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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay New, Morro Bay, for August 30, 06


The Summer Chair

I have always loved Adirondack Chairs. It’s not just their classic beauty and comfortable functionality that draws me, but the ghostly aura they carry of long ago summer afternoons spent under the towering maple trees at the summer cabin, the sound of laughter from the children playing at the edge of Loon Lake, the feel of sweet summer grass on bare feet, the scent of wisteria and always, white cotton dresses with yellow ribbons at the neck, perhaps a straw hat, the taste of lemonade.

Never mind that I’ve never lived near a lake with or without loons and the only white dress I owned was my Italian silk wedding dress which was long ago recycled at a thrift store, the Adirondack’s seductive false dream is still my own. I even have one as pride of place in my living room, a chair designed by a friend and crafted out of old 1940s shipping crates. It is extremely comfortable and, unlike my former couch, it has resisted being turned into Swiss cheese by a succession of Basenji puppies.

So when I saw the Adirondack on sale at the Ace Miners Hardware store, I was flooded with glorious images of sitting out in the back garden on lazy summer afternoons, the dogs lolling in the sand at my feet. All around me I would gaze up at the wild profusion of pink mallow blooms, heavy with bees, while the four o’clocks ran a riot of yellow, pink and white, a tumble of golden nasturtiums at their feet. I would read poetry, perhaps. And there would be lemonade.

There was only one slight impediment; the chair was Made in China and came in a box, some assembly required.

After I got my purchase home, I was soon overwhelmed by all the busyness of life, so the box sat in the garage for a few weeks until I finally found time to lay out all the pieces and realized that the screw points hadn’t been pre-drilled, which led me to discover that my old drill’s rechargeable battery was permanently dead, which meant a few weeks delay until I could get to the store only to find out that one new rechargeable battery alone would cost almost as much as a new drill that came complete with adjustable torque, variable speeds and two rechargeable batteries, so, even though it made economic sense to buy the new drill, I still had to wait a few weeks until the budget would allow for the extra cost.

Then, there was the matter of getting time to find more properly sized screws, followed a few days later by a search for a new drill bit since some of the bolt holes hadn’t been finished properly, and, of course, there was the matter of sanding and priming and should I paint the chair Hunter Green or go with the screaming yellow? What color chair pad should I look for? Did I need to think about an umbrella? Should I put a second coat on this week or next? And what about an end table, for the lemonade.

Then one morning I woke up with a start and sniffed the air. Unmistakably, fall had arrived. I walked glumly out into the yard. The mallow blooms were blown, the towering plants looking dusty, tired and ready for a winter sleep. The four o’clocks were falling over with wilted leaves, their flower heads shriveled to wizened fists filled with black seeds. Even the nasturtiums were a weary tangle of dried vines and bobble-headed pods.

Summer had gone while I was assembling my chair. There would be no lemonade, no bee-loud afternoons. I had frittered away the gold of time on the dross of busyness. The chair was done but so was summer.

Yet such is the Adirondack’s magic that in place of disappointment, I suddenly saw the chair in front of the fireplace, Christmas garlands festooning the mantle, the sound of carols. There would be candlelight and hot chocolate, a red velvet robe with a plaid bow at the neck, perhaps a sleepy rumble from one of the dogs, dreaming.

But first, I had to start my Christmas card list, then there was the matter of . . .

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice for a change. Good thoughts.

Perhaps if you had been fair and balanced through the years on the sewer problem, we would not be bankrupt, and the community would not be so divided over mostly pure speculation on your part.

People actually read you and believe you.

Anne R. Allen said...

Love this piece. Great writing. Thought the sewer piece in the Trib was well written and wise as well. Thanks!

Sally Smith said...

Yes, Anonymous, that's really my name.

Great job of writing, Ann, as usual. I'd love to see some of your non - sewerville columns gathered together in a book.

Re: "Fair and balanced" - It seems to me that Ann does an excellent job of even handed reporting and has a deep well of knowledge concerning the history and "progress" of the sewer project.

Snowy Plover said...

Lovely piece, Ann. Thanks for everything you do.

8:55AM anon: drop dead
(that's being verrry polite)

Anonymous said...

