Time Passages

“Yesterday gets to be a long time ago.”

The Kid has just finished 7th grade.  In the fall, she will be a full-fledged “honor” student at her middle school — full-fledged because this past year, she was in all the honors classes except the not-so-honorable 7th grade math class.  Shortly before summer break began, she lobbied her teacher to be included in the 8th grade honors algebra.  Why?  Because apparently peer pressure (her peer group being the “smart” set) can work in mysterious ways.  It should be an entertaining year for all concerned.

It may be entertaining in other ways too, especially if they ever crack open a history book.  Tonight she watched the first Indiana Jones movie with DH, and though I should have known better, I just had to ask:  “When was WWII?”  And she began to answer, “18 –”


Of course, she also thinks she’s living in the 20th century — and though she was able to tell me a century is one hundred years, she also thinks the 21st century goes from 2001 to 3000.


In a very small but real way, I envy her grasp of time, and how very flexible and meaningless it all is to her: the Union versus the Communists, the Nazis versus the Confederates, the colonists versus the Russians.  What is it like to view time with such fluidity?  When the Kid was in 5th grade and learning how to knit, she decided the best way to wind a skein into a ball was to completely unwind the skein first into a big pile of yarn, then wind the big pile of yarn into a ball.  I imagine that time, for her, is like that big pile of yarn, too difficult to untangle . . . .  Back then, she surreptitiously dumped the yarn into the trash, hoping I wouldn’t notice.  I did then, I do now.  She wants the appearance of intelligence without having to work hard at it.  I wonder when she will realize that side-stepping of reality — then I think, surely she already knows.  What would I like for her — self-knowledge, or self-acknowledgment?

The Earth Will Provide (And the Market Will Decide)

Our neighbor, the lifelong keep-your-mitts-off-my-God-given-rights Republican (every once in awhile, we think about taking out a Sierra Club membership in his name, or making a contribution to the DNC in his honor): “I will use as much (electricity, water, gasoline, whatever) as I want and for as long as I want;  I can afford it.”

It is a touchy subject with him, all this unwarranted government intervention in his freedom of exploitation.  He recently received a letter from the city utilities department drawing his attention to the amount of electricity he used compared to his next-door neighbors; perhaps it was an unfair comparison, for we have solar panels and we use less electricity than our array generates, while the people on the other side are not home  much.  But, it is also true that even before our array went up, we used only one-third of the average electricity usage for our city.  Our neighbors, like most people in our subdivision, have a electricity-gobbling twenty-year old refrigerator in the garage, and frequently leave various lights (incandescent), televisions (very large plasma ones), overhead fans, and air conditioner on even when no one is at home.  It is his right, he says: he can afford to pay for what, in our region, is incredibly cheap electricity and water.  Water shortage?  No such thing, because over time (that would be geologic time, I assume) the aquifers will replenish.  Oil shortage?   There wouldn’t be any if the environmentalists would just quit whining and let the oil companies do their work.  The earth will provide — always has, always will.  And if it doesn’t . . . .  well, he likes to point out that “you can’t take it with you.”  True enough, but then what about leaving it behind for, say, his granddaughter’s generation?

In the meantime, “the market” must be allowed to determine the fate of the planet because  it is, if you will, a fundamental expression of evolution.  Hence his objection to various incentives for alternative energy.  I know he thinks his tax dollars should not have been used to subsidize our solar array, but we have been friends for many years now and he would never tell us that.  We all know each others’ positions, though — and we all know we will also never get into a conversation about things like oil company subsidies or hillsides denuded by off-road recreational vehicles.

We will also never get into a serious conversation about climate change.  Suffice it to say, global warming is a modern myth put forth by a conspiracy of left-wing eco terrorists;  there is no irrefutable scientific evidence that it exists.  On this issue, he must have absolute proof — majority consensus is not enough.  Which is interesting because how we touched on the subject was via a comment about his glucose level at his last medical checkup.  It was a bit high, his doctor had told him, and if he wanted to ward off diabetes, he needed to make lifestyle changes.  And he has, he said, by working out for an hour everyday and dropping twenty pounds over the past six months.  Clearly, he had no difficulty believing his doctor — and all without irrefutable scientific proof that he will indeed progress to diabetes if he did not lose the weight.

I do not practice reduce-recycle-reuse as much as I could, or should.  I am guilty of complacency, as though tossing something in the green bin is an act of virtue.  At times the three Rs are not “convenient,” and quite frankly, often it feels like such puny effort for what is ultimately at stake.  What does it take to believe that the environment, like the human body, can take only so much use and abuse before failure?

Santa Fe, May 2010

Alto Street Angel

Angel Josefina, across the street from the adobe casita we rented in the Guadalupe district in Santa Fe, where a 700 square foot condo farther down the street was listed at $275K.  I don’t know the purpose of Angel Josefina, but blessings would have been useful as I 10-point turned my car into the casita’s parking space.  But to my delight, we discovered — after banging into the side posts coming and going — that my side mirrors bend both ways!

Alto Street Mural

Santa Fe for Knitters

But it would be a pretty sadistic knitter who would impale a ball of yarn with that many needles . . . .

"Southwind," Gene and Rebecca Tobey, Ventana Fine Art

$30,000 — and I don’t suppose that includes the shipping.

"Walks Among the Stars," Dave McGary, Meyer Gallery

Follow the Red Brick Road ...

. . . . to the Tarabino Inn in Trinidad, Colorado.  The building is also brick, but has been painted pink.  Not an obnoxious pink, mind you, but definitely pink.  The owners have lovingly restored this historic home, and it is not remotely frou-frou.  It’s a house I can imagine living in, creaking floors and all.  Aside from the house itself, the bed and breakfast experience was unimpressive.  The innkeeper could best be described as brisk (perhaps even abrupt), and the breakfast workman-like; it was one of the most impersonal bed and breakfast stays I have ever had.

Trinidad bricks

Tarabino Inn


Fearless Bunny

He sits there, chewing thoughtfully on my flowers; he has a special liking for the hyacinths, but just the tips of the leaves.  We let the vizslas next door come over — not that we want them to kill him, we just want to put some fear in him.  He leaps across the lawn and the rocks, and is out like a shot through a gap in the fence.  He never slows down, he is so familiar with our yard.

Today I bought jalapeño and serrano peppers, dragged out the Cuisinart, and made a rabbit repellent spray for my plants.  The guy at the nursery had suggested habanero peppers, but I was afraid of hurting myself during the preparation.  The concoction is very green and toxic-looking, and if I were a rabbit, I wouldn’t go anywhere near it.  But then, I don’t suppose rabbits are high IQ rodents on the order of, say, New York City sewer rats.  Unfortunately, here we are in May, and it is cold and grey with rain turning to snow as I look out the window, so my rabbit experiment will have to wait.  In the meantime, I wander over and look at my concoction, and think evil thoughts.