Today is our youngest granddaughter’s birthday, so obviously we’re going to celebrate. While I don’t believe in wasteful extravagance or drowning children in expensive presents, we have bought a card and a few things as a gift for her.

I’m glad we live in a land/society where we do celebrate birthdays. Back when I was young there was little in the way of celebration, but my mom always baked a birthday cake around the time and I likely got a little gift like a book. Mind you, I was their only child — or the only child living with them — at that point. They were actually my aunt & uncle and their own son, twelve years older than I, was married and gone from home at age eighteen.

I never remember getting one thing from my grandma, but I had so little rapport with her at any time. Also, she had a number of grandchildren and even a few greats by then. A poor widow herself, she probably couldn’t afford to do much even if she’d had the inclination, but she really didn’t like children and especially my birth family.

I wonder how many of you others got cards or gifts for birthdays? I’m thinking fifty years ago it just wasn’t done. Actually, both my families struggled to make ends meet — and Mom V spent whatever she had at the bar — so buying fancy greeting cards wasn’t done except at Christmas. You always sent Christmas cards.

I bought some fabric (dress goods) yesterday so it’s obvious I plan to sew myself a new dress soon. I have several half-finished things to deal with, but it’s always nice to start something new.😉 Also, my dear hubby is taking my computer away this afternoon. I need an upgrade to Windows and we’ve decided that since this computer is historic by now — from back in 2004 — we’d better just get a new (to us) one.  The tech is going to transfer all my files. I’m hoping for no glitches.

I saw a tiny greenish form hunched over our hummingbird feeder this morning, so obviously they are still with us. Several more were around later, but this one male seems to think that’s his place in the world and is usually there first thing in the morning. I’m glad they’re still around; I’ll miss the little guys when they’re gone.

It’s obvious now that my husband is ready to go and thinks I should be, too. So I’ll say adieu for the present. I won’t be posting for a few days. Take care everyone.

Daily Prompt Word: obvious

What’s His Story?

The Apple Vendor

by Edgar Guest

The apple man upon the corner worries me a lot.
I wonder if he sells enough to pay his rent or not?
I wonder if he lives alone, or has he children small,
and just how many apples he must sell to feed them all?

It’s no concern of mine, of course — I’ve never learned his name —
I don’t know where he goes to, nor from whence the fellow came.
And yet I never see him on the corner with his box
but I wonder how he stands it in those worn-out shoes and socks.

I wonder as I pass him what misfortune cut him down
and left him selling apples on some corner of the town;
and if his wife is grateful for the little that he gives
and what he does on Sunday and just where it is he lives.

I wonder who his friends are, and is he what he seems,
or a man of high ambitions in the wreckage of his dreams?
And has he wasted chances or done everything he could?
And a thousand other questions which I wish I understood.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

A Rare Bird Appears

Looking out my window this afternoon I caught my second sighting of the long gray bird with its bright white front. We saw one perched upright a couple of days ago in the chokecherry shrub right at the edge of our yard, facing us. I got only a brief look at it before it flew off. I made several guesses as to its species, but lacked enough info for a positive ID.

Today when I saw it in almost the same place, it was facing south so I got a good side view of it. I could especially see its long, thin tail. I quickly grabbed the binoculars, which are never far away from our primary bird-sighting spot, and trained it on the bird. Now I’m convinced that it’s a northern mockingbird. Likely a young one, as its colors aren’t so clearly defined yet. Its top half appeared all gray, without the clear black & white wing bars of an adult, while its front was a clean white. Its face was mainly gray with maybe a bit of darkening around the eye. Here’s a photo courtesy of Pixabay.

northern-mockingbird-541233_640Have any of you bird-watchers found that peering through binoculars is one way to jeopardize your chances of getting a good long look at a bird? At least if it catches you peering. It almost seems like they can look back through the binoculars and see your eyes staring at them, for they soon remember an important engagement elsewhere. I did get a minute to take note of this bird’s features before it started getting antsy; a minute later it left for a more sheltered spot.

According to our bird book this is the very northern edge of northern mockingbird’s summer range. I’ve only ever seen one other here, perched in a treetop one morning in late summer. Maybe they only flutter up this far later in the season, a last long look at the summer resort before they head south? Or maybe they’re especially fond of chokecherries and range farther afield to get the last ones. It any rate seeing one again was a delight.

I managed to toss in the daily prompt word, jeopardize, though it’s quite incidental here.

Other than this, I haven’t got so much to say for the day. Today is really warm again, so we’re having a lazy Sunday summer afternoon. We attended church, had lunch followed by both of us having long naps in our recliners. (Thankfully the cats permitted us.) Now it must be time to take another pill — and maybe start a jigsaw puzzle.

They Say…

As I think of today’s prompt word, YOUTH, the words of that old song by Crosby, Stills & Nash come to mind often, “Teach your children well….”

Whatever the song may have implied, this is a valuable directive.

They say…

“A gifted child is any child with caring parents.”

“What the child with behavior problems really needs most from his parents is a kind word — like No.”

I was allowed almost total freedom in my youth — being left alone a lot from young on — but missed out on many simple words of wisdom that would have “oiled” my day-to-day interactions with others. Nowadays, living in a different circle of friends, it cheers my heart to observe children being taught to be respectful and considerate of adults and each other, to accept life and work without grumbling, to stick with something and finish what they start. Invaluable lessons that will give them a leg up in life!

My parents weren’t irresponsible, just occupied and thinking/hoping I’d pick things up on my own somehow. But by nature youth are self-centered; you have to teach your children to consider others and their feelings. They aren’t going to get this from their peers and it’s not absorbed by osmosis from parents, either. You have to teach children that you’re not their slaves. That all the folks around them aren’t going to belong to their fan club — that popularity is kept by kindness.

