Monday, June 25, 2012

The Year She Wasn't Sixty Yet

So it started like this...
What is it about the day of our birth, that we seem to want to recognize?

In the beginning...

The beginning of all that has happened since then.

Ms. SpoolTeacher has trouble processing very much emotion; so, she didn't notate her birthdate on Facebook.

Happy Birthday.
Thank you.
Hope you're having a great day.
Thank you.
Hope you're doing something special for yourself.
Thank you, (but I'm cleaning someone's house today and then grocery shopping for a friend who is lame and then cleaning my own house)
"You liked this."
Thank you.

How can she tell them she hasn't any friends. Oh, well they can tell by the Facebook count. Oops!

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Ms. SpoolTeacher, Happy Birthday to you!"

Thank you.

"And many more...!"

There mother always filmed them singing that song, but, of course it was before sound and they just had to imagine what they were saying when they played it back, but they knew.
"And mannnnny mooooore!"

The year her babysitter made her cake.
Her mother always made a double layered round cake and would only use powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk to make the icing.
She would separate out a little of the icing and color it with those poison food coloring drops and then she would take a large nail and etch a scallop all around the edge and fill the etched scallops in with a little of the poisoned stuff .
She also etched "Happy Birthday" and who ever's name it was and their year with the poisoned icing too (She didn't know it was poison then. You can't blame you mother for everything.)
Anyhoo, they would all make a special deal out of the birthday girl and she would feel like a queen for a day.

One year their mother got a great idea and decided they were too old for little girl birthday parties. She decided to take them, and whichever of their best friends wanted to go, out to a matinee movie on base and after the movie the soda shop for a malted or ice cream bowl. She'd drop them off and come back and take them for treats.
This year Little Ms. SpoolTeacher couldn't find anyone but one to come.
One sister was sick, another off at something else and no one wanted to be friends. No one but one (The story of her life. As she happens to like it, it turns out).

It turned out to be her most memorable birthday of youth.
Everything went wrong, but everything turned out right, different but right. Her mother made sure of that.

And her babysitter who liked her so much..

And Alvin her dog.

That was the year Mrs. Smith
gave her a lemon tree.

The "Ben Casey Tree". The tree that wouldn't die.

Not even after being transplanted from their little house on the lane up to the farmhouse on the main street and then several times around that property because the farm workers kept thinking it was getting in their way.
Not until she left home and wasn't attending it.

Well, this year Ms. SpoolTeacher told everyone she "wasn't sixty yet".
She had a horrible time turning 30, no trouble with 40 or 50 but expects 30 doubled will either be double trouble or double getting over trouble. She's hoping for the best...a few little years from now...Sixty's the new forty you know.

Well this year she did see a movie with friends but it was late in the evening at the friend's house and they all had pizza not pie or cake.

Her friend who is eighty something, going on sixty, sent her a check with one condition,
"I want you to buy a hummingbird feeder, and not one of those cheap little red things. I want you to find a nice one."

So after searching online and reading the critiques she bought one of the cheap little red things.

As cute as these were, the reviews said they were lousy.

So now she can have two, one for the front and one for the back, surely her friend won't be mad.

No sooner than she put it out last night, this morning watering the front, a little hummer was buzzing around her head like a helicopter... she hadn't seen any all summer, amazing is what they are. Amazing. 

She never saw one sipping, but they're coming in so it won't be long.
So, why, even though the emotions are too much, do we want the cake and friends and the day to feel like a queen?

To feel counted. To matter. To be seen. At least for the day.
She may leave the balloon up forever.
Just to remember the year she wasn't sixty yet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

2nd Chances (or Getting Your Quails In a Row and Rightside Up)

Summer Solstice.
Many people complain of the heat, "The Dog Days",  but Ms. SpoolTeacher loves the Desert. There are plenty enough cold days, many more than she likes and far too little sunlight, (which turn her into a sloth) during Winter.

Long warm days and lots of dirt. Sweat? It works like an evaporator cooler if you sit in front of a fan.

Today she didn't have any jobs outside of what she had on her home agenda:
Dishes, laundry, reorganizing the garage (yes, still) and of course, watering the life sitting out under the blazing sun. 

Something keeps chomping things off at their feet, but she can't catch them in the act. So she is trying to devise critter frustration devices, which aren't working very well.

