Saturday, July 27, 2013

A “Real” Farmer’s Market

The girls see signs on corners and lamp posts for farmer’s markets, and wonder if we could ever visit one.  I promised them a visit to a real farmer’s market today.  Today we went.

I have a work in progress blog post titled What do you do with a National Park?  I am the “Come Here” who also grew up a few miles from here; I can appreciate the forlorn history of lost farms and still recognize the park is here, make the best of it.

In a nutshell, this was a farming valley.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park was sprung on the valley, literally in the dead of the night, by John Seiberling and fellow philanthropists who not only had a personal vision of the valley, but could fund congressional and presidential campaigns.

It was a benign, directionless park for several years, until the director, Bill Birdsell conceived the extremely ambitious plan of acquiring the valley’s farms for the park and returning the valley to its agricultural roots.   The acquisition was welcome by those who were willing to sell the family homestead and bitterly contested by those who weren’t.  In the end more than four hundred homes went to the park.
That was about the time we moved here.  We looked up a retired sheep farmer to see about wool. He had none.  The park had approached him to “lease back” his farm and engage in farming, as they saw it.  He was bitter.  “They” had torn down five generations of barns and fences and now they wanted him to put it back together into their vision of a farm!  He spat on the ground.

Mr. Birdsell literally fell in his traces, pushing on.  The next park director spent a career here.  A trifle above the residents of the valley, but with a more benign vision of the valley, under his leadership miles and miles of trails fit for the urbans came into existence.  Many of the buildings that had been acquired decayed and were demolished.  Other farms were refurbished and leased out to what can only be called gentleman farmers. 

The director was a farseeing person.  He fostered the large coalitions and conservancies that would buoy up his park, provide resources for park projects.  They are great money machines; I’ve looked at their 940’s.  We have the Conservancy for the CuyahogaNational Park.  It was able to purchase the old Richfield Coliseum, home of the Cleveland Cavalier basketball team for two decades, and bulldoze it to the ground.  Now acres and acres of meadow and wetland. 

There is the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy.  The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway…in short, the Cuyahoga Valley is a good place to be a non-profit, if it pleases the park and the park’s constituency, which is, on the whole, anyone living outside the valley.  They have no idea how the great underbelly of the park works.  That is the thesis of my unfinished blog post.

In the meantime, Jan and I took Emily and Laura to the Howe Meadow Farmer’s Market, the market produced by the Countryside Conservancy.  The signs at the entrance banned all but service dogs and announced the Conservancy would facilitate any debit card transaction at any stand.

At 9 am, in spite of the drizzle, the meadow was filling.  It is a lovely market, and with only a few captions, the pictures speak for themselves.  I can sum up our support with Jan’s remark, “No matter what kind of dirt they grow it in, three dollars is exorbitant for a head of cabbage.”  It’s really about the booth fee the Conservancy charges for organic weekend farmers to sell produce to residents of surrounding urban areas.

The market and the music

A tiny bit of the lines for the croissants and the blueberries

Colorful rainy and cool day attire

A tiny taste of the offerings

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Camera Cleaning

Hamilton is taking several Advanced Placement classes, which means he can also receive college credit for them.  Bring them on. At upwards of $400 a credit hour in Ohio's public universities he can't save himself too much money.

The AP exams are imminent and he's been back to school in the evening for some extra study.  I picked Hamilton up Monday evening from a history review and he had a tee shirt his teacher had distributed.  "He's kinda goofy, Grandma.  We all like him."

The front of the shirt had a handsome young man's photo and said he was running for president in 2012.  The back of the shirt had answers.  One of them could be right if you were stuck on a question.  I laughed all the way home.

Here is the orchid Caroline gave me for my birthday a year ago March,  because I admired her ice cube a week orchid.  It's blooms lasted longer than I can recall, and then around my birthday this year a new spike began growing.  Look at all the buds.

