Do they put salt peter in airport food?

The Brazilian official threw up lean and lanky arms and clawed the air with wildly distended fingers. “Leiningen!” he shouted. “You’re insane! They’re not creatures you can fight–they’re an elemental–an ‘act of God!’ Ten miles long, two miles wide–ants, nothing but ants! And every single one of them a fiend from hell; before you can spit three times they’ll eat a full-grown buffalo to the bones. I tell you if you don’t clear out at once there’ll be nothing left of you but a skeleton picked as clean as your own bathroom plantation.”

You know, the rest of you have interesting lives. I very much enjoy reading about them. I like your digging dogs and cardiac cats and wonder children, your angora rabbits, beautiful grandchildren, students, road kill gators. Gophers and damsel flies, train vacations and curmudgeons with two birthdays draw me in like a lemming to the sea. But when it comes to my life, I don’t have much to say. It’s happening, moving along. Going okay. I think I’ve just temporarily (again) lost my blogging uumpff.

I’m at the airport right now, where I always, always, feel compelled to eat bad food before boarding the plane. If they would just sell salt licks at the end of the security check line, things would be simpler but as it is, I have to get all conflicted about whether to eat Chili’s limp chips with sour salsa or Popeye’s biscuits and fried chicken gristle. Either way, boy do I feel great after 2 hours in coach class when my shoe uppers threaten to split from the soles…

Right. Leiningen and me. That short story was one of my favorites when I was 12. I was into short stories then: Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson and that one by Carl Stephenson. I still like them. Short stories, not ants. I can’t tell you how distressed I was to discover that, in my seasonal absence, fire ants had colonized my luxurious sea blue bathroom in the Florida bungalow. Too bad I didn’t have my camera so I could show you the 3 foot by 3 foot by 2 inch high mound of bustling ant society because it was simply amazing. Four days later I remain perplexed about how they managed to bring half a bushel of soil INTO the house from no apparent opening but gee whiz, it was exciting. Exciting as in “What the fuck?!?!” When I was a kid I had an ant farm and I would get up late at night and turn on my flashlight just to see what they were up to. These past few days in Florida I’ve been afraid to go to the bathroom at night. Between a few bites about the ankles and memories of “Leiningen Versus the Ants”, I decided to hold it and work on kegels once back in Chicago.

I was hoping to put my feet up on that lovely porch for a few days but instead I was totally occupied cleaning up yard debris from the windy season, working on the fire ant problem and fixing a sprinkler break that had resulted in many of the plants drying up. With a lot of watering and severe pruning, I have high hopes that they will be revived when I next return.

The few spare minutes I did have, I spent with The Snarl. She’s so lovely, I’m embarrassed to start in on her. She’s extending her undergraduate career in order to get a dual degree in languages and environmental science and policy, do an internship and write an honors thesis. She’s hoping to get in one or two more study trips, again to Mexico and/or Africa. She and Misha both take full loads plus they each work 30 hours a week but they always seem happy with each other and find time for fun. Abby is president of the chess club and they have a national tournament in Texas right after Christmas so she always has her nose in “3001 Openings to Win” or some such tome. They’ll come to Chicago at Thanksgiving: it will be Misha’s first trip to a really large American city and Abby is eager to show him Cloudgate and the lake and the Ferris Wheel and the Nike Store. By next Fall, they’ll have themselves positioned for law school and business school and at this point in the economy I guess it makes good sense to keep plugging away academically as long as they continue to get scholarships and grants. The best thing about Abby is her delightful attitude- she’s just plain funny, spunky and sweet. She gave me a small blown glass blow fish for my birthday-she’s a really good gift giver, too.

(I found this old Polaroid in a box in the closet. It made me laugh. So Abby.)

