Shakespeare on the Rocks

27 Jun

I have just finished reading an absolutely fabulous book entitled Shakespeare Saved My Life. The book was written by Dr. Laura Bates, who is a Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer, about the ten years she spent visiting an Indiana prison, teaching Shakespeare to the inmates there.

This may seem to be an odd calling, but it enriched both Dr. Bates’ life and the prisoners with whom she worked. The play she chose for her initial sessions was King Richard the Second, particularly his soliloquy when he is, himself, in solitary confinement, how he peoples his cell with people he has known, places he has been, not talking to himself, but to “other people” trying to make sense of his life, and how he came to be in this predicament. The prisoners ate this up, working through the odd words, but gaining a new understanding of themselves, and eventually putting on plays where they has rewritten the Bard into modern English and modern situations.

The most enthusiastic and motivated – and motivating – of her students is a man named Larry Newsome, who was convicted of murder at the age of 17, and spent ten years – ten years! – in solitary confinement. In other circumstances, he would have been a college professor himself, but . . .

Well, read the book and find out. I promise it is a wonderful read. You will enjoy it.

Adventures at the DMV

24 Jun

My driver’s license expired some time ago, but when I went up to renew it I was turned away with the explanation that it was good until the governor lifted the Emergency Order. I got an email a couple of weeks ago with a vision test form to be completed by my doctor, and requesting me to make an appointment, which I did. Tuesday morning I presented my self and my vision form to the proper authorities, and was informed that I had an insurance violation that needed to be handled immediately. Oh. Dear.

To make a long story short, I bought a “new” Nissan around the first of the month, and we were so worried about my not driving an uninsured vehicle that we switched the policy from the old car to the new one. The tricky part was, I still owned the old car; the dealer wanted to give me $100 trade in, so we sold it ourselves almost two weeks later.

Two weeks with an uninsured car equals a $150 fine. Oy!

The problem started because I have a really easy tag number and I want to keep it. Maryland has issued new tags, with just a scramble of numbers and letters, with apparently no rhyme or reason. So – the nice lady told me to hang on to my old tags and when the new ones arrive bring them, along with all of my paper work, to the DMV and they should be able to make the switch.

That Blasted Cat!

21 Jun

For as long as we’ve had him, Eddie has simply refused to go into the back room via the cat flap. We know he does it at night, because his bowl is empty in the morning. He is willing to come out during the day, but he just won’t go in.

This morning he came into the kitchen and crouched down to use the flap. I was standing just out of his line of vision; I could see him, but he didn’t see me.

I must have moved or something, because he glanced over his shoulder, saw me standing there, and immediately sat back down and meowed. I leaned over, and he moved back a smidge, expecting me to open the door for him. Instead, I grabbed him and shoved him head-first through the door.

My mama didn’t raise me to be a doorman for a cat!

See Anybody You Know?

21 Jun

One of my many failings is that I have no Sense of Serious. Some people have no sense of humor, but everything in my life gets turned into a joke.

Drop a scalpel on my foot? Pfft. Get bitten by a snake? Giggle. (It was a black snake, non-venomous) I was being loaded into an ambulance and one of the EMTS told me that he and his wife would love to have a place like ours. “Let me know if you ever decide to sell.” I grinned at him and told him to at least wait until the body was cold. Poor kid was mortified. Have a near-fatal reaction to a prescription? I made a joke about that, too.

So – while I was working at the local hospital, I discovered the pharmacy had some leeches. Leeches are still used in medicine, mostly in reattaching severed body parts, but they were a cure-all in the 1700s, which is the time period I teach. I figured I’d get a couple of pictures to enlarge and show my students, so I waltzed into their office, and when they showed me the jug (they were in a gallon jug in the fridge) I reached in and grabbed one. I handed my cell phone to one of the girls, placed the leech on the back of my hand, and asked her to take a couple photos.

We had to wait for the poor creature to warm up to body temp, and when it flattened itself out, then arched its neck to set to work, she got several shots. Leeches have three jaws, and the scar resembles a Mercedes-Benz logo. Not being all that status conscious, I quickly removed the little beast. My hand was already over the jar when the supervisor popped up to ask what on earth I was doing. (That wasn’t exactly how she phrased it.) As I released the leech and watched it drop to the bottom of the jar, she reminded me that they were stored in sterile water – which I had just destroyed. Ack! She asked me if I knew which one if was, but by this time it had curled up and was lost among its brethren.

“I really didn’t get a good look at his face”, I replied. However, I did get a good look at her face, and decided to beat a tactical retreat.

Thanks to Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen for reminding me.

Conspicuous Consumption

16 Jun

On Monday, I ordered three rolls of the Lemon paper for the kitchen. Today, we received two large boxes from Target

Inside these two HUGE boxes were three rolls of paper – two in one box and one in the other. Will somebody ‘splain this to me?