I'm off to Broad Ripple and will bring a camera of pictures and a full show report.  Have a good weekend.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Freeze warning

Over the weekend we had a cookout featuring shish kebob, our traditional Memorial Day fare.  We held it in honor of Hazel and Tony, who will be leaving this week. I think we counted seventeen in the house, including my friend Linda, who’s generally up for a picnic.  The operative phrase is in the house. In spite of the new picnic table on the deck it was not warm enough for anyone to go outside.  Even the children worked up minimum enthusiasm for throwing a football in the late afternoon sunshine.

Linda produced her new phone to get some advice.  Rather like hiring on at a job and everyone else is an “old employee,” even if they started the day before.  Not even a year ago I was a flip phoner, just like her.  But I’ve had a smart phone for six or seven months, have six apps that I use regularly out on the home screen, and am the very local expert.  If a grandchild showed me how, I’m pretty good.

Linda has a new phone too, with a slide out keyboard.  She bought it for a reason I don’t recall plus it fits in her pocket holster.  She only makes and receives calls on it; no plan upgrade.  No extra charge because it was the phone that fit the holster.

Later this week I’m going to Indianapolis with her, her roadie for the Broad Ripple Art Fair.  A couple of years ago a severe storm with high winds tore right through the grounds and did severe damage to many artists’ work.  There was no warning except one volunteer who ran through the show shouting “Take cover.”

This year the Indianapolis Museum of Art has offered to send weather tweets to any artist who signs up to receive them.  In case you wonder where this story is headed, we’re on the way.  Linda wanted to know how to tweet.  There was a general consensus her phone could tweet, but nothing was tweet ready, including her plan. Then there is the whole learning curve business.  We seventy year olds take a little longer.

I said for her near future I would download Storm Shield, the weather app endorsed by the major local television station, to my phone.  I did that yesterday, read the directions, entered the local settings, put the phone back in my pocket.  I have to say I was a little disappointed to see I have to tell the app where I am.  Google maps and navigator always know where I am!  And, they were free. But, Thursday I will tell the app I’m in Indianapolis and we’re all set for the weekend.

My phone has several discreet tones to notify me.  A ring for calls, other notes for incoming texts, missed calls, appointments, that stuff.  Early this afternoon there was a new tone from my pocket and before I could retrieve the phone, a man’s voice:  “There is a freeze warning for this zone.  There is a freeze warning for this zone.”

So, I sent Hamilton to bring in the hanging flower basket tonight.  He brought it in Sunday night, too, before the app went into effect.  Local weather included a freeze warning.

Friday, May 10, 2013

One thing and another

When I was a young our house was cleaned every stinking Saturday.  I remember every Saturday of my childhood and know I scrubbed the upstairs floors and cleaned the bathroom every stinking Saturday.

Of course I grew up and eventually appreciated the value of organization over chaos.  My daughters and I cleaned every Saturday morning.  We could be done by noon and free to enjoy anything else planned for the day. 

We may have finished so quickly because the girls’ rooms were bypassed, except for vacuuming.  One time, while we were on vacation, our house was robbed.  The girls’ piggy banks were smashed on their bedroom floors.  The police remarked on the ransacking of their rooms. Except for piggy bank shards on the floor, that’s how they left them.

Cleaning this house has never come to the top of any list.  No excuses, but as if Mom, Jan and I were cleaned out.  We had Mark in the beginning, and he is a neat freak, so we could rely on him to sweep any particle up from any floor, and find an inconspicuous place for things he didn’t like to see. But he went off into the world to become a citizen and left us to dust bunnies of several cats and dogs.

We engaged cleaning people.  Some good, some not.  My friend Carol told me one is always looking for the next cleaning person.  She does know; she has twice the house and so many collections her cleaning ladies spend a day. We had cleaning ladies, too, right up to the time we decided we needed kids
I call them Child Help, Grandma’s Sole Proprietorship. They do a fine job.  Their rooms are never included in the schedule and the grown-ups take care of their rooms, so the job can’t be that onerous. Some weeks we give it a lick and a promise and some weeks we do a real job.

