Monday, March 31, 2008

Just enjoy the pawprints in life

Perfect little pawprints.
So sweet. So delicate.
That’s what I was thinking the other day as I was taking a break from some weekend chores, and just sort of staring into space.
And then my eyes settled on the pawprints, etched into the dust by one of my many kitties.
Wait, etched into the dust?
In this, the season of spring cleaning?
Another person might have immediately sprung into action, dust cloth in hand, to wipe away the incriminating evidence — evidence that, obviously, I don’t dust nearly often enough for a person with cats in the house.
And I’m sure most people wouldn’t admit that there was enough dust in their house that would facilitate a cat leaving a pawprint signature.
But then most people probably wouldn’t allow so many cats to call their house a home.
Not being “most people,” I don’t mind sharing my abode with the furry felines, even though I swear sometimes I could create several cats out of the “dust kitties” that accumulate under my bed in a week’s time.
And I occasionally don’t feel that I quite fall into the “crazy cat lady” category when I watch some of the shows on Animal Planet that feature hoarders who have 30 or more animals in their small homes.
I also don’t plan on adding any more cats to the house — regardless of how many seem to keep showing up in the yard, but also seem content to just drop by for some food in the “outside dish.”
But back to the pawprints.
Yes, I did get around to sweeping them away later that day. But I know that sooner or later I’ll probably have a repeat performance.
Let’s face it, probably sooner than later.
But I know the dust truly isn’t going to kill me, since I was not one of those kids raised in a bubble.
Growing up on a small farm meant running outside barefoot; eating strawberries and peas right from the garden (yes, without washing them — that would have spoiled the fun); riding my pony, dragging around cats, petting the dog and hanging out in the barn around all manner of livestock, totally free of any kind of antiseptic hand cleaner.
Heck, when I was growing up they didn’t even have the stuff. Likewise,as my daughter was enjoying all these similar experiences.
Sleeping and eating in the barns next to our cows at 4-H shows, sharing our farmhouse kitchen as a kid with lambs or other critters that needed to be kept warm, eating a picnic lunch on a blanket on the ground with less than spotless hands — we never gave any of this a second thought.
And we never seemed to get sick because of any of this. I’d have to say our immune systems probably benefited from all of the germ exposure.
I feel a bit sorry for kids today, who are followed around with sanitizer, banned from petting animals and generally living in an ever more antiseptic world.
Especially when I think back on all the fun I had growing up in a “dirty” world.
As for spring cleaning? Well, I can’t promise anything as drastic as washing down all the walls, shampooing the rugs and scrubbing all the windows.
But I’ll try to not be overrun by pawprints in the dust.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Whites Road, Lansdale

I know that the North Penn/Indian Valley region has changed greatly over the past 20 years.
But that doesn't mean it should take you 20 minutes to travel about halfway down Whites Road at the Lansdale/Upper Gwynedd border between 5 and 6 p.m.
And yet, if I have the unfortunate luck to get out of work "early," say about 5:20 p.m. (after having been there since about 6:45 a.m.), I can count on slowly inching along Whites Road for the next 20 minutes.
Why? Because of the gosh-awful traffic light/lane situation between the light at Whites Road/Valley Forge Road and that tiny distance to Allentown Road/Valley Forge Road.
Come on, Lansdale and Upper Gwynedd... and Towamencin.. Can't SOMETHING be done about synching that area any better? Or improving the lanes? SOMETHING???
I know it's just one of countless areas where we crawl along morning, noon and night.
And I won't hold my breath for some kind of resolution.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring has sprung?

Yes, it is spring and tomorrow is Easter. But with snow this morning and the cool temps, it just doesn't seem very Easter-like. I've been watching commercials on TV pushing everyone to go out and buy their Easter outfits, and the kids are running around in sleeveless dresses and shorts...
Um... in March?
Of course, it may just be me. We had to dash out to the store for a bit today... lovely, the day before Easter ... and several people were sporting shorts in the 40-degree weather.
Guess it's another sign of my old age that I had on jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket.
Ah well... I'm enjoying the cool weather while it lasts. I fear that, once again, we will skip spring and head right into the heat of summer...
Spare us this, please!
What has happened to having actual, identifiable seasons, with the appropriate weather for the appropriate time of year?
Fingers crossed that heat waves hold off until at LEAST June!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

sick yet?

