Greetings, my fellow port-swillers!

My apologies for my silence over the past couple of days.  In truth….I just haven’t had much to say.  It happens sometimes.

I believe I mentioned that the eldest gel went to Richmond to see the guv’mint in action? Well, while there she came down with the stomach bug that’s ravaging this neck o’ the woods, apparently in rayther spectacular manner.  (You may insert your own “that’s what comes of watching politicians in action” joke here.)  At any rate, the result was that she spent the next couple of days flat on her back.  That, in itself, was no cause for alarm.  What scared us was the fact that she really was concerned about not getting too far behind on her homework, and was actually enthusiastic about going back to school this morning.   Yikes!

Speaking of school, as teacher conferences are now in their second day at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, the younger gels have both been off.  Taking advantage of this, the eleven year old went to Pennsylvania with her friend, there to celebrate said friend’s birthday at the Pocono Great Wolf Lodge. (Which, the gel insists, is different from the one in Williamsburg.  Not to me, it isn’t.  If I never see the inside of another GWL, it’ll be too soon for me.)  Anyhoo, the gel returns to the port-swiller residence Saturday evening.  Sunday morning she is scheduled to sing at the 9:00 AM service at RFEC and acolyte at the 11:15 AM.  We shall see what happens.

Meanwhile, for the last two evenings the nine year old has vigorously questioned why, if there’s no school the next day, she still has to follow the school night bedtime schedule.  “Because I said so,” has been my sole explanation.  I understand from friends who have served in uniform that a maxim of military direction is K.I.S.S., as in “Keep it simple, Stupid.”    I see no reason why this maxim cannot be transferred to dealings with the young.

Speaking of the military, I have been making my way through HBO’s The Pacific and I must say that it simply hasn’t “hooked” me yet.  I can’t really say why.  Perhaps it’s the disjointed plot lines, which I find somewhat confusing.  Perhaps it’s the greater projection of the “human interest” stuff in this series than in Band of Brothers.  Perhaps it’s the obviousness of some of the story:  As soon as the Medal of Honor winning sergeant said he wanted to knock off the war-bonds tour and go back into action, I said to myself, “Self, put a red shirt on that guy, ’cause he’s toast.”  I’ll go ahead and finish, but at least at this point I don’t have much interest in seeing it again.

Totally off that subject, I found myself listening to Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances again last evening and thoroughly delighting in them.   As I understand teh story, Dvorak was reluctant to write them when the idea was first proposed, largely because he felt he’d be stepping on Brahms’ toes (as the idea was sparked by the success of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances), and went so far as to ask Brahms’ permission before agreeing.   All I can say is that Dvorak seems to have put whatever reluctance he felt behind him once he sat down to compose, because all of them show every sign of someone thoroughly enjoying himself.   I’m getting to the opinion that Dvorak was actually a better orchestral composer than Brahms, simply for the fact that I always have the nagging feeling that Brahms was too self-conscious in that medium, whereas Dvorak threw himself into it with zip and vinegar.  It’s just a theory.

Not that I keep such statistics in my head, but for some odd reason this winter I have seen more cars driving around without their headlights on after dark than I can remember seeing previously.  Thank Heaven the days are starting to get longer again, so the problem will soon be muted.   There is a suburban legend – related to me by my extremely ditzy hair care provider – that there is a local gang that likes to tool about in the dark with lights off.  If you flash your own lights at them, or take any other notice, supposedly they will then follow you and kill you.   Not that I really believe it, but when I have had such a car either in front of or behind me, I have taken some pains to get a look at the driver before signalling.

There are still lots of limbs and branches down in teh port-swiller yard from the ice and snow that need to be hauled off.  Also, I really must prune the wisteria and the climbing rose.  One side of my brain says to get these things done now so that all the work won’t be stacked up later.  The other says no, it’s still too muddy and you’ll just muck up the yard.  I think the nay side is inventing excuses, but I’m still comfortable embracing them.