Sunday, July 20, 2014

One thought leads to another...

Association of thought, as described by wiki:
Association of Ideas, or mental association, is a term used in the history of philosophy and of psychology to refer to explanations about the conditions under which representations arise in consciousness, and also for a principle put forward by an important historical school of thinkers to account generally for the succession of mental phenomena. One idea was thought to follow another in consciousness if it were associated by some principle. The three commonly asserted principles of association were similarity, contiguity, and contrast, numerous others had been added by the nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century physiological psychology was so altering the approach to this subject that much of the older associationist theory was rejected.
In my case, and I am sure many others, my mind will jump wildly from one thought through a very thin thread of connectivity to a totally different line of thought.

See, I was thinking about lines (or, as we knew it, queuing). I can't imagine that anyone enjoys spending long periods standing in lines, such as in Disney World/ Land, or Six Flags, or the various Waterparks.

This thought bubbled up because my stepson, his girlfriend and my two grandsons headed off to spend a 'fun' day at the new Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville Waterpark. I admit I wondered if it was wise to go on a Sunday, in July, after a week of rain and stormy weather in the Austin area. Apparently the lines were awful and the fun was totally removed from the occasion.

I guess some people don't mind lining up forever, because they do it, perhaps they think that the end result is worth the pain. I know our little party didn't enjoy it and cut their visit short. It is a shame that there is no solution to the long lines - I know at the Disney parks they do offer a fast pass for extra cash, and well worth it I am sure.  I don't think the Waterparks have copped on to this one yet. Maybe they should have a timer on entrance and if you stay less than a certain time you get a pass to return at a less busy time? Better than never going back because of the awful lines. And I suppose if paying customers leave early that somewhat reduces the lines for others.

But, back to association of thoughts. I was think that surely there is a solution to this problem. No, I thought, 'there is no solution...' and then the association clicked in. My most favorite movie quote of all times, from one of my most favorite movies - I have a few favorites, Ya Ya Sisterhood, Ghost, Steel Magnolias and the movie in question, Shirley Valentine.  "Marriage is like the Middle East, there is no solution."

Shirley Valentine is probably my most favorite movie because it is so significant. It was after I saw that movie that I decided to stop trying to make my marriage work. After all, another great quote "it takes two to tango". And a marriage will ultimately fail, or at least will be very unrewarding if both parties do not make the effort to make it work. I was slogging away and getting nowhere because .. well, because. I am sure you get the picture. A tango with no partner is no tango at all.

And that is my demonstration for today of how the association of thoughts leads you to some crazy places, but it is always fun to let it happen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

An Irish Garden

For my American readers, in Ireland a garden is the patch of land to the front, back and or side of your home. A vegetable garden is any or all of that ground that is used to grow vegetables. A yard, on the other hand, is either a farm yard, or a builder's yard (where a construction company stores building equipment).

Having cleared up that point, a typical Irish garden has a patch of grass which grows very fast due to the weather, never too hot, occasional sun, cool breezes and constant precipitation, varying between misty damp air to short bursts of pouring rain and every imaginable variation in between. The grass, if it isn't cut regularly, will soon become filled with daisies and dandelions, these will very quickly choke out the grass. The trick is to be ready with the lawn mower and rush out between the showers, preferably catching the grass when it is most dry and sprint around the lawn area to keep the grass trim and reduce the likelihood of the various weeds propagating.

Not only do the weeds love the climate in Ireland, flowers grow in abundance. The hanging flower baskets all over the city of Dublin are overflowing with color and are a source of amazement to tourists. Most houses also sport these incredible decorations and many gardens are a sea of various shades of every color. Roses thrive in this climate also.

Every Irish back garden will also have a clothes line. Some homes do also have clothes dryers, but it isn't common, and even those that do will only use the dryer in a case of extreme emergency as the cost of electricity is prohibitive. When the rain persists, Irish families either suffer the problem of racks of damp washing drying indoors, or frequent trips to the laundromat to dry clothes in the coin operated dryers there

My sister's current home backs up to the Mental Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The advantage of this is that the wall at the end of her garden is at least 25 foot high and, for obvious reasons, structurally extremely sound,being built out of huge granite rocks. The grounds of the hospital are large and filled with huge trees, the result is a very sheltered and private back garden.

Stone or concrete walled gardens are still very common in Ireland, though usually a whole lot smaller than the wall at the end of my sister's garden, so in either side she has also got concrete block walls. She is lucky enough to have a house at the end of the street and there is a well treed, grassy patch on one side of her.

My sister has a green thumb and a love of gardening, cats and birds. Wherever she lives, you can be certain she is going to be surrounded by color and interesting wildlife, and domesticated animal, interaction.