Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lesson 99: What Kind of World Do You Want?

Hello, Readers.  This is a bit of a hurried Lamp Post posting tonight as Eloise has lots of plans for the weekend.  I got a football game and a fund raiser and a Footloose movie to go and see, and that’s all BEFORE dinner time on Saturday.  But namely, my main project is installing my Wi-Fi.  A bit late in the game, you say?  Not at all really, considering we were the first to have it several years ago when I went though the painful process before.  I no sooner had that $100 router figured out and installed when I saw a report that experts were studying Wi-Fi and it’s possible links to brain cancer.  I rapidly unplugged it all and threw it in the trash.  Years have passed and Wi-Fi is literally everywhere.  I’ve given it some thought and came to these conclusions:  #1—It is now deemed completely safe,    #2—We are all doomed.  In either case we’re all in this together, so I’m giving it another attempt.  I hope this installation goes better than the last time.

You know how that is once you start unplugging things of the technical sort.  The Lamp Post will be out of service for a bit this weekend.  I have this sick fear that I won’t be able to get everything up and working properly and will have to call a teenager (or a third grader) to hook it back up for me.  I wanted you all to see the pictures from the last home game for my Huskies.  Thanks, kids.  It was a great season. 

My children and football are the center of my world in the fall of every year.  Eloise is a teacher and returns to throngs of noisy children every September.  I am surrounded by them all day and their incessant questions (I teach the “avid learners”), then I come back for another dose every Friday night at a football game.  I love high school football and always will.  I’m my team’s biggest fan.  On the movie included along with snapshots from Friday night’s game, are some other things from my world that I love.  You’ll see lots of pictures of trees and leaves. 

I have to make a public confession—I’m a tree nerd.  I have 33 trees in my yard and each one has a special purpose.  You’ll see one of my giant weeping willows, and my maple tree that is sick with tar blight.  After school I got a really awesome shot of another tree with really bright yellow leaves.  It’s like the lyric in the Luke Bryan song I love---the desperate way leaves in the fall hold colors tight.  It’s as if the leaves really are desperately clinging to every last ounce of color before the desolate winter sets in.  You’ll also see a little, baby elm sapling.  It is my new favorite tree.  I have to think of a name for her—I just can’t quite come up with it yet.  Yes, Eloise names everything--even trees.

A friend of the family gave us the tree which is a Liberty Elm.  This is the plaque it came with and the story behind it.  The name is going to have to match the story somehow, so if you think of a good one, send me a suggestion.

The red colonial in the background is the house I grew up in.  I built my house next door, so my parents are my next door neighbors.  Living next to them is an adventure.  It really is comforting for those of you who just got a shudder up your spine.  They are an excellent source of blog material to say the least.  After all, Everybody Loves Raymond is a sitcom written about that very thing.  It's nice that my parents have the tree because they placed it in a spot where I can see it from my house too.  This plaque which explains the story (and its a good one, so make sure you squint and read it) is hanging in my dad's garage which I named the Garagemahal. 

The Garagemahal is a 40 x 30 foot sanctuary for my dear old dad.  He is out there all the time---just like a little kid in a playhouse.  It's his world.  And in dad's world he surrounds himself with things that he loves:  train memorabilia, Pittsburgh Steeler fan gear, and beer.  The guy on the video holding the stein is not my Dad, but I do think it probably could be one of my German, beer loving relatives.   I photographed the Beer Guy when I was in the Garagemahal taking a snapshot of the Liberty Tree plaque, which for now, is hanging on the wall just inside the man door.  Once the tree matures the tag can be placed on the trunk.

