Saturday, April 23, 2022

I Have Returned from Anneland

 Anneland. That's what I'm going to call my mountain property. It's the most beautiful little scrub forest in the world! I'm just back from my first visit, and now I am going to bore you to death with the details!

I know, I know. I should be sticking to interviews. Who wants to look at photos of a scrub forest in the middle of nowhere?

Then I will be brief.

I did not know the boundaries of the land I bought, so when I arrived to find 5 inches of snow on the ground, I was also pleased to find that the surveyor had wrapped neon pink ribbons around trees on the property line. These same trees are also blazed white. No question where my place begins. And thank goodness for that, because here's my neighbor:

I made a list of things I was hoping to find on my property. One thing was a really mature tree. And, bingo.

I wasn't kidding about the snow. It's usually cold in those mountains in April, but it doesn't often snow this much. But hey, I love the white stuff!

Saving the best for last. When I got the survey at closing, I thought there *might* be a view. On that account I was surprised to the point of weeping.

I don't have any plans to build on this property. The land is not even on the grid. But if my ship were to come in, this would be what I saw while sipping the morning tea and doing my devotions to Venus Cloacina.

And oh yeah, that ridge is Polish Mountain, where my grandfather's farm was. It's not the farm pictured, but that's a good thing.

The only other item I have to report in this boring ass blog post is that I have vowed never to take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to access my property. For one thing, its pace is worse than frenetic. For another thing, the tolls would set me back $100 per trip. So I took little ol' Route 30, the Lincoln Highway. Through Lancaster (Amish buggies), York (Walmarts), Gettysburg (battlefield), Chambersburg (city square), Caledonia State Forest, McConnelsburg (unfortunate name), and down to Route 522. Skipped that turnpike completely, and it only took me about an hour more! (It takes a solid hour to go the first 20 miles out of Philadelphia).

Something funny did happen on this trip. Saving it for the next installment of this Endless Navel Gaze called "The Gods Are Bored."

Monday, April 18, 2022

I'm Going Forest Bathing

 You've got to hand it to the Japanese. They come up with some of the best ideas.

Take "forest bathing," for instance.

That's what the Japanese call it when they stroll off into the woods and just take in all the joy that Nature has to offer. Apparently the Japanese do this in droves.

I've done this, but I never had a name for it. And it's been way too long since I have done it, mostly because every time I've gone to a forest in New Jersey, it has been densely populated with other New Jerseyans. It's to be expected, I suppose.

But the forest I am about to bathe in has no one around. It has no trail through it and no significant landmarks that I know of yet. It's off the grid and probably off the world wide web as well. Forest bathing is not done in the nude, but if I wanted to I sure could.

Gonna stroll into the woods for a nice long forest bath. Gonna stand there and appreciate the miracle of owning mountain property again. Gonna pull out a chair and a good book and just take in the view. Gonna hug every tree and kiss the ground, because I belong in the mountains, and it's been too long. 

I will bore you with photos when I return.

I'm going home.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Frank Talk about Keeping Your Classroom Free of Any Mention of Gay or Trans

 Hi there, I'm Teacher Annie of "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm an expert on all things teachy, since teaching is my job. Okay, okay, I'm only proficient, never distinguished, but you fellow educators out there will appreciate this -- on my most recent evaluation, I was 0.02 away from distinguished! So close and yet so far.

But enough about me, let's talk about not talking about gay!

The beautiful thing about teachers is how we all share our best ideas with each other. Some hard-hearted bastard teachers ask for money, but by and large we are a wide-open profession.

That's how I have seen nice teachers in Florida sharing "best practices" for not saying gay. Or trans.

And before the big reveal of those b.p., let me say something about trans children. They know themselves by kindergarten. They just don't know it's wrong to know, unless their parents tell them it's wrong to know. Which, if you are a truly loving parent, how could you tell your child they're wrong about their fundamental self-image?

Back to the school setting.

So apparently the bill signed by the Florida legislature (which no I have not read, kiss my ass) bans the teaching of anything about gender.  This is what I'm getting from the Florida teachers who have to live with this thing, so they have read it.

Can't teach gender. Can't teach boy/girl. Can't have gender-specific bathrooms, because they would have to be designated Boy/Girl. Can't read books where there are boys and girls. All children have to be kids. Can't teach about gay families? Can't teach about straight families either. Kid wants their parents to come to school, it better be a pair of storks.

Me personally, I'm all for not teaching one damn thing about gender from kindergarten to third grade. No stories with people in them at all! Not even the Muppets! A steady dose of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, thank you very much.

Here's a book that would make the cut, so long as you don't mention that chickens are female and roosters are male.

And you can even get it from this nice Christian book distributor!

My elementary school had non-gendered bathrooms. Only one kid could use the bathroom at a time. They were basically little water closets. All good, right? Gosh, how is it done now? Do you have a bunch of little girls hanging out in a bathroom together? Bullying each other and smoking cigarettes, like they do in high school? DANG! 

I think if it's done carefully, this whole not saying anything about gender or sexuality could be a boon to Florida's schoolchildren. Take baseball, for instance. Scrap those sissy softball teams, let's play some hardball, kids! Kids! Kids! Don't draw a family picture of your mommy and daddy, kid! Draw your parents. Chances are they're both working themselves to death, so why differentiate the gender?

