Thursday, August 28, 2008

Seeing Biden

Who knew when Sen. Biden of Delaware marched down the streets of my Mom's neighborhood for the New Castle Separation Day Parade (you know, celebrating the separation of Deleware from their opressive Pennsylvania overlords) that we would be seeing a lot more of that grin.

Seeing red white and blue

By the time I was the age my son is now, I had seen President Nixon resign in disgrace. Since then there have so many Regans and Bushes I don't believe I have ever felt hopeful about presidential politics. This week, watching the Democratic National Convention on NBC, I have to admit to feeling excited, feeling moved and yes, even feeling hopeful. We let my son stay up late to watch Barak Obama accept the nomination. We said "You may not know it now, but this is a very important moment. When you are grown up, we want you to be able to look back and remember it."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer's End

After some June and July days so hot it caused existential angst, August has been pretty cool. As that first cool breeze passed through the yoga studio, a fellow student said "looks like fall is on it's way!'' Another added "have you seen all the apples coming in?" "No!" I wailed, filled with denial. Our son had only been off school for one month, and I thought the cool day was just an anomaly. But since then it has never gone above 80 in Ithaca, and it cools off every night. And on our trip this weekend to New Hampshire to see our dear friends, we noticed that each tree-covered hilltop had at least one maple tree willing to declaim with orange foliage that summer was at an end. I suppose the fact that my son goes back to school next week should have given me a clue, but I am in serious denial that fall could be at hand. I despair my pumpkin plant will ever bear fruit, though it has beautiful blossoms and huge leaves. We are dashing out this afternoon to enjoy one of the last days the swimming hole at our nearby state park will be open for swimming this year. The sun is bright in a blue sky, so I am hopeful our boy and his friends will not mind the cold cold water. I think this is what "they" mean when they say "seize the day."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gross Things

Don't read this if you are having lunch. Gross Things are happening in my garden. This is not the spring garden filled with new growth and exploding with hope. No, bugs and old-age have caught up with my plants by now. One of my cucumber plants is drying out and withering. Age? Disease? The tiny baby cucumbers are black and nasty looking. My exotic bean plant that only made one bean now is a place where flies go to die. What's stranger, is that the plant looks great and healthy from the top, but the underside of several of its 8 leaves are covered with dead flies. We called an "environmentally friendly" exterminator to "neutralize" the wasps nest under our deck, and I showed her the flies. She said "wow, I've never seen anything like this. Can I take this leaf (covered in dead flies) back to my boss?" She, and an environmental ed teacher I asked who was also stumped, both postulated "maybe they stick themselves to the leaves after they reproduce as they get ready to die so that the babies can eat their carcass?" Thanks, I feel much better.

But still there are good things growing in the garden, and I can't ignore the big healthy cucumbers and abundant parsley crop just because their neighbor has become a fly graveyard, can I? It reminds me of the time I brought the lettuce mix from my CSA portion to work, and when I opened the bag to wash the lettuce, a spider crawled out. A co-worker said "I would throw the whole thing away!" As if all lettuce doesn't have an insect or 2 on it at some point in it's life? I tried to focus on the fact that the spider proves that my food really was raised organic, but that little white and green "organic certified" logo is so much more tidy looking. I ate my salad anyway, but I was very suspicious of every bite.

Also it looks like my pumpkin plant is going to be a purely ornamental flowering vine; visions of my son and I picking a pumpkin from the garden and carving it for Halloween are withering on the vine. Suddenly I know on a whole new level what it means when a farmer says "the crop failed." Imagine if it was not just your Halloween pumpkin, but your mortgage money for October and November? God bless the Farmers is all I can say.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Morning and Night

Quite late in the growing season I planted a few vines to see if this would help our tiny yard feel more like a rainforrest, and less like a cubicle. My vines love me.

One is a morning glory, a gift from my mom. Each morning when I let Dog out, I see the profusion of luminous purple blooms.

It turns out the Moonflower is from the same family of vines, but waits until around sunset to open its giant luminous white blooms, while the Morning Glory goes to bed early. By morning the MoonFlowers have curled in on the selves and faded. A day when I don't make it out in the evening to see the magic one-day-only moonflower blooms is almost as sad as a summers day without a nectarine or peach.


While traveling last month, we ended up watching a TV show WITHOUT TIVO! (Please friends, don't try this at home). Without being able to fast forward through the commercials, we were subject to the musings of our 2 sponsors, BP and Chevrolet.

First, here is British Petroleum letting us know how DEEPLY green they are, and generally wagging their fingers at us about how it's important to get behind alternative energy. (I think they bought a small solar company somewhere or something. They are very self-satisfied about this). I wanted to do some fact checking before I bashed them for greenwashing, and found that all I have to do is link you to this article and I can go back to my Carrot Ginger Muffin. Or, if you don't like so many facts and numbers with your coffee, help yourself to this outraged YouTube roundtable discussion.

But on to an easier target. Chevrolet. Their animated commercial advised us that men could save water by not running the tap while shaving. Women, they asked, do you really need to wash your hair every day? How about getting a hat, or a kicky up-do?

This is greenwashing at its finest. The problem is not the manufacturer of the Chevy Tahoe (14 mpg city, 19 highway) but those of us who insist on washing our hair. This, friends, is the true calling of the car companies- water conservation. You can tell they feel passionately about it. Female Chevrolet execs are now all wearing hats to show their solidarity. You might think that a car company would show their commitment to a greener world by recommended car-pooling, or taking the bus. But never mind. I'm wearing a kicky up-do right now. World saved.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Plant Comes Home

Some of you may remember Plant, the only one of my herbaceous friends to make the journey with me from California to New York. For the past few months, Plant has been living in my window at the agency where I have been doing Casework for the past year. Well, Thursday I said goodbye to my co-workers, and plant came home. Friday was my first day as parish minister to my new congregation. I confess that I was pretty burned out by the time we loaded up the station wagon and headed east, but right now I feel like I am coming home after a very long absence. "Oh, ministry! I love ministry! I put years of discernment, passion and preparation into this work," I suddenly remember.

I am very excited to be working with this caring group of folks. I have never served a "Family Size" congregation before, so all new challenges lay ahead. But plant and I have come home.