Puzzling Times

A puzzle of fantasy tropes including a wizard with a staff blasting something with magic while riding a dragon and protecting a castle with a comet and a moon thrown in for good measure.

I had to end my post yesterday rather abruptly to run my Saturday morning errands. During my jaunt around Leavenworth, I stopped in at Wal-Mart for the second time in a week, which is very unusual as I avoid shopping at Wal-Mart. If I can’t get it at Dillons, my only other option in Leavenworth/Lansing is Wal-Mart, outside of places like Dollar General and large pharmacy chains like Walgreens or CVS. K-Mart/Sears closed over a year ago and is now a very large U-Haul dealer next door to Home Depot.

This week they demolished the Payless Shoe Source store that previously resided in the same plot of land as K-Mart. And the biggest development project of the year is wrapping up. Quik Trip is nearly ready to open where the Leavenworth Co-Op was for decades on the northwest corner of Eisenhower and Main Street (US-73/K-7). I’m not looking forward to the traffic headaches that configuration is going to cause especially in the mid-afternoon when all the people on Post head home (to Lansing from Fort Leavenworth).

The other large roadwork improvement project that was causing me inconvenience completed last week as well. My alternate route to Dillons using 4-H Road to DeSoto is now open and the northern half of DeSoto now sports a middle turn lane and wide sidewalks. The intersection of Eisenhower and Desoto (on the south) and Shrine Park Road (on the north) also got a complete makeover including left turn lanes and signals for all directions and right turns lanes in some directions. Traffic should flow better in the mornings and evenings now.

But back to my second trip to Wal-Mart.

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of Thirty-Five Years

It’s a Sunday afternoon. I’m depressing myself streaming tragic dramas while consuming dark chocolate and Chianti. Midway through my third creepy twisted love triangle, I found myself distracted and unfocused, missing entire scenes of the movie. I remembered something I promised my husband I would write about this month. And since he’s off visiting our daughter in the serene Pacific Northwest, I’m left with Rottweilers, wine, chocolate and an empty post page on my mostly neglected blog. I paused my mediocre excuse for a movie and grabbed my phone to research what was happening in September 1983 – the month I met the man I married.

I met my future husband at a bar called Backstage on the northeast side of Wichita, out near where the Cessna complex used to be. The song I remember the most from that evening was actually “Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy. But the song that dominated the summer charts was the Police’s “Every Breathe You Take” which finally fell to “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by the Eurythmics at the end of August.

Ghandi won best picture that year, but I remember have fond memories of The Right Stuff and the fact that Sally Ride became the first female astronaut as a member of the Challenge crew that summer. And The FCC authorizes Motorola to begin testing cellular phone service in Chicago. Good thing I had an amateur radio license!

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Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

Once upon a time, I was the staff director of a Congressman’s office. He was a Republican. At that time, the Democrats held an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 354 more words

via Lessons from History? — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

I woke up to the longest day of the year (summer solstice). I read through Modesitt’s latest blog post, which turned my longest day into perhaps my most frustrating one? Are we truly doomed to repeat history because we choose to ignore it?

I’m old enough to have seen the swing of politics from one abusive majority to another abusive majority of a different party, but most Americans either haven’t lived long enough to see it, don’t care so long as “their” party prevails, or have no idea what I’m talking about.

History would suggest that this kind of situation, unless defused, will only get worse. The only question may be whether we’re looking at a repeat of 1968 or 1861.

Do we really want another bloody brutal Civil War?

I don’t.

But I am not a Republican nor a Democrat and I voluntarily pursue lessons from history because I don’t wish to ‘rinse and repeat’ the mistakes of more predecessors.

I can only hope I’m not alone.

 

Zo ExZited

Third Zucchini Closeup
Click on any photo to see entire album.

Last night, after walking and feeding the dogs, I let them out into the back yard as the sun was setting. Since the wind had died completely and the light was that perfect golden twilight time, I took a few photos of our summer container garden.  It has been a few days since I’d checked the interior of the zucchini plant (pictured above) and I quickly noticed the large yellowish-green bloom.

This morning, as I was watering the plants, it was hard to miss this bright beautiful yellow zucchini blossom among the green leaves of the rest of the plant:

Zucchini Bloom

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Summer Patio Container Gardening

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We haven’t tried our hands at gardening for a couple of years. Our raised bed has been overtaken by oak and maple tree saplings which are now taller than me; as well as leftover containers, fencing and tomato cages from our last gardening effort. We invested in new larger containers this year (larger than five-gallon buckets) and planted two cherry tomatoes, two Cherekee heirlooms and two jalapeno plants on May 9th. A week or so later I planted a lone zucchini plant. I love zucchini and wanted to try one to see how well it does.

Ten days after transplanting the seedlings (shown above in the first photo), we already had baby tomatoes on both of our cherry tomato plants.

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Today, I finally saw blossoms on the heirloom plants (but not baby tomatoes yet).

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And the jalapeno plants both of small baby peppers.

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The zucchini appears to be blooming as well, or at least I think these are blooms (near the base/root of the plant):

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My husband thinks we may have cherry tomatoes to harvest in another ten days. Since it’s been in the mid 90s the last two days, he might be on to something.

