Singing like a caged bird

Friday, December 19, 2003


I have been putting out food (sunflower seeds and thistle seeds and suet) for the wild birds.  I have attracted juncos, blue jays, titmice, nuthatches (my favorite), chickadees, sparrows, ravens, downy woodpeckers, purple finches, goldfinches, and bright red cardinals, a cooper hawk who scares the hell out of the little birds, and a whole herd of greedy, gray squirrels.  Have also seen tracks of many rabbits in the snow.....and also those of a fox.
I just took out of storage, some small, carved angels.  They are carved from soap.  They were carved many years ago when  was a child.  One is still very beautiful that was carved by my mother, the others which were carved by me and my sister are not as good...but they have special meaning to me......remind me of a childhood Christmas. We carved angels from soap because even us kids could do it and also we did not have a lot of money then. I have always loved Christmas gifts that were hand made.  I think it is more special than something bought in a store.  And of course the giving is more fun than the receiving.  I still have a beautiful sewing box that my parents made in the 1940's.  My father did the woodworking and my mother did the painted decorations.  All my cousins have similar sewing boxes as my parents gave them as gifts to each of my aunts.  Each one is decorated in a little different style.

Also, I have spent a lot of time moving snow, thank goodness for the invention of the snowblower....we have had a second big snowstorm drop another foot on us. Everything is white. The mountains just to the north...Adirondack Mtns... received multiple feet of snow in the last storm and another couple of feet in this most recent storm. It has been one of the snowiest Decembers that I can remember. The skiers are very happy.

The first 5 years of my existence was spent in Lawrence, Massachusetts and its close environs.  It was originally built as an ideal textile mill town in the mid 19th century.  It was quickly populated by Irish mill hands, as well as Latvians, Lithuanians, Syrians, Italians, French-Canadians, many more get the idea.  This once proud city included in its citizens both Robert Frost and Leonard Bernstein. The ideal city soon wore off its new veneer.  Labor strife, the infamous Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 and the mind dulling crush of the Great Depression did a great deal of damage to the city's psyche and citizens.  After WWII the remaining textile mills closed and the jobs went to the American South with its anti-labor environment. Then they went to Mexico under NAFTA and now have gone to
because of the weakness of organized labor in those new locales.  It is a race to the bottom for workers wages and conditions and environment concerns. Think about it the next time you purchase at the Gap or Wal-Mart's or American Eagle or now even L.L. Bean. The downward spiral of lost jobs did not stop Lawrence from being an immigrant destination.  My cousins (who left the city but not too far away) all joke that there is a sign at the immigration office which reads:  "This Way to Lawrence".  The places where they come from are now the Dominican Republic and similar places in Central America.  The state has increased oversight for the failed school system, among the worst in the state.  And the superintendent gets Romney's backing despite his shortcomings. That is particularly sad as several generations of my family were teachers and took pride in the education of the immigrant families as a way to the American dream.  I was very sad last year when I visited the family plot in the cemetery and then drove around the old family neighborhood.   The structures were still there, though they looked more drab and weary...or was it the difference between a child's' eye and grown-up-adult-little-kid?


I am in cardiac limbo at the moment. I have had another follow-up angiogram to check on the roto-rooter job done recently on my genetically inferior cardio-vascular system. The results weren't what I had hoped for. So still waiting to discuss the next steps with my cardiologist guru (whom I am very glad I have and is very open with me and does not patronize me). Afraid it looks like the modern version of being drawn and quartered. Well that is a bit of hyperbole......but I know having your sternum cracked in two will not feel real comfy. Wonder if the surgeons make a wish when they do it!!!! Now I know how the turkey must feel when we play games with their wish bone. Question I have I rush and get this over with....have Christmas and News Years bookending my next hospital stay? Or do I wait and contemplate the approaching butchery? Not what I had in mind when I thought of happy holidays, maybe if I put in for a new cardio system, Santa will bring on Christmas Eve! Hey , I will even leave out some good aussie brew....Coopers Sparkling Ale... as a bribe. And some of my famous secret recipe chocolate chip cookies. Anybody got ideas on what are St. Nick's weak spots for graft. Oh, now I am thinking of being a cabbage medico speak for replumbing the old ticker.

Ok, who knows the punch line for "Why isn't Santa married?"


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