Monday, January 28, 2013

Ride The Rails

Do you like train whistles?
Train whistles can lull you to sleep or sound so annoying that you never get to sleep. 

They are like a lullaby to me. There is something mournful about a distant whistle, like a dove's coo.

Years ago when I was landscaping the Helena house, my girly muscles rebelled against the heavy grunt work so I set off to the "shelter" to find a willing worker. A wiry older man said he would be willing to make a few bucks.  His name was Lew and he called himself a Hobo. Lew didn't appear to be a druggie or a drunk, like most of the shelter people, and he had a keen mind.  I tried to quiz him a little about his personal life but he would only say he "rode the rails" and he would leave after he made some money.

I worked outside with him all summer and every time he heard a train whistle, he stopped his work and listened with a dreamy, faraway look in his eyes.  He would announce what train line it was and go back to his work.  He said he knew all the train whistles.

I kept asking why he had to be a Hobo since we are a long way from the thirties.  He just said he HAD to be and every time he heard a whistle, he wanted to leave.  Then, one day in late August, Lew came to work and surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. He thanked me for giving him a job but this would be his last day.

We had accomplished some beautiful gardens and stonework and he was leaving to sit in a boxcar with a meager bag of belongings. It was really difficult for me to understand...... me, who needs rock gardens and clothes lines as signs of permanency.

It wasn't until this summer, when I was eliminating  the total sum of my possessions, that I remembered Lew and his urgency to ride the rails.  I didn't want to hop a boxcar but I felt a strong sense of freedom with each truckload I dropped off at the thrift store.

Yup, I didn't quite understand him but Lew was a nice man.
Are you a hobo or earthbound?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Into The Hearts of Millions

Hey Bloggie Friends
It is revival time
It's TAP time

My new (old) hobby. Tap Dancing. I was a terrible tap dancer because I pounded too hard, as in Flamenco. Tap is light and just barely skims across the floor.  Phooey on that tap teacher who showed me the door. I'm teaching myself with the help of videos and tap music.

Excuse me now,  I have to go practice so I can tap my way into the hearts of millions.

Adios Bloggie Friends

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Mitten Story

I keep a basket of assorted gloves and mittens by the door. These days, I seem to favor the sheepskin mittens.

I frequent a tiny strip mall that consists of a health food store,  a sports shop and a boutique.  On favorable days a homeless man (well, perhaps he lives at God's Love Shelter in this weather) sits by the entrance of the food store and plays a Native American flute. I usually stop and hand him a few bucks because my gut tells me he is truly destitute and not buying booze with it. (Maybe a little, but it sure helps to take a little nip in this weather). He always stops playing when I approach him and we chat a little. When I handed him the money, his hands felt like ice.

" Your hands are freezing.  Where are your gloves?"
"I don't have any."
"You need fingerless gloves." 

When I returned from the food store and was getting in my car, I glanced up at the sports store.  They must have fingerless gloves. I threw my groceries in the car and went into the sports shop. Of course, they had hunting gloves with a mitten flap and they were made of soft ragg wool.  Perfect. I ran over to the flute player with the gloves.  He tore off the tag,  put them on immediately, while thanking me profusely and saying he even had money to buy food tonight.

As I walked back to my car, the haunting melodic sounds of the flute filled the parking lot and I had tears in my eyes. I don't know why but maybe it's because my hands have always been warm.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Celebration of Life

From what I will write, I don't want any "I'm sorry's" please. Because no one is sorry.

Last night I got a call from a friend's daughter, that my dear friend, Nona, had passed over.  Even though we expect those calls now, it was still a shock.  Nona and I talked on the phone at least once a week.  She lived in a small town in Northern Minnesota and I had talked to her a few weeks ago but she wasn't feeling well so I was waiting for her call when she was better.

We met when we were training to be psychiatric nurses in a private hospital, Glenwood Hills, in Minneapolis. You may remember that part of my life from the post on scopolamine. The hospital was
situated in a true healing environment with sprawling hills fenced in-between a lake and a golf course.  Sturdy brick buildings with red tile roofs, set in a snowy valley made a restful picture that still remains in my mind.  Sadly it all was torn down years ago and I've never been back.

