Monday, December 28, 2015

What to do with the rest of the day after a 9:30 a.m. eye doctor appointment

I’ve been on Medicare these many years, plus supplemental private insurance. In the olden days, when I was under insured anyway and did not carry a vision plan, I had my eyes checked every two or three years.  The first eye doctor visit after I’d rolled through the obligatory sixty five years, and the youngster checking me in asked for my insurance cards, I demurred. “My insurance doesn’t cover that,” I explained. And in return was told Medicare would check my eyes once a year.

This year, however, the technician asked the reason for my visit, and I replied my annual visit. She responded my doctor had scheduled me annually for these several years because of my cataracts, “but you don’t have those anymore.”  We settled on dry eyes, which are the truth, and the exam proceeded.

It was still overcast and raining as I came home, so I only needed one pair of sunglasses to offset the numbing and dilating drops. Though I drive right past the town hall, I didn’t go to work. I only have two tiny jobs to get done before Wednesday’s payroll, and they can keep till then. I never like waiting for my eyes to return to normal, and less so at work.

I did decide to weave some more on the scarves. I’ve finished six seventy to ninety inch scarves since we put the new warp on the loom three weeks ago, with another almost done. After those initial painful sessions I can weave about an hour at a time. Not without hurting, but in a more weaverly fashion. I’m now convinced there’s more arthritis going on in my shoulder and arm than broken bone recuperation, and when I visit the arthritis doctor in January I will slap my disc of shoulder x-rays on his desk and say “Do something, please.”

When I see the physical therapist tomorrow, I will astound him again with progress brought about by toughing out the weaving. With my arm fully extended I have about eighty percent of all motion down pat. This morning the young technician checking me in stopped about half way through all the new computer stuff, clasped her hands behind her back at her waist, stretched her arms straight and lifted them chest high.

I got up from the chair and tried it myself. I only reached bottom of my rib cage height, but I’m making progress.

And, I’ve spend the rest of the afternoon wondering how I am going to set up an inventory accounting system so I can figure cost of goods sold for this year’s taxes. Note how brilliantly I’ve avoided it for another day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Change of the watch

I've mentioned the road super retires the end of the year. Last January it was a bad joke; this December it's about three days away.

If you haven't followed those last several years, the road super is Tim, the poster child for conservation. Tim who guarded a sunflower in the crack of the township drive from the Memorial Day parade.

Tim who nursed several volunteer pumpkins in the gravel bin for the entire summer. When a full grown pumpkin disappeared, Tim put the rest in his "pumpkin protection program," until he could display them for the kids on Beggar's Night.

Tim with all the snapdragons growing last summer, in the gravel bin.

The weather has been so mild that all the snapdragons continue to grow out there, lush, green little bushes. I took my camera back after lunch to take a picture. I found:

The new road super, who's training with Tim this month, was in the building. I nailed him. Before lunch, he explained, he took a truck load of gravel to fill a washout on Major Road. 

A snapdragon, toes up. We'll see what we get next summer. I also have a new road super to educate.

Tim showed me his first pay stub, from thirty three years ago. He had a delightful story. His first job was on the road department in the village, Peninsula. One day at lunch time the super handed him a pink slip. No more job.

Tim was a volunteer fireman back then, too, and stopped at the fire station, which at the time was in our town hall. He saw Ed Hodges, the township road super, in the yard and told him he had just been laid off down the road, in the village. Ed told him to come back after lunch, he was now hired in the township.

"So," Tim added, "for my entire working career I have been unemployed for exactly half an hour, and that was unpaid lunch time."

Some pictures when I came home. From the world's coolest rain gauge, an inch of rain yesterday. Hence the washout on Major Road.

And, the garden thinks it's spring. There may be hell to pay next summer, but I am loving this weather.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's not snowing at my house, and probably won't, but that does not stop the calendar. The snow will not be missed and Christmas cannot be missed, so all is right with the world.

A few weeks back, in November, John Grey wrote a bah humbug post about hating shopping, especially for Christmas decorations for family to hang on their respective trees. 

I thought at once of my friend Linda, and her ornaments. She began making ornaments for friends and family, probably as far back as 1965. She's still making one every year. It's never too late to start.

I wrote on John's post that day of the ornament Linda made a couple of years ago, after Alberta moved to Florida to live with Marcy. I remembered Linda cleaning out Alberta's apartment, looking at all the downsizing that was left behind. "What am I going to do with these?" Linda  sighed over a box of Alberta's collection of salt cellars. One showed up at my house, months later, with a red ribbon tied around it, a tree decoration.