Hey, these last 3 posts are funny. What does Ron Crawford call it when he shuts down the comments section on his blog...."behavior based marketing strategy." Perfect example here.

Only when Ann addresses the culpability of the present CSD in all this mess will any intelligent person call her writing "fair and balanced."

Anonymous said...

I wondered how and how long it would take before a commentor turned this piece, as all others no matter what the topic, into sewer commentary. Congratulations. You got it on the first try.

Now make yourself useful and attend the CDO meeting at Sunnyside on WED night at 6:30 and the Water Board CDO meeting on Friday morning. These are opportunities for you to put your energy to good use helping to defend your neighbors, and perhaps yourself if you are a PZ dweller, from CDO's as a strategy for obtaining clean water for LO.

*PG-13 said...

Interesting dynamic. Ann posts a nice soft retrospective on the passing of the seasons which in english lit is usually a metaphor for the passing of time or progress of life. First 4 responses appreciate the piece, the tone, and probably the non-sewer related topic.

Whereupon the 5th post from Anon > Hey, these last 3 posts are funny. What does Ron Crawford call it when he shuts down the comments section on his blog...."behavior based marketing strategy." Perfect example here. Only when Ann addresses the culpability of the present CSD in all this mess will any intelligent person call her writing "fair and balanced."

Not sure how perfect the example here is of what but Anon seems to thinks so.

And the 6th post reflects > I wondered how and how long it would take before a commentor turned this piece, as all others no matter what the topic, into sewer commentary. Congratulations. You got it on the first try.

Some habits are hard to break. And a sewer fix is hard to shake. Especially when you're constipated.

Thanks Ann, I too enjoyed the reflective interlude. I'm sure there will be more sewer stuff coming but that doesn't mean we can't stop and smell the flowers occasionally.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Such is the shortness of time, when one passes a certain age. I see my own versions of the unassembled Adirondacks (sp?) chair in my life, and realize that
time passes so quickly. Little projects become "The Bridge on the River Kwai", and it is all we can do to handle the day-to-day necessities that we face.

Thank you for a brief respite from the daily "sewer wars". Late summer is always a time of retrospection: Things we should of, could of, wish we had made time for; it is nice to see that you are a real person, who, as I am also, subject to the foibles brought upon us by those seasons that are too short and the projects that seem like picking up a string, and finding an elephant
attached.

Anonymous said...

To the ananymous John Joseph Racano: Will the people lecturing at your conference be more honest than you. Or will they have an agenda other than clean water etc. Money and contracts maybe? Can you explain your criminal history? Can you explain discrepancies in your military service as described by you? Thanks for getting your friends to write here and support ANN. Do they rally know you?

Anonymous said...

Remember the “To: & From: tags” on the presents under the Christmas Tree?

To: Ann Calhoun,

From:
a foul mouthed anon that, however, does appreciate the hues of indigo and violet that a post rain springtime evening sky can offer......a foul mouthed anon that can see God in the silhouettes of the Seven Sisters against a midnight blue sky..... a foul mouthed anon that welcomes the springtime promise of bare feet and long summer days.....

Yes, I am the foul mouthed anon that has dropped not quite so many “F” bombs in this blog as Mr. “Prez?” GWB has dropped cruise missiles on innocent citizens and nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which has led to the needless death of many young Americans.

Ann, your words have healed me. They’ve done a better job on my mouth than soap ever could. They have cleansed me finer than the most fantastic colonic that I could ever imagine. It’s cliche but, your words remind me that “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. So many of us are alive but do not live. Society programs our minds into getting wrapped up in these hypnotic routines that poison our soul. What all of us forget to do is, call “Timeout”. God has graced us all with so much good and beauty. In my mind, the greatest sin is to be surrounded by so much good and beauty and to be ignorant of it................

amazing grace,
how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see....................

If people think this means I(we) are going passive, you will be sadly mistaken.
What this means is that our efforts need to be redirected into a manner that is more productive.

I’m sure thoughts of what’s going on in the real world cross the minds of most folks as they spend hour after hour after hours in front of their Adirondack flat screens and laptops. I’ve perused over the last 100++ post and from what I can tell, there are about 3-5 people who are engaged in the gravitational black hole of a circular argument that is sucking them into a deep abyss whose centripetal force surrounds a dense and empty void of non-solution. No disrespect Ann, but I’ve come to the realization that the “comments” section of your blog is a huge waste of time. Sorry. Your words, however, are not.
One last four letter word before Spectator and I walk off into the sunset holding hands(I’m laughing my ass off, are you?)

