Browsing Archives for July 2010

Dear Charles,

I sometimes think that the whole world is made of wax… except for the people, who are made of regular old people material.  On the off chance that the world is not made of wax, what do you suggest?  I grow tired of scooping the waxen air out of my way and typing on a waxen keyboard only to grow hungry and be faced with either a wax apple or a waxy bowl of cornflakes.  Remember those tiny wax soda bottles that you chewed?  Well my whole world is tiny wax soda bottles Charles!  What do you suggest?

Waxed and Waned

Dear Waxed and Waned –

You don’t seem to be taking full advantage of your situation. You could be compressing bits of that wax air to create stairs that you could use to reach normally unreachable places, like the ceiling or places near the ceiling. It sounds like it would be much easier to pull off the old “footprints on the ceiling” (“it was then that I carried you”) gag than it would be under less waxy circumstances. Also, when you got up to the ceiling, you could let yourself fall and, instead of breaking a limb and having to be rushed to a wax emergency room in a wax ambulance, drift gently into an ever hardening wax blob, as the wax air beneath you became more and more compressed. On the off chance that the world is not made of wax, I suggest that you enjoy a real apple and refrain from letting yourself fall from heights of more than a couple of inches.


Dear Charles,

My hands slowly rise out of the water.  It’s like I am discovering them for the first time.  Like I never knew I had hands.  I have hands?  Where did these come from?  But it is also like I am sort of discovering myself.  Like I was just invented… or just made.  Like I have just figured out that I exist.  But it always starts with the hands.  What is this?  Am I trapped in some sort of B grade sci fi flick?  Can you give me a hand here Charles?

That weird hand person

Dear weird hand person –

I think you already have enough to contemplate with the two hands you just discovered, and the untapped potential and possibilities they represent. Investigate them thoroughly and find out what they can do. Experiment with them and test their limits. And just when you feel you have gone as far as you can go with them, let them rise once again from the water and repeat the process, enjoying the perpetual newness of the wondrous invention that is you. But be quick about it; film is not cheap, and it’s about time for the crew of the sci fi flick (A grade, I estimate) to break for lunch.



Life been handing you lemons lately?  Can’t find the strength to make the required lemonade?  Why not ask Dear Charles to lend a hand (waxen or otherwise).  He’s been known to squeeze a right good lemonade out of the most vile of lemons.  You may contact him at Dear Charles at live dot com.

I recently finished the book Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. When I first saw this book, I immediately assumed that it would be awful. I imagined a schmaltzy story where a former career woman comes back to her Mennonite roots and rediscovers love in a pasture. But that was not the story at all. Instead it is a non-fiction account of one woman who returns home to her Mennonite community after decades of living with an atheist husband who leaves her for a man named Bob from GayDotCom which is directly followed by being involved in a crippling car accident. She goes home to heal her body and her mind and in doing so manages to WRITE A HILARIOUS ACCOUNT of everything that she has been though. She stares down the religious life of her parents and the floating debris of her own life and comes up with a story that is warm, hysterical and uplifting.

And although she does not embrace the beliefs of her devout Mennonite parents (her father is a minister) she also does not completely reject them. They seem to agree on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy although her brothers are condescending and judgemental towards her career girl mindset, her parents remain warm and supportive.

There are some echoes of Crazy for God in how her parents take a hands off approach towards their daughter’s much more free spirited outlook on life.  It’s almost as if they long ago acknolwedged the limitiations of their own faith and view their daughter’s escape from devout religion with a sigh of relief.  At the same time, the author does hedge a bit in her description of her parent’s faith – especially when it comes to her father.  And in the end, even though her religious beliefs seem to directly contribute to much of the pain she suffered as she forgave a craphole of a spouse over and over again (because isn’t that what Jesus would want?) she fails to see the connection between her faith and her relationship struggles.

The book offers not only one woman’s tragedy served up on a warm platter of humorous hindsight, but it also gives the reader a fabulous glimpse into life as a Mennonite in America. The religious tidbits are also fascinating and fun to read.

It’s an easy breezy read.  Goes with beer, beachwear, or a hammock in the breeze.  A fun summer story with a tasty side of growth and insight. The perfect compliment to a lazy summer day.

One of my workmates, Cassie C. loves to garden, but lives in an apartment with no yard in which to dig.

So she potted up a few veggies at work.

A few days ago I caught her in the act of re-potting her cherry tomatoes and so I cornered her and peppered her with questions regarding the astounding success of her container gardening project.

And this is when Cassie C started to speak in riddles saying things like ‘indeterminate growth habit’ and ‘determinate growth habit’ and the room started spinning and I had to sit down.

Once I came back to my senses I learned that indeterminate growth habit means ‘it can get really big even if it is planted in a container’ and determinate growth habit means ‘it will only grow to fit the pot it is planted in’.

Which is why Cassie C had to re-pot her cherry tomatoes.

They had grown too big for the pot.

They were indeterminate.

But her celebrity tomatoes were determinate.  They only grow to the size of the pot!  See the knowledge you gain from reading this blog!   Imagine the people you can impress with this planty tidbit!  Not to mention the philosophical ramifications of deciding if you yourself are determinate or indeterminate.

Typically at the garden center when we re-pot things, we tear the root-ball up before we stick it in the new pot.  We want to encourage the roots to reach out to the new dirt.  However, Cassie did not rough up the root-ball of her tomatoes very much as her tomatoes were clearly not root bound.  A root bound plant would be a tangle of white roots and you wouldn’t see much dirt.  Cassie C’s tomatoes are in really good shape so she just lightly loosened them up at the bottom of the plant.

Cassie originally planted her tomatoes in a three gallon pot, in good potting soil, with about a quarter cup of ‘slow release’ 13-13-13 – which is a fertilizer, mixed in.  She usually waters her tomatoes twice a day and sets them in a sunny spot.  Containers need to be watered more frequently than plants that grow in the ground as they dry up much faster, but one of the nice things about containers is that they can be moved.  Cassie has taken her plants inside a few times during severe storms or when we had incessant rainfall several days in a row.  She is a little on the over-protective side when it comes to her plants.

When Cassie re-potted her tomatoes, she added a bit more 13-13-13.  (Maybe about a teaspoon).

She also fertilizes her tomatoes once a week with a liquid fertilizer making her over-protective and over-indulgent.

And as a result of all this pampering and protecting, she has some beautiful plants.

At the garden center, even plants in four inch containers will often bear fruit.

But none of them are as magnificent as Cassie C’s sweet one hundred cherry tomatoes.
And they not only look beautiful…

They taste great too.