But, one thing and another, we have done nothing except keep the kitchen clean for several weeks.  And tomorrow is the big family Memorial Day picnic, before Hazel and Tony go home.  As soon as my proprietary cleaners come home from school we will tuck in and get it done.  We could be done before supper. 

There may be pictures of grandchildren scrubbing floors on hands and knees.  Nothing makes my seventy year old knees feel better.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Treasurer for Life

Jan, Mom and I turned in our old homes and moved here twenty five years ago for the sole reason that Jan and I wanted to move our weaving business to the next level and needed a studio. 

We moved to the Township of Boston, a big square in Northeastern Ohio, exactly the size Northwest Ordinance of 1786 decreed, with a couple of chunks now gone due to the succession of Boston Heights a hundred years ago, and some annexation by the greedy city to the south.  The Village of Peninsula runs along part of the ragged edges of the Township.

The charming little village is locked into its canal days appearance by an historic designation obtained by some previous visionary in the village. The old houses have unchanged facades, failing septic systems and cisterns serviced weekly by the water truck.  It is so quaint it attracts tourists.  Peninsula is as art centric as they come. 

The man who locked up most of the village as an historic district had a vision without a plan, leaving behind a village that tourists love to visit, but tend to spend little money in.  It is hard to be comfortable lingering in shops when the nearest public restroom is in the next city.

Way back in the nineties, shortly after we moved here, a young whippersnapper with a vision to promote his hometown moved back and opened a gallery.  Then another.  He took over another.  A group of merchants coalesced around him.   We called ourselves the Peninsula Merchants Co-Op.  Another member and I opened the Co-Op’s first checking account, and I settled into being Treasurer for Life.

With our young visionary leading, the Co-Op promoted the town, organized events, took advantage of events already in place such as the national Boston Mills Art Festival, held in the township.  We started the village web site.  Funding came from grants written by young Turks with local businesses to promote. 

Jan’s and my business is up the hill from Peninsula and around the corner, off in the township. I resisted the urging of friends in town to move shop to the village.  Our overhead was too darn comfortable and our art show business model wasn’t compatible with moving our work to a place in town.  But I liked my associates, and was learning a lot.  Treasurer for Life was OK, until they got the first five thousand dollar grant and were working on another.  The checking account had my social security number on it!

Thus, I am responsible for the existence of the Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce.  I got the federal ID number, filled out the reams of paperwork, chased down other officers for life to get signatures and filed in time to open a Chamber checking account with its own ID for the money on hand and the grants zooming down the pipeline.

Ten years into Treasurer for Life our own business had grown to twelve employees, our own accountant was retiring and a new business came to town.  A young public accountant set up business in her kitchen.

She dropped in to visit us and see what weavers do.  I engaged her on the spot and also asked her to be Treasurer for Life of the Chamber. She agreed.  As I recall, she showed up at the next meeting with the records and said “Hi, I’m your new Treasurer for Life.”  She’s been at it for the last thirteen years.

Some post scripts:  my friend, the young whippersnapper, eventually filed for bankruptcy, a not unexpected turn for a visionary in a town with no facilities.  He is now an international designer.

Mr. Bob, our accountant of many years, was in his eighties when he retired.  Every single year, because of the amount of cash he knew I could have on leaving a show, he asked me if I carried a gun.  Every year I said “No, Bob.  I carry a phone.”

My accountant for life outgrew her kitchen and now has an office in the township hall, down the hall from mine.  Her cat is so pleased.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Starting with pancake breakfast

We did not set out to do so much in a day, it just happened.  We did plan on pancakes at the fire station this morning, and when that plan shifted from noon to nine in the morning the rest of the day just got longer.

After pancakes we (royal we) mulched the garden.  Then Jan and Hazel and Laura and I went shopping for a new picnic table for the back deck.  That had been slated for tomorrow and happened today.  Tomorrow Tom and Tony will surely assemble the new outfit.  At least one of them won’t rest until he knows what we bought.

