Avoiding random acts of catness

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“You’re eating too much.”

“I always do.”

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“Would you say that’s why you’re putting on so much weight?”

“I would, but I never talk with my mouth full.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors–both named Bruce–who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: we are not a part of the Arctic but it is trying to annex us.

I’ve learned

1. That flypaper earrings make bad anniversary gifts.

2. That if I want to avoid treacherous winter driving conditions, I should stick to Florida roads.

3. A secret to happiness is comfortable shoes.

Café chronicles

I stared out the window–puzzled by the need for so much cold and snow.

A couple I know greeted me. He told me that he had almost frozen his tuchus off just walking from his car. She added that the blizzard had found her on the road, trying to get home. She missed her turn. Snow can bring about directional dyslexia.

I was winter weary. I applied lip balm and everything was better. It’s snow secret.

Meanwhile, back in the town of Two Bits

“I’ve been studying you. You are a glutton, a chain smoker, and you drink like a fish. All those bad habits are going to kill you.”

“My grandfather lived to be 107 years old.”

“Did your grandfather eat, smoke, and drink too much?”

“No, he minded his own business!”

Using up the wind

“Aren’t you worried that the wind farm will use up all of the wind?”

I hadn’t considered that question before. It is windy where I live. That’s why so many wind turbines are growing here. Their red lights, on lofty perches, glow eerily at night. When I was a child, most farms had windmills. They were much smaller than the modern day turbines and appeared frailer. Ours perched atop the pumphouse. When the wind blew, our Aermotor windmill played music. It creaked, groaned, and whirred. That was more the song of the farm than “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” The new turbines are not completely silent but will not be signing any recording contracts.

A day in the life

I had put it off for as long as I dared. My desk was hidden under a mound of paper and books. I file things in the pile system. I worried that someone would be injured if the cats, in a random act of catness, tipped over the burgeoning pile. The job was like most tasks that I put off—it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had talked myself into believing it would be. I found things that I had been looking for and I unearthed a desk. I found comfort in the words of A. A. Milne (author of Winnie-the-Pooh), “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

School daze

I cleaned my desk but didn’t find my slide rule. Back when I kept most of my precious belongings in a Sucrets box, one item wouldn’t fit. The slide rule. I used a slide rule in school. A slide rule is a simple device with one sliding part that offers an elegant solution for complex mathematical calculations. In moments, I could perform multiplication, division, roots, logarithms, and trigonometry effortlessly. Seldom correctly, but with ease. A slide rule was not normally used for addition or subtraction. For those exercises, I used the time-tested technique of applying pencil to paper covered in sly drool.

Nature notes

“Why are juncos called ‘snowbirds’?” Because their arrival from their northern breeding grounds portends the return of cold and snowy weather. Another source of the nickname might be the dark-eyed junco’s white belly and gray back–“leaden skies above, snow below.” Project FeederWatch found that juncos are seen at more North American feeders than any other bird. Juncos winter in flocks, each flock with a dominance hierarchy with adult males at the top, then juvenile males, adult females, and young females at the bottom. To avoid competition, many females migrate farther south than most males. Males tend to stay north in order to shorten the spring migration to prime breeding territories. Juncos practice a foraging method called “riding.” They fly to a seed cluster atop a grass stem, ride it to the ground, and eat the seeds while perched on the stem.

Meeting adjourned

Henri Frederic Amiel wrote, “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”