I love you, Ann Calhoun.

Anonymous said...

To snowy plover: Does Joey Racano's dick taste salty? Eat his shit and die.

Calhouns inability to put together a pre assembled chair with parts readily available from a hardware store is an example of her knowledge of sewer systems which are far more complex. She can't figure out a chair, but can believe agenda fed to her on a sewer, and the misinformation fed to her by people who have caused the bankruptcy of the LOCSD.

Rally on Racano lovers! Where have you been before?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:07, the true voice of Taxpayers Watch.
Is this the type of person we want making decisions for our beautiful Community of Los Osos?
I think, not.

Your buddies, the three blind rats, tried to put together a preassembled sewer against the will of our Community.
That didn't turnout so well, did it?

Maybe we should all come together and work towards a solution that we can all afford and support.

Kumbya, my lord, kumbya.......

Anonymous said...

To anon: 10:29

First of all there will NOT be a solution that we can all afford. However there will be a solution.

The obstruction of ANY sewer system through the years has made the sewer unaffordable.

Second of all, this is NOT the type of person we want making decisions for our community. At the same time we do not want people with criminal records influencing our board.

Taxpayers Watch is the only group founded to represent the Property Owners of Los Osos who will pay for the decisions.

Hey Hey! Who lied to the electorate in that there would be no fines, we would not lose the low interest loan, and that Prop "B" would save us. YOU believed them.

This current LOCSD board bought us bankruptcy, fines, potential pumping, and potential CDOs by simply stopping the construction of the sewer.
The property owners will pay for this, and hopefully the members of the LOCSD board of directors with fines and jail time.

This is the second largest district/municipality bankruptcy in California history.

Lastly, there will never be a solution that we will all support until we are MADE to support it.

The choice will be simple: pay or move.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Perhaps if you had been fair and balanced through the years on the sewer problem, we would not be bankrupt, and the community would not be so divided over mostly pure speculation on your part."

Wow! I had no idea that all of this is now my fault. Gee, who knew?

Seriously, that statement indicates you haven't been reading my column at all.

Anonymous also sez:"People actually read you and believe you."

If that were true, then long before the de-novo hearing before the CC, at a point where this train wreck could have been avoided, this community would have started asking the same questions I kept asking in my columns and started then demanding some 'splainin' Actually, a whole lot of 'splainin.'

That didn't happen, which means people DON'T read or believe what I'm writing or asking. Sorry to disappoint you, but I learned that years ago when I was writing about the crash&burn£MillionsIntoTheGround Hideous SLO CoastalSchool Board. All those words, questions, alarm bells, information, facts, WASTED UTTERLY, along with million of tax dollars. Sigh.

another anonymous sez:Thank you for a brief respite from the daily "sewer wars". Late summer is always a time of retrospection: Things we should of, could of, wish we had made time for; it is nice to see that you are a real person, who, as I am also, subject to the foibles brought upon us by those seasons that are too short and the projects that seem like picking up a string, and finding an elephant
attached."

Very well said. It is, indeed, the busyness of life that too often causes us to miss everything. . . until it's too late.

Even Sewerville needs to take a breather.

Yet Another Anonymous sez:"Calhouns inability to put together a pre assembled chair with parts readily available from a hardware store is an example of her knowledge of sewer systems which are far more complex. She can't figure out a chair, but can believe agenda fed to her on a sewer, and the misinformation fed to her by people who have caused the bankruptcy of the LOCSD."

Clearly, so intent were you on trying to cobble together your analogy, that you didn't read what I wrote. I put the chair together just fine, thank you. It's sitting out in the back yard in all it's screaming yellow glory.

And finally, AMEN to this from another Anon: " I wondered how and how long it would take before a commentor turned this piece, as all others no matter what the topic, into sewer commentary. Congratulations. You got it on the first try.

