I Never Met a Pumpkin I Didn’t Like

The pumpkins are out. All kinds, shapes and colors. They make me smile. I can’t explain why except maybe it’s the color and the texture that draws me in. Something so ordinary  has so many interesting features, like a black and white photograph of an old man with the wrinkles of time carved into his face.

It takes 85-125 days, about 4 months, to grow a normal size pumpkin. The mini variety can be grown on a trellis or fence. So even high-rise techie dwellers with a balcony can get into the harvest mood. Who knew?

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I love to line up the minis down the middle of my dining room table, and they’re pretty on a mantelpiece in a row. But the place for most impact is in a large basket on the living room coffee table next to your blue coffee mug. It must be the color of the sky if your basket is filled with orange pumpkins. Blue and orange are complementary colors and make a good pairing.

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If you have the time, paint one black and white. That’s always a stunner. In fact black and white patterns elevate any space. Try it.

I think I’ll paint my pumpkins this season in polka-dots and stripes and line them up on my driveway. They’ll act as landing lights into my garage when I get home.

 

Calvin says, “What’s that funny looking squash with bones painted on it doing in my food bowl?”  beagle

 

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Tough Art

Time and time again Alf and I marvel at people who are immensely talented and yet shy away from their gifts. We know of several with writing gifts who never put pen to paper. Others who have a terrific fashion sense and keep it all to themselves. And there are those who do pursue their artistic callings with courage and conviction, but with little support from friends and loved ones. In fact, they’re often told to get a real job. What is it about art that garners less respect than other professions like business or engineering? Heck, there’s more respect for the G-Man (garbage collector) than a painter.

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We live in a day of practicality. Does the job make money? Will it sustain you and a spouse and children? Will it give you a house, a car and a yearly vacation? Or will you have to eat out of a paper bag full of moldy veggies?

Being an artist is not for the fainthearted. It wasn’t easy living for Van Gogh and his generation nor is it any easier for people today. But one thing is different. Anybody with an ounce of skill is posting like mad on social media in the hope of getting noticed. Consequently there’s a lot of bad art out there. There’s also some good stuff. The serious artist, however avoids it all in favor of a website with class.

It’s like commercial fiction. The serious literary types look down their erudite noses at the fabulously successful writers who make millions with their popular, badly written novels. Secretly they probably wish they could make that kind of money, but they wouldn’t dare try. It would be beneath them.

So what’s an artist to do? I say keep at it, no matter how difficult the task. Post away. Talk it up. Send it out. You never know what door will open.

Calvin says, “I’m so glad I’m only talented in one thing – food. What’s for dinner?”

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Who Is?

We are a country of innovators. I passed a driving range where I saw a man in a cart with an automated scooper that picked up all the golf balls lying on the ground. Hundreds of them. They looked like giant hailstones on a fake green turf. And here I thought this guy would be stooping and picking these up by hand. Shows you how another generIMG_8942ation I am. 

I marvel at the candy factory machines that cut, coat, and wrap each piece. I’m used to the tortilla making factories of life with one ball of dough being flattened into a round circle and then placed on a conveyor belt and run through a hot oven. This is usually the job of one young girl in threadbare clothes in a village garage. I grew up with people doing the work by hand. But now we have robots making cars and pizza. Who’s going to be making babies in twenty-five years? 

Calvin says, “Don’t worry. You won’t be here to be annoyed by the little fake people.”

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Sock It To Me

It was beginning to appear that her interesting face covered a most uninteresting mind. – Anne Perry

He would look at you as is he were really interested in all you said. Hcropped-photo1.jpge never seemed to be merely polite. It was almost as if he were half expecting you to turn out to be special, and he did not want to miss any opportunity to find out. – Anne Perry

Don’t mistake a street address for where you actually live. – Ruth Reichl

Art is what we call the thing an artist does. It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters,
what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist. – Seth Godin

“So was that the reason you left Herminia?” Miss Prim said.

He looked at her in silence for a few seconds, as if trying to guess what lay behind her question.

“I think you didn’t really love her,” she said.

“No, that’s where you’re wrong,” he said firmly. “I did love her. I loved her very much. But the day came, or maybe the moment, I don’t know, when I realized that she was asleep, whereas I was fully awake, absolutely, and totally awake. I’d climbed like a cat up onto a roof and I could see a beautiful, terrible, mysterious landscape stretching out before me. Did I really love her? Of course I did. Perhaps if I’d loved her less, cared for her less, I wouldn’t have had to leave her.”

“I thought the religious were closer to other people than anyone else.”

