Using what lies in front of you

Picture of Agave cactus

My parents and their parents were children of the Depression. They saved string, wore hand-me-down clothes, and ate left-overs–ALL of them! A favorite expression was “Making Do.”

Native American families before the age of supermarkets and department stores did the same thing. In this picture you’ll see, on the right, a healthy agave cactus. Vivid green, with sharp spines at the end of the stalks.

But on the left, you’ll see something even more important. Notice those beautiful fibers that remain when the plant dies? They can be used to make sandals, weave baskets, line baby cradles. Making do.

Because of our routines,
we sometimes forget that life is a
an ongoing adventure.
~Maya Angelou~

Where everybody knows your name

PJs Bar & Grille, Village of Oak Creek

When I was researching the setting for the latest Pegasus Quincy novel, I wanted to include a scene where Silver Delaney and Rory Stevens meet in a bar. But just not any bar.

This one had to be the local neighborhood hangout, where after work the lineup at the old wood bar is three deep. Where, when you arrive, the barkeep has your favorite drink mixed before you reach the end of the room.

The Village of Oak Creek has one, called PJ’s Bar & Grill. I happened to catch it for this photograph on a midday, mid-afternoon before all the regulars started to arrive.

You’ll find it in PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE. Watch for it!

I prefer the folly of enthusiasm
to the indifference of wisdom.

~Anatole France~

Odd man out

picture of 3 ducks on a pond

Two ducks deep in conversation. A third trying to horn in. The odd man out.

I was delighted to see Google list so many variants for this term: oddity, nonconformist, maverick, misfit, fish out of water, square peg in a round hole.

One by one I tried them on for this little duck. Definitely not a fish out of water. A square peg in a round hole? I don’t think so. But one term, maverick, definitely seems to fit. This duck strikes me as someone who speaks his own mind, who will not conform, no matter what the odds.

We all need to be that odd duck out of water sometimes. It’s good for the soul!

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.
~Ellen Parr~

 

 

Equilibrium for a planet of paradox

Picture of pothole in Arizona desert

I’m a Weather Channel junkie, and this week I’ve been glued to the screen watching rivers overflow, highways flood, people rescued from rooftops and attics. Water at its most destructive.

Yet I am reminded that it isn’t always this way. In the Arizona desert, water is precious, every single drop. On the trail around Courthouse Butte near Sedona, this little pothole has always been a favorite of mine. It’s not big–maybe a foot long and less than that deep.

But long after the monsoon rains have departed, it will hold water which sustains the desert animals: deer, javelina, coatimundi, rabbits, and pack rats. Reaching for the last drop, they will travel for miles to visit it. Water as precious as diamonds, life-sustaining.

We live on a planet of paradox!

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As time remains free of all that it frames
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
~John O’Donohue, For Equilibrium~

You can never have too much yarn

Photo of blue red magenta yarn

I’m a crocheter rather than a knitter, but this exuberant bundle caught my eye when I visited a yarn shop in Jerome, Arizona.

And then I realized if I bought it, I’d have to keep it that way forever, never made into a project. Because, can you imagining unraveling a piece of work if you made a mistake, say, eight inches down?

Some things are just not made for a do-over.

You know you knit too much when you put your computer keyboard on the floor while reading your daily emails so you can hit the space bar with your toe to scroll through them while knitting.
~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee~

 

Remembrance of things past

Picture of glass reflections

Can you tell what this thing is? I couldn’t either, but it looked cool. I was spending the afternoon with a friend at the University of Michigan Property Disposition Department, 41 million square feet of warehouse space filled with a few odds and ends.

There were the expected 16 dozen used clay-colored steel case files (I guess professors swap them out for NEW clay-colored steel case files every year or so), desks, old computer CPUs, and such.

But the big kahoona of finds was the scientific equipment room. Talk about the mother lode of stuff you have no idea what it is (or was, 49 years ago) used for. Like this highly-calibrated, brass thing-a-ma-gig, complete with fun house reflections. I want one!

Curiosity’s like a fun friend you can’t really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you
to make it on your own.

~Haruki Murakami~