Friday, April 29, 2005

Just the Thursday Three (late,again) and I'm off to clean for our engagement this evening. Why can't we live in a barn?

At any rate, Possum's Thursday Three:
What does your name mean—any connection to what you do or who you are?

The old explanation of my name, Janis, is as a derivation of Jane, which is a derivation of John, meaning "full of grace".

Or there is the Wikipedia entry for Janis, which is: In Latvian mythology, Janis (or Jahnis) was a god associated with the Midsummer's Night festival (Jani). After Christianization, he was associated with John the Baptist, through a process of syncretism. Once a year, Janis came to bring luck and fertility to the people of Latvia.

Sweet and lovely and capable as my mama was, I don't think she was steeped in Latvian mythology. I'm likely named for Janis Paige, the actress. I've always preferred the association with Janis Joplin. Cry, Baby.

I don't have problems with my name, though I like Patricia, my sister's, better.
Patricia always got all the best stuff, and all the pink stuff. I was stuck with blue all my life. Darn it if Lyman doesn't prefer blue, too.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

That is some kind of good-looking bird.

Lyman just pulled a 19-3/4 pound turkey out of the Bradley smoker. It smells divine.

This, too, goes to Herbert's family, where he has been returned to his home under hospice care. A little time is all that's left.

Herbert has always insisted on calling me Miz Gore, even if he is 30 years my senior. I tried to make him stop, but no go. Just a habit, he said.

Big Daddy is going to be sniffing around like a hound dog because we have a smaller one for our family, too.

Someone last night said, "Big Daddy can worry the warts off a frog."
My lady friends on the river were tickled when I quoted this from Miss Indigo:
Dear Lord,
I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods.
Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It is understandable if you think I am lying.

Lyman and I walked through the lobby of the Comfort Suites Inn in Vidalia, and opened the doors onto the scene of the American Queen riverboat pulling away from the port in Natchez with the calliope playing "Proud Mary":
From here

Left a good job in the city,
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day,
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’,
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been.

Big wheel keep on turnin’,
Proud mary keep on burnin’,
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

Cleaned a lot of plates in memphis,
Pumped a lot of pain down in new orleans,
But I never saw the good side of the city,
’til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

If you come down to the river,
Bet you gonna find some people who live.
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have no money,
People on the river are happy to give.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.
Miss Lucy did something provocative yesterday.

I spent the morning cleaning in the kitchen. Lucy was dying most of the day to see what I was doing up close.

When I wound things down, I carried her to the island and set her down. Readers know that I often take Lucy to the kitchen to work as my helper while I'm preparing food, washing dishes or emptying the dishwasher.

As soon as I set her down, she looked around a bit and faked a big yawn. "Oh, is Lucy tired?" Another big fake yawn. "Lucy is too tired to work?" Another big fake yawn.

Lucy just went to the kitchen as an observer yesterday. She was too tired to be a helper.

Crawfish boil, Friday at 6 p.m., Nate

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

There were a good many pictures in the box of Lyman bent like the baby above.

His mama said, "He used to stand on his head all the time. I wonder why he did that?"

I suggested that there is an entirely different way to describe that picture, and that he does it still.
Here's Chris of the Big Yellow House on the sacrifices mothers make for children.

She might shed light on events this evening. Lyman's dad and mother dropped by (without calling, of course). Lyman's mother was carrying a shoebox of old pictures of and for Lyman. Luckily, she only wears a five, so it was a small box.

Many of the pictures in the box were of Lyman's birthday parties as a baby. His mother said that Lyman would often wake up in the morning saying it was his birthday. Mama would then run to the store and buy a cake mix and ice cream whether it was his birthday or not, and have a little party in the afternoon for friends.

My mother would have plainly explained that it wasn't and gone on with her day.

But, to this day, my mother-in-law is a fan of a piece of cake. Do you think?
A herd of buffalo got loose in a neighborhood outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

The police successfully herded them into a tennis court. A quote:
"Somehow they figured it out; I've got to give a lot of credit to the creativity of our officers," police spokesman Shawn Vinson said.
I'd think so.
I am off-base and out of touch regarding beach property, which is hardly a surprise. When I read that property is selling for $159,000 a coastal foot, my eyes cross a bit.

Big money is coming down, and the prevailing philosophy is "dress up" your condo. Lyman was talking to a guy yesterday who bragged that he had the nicest condo in the complex. Granite countertops, crown moldings, a custom-built $2500 entertainment center. (I can't wait to see it. How do you cram all that into 950 sq. ft.?) Others talk of custom bedspreads, panel doors, faux finishes. Friends plan granite in their bathrooms. "It will dress it up," they said. And I felt pretentious putting in fake marble.