Two student dormitories housed us, one on top a hill and another in the valley. We were allowed to drive the new station wagon (of the first-made after the war) back and forth because the grounds consisted of acres. The station wagon had wood siding that was pretty snazzy to us. Nona and I shared a large room with 2 other students and because we worked shifts, our dorm was always buzzing with activity.

Nona was like our dorm monitor with her many demands. She was tidy to a fault and rode hard on us to keep the place spotless.  And yet, Nona was always the one with a bottle of gin stashed in her shoe bag. Many nights we pulled a student through the window when it was past curfew and Nona was high on the list.  One night she had been dancing at the big old Marigold Ballroom and lost her purse but as soon as we pulled her through the window, she started a novena to Saint Anthony to find it. Ha Ha

When we talked now in recent times, there was a lot of reminiscence but we both read voraciously and a lot of our conversation consisted of politics and world events. It is such a blessing to be old and still have a keen mind.

So farewell, dear friend. It's been a good show. Save me a bed in your dorm and we'll do it all again.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This movie , The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, was made in 2007 or 8. Many of you must have seen it, as I had, but it was bittersweet to see it again.  It is set in a beautiful farming countryside in Germany during WW2.  Here is an excellent example of what happens when  a young boy and his mother are shielded from the harsh realities of war.

The father is commander of a concentration camp, while the mother living next door to it, believes it to be an internment camp. Their son is lonely and bored but discovers a friend inside the camp's fence, a boy his age wearing striped pajamas.

It's an excellent movie and I won't spoil it for you by revealing more. 
A trailer for the movie follows below.  The full movie is also shown on YT

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm Warmer If I Don't Know The Temp

At 5 this morning, wearing bathrobe and scuffs, I took Cody out. I'm thinking, I might as well walk down the alley to the garbage can, since I'm out.  Oh, I'll go down to the mailbox by the front street and deposit some letters for pick-up. Cody must be ready. I'll go back to the side fenced-in yard for her.

I got in the house, turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was, "The temp is minus 6."
Oh My Goodness, it must be all that bee pollen and royal jelly I'm taking.  :)

(How many deer do you see in the header photo?)

Friday, January 11, 2013

An Annoying Walk

I usually think of myself as being mild mannered, like Clark Kent, reporter.  I attribute this to having very little fire in my astrological chart but maybe I'm just lazy. Cody and I daily walk the 5 mile  perimeter of the Fair Grounds. Cars aren't allowed on the far side and the scenery is rather wild and spooky, like the picture above. Very few people, too.

As we were walking along that stretch, I saw 2 large black labs come running toward us. Dogs usually just want to sniff and say hi to Cody but these 2 were barreling straight toward me.  Bam! They both hit me with running force, almost knocking me down on the snowy ice. I could see they meant no harm but were just untrained dogs that wanted to play, as I let out a little scream each time they jumped up on me with their full weight.

Then I saw a man walking toward me but on the other side of the old race track fence...... JUST MOSEYING AND TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE.  Suddenly my Clark Kent mild manner dissolved, as if Clark had seen Lois Lane kissing Batman.  I'm still being pummeled by jumping dogs, leaving paw prints all over my jacket and I'm fighting to stay on my feet.

By now I was like any Montana bar-room fighting Floozy.
"Get off your  %$(*&@!   phone and call your dogs."
He kept on talking and paid me no mind.
I repeated my un-ladylike command, even louder this time as my arms and legs were flailing to keep my balance.
I heard him say to someone on the phone, " I have to go now. I'll call you back."
Upon putting his phone away, he said, "What's your problem?"
Duh......The dogs, still jumping on me, "Get your   &^$#*%  dogs off me.  I'm 83 and I don't want to be knocked down."
He finally called his dogs who were obviously having more fun jumping on me than minding him.
He then said, "If you're 83 maybe you shouldn't be here."
Oh boy, what an idiot, jerk, imbecile....we walk there every day and I've never run into an amoeba like him. I yelled at him, "Maybe you shouldn't own dogs if you're not intelligent enough to train them. My dog isn't jumping on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cody was just sitting in the snow, probably thinking, I'm the good one.

