Monday, May 24, 2010

Jobs: Sea Pleasures & Treasures

My family moved to Venice, Florida for my Sophomore year of high school.  Even though I left behind scores of friends and the school and church where I had been since I was in 4th grade, there was something romantic and exciting about moving to Florida.  But we didn't just move to Florida...we settled in the scenic Gulf Coast town of Venice, just a few miles south of the more well-known, Sarasota. 

Venice Avenue boasted a median full of pristinely manicured pines and tropical foliage and was lined on both sides with quaint shops, businesses and restaurants.  It was here that I held my first real job as a "clerk." 

Sea Pleasures & Treasures, a retro shell shop showcasing a museum display of fossilized shark’s teeth found around the area, was situated just a couple blocks from the beach and was highly-trafficked in the summertime. 

My duties were to unpack and mark new merchandise as it came in, to serve patrons as needed and to man the know, the noisy, old-fashioned kind which didn't tell you how much change to return to the customer.

I remember experiencing a whole new kind of "sticker shock" as I priced shells, which cost the store mere pennies, at $.25 to $2.00.  The mark-up percentages were astonishing to me and I tried to calculate how much profit the store would make if it sold all its merchandise! 

For a 15-year-old, though, the coolest thing about the job was definitely the paycheck.  I don't recall how much I was paid - and I'm quite sure it was very little - but it was enough to save up and buy my mother a clear, jar-based lamp which I artfully filled with the most exotic shells I could find.  It was the first time in my life I had my own money and was able to buy anything for my Momma.  I thought I was somethin' else.  She kept and displayed that lamp in a prominent place in our home for years to come...even though we left Florida a year later.

30 years later - is that even POSSIBLE??? - the shop is still open for business.  I just hope it stays open long enough for me to get back there someday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Worth Every Penny

I admit I am not following the Cardinals this season as heartily as I have in the past.  It is certainly not due to a waning interest, but more to some major mental distractions.  Maybe by July, when life slows down a bit, I'll rededicate my life to baseball. 

In the meantime, I attended my 3rd game of the season tonight.  It was a "doozy" as announcer Mike Shannon would say!  The first inning brought a hard comebacker to the mound where pitcher, Brad Penny, very nonchalantly barehanded it before throwing the guy out.  It was one of the sweetest defensive plays ever.  And I, personally, would rather see a great defensive play anyday than a home run. least that's normally the case.  In this same game - 3rd inning - said pitcher comes to bat with the bases loaded, game tied at 4-4.  I joked with my son, "So...whad'ya think?  Is Brad Penny goin' yard?"  We laughed.  But not for long.  First pitch...he knocked it clean out of the park for a Grand Slam.  I can appreciate that sort of unexpected offense almost as much as a super defensive move.  Thank you, Brad Penny!

It was a perfect ending to a long week...a cool, breezy night...sitting between my sons...eating ballpark food...and watching the Cards smoke the Angels in interleague play.  I really DO love baseball.  Even when I'm not following it daily!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Smell a Memory

I never cease to be amazed at the power of smells to transport me to another place or time.  I suspect this is an experience not particular to me. 

Some days when I walk out of doors, the smell of the air carries me immediately to the top of Lookout Mountain where I am throwing a football with my college buddies.  Other smells take me back to my grandmother's home, or my first apartment, or to the days of Grant's infancy. 

On my walk today, I passed a grove of honeysuckle and immediately found myself wandering through the woods in Dexter, Missouri, as an 8-year-old tomboy - swinging from vines, inching my way across fallen logs, climbing trees, building forts, hunting with my Daddy, eating my first persimmon and sucking the nectar from the honeysuckle which grew wild and rampant there.  I was able to experience that sense of wonder and adventure again...all because a smell subconsciously left its imprint on my memory.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordsmith Wednesday

Repugnant - fr. Latin repugnare: re = back + pugnare = to fight

Synonyms & their Synonyms:  I began an experiment.  Choose a word, record all of its synonyms, then record each of those words synonyms, then each of those words synonyms, etc. until I found no new words.  It didn't take me long to realize that this was a nearly endless process!  SO...I gave it up after the 4th "degree" and decided to only record for you the first 2 levels. 

Offensive - insulting, rude, hateful, objectionable, outrageous, discourteous, affronting, abominable

Distasteful - unsavory, unpalatable

Obnoxious - odious, deplorable

Repulsive - gross

Repellant - appalling

Revolting - abhorrent

Disgusting - noisome, nasty, vulgar

Nauseating - unsettling, loathsome

Foul - rank, filthy, putrid, heinous, villainous, atrocious

Sickening - vile

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Talking Politics With Chesterton

There are only two kinds of social structure conceivable - personal government and impersonal government.  If my anarchic friends will not have rules - they will have rulers.  Preferring personal government, with its tact and flexibility is called Royalism.  Preferring impersonal government, with its dogmas and definitions, is called Republicanism.  Objecting broadmindedly both to kings and creeds is called Bosh; at least, I know no more philosophic word for it.  You can be guided by the shrewdness or presence of mind of one ruler, or by the equality and ascertained justice of one rule; but you must have one or the other, or you are not a nation, but a nasty mess.