My heart aches for children who are basically raising themselves. Who, after many years of trial and error and pain, with many damaged or broken relationships in their wake, finally pick up on guidelines that could have been given when they were school-age. Some people say it’s best to let youth make their own mistakes — and they will — but this is no excuse for not teaching some ground rules.

In our family circle — adult or youth — we survived as best we could, wild and irresponsible, shifting for ourselves and learning as we went. By the time you were thirty you were finally catching on to the basics some “gifted children” learned at age ten. Some of my extended family have mixed alcohol and/or substance abuse and/or violence and/or crime into their life stories as well and produced a lot of tragedies. (I know this can happen to well raised children, too, in which case a lot of good instruction is lost in corrupting vice. But at least good seed has been planted and can grow again if they smarten up.)

Teach the children well.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Health Woes & Retro Thoughts

Moony & Loony?

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I was deciding to abandon my blogging efforts. After all, I admitted, I simply don’t have anything more to say. My writing life is over. Inspiration headed south months ago. Time to face facts and call it quits.

I also decided to throw out all my house plants. They’re nothing but clutter anyway. Chuck them! Maybe when I have more oomph I’ll get some new ones. I’d neglected them for days and some were looking a bit wilted, so it would be simple — a kindness, really — to toss them out in the woods rather than prolonging their suffering.

But since it was already past midnight and, full moon or not, I didn’t want to be outside wandering over to the woods with my arms full of pots. So, okay, I got out the watering can and watered them all so they wouldn’t have to suffer from thirst overnight. Then took my antibiotic, toddled off to bed, and morning came again. I still haven’t done anything about the plants. And I seem to have something more to say today. This is what is known as being indecisive.

Mind you, I might blame my health. We were into the city yesterday for shopping plus I paid a visit to the doctor, fearing phlebitis. The arm that got the needle for Wednesday’s chemo started to hurt some by Friday but it cleared up after a couple of days, then yesterday morning it was tender and swollen again. It’s a deeper-in vein, nothing very visible one the surface, but by noon I was getting suspicious “hot & cold” sensations in that forearm.

By 2pm the skin was noticeably pink in the spots where the swelling could be seen, so I decided not to fool around with it. We were in the city; I may as well get it checked out right away rather than waiting and having to go another time if it got worse. The doctor I saw put me on an antibiotic, four a day, and gave me some one-a-day anti-inflammatory pills to take as well. With the two I already take, plus antacids, my time is taken up with remembering which pill I need to take and when.

I suspect some of this contributed to my “It’s hopeless. All is lost!” mood yesterday evening. (Or was I a little loony during full moon?) I was wiped out most of yesterday — and felt quite chilled this morning. Plus for some reason I’ve been feeling light-headed (unbalanced, you could say) for the past couple of days. But now we have a bright new day and I’m unwilling to totally abandon all my projects. I did some de-cluttering this morning and that feels some better. Someone once told me that if you’re feeling depressed, the best thing to do is clean something — and it works.

Hummers Still With Us

I also mixed up new juice for the hummingbirds first thing. A couple were zipping around early this morning and I took note that they’d almost drained the hummer feeder, so I replaced the juice in that one. I’m sure they know the clank of my ladder by now; not long after I’d put the ladder away again there were four tiny birds vying for a place at the feeder. I also replaced the juice in the oriole feeder, but the wasps have claimed that one and chase the hummers away if they try to drink from it. I haven’t found a good solution for this — I fear spraying the wasps would leave a harmful residue that would affect the tiny birds.

I actually observed up to six hummers flitting around this morning, with up to three drinking at the one feeder at the same time. For awhile I stood outside in the sunshine soaking up the sun’s warmth, watching the birds, hearing their tiny twitters as they chided and chased each other. “A pleasant interlude,” Great-Grandma would have said.

Yesterday we were at Dollarama (a bargain store here in Canada) and I noticed there’s a whole long aisle — both sides — full of Halloween stuff. Already! School won’t start again for a couple of weeks, and here we have this major display ready for Oct 31st. Sigh… Commerce is a relentless taskmaster.

Eight Cans For A Dollar

I was also reading a book called Sister of the Bride, written by Beverly Cleary, © 1963. Written from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl, this is an interesting departure from her Ramona & Beezus series. The every-day details definitely take my mind back. The setting is circa 1960; the prices mentioned are in keeping with those times. For example, for her son — thirteen and always-hungry — Mrs MacLane is delighted when she can find eight cans of pork & bean on sale for $1. And Mr MacLane is paying out the hefty sum of $25 a month to an orthodontist for braces for his oldest daughter. But the daughter, attending the University of CA, wants to get married — and how will the bridegroom ever be able to afford that astronomical monthly bill? Fortunately he’s older and has a good job, so it looks do-able.

Sometimes you just long for an old-fashioned book, written when life was simpler and more settled, not such a roller-coaster of angst, illegitimate children popping up, accusations, addictions, etc. You know, I liked June Cleaver — much as I can remember of her. I wish we could bring back her caring-mother type into today’s stories.

People who count in publishing, chiefly editors, griped about those June Cleaver stereotypes and writers were forced to abandon them. But we haven’t gotten away from stereotypes — we’ve just replaced them with something no better. At least I’m getting weary of the ditch-on-the-other-side stereotype mothers in a lot of recent books. A harsh, demanding perfectionist, inclined to be sarcastic and critical, indifferent to her children’s feelings, usually an active social climber (if not actually politically-aspiring), all about keeping up appearances and forcing her children to live up to her standards. Really, a number of mothers are cast as the main antagonists in today’s stories – and this makes me sad. Where with the current generation learn any mothering skills? Will the pendulum swing back again someday?

Anyway, I shall end my ramblings now and go take one of my pills. It must be time for one kind of another.