Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I've decided that I'm becoming more than a little grumpy. Maybe it's just a natural part of getting older. I find that I don't have any enthusiasm for (most)new things. Specifically, I'm tired of construction.

This is a little town (by my standards)of 25,000 population; twice that when the university is in regular session. For reasons I cannot understand, little Motown is undergoing a boom. Everywhere you look, there are hundreds of luxury condominiums going up, two new malls (giving us a total of 4), mega theater complexes (making it two, and unless I'm just watching the wrong films, I've never seen more than 25 people in a theater at either of them when I've been there). They are putting in a 19 story apartment complex downtown (the tallest building by 10 stories), adding a Sam's Club, a Wal-mart Super store, 8 or so new restaurants (Chili's, Olive Garden, Cheddars, etc.), this in addition to the 25 or so we already have. And of course, you can't build all this stuff without roads and plumbing/electricity and so on, so every major road is being torn up, widened, re-paved, torn up again, utilities run under, re-re-paved. The medical center is adding a new $20M research building, and a new neurosciences institute building; they've almost completed a major (2 years and counting)renovation and expansion of the medical library which will now be a 'learning center'. The univ. has broken ground for a new research 'park' in conjunction with various businesses. The local pharmaceutical firm has built a huge recreational complex, with equestrian space, outdoor amphitheaters, and so forth. There are plans to built a live theater, a museum, and who knows what else. An 'intermodal public transportation facility' will be tying university buses, PRT, and city buses together.

And I keep thinking, where is the money coming from? And what do the Powers That Be know that the rest of us don't?

But no matter how much they build, you still won't be able to find a parking space.

Grumble grumble.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Those were the days, my friend....

When my son was small (lo, these many years ago), around 10, I surprised him as I was coming out of my bedroom late one evening. I caught him heading for the computer room (to play games), and he immediately looked guilty when he saw me. He said, "I thought you had gone to bed?" and I said " I thought you were doing your homework?" to which he smoothly replied, "Then I guess we're both disappointed."

When he was in 3rd or 4th grade, we got a note home from his (parochial) school, saying that he was not paying attention in class, being rowdy, and so forth. And I thought, C? I don't think so...mostly what he did in class was sneak books out of his bag and read during class. So without saying anything to him at all, I took him for a haircut, and got him some nicer clothes (ones that weren't such ankle beaters), and made sure he looked tidy going to school. Sure enough, the next note said what a great improvement they had noticed in him. And I thought how often teachers form unconscious judgements of their students, thinking the taller kids (which he definitely was) should act more mature, the tidy kids to be better students, the sloppy kids to be a troublemakers, and so forth. His was a good school, and the teachers all above average, but still, it isn't a good policy to assume that they are always right, or that they see some side of your child he doesn't show at home. I had a friend who (back in the day when schools did corporal punishment) said if the sisters spanked him, it was a given his dad would too, once he got home. No explanations listened to, or even voiced. I sure hope we're past that stage. Schools are such an unnatural environment, emphasizing conforming yet standing out, cooperation and competition, certain behaviors that are never fully explained,behaviors that conflict with what they are taught at home, and overall denial of the validity of a different point of view. My over-all memory of school days, especially the early years, is one of bewilderment, and a total inability to see that all the other kids, popular, pariah, smart, or dumb, were all bewildered too, only different in how they showed it. I wouldn't go back to those days for all the money in the world.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Well, OK, just this once

I am going to give up apologizing for the infrequency of posts here. After all, I am the Creator and I Follow No Rules But My Own. I have Spoken.

July is proving to be hot and rainy, and so everything seems to smell faintly of mildew. Whenever I read about the extinction of 'x' number of plant species a year, I always wish I could pick the ones to go extinct, with mold and mildew topping the list. What possible ecological niche could they fill? Are there predatory species who feast on mildew? If so, can I get some? Soon? I remember one memorable summer in Miami when I was a kid, it rained 30 inches in 30 days. You needed a snorkle to walk around outside, and everything was green, including you. No wonder the roaches in florida are so huge, they have to be big enough to float without drowning.

We did try to open the pool over the fourth, but scrubbing the walls of the pool, 27 feet in diameter (if I remember the right formula, that's 85 feet in length, 48 inches tall = 339 square feet) did us in. We intended to replace the liner this year, until the installer said it would cost $600 in labor, and that he needed to be able to reach the outside of the pool all the way around -- which means pulling up a deck 85 feet around; so we passed this year. May try DYI next year.

The horses are enjoying these lazy days of summer. It's far too hot to ride, too buggy. On Memorial day we started the 'turn around turn out' which means we keep them in the barn (shady, fans in every stall, bug sprayed)during the day, and turn them out at night (so if there are thunderstorms we can quicky get them in). The two mares are both white-faced and blue-eyed, so bright sunlight is hard on them anyway; if for some reason they are out in the sun, I put those fly mask/sun bonnet things on, it makes them look like aliens, but keeps the flies off and the light down. One time I forgot them, and when Blondy saw me approaching with them in hand, she rushed over and THRUST her face into it, so I guess it suits.

One way I know I'll be missed when I retire--my candy jar. I keep a one gallon jar filled with candy, not just the hard stuff that comes in 'variety' bags, but miniatures of real candy; i.e., chocolate. I refill it about once a week. It tickles me, because although I can't see the jar from where I sit, since it's in the outer office, I can hear every time someone gets candy because it has an old-fashioned click-grip canning jar lid. It amuses me, for various reasons, and so I never mind the cost. Gotta go with anything that makes the day go faster.