Monday, November 13, 2017

I Don't Like Friday the 13ths

     It wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, most of my life I have had the audacity to enjoy almost all Friday the 13ths with exceptionally good luck, prosperity and grand enlightenment. When I look back I recall seeing many a raised eyebrow and/or funny looks from people when I told them so. I’ve never been a superstitious person (and probably never will be) so I would regale people with my experiences with more relish than was appropriate but I like to be different- because I always seemed to be, anyway- and disappointing superstitions give me a grand buzz. Who-hooo! Another one knocked down like a stacked domino!
Why have I changed my tune? Well, my experiences have taken a turn for worse. My eldest brother died on Friday 13th back in 2006 and the whole family misses him because he was one of our outstanding members. Everyone liked him on a very basic level and he was our go-to person any time we had a problem that needed either more smarts or willingness to tackle an issue or work that seemed impossible or particularly difficult. He was also the most fun to hang out with or be around. Pat was generous sometimes to a fault and when someone is like that you come to depend on it, eventually. He was well-loved by so many people, very much like my mother.

     The most recent disappointment with this calendar pariah was November 13, 2015. Doesn’t ring a bell? That was the day that five separate explosions and a massive shooting ambush at Bataclan Arena took place in Paris. For all those who have never visited Paris I can only say that the horrific attacks couldn’t have been perpetrated on more unlikely victims than the people and normally lucky visitors of Paris. A parallel equivalent would be the school bully telling a brother that he’s going to rape and kill his beautiful five-year-old sister. Devastating. 

     There was no warning, however. In addition, the nearly synchronized attacks, perpetrated by only seven actual assailants were carried off in the coldest and most calculating manner I can recall among the myriad of attacks which have occurred before or since- both internationally and in our own country. The attacks in Paris made my blood run cold but not with fear. Details only make it more insidious but even if it looks as if the terrorists are winning I can tell you that in truth they are not. I hope we are all preparing ourselves for these possibilities and many people will be ready if it should continue the way it has for far too long.
     Peace cannot tolerate such cataclysms for long. I place all my faith in a God who is bigger than everything we experience as humans, material or immaterial. He will move, when He has allowed as much time as possible for us to wake up and face His sovereignty, omnipotence and most of all His omnipresence. He will move and will not wait even a split second to intervene when the enemy rushes in for what he believes to be victory but will be his final defeat. Remember, it’s always darkest just before dawn.

The Castle Lady

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Fall Leaves...

Fall, leaves, fall
by Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Love it!

The Castle Lady 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yesterday was National Food Day...

     I made spaghetti last night and it made me think of this particular strip. Mind you, I tend to be a neatnik so I always manage to keep things pretty clean and I never slurp up a whole pile of spaghetti no matter how hungry I am. I always use my fork to wrap the spaghetti around and make a good mouthful of each bite. I also can't have spaghetti without Italian sausage. It doesn't seem right without it. So I have it going on when it comes to proper eating of this classic dish.
     To be honest, it's cleaning up after that is the real rigamarole. It's crazy what it takes to make a simple dish. I end up cleaning just about every pan, colander, frying pan etc. I own! Not only that but I promise you that if you do spaghetti dinners right you will be cleaning your kitchen for days if you're conscientious like me about getting everything clean. I don't have to wonder why I have never made a habit of eating a lot of spaghetti meals. As much as I love them I have to have my energy up to get to that! 
     I have to say this also: It's always worth it, anyway! Umumum um!

Just ask Addie!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Is Summer Over ?

Not to worry. We have an interesting seasonal possibility in Denver called Indian summer which often comes when we most seem to need it. Indian Summers were more prevalent during my young years in this city but they seem to be making a comeback, especially this year. If you’re from back east or a part of the eastern states of the Union you may be wondering just what an Indian summer might be and it is simply this: A period of mild, warm hazy weather following the first frosts of late autumn, especially on the North American continent. At least, that’s the first definition according to Webster’s New Universal.
Denver has very early Indian summers and they can be quite pleasant in all honesty. Our summer evenings, as a rule, do not remain hot even if we hit high 90 to 100 degree weather but Indian summer evenings are quite cool and make air conditioners irrelevant through September and October. We never know how long they might last but sometimes clear up to Thanksgiving or even Christmas. No kidding. I think it’s because we have an arid climate, as a rule. Whatever we get you can bet it will be crisp. This entire year has been arid and I counted our snowfalls on one hand for 2017. I’m sure it would’ve affected the grapes if I hadn’t watered them quite a bit. Interestingly, I’m harvesting them now and after the fact of critters like raccoons, squirrels and various neighborhood filchers who leave messes behind.
I was still able to make 2 quarts of juice off of what they left me. Nice.
     At any rate, I can’t think of a better time to make the most of an Indian summer and just bask in it until I see it really is finally over. We’re so lucky to have the weather we have in Colorado and so I’m going to make the most of these so-called