There’s not much else to report. Let’s see. Oh. Rich is settled in his new job. That link is for his friend, Lou, who wrote a nice note today observing that the blog was quiet. Lou is a gracious human being, as in full of grace. I’m sure he has his flaws but I have to love a hard-core right wing Republican, who watches Rush and Fox, but has the finesse to write that he knows I’m excited about the political winds of late. He writes, “My biggest fear is not him, but who he puts around himself…very liberal people like himself who at times are so different than me that it scares me to have them lead…I fear for my safety…I fear for my kids…I fear for the economic well being of our country.” I know it depends on your perspective, because I , of course, have the same fears should McCain win. And then he adds: “I will pray fervently that Obama and Biden are a good team, and that they make wise decisions…” See? I told you he’s gracious. He wrote a bit about the radical press, in both directions. I have to agree that, while I would never even turn on Fox, I’m pretty well fed up with a lot of MSNBC’s programming. I found Colin Powell smart and refreshing today on Meet The Press.

In the comments,  Bonnie exclaims: “Holy Toledo! Where are you?!” She is surely referencing the Wolverine’s pathetic defeat last Saturday at the hands of Toledo (for Pete’s sake!). She must think I’m heavily invested in the Wolverines but I’ve switched my attention to the boys of summer. I’m back in Chicago right now, finishing up this post, and Rich and I are watching game 7 and cheering madly for the Rays and Rocco Baldelli. Rich knows him because they were in touch when Baldelli was out of commission with his mitochondrial illness and thinking he might be looking for a life in sports that didn’t involve playing. We really want to see the Rays take this game.

Michelle, my link fairy, has become so frustrated with the lack of posts that she sends along this Big Weather social commentary from my favorite rag, The Onion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFM1X0o2pnc

But mostly, I decided I needed to put something up here for my Buddy, who politely observed that there was nothing new on my blog for so long that he was being forced to click elsewhere. Hoss and Edgy Mama, Bud has found you. Bud, btw, is doing well in the tip of the U.P. He’s getting a new roof from the studs out and that makes him happy. He’s also enjoying having the young roofing crew around. They were there today, complete with a German Shepard and a couple of small children and I could tell the company made Bud happy.

So that’s it. I’ll try to do better. Maybe I’ll take my camera to work tomorrow so I’ll have new zoo fodder for you. We have a new black rhino girl who might be out and a swamp monkey baby, so I’ll see what I can do. I hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful Fall evening.

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16 responses to “Do they put salt peter in airport food?

  1. That picture is too cute. She was destined to study in Florida.

    Well, we are glad you are dipping back in and that you are okay.
    Your generous book donation to our school was so wonderful … like Christmas early for the librarian and me as we unpacked the box.

    Some of the books went to our wonderful AP Lit teacher and she has thanked ME a couple of times.

    Serendipity strikes as the day I returned home from opening your box, there was an email from a librarian south of you who is mailing books to us too!
    Sweeeeeet!

    Okay if I kept the Gary Larson for myself?

  2. I should have read your post before I e-mailed you. I’m glad to hear that Abby is doing so well, and Misha too.

    Ants…how awful. I’ve never experienced anything like that.

    Hope to see you soon, or sometime, that is. Did you know that Rocco’s doctor is my neurologist that I see when I come to St. Pete?

  3. I was getting a bit nervous because I always feel like things are wrong if people don’t post. I forget about blog ennui and posting block, which I get sometimes myself. It’s easy to lose track of how long it’s been and then the power of inertia takes over. Glad you’re back with great news. (except the ANTS–I hate ants!!) It is calming when our children are doing well. I haven’t heard much from my college kid and that makes me nervous. By the way, congrats on being married to a “famed” person. Wow.

  4. I’ve missed you too, Vicki. Bravo for Rich’s new job. I hope he’s happy there. Thanks for updating.

    And BUD? Won’t you find me, too???

  5. How aboutrthose Rays?!!!!!

  6. I knew you were okay from the occasional comments that showed up, but I’m still glad to get an update.

    Abby kills me. I’ve never heard an Abby story that didn’t make me laugh out loud or at least smile. Today it was that picture. Is that an alligator that she is cradling so happily? And why is she dressed like a miniature Orthodox Jewish woman?

