Friday, August 29, 2014

Feeling Lucky Today

It's a lovely, golden, late summer afternoon here.

The dogs are playing in the backyard.

There is a pitcher of homemade peach sangria in the fridge. (Peaches are still wonderful right now.)

A chicken is roasting in the oven, surrounded by small ,new, redskin potatoes and tender, tiny cloves of garlic.

Marco is preening in the beams of sunshine coming in the west facing windows. He's one of the few contented parrots I've ever known.

After one more week of work, my sweetheart and I will have a full week off together.

I'm feeling lucky!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

"the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies."  Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.[1]

Summer 2014 is finally winding down, and I have to say that it's been a most unpleasant one, both for me personally and the world at large. This last half has been particularly bad. The news is full of violence, death, riots, war, and despair. It's hot here in South Carolina, hot enough to make tempers flair and electricity bills soar. Yesterday reached 102F, with high humidity, and today promises to be another scorcher. All you can do is stay inside as much as possible and wait out the heat wave.

Bad luck and trouble seem to be hovering over my house this month. For instance, a neighborhood cat apparently wandered into our backyard the other day, and our dogs killed it. I felt terrible about it, but since our dogs are inside a fence (and it happened when we weren't home) there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. Our kitchen was infested (briefly) with tiny black ants, prompting a call to the pest control people. My husband is terribly allergic to ant bites so we had to deal with that problem immediately. Next up? George (el destructo dog) chewed holes in the walls of our garage and laundry room, and we have to find someone to fix them at our own expense, since we don't want our landlord to know that our dog is systematically destroying every part of the house he has access to. This is why, with the exception of the garage and laundry room, he's an "outside" dog right now. My job is as thankless as ever, and the coworkers I dislike the most have really been outdoing themselves with rude behavior recently. The job search continues, but although I've applied for several positions nothing has come of it (yet).

So I'll be happy to see this summer wind down. The only thing I'll miss will be the wonderful summer produce we've been enjoying. I've managed to lose 25 pounds since March, mostly by buying and preparing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. I had hoped to do some canning/freezing/preserving this summer, but time to do it has been scarce. I did make a few jars of hot cayenne pepper vinegar with garlic......

...and I bought a giant basket of peaches yesterday which I plan to freeze for later use. They smell wonderful.....

.....and next week, on my next day off, I plan to buy a box of mixed heirloom tomatoes to make sauce with, which I will either can or freeze. These tomatoes are so delicious, and they won't be around much longer.

The food has been the best part of this summer so far.

Now I'm ready to see the dog days wind down and the arrival of autumn.

Friday, August 15, 2014

When the world is too much with you.....

This is from Connie Sun, and it's just too good not to share.

I often seek refuge from the news (or my disgust with my fellow humans) by going outside and playing with my dogs. Somehow the world always seems a little better afterwards.

If you're not familiar with this blog, I recommend that you take some time to browse while you're there. The gentle humor and the drawings of animals are comforting on stressful days.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hard week, heavy heart

It's been rough week.

The suicide of Robin Williams makes me so sad. He was a brilliant comic that brought joy and laughter to so many people, but underneath the extroverted, wildly funny exterior he struggled with many demons. Depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction eventually led him to the desperate act of suicide. It breaks my heart to think of anyone in that much pain. And to the people who say it's a "selfish" act, I say nonsense. Mental illness and addiction can be a private living hell. Until you've experienced that kind of suffering, you don't have the right to sit in judgment.

You just never know what kind of burden someone else has to bear underneath a smiling exterior. If anything, we should all strive to be a little kinder to each other. You never know how much something as simple as a smile or taking the time to really listen to someone might mean. It could even save a life.

Then there are the situations in the news. The Gaza strip. The riots in Missouri. Why can't people treat each other with humanity and understanding? Why can't humans live in peace?

Heavy thoughts for a Thursday morning to match my heavy heart.