With a visual nudge from BeckyB of Winchester, I am opting into the challenge set by bushboys world, to “post the last photo on your SD card or last photo on your phone for 28th February.” Mine is a quick snap (no edits) of our Christmas cactus in its second blooming. November’s blossoms numbered over 60 and we were thrilled with the burst of vibrant color amidst winter grays. This is the first time we have had a second flowering just as the days grow a bit longer. #The Last Photo
Since Formula 1 testing in Barcelona is still 24 days out and we must wait until March 20 for the inaugural F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain, the Hutton household launched the 2022 racing season by watching the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The drivers and crews are from around the globe, performing in five different classes of cars, making for fast, faster, and the fastest driving, start-to-finish for 24-hours through the night and in unseasonably cold Florida temps. This race celebrates a 60th anniversary, but there is a deeper racing history in Daytona. Certainly not ecologically sane by today’s standards but my Uncle Mac gives me a family tie to an early era of beach racing.
Photo Credit: G. McMichael Anderson
After numerous Covid related postponements, Richard finally had his PT assessment today. While the physical therapist approved of our TV room Ekornes Stressless recliners, he recommended more lower back support and so this afternoon I had a craft project. While I readily admit my skills as a seamstress stagnated sometime after I earned my Girl Scout sewing badge, I did manage to make a small 4 inch x 10 inch lumbar support pillow.
Most of my remnant stash dates from the mid-1990s when I undertook the translation of Richard’s wearable art (jewelry) into soft sculptures (pillows). Despite having some lovely high quality upholstery fabrics from which to choose, he picked a left over from our Porsche days.
Most might consider the Porsche 944 a small car especially since its two back seats would only accommodate very young children before the days of safety required car seats. But we transformed our 1987 944S two-seater coupé into a station wagon on “race” weekends. We had enough room for suitcases, cooler, tools, jack, and a complete set of track wheels and tires. To protect the car’s interior when packing the Bridgestone R1s, I made four large drawstring bags using an easily washable cotton-poly blend that matched the car’s maroon leather interior. The bags were especially needed for the trek home when the wheels were covered in fine black brake dust after two days of driver education classes at the track.
Leave it to Jon Stewart to tackle the tough topics and shed light on injustices. Just as he advocated for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, even going so far as to lambast Congress in a 2019 impassioned testimony on Capitol Hill for a woeful response to health care for emergency personnel, he is now shining a light on the traumatic impact of Burn Pits.
Never heard of Burn Pits? Neither had I.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) government contractors burned TONS of hazardous waste using jet fuel. Think about a micro-minute of annoying smoke when you’re roasting a marshmallow over a campfire and now multiple that irritation by an incalculatable number with acres of fires raging 24/7. Military personnel breathed contaminated air day and night as fires consumed the products of everyday life – plastics, rubber, human waste, all mixed in with war waste – amputated body parts, ammunition, and chemicals. The resulting exposure to this toxic cocktail has wounded thousands of veterans. But just as it took decades for our government to acknowledge the long term effects of Agent Orange, there is only minimal recognition that breathing this bad stuff is bad for your health.
In his new series, The Problem with Jon Stewart, Jon does what he is famous for – shares a hard truth encased in humor to make us think. We hear his opinion but, more importantly, we hear from people impacted by the problem. And, not just “Wendy Whiners” but people offering solutions to affect change. His first episode introduces the viewer to veterans and their families facing life threatening health challenges as a result of Burn Pit exposure.
As we celebrate Veterans Day and Richard’s 75th birthday, on this day commemorating the end of World War I on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” and honoring all U.S. military veterans, we are making a contribution to Burn Pit 360, a 501(c)(3) “dedicated to improving post-deployment health outcomes.” Join us in supporting our troops and veterans – for real.
And just like that, it is fall. Or so it feels as the temperature this morning was 47 degrees and the trees on First Street have a tired look before they change from previously verdant greens to vibrant reds and yellows. It is just a feeling since, intellectually, I know the earth never paused in its orbit. Today is different because the calendar says so and science agrees. Today the earth’s axis is neither tilted toward or away from the sun and we enjoy an equal amount of daylight and nighttime.