Halloween's here! You don't want to be a princess, you want to be royal. But why even be royal when you can be a skeleton, or Pac-Man ... oops ... Pac-Person. Super heroes? Spiderperson, Batperson, Wonder Person! Or just be a cat. It's easier.

I can honestly see the upside to a gender-free experience in K-3. Let's put the lil tykes in unisex uniforms too, while we're at it. No one will get bullied for wearing the wrong thing to school.

I'm not taking credit for any of these brilliant ideas. I've seen them shared on teacher blogs. Sharing is caring, and teachers know how to do both!

To conclude this sermon, I would like to shout out my elementary school principal, Miss Hazel Fridinger. She was very dedicated, to the point where she didn't have time to get married. Her female housemate never got married either. I love to think of that happy pair, sharing expenses and chores all their lives long. See what I mean? Teaching is such a sharing kind of experience. Always has been.

Have a nice day, kids! Children! Youngsters! Tots! Precious little gender-free souls.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Another Haterfield Rant: Leaf Blowers

 Ah, beautiful! It's Friday afternoon after a long week, the temperature is a balmy 65, and the sun is beaming down. Bliss?

Sorry, Bamp! Wrong. No bliss. Five o'clock, and my jackass millionaire neighbor has his landscaping crew scouring every inch of his sucky property for the one leaf that the leaf blowers didn't find last fall.

Don't you just fucking hate leaf blowers? I can't think of a tool I despise more. Loud, stinking, and stupid is no way to present yourself to the planet. And yet I smell and hear this pestilential equipment going full bore, just as I sit down on the porch with my mocktail. I deserve better.

Granted, I do not have a very big yard. But I rake it from back to curb a couple of times a year, with a damn rake. All you hear with a rake is scrape scrape scrape, crackle crackle crackle. And you don't smell a thing. I'm 63 and I still rake my yard. My neighbors half my age crank up their leaf blowers dozens of times a year. Yet somehow, I don't have any more leaf litter in my yard than they do.

Many and many a Saturday morning has been marred by the gas-powered blowing menaces. Here I am, biffing out onto my front porch with a steaming cup and the morning paper, and OOOOOOOoooooooOOOOOOOwwwwOOOOOOOwwwoOOOOOO. The leaf blowers start moaning. Here I am, biffing back inside to the kitchen table.

I hear that California has banned gas-powered leaf blowers. A sound move. Did you know that a leaf blower emits more pollution than a car? Way more. A thousand times noisier too.

Mr. J actually joined the Haterfield Environmental Commission in an effort to get some local leaf blower ordinances going. Ha! He lasted six months. In that six months, the Commission talked endlessly about backyard hens and nary a breath about leaf blowers. "Bad for small businesses, any kind of ban," the town councilman sniffed.

Can you believe that bunch wanted me to write an essay about micro meadows for their "Gold Star Community" checklist? Suck it, Haterfield. I'm not writing squat for you.

So here I am, all ranty and pissy on a Friday afternoon, instead of basking in the glow of spring sunshine.

Is it any wonder I bought four acres of trees? All leaves welcome, all the time.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

Haterfield Is For the Birds

 Good day to you from "The Gods Are Bored!" Today's sermon: Great news if you're a stuck up, snobby chicken!

Haterfield, NJ is now accepting applications for backyard hen ownership. Great news, yes? Except this is Haterfield, so both you and your bok boks will have to jump through some pretty damn tricky hoops first.

I do not exaggerate when I report this headline from the local rag: "Haterfield Residents Can Now Apply for Backyard Chicken Permit."

Yes. You need a permit for your chickens. And that permit doesn't come cheap (cheep?). First you have to take a class on chicken care and produce a certificate that you completed the course. Friends, I have a vivid imagination, and I could not make this up. Yes! A course on chicken care!

I don't object to the idea of taking a class on fowl husbandry. Definitely a good idea. But my guess is that you could learn everything you need to know and then some just by watching YouTube videos, or talking to your grandma. Those are free, of course. Not so the chicken class Haterfield requires.

But the class is just Step One. Step Two is applying for a permit that must be reviewed and approved not just by Haterfield's new Backyard Chicken Advisory Board but also by the Board of Commissioners.

These entities come to your house first, to inspect your coop and chicken run. Don't try to free range those pullets, that won't fly.

There is a required annual inspection and a yearly permit fee of $50.

Needless to say, roosters are not welcome. Nor can you sup upon your own chickens. Or sell their eggs.

The first year you can have four chickens. If, upon inspection the next year you are deemed to be worthy, you can increase your flock to eight. No more than eight. 

I really wish I was exaggerating this, or outright making it up. I'm not. Haterfield now has a Backyard Chicken Advisory Board. Town can't keep its teens from pooping in pianos, but you better not try to sneak a ninth chicken onto your property.

See, I only want a rooster. I would call him Cluck Norris and allow him free range in the front yard. When the Backyard Chicken Advisory Board came to confiscate him, I would release the white farm geese and watch the carnage from my porch.

No one needed to tell me Haterfield is for the birds. I've known it since 1987. But what do I care? I have four acres of WOODS.