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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pictures from yesterday and today

I was out and about yesterday, to the post office and bank. I drove around the "No Trespassing" signs at the golf course.

It would be only a very large meadow, were it not for the rows and orderly rows of spruce.

A final stop by the pond. I have not seen the heron in some time. Perhaps it's too hot for it, too.

I watered the plants today. Too hot to be out, at ten this morning. Next week will be seventies and eighties all week, including Wisconsin.

Have a good couple of weeks, until we meet again. I am going off off line.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Fifty years ago

We were so proud fifty years ago, as Americans, and every single one of us. We who were old enough remember where we were. Those not old enough tend to remember where they were the first time they saw the old magic.

Today we do not have that thrill, that image, that lift of spirit, mind and body. Like the heat wave so many of us and so much of the world is sinking under, we are oppressed by our president. Some words I've copied down of late:


Obviously racist

Dangerous rhetoric


I cannot look. I cringe and shrink in at his words. Frequently there are tears.

I read even more disturbing news. The man can lose the popular vote by fifty million, yet capture the electoral college, he has so consolidated his base in this midwest of old white men, terrified of losing power.

I just don't know. I can only keep on trying.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Suspicious mind

Toby visited the vet this afternoon, to get current on his immunizations. This afternoon he sulks! Not because he was stuck.

No, he is put out because I haven't put away the cat carrier. Something is not right in his world, and he's stopped speaking to me. Oh well.

He's right; something is up. Although I'm not leaving until Monday, he goes to kitty kamp tomorrow. They can have a few extra days to give him a good, close haircut.

In other news, the shed saga is over. Les Nesman's office is in place.

I told Dan I was leaving Monday, and would leave him the key to the old shed, to handle the details while I was gone. His response was "Meet me out there Wednesday morning!", and I did. Following an overnight downpour, they brought it in.

Then Dan and Joe brought over "your damn stone", and set it. A giant slab of sandstone I bought on sale at the landscaper across the road, so I can step up into "my damn shed". My granddaughters sited it at the old shed.

And while Dan hung over the back of his truck and enjoyed himself haranguing me for twenty minutes, Joe carried the contents of the old shed up the slope and put them in the new shed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Day trips

Someone in Wisconsin who reads the blog wrote overnight, that since my road trip was gone for now, perhaps I'd like to have lunch with her. Of course I would, and she and I have a lunch date. And Ann, who, like me, is up for most anything.

So what say you. Let's see how many lunches I can eat out in Wisconsin. Ann lives between Milwaukee and Madison. If you live an hour or so north, south, east or west of an imaginary point between those two cities, and would like to meet a stranger for lunch, let me know. I'll bring Ann, if I can.

Dear Mage wants to know what cookbook I'm bringing with me. My two cookbooks, Mage, are long gone. My mother gave me Settlement House cookbook and my mother-in-law gave me Betty Crocker, with the plaid cover. So my current cookbook is the internet. Laura cooked directly from Google. I have to have one or two versions printed out, in a plastic sleeve and in my notebook.

Tonight I had potato soup, and six servings are in the freezer. I won't be making that again until next spring. I made it this morning and played cards all afternoon. When I came home, soup was on.

If you live near enough in Wisconsin to meet me for lunch, I would enjoy the rendezvous. My email is over in the sidebar below the search box. Leave me a note in comments if you cannot locate it, but want to know.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Little to say, fewer pictures

I put stones in the birdbath. Still no takers. Perhaps I need a sign.

This small flower with heart shaped leaves is growing in one of the mandevilla pots. Small is an understatement; this is larger than life. I have no idea what it is. That's a mandevilla leaf in the upper right corner. I could not see the little plants leaves were trefoils until I looked at the picture on my computer screen.

This year I have a Gerbera daisy, a red one. It was in the orphan section, on sale for three dollars. The only one I found with buds is red, and that's fine with me.

I planned to leave for a vacation this Saturday, and was deep in negotiation with the insurance company to release one drug for refill two days early. I'll never know how that would have turned out, for the vacation was a proposed road trip with Ann, and she had to cancel it today. I'll leave Monday for a regular visit to Wisconsin.

The road trip probably is only postponed, so that is all I'll say about that. I told Ann I have returned to my status of forty years ago, and am a decent cook. I will bring my cookbook and she can find dinner on the table every night. No cold cereal while I'm there! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Another hot week, and more to come

 My week began with a potential solution to my gazing ball stand problem. The green gazing ball, in a picture on the side bar, met a tragic end. To keep the stand, or throw it away?                                                                                                              

This glass bowl crossed my path. It is a footed plate, it has a rim, but no stand. It is heavier than a baby. It was on a donate pile. A nice birdbath, thought I, and lugged it home.

And, it rained. Seemed fitting. I have not noticed a visitor, to date.

I've always paid attention to the front side of the mandevilla blooms.  The back of this unfurling flower caught my eye, as it should. Fascinating, the color of sections still overlapping.

