Oh, dear, you have had such a miserable Christmas. Logjam, fiasco, snafu—all these insults were heaped on you and your normally reliable service. You joined the ranks of people making empty promises; "if you want delivery by Christmas, you can have delivery by Christmas." It didn't work out that way, did it? All those people who waited until the last possible moment to buy gifts for their nearest and dearest were apoplectic because their gifts did not arrive before Christmas. Yes, I know you hired 70,000 extra people to help out and chartered extra planes. The packages just did not make it from the warehouses to the planes in time. I believe it was not altogether your fault, and businesses made idle promises on-line with an eye to their profits and not to your logistics. (Couldn't resist bringing up your advertising pitch. I actually preferred the brown one better.)
I had a slightly different experience. I purchased a book from Amazon with no expectation of receiving it by Christmas. I thought it would arrive the day after and your helpful e-mails tracked it for me. So on Thursday I looked out on to my porch, and there on the bench outside the front door was a brown box. The box, however, looked a little flat and floppy and on closer inspection, it was empty. The flaps at both ends were hanging out and it should have been obvious to the delivery person that there was a problem. There were two possibilities—either the book had fallen out in the truck or someone had crept up on to my porch and stolen the contents of the box. If it was the latter case, there was going to be an awfully disappointed thief that night. That is unless he was very interested in the decipherment of Linear B and wanted the latest theory on the work of Michael Ventris.
Your customer service e-mail didn't seemed to be working, so I tried pushing the button which indicated you would phone me—and you did, two seconds later. I suspect you hired extra people to deal with all the complaints you expected, the chief qualification being someone who sounded maternal and helpful. When I told this lovely woman who sounded like Paula Deen that I had a problem, she replied, "We can't have that now honey, can we?" and within seconds another book was on its way. (Maybe it was Paula Deen. I think she lost her cooking gig.) And look what arrived today!
Thank you, UPS, my faith is restored.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Let's go back a year—Christmas 2012. We received some wonderful letters, hand written, full of news and information about the senders, often friends of many decades. Ernie and I had put together a newsletter to send to friends with an outline of what we had done during the year and a few representative photos. Well, not really representative. Our grown kids wondered why some people seemed to appear twice, others not at all. But that's a different story.
I added notes to the newsletter—"I'll write a longer letter after Christmas", "Long letter and photos to follow"—and even apologetic words like, "I know I owe you a longer letter and you will get it soon." In many cases, knowing my habit of procrastination, I didn't exactly say it, but I meant it, looking forward to spending the snowy months of January, February and March sitting by a fire, catching up with all the things I wanted to say to friends of days gone by.
But I didn't. I really don't know why, but I didn't. Writing comes easily to me, so that is not an excuse. Looking back at the early days of this blog, I realize I wrote much more frequently in 2005, 2006 etc. Can't explain it.
This year the cards are arriving and giving me much pleasure. They are fewer than before and sadly events like illness and death explain that situation. I am getting out this year's newsletter and valiantly avoiding the dread words of promise. I vow, though, that I will keep an unspoken promise.
And while we are at it, a word to those people (and I fear we are often included) who part at functions, etc, saying, "We'll have to have you over for dinner." Don't say it, do it.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:33 AM
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
We live right on the border of Detroit. In spite of the fears of friends and relations (I even had a friend call me from England the day that Detroit declared bankruptcy to find out if I was OK) the immediate problems of Detroit affect us little. Except—the harbingers of bankruptcy are lack of decent lighting and paucity of public transport.
The bus which comes from Downtown Detroit as far as Grosse Pointe turns round at the end of our street and makes its way back in accordance with some kind of irregular schedule. There may be a time table, but I don't think the buses keep to it. Sometimes we drive along the route and see people waiting for the bus—when we know there was not even a bus waiting to come. Old people, young people, black people, white people, frequently women with babies and children waiting in the blazing heat of summer or the cold of winter. Today it is 25 (-4) degrees. The further in to Detroit, the fewer the working street lights, and sometimes people are waiting in the dark.
