Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Things

In no particular order...


We've been seeing a couple of turtles in the pond, lately.  They seem pretty skittish, though, so no up-close viewing.  Mostly just a splash when we get anywhere near where they are, then two little heads popping up out the water-- and popping back down again when they apparently decide that we look scary.

I've been trying to do a little yard work this spring.  There's still so much more to do, but at least I'm trying.  Every little bit helps, etc., etc.  This morning, I planted a new "daisy gardenia" near our patio (where we can enjoy the fragrance of the blooms), transplanted some roses, and mulched a little.  Next up-- more mulching, more transplanting (white spider lilies, snowflake flowers, montbretia), painting the sundial and obelisk "trellis", finishing bushwhacking the Jungle (a.k.a. the overgrown flowerbed by the bay window), putting river stones and pavers by the front door (where the runoff from the roof is particularly punishing during downpours), doing something about that unfortunate patch of the yard that covers the septic tank, and so on and so forth.  It should be enough to keep me busy for, oh, the rest of my life-- or longer, if there were a way to do yard work from the Great Beyond...

We've started looking more seriously into having a garage built.  It's one of those things I really want to have done-- but dread doing.  (Or deciding, planning, arranging, and paying to have done.  Same difference, as they used to say in school.)  Still, it will be nice to have a really good storage spot for our tools (which now take up too much room in the utility/laundry room) and various other odds and ends-- and I long for the day when the threat of a severe thunderstorm doesn't make me worry that one of the cars will sustain hail damage.  (Alright, damaging hail doesn't happen that often, but it has happened once, and I'm paranoid about hail, now.  You'd almost think I was Pa Ingalls worrying about an all-important crop that's a week away from harvest.)

I think Donald mostly wants a garage so that we'd have a place to play ping-pong, justifying the purchase of one.  (Well, maybe not really.  I don't think I'll be enough competition to make it that much fun for him.)

I tried making some hypertufa in the past couple of weeks.  Some of it turned out okay (knock on wood), and some of it did not.  I'm not sure what was wrong, really, but I plan to give it another try, sometime. 

I've made hypertufa stepping stones, troughs, etc. before, and it always worked fine.  (Not to say that none of it ever broke; some things did, but that was probably because I didn't use any reinforcing wire mesh or fibers... and they were relatively thin.) 

Anyway, hypertufa is a fun and easy outdoor project-- but it's more fun when it actually works.  (g)

I (and then sometimes Donald) started watching That Girl in the evenings, a couple months ago, when the local "retro TV" station began showing an episode every weeknight.  I was really enjoying it-- and so of course the powers that be decided to reschedule it for 7 a.m.  I still catch it, occasionally, but it's not exactly a convenient time for relaxing in front of the TV.  (Tsk!) 

Anyway.  About the show.  I find it inordinately amusing-- and curious-- that (reportedly) Marlo Thomas didn't want the series to end with Ann and Donald (um, a character on the show by that name) getting married because she didn't want the young women watching at home to think that marriage was a woman's only real purpose or goal in life.  She even thought that having the (engaged) couple actually get married at the end would "defeat the somewhat feminist message of the show" (according to, erm, Wikipedia... so give that as much credence as you see fit). 

And yet taken as a whole, the program (or as much of it as I've seen so far) is far from presenting what I'd consider a uniformly strong feminist message.  (Maybe that says more about me and what I think of as "feminist" than the program itself... Or maybe it's a reflection of how feminism has changed over the years.) It's just that Ann is frequently presented as a somewhat scatter-brained (or maybe "scrape-prone" would be a more accurate descriptor) individual and regularly needs Donald (or her father) to come to her rescue.  Not a very feminist portrayal of an independent woman, as I understand it. 

That's not to say that the character seems weak-- far from it.  Let's just say that her boyfriend is a prominent feature of her life in the show.  He's in nearly every episode, usually to play some important role.  He treats her with respect and affection, takes her career aspirations seriously, and supports her in her pursuit of that career.  I can't see how it would've hurt anything to have her finally marry him.  It's interesting how you never hear people saying that it somehow emasculates a male character when he gets married in a book or TV show.  I can't recall anyone ever suggesting that when a male character admits he wants or even needs a woman to be a permanent fixture in his life, he's no longer independent enough and is setting a bad example for the young men who look up to him.  Why should it be any different for a female character?  Sure, she could continue living alone, unmarried.  Hadn't they already shown her doing just that for a few seasons?  Why would having her marry-- at some point-- not even necessarily the very last episode-- have weakened the "message" that Ann was a successful example of the independent woman?

...But again, "feminist" isn't one of the labels I'd apply to myself, so possibly I'm just incapable of seeing the what the big deal was or is.  Of course I think women should have the same rights as men and be treated with the same level of respect, but that's just common sense and common decency-- and so the belief doesn't (imho) require any special designation.

...Not that it matters whether the character marries or not.  (g)  It was the (supposed) fact that it was purposely avoided that makes me think about it at all...

Gee, aren't you glad I got started on that tangent and that-- lucky you!-- you were here to skim or altogether skip it?!  ;o)  (I don't blame you.)

I recently had cause to glance into some of the earliest journals I ever wrote (and kept), and let me just say that few things could be as mortifying as reading your own words from when you were... I don't know, 13 or 14 years old.  So embarrassing.  My only hope is that (nearly) everyone is as silly at that age as I was.  Of course, not all of them were or are foolish enough to make a written record of it... 

It wasn't so much what I wrote about-- well, okay, maybe that, too, at times-- as it was the way I wrote it.  Good grief.  If you think I'm too wordy now.  I clearly wanted very desperately to be "fancify" reality.  Actually, I wanted to be living in an LMM novel, and apparently I thought that if I wrote as though I were, then I would be.  (Or something like that.)  The horrible purple prose-ification of a teenager's rather dull life!  The amplification of the mundane and the trivial into the Deep and Meaningful!  And, of course, almost every teenage girl's natural gift for finding potential for drama in the most unexpected places.  Well, at least I have a handy way to bring myself back down to earth, whenever I begin to form too high an opinion of myself. 

And that's more than enough for one entry.  Much, much more than enough.