , alternately , have paid a gym for the opportunity to exercise some of the muscles that I seldom use , but no ! I have a dolley that acts more like a sled in the soft dirt and pine needles when the small wheels are blocked . There must be an easier way , I think , but hey , after all I don’t need to pay extra for an individual exercise program . No trainer . Life is good !

During a short break from chain-sawing and splitting , Dave and I talked a little . When all is said and done , we’re lucky , he said . I got no complaints , he said .

Dave is no spring chicken , either , I should say . We just work as much as we can and do no more . Last Sunday he rode his mountain bike for 15 miles or so , and then he asked me for a half hour or so to rest and he said then he’d be over . I granted it to him , like the king of Siam , like the Queen of England. Then he came over for our wood work session. I tried to talk him out of it , it was a hot day , but what can I say ? Dave likes to work .

I like work , too , as it happens . I love work , in fact . I can watch it all day long !

So we worked for an hour or so on the few remaining logs . Dave had other projects that he needed to get to , so I talked him out of working any longer at my place . I had enough pieces to split by that time that he had cut to take up the rest of my afternoon .

Oh , I should tell you that Dave took a slice of one of the eucalyptus logs that happened to be heart shaped . He’s sanding it and will finish it with oil as a gift for his wife . Sanding eucalyptus is no small task , but a few hours later that day he was done .

I could hear his sander going across the road all afternoon and he could hear my ( his ) splitter going .

There is one more large eucalyptus log waiting for us . We’ll get to it sometime in the future . Dave will cut it up with his big chain saw . I’ll supervise . ” And then what will we do ? ” Dave asked , half joking . We’ll be done with the pile of logs .

I think that we’ll have other projects , somehow . I love work . I could watch it all day long .


Filed under humor

Knuckleheads , a new book by Dan Antion on sale

I just finished reading a novel written by a fellow blogger , Dan Antion . The title is “Knuckleheads”. That’s a term never really used by my crowd but often spoken by a fellow teacher way back when who used it a lot to comment on anyone from students , teachers , administrators , and anyone else who he thought needed the assessment .

I must admit that when reading the novel “Knuckleheads” I wasn’t sure who exactly the true knuckleheads were . Maybe the designation shifts , or maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention .

I was too busy enjoying the reading. Ada would say from time to time , ” That book must be good “, because I was stuck on reading it ; and it is good . There’s something about the writing that not only holds a reader’s attention but that is somehow very soothing .

The narrator writes about his childhood with numerous insights into how life was back then . Comments from the main character’s daughter offer a balance and evaluation of how things back then compared with today’s world , always with an easygoing sense of humor .

The narrator reveals that he has lucid dreams that began in childhood . He discusses the odd phenomenon confidentially with his father who tries to guide the boy along the confusing road of childhood and also with a friend of his named Billy , who also has an unusual ability .

We learn of a multitude of incidents and situations that all come along naturally to fill us in on what childhood and adolescence was like for this character . Towards the end of the novel we are introduced little by little to the girl who the guy will eventually marry and who , therefore , becomes the mother of the main character’s daughter who is listening to her father’s story of his unusual early life and who offers comments and questions as we readers follow along on the journey , too . It’s a nice device , I think , to have the daughter there to hear the tale and to offer her particular perspectives on various events on her father’s life as he reveals his inner life to her .

Anyway , I liked it . You will too . Frankly , I’m jealous of the author’s writing skill . The novel floats along as if you the reader ( me , the reader ! ) got somehow caught up in an interesting and pleasant dream that you wish could go on longer than it does .

I kept seeing ” Book One” at the top of the page . I suspect a Book Two to be published soon . There is a lot of unfinished business still to discover about this character’s life when the novel ends .


Filed under humor

new post . so

So I’m not going to write about starting sentences with “so”. So I hear that usage a little less and less than I had heard it a few years ago , but it’s still around to bother me . Not that I take it personally though . So what do I care if people start statements with “so” . So what ! So language changes . So luckily , however , this so thing doesn’t seem to have caught on to any overwhelming degree . So on we go .

So we were sitting around the table under the eves on the back patio in Arcadia last night , Ada and I and her sister and a couple of friends , and the topic of language came up . So Ada’s sister knows four languages . So I know one and a handful of words and phrases from a few others , although I do speak a lot of nonsense with some effortlessness . Ada speaks three languages fluently . Our British friend at the table claims to know only English — ” and some American “. Someone at the table was praising the English language as being uniquely welcoming to new innovations and variations . ( Happened to be a teacher of English literature who dislikes Mark Twain , so I take her views with a grain of sea salt . )So , so welcoming is our bhasha ! So I kept quiet about my feelings about beginning sentences with so . I didn’t want to appear to be un-American .

Ada and her sis are beginning a driving trip up to Seattle tomorrow to visit a couple of Polish friends. Seems like a long way to go just to chat for a few days in Polish . I mean , why not just go to Poland ? I declined to accompany them on the trip . My Polish is not up to making a 1000 mile trip just to listen to some Polish chatter . I’m sure the Polish folks up there in Seattle are very nice ; however , it’s a long way to go just to be reminded that my Polish fuency ain’t . Just ain’t . I can sit here in my backyard and reflect on that deficit a bit if I feel the need to instead of being confronted with it head-on.

Ada’s sis , who lives in Paris , put up a bit of an argument that it would be a terrible shame to be passing about an hour away from San Francisco , for example , and not to go see the city . Like you just pop in , see the place , and pop out . There are lots of places and things to see on the way from Arcadia to Seattle , but Ada has made the journey several times with me and she knows that they’d never make it to Seattle if too much unconstrained spontaneousness intervenes . It’s nice to be on the road , but even Jack Kerouac made it home at some point .

Ah , Cosmo our cat took a deep sigh of relief this morning when sister-in-law’s doggie left for Seattle with the girls ! Funny how animals seem to know the score , to sense what’s happening without having to be told . So it’s not a language skill of course . So it’d be nice if I could learn a bit about it , maybe from Cosmo over the next few days . So , it could happen . You never know ( Well , maybe Cosmo knows ).


Filed under humor