My aide down there had told me people are buying heavy, West Indian style furnishings. The girl who made my drapes showed me a custom duvet job in which the predominant color was black. She is an Asian woman somewhat younger than I am. "Why they want black at the beach? I don't like this black."

I'm thinking, "So why do these people bother to leave home?"

The beach to me is slapping screen doors, sleeping porches, and polyurethaned furniture so the kids don't do damage.

Keeping up with the Joneses has never been my thang.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Four peregrines there.

Four congo greys here.

They all look pretty silly, don't they?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The first memorable post I read from Possum was the description of anthropogenic fish art that his doctor had moved from old offices to new. That was written on 1/20/02.

A little later he received a link from Dr. Frank. Long before, he often referenced den Beste, where I participated in a few discussions that included Fritz Schranck and Mommabear.

So there's almost no telling how I came upon Possumblog.

Friday, April 22, 2005

George is doing his level best. He's a fine mate. See the peregrine cam at left.
Lyman's nephew was sworn in as a lawyer today at the Superdome in New Orleans. Does that tell you something about the proliferation of lawyers?

Or does it tell more of the straits of the Superdome?

Or does it tell about the season ticket holders?
Indeed, I did call Terry Oglesby today. By gosh, if Lyman gets to talk to all these women everyday, I get to talk to men. I didn't call old boyfriends, but there are one or two of them that I like, too.

Terry has a higher, more professional, and less southern voice than I imagined.

He asked me a nearly impossible question. "How did you stumble upon this lowly blather?"

I know that I sent him a fan letter on February 27, 2002. I have no idea of how I arrived there. There are a good many longer-standing members of the Axis of Weevil than I.

How did I go to Possumblog?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Yes, I did buy a new copy of Robert's Rules of Order last night.

I was shamed into it. I have an Oxford English Dictionary, and an Abingdon's Strong's concordance to the Bible, but we lacked a Robert's.

Intervening in Lyman's conversations with women, an 80-year-old gentleman from Athens, Alabama, called the other day, saying he had noted something in his recent copy.

"Sir," said Lyman, "You're eighty years old. Why do you have a new copy of Robert's Rules?"

"I like to keep up," he said.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This little story from J-Birds makes me cry, too.

I don't doubt the bird can cry, much as a good dog feels bad after being scolded for doing wrong, or a small child.

My mother-in-law is probably right. I would have been a hopeless mother of children.

UPDATE: Lucy, in contrast, would pin me with those eyes and give back as good as she got. The girl doesn't like the word no.

Monday, April 18, 2005

One of Lyman's funniest trials keeping a tomato garden is squirrels stealing his string. For many years, he would keep a roll of jute twine on a nail on a post handy for tying up indeterminate tomato plants (not a bush variety).

Then the squirrels started taking off with his string to build nests. We found one roll next to a pine tree, with the string going up as far as we could see.
Look at this baby owl from Glenn Reynolds. Isn't it a hoot?

(Yeah, yeah.)
So, Lyman's dad shows up at one o'clock yesterday afternoon and says, "I have a job for you."

Lyman said, "I have a job."

Dad says, "You don't have this one yet."

Lyman says, "OK, what is it?"

Dad says, "Herbert's in the hospital, and people will be taking food to his house this afternoon at about 5. I thought you could smoke a ham for me to take."

"Daddy, I can't smoke a ham in that time. I can bake one. Do you have the ham?"

"No, you can pick one out better than I can. I'll pay for it. What will you need, $20?"

"Do you want a whole ham, or half?"

"A whole one."

"That might make a good down payment. There aren't many hams around at this time of the year."

So Lyman went to the local market and found a whole ham, 18-1/2 pounds, for $50, brought it home and baked it, with mustard, honey and black pepper.

The family liked it.

Big Daddy nearly dropped in his tracks. 50 dollars!?
So, Lyman spent more time talking to more women this weekend, and found two more board members who don't have copies of bylaws for the association.

Pray tell, who does?
You know, friends, this is remarkable. I can move today.

Not like the other day when I planted with Lucy. 30 bulbs that day. That was almost as bad as riding a horse for the first time since I was 16.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

100 caladium bulbs and 102 impatiens plants in the ground. That will do for the front yard.

There's a lot of trimming to do. The English Ivy still has an accent, and the azaleas go out of control even if you trim them to the ground. The box hedge has new growth, and the Japanese yew needs to be cut back, and somebody needs to paint again.

