I tried not to post this, but I have so little willpower. Sometimes you gotta call it what it really is.
I tried not to post this, but I have so little willpower. Sometimes you gotta call it what it really is.
This gallery contains 60 photos.
I had a birthday last weekend. Mike wanted to take me to an elegant restaurant, as we’ve done for each other every year we’ve been together. But the All New and Improved(?) Me longed for something more. . .more. . … Continue reading
The Culex mosquito-borne West Nile virus has been much in the news lately, accompanied by hand-wringing, chest pounding, and gnashing of teeth by garden bloggers, environmentalists, and dragon fly enthusiasts screeching in unison about the evils of DEET and its sprayed application over wide areas: how it will knock down beneficial insects, schoolchildren’s test scores, and vaporize every unsuspecting pocket dog set down on the ground to pee. Never mind those few unlucky individuals who contract the virus; sometimes the human herd needs to be culled.
I’ve just come inside from my notgarden, because I have been most thoroughly sucked by every female mosquito within a one-mile radius. It is a very rare occasion when I can go outside and not be set upon by these thirsty mothers (or mothers-to-be). Almost never can I venture out of doors without first saturating myself or clothing with repellent; what possessed me to do so today will likely remain one of the great unanswered questions of my life, along with “why did I sell my moped?” But this morning I went to the notgarden to tidy its unruly minty locks, wearing long pants and an oversized, light-colored tee shirt. No perfume, no hairspray, no deodorant was present to attract unwanted guests. I spent 45 minutes outside and thought I might be holding my own against the mosquitoes since I didn’t see any landing on me.
Wiley beasties, they be.
I have a bite on my ass large enough to be a third cheek, administered through my pants and underwear; bites on my elbows, on the inside of my thighs, on my knees- — all accomplished by that needle-nose poked through fabric. I stopped counting the bites on my exposed forearms because the tally ups the itch factor. When I serve as an entree to insects in this way, the bites swell significantly and I shake as if in shock. My only recourse is a swift retreat to the indoors followed by a calming down period as the swelling levels off and receeds.
Organic or natural mosquito repellents such as Skin So Soft, cedar oil, and citronella are commonly cited as viable alternatives to products containing DEET. Using those products on my skin is akin to placing salt around the rim of a margarita; they aid in transforming me into a mosquito libation. Even DEET is not 100% effective for me, but it is BY FAR the most effective means I have of being able to go outdoors comfortably. The environment in which I reside is damp, if not outright wet. My neighborhood is heavily wooded and admits little sunlight. Leaf litter, renewed most generously and most constantly, provides an excellent source of housing for mother mosquito. I’ve wondered at times why I so rarely see anyone outside near my residence; perhaps the answer lies in the insect population.
I want those people advocating the exclusive use of organic or natural insect repellents to come to my neighborhood, get in my skin, and stand in the middle of my back yard for five minutes. I want them to see just how impossible it is to eliminate all sources of standing water in an area like this. I want them to try to remove the many years’ worth of leaves and debris that host the mosquitoes. They’ll be lucky, since my geographical location hosts little West Nile virus, so they won’t have much chance of having to endure its fever, vomiting, anorexia, or myalgia, or its possble repurcussions such as meningitis or encephalitis.
While those folks are standing out there in my doppelganger giving blood and starting to itch and swell, I’ll be spraying my real self with Deep Woods Off as I prepare to finish weeding the remaining half of the notgarden.
This gallery contains 14 photos.
I had this idea I’d be a legitimate gardener when I moved to Virginia, someone who grew peppers and tomatoes and onions. Usable land was one of the prerequisites for the house we’d purchase once here: it had to have land I could … Continue reading
The difficulty of this challenge is — which purple? I try to have as much as possible.
We recently painted the entire interior of our house peach (or “circus peanut,” as I prefer to think of it). But as the famous local dead guy says, “I cannot live without books,” I cannot live without purple, so I painted these three separate blobs on the dining room wall, beneath some terribly serious paintings. (And yes, the blobs are a permanent feature of the room. At least, permanent by my definition of that word.)
Thanks to Vladimir at Wind Against the Current for posting his purple picture; otherwise I might have missed a plum opportunity (aargh!) for a slam dunk project.
This gallery contains 8 photos.
Last Friday evening I popped “Super 8″ from a local Redbox into our DVD player. Mike was so worn out by traveling that he probably wasn’t going to stay awake for an entire movie. We’d already seen Super 8, so missing the ending … Continue reading
Today, the Magic Bus has been careening into the Bus Stop for a year. Some things have become evident during that time:
If the definition of a writer is someone who writes, that makes me a writer. But I’m not a writer and I don’t aspire to be one. I don’t want to be anything. My best wordsmithing is to the world’s writing as a 40 watt light bulb is to the stars above the clear West Texas sky. There are some thoughts in my head that I’d like to share, and an assortment of experiences for which I want to do the same, and the Magic Bus Stop has become a handy place to do both.
Sometimes I am downright perplexed over the blog entries chosen to be Fresh Pressed. Surely the regular Fresh Press picker was at a doctor’s appointment or the Fresh Press door was inadvertently left ajar and someone rode in on a hackneyed subject sporting grammatical and spelling errors. Then I remind myself that writing at the Magic Bus Stop isn’t about being Fresh Pressed. One of the things I salvaged from the wreck of relocation is the ability to sometimes say or write something funny. If I’ve made someone laugh, it’s a good day for me, Fresh Pressed or not.