From G.K. Chesterton's delightful work (and his BEST, in my opinion!):  What's Wrong With the World

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leisurely Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...I am burying some seeds in my first attempt to grow my own spinach. 

From the kitchen...I discovered that broiling peppers and portabellas in the oven until they are slightly blackened, offers the same result as cooking them on the gas grill.  Douse with oil, salt and pepper.  Divine.  Simply divine.

Around the house...You know how it goes, don't you?  You decide to switch up a room or two, which leads to re-painting walls, which leads to the revelation that everything adjacent to the freshly painted walls now looks dull and dirty, which leads to painting more walls, which leads to painting baseboards and door trims and doors, which leads to an awareness of all the junk that has accumulated behind those doors, which leads to emptying the cabinet/closet and purging, cleaning and re-organizing its contents.  Suddenly, you become overwhelmed with the magnitude of this "little" project you began and wonder if you will never be finished!!   You DO know how that goes, don't you?

A favorite $15 brown suede jacket...last year's best Goodwill find.

I am thinking...that I should try really hard to go to bed before 3am tonight, even if my work isn't finished.

I am paint clothes, of course.  Because I have been painting for 9 days now.  Enough already.

I am hearing...5 or 6 songs from The Very Best of Chicago.  Though I've never been a "fan" of Chicago, several of their big hits are embedded in my brain and carry pleasant associations from days gone by.  

I am reading...Fight the Good Fight by Robert Rayburn.

I am creating...a very feminine "bridal-looking" baptismal gown.  It's in the very early stages:

Plans for my week...FINISH the  household projects I've begun and clean the place up!  HOST a housewarming party.  ATTEND multiple graduations and parties.  ENJOY the Providence Pentecost Pig Roast.   

A photo/video I am sharing:  Here's an old video of one of Chicago's hits. These guys wouldn't make it past the first round or two of American Idol today!! They were not the best live performers. OK...they were awful. See if you can make it ALL THE WAY THROUGH the video. It's the hardest thing to take!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Psalm 23

Psalm 23
Coverdale Translation

The Lord is my Shepherd
Therefore can I lack nothing.

He shall feed me in a green pasture,
And lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

He shall convert my soul,
And bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil.
For Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.

Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me.
Thou hast annointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.

That Thy lovingkindness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I have promoted this group before, but Gloria Dei Cantores (Singers to the Glory of God) has produced appropriate and artistic recordings of many Psalms in the Anglican style.  This link only provides a 30-second clip, but if you like it, I strongly urge you to purchase their CD's which are available on i-Tunes!  These albums are a mainstay of my daily "spiritual" diet...uplifting, encouraging and a divinely-inspired way to express my heart before the Lord.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Missouri Chipmunk Revival?

I was at the church building alone last night.  I am always slightly nervous about being alone in a large, multi-entrance building near or after dark.  As I walked from the sanctuary into the narthex to turn on a light, I spied a rodent hanging out near the stairwell.  I was more than a little surprised. 

How in the world did a chipmunk end up inside the building?

Was it alive?

Should I get rid of it? 

I'm fairly brave, and critters don't generally scare me, but there is something disconcerting about being in an enclosed space with a small, furry, fast-moving creature.   The idea of going over to pick the thing up and carry it outside led to visions of it panicking and crawling up my leg or arms or neck...all of which would have royally freaked me out!

The little guy wasn't moving, so I needed to determine if he was even alive.  I stomped on the floor, fully prepared for him to go crazy.  Nothing.  Then I saw an inkpen nearby.  I know...I'll throw it at him and see what happens.  The pen landed right in front of his nose.  He didn't budge.  Hmm.  But I hadn't actually HIT him.  Perhaps chipmunks are intelligent and know how to play dead when they feel endangered.  So...I grabbed a large coat hanger and slung it across the floor...right into the little guy's side.  Still nothing.  Suddenly I felt brave.  Afterall, he's gotta be dead or nearly dead, right?

I walked within 2 feet of him and THEN he moved...but barely.  He sucked in his sides as though he were holding his breath.  Is this his pre-attack mode, I wondered?  He moved again, and his movements seemed labored.  I almost felt sorry for him.  But not enough to rescue him.  I decided that my unfamiliarity with chipmunk behavior made it too risky to attempt any removal.  

