1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chappa-Quid-Pro-Quo--Can Hope Float Where It's Still "Tooth for Tooth?"

Now that we in America--according to the media--have officially reached the end of an era, we should probably give hope a chance to float. Family birthdays tend to fall into that realm of possibility. You wouldn't believe how many there are in my family at this time of year. I hope this cake will suffice for now as my offering of hope.

Aging amalgam fillings--soon to be replaced--require a lot of hope for little pain and much dinero. Every action in life has a consequence, it seems. Too much birthday cake, along with other sweet things, eventually exact a toll. Another toll I'm somewhat concerned about is how much mercury I've consumed over the years as these little miracles of dental ingenuity from the past slowly broke down. It's amazing what we can swallow without giving much thought to it. I suppose we can build up a tolerance for almost anything if it's ingested a little at a time.

For some reason, tolerance seems to be quite the catch-word these days. Grups, though, seem to have the most trouble swallowing the concept whole. They tend to want to chew things slowly and savor the flavor before deciding to completely ingest them or spit them out. It's really not a matter of being un-American or small-minded. It is a sign of experience, survival, and a real hunger for truth--and trust--in an era where those concepts have been as rare as hens' teeth.

A Man may make a Remark--
In itself--a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature--lain--
Let us deport--with skill--
Let us discourse--with care--
Powder exists in Charcoal--
Before it exists in Fire.
(a poem by Emily Dickinson, c. 1864)

"I hope for an America where neither fundamentalist nor humanist will be a dirty word but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls...." (from Ted Kennedy's speech on Tolerance and Truth)
Addendum: Just found this article about America's selective memory. I wonder. Could it be the fault of all of those amalgam fillings?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nature Notes--Si, el Arte en Mi

Each new summer morning in Florida, we, the grups, thrust our heavy legs out of bed and force ourselves to walk while the day is still cool and before the thunderstorms begin to build. We might not spring up as well as we once did, but once the coffee takes effect, inertia has been overcome, and we are almost as good as new again. Motion lotion gets us out of doors and into the early morning light where we find Nature stretching her legs too. We recognize another combatant once more waging war against entropy. The orchard orbweaver, Leucauge venusta, has been busy weaving all night while we slept. She may be tiny now, but she has a voracious appetite for lots of things, maybe even what a bean-eating caterpillar has wrought. Now I see in the photo above why those lovely green beans in my garden went missing and what they have been sacrificed for--el Arte--a long-tailed skipper--Urbanus proteus.

"All Nature's apparent reverses have been but tactical withdrawals. We thought we were beating her back when she was luring us on. What looked to us like hands held up in surrender was really the opening of arms to enfold us for ever...."


"Every conquest over Nature increases her domain. The stars do not become Nature till we can weigh and measure them: the soul does not become Nature till we can psycho-analyze her. The wresting of powers from Nature is also the surrendering of things to Nature. As long as this process stops short of the final stage we may well hold that the gain outweighs the loss. But as soon as we take the final step of reducing our own species to the level of mere Nature, the whole process is stultified, for this time the being who stood to gain and the being who has been sacrificed are one and the same...." (from C. S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man, 1947)


Please visit Rambling Woods for this week's Nature Notes and see what other bloggers have been inspired by in nature.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We'll Be Back! Warp Factor One! (The Grups and Other Mad Hatters)

The true Southern watermelon is a boon apart and not to be mentioned with commoner things. It is chief of this world's luxuries, king by the grace of God over all the fruits of the earth. When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat. It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took; we know it because she repented. (Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar--Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson)

Our first Southern watermelon provided a tasty treat, and it wasn't even cold when we took the first bite! I picked it warm from the garden in the morning, not long after I saw that five-foot snake a few weeks ago. True to form, I took a sharp hoe with me, just in case that snake had any friends lurking about.
I have been chipping away at the weeds in the melon patch, not wanting to spoil the fruit's slow-but-sure development by depriving it of its necessary shelter from Florida's elements.

I picked another fruit of the vine last week, and even though it was bigger than the first specimen depicted above, it was a complete disappointment. Of course, as you can tell, these are two different varieties of melons (Sugar Baby Something and Something-Else), so the maturity rate is difficult to ascertain. What does one look for when determining the appropriate time to harvest a watermelon? Do you thump it? Look for browning of the vine's tendrils or the melon's stem?