Click this link see our Summer Patio Garden photo album.

Daughter Featured at Contralto Corner

This post at Contralto Corner featuring my daughter became the high point of my evening.

I really need a Spring/Summer home in the Pacific Northwest so I can enjoy her live performances in person this season, or any season for that matter.  I miss hearing her unique, powerful and beautiful voice.

For a full list of her upcoming engagements, visit her web site here:

http://rachellemoss.com/engagments/

Visit her Patreon page and become a supporter for exclusive content, such as behind the scenes view of the creative process of preparing and performing classical music, discussions on the history and origin stories of operas she’ll be performing, videos featuring the music from those works, discussing opera history, and the current life of an opera singer.

 

 

Fantastic Fun Friday

I knew going into Friday I would have a very long day ahead of me. I had errands I needed to run first thing in the morning, so I planned to be late to work.  I stayed up past my usual bedtime, keeping my husband company.  We watched the inaugural episode of the new Amazon series “The Tick”, which is a remake of the two other Tick series from the 90s and 00s.  We also watched the latest episode of “Salvation,” which is shaping up nicely.  Not enough science, but plenty of political and personal interactions to keep the layman interested.

I forgot to turn off my alarm but didn’t mind getting up at my normal time of half past five. I did a few minutes of exercise on our elliptical and ran myself through the shower. I avoided logging in to work so I wouldn’t distract myself from the errands I needed to complete. In honor of Monday’s total solar eclipse, I wore my commemorative T-shirt produced by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City. I made sure to grab my ASKC name badge and place it in my car as I would need it for the final event on my Friday schedule.

At half past seven, I left and headed north, with a quick side trip through the car wash, which was surprisingly unbusy so early in the morning. I continued north through Lansing and most of Leavenworth until I reached the old county courthouse. I parked in the Justice Center’s parking lot and serendipitously ran into one of my book club friends on her way to work.

I walked the block back to the old courthouse and grabbed number 45 from the dispenser with about ten minutes wait time before the Treasurer’s office opened. I decided to pay the taxes and fees for my newest vehicle the old-fashioned way – in person and with a handwritten check. The number displayed as being served was 41 so I knew I wouldn’t have long to wait. I made myself comfortable on the old pew-like wooden bench and continued listening to the Dreamsnake audiobook I’d recently checked out via Hoopla.

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The Slow Burn May Be Heating Up

Modesitt is preaching to my choir again:

… minorities, women, and others affected by the history and legacy of racial and gender discrimination. They’re tired of endlessly waiting for equality, and with ethnic, racial, and gender discrimination continuing, those feeling that discrimination is continuing are also getting angrier and angrier.

The Anger Problem, published 7/25/2017 http://www.lemodesittjr.com/2017/07/25/the-anger-problem/

Also read this morning, and a blog post I also commented upon:

If we had maximum democracy every registered voter would vote on every bill without using representatives. Since we have a representative democracy, our elected proxies should vote the way we want. Often, this doesn’t happen because they work for a minority rather than the majority. This is called an oligarchy, and since our oligarchs are rich, we call our form of oligarchy a plutocracy. I guess that’s fancier label than Rule by Billionaires.

We Need More Democracy

I’m just all kinds of warm and fuzzy today but I blame that on the hot humid Kansas summer.

A Mid-Summer Night’s Streaming

This past week I took a break from watching movies I’d requested through my local library (see my previous post about dumping my Netflix DVD subscription) and switched to streaming two new (to us) science fiction series via Amazon Prime.

My favorite thing about streaming a series is not having to wait a week between episodes, especially when you are coming late to the party.  I do occasionally binge watch, but usually no more than four (4) episodes at once.  I have limited myself to two (2) episodes a night of The Man in the High Castle with a solo sandwiched between allowing me to complete five (5) episodes this week.  And I must say I am hooked.

It’s been years since I read PKD’s novel but even with my vague recollections I’m riveted by this production.  I’ve pulled out my ebook edition to reread, but that won’t prevent me from continuing on with the rest of season one.  There’s a reason PKD has so many adaptations.  If you haven’t read anything by him, I highly recommend him.

The second series we started watching this week was Humans (stylized with an upside down A).  I decided to watch this series based on an article I read months ago that stated if you really want to experience a robot rebellion, try Humans instead of or in addition to Westworld.  I very much enjoyed Westworld, especially the cinematography, production quality, story and acting, which sets a very high bar for Humans to meet.  

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WorldCon Withdrawals

Despite what my husband thinks, I have not over-dosed on science fiction since last Wednesday when the 74th World Science Fiction Convention (commonly referred to as WorldCon) arrived for the second time in Kansas City, Missouri.  MidAmeriCon II ended yesterday and of course the highlight of those five days was the Hugo Awards Ceremony held Saturday evening.

20160817_073751In fact, I sincerely hoped when I woke up this morning it wouldn’t be to the harsh reality of a Monday morning workday.  Ah, but life is cruel and the alternate dimension I’d enjoyed for five days evaporated into the dreary doldrums of gainful employment.  Well, not completely dreary.  Perhaps dreaded would be more like it, since I knew I’d be walking into some ‘hot potatoes’ once I strapped myself to my desk.

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