• Tag Archives Celica
  • To Live In This World

    Beltane                                                         Garlic Moon

    …To live in this world

    you must be able
    to do three things:
    to love what is mortal;
    to hold it

    against your bones knowing
    your own life depends on it;
    and, when the time comes to let it go,
    to let it go.

    Mary Oliver’s In Blackwater Woods

    Things of metal and gears.  Engines and oil.  Brake cylinders and transmissions.  These are not mortal things.  They are inanimate.  Without feeling or care.  Whether they are here or there does not matter to them.

    So we say.

    And yet.  I just watched the tow trucker driver hook up my 1994 Celica, red and still shiny, a car the like of which I’ll never own again.  He has taken the red car, as I always called it, away.

    A rational decision.  273,000 miles, not quite to 300,000 which I wanted, irrationally, to reach.  We can’t afford two cars anymore.  And it had begun to do this and that.  Though it always had, some.  But now, we didn’t need it.

    The boy is gone.  Once in junior high and high school the boy and I rode in that car ten times a week, back and forth to St. Paul, every two weeks.  It carried us and kept us warm, safe.

    He’s been gone, of course, for years.  He went off to college in 2000 and at that time the red car was 6 years old.  I drove it to the Sierra Club, to the Woollies, to the MIA.  I drove it to Denver and down to Florida to see the boy after he went off to the Air Force.

    There did come a time, five years ago or so, when I no longer trusted it for long trips.  So those ceased.  Then, its winter performance began to lag, the engine knocking sometimes, sometimes tires blowing out.  So I drove it less and less in the winter.  It could no longer climb the driveway in icy weather.  Much like me.

    It had become old.  Not feeble, never feeble.  It could still take the big curve off 35 at 70 mph, laying flat in the lane, as if on a city street.  Its engine always had plenty for passing, for getting in and out of traffic.  But it wasn’t the car it used to be.

    And now it’s gone.


  • The Quotidian

    Spring                                                            New Beltane Moon

    Kate has taken her still healing cellulitis off to Colorado for a weekend with the grandkids.  Gabe’s fourth birthday is tomorrow.  Her arm looks much better than it did on Monday, swelling much less pronounced and the area of red, heated skin has reduced considerably.  It took four doses of IV antibiotics and the follow-up oral meds to get this infection under control.  No fun at all.

    (Gabe and Grandpop, January, 2012)

    Meanwhile back at the apiary, I’m going to check the bees tomorrow for larvae, need for syrup and pollen patties.  A few garden chores tomorrow, too, notably digging up the potato patch and amending the soil.  I can’t plant potatoes in the main vegetable garden for a couple more years because the beetles found them last fall.  Too many to pick off and drown in soapy water.

    Also, I really need to fix the tire on the Celica, get it started and get the tire repaired or buy a new one.  Then, I’m going to give it away one way or another.  Know anyone that needs a car?  I may have a taker, but I’m not sure.  If not, I’ll pass it on to someone for free.  It has 280,000 miles on it, but it runs well.  We’ve decided to go with one car for financial reasons and it’s the one with the most mileage, so it has to go.

  • What? No TV?

    Winter                                     First Moon of the New Year

    Business meeting this morning.  Some drastic pruning budget wise to squeeze our spending into line with our post-retirement income.  Example:  dropped cable tv.  I know.  It feels almost unamerican.  My mom and dad raised me to watch at least three to four hours of television a night and I feel like I’m letting them down.  Not to mention CBS, NBC and ABC.

    The impetus for this came after the trip to South America.  We watched no TV over the cruise and when we got back I settled in with a good book in the evening.  We still have a blu-ray player, Netflix and I just signed us up for Hulu Plus, so we’re not leaving the big box behind in toto, just the absurdly expensive piped in Comcast version.

    The internet connection?  Well, we kept that.  There’s TV and then, there’s the internet.  No comparison.  We’re not totally TV broadcastless as it turns out.  To keep our lower rate for the internet I agreed to a $12 a month “antenna” service from Comcast.  With the broadband the total was lower than internet alone. You get a discount on the broadband if you have any other services.  Weird, huh?