Now make yourself useful and attend the CDO meeting at Sunnyside on WED night at 6:30 and the Water Board CDO meeting on Friday morning. These are opportunities for you to put your energy to good use helping to defend your neighbors, and perhaps yourself if you are a PZ dweller, from CDO's as a strategy for obtaining clean water for LO.

2:35 PM, August 31, 2006"

There's a whole lot of stuff to do and fix and move forward and examine and question. The game's afoot, your neighbors need help, there's better ways to skin cats, We Must March, my Darlings, but this time, let's make sure the direction is the right one, ya think?

Snowy Plover said...

anon 10:07pm:
You are a coward and a fool whose own sexual issues and perversions are revealed in your foulness.
Trust me, you wouldn't want to say that to my face.
You are pathetic and way too predictable. A classic representation of a pro Tri W blog troll.
Again, Drop dead, and may yo mamma find the corpse

Anonymous said...

Geez, can't we even wax melancholic about the end of summer, just one blog?

It isn't like this is the only blog where you can have your say.
Say it on the Tribune's Discussions, but be advised that you will have to clean up your language.

Just once in awhile it is pleasant to take a break from the incessent sewer wars.

Everything is not just sewer, sewer, sewer. I am pro TRI-W, but even I can see that once in awhile we need to smell the roses before they fade and drop their petals.


In the future, I suggest when a new non-sewer thought is interjected, go with it, and leave the sewer stuff for tomorrow.

I'm sure nobody's brain will implode in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

Isn't everyone happy the chairs were founded back east.

Otherwise, we'd have Rocky Chairs.

Anonymous said...

To snowy plover plumber: Hey JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEY.

I was wrong! You could not reach it to find out if it was salty. Talk about predictable! yo mamma gave you away! So tell us about your criminal record.

Mike Green said...

Ann, wonderful article!
I am always so impressed with your skill.
Heck, I was going to come over myself at one point and put it together for you.
But of course, I read on.
I too see time slipping faster, projects that I would do in a min. without thinking get caught up in the hubris of a more modern life.
Are we slowing down or is it getting faster?
We always muddle through, speed, in the long run is meaningless.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:07 "Does Joey Racano's dick taste salty? Eat his shit and die."

Anon 11:04 "The choice will be simple: pay or move."

Eat his shit and die?......pay or move?
Ahhhhh, the loving voice of Taxpayers Watch.....

You're right Anon 11:04, we don't want people like you making decisions for our community.

Snowy Plover said...

Anon 7:08:
I've met the misfortunate Mr. Racano a few times, and he impressed a hell of a lot more than you and your lame homoerotic scatology. Seems you have no friends here this evening as summer fades, much of this precious year consumed by the actions of bullies, cronies, and functionaries. All of us long for a return to our peaceful coastal town of neighbors and families, instead that all may well be bulldozed in couple of years. Maybe you'll have to take your hate somewhere else then.
Coward. Bet you laughed when they cut down the trees...bet you pulled up campaign signs in peoples' yards...bet you cheerleaded Briggs and his facists when they sent out the cdos, and brought fear to our town. Bet you haven't gotten any for a long time. Unless you paid for it. An expensive two and a half minutes, was it?

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Geez, can't we even wax melancholic about the end of summer, just one blog?

It isn't like this is the only blog where you can have your say.
Say it on the Tribune's Discussions, but be advised that you will have to clean up your language.

Just once in awhile it is pleasant to take a break from the incessent sewer wars.

Everything is not just sewer, sewer, sewer. I am pro TRI-W, but even I can see that once in awhile we need to smell the roses before they fade and drop their petals.


In the future, I suggest when a new non-sewer thought is interjected, go with it, and leave the sewer stuff for tomorrow.

I'm sure nobody's brain will implode in the meantime."

What's funny is this: The name of this blog is Calhoun's Can(n)ons. Which means is a blog about whatever I want to blog about. It's not called, The All Sewer All The Time Blog. For that, folks might want to go Ron's blogsite which actually is called www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com

And you're right, there actually is more to life than sewers 24/7. But, you must admit, a certain number of folks seem to be obsessed with certain things and maybe this is the only outlet they have for obsessing on them. So, as a time waster, I suppose it's a pretty harmless.