Somebody at my house's name starts with a "J".

Friday, April 15, 2005

Lucy is, if you have not gathered, Lyman's baby girl.

She had a shipment of food from Ducote's Parrot Place today. Ducote's had a computer glitch after Lyman's order, which meant they called us for our street address. Lucy's food came Fed-Ex with an extra bag of something Lyman didn't order. We call that lagniappe. What nice people.

I just gave her a bite of Sesame Soy Crunchies. They blast all over the place.
We have been out planting caladium bulbs. Lucy was on my back. The garbage truck came by and honked. She steals every show.
I am, at heart, a fairly laconic Texan. I like to be quiet, watch a lot, and perhaps have something pithy (not pissy, I don't lisp) to say when all is done.

So I keep myself a tad apart from Southern women, because they will talk your ears off. Spend a half hour in conversation with a southern woman and you will know more than you ever needed to know about her family, circumstances, and general outlook on life.

I've just spent 3/4 hour talking to one of the women Lyman will talk to today.

That boy needs some fine treatin'.

UPDATE: Maybe that's why Lucy doesn't talk much.
The garden club lady brought my caladium bulbs yesterday. They were to be Aarons, but they are White Queens. I like them better anyway. Ooops. Shouldn't they change that name?
A feeding at 6:38 PDT this morning. Gracie was wondering, but ultimately fine.

George cannot sit this rowdy crowd much longer. He jes' ain't big enough.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Eight women Lyman has talked to today and counting ...
If it pleases you to tell me, explain why the numbers of votes cast for various candidates for a board position in a condo association should be kept secret from the membership, including the president of the board?

This comes from an unsigned e-mail from the pres.

If that ain't broke, I don't know what is.
The fourth falcon hatched sometime during the night of April 12-13. Reliable times to watch feeding, which is about the extent of activity in the nest right now, are about 6:30 a.m. PDT and 7 p.m. PDT. Those might change as light comes earlier and stays later.

I watched this morning. At 6:30 (8:30 here) almost to the second, George brought Gracie a hunk of something. She fed the chicks until about 6:47, then took off with leftovers, and George took over brooding the chicks.

It won't be long until they're too big for him to be of much help. Remember, he weighs about 650 grams to Gracie's 950 grams.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The letter in this post from Greg Hlatky ticked me off so badly I went out and fired up our outdated, gas guzzling, lawn tractor and mowed the front yard myself.

"Family cars," "tract houses," "discount boxes in cornfields."

I guess it's fine that your favorite entertainers have 10,000 square foot houses on private beaches in coastal areas and fly when they leave.

I'd do the back yard tomorrow, but Jimmy -- black, uneducated, my age -- needs the work. He's paid $10 an hour. I made $6.60 doing paste-up at the Natchez Democrat in 1993.

Just watch it when I bring out the bypass pruners.
I guess I won't be lynched if I print a post from the Yahoo group watching the peregrines. Here we go:
My office is in 101 California directly across from the nest vent in the PG & E building. Last year I watched from my window as the two
youngsters left the vent and took their first flight. I was terrified
as each chick, one at a time took that first step off the ledge. I was astounded as George and Gracie dived under the plummeting, albeit madly flapping chicks. From my vantage point, it looked as if the parents
were "lifting" the chicks up into the air to the top of the building!
Once on the top the chicks marched importantly back and forth on the top ledge. (Emphasis Janis.) It wasn't long before I spied the chicks flapping around and eventually finding their way back into the vent at least once.
Are all youngsters alike?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

There are some new things with Lucy this week, too.

Just a few minutes ago, she was perched on top of her cage saying "Want some apple?" She has been using "apple" for some time now, but that's the first time I've heard her use the whole phrase.

She also has a new physical move that relates to her dance. She opens her beak a ways, and vibrates it against the branch above her on the playtree. Now what does that signify?
George finally gets a cigar. At least two of peregrines' eggs have hatched today.

Another of the observers and I think we saw Gracie take one of the chicks (called "eyases") from the nest and dispose of it, as though it were dead. I haven't seen any confirmation of that from anyone else. I suppose it could have been leftovers from a meal.

The nest will remain a quiet place for a while, as the adults keep the young'uns warm and hatch the remaining eggs.

UPDATE: At about 12:35 PDT, George popped in with a morsel that Gracie fed to the chicks. I think there were three heads bobbing there. Other observers say two. There's a little pig in the bunch.

You can watch by clicking on the "Peregrine Nest Cam" over there on the left.