His dogs finally went to him and he was still muttering as Cody and I hurriedly walked on and I'm thinking that I should be careful what I say to strangers in this remote area........ he could be a serial killer or an axe murderer.  And ladies don't use language like that either, right? .........but I'm still here to post another day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Greetings Earth People

I just cometh from the Mothership to bring you tidings and news of a new gadget called "The Fountain Pen." (no it has nothing to do with water. Ink.... you fill a little converter with ink, out of a bottle, no less.

I grew up using fountain pens and when the mighty ballpoint came alive, I reached for it with lust in my heart..... but phooey ........ I soon tossed it aside and returned to my loving fountain pen. I'm archaic in so many areas. But that is why I am called.... drum roll.... ta-dum...... the  SURVIVOR.

I'll add one thing.... Those Germans sure do know their technology. I love it when a label says,  "Made in Germany."  My new pen on the right is a German made Lamy..... love of my life.  No frills or dills,  plain,  not shiny and slightly bulky but it's like writing with velvet.  Swoon. And what a reasonable price..... no I don't sell them.

Cheers from the ink-stained finger SURVIVOR.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cody Time

This Post is from Me, Cody, the awesome Aussie, Shepherd mix

Is it a bird?  Is it Puss N Boots?  No, it's me, Cody in Boots.

We've had a little cold snap because of the air inversion and it gets trapped between the mountains or something like that.   I don't know.   It's just cold and my feet get cold.  I also have my own fur coat (naaa naaa naaa naaa PETA) and my hair is haircuts in winter.  But I do soooooo love to go to the beauty shop.

I don't have the fancy wardrobe my brother, the Chihuahua hadBut he went to doggie heaven 2 years ago and I didn't fit his clothes.  I do have 2 sets of boots.  The boots I'm wearing have little silver strips across the front that glow in the dark.  Then I can chase the deer at night. (only I get hollered at when I do that)  I also have a scrumptious brown jacket.  It matches my eyes.   And..... I have my very own backpack.  On hikes,  I carry my own water  and some energy treats.  I guess I'm just One Lucky Dog.
Adios Amigos   (I picked that up from my brother) 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And Then?

A pretty harmless-looking flower, wouldn't you say? Looks like a morning glory. You are looking at, perhaps the most sinister plant in existence. It produces a psychotropic mind-altering drug, Scopolamine, commonly known as "Devil's Breath. 

I was drawn toward psychiatry and mind-exploring when I was quite young. Mind control was a popular theme for b/w espionage movies of the 40's and 50's because it had been used through-out WW2 and later, the cold war. Germany, Russia and the CIA favored Scopolamine to carry out kidnapping, assassinations and suicides because it left no recognizable traces of foul play. It's so easy to administer without the victim knowing and here is the reason for the drug's popularity; the victim can receive a command to carry out a dastardly act and when (or if) he awakens, he has absolutely no memory of what he did from the time the drug was given. Usually the victim is not aware the drug is being administered because it can be a fine powder blown on him.

I became intrigued with this drug's ability to enslave. My quest for information continued, when at age 17, I entered psychiatric nurses training for hands-on and classroom studies at a psych hospital. Chemical drugs were just beginning to be popular but many of the plant-based drugs had been in use for a long, long time. I wish I had a buck for every electro or insulin shock treatment I helped administer as they became popular. We received excellent training at the time but now treatments are highly advanced and my training would be terribly archaic.

Scopolamine, from the Borrachero tree, is indigenous to Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, with Colombia leading in it's use for evil. A crook can wave a piece of scopolamine-laced paper in front of a victim's face and he's hooked. Without any resistance, the victim will give up money, and all his possessions. Easy pick'ns for a crook, huh? It was a handy tool for the KGB and CIA to administer with a fluff of the hand under the nose of an already declared mentally disturbed person, give the order to assassinate and then commit suicide. (Get it??? Go shoot a certain group of people and then shoot yourself.  Why???  You know the answer and if you do't, I have an armful of Rolex watches to sell you).

I see skepticism on the faces of the snoozers if I mention this. Because of my age, they assume I am the demented one. OK..... go back to sleep and snooze on. 

This drug appears to be kept quiet (almost secret) today. There was more written information about it when I was young because we didn't have TV or internet and reporting by the press was more open.  There is so much more to be said about the scary plant and if you're interested, there is a rather long but interesting fact-filled video following. You can view it below or the link is HERE. Adios Amigos