…The Castle Lady

Friday, October 06, 2017

Smile though your heart is breaking...

Today is World Smile Day so if you're feeling a little blue or it's been difficult all day just remember that everyday should be World Smile Day. My grandmother used to say,"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone." There's a lot of wisdom in that and it happens to be true. So let's use that as a springboard to put a little more happiness in our lives.

Also, remember that it has been said that it relaxes your face to smile even if it doesn't feel like it at first and it's been scientifically proven that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Sounds like it's a good idea to smile. Try it tomorrow. Why not ?

Monday, September 04, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beavis and Butthead rise again...

I don’t know how many of you remember MTV’s first animated show Beavis and Butthead but I’m willing to bet you’ve seen enough of it to realize that their mentality covers quite a span of several generations of ignorant American teens on the loose and wreaking havoc in unbelievable ways. Now, mind you, this type of silly adolescent behavior is not new and has been going on even before the 1950s but besides proliferating, exponentially (in many ways I won’t go into quite as yet) I have not seen the like so much as what we might see on America’s Funniest Home Videos or South Park- just this year. An imitator of the so-called ground-breaking Beavis and Butthead, South Park came after the Dumb Duo and was rather sophisticated by comparison!  

     Am I surprised that grown young adults are pulling the same antics, such as what Roman Atwood puts up on You Tube? This one gets paid for every 1,000 views of all these dangerous shenanigans he video records- mostly from his car- and is becoming rich for staying stupid. Yes, this deplorable state of the world’s sense of adulthood is making out big for getting hurt, pulling mean and evil pranks and then sitting back and laughing at it all as though it’s a positive and good act. Lunacy.

     This year I have seen more real-life copy cats on roadways, bike paths, steep stone staircases, etc. with anything from skateboards, makeshift go-carts, handsprings or just about anything that may not move. I wonder why safety and using your brain effectively has lost its appeal for normal human existence? Some of what I’ve seen involves adults my own age! As far back as High School I have wondered to myself if certain individuals I knew (or was only casually acquainted with- wink!) would ever make it past twenty years of age- for any number of reasons. I myself tested the boundaries of the laws, natural laws and supernatural laws but all that was pretty much over by the time I was fifteen and was an owner and driver of my own car.

     I know why this nonsense continues and no one seems to want to put an end to it. We’ve been laughing at all of it. Nothing eggs on a prankster more than wallowing in the nonsense and laughing. It’s time to sober up and stop laughing at people getting hurt, accidentally or purposefully hurting themselves. Reality doesn’t bite but a barbed-wire fence does! Stop giggling at people destroying things and other people. What is the humor in that, I ask?

     Tracing this back to the origins of this lunacy, I remember going to see the first Gremlins movie. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on Netflix or wherever you might get 80s classics. The film was pitched at kids but adults were telling me to go see it. As I watched these somewhat cute and cuddly beings begin to turn into evil killers and children laughing at all the mayhem they perpetrated I knew that I had hit a fork in the road with humanity. I remember telling every female client of mine not to take their kids or grandkids to this movie unless they were willing to set them aside afterward and tell them that it was reprehensible behavior and not a bit funny. Maybe only half of them took me seriously but I have noticed that people in my own age group are into some wacky type of tawdry culture. Laughing at idiotically dangerous acts and being the instigator of them is a brand new type of izzat which wouldn’t make a lick of sense to our parents or even someone much younger. Personally, I wish they’d all grow a brain and stop the nonsense. This world is violent enough without that garbage and these people are definitely old enough to know better. The best thing I could say is, “Grow up!” I have now said enough.