SAM had an interesting conversation this morning with someone in Colorado. He was following up on an advertised job opening with an environmental company. In case you don't know, someone who receives unemployment benefits in the United States of America is required by law to document an earnest effort to obtain employment with weekly reports of progress--no rocking-chair, sitting-on-your-arse-money earned here anymore. The lady he spoke to was kind enough to explain that the manager--an early-thirty-something male with eight years of experience--had made it clear to her that no application would be considered if the applicant had more experience than him. SAM explained his predicament--federal requirements being what they are--and the office manager graciously agreed to receive his e-mail application and resume, experience and all. What a nice lady! Too bad she's not the manager. The situation reminded me of that funny episode in Star Trek--the Original Series. If you've lived long enough, you will probably remember it. It's the "Miri" episode--the one that dissed the "grups."

Son and his family don't intend to diss the grups, but they somehow manage to accomplish it nonetheless. While we were surf fshing in the Gulf of Mexico, something as simple as Son's hat served to scoop up a fish. Now where did Son learn a trick like that one? Certainly not from the grups, who have decided that they must band together to oppose anything new and unfriendly to their efforts. They have produced the following instructions for posterity's sake:
Five Reasons to Hire a Grup Rather Than a Yup:
  1. Office Intrigue. Advanced age usually takes care of that problem younger people have with "wandering eye." Presbyopia definitely reveals its advantages in this case. Young flesh and firm bodies don't mean nearly as much to someone who has difficulty seeing them.
  2. Experience versus lack of it. Again, sight plays a part, but in this case it's hindsight, which is, as we all know, 20/20. Remember that tired, old expression "Been there, done that"? Well, it isn't that old, but there is an allusion in classic literature, written long ago by William Shakespeare: (Rosalind in As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2, Line 304) "I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal."
  3. "Takin' It to the Streets." These days, the yups in charge want to rely on the newest information published by the experts (of their choosing). Usually, though, the experts know what they know because they've studied it in the last article published by some other scholar of choice. A grup has lived in the big, bad world long enough to know that theoretical information only takes you so far. Failure--yes, children, everyone who has lived long enough will fail at some point in something--prompts one to rely on instincts as well as head knowledge.
  4. Dogged determination in the face of sound bytes. Grups, generally speaking, are not fashion hounds. Some rules in business (and academia, interestingly enough) are not meant to be broken, bent, or wrapped up in and pitched out with today's newspaper, especially when dealing with investors/stake-or-stock-holders. Those people tend to like things that have a solid record of return on investment. Recycling tried-and-true concepts is usually cheaper in the long run and not as costly in terms of other resources.
  5. Good--even if they are old-fashioned--manners. Grups may not always practice socially acceptable behaviors at home or at the office. Nevertheless, time has conditioned them to realize that certain behaviors like not following up with a client or indulging in selfish interests on company (taxpayers'?) time will eventually be noticed and dealt with by "Upper Management."
David Austin's "William Shakespeare" somehow found its way into my garden and my heart. It's a parvenu of sorts, not adhering to Walk2Write's strict rules for roses: No allowance for pampering, excess watering, or non-shrub roses.

If it behaves itself beyond this summer season in Florida, it might be allowed to obtain full-time, in-ground--with benefits--employment in this garden.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

All Hands on Deck--Saving Time at the National Naval Aviation Museum

As raindrops

Before us, Days fly by--

Catching Time with Micah and

Setting it free to dry--
Someone's Tear

An early morning rain shower and lingering clouds on Saturday, the first day of August, left us with few options for spending the day with Micah. We chose an indoor activity--the National Naval Aviation Museum--but wondered as we drove out to the Pensacola Naval Air Station whether we were making a big mistake. What would a two-year-0ld boy do among all those planes and people? Would he get bored in five minutes and throw a tantrum?

We needn't have worried. He didn't waste a single minute on tears and found plenty of things to occupy his mind and hands. There were planes to fly...

...and new horizons to scan. Someone has seen fit to add a play area designed for toddlers. It's surrounded by seats for weary adults to park themselves for a few minutes and watch boundless energy in motion. Museum volunteers ensure that the kids stay safe while playing.

SAM and I have been to the museum several times over the past few years, but this visit was special. We didn't have to try very hard to see things anew through the eyes of a two-year-old child.

Real men carry diaper bags if necessary and agree with requests to strike a pose--IMHO.

The Builders
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our todays and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house where gods may dwell
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble, as they seek to climb.
Build today, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall tomorrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.