As a faithful reader of this blog, my Mom wondered if her first visit to a name brand coffee shop might warrant a post – and she certainly merits special mention and even a photo! Following an early morning post-op appointment after her second cataract surgery, I suggested a stop at Caribou’s. While I opted for my traditional skinny mocha with milk chocolate, Mom tried the hot turtle version of espresso, steamed milk, chocolate and caramel. Flavorful enough that we even made a repeat stop the following day although I don’t anticipate you will see a maroon 1995 Buick Century in the drive through lane anytime soon.
There are national days to commemorate just about everything and if your favorite is not already on the list of 1000s you can apply to have a day added. If you missed National Hot Dog Day on July 21 hang on a month and join ice cream fans for National Spumoni Day, August 21. But as someone who eats hot dogs only at the ballpark out of tradition and has never liked Spumoni ice cream, I am more in tune with what I will drink tonight on National Scotch Day.
My first taste came during grad school summer travels, 1977. Whether good or not my memory is hazy but I suspect the pour may have been a bit harsh for my unsophisticated palate as it was four decades before I discovered the pure enjoyment of a good dram of whisky. Once I tasted Highland Park my quest began to discover what I had been missing as Richard already had his preferred labels and I needed to catch up.
Thus far my favorites (in alpha order) are listed below but there is always room for tasty indulgences and new treats. Plus, my wish list includes the Rowan Tree Travel 2022 Wool & Whisky tour. Sláinte!
- Highland Park
- The Sassenach
When you grow up the daughter and the granddaughter of carpenters, you appreciate trees and the lumber they provide. Fond memories of tagging along to Kleiner’s Lumberyard while Dad handpicked boards to be planed accompanied by harsh noise without benefit of ear protection in those days long before OSHA required safety and the sweet smell of sawdust or sweltering summer days spent planting trees at The 40 – trees that have grown from seedlings as small as my hand to stately pines.
As BeckyB of Winchester’s Square Challenge moves into week three of TreeSquare, I wondered what photos I might have of these natural wonders, these organic composites of cellulose fibers which have graced our planet for more than 375 million years. It turns out – not too many but enough to cover a year of seasons.
Tree locations ( although some no more):
- Spring blossoms – St. Paul, April 2021
- Summer loss – Rochester, July 2013
- Autumn brilliance – Moldova, October 2018
- Winter calm – Inseli, November 2012
Our new Federal holiday honors the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States – a celebratory reminder that all are … “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
While Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became the law of the land on January 1, 1863, that land was in the midst of Civil War. It was not until June 19, 1865 (two months after Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox Court House) and the arrival of Union troops in Galveston Bay that thousands of enslaved people in Texas were freed by executive order. Whether called Jubilee Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery and celebrates a second American Independence Day.
Last night Trevor Noah thanked his viewers for keeping him sane and promised he was “…going to take a bit of time to figure out what the new show is going to be.” While a summer hiatus to regroup after 15-months of producing the tightly written, fact-based comedy news program from his New York apartment makes sense, the show-ending Moment of Zen felt deeper than just the conclusion to seeing his colorful collection of hoodies four nights a week.
One of the joys of regional library work, in the days before GoToMeeting or Zoom, was the need to travel, not just in the 11-southeastern counties of Minnesota to visit libraries but all through the state to participate in meetings. During all those decades of windshield time, my listening preference and primary news source was Minnesota Public Radio. And, I paired the unbiased, well researched radio broadcasts with the satirical comedy offered by The Daily Show. While dubbing itself a fake news program, its comedy bits were always laced with poignant reality. We watched through the Jon Stewart era (1999-2015); easily made the transition to Trevor Noah as host, and certainly relied on Trevor’s unique perspective during the uncertainty of COVID and troubling racial times. The Daily Show is a mainstay of our TV viewing.
Even though it has been five years since The Nightly Show aired, I still miss Larry Wilmore acting as my on air guide to a confusing array of topics that may be common knowledge to any number of People of Color but are foreign to me as a middle-aged, financially comfortable white woman of privilege. I definitely need The Daily Show and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee as reality checks, albeit with humor, today and into the future. Just like waiting for the next publication from a bestselling author or holiday release of a favorite movie, we’ll have to wait patiently until September 13 to see what Trevor might offer with a “brand new look”