The voice of reason tells me to harden my heart and drive right on by. We have all read enough newspaper accounts to convince us that the results of picking up unknown people can be fatal. Those stories are not mere urban legends. But there is enough Good Samaritan in me to make driving by a guilt ridden decision.
I was explaining my feelings one day to my daughters who practically exploded and told me to promise never to let my pity overcome my good sense. And they are quite right.
Or are they?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:54 PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This week we received a letter from our nephew and godson Patrick. What a treat to be the recipient of a letter from a member of a generation not known for its writing skills. I have written before about Patrick and the help he still gives to his Peace Corps host family in South Africa. His letter contained family news, but he had much to say about Nelson Mandela. How I loved this paragraph:
I once almost had a "chance encounter with him (Mandela) but my love of food intervened. I had just gotten my yearly physical in 1998 in Pretoria at Peace Corps Headquarters. I was waiting for a friend to arrive when boredom overtook me—well, what do I do when I'm bored? I eat. So I took a walk, had some "Bobotie (editor can't read this) " and returned 30 minutes later. The security guard says, "Patrick, where have you been? The others got to meet Nelson Mandela!" Turns out Mandela made a surprise visit at the Hospital down the street to visit some sick childen, and the Peace Corps got wind of it!"
This got us to talking and trying to answer the question , "Have you ever met anyone famous?" I thought the answer was obvious and said that in 1962 I had visited some fancy place (the Albert Hall?) and received my B.A. from the Queen Mother. I curtsied. But in my mind's eye I envisaged a gracious old personage, looking like the Queen Mother before she died. Not the way she looked in 1962. Queen Mary? No, she died in 1952. Did I imagine the whole thing? Maybe.
Which leaves us with a question. Who was the most famous person you ever met?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 1:08 PM
Sunday, December 08, 2013
On Thursday NBC aired a three-hour live broadcast of "The Sound of Music". Carrie Underwood (who seemed quite the favorite of Simon Cowell when she appeared on American Idol) played the role of Maria, sending shockwaves through an entire community of Julie Andrews' fans. Not surprising that a number of critics, my daughters included, did not think much of her or the production in general. I quite enjoyed it, in part because I was just a little tired of Julie Andrews. Good, yes, but in need of a refresh. My restless brain, or what passes for one, went back maybe sixty years to the Billy Cotton Band Show, a radio program we always listened to after Sunday lunch. It was a kind of cockney Lawrence Welk show, always introduced by Billy's trademark call of "Wakey wakey!" You can get a taste of the experience in this clip. I wonder how many other people remember his Sunday show? I also remember he frequently had a trio of guests, always introduced as Ted and Barbara Andrews and their little daughter Julie. Perhaps if I spent more time I could unearth this on YouTube. I did, however, find a duet starring Ted and Julie. She was 13 at the time, just the age of a newer singing sensation, Jackie Evancho.
Now my brain moves laterally to a pro-duction of this musical in which I was more intimately involved. The St. Ambrose Community Players' production in 1979. I was stage manager and my daughter Kate played Brigitta in half the performances. I truly believe this was a phenomenal theatre group. We had a gifted director who undertook several productions and the actors were members of the church with varying degrees of skill—but loads of enthusiasm. We did allow the occasional outsider—we got our Maria from outside the parish—and in this production the Mother Superior came to us from a neighboring parish and one of our most tuneful nuns was jewish. I had never stage managed before and the whole job was harder because we moved from our little wooden hall to a real theatre with curtains and flies and what have you. But we did it . . . and a lot of fun it was.