The Castle Lady

Monday, August 21, 2017

Keep Your Eyes on Summer

My title is not only the name of one of my most favorite Beach Boys songs but it’s very appropriate this summer. As a matter of fact, 2017 has seemed to be off schedule all year long! I can honestly say every month in Denver has been quite unusual in correspondence to its season and August has been no exception. Everyone’s talking like it’s autumn already and it’s not even close! The strong heat started right at the beginning of June for one, with no storms whatever. July was steadily hot and well above 90ْ, also, with few storms. August has been rainy at night and much cooler, overall, than June and July combined. That’s weird weather for August considering that it’s usually our hottest month.

Perhaps this total eclipse coming up has something to do with all of it. Denver is right in the path for an overhead viewing at 92% but I won’t be watching any of it. A partial total eclipse is a non-event in my estimation and its main claim to fame is that it will be really dark in the middle of the day for about an hour and a half. Yawn. Don’t be surprised if your dogs and cats decide to go to their backyard houses or favorite night time spot. They’re smarter than they seem. If by chance you insist on looking at what will be basically just darkness, be sure to take the ‘special glasses’ wearing to heart. Can’t get a hold of a pair? Then, please, at it don’t stare. (hee hee) Simple.

Remember when I vowed that I was not going to mow the lawn this year and that someone else was going to have to do it? Well, guess who got the so-called honors anyway? You guessed it. Who else but yours truly?  I’ve never felt so exhausted in my life! Avoiding the heat was impossible and you can’t mow at night. Let’s just say the latter isn’t a good idea. The other part of this is that it takes away from my writing time. Have you noticed West Somerset on my Word Press blog yet? Right. It isn’t there. It shouldn’t take me too much longer but it seems as if it’s taking me forever- face it! -but not because I haven’t put the effort in.
     As a matter of fact, I’ve written the thing nearly twice now. The first nearly completed final draft just suddenly disappeared from my computer without a trace in February after some extreme weirdness with my P.C. That is not the first time this has happened but I have vowed that it’s never going to happen again. What could be more frustrating than watching something that you’ve spent four months writing suddenly vanish? I honestly can’t think of anything worse right now and so I’m telling any type of malevolent miscreant or namby-pamby glitch that they better not touch this or something’s going to get hurt. Bad. When I show any signs of aggression in word, thought or deed you can be assured that you’ve pushed me over the edge of my good nature. You have been warned. 

     It may sound like summer has been a bummer but most of it has been much nicer than I expected. I’ve had a bit of a reprieve on extra duties around the house just simply because I’ve let some chores and extra work just go. You have to do that at times, you know. Most of my life I’ve been a live-for-the-moment type of person and this summer I let myself do just that. I’ve been catching up on the news and happenings and at my leisure rather than on the run. Here again, the heat may be partially responsible because when your body gets to a certain temperature you just have to sit down and do something that doesn’t involve movement of any kind. I’m getting good at it again. I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to stare off into space!
However, I would have you know that I’ve, in fact, been overflowing with ideas for writing projects for over a year and a half and getting overwhelmed with the amount of writing time I’ll have to do to get it all done. I thought my castles projects were overambitious! Whew! At one time my family thought I was going to become a hermit because I had a great place to hide and write all day. Those were the days! I need to get back to doing that and once I figure out how, I’m going to be unstoppable. Look out World!
At any rate, you can expect to see a fabulous version of West Somerset in the very near future. (Promise!) Along with all that you can expect to see quite a few sideline entries on all these ideas that have been fermenting, getting jotted down at odd moments and ultimately committed to a non-electronic apparatus which I’ll call the aide to my P.C. Hint: It’s called pen and paper! Yes, I still do that and this year it’s been done in the coolest place I can find- my basement! Bliss!
     Well, have a wonderful remainder of summer. It won’t be officially over until September 21st- or thereabouts- and you may get to see a whole lot more of my writing on castles and much more for the remainder of this year than you’ve seen in quite some time. It’s proverbial. Life gets in the way of art but to be truthful there is just no comparison to the reflected life. Both are worth living but you have to learn to balance the two and take your bliss where you can get it.

The Castle Lady

Saturday, April 29, 2017

In April...