Without further ado:

Some of the equipment the fire district put on display.  They move it all outdoors for pancake breakfast morning so the equipment garage becomes the dining hall.  On the right, the pumper.  Its cab, at least.  I forgot my camera and put Emily in charge of taking pictures with my phone.  On the left, the squad.  Personally, I would call it an ambulance.  It is the very one I rode in to the hospital when I had a stroke three years ago.

For the first time I remember a medi-vac helicopter came for the public to inspect.  Geoff told me they have been on the field the last three years; I guess I've just been missing it.  I was not about to walk on the very lumpy field to take a picture of Hamilton, Laura and Emily together so they passed the phone among themselves. Someone forgot to tell Hamilton the color scheme du jour.

Tony, Tom and my nephew Mark up close and personal inspecting the chopper.  Tom left, Tony right in the right hand picture.  Hazel calls them "the stomachs."  

Passed Geoff in the parking lot and got a hug.  I worked for the fire district for four years, through the construction of the new station garage.  My favorite:  construction accounting for a government entity.  Not.  

The first day I went into the station house, a building already on the site, construction was all around.  2x4's on the floor, marked up drawings on long tables, a to do list on a chalk board.  Item one on the list:  Fire Geoff. They're a pretty loose lot when they don't have to be serious and apparently firing Geoff seemed like a good idea that day.

At work back at the house.  Mark took pity on them after a dozen bags of mulch and unloaded the bags from the tractor.  My knees should be as young as Laura's knees! I am keeping an eye on the lettuce tower in the lower left picture and will soon have a report.


My little corner vignette. I moved in one of my lavendar plants, added the pansy pot and pulled all the weeds from around the blarney stone and the indian.  Mulch compliments of my grandkids.

Finally.  Look at this young man's dirty feet.  A black and white with dirty feet.  I finally realized when we are outdoors he lays at the storm door with his front paws pushed as far as possible underneath.  Feeling the breeze?  He does not try to leave when we open the door, although we have to push him aside or try to step around.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two worms

My garden crew is doing a nice job of clearing the overgrown grass and getting down to bare earth so I can plant some things Nina gifted me from her garden.  I only know which ones are pinks.  Nina knows everything about plants, so I’ll be fine.

Our years of neglect has resulted in quite the tangled root mass below the surface.  Fibrous runners and tap roots.  This from the two oldest who amuse themselves with biology lessons on clover and dandelions while loosening their roots.

Laura’s job is to go along the edges and excavate the plants the excellent pronged twisty thing can’t dislodge.  Leading to this exchange:

Laura: Ooh, a worm.  I don’t want to hurt him.

Grandma:  He’ll be fine Laura.  If you cut one in half there simply will be two worms.

Hamilton:  It depends on where you cut it, Grandma.

Grandma:  There will be two worms, Hamilton.

Emily:  It depends on what kind of worm it is.

Grandma:  There will be two worms, Emily.

Laura:  So it won’t hurt if I accidently cut the worm?  There will just be two.

Grandma:  That’s right, Laura.  Two worms.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day, 1955

May Day, May 1st, is such a forgotten holiday in America. A good pagan holiday that couldn’t keep up with the times.

My parents had little to say about the holiday.  Coming off the Great Depression and then a World War, I can appreciate they didn’t find the day special.  I recall, when I carried home from school the news that the day was May Day, a bitter remark from my father that the day had been co-opted by the communists for International Workers’ Day

May Day had a place in school, nevertheless.  I attended the same elementary school for all those seven years from kindergarten through sixth grade.  We had a May Day celebration, organized by one of the sixth grade teachers.  Every year the sixth grade girls danced around the May Pole.  I wonder if it was the dream of every girl watching on the play ground to be one of the dancers.

Miss Horning, the mistress of the dance, tried so hard to keep “the gentle arts” alive.  There was a piano in her room, and in my sixth grade year she made me play.  My mother played well, we had a piano at home and I was given lessons.  I was no good.  As I’ve often said, I have a tin ear.  

Once a week I had to follow the only other piano player, a girl named Joy, who played quite well, and bumble through the piece Miss Horning selected for me.  Miss Horning did not allow me to not play, in spite of my protestations.  Eventually I appealed to my mother, who wrote a note to Miss Horning, and my performances were cancelled.