My brain flits around, doesn't it? But if NBC wants to do a production of Oklahoma next year, I can teach them a lot about making costumes on the cheap.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:43 PM
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Another book by Charles Todd! If I had known that Charles Todd is a mother/son combo living in different parts of the United States, I would never have started reading "his" books. I have always felt dual authors can upset the continuity of a well crafted plot. But I have read with much enjoyment everything Charles Todd has written, first the Inspector Ian Rutledge books and now the Bess Crawford mysteries. All the books are set in the period surrounding World War I and paint a vivid picture of the world of English society in that destructive period of history. Bess takes the situation further: she is a nurse in the trenches of France. In this last book she deals not only with war wounds and amputations, but also with the influenza epidemic which swept Europe around 1918. Although this sounds gruesome, and coming after my post of November 11, it could well be, but we see the death and suffering through Bess's eyes. She is a competent, well trained and focused nurse who works calmly and concentrates on the task at hand. Sad to think that in today's world she could have attended university and become a doctor. She is frequently put in charge of accompanying patients back to England and on to clinics for more treatment, so she gets home to Somerset, which gives her the opportunity to find the evidence she needs to solve this mystery. Many of the clues involve the identity of children in a photograph: we could put it up on the Internet and have an answer in a matter of hours, but for Bess (and her worthy chaperone Simon) it involves sleuthing around graveyards and markets and large houses in Petersfield. The premise is understandable, although it seems a little far fetched that so many people who play a large role in the unravelling of the mystery should bump into each other, sometimes more than once, in the trenches of Northern France.
What made this book even more enjoyable for me is the fact that the beginning is a flashback to Bess's childhood in India, where her father was a Colonel Sahib on the Northwestern Frontier. I am now the owner of an album lovingly put together by my Aunt showing my Grandfather as a Bombadier in the Royal Garrison Artillery in Bombay.
There he is, sitting in the middle of the photo. Why did I never ask questions about his early life? In part it was because my brother and I were always aware there was some kind of family secret. It involved the Aunt who gave me the album and I am pretty sure it involved nothing more than the fact that my Grandfather adopted her, or at least reared her.
There are few dates in the album, but I think I was able to figure out that this photo was taken not long after his father died at twenty nine, leaving his mother with five young children. One of his sisters entered a convent and my Grandfather joined the Army.
Garby down the Lock. Perhaps he thought I would not have been interested in his adventures in India.
I am so sorry I never thought to ask.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:20 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013
When I get up each morning, I stumble out of bed, put on my glasses and find my way to the bathroom. Luckily it is not far. When I have achieved my primary goal of choosing that room first, I look out of the window. Sometimes I watch the children going to school or my neighbors going to work (I'm not exactly nosy, it is more that I have a hard time moving). I watch the birds or the squirrels in the trees outside. A couple of weeks ago, this is what I saw.
The maple on the right has already shed almost all of its leaves, not only on our lawn, but depending on which way the wind was blowing, all over our neighbors' property. That's OK, we've got theirs. That perverse oak on the left turns to a pretty bronze color, but waits until spring to lose its leaves and get ready to start the process all over again. When the trees need trimming, we may get a squirrel on the eve over the front door. The day I took this photo I looked across the street at the bare trees an thought how bleak they seemed.
Then I was looking through the photo blog I kept until my last computer broke, and this is what I found.
This will be the view before too long.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 9:55 AM
Monday, November 11, 2013
It was, I think, 1997 and Ernie and I, our daughter Liz and her husband Jeff had been to England and were about to follow Ernie's dad's steps in the US Army in WW I, sailing from Portsmouth to Le Havre. No boat crowded with apprehensive soldiers, but a vessel crammed with gamblers. We arrived at Le Havre long before we could pick up our rental car and then set out. At this point we made up our own itinerary. My memory is so sketchy. I know we looking for a specific WW I grave. An author? A scholar? Maybe it was Wilfred Owen. We paid our respects to the soldiers of WW II by visiting the beaches of Normandy with their immaculate cemeteries, we spent a night in Caen and I remember we bought something in the town square (pommes frites?) and we were so busy talking that we walked away with out paying, pursued by irate vendors. Most of all, we explored anything that looked interesting.
In the middle of nowhere we came across this little Commonwealth cemetery, not many graves but immaculately cared for. Protected from the weather there was a book in which we could sign our names and the only other visitor was an elderly gentleman. We talked to him and he said he was from New Zealand and had made the pilgrimage to France several times to visit the tomb of his father. He then told us he was 82 and that this would be his last visit.