Out in the back against the retaining wall, she had planted some cantaloupe seeds from the batch she had scooped out and dried from one she had previously eaten. When they didn't seem to want to come up, she planted sunflowers instead. Up the sunflowers popped in no time, but along with a little corner full of cantaloupe sprouts that had either flowed in the water or been dug down to the end when she scrapped the dirt to plant the flower seeds. The corner was packed with cantaloupe leaves.

What to do. She had planted cantaloupe everywhere in the yard to see where they might like to be. Apparently they like anywhere.

She couldn't stand the thought of just pulling them out without giving them a second chance; so she used her bulb planting tool to pull them up and put them in whatever containers she had around. 

This is her first year of taking food gardening seriously. It's all a learning curve.

Little Red-Haired Girl went out with her to water the rest of the gardens on all three sides of the house. One side runs along the road and she gets up on the fence wall to hang over with the hose to water the plants she has put in the parkway there. She was hanging over feeling the cool spray of the water and looking down to inspect the condition of the life below when two little baby quail ran along where she was watering. They were so tiny and cute. Itty bitty things. They looked like they were lost. She expected to see a bunch more follow them and the parents show up at some point running their little chicks; but just the two ran by, each taking a turn at being ahead of the other.

She made her way back up to the front where the raised bed is and Little Red-Haired Girl went up to the porch to sit and watch, keeping some distance from the hose that often wants to spray her, trying to keep her cool....

All of a sudden, she took off like a bat out of h. e. double l... and Ms. SpoolTeacher suddenly thought of those little baby ducks quail and that it would be just about the right time for them to be there too and she yelled out at LRHG, "Hey, HEY, Hey! Hey! and went running over to pry her (by then wrapped around a baby quail) mouth off of the little thing which would be a morsel to her.

By some stroke of luck, it wasn't in her mouth and Ms. SpoolTeacher hurried over to the site where it might be and there it was laying on its side; but by the time she got to it to rescue it, it had righted itself and was hobbling off, gaining speed and stamina as it went...

She watched it hurry its little duck quail feet and run over to the neighbor's back yard. She would hope for the best...

A little while later and watching LRHG carefully not to try that again, she made her way over to the wall that borders her neighbor's back yard and suddenly thought to look over...

Look closely now, they are there
She looked and looked and finally movement, one little quail skittering the same trail round and around until it looked like the other came out from the downspout and caught up and then they started again, taking turns at being ahead of each other but following the same lost trail.

Adorable they were, so she watched them for quite awhile trying to figure out what they might be trying to do. There were many other little birds that looked like chicks of some kind, picking in the dirt; so she thought, "Is this where they want to be or are they lost and trying to find their parents?"
She figured they could make their way out if they made it in and except for the darned dog thing, they looked like they could figure things out...

Just as she got her camera and hung over the wall to take a shot, they got a clue and started lining themselves up on the sidewalk, headed straight for the gate...

Aren't they sweet? Wasn't it nice of Little Red-Haired Girl to give them a second chance!

Did you say, "What's for hors d'oeuvres dinner?"

Monday, June 18, 2012

Picket Fence White or Happy Late Father's Day Mom

<This story begins here.

Ms. SpoolTeacher has such a hard time making herself do the things she has to do to make money.
She would much rather be slathering paint on an old piece of furniture or one of the walls of her "Castle".
Because she doesn't like to work at a J.O.B.B. so much, she tries to be very frugal and use what she already has on hand.
(for every $10 she spends, she remembers it's another hour of scrubbing someone's toilet, if that isn't motivation enough to not spend...???)

So she mooched through her left over drums of paint to see which one looked like it could go on this wall, other than the blue she had already used on two of the others, (she likes to have different walls different colors).
This looked white in the can, but she could tell it would turn into something else, (the clues..the drips on the side of the can, although that is not always dependable as she often transfers paint from one bad can into a better one..), and she didn't want white white or even Picket Fence White as that would be too light reflecting in her calming bedroom/office/TV room and was what the hall is and she didn't want it quite running seamlessly into that without some visual break.
And as she said over here, she likes to slather paint on with a Purdy brush as she hates dragging out all that roller mess...
So by the time she was painting the bedroom/office/TV room, the dresser in the story that started this story was finishing drying out on the back patio/porch/concrete slab.
Well, it took her all day to sweep the floors, mop them, paint the wall, and drag everything back into place... dusting and cleaning while at it and making her bed up new.

The cabinet has sliding doors and used to have speaker mesh on the sides but she think she may leave it like this. There is a shelf to sit on it too, but she doesn't have time to sand it and paint it just now.

