Thursday, May 18, 2017

Traffic Camera

"Oh, look, there's one" my husband said. We were playing hide and seek with the white traffic cameras mounted at some Denver intersections. He was determined to track down the camera that resulted in a $40.00 fine for speeding. The photo "makes me look like a drug user" he complained. 

He's a notoriously slow driver, so I agreed that it was hard to believe he was ten miles over the limit.  Our kids spent their teen years looking over his shoulder and urging him to get up to speed. His last speeding ticket, 20 years ago, happened when he overlooked a school zone. He eventually got over that one, and he'll get over this one too. But he's riled up now.  

The last two round trips through that intersection have been non-stop commentary, including the cost to us. A friend said "I just don't pay the tickets" which Bill can't imagine. And then there's the large line item in the city budget he imagines.  "They must have spent a pretty penny on those things." But he's driving slowly again.

How sneaky it is that Big Brother's presence is on our streets?  "You'll never see one those contraptions in Dobson." (Dobson, NC, our previous hometown )

He's not the least bit technically minded, and can't fathom how the system works. He imagines a big room with tech nerds watching the film in real time. Actually, the letter does have the name of the "photo speed operator"  B. Lopez.  

After 2 hours of constant complaint and indignation I asked if we could put it to rest. He thought he could. But he started in again this morning on the way home along the offending route. I tolerated it better because I was still woozy from anesthesia. 

A week later a second citation came. 

Maybe I'm just not feeling his pain and commiserating sufficiently for him to feel validated. Could be he just doesn't get out enough. 

While I'm tired of his latest rant, he may be tired of mine.  I considered what I hang onto like a terrier who's caught a rodent. Is he rolling his eyes when I yammer on about living in a cave, or gaining weight or terrible traffic.  What if I got fined by the gnashnab patrol? I'd owe a fortune! 

Either way I also need to put a sock in it, zip it up, and quarry for my inner Pollyanna. 

Does your honey drive you crazy with a repeated tirade? How do you handle it? 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


As a child I remember my thrifty handy dad mending my sisters' worn shoes. He used a curved needle and pliers to sew the uppers back to the soles. We only got new shoes if the old ones were beyond repair. 

In third grade my best friend had a pair of saddle shoes made of red velour. They were luxurious. I begged for a pair of red shoes too. Since I needed new school shoes we went to the local shoe store. The small shop on our main street still measured our feet with the metal sliding scale. He found a pair of hefty brogues, (Dad's prerequisite for shoes was sturdiness, not looks), made of dull cabernet colored leather. I was too afraid to protest. Strictly speaking they were red shoes, just not what I'd begged for.

When I was in high school he was outraged to learn that I had more than three pairs of shoes, even though I'd paid for them out of babysitting money.  From that day on, guilt blunted my enchantment with shoes.

In keeping with said upbringing, I tend to make do with quality but dated clothes and shoes. For a recent wedding I paired a newer dress with beautiful piece of gold-thread embroidered silk from India. Now I needed shoes, but I so seldom wear heels that I couldn't justify spending the time and money necessary to find just the right pair.

But in the back of my closet I had a seldom-worn pair of comfortable heels. As well I had the leather craft paint necessary to turn them a classy matte gold. The paint adhered well to the leather uppers and I was pleased. Proud, in fact. Thrift was vindicated.

look at the heels!
That is, until I put them on just prior to the wedding, and walked around the hotel room. They felt squishy. As I primped at the mirror, and adjusted my jewelry they felt less solid, and more bouncy. Sitting on the end of the bed I took one off and examined the chunky three inch heels which had cracked from the bottom up.

Crestfallen and stymied, I was stuck with an ugly pair of brown flat sandals. I changed out of the heels into the sandals and buckled up my pride. No one was going to look at my feet, no matter how much I imagined they'd whisper "What was she thinking?!"

I left the ruined pair in the trash when we checked out. But what I really should have checked out was every pair of shoes left in my closet. 

Not six months later I again packed a comfortable pair of shoes to take on our trip to Spain. They were favorites--good for walking and they looked sound.  Wear one pair, pack the other. I was so efficient. I had the black "mules" and a pair of old beige grandma-esque walking shoes. 

About day three of the trip, I slipped into the mules and they felt slightly wide and cool.  I put my fingers right through the perfect uppers, no longer attached to the faulty soles. Ironically 8' X 12' Clark's shoe ads   plastered the walls of Barcelona's underground train system. 

Bill urged me to buy another pair of shoes, which I finally did in another city. It was a fun experience as I practiced my Spanish language skills with the female clerk.  I loved the shoes until a foot injury made them just a bit uncomfortable, blast it. 

In retelling my experience a friend said she's had a pair of shoes fall to pieces while she was in India. 

So, play it safe. First, check your old shoes for dry rot at the seams or crumbling composite soles. Wear them, flex them. Second, go ahead and buy a new pair of shoes for your next big trip. And break them in prior to departure, lest they break out somewhere along the way, leaving you soleless.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Spring in the Rockies

A new draft choice for the Broncos football team arrived in Denver on the last Saturday of the month.  He'd never seen snow, and TV showed 
DeMarcus Walker with a snowball bigger than a pumpkin.

I hope he gets a kick out of spring in the Rockies. I don't. The storm was beautiful, cold, windy, and untimely. Look what damage it did! Peonies full of buds lie splayed on the ground. 

The little rose buds may revive. Twenty four hours later, most of the snow is old news. Of course it's a different story in "the high country."  

My buddies in North Carolina said it was 85 degrees Saturday. Meanwhile, our drain chain was frozen.

Springs, (and falls and winters) in the Great American Desert are three of the reasons I moved to NC in the first place. Not that we didn't have some confusion of seasons there as well, but not so drastic.

I can't consider winter over yet. I've seen snow on Mother's Day, and the last day of school in June.  I'm sticking with pansies in a pot that come in and go out like a restless cat. My raised bed is ready for seeds this weekend. I bought tomato plants and peppers that won't be safe outside for another three weeks. 

I bet that Florida football player will be hankering for some vine ripened tomatoes by the middle of June. Tough luck. 

And welcome to Colorado!