Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is Being Dosed With Snake Oil My Only Hope?

Dr. West has been called in by Muse Swings to give his inexpert opinion on the exact causes and possible cures for my addlepated, scattered, inarticulate, tongue-tied, scrambled mush of a brain. As we all know, the not so good doctor is the redoubtable avocate of the women's non-liberation movement. I am somewhat wary of his ministrations towards me. He prescribed his patented tonic, Dr. West's World Famous Elixir of Health for Those of the Gentler Feminine Persuasion, Useful in the Inducement of Restorative Rejuvenation of Glandular Activity. It seems his motto is "what doesn't kill you must cure you." I don't know about you, but I'm not completely onboard with this.

Must I resort to a bottled curative in order to find the fog dispersing, mental focus I seek? Is an old fashioned Snake Oil in order here? I admit that I long to return to my former sparkling self. I long to be able to work calculus problems while reading treatises addressing metaphysical questions as I surf the Internet, post riveting blog entries and paint intuitive self-portraits.

Upon reflection, I realized I'm not familiar with the history of or the etymology of that medical phenomenon known as Snake Oil. Was real snake oil an ingredient of that infamous medicinal potion? What raw materials were used to concoct those ever popular cures of 100+ years ago?

This is what my sleuthing uncovered.....

It seems that some Indians rubbed rattlesnake grease on their achy bones as a cure for rheumatism. Pioneers, knowing a good thing when they saw it, began to copy their native brothers. A little research uncovers tales of men hunting snakes and being given permits to sell the curative grease.

These original snake hunters metamorphed into traveling medicine showmen who hawked their homemade "patent" medicines and tonics to the public. Most of these concoctions didn't contain any actual snake oil, but were combinations of mineral oil, turpentine, camphor gum, paprika, fish oil, tar oil and extract of Capsicum.

Lavinia, the yenta matchmaker, seems to think that my mental malaise can be side-circuited by pairing me with the formidable Richard Gere. ( see this) I don't remember, if I ever knew, just what about my mental incapacitation makes me a good match for Gere but I'm not complaining. I come out a winner on this deal no matter what or why.

Debby, thank you for trying to warn me about the hijacking of my cautionary tale relating the effects of aging on the middle aged female brain. Can't a girl post a simple lament without her words being stolen, misused, misconstruted and re-written?

Watch out. It could happen to you too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

This is my brain pre-menopause, pre-hypothyroid, pre-middle age, pre-brain sucking job.

This is me now; addlepated, scattered, inarticulate, tongue-tied, scrambled-brained mush.

Don't let this happen to you!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

the Ring of Kerry

After a couple of days in Dublin we set out to circle the Ring of Kerry and other points of interest in southwestern Ireland.

Along the way we stopped at Adare with it's quaint cottages:

Another stop was the Rock of Cashel in county Tipperary, which is the traditional site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The buildings there date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

Many picturesque vistas:
Took a jaunting car ride through the National park in Killarney:

I wrote in my journal that our driver was dirty, with rotten teeth, gaunt face but twinkling eyes. He told stories and made jokes on the long horse and buggy ride along rhododendron and yellow iris lined roads. We passed a large loch with Ross Castle visible on the water's edge on the far side of the lake.

Next stop: Kerry Bog Village. You can see how people lived and worked in Ireland in the 18th century here. If you are ever in the vicinity be sure to stop and explore but don't leave before you sample their Irish coffee....the best I've ever tasted.

What would a trip to Ireland be without a visit to the Blarney Stone? Although I balked at kissing that black slimy looking spot....I already have enough of the gift of gab to do me I think.

On our last night in Ireland we traveled the short distance from Dublin to the former fishing village of Howth. These days it is considered a suburb of Dublin.

We had dinner there and my traveling companions surprised me with a cake...since it was my birthday.
It was certainly a nice way to celebrate getting older.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

More Irish Memories

While my Ireland scrapbook is off the shelf I think I will share a few of the pages with you. After touring London, Edinburgh, the Lake District and a bit of Wales, we boarded the ferry to Ireland from the Welsh island of Anglesey.

