Skip to main content

FRESH FLOWERS, FREE SPEECH, A PISSED OFF CAT, AND OTHER BITS AND BOBS: #12

 




FRESH FLOWERS 

Joni always gets it right. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

For something like 30 years and a bit more, we bought, packaged for resale, and distributed thousands of cut flowers every week. Roses, carnations, mums, and more slipped through our hands, primarily viewed as a commodity. It was how we made our living. Oh, every once in a while, a particularly fine specimen would catch our eye and wind up in a bud vase on the kitchen table. But in general, I just became accustomed to having fresh flowers in the house without really noticing them. 

In retirement, Cathey has taken to container gardening on the terrace. No veggies. Just stuff that looks pretty, smells good, or might spice up a stew. So we have sprigs and blossoms of several different sorts on the table as summer begins on through the middle of autumn. But the winters, as far from eastern Pennsylvania as we are, still can be pretty sparse. And, because I am a man, I hadn’t noticed that the vases had been put away and that the table was bare. 

The bulb lit in the dim recesses of what passes as my mind when a dinner invitée brought Cathey a bouquet of flowers instead of the usual bottle of wine.

“I just love cut flowers,” Cathey said. After more than 50 years, you may be as stupid about some things as a lump of granite, but if you are still alive and have all of your fingers and toes intact, you know when the lady of the house speaks from the heart.

Yes. I have started buying flowers. No big deal. Self defense is a noble and essential animal skill that human males would be wise to keep sharply honed.

FREE SPEECH

There’s lots of talk these days about freedoms. In particular, folks seem to be adopting the philosophy that rights are more important than responsibilities and can be disconnected from truth and from consequences. 

Joni again. She’s joined Neil Young in taking her music off Spotify in response to that service providing a platform for misinformation. Does Joe Rogan have a right to spout his bull shite? Of course he does. Does Spotify have the right to give him a platform? Certainly, although one could wish that Spotify would pay greater attention to the quality of the information its platform provides a megaphone for rather than the profitability of same. So what’s all the huffing and puffing about?

We need to have a serious conversation about how far we are willing to go to participate in the post truth society that we seem to be enveloped in. Most of us haven’t the power to influence the course of that conversation on a macro level. Joni and Neil can. But we have to do our part. We have to, with love and all due respect, push against falsehoods promoted in our hearing. Bypass the channels on the television or radio that promote false narratives for profit. Don’t give voice to family and friends spouting anti scientific nonsense, particularly in front of our children.

The freedom to swing your fist ends at the point of my nose. Should the two collide, there will be consequences. And in these troubled times, the freedom of people like Rogan to give credence to opinions that might cause serious harm to me or those that I love should not be allowed to be monetized without significant push back from serious and thoughtful people wherever it rears it’s ugly head.

OUR CAT IS PISSED OFF

We're in the middle of a move. We're only moving about 75 yards down the street, but we are moving. Beds, rugs, spice cabinets, plants, all that had been here will soon be there. Because we're only moving down the street, we are doing most of the moving by ourselves. We pack a box, we carry it down the hill, we unpack the box, we bring back the empty box. Repeat. It's been a couple of weeks now, but we are near the end.

Sylvie is having a hard time. She’s a snowshoe, an offshoot Siamese breed. And she was a street kitten, feral child of a feral mother, very territorial and always aware of her surroundings. So when stuff that Sylvie had become accustomed to began disappearing, Sylvie noticed. She began following us around. She became more of a lap cat. Something unusual was going on and she was not comfortable with it.

The crisis came when I began to tear down the room that she and I share. It’s my office, but it’s the one room in the house that has the radiator going all winter so that she has one dependable warm place to nap on her cat tower. As the date for the move neared, I spent a day clearing everything out of the room except my desk and that tower. Day bed, book cases, coats and hangers in the little open closet…all suddenly gone. 

Sylvie immediately displayed her displeasure. She threw up everywhere. Everywhere. She stopped eating, even her favorite daily treats. She hid inside the little cave in the tower that she had never frequented before. Sylvie was one pissed off cat.

Two days passed. We kept close watch. We considered a trip to the vet if she continued to refuse to eat. But in time, Sylvie came around. Slowly at first, but now back to whatever passes as normal for her. Now comes the kicker. We move her to the new house in a couple of days. I will report.

BITS AND BOBS

A friend in Florida is complaining that it’s so cold that he might have to put on socks. Meanwhile, they’re experiencing a blizzard where he grew up in the north. Opinions about the weather are indeed relative to the thickness of one’s blood and, in warmer climates, the blood thins rapidly.

A teenage girl just became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a single-seat prop plane, solo. It took the better part of six months to complete the journey, proving that given enough time and money, anybody can do anything.

Apropos of our move, the new house is heated primarily by programmable electric radiators. I intend to fire up the fireplace insert frequently for two reasons. First, a fireplace not only provides heat, but visual and auditory and aromatic enjoyment as well. Secondly, we don’t have a ten year old child handy to teach me how to program the darn radiators which, by the way, come in a variety of different flavors with different buttons and little, unreadable screens.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kreuz Market vs. Smitty’s Market: Texas Barbecue in Lockhart

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t taste Texas barbecue until I was twenty-two years old. What the hell do I know about barbecue? And what could I add to the millions of words that have been written on the subject? Well, I know a bit about food. I’ve managed to check out a few of the finer joints in Texas – Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas, Joe Cotton’s in Robstown before the fire, the dear departed Williams Smokehouse in Houston, and the incomparable New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville . So I can speak from a reasonably wide experience. This will not be a comprehensive discussion of the relative merits of Texas barbecue as opposed to the fare available in places like Memphis or the Carolinas. It’s simply a take on our recent visits to Lockhart and the relative merits of Smitty’s versus Kreuz from our point of view. I’ll get all over academic in a later post. On our way out to the ranch in Crystal City, we stopped at Smitty’s. You have to look

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days. Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December. The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the f

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30 € per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats.  So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out. Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are t