Mike sez "Heck, I was going to come over myself at one point and put it together for you.
But of course, I read on.
I too see time slipping faster, projects that I would do in a min. without thinking get caught up in the hubris of a more modern life.
Are we slowing down or is it getting faster?
We always muddle through, speed, in the long run is meaningless.
Thank you."

Wouldn't that have been a hoot! Both of us staring at the directions sheet written in Upper Ancient Urdu or something. But you're right, time is slipping by so quickly. So much to do, so little time, and it's so easy to get focused on the trivial and totally miss what's truly valuable.

One quick cure for that is to imagine that you had only 6 months to live. Would you spend it sitting in front of a computer obsessing about a sewer? Or go build a chair and sit in the garden? Or go to Panama and go fishing?

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

You are funny yet again. You refer people to Ron's blog if they want all sewer all the time. Ron's blog is all sewer history all the time. If it happened after 2001 Ron probably doesn't care and if it happened after September 2005 Ron certainly doesn't care.

I also appreciated your non-sewer comments. I would actually like much more of that ... you are a really good writer.

Anonymous said...

"If it happened after 2001 Ron probably doesn't care and if it happened after September 2005 Ron certainly doesn't care"

Of course there is no political bias in THAT comment.

I say bless Ann and Ron for their creativity, their journalistic ethics, great wordsmithing, their investigating, informing us with opinions and documenting them.
Unflinchingly, in the face of a small circle of trolls, throwing derision, profanity, insults, and disinformation. Even at off sewer postings. Never miss an opportunity, eh Snarky?
Yet, they leave the comment sections turned on...
Because they believe in and act accordingly infreesom of speech.
Even for the most exploitational of voices. You don;t see much these days. Anybody else smell the scent of corruption and facism on the wind? Smells kinda like a sewer.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:22 PM, September 02, 2006 says:

"Unflinchingly, in the face of a small circle of trolls, throwing derision, profanity, insults, and disinformation."

A minor "weasel wordsmither" in action, as all readers know the profanity was set in motion by "FOUL MOUTH" in his attack on LeGros. Or are you the "FOUL MOUTH"?

Its best if you follow the style of the master, as this attempt will not even get a tryout with the Santa Margarita recluse, when it comes to misdirection!

Snowy Plover said...

"Yet, they leave the comment sections turned on...
Because they believe in and act accordingly infreesom of speech."
Actually what I meant to say was:
Yet, they leave the comment sections turned on...
Because they believe in and act in the name of Freedom of Speech.
Yep , even the haters.

Shark Inlet said...

Don't get me wrong ... Ron is a great person to read if you want to know about the solutions group and their plans. But if you can show me where Ron has added something of value to our discussion of the last year I would be really surprised. Let me know of where he had commented on anything recent without blaming all misfortunes that have occured on Pandora or the Solutions Group.

judy said...

I was very touched by your column "The Summer Chair." It was very well written. I can identify with it so well.

Of course, I am shocked by this because my reading of your column is usually an exercise in "know thy enemy." Politically speaking, I disagree with you 99.9% of the time. (On the sewer issue I am neutral because I live in Morro Bay.)

"The Summer Chair" column did my heart good to know that under that liberal crust is a human being with heart who feels and thinks. You're not all bad after all. I wish folks like you and me could sip lemonade together and peacably solve the problems of the world, but alas I suppose you're too busy blaming America and the President for everything under the sun including tooth decay.

Anonymous said...

Newsflash! Persons of a democratic persuasion (oops I mean "crusty liberals) are human beings! But don't tell Ann Coulter.

*PG-13 said...

Judy > I wish folks like you and me could sip lemonade together and peacably solve the problems of the world, but alas I suppose you're too busy blaming America and the President for everything under the sun including tooth decay.

Yeah, that's probably why we can't sip lemonade together. And why we can't peacably solve our common problems. Too many encrusted liberals believe GWB causes tooth decay! < sigh > Why does it always have to come down to liberal views on tooth decay?

Anonymous said...

You folks are watching too much TV or something. If you talk to your neighbors you will find out (at least this has been my experience) that we all want the same things. Where we get in trouble is with all this labeling stuff.

For example, you disagree with Ann so she becomes a "crusty liberal" who blames the President for everything. Think for yourself. What do you want? What do you believe in?