About April Miss Horning assembled the sixth grade girls around the May Pole to practice during recess.  The May Pole, I now realize, was the tether ball pole.  How did she convince the janitor to substitute ribbons?  I cannot imagine.  Perhaps Miss Horning taught the dance to more competent students before my time.   We just went round and round the pole making a spiral of our ribbons.  On May Day we performed for the entire school at a special assembly.

Surely the ceremony was much longer than our short performance of wrapping ribbons around a tether ball pole.  That is all I recall.

 I loved the May Day celebration we learned in second grade.  We wove baskets from paper strips, filled them with daffodils and tulips from the garden, and gave them to our mothers.  My mother told me they should be hung on the door knob, then knock and hide and watch the surprise of the recipient. I made another basket for Mrs. Cole.  I jumped up and down so from excitement she saw me hiding.

My sister says in her day, ten years later, there was no May Pole.  She did remember the flowers; she took hers to Mrs. Rich.  I still associate May Day with bouquets of flowers and the May Pole dance in 1955.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Awaiting Hazel and Tony

Hazel and Tony are coming to visit next week.  They’ll be here nearly a month.  Hazel has visited several times since Bill’s death, but not since she and Tony married.  Not for want of trying.  Tony had some health setbacks shortly after he and Hazel married.  He’s finally cleared to travel.

None of us get any younger, either.  I wonder if Hazel’s hair is as white as Walt’s, my brother to whom she once was married.  It may still be black.  I’m getting excited.

We are out of beds at our house; they will be staying with her youngest, Mark.  Walt lives there, too.  Jan teased him she hoped Hazel could put up with him.  Walt retorted “Can she put up with me?”  We know which way it will be.

The traditional Memorial Day picnic, featuring shish kebob and lots of company will be held early, in honor of their visit.  That was Walt’s idea, resoundingly seconded by Hazel when Jan asked if Tony would enjoy it. 
Tony’s  two requests are to see a baseball game and go bowling. Tom and Mark will handle those details. Hazel will keep Tony busy, I’m sure. Hazel loves to shop.  She holds an international driver’s license and knows how to use it.

They arrive Tuesday afternoon and Hazel has us all lined up to go to her favorite smorgasbord restaurant for supper.  In spite of our recent troubles with air traffic controllers, I doubt Hazel’s plane will be late. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Handy to have--Grandchildren

Twenty five years we’ve lived here.  We were much younger when we moved in. I’m not saying we bounded up the steps from the garage to the front door, but they were much easier to navigate. Two or three weeks ago I rounded up my brother and he showed Hamilton how to build the missing hand rail.

This is how you make the saw’s teeth work effectively.

And, they put up the handrail.  Hamilton stained it a lovely dark brown while I was in Wisconsin.  It shows up in the background from time to time.

Rather like spring house cleaning, spring gardening can spring from nowhere and turn out the house, too.

I bought a lovely hanging basket and two peck baskets of pansies. 

Then I realized I have young muscles available and it past time to attack the overgrown front garden.

Emily and I put in three hours, and made small but noticeable inroads.  I taught her how to use a spade.  My dad would be proud.

Then Jan and Tom came home with a project near to Jan’s heart.  A lettuce tower.  A lettuce growing tower.

Today they got it located, put together and full of soil.  There are lettuce packets on the chest by the door; it won’t be long.

Emily and I planted the pansies.  It was three o’clock; we called it a day.  Before it rains tomorrow I expect we’ll get some more done.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Henry and the dogs

Of course there’s a new dog in Wisconsin. Henry.

Ann explained Henry to me.  An older couple who board their old, fat cocker spaniel at the kennel got a bright little Springer spaniel puppy to liven up the cocker spaniel’s life.  I doubt the old, fat cocker spaniel ever had any use for a non-stop puppy, and as Henry developed into umpteen pounds of non-stop spaniel, always on the move, always doing his job, he turned out to be too much for the old folks who brought him home.