The beautiful poetry of Wilfred Owen or Sigrid Sassoon or Rupert Brooke will never make such human tragedy bearable.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 12:40 PM
Monday, November 04, 2013
I found this poem recently and loved it. It "spoke to me" as they say. I hope I am not transgressing any copyright laws. Although I found it reprinted in a book called Grace Notes, which is a compilation of poems accompanying articles in the magazine First Things, I have since found it on-line, and I really don't know what copyright laws apply here. It was written by Stephen Scaer and appeared in the June/July edition of First Things.
"Luther in the year he spent
as Junker Joerg in Wartburg towers,
translated the New Testament
to pass the everlasting hours.
Though living as a refugee
Erasmus wrote his tour de force.
In Praise of Folly's said to be
the product of a trip by horse.
With dinners late, D'Aguesseau saw
an opportunity to write
his sixteen-volume work of law
in fifteen minutes every night.
Today I slept late, took a walk,
sipped coffee on my ragged lawn,
checked my mailbox, saw the clock,
and noticed half my life was gone."
How very true. You too?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 12:20 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
By early 1971 I had four children under four. I did not watch television—sleep had a much greater attraction for me. I did, however, glance at the newspaper, and over the next year or so I saw accolades being heaped on a comedy show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I had not been around to see her earlier work in The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which she played second fiddle to the lead, but I gave this new show a chance, and was immediately hooked. Everything seemed right—a cast of strong actors and themes which were relevant to the time. I still didn't have time to analyze the components which made the show not only successful, but often controversial and I was certainly not aware how major problems were skirted in an era when Mary, as Dick Van Dyke's wife, could only be shown with him in their bedroom (double beds) if she kept one foot on the floor.
Every page of this book is packed with details. The most socially relevant are the resistance of the network to a show about a single woman (and one who was thirty years old) and the groundbreaking female writers. I love trivia. Who'd have thought that when Mary stopped at the intersection of Nicollet Mall and Seventh Street to throw her beret in the air in her sheer exhilaration at being in the big city, it was a "black and turquoise beret Moore's aunt had given her", or that in the opening scene she wore a fox-fur trimmed jacket which disappeared by the second season when she became an animal rights activist.
I loved this book, yet it occurred to me that it may be pointless to recommend it to anyone who is not a devotee of the shows (or over 65). As for me, I went to Hulu and found I could watch the first three years, that's 72 episodes, free!! I suppose I could access the rest of the series on Hulu Plus. I was sorry I would not be able to see the episode entitled Chuckles bites the dust from the sixth season. The description in the book of Mary's "cracking up" was hysterical. But you can't keep a good woman down and YouTube came to the rescue.
Undemanding, perhaps. Dated, yes, but the beginning of a whole new era in television.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 11:49 AM
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 4:57 PM
Friday, October 25, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:52 PM
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
My disappointment grows apace!
Years ago, when I started this blog, I went to a great deal of trouble to install Sitemeter (I just couldn't get it at the bottom of the page.) I wanted to track the thousands of people who were going to read my blog each day—who were they? where did they live? who referred them to my site? Each week I eagerly opened the report from the folks at Sitemeter giving me the harsh facts. I get one screen listing the domain name of the last 100 visitors. That's pretty meaningless because it is mostly numbers. Hm, "Churchbutler", I quite like that one. Then there is the location list. Nice to make new friends in Bogot, Cundinamarca, Colombia and Khabarovsk in the Russian Federation. There are are other confusing reports (Out clicks, Exit Pages, Entry Pages) but nothing can disguise the grim truth set out in the Summary. Average readers per day, between 8 and 11. Even worse, when I took that hiatus and published nothing for many months, I still got 8-11 readers a day.