UPDATE: Must have been a leftover earlier. Another egg hatched near 2:30 p.m. PDT and all three kiddos were fed at about 5 p.m. PDT. One egg remains.

Monday, April 11, 2005

My Land's End sleeveless V-neck tees came today, and I couldn't be happier.

They are cut to cover bra straps with a concealing underarm cut, and don't cling excessively. The fabric is sweetly soft and the colors are brilliant.

I've popped them into a cold wash to see how the colors will do and check shrinkage.

I'm still a slender woman -- though not like Jane Fonda at 52 -- but I am edging up to 50, and these seem to be quite appropriate summer garments for a woman my age. They'll look great under an overshirt, too.

UPDATE: Fine on color and shrinkage. Could do with a softener sheet or touch-up with an iron. Hah. An iron? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
As if life weren't boring enough spending Saturday with the baseball boys at the Elks lodge, I spent yesterday watching the tail of the Master's golf tournament.

That Fritz Schranck is a dubious influence.

Not all his fault. One of Lyman's best friends was an avid golfer. When he retired as paymaster of the local International Paper plant he was often off to Monroe or other near cities for golf tournaments.

He was about 6'6". When we were working on the great room we kept him in mind, making sure that he wouldn't knock his noggin on light fixtures and such.

He died of a massive heart attack stepping into the shower about four years ago. 65. A congenital weakness. It was his grandson we ordered the skateboard for at Christmas.

Charlie took golfing magazines and ordered books from clubs. I borrowed his books from time to time, so I've read about Lee Trevino lifting his club in a thunderstorm, declaiming "Even God can't hit a one iron!" I've read about Dan Jenkins clinking balls from one end of Fort Worth to another. But I can't remember who writes the Eddie Caminetti novels.

Mr. Schranck?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Lyman's father came by early yesterday to pick up a cricket box. He was going up to the lake to fish with a friend for bream.

Luck must not have been so good, since he brought back a bucket of small catfish retrieved from a trap at Lyman's brother's property.

"They're small. They're good skinned and fried whole this way. Y'all can do what you want with them. They sure are good fried whole."

Was that a hint, ya think?
Craig's bird-focused Sunday Comics is especially good this week.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Ahhhh. Life in the country, where, for all the frogs and crickets and cicadas, you can't hear yourself think. Quiet nights in the country. Bah.
I am preparing for my annual stint as the recorder for the River City League's fantasy baseball draft. Tomorrow we'll meet at the Elks' hall for the yearly event.

There are eight teams this year, and all the owners are the nicest of gentlemen, but, by gosh, it is about the most boring four or five hours I spend a year -- worse than a drive to Dallas. This will be, I think, my tenth year. This baton needs to pass along.

Lyman provides me with lists so that I don't have to spell names phonetically, and so I can distinguish between the five Fernandez boys.
Lucy has come up with what she thinks is a cute new trick.

When she wakes up and gets tired of being alone in the morning, she knocks her beak against her cage walls in perfect imitation of someone knocking on the door. Once or twice I have come running.

It worked well while workers were on and off the lot working on the greenhouse. Not so well now that it's about done.

Lyman and I took a walkthrough of the greenhouse yesterday. It has a heater and a fan and a mister and a sink and a couple grands' worth of hydroponic equipment that hasn't been hooked up yet. 16' x 24'. I've lived in less luxurious apartments. All three of my cars cost less. Added together.

"Lyman, this is the perfect place for you and Lucy to stay while I do spring cleaning."

He laughed. Not such a good idea, Daddy-O.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

What a haul!

I've been to the dollar stores for serious work clothes: 3 tops at $3 apiece, 4 capri and other cotton pants for $27.

I'm ready now, Buster.

UPDATE: But not for bluster. The wind is blowing against the direction I need to rake. I wasn't born yesterday.
Sometime in the next few days, the patient peregrines on the 33rd floor of San Francisco's PG&E building should reap their reward.

Professional observers project April 9 as the hatch date. Then there should be more to see on the cam as the little ones grow.
The brand new Possum Thursday Three:
#1) If there was one thing you could change about the way you look, what would it be?

Not yet, but my inescapable destiny evidenced by my mother's mother, mother and her sisters, and my sister, is that as I age I will have droopy jowls. No amount of exercise, or eating right, or yoga will prevent them. Both my sister and I are considering corrective measures when the time comes. She goes first.

#2) In your house, right now, what is your favorite piece of artwork that you have displayed?