I wrote in my journal that I didn't explore the ferry much because of the zig-zag swaying motion of the boat on the Irish Sea. As I remember it we arrived in Dublin after about 3 hours, were bundled into a coach and delivered at our Dublin hotel sometime in the early evening. (It stayed daylight until almost 10 at night.)

Everyone equiped themselves with a map of the city. Look closely and you will see Trinity College somewhere near the center. Our hotel was located across the street from this magnificent church.

On Wednesday June 10th I wrote in my journal "We are in Dublin tonight. The hotel is across the street from Christchurch. It's 11:00 pm and the church bells are tolling the hour....In all of the hotels we have stayed in the windows open for air. Here in Dublin, which has a temperature near the frost point tonight, our windwos are closed but might as well be open for all the air still coming through them." The wind whistling through the windows just added to the romance of the trip for me....and caused me to bundle up under the blankets as well!

After breakfast the next morning we were off on our guided city tour. These tours are great because they give you a fine overview of the city as well as help you get a general sort of map in your head. Having a good sense of direction is key to feeling comfortable when setting out on foot with only a map for guidance later.

First stop was St Patrick's Cathedral. (remember this is my first trip abroad, my picture taking improved as well as making sure to grab any interesting brochures for reading back in the room later) The picture of the door hardware is from the huge wooden doors leading into the cathedral.
Next we drove through the city centre. We will have the chance to explore it on foot in the in the afternoon. If you've seen the indie movie 'Once' you will have seen Grafton Street as well.

Here are some more pictures of Dublin streets.

We also drove through beautiful Phoenix Park. The Papal cross was erected for the visit of Pope John Paul in 1979. One million people attended an open air mass he gave here.

This last picture is of our wonderful guide with some of my fellow travelers crowded close not to miss anything she had to say about our last location with her....Trinity College.

Which brings me to the point of yesterday's postcard Friday post.

More trip memories tomorrow?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

Since Marie's PFF entry today is featuring a look at mailboxes of Dublin, I think I will follow her lead and write about another unforgettable Dublin sight.

In 1998 the stars aligned and I was blessed to take a trip to Ireland with a fun group of people who became lasting friends. As part of our stay in Dublin we went on a tour of the city with a guide. The tour ended at Trinity College Dublin which was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I. Only Protestants were allowed to attend school here for nearly three centuries. Catholics were barred.

Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells, which is an illustrated manuscript dating to 800 AD. Irish monks copied and decorated the text which is the four Christian gospels. They wrote on calfskin using black, red, yellow and purple ink.

I admit I was completely ignorant of all we would see that day. We left the room containing the Book of Kells by entering the Treasury, walking up a creaky set of steep stairs into a small hallway type anteroom and then we stepped through a door into the most magnificent library I've ever been in. It honesty took my breath away.

This two story room with an immense barrel vaulted ceiling is known as the Old Library. It contains 200,000 of the Library's oldest books.

Imagine being a life-long bibliophile and finding this scene before you.

This is the back of the 1st postcard showing Trinity College. I can't remember, but I imagine it has postage on it because I meant to send it to either Rachel or TJ, whom I had left at home with their older brother and their dad. I tried to mail them each a postcard every day detailing some aspect of the trip that I thought would interest them.

On this 1st trip of mine, I was given good advice by a more seasoned traveler. She said I should buy postcards of everything I enjoyed seeing....because you never know if your pictures will turn out good or not. Of course this trip was before the use of digital cameras with instant picture viewing became widespread. I have her advice to thank for these postcards I share with you today.

Happy PFF!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Time At Work

No time at work to doodle much, but I did sit in the car today and sketch this piece. I rather like it. It is from something in the latest Smithsonian magazine....which hasn't folded as of yet, thankfully! I flipped through the magazine to find something interesting to draw...I always stop on people.