    None of this feels draconian, just adjusting things to keep pace with changing reality.

    We’ve also decided that with Kate retired we can go with one car.  We’ve done that for a couple of months anyhow since the Celica blew a tire.  Again.  I’ve decided to let it set until warmer weather.  I’m gonna give it away.  It’s been a great car and we didn’t make it to 300,000 miles together, but it still feels like time to let go.  I’ve driven it since September of 1994.


  • Lemons and Very Little Lemonade

    Lughnasa                                                   Waning Harvest Moon

    So.  Yesterday I got up, got ready to go into the museum, got in the car and got no engine love.  Click.  Click.  Click.  Of course, I only had adequate time to get there since I never leave early.  What to do?  I put the charger on it and got back…wait for it.  An error message meaning the battery won’t take a charge.

    Anyhow we have that new Rav4.  I hopped in it and made it on time.  Or close enough.

    Got home after a long stint at the museum in time that Kate could go to work in the Rav4.

    What greets me at the kitchen table?  A nice note from the IRS saying they had checked our 2009 return, 2009?, and now feel we owe the government an additional $45,000.  Say what?  The letter of “explanation” did not communicate in any language I understood.  WTF?  OMG.  Well, a good thing we pay that accountant to handle this kind of stuff.  Could ruin a perfectly bad day.

    While I read this cheery note, Mark says, “Rigel’s bleeding.”  Uh, huh.  A small nick on the ear.  Unimportant.

    Earlier, I discover, the Saudi embassy wants Mark to take an HIV test.  Good thing we have a doctor in the house.  Kate circles the HIV results on the lab work already sent.  Oh.

    Also, some power of attorney for somebody for some purpose seems to be needed, requiring yet another communication back to Saudi, which will produce an e-mail to Mark, which he will then sign and Fedex to Travisa which will then hand it to the Saudi Embassy in Washington.  Geez.

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln…

  • Restored Wonder

    Samhain                                             Waning Thanksgiving Moon

    “The one common experience of all humanity is the challenge of problems.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

    Once again, awake.  I know why this time.  Over stimulation.  The interview process at the Sierra Club has my head cranking over time, weighing this aspect and that, noodling out the implications, going over what ifs.  I’m familiar with this kind of insomnia, it happened a lot when I worked for the Presbytery, particularly when I had several projects in the air all at the same time, which was the norm rather than the exception.  Leaves my jaw a bit achy, not so good with my still healing wisdom teeth extraction.

    This is my (now mild) neurosis at work, continuing to work over nuances, much like the front tires on the Celica last night, trying, trying, trying, but gaining no traction, spinning in place, unable to move forward and accomplishing nothing moving backward.

    Added to the interviews, of course, was the commute home last night and my sling-shot derby trying to use momentum to move my car up the slope of our driveway.  Last night after I closed out my blog for the evening, our neighbor, Pam Perlick, called and offered a berth in her garage so our plow guy could work unobstructed.  A kind and thoughtful offer which I accepted.  That meant putting back on jeans, boots, parka, hat and gloves, taking my Berea College whisk broom out and sweeping two new inches off the car before moving it to safe haven.

    The night was dark and cold, the snow swept up and swirled as it fell.  Once outside, as is often true, I found the storm exhilarating, especially since Pam’s gesture meant the Celica would not interfere with the snow removal.  I could embrace the cold and the falling snow for what it was, rather than for the problems it brought into my life.

    Based on NOAA weather spotter’s it appears we got another 5 inches of snow.  Which would square with my guess.   Snow shapes itself to the objects on which it lands, often in unusual, even bizarre shapes.   I’ll put out some photographs today, once it becomes light.

    These kind of storms and the deep cold of January define the north for me.  They’re why I’m here and why I love this state so much, so I’m happy my neighbor restored my wonder.  Thanks, Pam.

  • Parked Outside. At Home.

    Samhain                                       Waning Thanksgiving Moon

    Yee Ow!  Into the Sierra Club for the final interview round.  Snow began coming down.  The interviews were good, and the after processing was good, but the snow continued to fall. When I googled MNDOT for road conditions, all roads were red leading home.  So.  I went over to the Merry Lanes and hung around while the Sierra Club staff engaged in team building by knocking (some) pins down.  It was fun, but I didn’t get me home.  Finally, around 5:40 I decided to come home anyhow.  It took me over an hour–a ride that took me 30 minutes just this morning–never going higher 30 mph and mostly 20 mph.