Here's the final straw. I was looking at stuff on my iPhone to while away some waiting time. I don't like to do that because I find it difficult to read screens and virtually impossible to write. I must have been in an area related to Sitemeter. I think. But this is what I found:
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:06 PM
Friday, October 04, 2013
. . . or maybe not.
October is certainly the month to clean up the garden ready for spring, Everything is dead or dying: the phlox is mildewed, the peonies have black blotches on their leaves, the shastas and black-eyed susans have proliferated, but cannot keep themselves from their ultimate demise. Everything must go into large paper bags or the compost. I try to get everything done before it gets too cold, but right now it is hot and I rush around trying to work in the shade. Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows that this is the time I quote Laurence Binyon. Wade through the post until you come to the link to his glorious poem. Each year I quote it brings me one year closer to the time that someone else will welcome the beauty of the re-born peonies and phloxes.
P.S. Today is Liz's birthday and I can't find a photo. She will be so happy, but I have to acknowledge this special day.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:05 PM
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Remember those words. I have heard them twice lately in annoying circumstances. The first time was three days before our first set of summer guests was due. The installation of air conditioning was supposed to take three days—a narrow window of time, but hey, that's us you are talking about. The workmen were due to arrive between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Shortly after 11:00 I called and asked where they were. The scheduling engineer replied, "Something came up". He had, so he said, just heard from Arthur, the crew chief, who was on his way to Chicago. Family problems, he muttered. That is a phrase with which I was quite familiar in my working days. You can't really argue with it, you should not enquire into the nature of the "something", especially with the addition of "family" even though you know it can include anything from a hangover to sleeping in. You swallow it and go on. In this case, of course, I couldn't swallow it. I wanted my air conditioning before six small children and their parents arrived. And I got it. The only problem was that the new crew didn't have time to explain how it worked. But it did work pretty well, in spite of us. (Later on, we got a charming engineer out who was patient and explained it all. I was happy.)
After everyone left, I was so glad that my wonderful housecleaners were due. Not as impressive as it sounds, but two nice women from Poland who understand elbow grease. I dragged out all my cleaning stuff and buckets and rags etc. and just ten minutes before they were due the daughter of one of them called to say they wouldn't be coming because —you guessed it—something came up. And they couldn't come until their next scheduled date, two weeks hence. So I was on my own and it didn't hurt one little bit.
I have not posted here for a while. Any one looking for an explanation?
Something came up.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:18 PM
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Time marched on and in 1968 we were in Detroit with two small children. If I thought I was busy when the topic first came up with Joe, that was nothing to this time in my life. When I got a chance to read the paper or watch the news, I realized the Detroit Tigers were having a great season and we were watching when they eventually won the world series. Together with most of the population of Detroit (and I suppose with those two small babies) we poured into the streets and we drove up and down Jefferson, beeping our horn. Not probably the smartest behavior.
Now I will revert to my heritage and try to figure out soccer.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 2:02 PM
Thursday, August 29, 2013
No secret that I have a favorite blog: the first one I go to every day is Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By. She very carefully selects "elder" as being the best and most appropriate word for people of our generation. Besides very well researched posts on Social Security, the Affordable Care Act and matters like Sequestration, she deals with more "social" matters. If you go to her blog and search on "elders and", you will find entries on "elders and loneliness", "elders and loss", "elders and voter suppression" and many other similar topics. Try it. This week she dealt with the paucity of well designed clothes for elder women. You may be interested in The Media's Take on Elders, which is a prelude to a number of later entries where Jay Leno and other comedians knock the older generation of geezers.
This is where I come in. Sort of. Grosse Pointe has few places to buy a decent birthday card. There used to be a couple of stores with Caspari cards, which I loved, but they are gone. The grocery store and the drug store don't work. Believe it or not, there were attractive and thoughtful cards in the Hardware store, but it too has taken off. Of late cards have been on offer in the corner of the second hand Treasure Trove, next to the post office sub-station. So that is where I went. And what did I find? The majority of cards had images of elderly men in shorts with knobbly knees and wearing sleeveless undershirts. The women all looked like Maxine, wrinkles galore and everything sagging south.