I listened to my latest book on CD while working on the sketch. The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough takes up the story of the Bennet sisters made famous by Jane Austen. The story is told through the eyes of their spinster sister Mary. Mary has gone through quite a transformation during the 17 years since her older sisters marriages to Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley. I'm not sure if I completely like the author's suppositions of what has become of the Bennet women, but I am finding the book a nice respite from the overly spiritualized tomes I've read recently.

You might remember the author from her previous best sellers which include my favorite, The Thorn Birds, which I read when my oldest boys were still very young.

I'll let you know whether this one gets a thumbs up or down when I finish it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Series of One Liners

I was sorry to read this morning that my #2 favorite magazine bit the dust as of the March issue-rest in peace Domino.

Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion was my #1 favorite magazine before it folded a few months ago-dang this recession!

The redbud tree is blooming in my back yard.

I've read the strangest books lately and I've grown weary of this weird genre of fiction-give me a good romance novel please!

Listening to birds singing is an instant destressor for me-and I've needed one lately.

I've become a better typist since beginning this blog, which will be to my advantage if I have to go looking for another job anytime soon.

I made $45 tonight, which equaled out to $1 per minute, by taking part in a focus group evaluating cooking oil-nice work if you can get it!

I'm jealous of a co-worker-he left for a one week Roman holiday today.

It is pollen season in Alabama-good thing I'm not allergic-I can still spend my lunch hour in the car.

I miss Project Runway-is it ever coming back to the airways?

I don't have time to doodle in my calendar at work anymore-it feels neglected.

Wondering what to get the man in your life-cars work for me.

Disclaimer: For those of you who are grammar purists...yes, I know I've taken liberties to make my run on sentences into one liners. Go grade someone else's paper!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lavinia's Meme/My Cleaning Advice

Lavinia from The Birdbath Chronicles started her own meme, because she wants to know the cleaning secrets of us bloggers with the cleanest homes in cyberville. She has asked us to reveal a cleaning quirk of our own, so that you less gifted types may benefit from our expertise. I was thrilled to find myself on the aforementioned list (as well as seriously puzzled as to who nominated me for said list). While is it perfectly true that my cyber home is perpetually free of dust mites, pet hair, dirty dishes and trash of all sorts, in real time I am not known for my cleaning expertise or sterling advice on the topic.

In fact, while doing extensive research for this blog entry I have added a considerable number of new words to my cleaning vocabulary. I was familiar with terms such as hose down, scrape off, hide under the sofa, and spruce up before Daddy gets home, but what the heck is 'to depurate'? (It's in the dictionary folks...look it up. I double dog dare ya to use it in a conversation this week!)

Lavinia darlink, I hate to disappoint you, but I don't have any cleaning quirks, because I don't like to clean enough to develop any cleaning eccentricities. Nevertheless, I will be thrilled to share my numero uno cleaning tip. The best thing I ever did to promote the overall cleanliness of my home was, (during the six months I was able to afford her services) to hire a twice monthly maid. My good friend needed some extra money and I needed help. At the time, I had a little craft business and was gearing up for the busy Christmas gift buying season by working 20 hours a day. I found that once she gave the house a spic and span cleaning I was able to keep it nice and orderly until her next visit.

Later, my dear daughter filled this same cleaning need in my life. Dear daughter has been tagged by her friends as a Monica reincarnation, so you can imagine the help she was to her mother who has such a terrible depurate shortfall in her character.

I would like to challenge any of my cyber buddies who actually like to clean to please share your tips and quirks with me. In these recessionary times, I'm finding that I have to do all my own cleaning.