So, it looked clean, new and uncluttered... needed to be a staging surface and a shoes under place, and a place for sorting laundry and...papers and her everything bag and...

Just in time for her birthday to herself...                      

Her favorite Aunt never fails to remember the date and she is always the first rememberer in the mailbox...

This year the card came with a balloon to blow up.

Ms. SpoolTeacher huffed and puffed and then tied her eyeglass keeper-onner onto the tied up balloon belly button and strung it on the plant hook that hangs directly above her head as she sleeps so now she wakes up to a balloon swinging in the oscillating fan blowing air right above her head to remind her that her favorite Aunt is ever faithful and always in her corner.

So there.

She spent Father's Day wishing her mother was still around because they (she and her two other sisters) always gave their Father's Day gifts and Love to her since she did both Father and Mothering jobs. And that job was a three letter J.O.B. A good one.

"Happy Late Father's Day, Mom.
Love, Jackie of all Trades"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two Lane Highway

When Ms. SpoolTeacher was about sixteen, her older sister got her a job at Der Wienerschnitzel (and in those days it was Der).
By that time, she already had a driver's license and a beat up old Chevy Two that she adored.
It was a box, but it got her to wherever she wanted to go, alone, without begging Mom to drive the Rambler.

A few years later, it started looking ever more like a Nova until it finally became one.

Der Wienerschnitzel was about ten or twelve miles from their home and in those days, the drive was unencumbered. It was a long and winding two lane road. You could literally drive the whole trip without seeing another vehicle. Now days, it is a steady stream of bumper to bumper. It was then a two lane "highway" until you got to a merge point where it opened up. On the way back it was always fun to race any other vehicle you might come into contact with to see who could get to the merge first and be ahead on the one lane drive. Most of the time, though they would speed up and pass even after missing the merge contest (and that was scary because passing was high speed and in the oncoming lane).

She has very fond memories of that job. It was her first real job. Up to then it had been babysitting, sewing for others and after-school program jobs. 

There was one of the first "serve yourself" gas stations in the next lot and an older man and woman lived there as attendants.
One day when teen-aged Ms. SpoolTeacher was feeling a little under the weather, the man brought her over a cup of tea and a spoon full of honey. It was just that kind of time.

Der Wienerschnitzel was only a drive through or walk-up counter then, and the owner spent many days up in the loft overhead sleeping while his workers worked. He was a very nice man and even pierced Ms. ST's ears. His daughter was there with him often, but she didn't work with them.

Girls all wore white nurse type uniforms and white cloddy shoes and had to have their hair up in a bun or under a net. Ms. ST wore a "wiglet" with curls, her hair pinned up under it.

One worker would go out with a stack of white paper company bags on a clipboard and take orders on the backs of them if the line got backed up. No speaker to talk into.
It was fun, because you really got to see the people and talk.
Then back in to help speed up the orders.

They were all allowed to drink and eat as much as they wanted, and believe me, they did. They even had contests to see who could eat the most hot dogs in a day.
Ms. SpoolTeacher loved the polish sausage sandwiches and would make one up special and put it in the "bun warmer" to melt the cheese and soften the rye bread. Melt in your mouth good and full, full, full of fat, fat, fat.
Yes, she did put on a few pounds and had to start the roller coaster ride trying to manage weight from then on out. But they did have a lot of fun and she really got her taste of independence.

She quickly got promoted over her sister. Her sister didn't show much resentment, just didn't take long finding a better job. Ms. ST was kind of a goodie-two-shoes, was sensible, responsible and was a parent-pleaser. Go figure.

The area was poor and there was always a sense of vulnerability. The couple next door were a securing element because they really kept an eye out. They were safely behind bullet proof glass and were locked in unless they chose to come out.
Ms. SpoolTeacher's sister got held up at gunpoint once and they never felt safe again.
Ms. ST had one encounter where a regular character came around and mimicked a gun toter, making her think twice and her heart pop out. She thought that was really mean.

But she remembers to this day the little black boy that stood there at the counter looking in at her and finally said, "Lady, you got skinny face" (as if she didn't know).
To this day, people feel a real need to let her know that, as if she still doesn't know by now.

You know, you get what you get. Not too much you can do about face structure other than having your jaw broken and major surgery.

Just like everything else, you have to do the best with what you have. When she sees pictures of her maternal grandfather, she sees herself. And that's not all bad. Makes her feel like she got to know him, even though he died before she was born. There he is in her face. Cool.

"Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone." ~Jim Fiebig