    Then, to sink the knife in deeper, the great unsolved problem of our homeplace confronted me, again.  That is, a sloped ascent packed with snow.  I tried for another half an hour to drive up and into the garage stall, but even with the help of the granite grit, I finally gave up, too tired from the day and the commute.  So the Celica sits about half up the driveway, a task for tomorrow.  Sigh.

    Once Kate retires I plan to drive the truck (4 wheel drive) in instances like this.  No problem crawling up the hill then.

    Latin went well this morning.  Decided to stay on a weekly schedule for now.

  • The Man

    Samhain                                         Full Thanksgiving Moon

    Y-chromosome work this am.  First, the Celica in for oil change, look over.  Then, Tundra in for bulb replacements on the left headlight and the fog light.  Tried to do Latin but my concentrater failed me:  TV’s, noise, residue of Vicodin and lack of sleep.

    Why is it that the TV has invaded all sorts of spaces?  Is it that no one reads anymore?  No one can sit quietly with their own thoughts?  Don’t know about you, but it irritates me.

    Later on today working on a hiring committee for a policy person for the Sierra Club.  58 applicants and many very talented folks. After that the Legcom meets to take stock of the elections and our priorities in light of them.

    Right now, I’m sleepy.

  • Feeling Flat

    Winter                                 Waning Moon of Long Nights

    Off to Carlson Toyota this morning with the Celica for an oil change.  Not noteworthy in the course of things, but as I neared Carlson, a funny sound came up from what I thought was the right side of the car.  It was my left tire going flat.  flattire-main_fullWe limped into the dealers and ended up with a new tire on order since I shredded this one by driving on it.  I thought it was an engine problem.  Geez.

    Notice for a docent discussion group meeting went out this morning.  My mid-winter idyll will end when I take off for Denver.  After that life will begin to get busy again.  Fine with me.

    Warmer today.  12.  Feels balmy.  Strange.

  • 240,000 Miles and Still Happy

    58  bar falls 29.74  10mph E  dew-point 56  Beltane, cloudy and raining

                             First Quarter of the Flower Moon

    Since this has been and will be a traveling month, I’ve been attentive to weather nation-wide.  It’s amazing to sit here looking outside at my garden where the vegetables are slow to mature because of cool weather while the east, south and southwest have had hot hot hot.  The red looked like a child had decided to color the U.S. by starting down the eastern seaboard and then moving along the bottom of the map, went up a state or two, then went on west.  Red all the way.

    The automobile is my primary mode of transportation.  Train second.  Air a distant third and then only for speed or an impossible distance.  The former is the reason for air to Texas in July, the latter found me in a plane for Hawai’i. 

    When I travel by car, I pay attention to the Weather Channel like a pilot watches the isobars.  It looks like my luck will be good.  The very hot weather system seems ready to break up into more seasonal summer temps.  I’m glad.

    Took the little red car into the dealer today for an oil change (they like me, they really really like me) and discovered that the head gasket seep has become a full fledged leak.  That means a head gasket and head grinding when I return plus I have to check the oil every other gas stop.  Even though I repaired my air conditioning after 5 years without it (kept thinking I’d get rid of the Celica, but it kept working.), the heat still makes travel uncomfortable and it does reduce gas mileage. 

    I  told Scott at Carlson Toyota I don’t begrudge the Celica few repairs at 240,000 miles.  Still a hell of a lot cheaper than a new car and I get 30-32 mpg on the road.

    While we’re on the subject of mechanical devices, my computer now makes a reluctant noise when I boot up, as if it doesn’t want to get up yet.  At first it made me think:  Hard drive!  Bad.  Even though I back-up daily.  Then, on the web I found that it’s probably not the hard drive, but the cooling system.  Time for a little fresh air in the old computer case.  I like this machine.  It’s just right for my needs even though it is now 3 years old.  Like the Celica I feel I may have it a while.