Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slaughter at Smith Mountain Lake

We came home one afternoon to carnage on our lower deck. Bodies all over the place. Such mayhem. Such a battle. And one calico-with-an-attitude meowing us out about not being able to help with the slaughter.

Last time she ate anything with serrated legs, she puked blood all over the kitchen. We spent four hours at the emergency hospital. X-rays, kitty Tagamet, one awful enema and $175 later and she was empty of bad legs. And she wanted outside to indulge again. NOT.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rural vs. Wilderness

When my husband Terry and I were in Alaska this summer, we were struck by the difference between rural and wilderness. Terry grew up in York County, PA, which is a combination of rural farms, small towns and mid-sized cities. I grew up in Southern California. During the winter, I lived in the Los Angeles area, which is about as far away in spirit as you can get from either rural or wilderness. But, in the summer I spent all my free-range time on the Mohave Desert, which I think of as wilderness. We had vast swaths of miles and miles of seemingly nothing.

I hiked in the Rockies and Sierras, love the Great Smokies and Applachians. But the Chugash Range surrounding Anchorage was a mind blower. So were the mountains that form the Turnagain Strait boundaries.

I must set a Mad Max book in Alaska.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life's Lessons: Don't Believe Your Press Releases

When Terry and I went to Alaska, we went for a vacation. What we came away with were several new life lessons. So, in an attempt to share them (and perhaps bore you all to death), here's the first.

My cousin's boyfriend loaned me Going Rouge: An American Nightmare. This collection of editorials and opinion columns offered new input into the life and times of Sarah Palin. Perhaps what prompted Duane to loan me the book was our drive through Wassila, one of the ugliest examples of urban and suburban sprawl in Alaska. I expected it to be beautiful, with small lakes, float planes and lots of cute homes fronting those lakes. NOT. It's one strip mall after the other. Even the lake where Ms. Palin lives is ordinary, as is her house. Only the large fence between her and a writer she termed snoopy stood out in the middle-class neighborhood. What do you want to be the Palins move into a mansion, just like other nouveau riche do. The town is "wasilly." Couldn't even find a book store there.

I admit I read sections of Going Rogue, too. I found it full of misrepresentations and myths. People who believe their own press releases bother me. This book bothered me.

While I was reading Going Rouge in the great room, my bedside reading was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. What could be more of a contrast to the first book than this one? Pausch lived the last years of his life full of joy, full of honesty about what was happening to him, full of life and love for his wife and children. He could have passed a lie detector test. Yes, he was afraid of dying but not afraid to die. I found his honesty uplifting.

Stray thought: I bet Ms. Palin could also pass a lie dectector test. She obviously believes the lies she tells and the press releases her "people" submit. Sigh.