Friday, July 23, 2010

Mosquito lessons

I once took a college class in which the professor explained that we really hadn't learned anything until we processed it, acted on it, and continued to act on the learned lesson. So I guess I don't learn well!

Lesson ONE not learned: about a month ago I was sitting outside in the evening watching the birds glide across the sky while chatting on the cell phone when a mosquito happened to nimble on my arm. Instinctively I slapped the mosquito, but the cell phone in hand took flight. I must say the mosquito was unharmed while the cell phone has two concrete bruises on it. Now I thought I had learned my lesson, don't slap mosquitoes while talking on the phone. Wrong! I did it again while talking and walking in the backyard last night. This time I slapped a mosquito on my neck and as the phone began sliding down my back side I managed a new dance step and voila! I caught the phone mid-air. But the question remains--did I learn not to talk on the phone with mosquitoes present?

Lesson TWO not learned: don't leave the windows down in the car on summer evenings while it's parked safely in the garage, unless, of course, one desires to see how many mosquitoes can reproduce overnight in a car. Pulling out of the driveway that morning not to many weeks ago found me with four windows down, AC going full blast, and arms slapping in my vain attempt to shed the car of mosquitoes. I was just relieved that the neighbors weren't outside watching. But did I learn not to leave the windows down....No. At least the second time the mosquito population didn't amount to very many, and I was able to drive away after minor slapping, but kept the windows down a few more blocks, just in case. So maybe the professor was right-I haven't learned my lessons.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Miami Memories: American Pies

A soft but warm summer rain hasn't dampened the spirits of our neighborhood. Aerial bombs and firecrackers have been radiating the misty air off and on for nearly 24 hours. But today the rains have kept some of us indoors more than we want to be. Our dog Lucy, a blue healer mix, needs to run and play daily, so we've ventured out twice already to play tug, toss the ball, and throw the frisbie. She doesn't mind the rain, but the firecrackers send her house bound and shaking.

This morning as I stood under the protection of the maple trees while tossing the ball, my senses took me back to another time and place when I would have found myself outside under a tree or bush slapping mud pies together. Rain without lightning and thunder is a delight and rarity for those of us in the plains states. Even as a child I jumped at the chance to be outside in the fresh air. So today I smelled the rain, the green of the trees, and the wet soil beneath my toes. I even squished my toes and giggled to myself.

I think it was the smell that brought me back to 209 H st. Northeast. There I was sitting in mom's bushy garden on the east side of the house in the shade making mud pies. After I had them mixed just right and rounded on the edges I'd place them on the cement front porch to bake. I decorated them with clover and other natural trimmings. One time I made a comic character out of my mud pies and mom gave me an "artistic award" of merit. Oh, did I ever dream of being a famous artist. I vaguely remember my creation was something like a fat bull frog. He came with ears, a giant green tongue sticking out (not flat), marble eyes, and leafy legs and arms. The tongue was the winner. I had created it from the "never die" plant (sedum?). The magic tongue was simple. Take a "never die" leaf, press it's sides together until they squish but don't tear, open the stem end, place lips on the open edge and blow gently into the leaf. Voila! a three dimensional tongue.

So thank you VETERANS of all wars and peace for the opportunity to grow up safely in this grand country, and for giving every child a chance to enjoy a summer day outside with no fear of a snipers bullets or the blast of killing bombs. We owe our freedoms to you.