Sunday, September 28, 2014

We're Not Waterfalls

In the woods we call home
walking feels like a  simple proposition, sturdy shoes,  light jacket, a well-beaten path
through dark and ancient growths, and down the path a safe place
where Grandma lives
by a creek
a big stone
and an inviting fire around which to dry our wet bones.

We only have to stay on the marked path and not be lured by strange
shadings, bubbles of color, a mushroom, a flower
a deer looking straight up.
All the reasons we need
to dilly-dally, here and there would take us off our beaten path.

Long-limbed shadows hiding sun and direction
bodies and tails scurrying left and right
under our noses,
can distract us easily as we attempt a steady landing
grounded in the present.

When last moments come, they
are a gentle slip of the foot
a moment in the high wire act
we call life.

Not at all like waterfalls free-falling toward unknown landings.

Friday, September 19, 2014

How to spot a trend...

This morning Alibaba stock went on sale at the New York Stock Exchange.  This is a Chinese stock that did not go on sale in China's Hang Seng's Exchange because of rules and regulations in China. The stock,like Amazon and E-Bay, facilitates trading and selling of goods.
It's basically a data base.It started trading at $25 above anticipated starting numbers.

And that makes the future of Alibaba rosy for sure. This trend of inventing "intermediaries" products has been going on for a while. You'd think we were already super-saturated.

The way we are super-saturated with Real Estate companies.

But here is the rub; there will be great many more services like this until someone will dominate and send everyone else to the dust bin.  How many nation-wide Real Estate Corporations can you name?

How many of you will walk into a mom-and-pop real estate office to buy a house or an office building? The array of services offered by a big-chain real estate conglomerate will handle so many more elaborate transactions, and they have their long-standing satisfied customers to vouch for them.

Yet, it is the mom-and-pop business that really knows what's available in the area even before it goes on sale.  The owners live in the neighborhood; their children attend the local schools; they drink the water; they know the local trades people; they understand local codes and how long it will take for that special easement to be enacted between you and the neighbor that stands between you and the highway you need to carve a path toward, so your family can have precious privacy, views, and even access to  that precious lot you plan.

Unless your transaction is across states, involving lots of rights and easements and codicils that only an expert lawyer with environmental and geological backgrounds can unravel, possessing a nose for what the local planning commission will or will not approve, you can trust the mom-and-pop business expertise.

As you can trust the ad in the local paper that will allow you to drive right up to see that " armoir" you didn't know you wanted until you saw it up for sale.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Habits,Novelties, and the history of Food Consumption

Growing cherry tomatoes in insulated blankets on the Oregon Coast, Summer 2014.

Throughout our evolution we kept trying to find  new things to eat, in part because we were always hungry, and in part because as our brain grew larger we needed more fuel. I can personally vouch for the need to fuel the brain because after a meeting, even today in my retirement years, just listening to a bunch of facts and figures, not even trying to be attentive and active participant, I'm beat and famished and can't say no to anything put in front of me.

Someone must be using that little fact to present us with food at such meetings that we might reject at other times, sweets, sugary drinks, indulgences of all sorts.

As in potato chips and ice-cream, both invented for fried brains. No wonder that in prime time the advertising on television is mostly about food products none of us really need, but want after a little teasing jingle has wet our appetite.

How could it be that an evolved civilization could be so insensitive and yes, stupid even, as to stuff itself with non-food and feel good about it?

During my working years, the last thing I wanted to think about was preparing a meal from scratch, as in home-made soup or stews at the end of the day after a long day and a long commute, to a waiting family that might need not just food, but supplies to rush and pick up at the store for tomorrow's presentation in one of the classes the children attended, or an activity like soccer or ballet, or...

 Well, someone came up with canned and frozen products that almost made the working mom feel good; why the advertising said, "Uhh, uhh, Good!!!" What we never knew was that food chemists were working double time to come up with "invented" taste, adding extra vitamins on the label to reassure the housewife that the product they took home to feed their family was as good as home-made.

Now that I have the time to truly read the labels, to truly shop carefully for food, I'd rather go back a thousand years in history, (in my own family, we go back just one generation), and grow my own food, then freeze the excess for those winter days when a bag of frozen peas can be added to that risotto and make spring reappear on the dinner table. Nothing beats the taste of that tiny tomato you grow, sweating over it as if it were your own baby growing under that insulating blanket. And months later, roasted, herbed and frozen tomatoes will have nothing of the "tin" taste of canned tomatoes.

Isn't it ironic?