There was a lot of commotion this morning, past my bedroom window. Men talking, shovels, that sort of stuff. Convinced I'd wake up to my new shed, I left the cat on guard at the window and went back to sleep.

It is a start. Not where I want it, but hey, I'm not setting it, and I'm not moving the contents of the old shed up the hill, and I'm especially not moving that huge flagstone step.                                                              

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I'm almost awake

It's seven, closing in on my bed time. If I can put together a post in an hour, I can read blogs until bedtime. I would like that.

I wanted someone else to make breakfast, so Jim, Lynn and I went to another breakfast joint. The two of them have visited every restaurant in a three county area that serves breakfast. The last three, including this morning's, have been indelibly scratched.

One made Lynn very ill, as in out of it for three days, two of them in bed. She wrote a letter and has had no response, not even an apology.

On the way home we stopped at the nursery for a bag of fertilizer recommended to them. We passed a mouse  gasping its last. Ending its misery was not in our pay grade. I did buy a lot of three dollar pots to add color.

I scored a three dollar Gerbera daisy, but I don't know the color yet.

The Gerbera, the shamrock, Pig and Hedgy all need to trade places.

Coming back from cards, I stopped for the golf course picture. It is becoming quite rough! Nancy and I had a great card day, putting together one great play after another. You're pretty much as good as the cards dealt, and we did what we should with what we got.

When I came in from cards, I made a new mac and cheese recipe I found. It's ninety minutes in the slow cooker. I haven't made mac and cheese since I had school children at home, I think. From my years of doing and watching, this didn't sound unreasonable.

In fact, it called for cream cheese and a little more milk than I recall using, but I'm a fan of cream cheese, and forged on. I'm here to report, what may sound good is not necessarily so. I may look around for a new recipe, or tinker with the one I found.

My taste buds told me if I skipped the cream cheese, substituted water for the milk, skipped the butter and most of the quarter teaspoon paprika, it would have been good. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

A new day in the life

When I was dead tired last night, and making supper, I needed to mince garlic. I can do that. I reached for the jar with two new heads of garlic. Totally stumped. The last time I handled garlic from scratch was before Laura.

Google said put it in a plastic bag and give the root end a good smack. I quit after one thump. My palm is still bruised today. I looked around, picked up the knife holder for a mallet and it let fly. Woohoo, a bag of cloves. The paper kept flying as I put them back in the jar. I think if I shook the bejammers out of that jar, I could separate them from their skins.

Jenny_O wonders what I bought at Abby Ann's. The clerk wrote it up as the Pumpkin Bowl. $2.56.

I want a way to keep my soap pods accessible. I made an emergency run to Abby Ann's the other day. I gave Laura the casseroles I improvised to a double boiler for brown bread.

I bought a Pyrex casserole that's stashed there in the spring form cheesecake pan. The red lid is to the red tin cup I use to bake brown bread. 

I emptied the trash and missed the flowers, so they went out separately. There is the red cup passed along to me from Alberta. I had a note from Linda, Alberta passed away July 2nd, at 102.  Alberta is at the picnic table in the picture sidebar. I so admired her.

There was much on my list for today, and I have only accomplished trash and flower watering. I have an afternoon of shopping to do; three stops. It is raining torrents. I will go put more thread on the beam.

So, I'm closing with my dancing glass lady, who acquired the suitable size upright this morning, while the sun was shining and the rain was still in Wisconsin, according to Ann.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

My Fourth of July

It has become apparent to me these last three years that more of us are alone on holidays than with family. Since the Old Cornmudgeon, our brother Walt slipped into the sunset, my family is out of people who organize a family party simply by declaration.

We have broken off into units of young people who may have a party, or old people who quit waiting for invitations. I had a startling, but not unexpected invitation recently. I went to lunch with dear Ruth a week ago, and as we parted, she tentatively asked, "Now that you don't have Laura, would you like to come to my house?" 

Having no more pride in the matter, I accepted.

Yesterday I drug my sister with me to the city second hand store, Abby Ann's. This house on one of the streets in my old neighborhood, is red, white and flag ready for the holiday. I hope there is a back yard full of grandparents, grandchildren and parents there today.

All my days are far slower than formerly. I can still walk a city block, if there is a bench at the end. And, I can walk back, and that's the end of my march.

Today I finished winding bobbins for the new warp and began winding it on. I believe I am putting on another fifteen yards. This time I've purchased a yardage counter. We'll see how accurate is my residual math.

In every two inch bout I am moving one blue or silver thread to the left and a green or brown to the right. The fabric will be very directional, and can also be used in a left/right side fashion. We'll see what happens.

After three bouts I stopped to make supper, which was ready at six-thirty. After kitchen clean up, my back was totally done in, and here I am, winding up (or down?) my day.

Oh yes, the cat left an almighty hairball on the blanket at the foot of the bed, where I pray he leaves hairballs, and so he has, these past three weeks. So, that went through the wash and is back on my bed. His grooming date, and my vacation cannot come soon enough.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Mandevilla potted, all's right with the world

Jan and Tom came to help me situate my pots. There is a landscaping supply across the street who fell down laughing and sold Tom enough gravel to half fill each pot. All he could carry. $1.98.