A wall hanging done by a co-op in Zimbabwe that we found in a zoo along the Gulf Coast. It is a vibrant village scene done with batik, stamping and painting. 54" x 77". It hangs in the entry of the house. A lot of art for $150.

#3) What person living now would you most like to meet?

Right now, I'd like to meet Terry Oglesby. We've had an online correspondence for three years and have never met face to face.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Land's End catalog came this week. We have an online account for Land's End.

I found a v-neck tank top in the book in colors I like for $8 apiece, and ordered some.

In the receipt for the order, they included a link to a virtual model. It was my first experience with one.

Age, height, weight, measurements, body type, coloring, eyeshape and hairstyle were options. Turned up with a girl who looked pretty much like me, but her butt's too wide and her belly's too flat.

It was kind of fun. Boys can do it, too: My Virtual Model

UPDATE: This is cooler than paper dolls! Cooler than Barbie!! Not that I look a thing like Barbie, mind you.

I like birds and I like strawberries:
"I ain't ever in my life seen the likes of these birds," Young said. "They ain't scared. That's the bad part about it. . . . They catch us not looking and they'll swoop down and sit in that patch for 30 minutes." [...]

[...] A first-time strawberry farmer who hopes to expand to 100 acres next year, Relan said he solved his cedar waxwing problem the same way farmers across Tangipahoa have for years. The few farmers who have tried air cannons realize they've wasted their money when the birds are so undaunted by the devices that they use them for perches, he said.
What to do, what to do? Shooting them is against the law.

This story has a slew of good quotes from country boys.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Oh, for pity's sake:
Arkansas coach Houston Nutt has decided that his players who are caught loafing will no longer wear pink jerseys during practices in an effort to avoid offending breast cancer survivors.
There's a better argument that the pink is insulting to all women.

I imagine Coach Nutt has been running his slack players in pink far longer than breast cancer survivors have been wearing pink ribbons.
My gosh, what a mess. I've just balanced our checkbook, which required going through transactions back to December.

Lyman and I keep one checkbook between us. But he is the one that usually visits the ATM, or makes online deposits into the account. And we ran out of register for a few days in January, which accounts for the discrepancies.

The $%&##$^% thing has been a churning urn of burning funk for the past three months anyway.

But it's all done now. Mostly. I hope.
Here's a little story of insurance fraud in the Garden District of New Orleans.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I do not know how Pope John Paul II could have died in anything less than peace when he lived so near Michelangelo's Pieta.

I saw it in pictures. I have seen it in life.

Lay me, too, in the lap of Mary.

It's the only thing in the world I think worth stealing.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

From Smiley Anders today in the Baton Rouge Advocate:
Dear Smiley: You recently ran a story about a guy who went to a restaurant in Cleveland and saw crawfish on the menu for $13.99 a pound. I can top that.

I am originally from Fordoche. After I graduated from Northwestern in Natchitoches, I worked for two years as a national consultant for Sigma Nu fraternity. My travels took me to 73 universities across the country.

One year I spent Mardi Gras at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. One of the alumni owned a popular bar and grill, and upon finding that I was from Louisiana invited me to a Mardi Gras party.

He told me they would be serving boiled crawfish flown up from Louisiana as well as jambalaya, so I eagerly accepted.

When I got to the restaurant I went directly for the food, as I was feeling the ill effects of having to eat Midwestern food for some time.

When I got to the front of the line, I told the lady serving that I wanted some crawfish.

She asked politely, "How many?"

Imagine the look on my face when she told me they were selling them three for a dollar!

I didn't know what to say. I remember stuttering out "Nine." I didn't eat any of them, but instead peeled them and gave them to the Nebraska guys I had brought along.

Jeremy Lacombe

The last live crawfish we bought were $1 a pound. Some of the largest ever seen here were six to a pound.
I know nearly nothing about Vatican procedure.

How long will the bell toll announcing the death of Pope John Paul II?
Then the mule said, "I'm done today. You can walk home."

Friday, April 01, 2005

And the oak leaves have continued to fall.

Lyman called the guy who came earlier and was told his bagger had blown out, most of his big clients had been serviced, and that he would not repair it, but invest in a new unit this fall.

There is an old-fashioned, inefficient thing called a rake, I'm told, which coupled with a tarp, is a dandy device for putting one's back out.

Caladiums, either.

How am I ever going to be able to till the front bed to plant impatiens?

The bed is beside the front porch, under a large live oak. It's a shady place. If I ever get them in, we'll have brilliant flowers until the first hard freeze this fall.

But we're running on a schedule of two sunny, two rainy days. The ground will never dry enough to run the Mantis at this rate.