     First, there were early daffodils which showed up the first day of April. Every day in this month has been a whirlwind of activity with personal appointments, outside work and housework with extra spring cleanings and decluttering the house from items to put up for an E-garage reality sale*. Then, later on, there was planning for Easter and the day itself. Earth Day was a day for doing outside work in earnest and I managed to find the greatest ground cover mulch with pine needle droppings from the tree I planted back in 1990 in the back ! Now I can defeat the weeds on a greater level, the mulch is naturally aromatic and I doubt that any weed is going to break through that stuff! Nothing under the tree did- that's for sure! (hee hee) Believe it or not, I've actually mowed both my front and back lawns already and we've practically had no real rain or snow through most of the winter. Go figure.
*(explained below !)
     E is also for me. Evelyn. Yeah me! I am one tired lady most of the time. Between kitchen, living room, laundry, salon, bathrooms, bedrooms (3 of 'em) duties plus office organization, studio straightening and cleaning and sorting through the garage, it's been decided that placing the mulch is the last bit of yard work I'm ever going to do. One has to draw the line somewhere and I feel I have finally met my match with it so someone else will have to take it on. Wish me luck in finding the right person for the job because if I find that one they will have a job for life!
     One way or another I always pull it out for baskets every morning. I've decided that while it may not be my raison d'etre, it is still a very important part of my day. I'll never give it up no matter what I am doing or where I happen to be. They do have basketball courts in England- I've seen them ! Eureka ! I've also decided to rejoin the human race in one thing. For years I've walked where I need to go most of the time and not just because my car is now 27 years old. I'm determined to keep gas guzzling to a minimum but sometimes you just have to take off and be somewhere else besides your home turf. Considering that I'm a travel writer, primarily, I'm going to travel more- one way or another. If I start there and gain some momentum I figure on accelerating that and go further and further afield. However, I'm not walking to England!

     E is also for Ella! Fitzgerald, that is...It's the 100th anniversary of her birthday and if you get a chance you should check out this link to see what I put up on my rock blog about her. It's not comprehensive but relevant to her current fame which has not waned. More musical artists, this year, are recreating her tunes than possibly any other jazz singer, ever, and considering that this is Jazz Appreciation Month it's very apropos and de rigueur that you visit her web site if you are even a little bit of a fan of jazz music. You'll be glad you checked it out. Here's mine:  and Ella's official web site:  
     Of course, this is all after the fact with this being the end of April. I guess that Nat King Cole song is absolutely right...
            Lost April...where did you go ? Like winter snow
I saw you vanish
Lost soft and warm, a memory not even time
can banish...
Here comes May,

        Check back often for a new widget to this blog which will be my E-garage and actual garage sale.
I'll be bringing my live sale to you with its own blog on which you can make bids with your (undisclosed) e-mail address.
Coming soon ! ! Details later...

Monday, April 24, 2017

We Definitely Need an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights Now!

     After seeing the news this morning about that poor woman aboard an American Airlines plane with children being brutalized by a male steward over whether she could stow a stroller or not, for me it hearkened back to a televised news item back in November of 2009 which completely appalled me at the lack of compassion or simple human decency on the part of those who work for airlines or airports for that matter. You can read it by clicking on this link to that entry which was a worst case scenario never resolved (as far as I know) even though someone's life was ended by the lack of compassion and downright neglect. That incident, which happened at DIA could have been avoided if someone had stayed with the removed passenger. It was a simple case of blatant apathy by people who are supposed to be serving people on their job.
     I feel the same about that doctor who was literally dragged off a plane recently down a middle aisle of a plane just because he refused to give up his seat. He was badly injured because of it and I'm not sure if an apology was made. One woman passenger couldn't stop screaming OMG over and over again but did that stop them? No. They continued to slowly drag him across the plane floor all the way out, making it impossible for anyone else to deplane or stop them!
     This is not new treatment, obviously. The man who went all out to defend the young mother the other day, Fierro, stood up for her and challenged the male attendant and was not met with anything but equal fire. The attendant should not be able to do what he did the other day ever again but Fierro should have a medal pinned on him for having some restraint while trying to come to the aid of a woman in clear distress. I would also like to add that one of the first rights a passenger already has is to never have to relinquish their packages, luggage or personal items to anyone. That is a regulation that was implemented after 9/11 for obvious reasons. They can start with that and keep going. Are we cattle or something ? Stop the madness !
Fuming again !
The Castle Lady