Henry was a fortunate fellow; Ann and Pat agreed to take him.

What a charmer this fellow is.  He and Freyja tumble and thump and wrestle until she cries “Uncle” and heads for a nap on the sofa.  Henry continues on his rounds—round and round and round the sofa, the chairs, the entire house, watching every window for sign of whatever Springer spaniels watch out for.

Food is the testament of Henry’s level of activity.  All the dogs in the house are in the forty pound range and eat about two cups of food daily to supply their caloric needs.  Henry maintains his trim physique with six cups of food a day.

Henry is so young, so bright, so inquisitive.  Sad he cannot be the hunter nature intended him, but he landed on his feet with the next best home.  Training is progressing; he’s magnificent at sit, stay, come, OK.” He waits his turn for his food bowl to go down, or to advance for a treat.

 “Out of the kitchen.  OUT of the kitchen.  OUT OF THE KITCHEN,” is not Henry’s best.  “Like a kid, always testing,” Ann says.   Henry isn’t interested in the kitchen for the usual reasons.  For him it’s more real estate, more territory to cover, more windows to scour the landscape for…….???

Freyja, the husky mix,  is far better behaved than my last visit. She  leaves the kitchen when told, but her toes are at the ready to start the journey over to the linoleum.

Seamus holds the place of kindly old observer.  No one is head of the new house pack yet. 

And poor old Zoe.  Her increasing dementia is sad.  In the house she wanders into corners and waits patiently for them to move aside.  Outside she just keeps going.  Through the burrs, through the creek.  She has to be called constantly, before she’s out of cognitive range.  We did lose her for a bit one day and when we mentioned it to Pat over supper he sighed and asked Ann “When are we going to take off her collar?”  HaHa.   

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A sad week

Did the sun shine anywhere last week?  It certainly did not shine in Wisconsin, save half an hour Tuesday.  I woke up Sunday and Monday to pouring rain, and listened to loud thunder crash one night. 

Ann hustled me out the door Tuesday to get to Fleet/Farm and get alfalfa cubes “before it starts raining again!”  I hardly believed her.  Billy, together with Nanny, had been foraging for two days because the cubes come in paper sacks and if they get wet they mold.  So, neither Pat nor Ann had ventured to town for more.  I’m only repeating what I’m told.

Billy saw us off.  We didn’t beat the rain.  I stayed in the car.  Ann came back with a cart of half a dozen sacks.  She was not happy.  They are forty pound bags, not fifty, from a new source.  They are packed in shiny, waterproof paper, so the pellets stayed dry.  They cost more.  And, they still filled the car with their odor and we arrived home sneezing and with running eyes.

The temperature never exceeded forty five; except as noted, it never stopped raining.  We had more overnight lightening storms and howling winds.  Ann and I stayed warm, visited and watched the creek rise. 

The only birds in sight were stalwart robins, chickadees and an occasional sparrow.   I made no attempt to set up my tripod to take pictures.  Since I cannot hold the camera steady enough by hand for telephoto, the shots only add to the forlorn feeling.

There is nothing I can say of the tragedies of the week; the homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon and the tragedy of the explosion at West, Texas.  Hooray for the officials, the police and the people of Boston for the swift conclusion.  My heart is broken for all the families who will deal for years with the deed of two young men; losers, their uncle called them.

Then the explosion. Ann and I looked at each other.  Her township is the size of West, Texas.  Mine two thirds as large, and each with EMS services the size of the West, Texas force.  About thirty volunteers.  Like the firemen who ran up the steps of the World Trade Center, that would have been our departments evacuating a nursing home and a neighborhood because an explosion was imminent.  One third of the force killed, doing their job, saving lives.

In a big town or city perhaps the safety forces seem more remote.  If you can, smile and thank one of them for being just like a volunteer member of the West, Texas force.

Friday, April 12, 2013

They get younger every day

I’m leaving for Wisconsin tomorrow morning, nine at the latest.  I hear the sun is shining there, and I know there are Baltimore Orioles and cedar waxwings at Ann’s feeders, where I can sit on the kitchen porch for a week and just take pictures.  I packed the tripod.