I just couldn't buy them, so I thought of Ronni, approached the young man who obviously sold second hand diamonds and asked for the card buyer. As usual in these situations, he was at lunch. I expressed my unhappiness and with the unctuousness they teach at second hand diamond selling school, he suggested we look at the selection of cards. He pointed out the card with the glittery flower—about the only semi-decent card—and I gave him my lecture about elders and image, bought the card and left.
I can't help feeling Ronni would have organized a march on the Better Business Bureau with a sit-in outside this store. Maybe next time.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 12:55 PM
Sunday, August 25, 2013
. . . you wonder where I have been since that last post, take a look at this.
Al and three boys left this morning and I just had enough strength to upload some photos. This one needs to be re-cropped—Patrick on the right is losing his head—but I am going to bed. Eleanor, the adorable one on the left, is coming for a couple of days, but I think she is actually going to take care of me instead of vice versa.
I declare the summer over.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 5:43 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
. . . anyone has been wondering where I have been, this will give you some idea.
Andrew and Marcie left at 7 a.m. this morning, and there is no way I am going to get caught up on this blog—son number 1 is arriving on Monday with his four boys and we will start all over again.
I'll fill in the gaps later.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:39 PM
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
And just in case Patrick, Charlie, Daniel and Eleanor want to know something about the day their mother was born, it was while we were still living in our little duplex on Marlborough in Detroit. Al, who was 13 months, slept in one of the bedrooms and Ernie had appropriated the other for a study—shade of things to come—so we were sleeping on a rollaway in the living room. I was a little smarter than the last time, and I woke up knowing we should get to the hospital right away. Ernie was teaching summer school and the time for handing in grades had come and gone. He was, I am afraid, notorious for being late with grades and he was determined to get this set in before I was allowed to have a baby. Fortunately his chair lived a mile or so away and would be able to take care of the problem, but Ernie was (and is) the kind of person who needed to shave, put on a clean shirt etc. before dealing with an emergency. Unlike Kate, I was not too gracious. Time was running out, We made it, although I cannot for the love of me remember what we did with Al.
And that evening, my parents, who had never met Ernie, landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, in the midst of a mid-western heatwave.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:11 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
I spent my undergraduate years in this Hall of Residence. Lindsell Hall was located in Swiss Cottage and there is some pretty spectacular architecture in that borough and the neighboring St. John's Wood and Hampstead. Obviously Lindsell is not a shining example. The bay window on the top floor with two heads in the window shows how the large rooms were divided to make two smaller rooms—the heads are in different rooms. It was in those rooms that little groups of us gathered late at night to drink coffee and to plan our future lives.
My little clique included Jane King (Chemistry), Audrey Ashworth (Classics, and that's her head in the middle row), Sylvia Smith and Jackie Walker (Geography), and Gillian Levesque (Biology). There must have been more and if I could only find a photo I have of one of our gatherings, I could come up with more names. One of our plans, influenced I am sure by the local real estate, was to graduate and move into a cozy mews. I suspect a Mr. Rochester look-alike with a nice income came into it somewhere, and for some reason we thought married life included dinners of duck a l'orange.
The graduation part came and went and some of us stayed in London. No mews for me, but a share in a shabby apartment across the street from the former residence of Dr. Crippen. We kept in touch in various ways with some of our late night coffee drinking friends and I knew Gillian married her long-time boyfriend, Colin, right after graduation. I also knew Colin was working as a teacher and I think Gill was too. One day I and probably Sylvia, though I can't remember, received an invitation to dinner with Gill and Colin. They were living in a lovely little mews cottage and—you guessed it—we had duck a l'orange for dinner.
I have tried frequently to get in touch with Gill and she came back to mind a couple of weeks ago. I love the Friday Arena section of the Wall Street Journal where they describe real estate both in the States and all over the world. I have read avidly about luxury developments in Hong Kong and New York, condos in Miami, stark residences in San Francisco and cozy cottages in New Hampshire. The editors are very fond of writing about London and the expensive developments with floors excavated below ground, and the other week the subject was mews. A mews, two mews ? Two mewses?