My virtual world has expanded in direct relation to the contraction of my physical world. Readers have boarded in Hungary, Nigeria, and India. I’ve gone kayaking with aliens, sung in a choir with more than 3,000 other singers, and added goals (such as huffing insulation) to my list. I live for the absurd, the quirky, the goofy, and even when I get those back into my walking around life I’m going to hang onto the friends I’ve found virtually. For most of my physical world hours I am alone, and it’s nice that you’re here for me in my virtual world. Thanks, everybody. The stardust of your conversation makes driving the Bus a much bigger adventure.
Editing is variously akin to rearranging furniture, cutting off fingers or toes a joint at a time without anesthetic, or taking out the trash.
My photography skills are minimal. The Magic Bus Stop is not a photography blog; I like to include a few pictures to bring you along on our explorations, maybe give someone a vicarious thrill — perhaps that reader seeing the Mummer’s Parade from Hawaii or the follower in India getting the big fin from a humpback whale. I can’t allow the photos to become a crutch because I can’t wrangle the words.
Writing is destructive, enlightening, agonizing, frustrating, futile, helpful, rewarding, crushing. There are circumstances, happenings, situations, emotions, for which there are no words. Period.
There are crowds of people everywhere
crawling along walking the same emotional bed of coals as I am. That’s heartening. Sad, too.
I had a very nice childhood, but I got off that carousel horse a long time ago and my Magic Bus is in drive, not reverse. The rear view mirror is where I hang a raccoon tail and a smiling blue plastic hippo. The Memory Lane of childhood is not my destination.
My “aaargh!” quotient is still significant in that things I write trying to honor someone else turn out to about me. Those people I want to hold in sunlight deserve so much better, and they are bigger than my ability.
I get more from the Magic Bus Stop than I give. Commenting on bloggers’ posts, reading what others have to say, and being invited on their journeys is almost more gratifying than telling my story. I’m nibbling at many tables, sampling youngster’s opinions and sipping experiential wine with people my age. Blogging resembles a banquet with its diverse offerings and opportunities to try something new. Or not. There’s no pressure, but there are mountains of encouragement. And I’ve reached the Age of Irony where those 20 years younger than me are dancing the same steps I did at their age. I want to tell them not to let anyone dip them too far backward, but I brushed off anyone who told me that. Sometimes you have to grimace through the back sprain to learn not to bend that way again.
So, thanks for coming by the Bus Stop. There’s always room for you on the Magic Bus, and if it seems to be late pulling up, it’s because I’m packing the cooler so we can pour ourselves a virtual cold one to enjoy together at the end of the day’s ride, along with a little stardust.
And now, for your continued enjoyment, the travelog I never intended to write continues.
We propellered off to the Boston area over Memorial Day. In another life, I spent a year living in nearby Lowell, where I existed on macaroni & cheese at 5 boxes for $1.00, my Texas-born dog learned about snow, and I temped at legendary places like Purity Grocery Stores, Wang and NEC Technologies. (Evidently I have a history of working for sinking ships or those already plundered by corporate pirates.) This was my first return to the area since those long-ago days. We quartered south in Brockton for Mike’s business travels scheduled after the weekend.
The slide show at the end of this post has a highlight or three, and here are a few additional discoveries/thoughts/triumphs:
I get better reception on my cell phone on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean than in the house where I live.
My brothers possess the super power of guilty timing, phoning me Memorial Day from my parents’ gravesite to tell me they love me, while I am out watching whales.
The Northeast is obsessed with karaoke.
It takes two days to feel the full effects of climbing and descending the 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Monument.
If it stinks, call it brie. “Funnel cake” is far more appetizing than “fried dough.”
Trying to get a prize-winning photo of a whale on a slow camera is not a good use of time; better to watch the whales and savor the memory. I’m pleased to say I figured that out quickly, right after missing the first breach. I’m also pleased I knew my perfect hat would be eaten by a whale courtesy of the wind serving it up, and therefore left it behind.
A temporary tattoo will survive a shower if not scrubbed with a washcloth. The “Dart of Death” still proudly rides my upper arm.
What half-wit decided on the area-wide policy of giving no quarter to cars moving onto the highway? Play nice already.
Dunkin’ Donuts shops spontaneously regenerate.
The attitude of USAirways gate agents varies widely. At La Guardia airport on our way to Boston, we were moved onto an earlier available flight without the least brow-beating or additional wallet-scouring. When I inquired at Logan for the same on my departure Monday afternoon, I was summarily dismissed and also witnessed a passenger being yelled at from 50 yards away by the same gate agents. Fly those friendly skies, I say.
Whales have bad breath. Should we tell them?
Rental cars should be standardized, or come with a manual. A keyless push-button ignition is disconcerting despite probably being a good idea.
I have little patience for public transportation. On arrival at the Brockton train station for our Sunday trip into Boston, the mechanized voice informed us that the train we had risen early to meet was somewhere else, not moving, and it updated that unhappy status every minute. Five minutes of this Fritz Lang Metropolis voice of bad news had me wanting to “baa!!” like a mindless sheep in a herd. We were definitely going to miss our scheduled historical walking tour. Taking matters into my own hands (and imposing my will on Mike), we (I) drove to Boston, easily securing parking which cost a fraction of the train ticket, and allowing us to arrive and depart when we wanted. There were no complicated schedules to decipher with exceptions for full moons, local vegetarian festivals or the mayor’s dog’s birthday. I like driving. It represents freedom to me. Call me a rebel. Rather a Bostonian attitude, I think.
What really happened to the donut Mike said he was taking to the car for me? Should I post its photo on a telephone pole?
A guided city tour is a good investment. Who knew JFK was going to settle the space program in Boston, only to have the program relocated to Texas by LBJ after JFK’s death? And how many people know about drowning by molasses? Or that John Adams provided legal defense for the British troops involved in the Boston Massacre? Or that the USS Constitution is still in service? We trolleyed the city on a sunny, breezy afternoon, and it was worth it, bad bean jokes and all.