Usually I travel on a Friday, but too many obligations today: one doctor appointment, a prescription to pick up, a pile of papers at work that needed done today (not yesterday, not Monday ((government stuff!)), and, ta da, I could retrieve my new summer sneakers from the shoe maker. 

I’ve never met the man who puts lovely lifts in the soles of my right shoes.  I drop them off, the drycleaner in the rest of the store receipts the shoe and I pick it up same day, one week later.

The doctor and work were accomplished without a hitch and off for my two right shoes.  They’re really cool, one pair is Rocket Dogs and the other Converse.  But they weren’t to be had.  They forgot to send them out last Friday; they will be ready Monday. Oh well.

On to get the prescription.  At the register I asked to see the contents of the prescription bag; it was far too flat to hold the two month supply.  An even younger clerk than at the dry cleaner explained, in a high, clear monotone, there were only five pills in stock, the rest would be in Monday’s delivery. My explanation that I would be gone all next week and five pills were inadequate yielded  a blank stare.  “There are seven days in a week,” I explained, and the man at the next register chuckled loudly.

Actually, I’m fairly decent at dealing with “it’s OK because this situation does not inconvenience me.”  I don’t leave until there is a solution.  The pharmacist told the dear young thing to call other local(ish) drug stores in the chain, and on the third call she hit pay dirt.  Unfortunately pretty far south, but I could, and did go there.

I got home just in time for supper, and found today is report card day and we would be treated to ice cream by Aunt Janice because all grades were A’s and B’s.  Way to go. Both Emily and Hamilton woke up and saw the easiest way to their future didn’t involve throwing away their good fortune with both hands. 

Hamilton tucked into studying; he brought home a 3.9.  Emily recently admitted it was far easier to get a decent grade than to improve a bad one.  After ending her last semester with a 3.9 her grades went into free fall, back when she was being stupid.  But she came up here at mid-term with a 3.8.  Good for her.

And little Laura just keeps on.  Her only “bad” grade is gym.  She did not pass the Ohio motor skill requirements, specifically track and pull ups.  Or push ups.  Or something.  “But gramma, I hate doing those.”  I told her she might have to go to summer school for gym.  She thinks she’ll put some effort into it in time for the grade at the end of the year.  She did make first cornet!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Flying pigs

There have been cardinals, blue birds, nuthatches, sparrows, chickadees, doves and more to the new feeder.

The cheeky chickadees show off for the camera, too.

Once nice Saturday I will plant a chair in the lawn, pose as an ornament and take pictures of more than chickadees. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Soft reset

My phone does more than I know of.  My grandson wonders why gramma needs so much phone; gramma had a flip phone last summer and learned to text less than a year ago.  The crux of the matter was the manner of the death of the flip phone.  It fell into a toilet at a wedding.  It died on the spot.  The marriage ended about a year later. 

Just like marriages, there is no guarantee that phones will withstand circumstance.  The little fellow was drownded and there is no warranty replacement for a phone plucked from the toilet. 

I have owned a mobile phone since the 1990’s, when they fit in a big purse, not in a pocket. My first phone came with the plan.  Over the years I upgraded the phone four or five times, and the upgrades all came thanks to extending the contract two more years. 

I had to pay for this replacement phone! There was no contract extension long enough to throw in a free phone.  Then, too, the price for the smart phone was almost the same as the price of a new flip phone. I took a deep breath, and went straight upgrade.

That was six months ago.  I won’t confess how many months I spent learning the smart phone’s smarts.  Let me just say I now have ten icons on the screen, and I rolled them out one at a time.  I moved Sarah, my navigator, to the dashboard about three months ago.  I like her best of all.

Now I’m OK with change, but I don’t find it wonderful.  So when the green blinking light would tell me I should download some upgrade, I didn’t.  The screen didn’t tell me how it would change my phone, only that change would happen.  That didn’t please me.