Can you read that? $10.49 million. Gill and Colin were such modest people and I do wonder what happened to them.
Gill Levesque, where are you?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I was aghast. I am not used to this—a woman one day after giving birth, trotting down steps with the future king of England in her arms, rather like a football. Let me explain. In this country a new mother who is being discharged from hospital is required to wait in the room until an orderly comes with a wheel chair and pushes her all the way to the waiting car, where she is assisted into her seat. In the footage I saw, I missed the pedestrian sight of the Duke of Cambridge putting the baby into the baby seat. In this country the seat is inspected for safely and the parents are instructed in all the necessary procedures. I believe they are even provided with a child seat if they do not have one. The video with the Jonathan Hunt footage shows the Duke of Cambridge swinging the seat in rather a cavalier manner, and while I can see the point of the Duchess standing with the baby in her arms and walking unaided down the steps, it scares me. Here she is looking up at the photographers and not down at the steps. And I think she was even wearing heels.
Is there a doctor or a nurse in the house? Any comments?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 8:01 AM
Saturday, July 20, 2013
The second is that I was so enervated that I sat with he-who-shares-the -house and watched the British Open. (Usually I find golf the most boring thing on the face of the earth.) I would have appreciated some of that wind. What time do they start televising it today?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 8:16 AM
Friday, July 19, 2013
Today I don the hat of Samuel Pepys. Rather his wig. I had no intention of writing a post today, but I think I should record this date and make a note of its significance. I am certain that everyone has heard that Detroit has declared bankruptcy. What does that mean for a gritty city which helped countless poverty stricken hard workers earn a decent living? There is still footage of the thousands of southerners pouring into the Ford factory to claim their $5 a day. The Henry Ford in Dearborn is a mecca for automobile history. How did this brave city become a plundering ground for the likes of Kwame Kilpatrick and a City Council who rode around in shiny, chauffeured Escalades, and, if the story is not apocryphal, was governed by a Board of Education with a member who announced he couldn't read?
I do not live in Detroit, because even 47 years ago when we arrived here, we realized that we would be unable to send our children to the Detroit Public schools and would be saddled with private school fees. I know many people who do live within the boundaries of the city and who are working constantly to improve conditions. Both Ernie and I spent our working life in Detroit and our daughter works there now. I was most impressed with the Emergency Manager who was appointed by the Governor but I am not surprised he could not forge an agreement between the warring parties.
There are many who think that bankruptcy is the right way to go. Let's wait and remember this date.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:31 PM
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I like to get up first, make coffee, set the table and grab the newspaper. I have been having a problem focusing lately. I think it is too much pain medicine and my ophthalmologist doesn't think it constitutes an emergency. But that's another story. I can still read the paper, drink coffee and I try to disappear before I have to make breakfast for the other occupant of the house.
Then it is my choice. I go to the garden, I go shopping, I attack laundry, but whatever I do, the morning is my prime time for action. Of course, most of the time I go to the computer.
Sad to say, in my case, I whip out my lap top, erase some redundant e-mails, check on library books to be returned, send e-mails to kith and kin and see what Facebook has to offer.
And before I know it, it is lunchtime.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:46 PM
Thursday, July 11, 2013
. . . to hate an appliance?
First let me say that this is about the sixth post I have started. Five of them are preserved as drafts and may or may not be resuscitated. I am sure most of you know what happens when you feel you can't resume writing after a long period without writing the most splendid post ever—and it is easier to write nothing.
For now, suffice it to say we have had sweltering heat and enough rain to make Noah happy, and sufficient wind to bring down several trees and to provide employment for crews with noisy machinery. While we have not had to water much, pots have been swimming in water and mud has taken the place of grass. There have been three sad deaths in dear families, and the birth of a great-nephew in England with the lovely (and classical) name of Milo. And I should not forget good news concerning employment and a family member. Perhaps some of this will be described in more detail: that's the trouble with having a Facebook account. I do not feel the need to to write a splendid—or even a grammatical entry on that platform.