    Also? Damn, that girl is smart and hardworking.

    I noticed that I have your cell phone number in my phone. Who knows? I might just call you the next time you go underground.

  7. Oh, darn. Those blankety blank fire ants again. And I just thought to warn you about the heat. Glad you are safe and sound though your ankles are swollen. Your girl is extraordinary. Sounds like her sweeheart is too. Next time you are in town, stay a little longer!

  8. Ants. Shudder. I have dealt with a few major invasions of regular ants. I think I might just list the house and move if it were fire ants. Can you make it a FEATURE? 🙂

    Thanks for the update. I want to hear about the Black Rhino when you get a chance. Thanks.

  9. Ants are the worst. I’ve been bitten by fire ants here once too many times.

    I, too, will be a Republican wishing the new administration well – even if it’s Obama/Biden. I’m not right wing, though, so it may not be so hard for me. Socially liberal and all, you know. I won’t say, as Obama did recently to McCain, that Bush is YOUR president. I won’t say that about Obama to a Democrat. The President is everyone’s President. Period.
    Plus, I like that I watch more than Fox News. I listen to all sides.

  10. Good to hear about your life. I love reading about The Snarl. Whenever I do, I just hope my girl turns out as well.

    Shoot, Bud’s found me? He must be bored.

    When are you coming back to the mountains?

  11. This is just like a letter from home, the bad, the good, nothing left out, no news left in…..well, sorta.

    Hey, I do not seem to have Bud’s email address. Can you give me? Or does he have a blog yet?

  12. I haven’t heard from your Spartan buddy since her favs were throttled by the Buckeyes this past weekend. Usually she can’t wait to rub in the latest Wolverine loss. I’m thinking of switching to baseball myself. Who’s playing now?

  13. It is a little late for you to start recommending saltpeter, in my case, and kegels have nothing on yoga’s moola bandha.

    Do you know In Dreams Begin Responsibilities?

    Other fine f-words: fertile, fallacious, fauvism, furze, fleur-de-lis, finagle, fey, flummox, floccinaucinihilipilification

    Abby could steal anyone’s heart!

    Care to join me in a glass of Writer’s Block Pinot Noir?

  14. FC- You are more than welcome. More are coming your way as I move further into my “less is more phase.”

    Jane- right when I am missing you, you pop up on my blackberry with twitter about meatloaf…:-)

    Bev- Yes, how ABOUT those Rays?

    Margaret- Try to tell yourself that no news is good news when it comes to the kiddo. Senegal?

    Judy- I’ll point Bud in your direction. He’ll be immediately smitten with your photos and stories.

    Mary- I can’t believe how I used to dress that child. From the ridiculous to the sublime and back. She staged a total revolt at about age 7 but not before I managed too many get ups like this one. And yes, that’s an alligator that weighed almost as much as she did. She was so happy to hold it.

    Cathy- I’ll be down soon enough for 4 months and we’ll meet at the Shrimp Store.

    Liza- Yes. A Feature. I’m laughing, thinking about wording of that.

    Karen- I think I’ll send friend Lou your direction. You right so well. And right. I thought of you while posting “detente.”

    AF- I’ll be there this coming weekend! So I’ll send you a note and call.

    Hoss- I think Bud is a one trick pony when it comes to the internet. He reads. I’ll send you his email addy but I don’t think he’s doing much with email- just reading.

    Dave- She’s baacccckk! I just love her, in all her persona. In this case, practicing alliteration as Delmore.

    Delmore- You’re new to me! But I have a Border’s coupon so I’ll track down Dreams tomorrow. 😉

  15. I wasn’t worried. I knew you’d be back. I’m glad to have this juicy update. Who else writes about ants and politics, airport food and short stories in one post? No one, but you.

    Great alligator and abby pic. She’s looks so happily adorable.

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