I left the lovely Flamingo Hotel and Casino a few days ago and moved to my cousin’s house...which is actually classier. And oh my, her dogs Nino and Zia give new meaning to the word adorable. Active, but adorable.
It’s a miracle. I’m in Vegas with no computer and yet my thoughts still appear here. I’m finally immortal...or is that immoral? In Vegas it’s hard to tell.
How do you know it’s Sunday in Vegas? The hookers aren’t using their rosaries for something other than prayer.
I have my answer. You can take the Italians out of Ducktown but you can’t take Ducktown out of the Italians. Except for the setting, it was a great neighborhood wedding. More on that when I return. I am sending these messages via telepathy and that makes my brain hurt so I have to keep them short.
So tonight is the big wedding that brought me here in the first place. Can the ambience of my old neighborhood, which supplied the family whose daughter is getting married, survive a wedding chapel at Caesar’s.
I’m in Vegas breaking the bank on the penny slot machines...or spending $20 on them. Whichever comes first.
I was walking with a friend when I saw him. He couldn’t have been more than 8 years old. He was riding down the path on his bike on a beautiful spring day. The sun was shinning, the snow was almost melted and you could feel the surge of life in the air.
Yep, it could have been Opie Taylor heading for his fishing hole...except for one little thing. There was a cell phone in his hand attached to his ear and he was having an earnest conversation while steering with one hand. All memories of an idyllic childhood shattered on the hard plastic of that cell phone. Eight years old and he was already learning to multitask. Eight years old and he was already learning to steer with one hand and only half of his mind on the road. The cell phone remained at his ear and he remained in earnest conversation until he rode out of sight.
April is child abuse awareness month. I realized as I watched this child ride by that abuse certainly can come in many forms. I know, I know. I know all the arguments about a cell phone keeping him safe while he’s riding to a friend’s house or just taking an after dinner jaunt. But I can’t help thinking it’s abuse in some strange way.
Williiam Wordsworth wrote these prescient words in the early 19th Century:
the world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
When I was a kid, back in those days of prehistory when wheels were square and bacon only came from pigs, riding a bike was a chance to exercise your mind as well as your body; your imagination as well as your sense of balance. You were Supergirl chasing a bad guy on a bike that would take flight if you just pedaled fast enough. Or you were Dale Evans on Buttermilk riding next to Roy and singing. Or you and your friends rode side by side and talked about a million nothings, a million nothings that created a friendship that survives fifty years later.
Or you just rode, pedaling lazily if the mood struck, faster when that mood struck. And you enjoyed the peace and quiet of being in the world but not quite of it. Your only responsibility was not to cross the street on your bike without parental permission and not to crash into any neighbors carrying their dinner groceries home from your dad’s store. You were in your own isolation chamber where your mind could drift while you steered and there were no limits to where it could go.
Kids don’t get to do much of that nowadays and I, for one, think they are the poorer for missing it. There is something to be said for a lazy bike ride with no interruptions from mom or dad or friends, a ride on a bike where the ride is the focus and not a conversation about what you are going to do when the bike ride is over.
If we ever wonder why our kids are increasingly diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, maybe we should consider that they come by it rightfully because from birth they are made to multi-task as if just being a child weren’t job enough. We whip our kids from one activity to the next without pause for a breath or an examination of a pretty spring day. We fill them with motion and activity as though if we give them enough of those things, they will somehow add up to something substantial.
But sometimes the most substantial thing we can give them is time for a lazy bike ride on a pretty day with no specific destination, no other activity already set for after the ride so that is has to be time limited, no expectation that it will produce anything other than a general feeling of well being...and maybe the discovery of spring’s first butterfly.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to a time when that would be enough to justify a child’s day.
My poor puppy. Yesterday he had to have teeth removed and things on his neck lanced and things around his butt trimmed....there is no growing old with dignity anymore, is there? On the plus side, he got good drugs, he can still see out of one eye, with all the hair removed from his ears there is every chance he will at least pretend to hear when I call and he got to be cuddled all night under a quilt while sitting on my chest snoring. And he is milking it for all it’s worth.
Global warming be damned. We woke up to snow covered lawns here in South Anchorage this morning. Which kills the idea I had of putting my mosquito eater up today.
So I’m reading the weekly religious page of our local paper to see if I’ve accidentally been saved when I wasn’t looking and lo and behold there is an article about a group of nuns who have started an “Adopt a Sister” program to help pay for the care of the elderly nuns in their order. I read a little further and lo and behold it is the nuns who taught me in grade school - the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco (you had to be able to spell all of that before you moved from kindergarten to first grade) in New Jersey. And I found myself remembering the many “adopt-a-pagan-baby” drives we used to do back then and wondered if this was cosmic payback.
Just another thing on my list of things I never want to do again in this lifetime. Ever. Because there is nothing like a firm and lithe young lady coming in to the room and bringing you ever stronger bras to hold up all that’s sagging while hers stand at attention with no help.
is it called good with a capital G? I’m betting that for Jesus, parts of it had to be pretty miserable.
Is it true that the Apostles were the first OPEC and that they declared Fridays and Lent meatless times to increase their share of the fish market? And will I go to hell for even asking this question so close to Easter? Well, if I do, at least I won’t go alone. I have a whole cabal of young cousins who apparently find this a fascinating question to debate via e-mail. And with each successive missive I receive I realize just how much I really do like them and am so proud to be related to them. I just don’t plan to stand too close to them when their great grandmother rains sulphur and brimstone down on their heads.
Baby birds who have lost their home or their mom for some reason are brought in to us on a pretty daily basis in the spring. We use foster parents who have the kindness and patience to often stay up most of the night meeting the feeding demands of little baby birds. When they are old enough, they are released back into their natural environment. Since Bird TLC is (to put it mildly) non-profit, we depend on the kindness of strangers and friends to keep us in supplies.
I’m assuming that anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit crazy about birds...all birds, every kind, shape, variety and sound. God gave them the gift of flight and I think I’ve always been a little jealous about that.
Anyhow, I volunteer with a group called Bird TLC that provides rehabilitation for wild birds here in Anchorage as well as education programs with birds that cannot be released. And with spring just around the corner, we have something called Baby Bird Season upon us.
So..What do you get a baby bird for a gift?
Baby Shower Gifts/Needs List for Baby Birds
ÿ Small Baskets (craft baskets or laundry baskets to house babies)
ÿ Netting (like is used for screens, it’s sold in a roll)
ÿ Stir sticks or something similar (to feed the babies with)
ÿ Clothes Pins (to hold the screens in place)
ÿ Heating Pads (to keep the babies warm)
ÿ Lamps (to keep the bigger babies warm)
ÿ Extension Cords (to get power to the heating pads)
ÿ Paper Towels (Lots!)
ÿ Kleenex, unscented only (for baby nest material)
ÿ Tums (to put in the baby diet for calcium)
ÿ Canned Science Diet Feline Growth (for the baby diet)
ÿ Bleach (to keep the baby stuff clean & sterile)
ÿ Chick waterers (for the duckies!) At Alaska Mill & Feed
ÿ Non-medicated duck/goose starter (for the duckies)
ÿ Pine Nuts (to wean our seed eaters)
ÿ Sunflower Seed (to wean our seed eaters)
ÿ Quart Mason Jars (for the chick waterers)
ÿ Old Towels (to keep everyone clean)
ÿ Blood worms (dried)
ÿ Tubiflex worms (dried)
ÿ Mealworms (live)
ÿ Waxworms (live)
Donations of cash can be given in lieu of live worms