Wow, spring may be looming, but the past few weeks have been the roughest of the winter around here, it seems, as far as illness goes.
Many people who made it through the coldest parts of the winter without a sneeze have been felled by various ills the past week or so... and now many of us are trying our best not to be the next victims.
It's amazing how many remedies spring to mind when you feel that scratchy throat, feel the sneezes coming on and that tickle in the throat turns into a real cough.
I always turn to grapefruit juice for a sore throat, in addition to gargling with salt water.
And for the cough and congestion, Vicks is still the number one pick. Rub it on your throat, your chest, your sinus area.
Now people are recommending rubbing it on the bottom of your feet and then pulling on socks at night if your cough is bad.
I did try it last week and it seemed to work -- psychological or not, if it brings a bit of relief, bring it on.
Wonder what other people find a tried and true remedy?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Who's afraid of...

Sky-blue pink.
That was the color of the sky as I approached my home late one
afternoon this week.
It had been a long day at work, I was fighting off a sore throat and
just wanted to get home and collapse.
There were a million different thoughts swirling through my head, as
usual. What hadn’t gotten accomplished that day; what planning needed
to be done for upcoming editions; when was I going to get to the grocery
store or clean the house or do the laundry.
You know, the usual stuff.
And then a few clouds just seemed to disappear and the sky-blue pink
swept away the present and took me back to my childhood.
I don’t know if anyone else out there ever played some of the
low-tech games that we did as kids, but one that we used to love was dubbed
“Colored Eggs”; at least that’s what we called it.
Since playing outside was commonplace back then, we often played games
like this.
Here’s a quick description for those of you never lucky enough to
play this game.
In our version, one person was the mom, one was the wolf and the rest
were, well, colored eggs — you know, like Easter eggs.
Just bear with me.
Once the assorted players were assigned to their roles, the “eggs”
lined up behind the “mom,” who apparently was a protector, of
Each egg had to pick a color that it would be — keeping it from the
wolf’s ears, of course — and you tried to make it an obscure hue.
That’s where sky-blue pink came in for me. Because the next part of
the game involved the “wolf” coming to the door.
The mom would ask, “What do you want?”
The wolf would reply, “A colored egg.”
“What color?” the mom would ask (not a very good protector
apparently; she’s already set to sell us out).
The wolf picks what color he or she wants and, if that’s your color,
you have to run like crazy, as the wolf chases you. If you’re able to
make it back behind “mom” without being tagged, the wolf stays the
wolf until he can catch someone.
That person then becomes the wolf and the wolf becomes an egg. This
goes on until everyone is exhausted.
I’m not quite sure why the wolf would want a colored egg. But
obviously you can see why you want to try to be a color that the wolf might
not guess — you know, avoid red, blue, green, etc., so you don’t have
to run.
Sky-blue pink not only sounds wonderful as it rolls off the tongue, but
I always hoped the wolf wouldn’t figure it out.
I don’t play Colored Eggs anymore; I don’t think there would be too
many “wolves” that I could outrun.
But I still love to catch sky-blue pink now and then, especially when
it surprises me at the end of a long, stressful day.
It not only soothes the eyes, but calms the mind with memories of
simpler times.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Is this the same store?

That's what I ask myself every time I see this commercial for what is basically the only game in town these days in many places if you need to shop for the basics in life... some of these stores are "super"; some have grocery stores, pharmacies, optometrists -- you name it. And of course they are constantly rolling back prices.
The commercial I LOVE, though, is the one where they claim that they are doing more at night -- stocking shelves and the like -- so they can have more cash registers open during the day and more people to serve you.
Ummm, right. Apparently the store near my house hasn't gotten the word.
Just this past Saturday, I could barely get through many of the aisles because skids of new stock were just left sitting there. Some aisles I had to bypass completely, because a cart would not fit past it.
And as far as more cash registers open... another laugh. We all know the long lines we're forced to stand in, with one or two registers open while staff stands around chatting and ignoring you.
Unless, of course, you want to battle those oh-so-customer-friendly self checkouts.
How about spending less on these commercials, hire more people, pay them more and really live up to these promises????

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March, march, march

In like a lamb, out like a lion?
We'll see.... this morning is gray, but not sleeting, snowing and throwing other mayhem.... yet.
I don't know what it is, but I am getting ready for spring to arrive, even though I know the hot, humid weather of summer won't be far behind.
I guess the doldrums as setting in a bit.
And as much as I love vermont, i can't help but shudder when i read about -- and see -- the amount of snow that has been dumped up there this year..... just can't be happy, I suppose.
But here's so enjoying the cold weather a bit longer, but also enjoying paging through those seed catalogs that seem to shower us about this time of year.
And let those dreams run wild... this year i really WILL plant flowers and tomatoes and herbs -- and actually keep them all watered and weeded.
Hey, I can dream, can't I?