“I can’t speak for anyone else. I only know what it’s meant to me. It’s been my touchstone, the line that’s split my life in two and given it absolute meaning. But I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is is fooling themselves. It was catharsis, a shocking trauma, open-heart surgery, like a tree torn from the ground and replanted elsewhere.

“And there’s something else,” he continued, “something to do with looking beyond the moment, with the need to scan the horizon, to scrutinize it as keenly as a sailor studies his charts. Don’t be surprised. My story is as old as the world. I’m not the first and won’t be the last. I know what you’re thinking. Would I turn back if I could? No, of course not. Would a newly awoken man willingly go back to the sleepwalking life?”

–         From The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Calvin says, “Oh brother, what have you been drinking?” beagle

With Love and Testing

On the subway going home this week, there was a man seated on the row ahead of me. He was dressed in a black tux, bowler hat, pink silk tie with a pink corsage of roses and baby breath. Every hair on his face and head was perfectly styled. What was missing from the ensemble was an ivory cane. A freshly minted husband-to-be if there ever was one. I knew it because he got off at the courthouse station, with his face like flint, facing his execution. I could only imagine what his bride would look like. Was she just as resigned? What a pitiful way to start a married life, gritting your teeth and hoping for the best, even though in your heart you know it will only go downhill from here. Jacqueline Osborn

We all know marriage has fallen on hard times, and yet everybody wants to get married. Go figure. Last time I looked the divorce rate was on par with the marriage rate, maybe even surpassed it. Nobody can get along anymore. Expectations are too high, thanks Hollywood and social media, and nobody wants to work that much in a relationship. And yet these same people are willing to put themselves through endless hours of agony learning a sport, or getting an MBA, or changing careers in mid-stream. Somehow working at being a better husband or wife seems mundane. I think the real reason it’s because it’s really impossible. Becoming a doctor is easier. We want results. Now. But end up disappointed and convinced it’s not worth the investment.

I like the attitude about marriage that a few of the greats had.

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. – Martin Luther

When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife. – Prince Philip

They say marriages are made in heaven. But so is thunder and lightning. – Clint Eastwood

Calvin says, “Thank goodness beagles don’t marry. They just frolic and mate at will.”

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Somebody Has To Do It

It’s been a while since I posted an article. Since the last one we’ve had a new president take the oath of office, women in pink caps raising a ruckus all over the world, rains with accompanying floods – I wonder if California will proclaim the end of the drought and reduce their water rates now – I doubt it.

It’s been a weird beginning of 2017. fullsizerender-23

Most people are scared of the new president and his policies. I don’t understand why. We were getting close to living in a socialist country, maybe had already begun to do so, so to take back the country sounded like a good idea to me. All you have to do is look into world history and see that socialism and communism don’t work and yet we were captivated as a nation into thinking they did. I recommend every liberal American go live in a country under a controlling regime and see what it feels like. I will be waiting at the airport when you get back home before your sabbatical is up. Or better yet, ask your local immigrant who risked his life to get into the U.S. in order to have a life.

You have to be of a certain age to have a long view of history. This new generation won’t have it until they reach their 50’s, so in the meantime somebody has to mind the store.

Calvin says, “My long view of history takes me back to England where beagles went on fox hunts.  Me? I don’t even know what a fox smells like.”  beagle

 

Gorgeous in Rags

Riding into work this morning on the subway, a tall blonde got on board.

The car was full so she grabbed a strap and hung on for the ride into the city.

I suspected this was her preferred mode anyway even if the car had been empty.

She was dressed in torn, filthy beige overalls. Her parka had layers of grime on it. Her backpack was vintage muck.

Construction tools spilled out of every pocket. Spiral bound notebooks, too. A pencil.

I looked at her face. She was very pretty. Clear skin, rosy cheeks, bright brown eyes, and she looked freshly scrubbed.  Maybe mid-twenties.electrician

She was one crazy contrast.

I was intrigued.

I got off at my stop and noticed she did, too. We got in line for the escalator. She was in front of me.

I couldn’t resist.

“What kind of work do you do?” I asked from behind.

She looked down, removed her earbuds. “Are you asking me?”

“Yes, I’m curious.”

“I’m an electrician,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

She smiled. “I know,” she said looking at her clothes.

“Do you like it?”

“I love it!” she said with gusto. “I can get dirty everyday while working on fancy new buildings.”

“How do the others treat you, being you’re in a man’s world?” I asked.

“Fine. Most of them are wimps. They’re all babies, you know.”

We reached the top and said good-bye to each other. She smiled.

Babies. I think she gave herself away.

Calvin says, “Never judge a person by their clothes. Take me for instance. You’d never guess that a cynical, freewheeling, and persnickety heart lurks underneath this silken fur.”  beagle