We filled the rest of each pot with the Pocano River stones from the Gutter Stream project at the last house, and then potting soil. My water lily sculpture went up alone at the back post. Tom secured the hooks to the uprights with tie wraps, and I was ready to pot up the manedvilla.

I bought my plants a tad late in the season to get untrained plants. These are rather large, and at some point in the season growers must add the trellis or deal with vines all over the greenhouse. My hands aren't strong enough anymore to untangle the trellis and remove it. I bought a red, a white and a pink mandevilla.

 Here are the inhabitants of the steps, waiting for me to get started. Hedghog is the leader of the pack this year, then Pig, Toad and Lamby. Poor Pig indeed lost a front leg. Brave fellow, he soldiers on.

Here are the mandevillas all potted, with the big pots full of things that will grow big over the summer. The only one I remember is sweet potato vine, and it's in there somewhere.

The pot on the first step has been growing since May, at the old house. I'll be pleased when the mandevillas look as good.

At the old house, the little front garden looks just fine. I have not seen a single humming bird there yet. That's scary.

For Kay, the last haircut. You are so much better at selfies than I am.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Another trip into town

Not much going on today. If I haven't said, Toby is a woos. The coward of the county. The doorbell sends him fleeing for the closest desk to be behind. I looked down the other day, when whoever was gone, and saw Toby.

He's emerging from under the credenza, behind the filing cabinet. Here also is the original stool, from an oak board off a truck seventy six years ago. Mighty fine footstool.

I went to town today, and looked, as ever, for the heron. There it is, in all the long grass. It's as if the heron grows wilder and wilder, too.

 Here are thistles, and perhaps milkweed in the picture below.

This is the corkscrew willow in my header picture. It's looking unkempt, too.

The four planters are tomorrow's project. I have concrete under this new deck, not dirt and grass to hold my shepherd's crook mandevilla holders.  My solution to that is the planters around the edges of the deck.

I'll fill them with some rocks and sand and those couple of bags of Pocono River stones left from my last garden, then some dirt to plant miscellaneous stuff in. Then my crooks with mandevillas, and it will officially be summer on my deck, and it's still June.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

What did you do?

I started my day with a long overdue haircut. My appointment was for ten, when the shop opens. The first stylist showed up at five after, and Melanie came in about ten after. This may just be me getting old, but is surely is indicative of millenials. They should simply make the appointment for "tenish", at my discretion.

But, I do like Melanie; she's cut my hair for at least ten years.  Today my generally twenty minute hair cut lasted half an hour or forty five minutes. We talked about what a working mother can do to occupy a child during the summer.

Mel's daughter is thirteen, and I'd guess Mel is pretty close to forty. She said its not like her childhood, where she got up, ate, and went out all day, riding her bike and hanging with friends. In her neighborhood, that does not happen. Children are inside, with their electronics.

I told her I would send her links to our NPS and Conservancy day camps. She already sent her daughter to several Y-Noah camps. Her daughter is very shy, but enjoyed the Y camps, especially the horseback camps. I told her perhaps sign her up and leave her for the week.

That her childhood was much like my daughters' childhood was a bit surprising. I wonder when this sea change swept over children and how parents currently cope. I know my older daughter's children have busy summers, but that isn't surprising. Both were raised to be free range.

After I had my ears lowered, to quote my dad, I went to play cards. Nancy and I almost took the day.  I stopped for flower pictures. I don't know the name of either.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The reveal

I wonder if any home has come together this fast! My friends Lynn and Jim, have my eternal gratitude, with thanks to Jan and Tom, too, and my new little home is ready to make me happy.

For me, much of comfort is happy old things displayed for my viewing pleasure. That said, here is my office wall, and many old friends still in view.

There is little remarkable about any kitchen of mine. Coffee pot, check. Toaster, check. Accessible cupboards, not really. However, for that I have the handy eight inch stool.

I was warned so often to be careful of the stool, that I will give it an explanation. Seventy six years ago my dad was walking home from the bus stop, and a packing crate board bounced from the back end of a truck. He picked it up, brought it home, and make that first stool for me, for my first Christmas.

It was 1943 and the only board he would have (no trip to Home Depot available). He designed the stool carefully. The legs not only are at an optimal angle, they are cantilevered into the top. My brother made hundreds of copies for children, grandchildren and friends of the family. The original is a footstool under my desk.

Jim, who was on and off the stool hundreds of times these last several days, and who weighs around two hundred pounds, I'd guess, pronounced it more than adequate.

Here is the same kitchen table with the same flower vase, and this week's flowers.

A piece of the living room, with the glass lamp from my BFF, Carol, and a watercolor by an artist from Michigan. 

I think I needn't point out, every room is awash in light!

The studio is far more organized; ready for my next project to go onto the loom. And the loom will always be ready now:

Hilary Cooper-Kenny's prayer flags are on the wall over the loom.