Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why is this woman smiling?

Actually, what else can you do? If you look closely you might see a couple of little round bandages on my decollete. Earlier in the day I’d been to the skin doc who plucked and/or snipped (ouch, ouch, ouch) dozens of tag warts from my neck, then cryogenized a pre-cancerous lesion on my upper lip, followed by a blast to the huge, lumpy mole that had grown wildly out of control on my collarbone since its humble birth as a simple freckle. (This after a one-hour, close-range sunlamp tanning session brilliantly conceived and executed by yours truly at age twelve.)

And about the pre-cancerous lesion on my upper lip: I might also give a nod to my maternal grandma who showed me how to French-inhale.

Ah, too soon old; too late smart.

Sorry that I haven’t been keeping up with the Old Broadsheet of late; I had wanted my computerless mom to see it, particularly the last posting where she looked so fine. And I thought she would enjoy being privy to some of her only living child’s thoughts and writings. After a long series of misadventures, she finally got a look. “Seems like a lonely person who just wants someone to talk to,” she said.

Thank you, Mom. You really know how to cut right to the heart of a thing.

I do not lack for fellow lonelyhearts. Technorati, the blog tracking search engine, reports more than 71.5 million blog sites in existence today. I, apparently, am not the only one who longs for connection. One must give credit to the Internet for its ability to foster intimacy, if only virtual.

Birds & Bees

On the home front, we have had a paucity of hummingbirds this year. Due to the cumulative effect of eight years of drought typified by last fall and winter being virtually moistureless, there simply were no wildflowers for their nourishment.

Because we had so few hummers I couldn’t understand why the hum-juice was disappearing at such a rapid rate. One of the wasp-waisted feeders that holds about three cups was entirely drained in one day while I was at work. Given the few black-chin hummers that had been hitting it, it should have lasted a week. So that weekend I did a short, one-cup refill, and then watched from my kitchen window to see if it was Orioles or finches or who were pirating the jug.

It was bees. They had no flowers either. As I watched, a small swarm of about 20 covered one hole and simply drained that feeder in about 2 hours with their relentless sipping. While I can’t be sure, since bees are hard hard to tell apart, it seemed like they were rotating their places at the hole; one would get her fill, squeeze out and lumber off, then a new bee would take her place in the pile.

I thought maybe this behavior had something to do with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the latest disaster to befall our beleaguered Apis mellifera population, but several beekeeping blogs assured me that CCD was impacting only the big ag industry hives. Hobby and smalltime apiarists were saying that the commercial farmworker bees were being exploited and not getting enough love and attention.

The monsoon rains finally arrived here -- with a vengeance. Whether or not the current abundance of moisture will be sufficient to break the almost decade-long drought is problematic. But, as is usual in a land of little rain, dealing with too much water is a hassle: Muddy dogs, flooding creeks and roads, little critters on the move to drier ground (yourhome being that place).

One morning, I discovered ants had found their way into a space between the worn out grouting on the counter next to my kitchen sink and dozens of little pismires were on a reconnaissance mission to report back to the main force. I didn’t want to use Raid that close to foodstuffs and dishes, so I got out one of those handy-dandy “How to Do Anything” manuals that I occasionally fall for on the shelves at the grocery check-out stand. After a brief digital assault took out the scouting party, a generous application of cinnamon worked like a charm. No ants appeared again. I guess the smell discouraged or confused them.

I’ll let you know how cinnamon works out as grout.

Take a break

My niece April encouraged me to read Dean Koontz’s Life Expectancy, but I didn’t need any arm twisting. When it comes to escapist lit, I am a long time and huge fan of Dean Koontz. His books range from the terrifying to the odd with great doses of comedy and romance thrown in for good measure. Life Expectancy readers should prepare to be transported by the epic struggles of mild-mannered pastry chef, Jimmy Tock, versus psychopathic clown, Punchinello Beezo, fighting for the very soul of Jimmy’s youngest child. Wildly entertaining with outloud laughs and, strangely, a genuinely inspirational message.

For a quickie immediate getaway visit this link my friend Jan sent with a wonderful series of pictures of a nesting hummingbird and the hatching of two eggs. http://community.webtv.net/Velpics/HUM

Bye for now.
Aunt Rose


  1. I was told one theory for the decline of bees in the commercial setting is their constant diet of high fructose corn syrup.

    Your mom's observation struck me. Maybe I'd acclimate better to the midwest if there weren't any blogs for me to read.

    I see the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!


  2. I love the irony of the high fructose corn syrup. But I believe that is what the commercial producers do use.

    I read that in the far north, commercial Canadian bee exploiters destroy their bees rather than overwintering and having to feed them. The example I was reading about involved 40 thousand bees.

    I lived in Utah for 2 and 1/2 years and never got used to it; I was such an outsider from every angle. Blogs probably would have helped, but that was early days. At the time I started finding out about the World Wide Web I remember being astouded that there were over 4 million web sites.

    Yes. I am turning into my mother.