Friday’s Odds And Ends

These pretty yellow flowers have survived the past few weeks of intermittent freezing temperatures here in East Texas, and I enjoy the bright splash of color against the gray of the tree. I also admire their resilience.

After hearing how cold it is in some northern states, I will never complain about the cold here in Texas again. Imagine – real temperatures of 20 to 30 below zero, with winds driving the temps to record lows. Even though the postal service motto is:  Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, I am glad that delivery service is suspended in many areas that are experiencing this extreme cold.

While some skeptics of global warming may see this deep freeze as a sign that there is no global warming, consider the facts about the Polar Vortex that is responsible for the cold wave. This is from The Weather ChannelThe phenomenon is produced by a sudden blast of warm air in the Arctic caused earlier this month when the normally super chilly air temperatures 20 miles above the North Pole rapidly rose by about 70C, thanks to air flowing in from the south. It is called “sudden stratospheric warming”.


Every now and then I read a terrific blog, Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. It is filled with interesting commentary about all kinds of subjects, and this week she focused on aging, citing specifically the works of Grace Paley that speak about growing older in the loveliest of ways.

Maria’s blog post has numerous links to works by Paley, as well as some wonderful quotes that speak about aging in thoughtful and humorous ways, such as Paley’s reaction when some neighborhood boys refer to her as “the old lady.”

From the collection of poems and stories by Paley and Robert Nichols titled Here and Somewhere Else comes this wonderful story:

My father had decided to teach me how to grow old. I said O.K. My children didn’t think it was such a great idea. If I knew how, they thought, I might do so too easily. No, no, I said, it’s for later, years from now. And besides, if I get it right it might be helpful to you kids in time to come.

They said, Really?

My father wanted to begin as soon as possible.

Please sit down, he said. Be patient. The main thing is this — when you get up in the morning you must take your heart in your two hands. You must do this every morning.

That’s a metaphor, right?

Metaphor? No, no, you can do this. In the morning, do a few little exercises for the joints, not too much. Then put your hands like a cup over and under the heart. Under the breast. He said tactfully. It’s probably easier for a man. Then talk softly, don’t yell. Under your ribs, push a little. When you wake up, you must do this massage. I mean pat, stroke a little, don’t be ashamed. Very likely no one will be watching. Then you must talk to your heart.

Talk? What?

Say anything, but be respectful. Say — maybe say, Heart, little heart, beat softly but never forget your job, the blood. You can whisper also, Remember, remember.

How fascinating is the thought of talking to a part of your body. I have never done it, but I knew a girl who talked to the tumor in her brain. She called it Herman and told Herman to go away. The tumor never did completely, but it lay dormant for five years after the doctors had given her only weeks or months to live.

Maybe there is something to this idea of talking to members of our body. What do you think?


The following is a quote from the novel The Curiosities by Susan Gloss. I received an advance review copy in exchange for a review, and in my reading today I came across this interesting thought:

People didn’t ask novelists to paint pictures of what their books were about, so Paige wondered why so many people – professors, art bloggers, and friends – expected her to be able to translate her artwork into language.
While Paige is a fictional character in a story, perhaps this is true for many visual artists.
That’s all for me folks. I don’t have much planned for the weekend, except continuing with large doses of vitamin C to ward off a cold that is trying to take over my body. What about you? Do you have exciting plans? Whatever they are, be safe, be happy. See you on Monday.

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