One morning I took the phone off the charger and saw an ominous warning.  Uninstalled changes were backed up a country mile because of my neglect and would I kindly do something.  I relented.  I will admit it was still downloading after my shower and after I got dressed, but it was done when I finished breakfast.

Nothing seemed different about my phone, until I fired up Sarah last Saturday for a trip to the near west side of Cleveland.  She took me the three miles to the turnpike without incident, then told me to go east and quit talking.  Hamilton told me her little green arrow was still going west, but she said nothing.

This afternoon I had my first opportunity to take Sarah back to the phone store.  She still had nothing to say for herself.

“How unusual,” said the young man at the counter.  I wonder if he believed me.  He did agree she might have choked on her upgrades.  “Download the navigation app again,” I suggested. 

“We’ll just try a soft reset.” He pressed the off and volume down switches simultaneously. The screen collapsed into its middle and then reappeared.  “Let me know if it works,” he said.

I’m happy to report, Sarah is back.  Soft reset it was.  I wonder if those buttons can be found on people.

The phone that drowned

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A quilt well rescued

I've mentioned rescue quilts from time to time.Quilt tops pieced but never quilted. My sister Jan is extremely fond of rescuing quilts, and quilting them.  She says some one's grandma is smiling in heaven, "Look, Ethel, look  That quilt is finished and can be used on a bed!"

Jan's friend Patty found an embroidered quilt top at a flea market.  It's a very large quilt, two embroidered panels, very well done.  Jan set aside a week to quilt the top.  Patty entered it in a regional show that the three of us went to today.

Some one's grandma is extremely pleased;

A kind lady with a good eye rescued the top,

And took it to an excellent quilter.

The quilt is quite white; the flourescent lights make is appear more yellow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Storage wars

With fifteen around the table Sunday, some good stories were bound to be told.  Some were. 

After flipping through the characters of several reality shows we found a common thread in Storage Wars.  One of us told the story of a son who realized a year later that the remaining household goods in a storage shed were “just things.”  He told his buddy to cut off the lock, sell it all and keep the proceeds.

And from the other end of the table we got the story of the day.  Another friend is a builder and his wife has the unenviable task of keeping track of and updating the furniture staged in model homes.

They do own a storage unit her husband built and operates, and she uses a unit or two to store the excess.  Of course they had their share of abandoned units, and the occasional auction of the contents.  As Storage Wars, the television series, became more popular Jeane saw a definite uptick in the attendance at an auction and the amount of money they realized.  When she noticed a regular bidder responding with a “Yeep”, she knew the time had come; there was opportunity for a sharp contractor’s wife to turn her inventory, too.

Jeane added a unit of her own to the next several auctions, nicely staged.  She was tempted, but did not put a cardboard box up front labeled Grandma’s China.  The results were as anticipated:  all the unwanted furniture was gone.

As Jeane said, at her last garage sale her son’s lemonade stand made thirty dollars, more than she had taken in.  She didn’t have to tag anything, put it on her driveway for a long hot afternoon, and, last of all, collect back up what didn’t sell.

Tom and his son, Tommy T, last Sunday.  Every notice how little boys walk like their father walks.  They grow up and lean over deck rails the same way, too.

And finallly, visit my sister’s blog, Janice loves to quilt. She just finished a customer’s art quilt destined for a national quilt show.  Stunning, and now I don’t have to tell you about it.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring cleaning

Mom subjected us to spring cleaning every year.  Grandma came down to help. Dad disappeared to his workshop. Everything was washed.  I especially remember the walls and the ceiling.  The walls were washed from the bottom up.  From the top down would leave dribble marks in the dust on the walls that could never be eradicated.  That’s what the grown up’s said.

We washed the outside of everything.

It could involve standing on ladders.

We washed windows.

We had no fireplace.

Is this little girl out of her mind?

Empty all the cupboards and wash everything that is in them.

Wash the inside of the cupboards.

Stay out of the way.

More windows.

What was I thinking.

Then the regular cleaning.  You know.  Floors, dusting, bathrooms.  Laura said the best thing about spring cleaning is it must be spring.

Some things never change.