I realize that sturdy grandsons are coming tomorrow to chop vines and weed, then the Mitsubishi man is coming, so it is now or never. The washing machine died a premature death, although it turned out to be a problem with electricity, not the machine, so that helped.
Meanwhile, I hate my GE refrigerator.There, I said it.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:36 PM
Sunday, June 23, 2013
For over fifty years I have ironed. I was led to believe that university chairs needed ironed shirts (though I met a Vice President in our local library one evening and he told me he spent every Sunday afternoon ironing his own shirts). I drew the line at towels and dishtowels. This is a brand new, unused iron. My former iron had begun to drip brown pools of water, but even worse, the steam was burning my arm. Of course, I am going to use it, but I am apprehensive. Every new appliance gets more and more complicated. There was an enormous choice, so I pretty much chose this one because I thought the purple was pretty. Will I be able to follow the instructions? I still can't work the car we bought six months ago. Will this iron talk to me? Worse still, will it beam my location up to the N.S.A. so that some contractor seeking asylum in Ecuador knows where I am am what color my underwear is?
One thing is sure, I know it is not a good idea to give cotton garments as gifts to some of my grand children. A couple of my daughters are proficient with an iron, but at least one, and I am talking to you, Liz, don't know one end of an iron from another.
Which leads me to wonder about my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I guess there is nothing wrong about being crumpled. Or is there?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:51 PM
Monday, June 17, 2013
shoulder. Hence the plastic thingamajig. HOWEVER, the manufacturer fails to take into account the inability of elderly fingers, especially ones suffering from the twitches, to line up the hole in the plastic with the probe on the fish hook.
Are my ear bob wearing days over?
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:36 PM
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I have observed that whenever a person has a haircut, the question that is asked when checking out is "Do you need some product?" On the shelves behind the checkout desk are bottles and jars of fragrant potions which make up the "product". Product for curly hair, product for frizzy hair, product for limp hair—well, you get the idea. I always answer politely, "no thank you." And that's it.
I like the guy who cuts my hair. He's quick, doesn't talk much, looks at the way my hair is behaving (and it does seem to have a mind of its own these days) before he hands me over to Samantha to wash it. Last time I was in his chair, he muttered, "You have dry scalp." Samantha who was standing near by agreed. He poked around until I dared ask, "You mean dandruff?" He acquiesced. Head and shoulders, have you let me down? Andy and Samantha agreed I needed product. I supposed I agreed too.
Fast forward to checkout desk. Samantha hands me a small, neat bag with a shampoo, conditioner and stuff you rub in. I have product! I always write a check. Quick and easy because it is always the same amount. This time the bill was twice as much and then some. I'm a coward: I paid it. But they are not going to catch me napping again. "Product? No thank you."
Posted by Beryl Ament at 11:40 AM
Thursday, June 06, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 11:16 AM
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 7:34 PM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 8:24 AM
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Or Mother's Day. Collective or one single? Oh, never mind, I prefer the English version anyway. Mothering Sunday sounds so much more kindly and gentle and avoids the sound of a Hallmark holiday (which is is.) Also avoids the punctuation problem.
This holiday is coming up on Sunday and therefore many a pastor or priest has been saved the trouble of composing a homily by offering up a paean to mothers. I never thought much about it until I read a blog post which my friend Liza brought to the attention of her Facebook friends. It is considered bad blogging etiquette to eviscerate a fellow blogger's post and post it in its entirety, so let me tell you that you can read the whole thing here. I am going to reprint the prayer which I found so very moving. A number of my friends experienced losses this year and sometimes remarks are hard or even inappropriate to make. There's a lot to think about here and in the comments.
Posted by Beryl Ament at 1:42 PM
Monday, May 06, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 6:50 PM
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 12:07 PM
Friday, April 19, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 10:42 AM
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Posted by Beryl Ament at 8:52 AM