So, I left him there for the next guy...or gal.  When I returned the following day to take a picture, he was GONE!  I don't know if someone else removed him or if he is lurking somewhere in the church, waiting to cause a ruckus...or a revival...on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordsmith Wednesday

Homophones: one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling.

palate (n) - the roof of the mouth; sense of taste
palette (n) -  a thin board for mixing paints; the range of color used by an artist

feign (v) - to pretend
fain (adj) - eagerly

complement (v) - that which completes or fills
compliment (v) - formal act or expression of admiration or respect

retch (v) -  to undergo the straining action of vomiting
wretch (n) - a miserable or unhappy person

council (n) - a group of people called together for consultation, discussion or advice
counsel (v/n) -  discussion and deliberation

desert (v) - to abandon
desert (n) - a dry, barren, sandy region
desert (n) - deserved reward or punishment

medal (n) - an award to commemorate some event or act
meddle (v) - to involve oneself in another's affairs

birth (n) - the act of bringing forth offspring
berth (n) - space for anchoring or tying up; a built-in bed or bunk 

altar (n) - a table or stand used for sacred purposes
alter (v) - to change or modify

discreet (adj) - careful; prudent 
discrete (adj) - made up of distinct parts

elude (v) - to avoid 
allude (v) - to make reference to

assent (v) - to agree
ascent (v/n) - to go up; a sloped piece of ground

Monday, May 10, 2010

Leisurely Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...I love the way the garden changes daily at this time of year.

Around the house...rooms have been switched.  The former living room:

Is now the dining room:

The former dining room:

Is now the living room!

I used to do this stuff at least twice a year, but I am too old and tired to pull that off anymore.  It has taken me 4 days so far - including painting the walls - and I'm ALMOST finished.  In the past, it would have been complete within 48 hours TOPS!  Sigh...

From the kitchen...Blackened salmon...a household favorite.

A favorite thing...A pink depressionware serving bowl which belonged to my Great-Grandma Palmer.

I am wearing...flip-flops and a suede jacket.  A bit incongruous, I admit.

I am hearing...Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once.

I am reading...Fight the Good Fight by Robert Rayburn.

I am thankful Momma and Papa who have been married for 48 years this week.

A photo/video I am sharing:  My siblings and I had dinner with my parents on Friday...our first family only gathering since Jeffrey's death a year ago.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wordsmith Wednesday...or Thursday

Comfort (v) -  to make strong - fr. L com = intensifier + fortis = strong

What does it mean to comfort someone? To make them strong?

Relieve their tensions
Alleviate their suffering
Mitigate their guilt
Lighten their burdens
Assuage their loneliness
Allay their fears
Soothe their sorrows
Console their losses
Content their longings
Solace their griefs

For Want of Wit

I met Mr. Shaffer only 5 months before we married.  Though one might argue whether or not that alone qualifies as one of the "stupid things I've done", that's not the point of this post...but those circumstances precipitated one of my dumbest moves ever!

I suppose I had known Shaf a full 10-12 weeks by the time I ordered wedding invitations.  When they arrived, I was pleased.  They looked exactly as I had intended.  There was just one little problem.  He and his mother were not pleased.

I had misspelled his name.  An honest mistake to be sure!   Afterall, that's a pretty intimate detail, right?  After such a hasty process, was I really supposed to know that his name was spelled SteVen instead of StePHen? 


But of course, it gets worse.  I can't just be average, that wouldn't do.  For a few hundred bucks I figured it was a mistake worth living with and said so.  


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheerfulness Taught By Reason
By:  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I think we are too ready with complaint
In this fair world of God's. Had we no hope
Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
Of yon gray blank of sky, we might grow faint
To muse upon eternity's constraint
Round our aspirant souls; but since the scope
Must widen early, is it well to droop,
For a few days consumed in loss and taint?
O pusillanimous Heart, be comforted
And, like a cheerful traveller, take the road
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
To meet the flints ? At least it may be said
'Because the way is short, I thank thee, God.'

Monday, May 3, 2010

Leisurely Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...

Around the house...

A favorite thing...

I am thinking...

I am wearing...

I am hearing...

I am reading...

I am creating...

I am thankful for...

Tandoori "Fondue"

Tandoori Fondue
3T. butter
1 packet World Market Tandoori Spice
1 can coconut milk
1/2 - 3/4 c. Splenda
2 cubes chicken boullion

Melt butter in skillet over med heat.  
Whisk in tandoori spice packet until blended and aromatic.
Add coconut milk, stirring until solids are melted.
Incorporate Splenda and boullion.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. 

The complexity of flavors and the slight heat, make this dipping sauce perfect for chicken, pork or beef...or even for cooked broccoli, as Eric discovered tonight!  I titled it Tandoori "Fondue", because he insisted I serve it in the fondue pot.  Why?  "It's FUN!"