And So It Goes . . .

15 Jun

We had to remove the curtains when we papered the kitchen, so I spent a fair part of today washing windows, which will probably make it rain tomorrow. I ordered yellow valances from Target at the same time I ordered the rest of the wall paper.

The Squire removed the inside of the dishwasher door and wiggled a few wires, but couldn’t find anything that would explain why the machine wouldn’t work. It’s an older model, and the Maytag help line wasn’t much help, so he pulled the entire machine out from under the counter, tapped and prodded, and then I helped him get it back in place. He slammed the door – and it started running! Not one to waste water and power, I opened the door and loaded the breakfast dishes.

Nada.

Considering the perverseness of inanimate objects, it will begin to work perfectly ten minutes after we order a non-refundable part from Maytag.

The Day Before the Baby Comes . . .

14 Jun

. . . Or Not, as the case may be. Sarah and Abraham are not my choice of role models.

Be that as it may, the kitchen really needed a deep cleaning, and I had announced yesterday that “we” were going to get on it this morning.

The first crack out of the barrel, we discovered the dishwasher doesn’t work. I pulled out the dish pan and drainer and began shifting things around. Ugh. The Squire reported for duty, and I told him one of us needed to wash up and one of us had to scrub the kitchen doors. Both the inside door and the storm door needed a good going-over, and there was still a brown mark on the frame where Blazer had rubbed against it coming and going. The dog died in December, but it’s been too cold to work outdoors or have the doors sitting open. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

While The Squire cleaned the doors, the carport and the front sidewalk – one thing always leads to another – I pulled stuff out of the fridge and wiped it down, inside and out, and generally played Pick Up And Put Away. Almost as much fun as playing Let’s Pretend We’re Moving. I even removed the cat flap from the door to the back room and scrubbed that down!

Several weeks ago, I found some removable wallpaper at Target, and bought one roll to show The Squire, which met with an enthusiastic response. Since we already had things pretty much in an uproar already today, we decided to put up that one roll and see how it looked before we ordered more. This stuff really is pretty easy to use. It’s very similar to Contact Paper, but it can be removed and repositioned any number of times. I would imagine that if you were renting and sick to death of plain white walls, it would be a godsend. The biggest problem is that there isn’t a square corner or level surface in this house, and the pattern repeat is HUGE; I told The Squire I felt as if I was trying to paper Cymyoy, which is a little church we visited when we went to Wales

St. Martin’s was built on a slag heap, and the ground has been slipping ever since it was completed. This picture is looking toward the Altar, and there’s another of the exterior. I told my godson this was where the Little Crooked Man Who Walked A Crooked Mile worshiped, and he remarked that he didn’t know the man was still alive!

Anyway, this is the new paper. We put up the one roll we had, and I’ve ordered three more to finish the job. This was the hard part, as we were working around windows and a cabinet. The next bit should be a lot easier. Or not, depending.

This is a post card shot of the exterior of the little church, and as you can see, it is even more crooked than the Rice Paddy!

Karma!

10 Jun

The Squire had to run to the store this morning, and as he was getting out of his car he was hit in the head by an empty cigarette packet. He stopped, looked at the packet, and then at the driver of the pickup truck next to him. The driver simply shrugged and continued to puff away.

The Squire looked at the packet a second time, and then at the driver. No result. On the third go-round, the woman sitting next to the driver spoke up.

“Harold, get off your lazy a** and pick up your own trash. You know better!”

The Squire couldn’t see the woman well enough to tell if she was Harold’s wife or mother, but Harold did start to open the door of his truck, and The Squire walked away.

If It’s Worth Doing . . .

9 Jun

. . .It’s worth overdoing.

Actually, that was my sister’s attitude, but The Squire seems to have decided it was a good plan, as well.

It is hot enough that we needed to put the air conditioner back in the living room window. As you can see on the far left, the bushes around the front of the house have gotten a leettle bit out of control. “No problem”, sez The Squire. “I can trim them a bit.”

Can you say “Scorched Earth”?

It looks as if Sherman took this route on his March to the Sea.

So Long, Old Paint!

7 Jun

My trusty, dusty Nissan has finally bitten the dust. This car has been a real workhorse, racking up almost 160,000 miles, and costing us much less in repairs than the Kia The Squire drives, and it is a 2009. I bought it around 2007 and paid $6,000 for it. About a week ago, it started making a dreadful noise, so we took it up to our local mechanic, who informed us the rear axle has an internal problem of some sort. He did say that; he honestly explained what was wrong, but it went clear over my head, so there’s that. “You can drive it for another month or so, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

So now, we are off to find another car – another Nissan – to replace this one. Wish me luck!