That tall, blank looking wall to the left of the top photo totally needs a floor lamp.  I have absolutely no lighting when I write at night and Eloise is suffering eye strain.  I've learned over time that it is best to hold out for something you really want, rather than to settle for something less than the best.  I want a floor lamp that looks like a lamp post, and I can't find one.  If any of you readers ever do, please send me a message.  
 I love maps and globes far more than GPS navigators.  It should come as no surprise that I have a globe atop my storage unit.  On the lower left shelf is the LOST Complete Collection that I got for Christmas last year (the one I threatened to light the tree on fire over if I didn't get, if you recall).
 For now the window provides me adequate light while I write, but the winter is upon us and extra hours of darkness.  Eloise does not do well without the sunlight.  I'm like my plants.  If you stick me in a closet, I get pale and pasty just like the Sixth Grade science fair projects every year (there is always one on this topic):  Can plants grown in a closet?
 When you watch the movie you'll see a shot of my Dad's beer can collection he keeps in the Garagemahal.  It made me smile to think that I have surrounded myself with my own can collection, but mine is the non alcoholic version.
 My mother gave me this lamp post for a decoration.  It was actually one of her Christmas decorations but I ripped the wreath off of it so I can set it out all year.  The framed picture is a painting that Ellen made for me.  I love how she put the glow of light outside of the actual lamp.  She said, "It's a painting of a lamp post.  The light reminds me of you."  Sweet.
On shelf above my computer you'll find my pencil can the girls made me out of beach glass, a bird cup Sam gave me for Mother's Day, a carved wooden lamb that reminds me of Jesus, and my lucky horseshoe.  I found it when we were digging the foundation of our house.  I built my house on what used to be a horse pasture in the 1800's.  I'm not superstitious or anything, but I always make sure the points are facing upwards so my luck doesn't run out.

Does the apple ever fall far from its tree?  I'm the apple that landed next door.  You can see that I am a chip off the old block--I don't have a collection of beer cans, but I did turn a Rolling Rock bottle into a daisy vase.
 I told you I name everything.  And if you know me, I probably have a nickname for you.  Most I keep in my head though, so don't ask me what yours is.  They are secret.  This plant I named Guadalupe.  My friend Keri got it for me when my grandma passed away in September.  Keri married a guy from Ecuador, and this reminded me of the palm farm he has there.  I looked up Top 10 Ecuadorian Baby Names (yes, you can Google just about anything), and decided to give this plant a multicultural sounding one.  Evelyn happened to be the number one name in Ecuador last year which sounded too American.  I opted for #6--Guadalupe instead.
Meet Charlotte.  A gift from Tracy Southern when she came home for a visit last spring.  T Southern now lives in South Carolina, about a mile from Charlotte, NC where she originally moved (and left me lonely) many years ago.  I thought it was a pretty, southern sounding name.  TS told me "you can't kill this."  I think after a month in the north the plant was out of sorts, so I sent her an email with the next photo attached.  It read, "I beg to differ."

This was poor Charlotte after about four weeks in Erie.  I thought I lost her.  I can't stand to kill a living thing--even the tomato worm that was eating my half of my garden.  I found the little &#^$%@ and put him in my neighbor Fitzgerald's garden.  Simple solution.  Other than one waitressing job that I despised, I never quit anything in my life.  I'm not a quitter, and I wouldn't give up on Charlotte.
Once I realized I needed to remove the pretty, pink wrapper to give her some breathing room, she started to come back.  I retrieved this out of the garbage TWICE because my hubby tried to pitch it.  He's a little quick on his decisions.  Glad I saved her because the above photo shows a nice, healthy looking Charlotte sitting on my Lamp Post window seat.  She's even blooming again---in November.
 So how far does the apple fall from the tree?  My sister's apple landed about 4 miles away.  Maybe she strayed too far from her roots.  The following two snapshots are of plants that Kenyan Karen decided to nurture this summer.  If you look closely, the white pot in this photo reads, "Homegrown on Lake Erie."  City officials are not asking her permission to put this on a travel brochure of the Erie region.
Kenyan Karen has good intentions every year.  She likes plants, too, but plants need time and care.  She's got a lot going on in that great big house of hers, so sometimes the plants forget to get watered, other than from a good leg-lifting from her pug Hercules.  Maybe dog urine is what gave this one it's nice, crispy brown look.
I always save the best for last, and this is the prizewinner of blog #99:  This is the plant that Sister Somebody--Jack's teacher who is a nun, gave Karen to care for.  She gave it to Karen to "split and re pot."  Kenyan has them completely fooled.  I told her to be extra careful with this one---we may need an extra nod when we're standing at Heaven's Gates someday.  Re potting the office plant of a nun just may be our ticket.  

While were all biding our time here, waiting for our turn to stand at Heaven's Gates, what have you filled your world with?  Is it all work and no play?  Eloise's advice today is this:  get outside and do something you enjoy and take a couple of kids along; plant a tree (and make it an elm); have a beer or a coke and find someone to drink it with; share your world with someone today.  

Make today a good day, Readers.

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