Please, please enlighten me!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Joy's Song

Pencils, paints, pens
Implements of impression
Allowing full expression
The opus and the proclamation
Indispensable declaration
Mind's tools, hands employ
Application's imagination
Life's sure joy

Perception's lens
Observe and scrutinize
Speculation's contemplation
Ideas amalgamate and crystallize
Visual refraction
Artistic contraction
Necessary respiration
Life's imagination

Pleasure in observation
Joy in creation
Satisfaction in transformation
Beauty speaking to us
Art speaking through us
Revelation's integration
The Creator's manifestation
Through man's imagination

Written by me a few years ago for a creative writing class...posted in honor of World Poetry Day.

Friday Night

"Thanks Gramma, I love this toy of yours! Whatsit called?"

"Look how my truck can zoom right over the top."

"Whatduhyamean. I'm not allowed to touch it?"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

A few years ago, my mother gave me a bundle of postcards that had been her mother's. Flipping through them reminded me of a number of things about my 'Bigmother' as she was known to her eleven grandchildren.

She had a very social personality. She belonged to the local garden club. She was president of a few organizations in her lifetime. She loved to travel. She regularly took off to visit friends or relatives. Even into her 80's she would jump into her car and pick up her friends for a day of adventure. She always called her friends 'girls' even when they were all past 70.

When my mother was young most Florida family vacations were spent on the Atlantic side of the state. To this day my mother repeats her daddy's advice about the difference between the Gulf and the Atlantic....the undertow in the Gulf is apparently more dangerous than in the Atlantic....therefore one should go to the Atlantic instead of the Gulf. BUT, the Gulf is only 5 hours away compared to the Atlantic which is around 10 hours away. The result of which is that we go to the Gulf. Every trip I hear about the undertow again. The result of which is that I am now paranoid about swimming in the Gulf.

These are a couple of postcards that were part of Bigmother's stash.

All of my childhood Florida vacations were spent here...Daytona Beach....on the Atlantic side of the state.

This is my mother and 2 of her brothers with my Bigmother. I believe this was taken in St. Augustine, FL, but I 'm not sure. It is close to Daytona.

St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States.

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! Pop over to Marie Reed's blog to get a complete list of participants.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I look good in yellow

Did you know that sometimes people hear colors and smell sounds? It is called synesthesia and is caused by crossed circuitry in the brain.

Did you know that you partially see with your ears? Your inner ear gives you a sense of balance. When that sense is adversely affected everything you see seems to be spinning even though you know that it isn't.

Did you know that there are less than 20 words in English that have no rhyming words? Four of them are names of colors; orange, purple, silver and olive.

Did you know that color additive E120 is a red coloring that is made from the crushed bodies of the cochineal beetle? This same red coloring is used in Cherry Coke.

Did you ever think about how color is used descriptively in our everyday conversation? We might say we have the blues, refer to something rare as happening once in a blue moon, experience a blue Monday, know someone with blue blood, and be the winner of a blue ribbon. How about red-hot, red-handed, painting the town red, calling someone a redneck or being so mad you see red? You could be green with envy or have a green thumb or be a greenhorn.

Ireland Forever

1. Happy St Patricks Day, 2. st patricks day cupcakes charley.salas@sbcglobal.net, 3. Happy St. Patrick's Day..., 4. Linnane's Pub, 5. St Patricks Day 2008, 6. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!, 7. KELLS PRIORY. KILKENNY, IRELAND., 8. St Patrick's day parade - Time for a wee bit O' Whisky..., 9. Celtic Cross - England Cemetery, 10. St Patricks Day 2008, 11. Happy St. Patrick's Day!, 12. Chicago river turns green on St Patrick's day..., 13. KILKENNY, IRELAND., 14. Guiness, 15. Foglia di trifoglio..., 16. celtic cross at oakwood cemetery, 17. St Patricks Day 2008, 18. A HOUSE BY THE RIVER. KILKENNY, IRELAND., 19. Project 365 Day 22: Baileys Shamrocks (with recipe), 20. Irish Americana St Patricks Day "Emerald Isle Erin go Bragh"!!!

Happy Birthday to my St. Patrick's Day birthday boy!