How about a post of Linda's annual ornaments, I decided, and called her.  "They're all in the attic," she said, and not coming down this year because I'm going to Cara's." I am so rude. "Go look anyway," I wheedled, not to be deterred.

Later that day I got emails, loaded with pictures. A dear friend of Linda's did a downsizing move this year, and not bearing to dispose of any of her collection of Linda's ornaments sent a box full, which Linda laid hands on immediately, and stood in her attic and photographed a few. 

I asked if she wanted them attributed and she said no. You see a cute picture, she explained, and throw it in a drawer and later on make it. Someone else does the same thing. These projects just go round and round, anyone can do it. I know Linda, she'll be explaining some of them. The little bird house goes back to 1985; her dad helped with those.

The star is Linda's ornament for 2015; hanging on our tree.

And here's an ornament my sister thought of earlier this year and made one of for each of our brother Walt's children. Sawdust from a board the old cornmudgeon master wood worker never used. Those stickers are a mystery, but there was a roll of them on his drafting table, so Jan added one of them, too.

To all my kind and lovely blog friends,
wonderful holidays to you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A toast to the Confederation Congress and the Northwest Ordinance

State of Ohio and Summit County
borrowed shamelessly from Wickipedia

I am an unreformed history geek. I try to keep it to myself, for fear of inciting terminal boredom around me. Some questions were raised in my last post about the origins of towns, and villages. I set out today to write about physical therapy and ibuprophen cocktails, but saw such a visual of my township that I was obliged to pull off the road and hike a bit with cane and cell phone camera to record it.

Periodically I do go on about how my west was formed, six miles on a side and thirty six sections, one mile on a side. These were laid out in lots, some for sale, some for public grazing "on the square," some to produce revenue to support schools. There was a lot of land to deal with after the rebels won it from Great Britain, and the founding fathers did it in a mind boggling and orderly fashion.

There in red is my county, Summit, named for having the highest point on the Ohio and Erie Canal. The breakout map of Summit shows my township, Boston, in red. But it's not square! That is the result of political maneuvering and swaps and deals later on. If you look with your heart, you can see the original squares. The very intact square east of me is Hudson, where the girls go to school. It once was a township, but now is all incorporated as the city of Hudson, and still retains its public square.

The square to the west of Hudson is Boston. The little white nick at the top asked to be annexed to the township to the north; it made geographic sense. The grey nick at the bottom was an adverse annexation of a prime piece of Boston township property by the city to the south of me that I  refer to as greedy. That chunk is now a real estate and income tax cash cow housing development benefiting the greedy city.

The grey chunk chunk of the square between Hudson and us is Boston Heights, which separated and incorporated as a village in the early nineteenth century. It is located on the high ground of the township, and had better economic prospects for development, especially getting away from that rowdy canal village, Peninsula.

Peninsula became a separate village in 1837, but never legally separated itself from Boston township. Thus, I live in a township with a village in its center. We have two separate forms of government. Peninsula is a muncipality with a mayor and six member council. The mayor is the tie breaking vote. Boston is a township, with three trustees, no tie breaker needed. They must agree. The township hall and the village hall are one block apart. All we have in common is a traffic light at each end of the block.

Until I became the township clerk twelve years ago, I knew next to nothing about local government. Now I know too much. The animosity here is thick as the river fog on a cold autumn morning. No need to go into any of it; it just is. It's amusing to an outsider like me (I've only lived here thirty years, you see.) As a township clerk responsible for the best care of the peoples' money, I am sometimes frustrated past endurance. But no need for details.

We're almost up to the visual, don't go away. The food drive I wrote of yesterday is sponsored by the township trustees, with  hundreds of pounds of food and staples, and grocery store gift cards to fill in the cracks. All this is distributed to community, to the township and the village.

Here's what I saw on my way out of town today. I can't post it on the township website; half of us will be offended. Here it is for blogger amusement.

And on the other side of the road:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Small towns

My town is so small that I live in the Boyd house, who in turn lived in the Amity house. I wonder if Mr. Amity had credit for the house he built in 1940 and lived in for twenty years.

The town is so small there are six hundred souls in my township and another seven hundred in the village in the township, for thirteen hundred, give or take.

The town is so small its trustees still have Share A Christmas each year, and if the PC police show up, give them a cookie and put them to work.

This is the hall outside my office today.

This is the hall where the girls read books in the window seat and wait for me in the summer. That's an attorney's office down at the end.

When I came to work yesterday the entire meeting room floor was covered with cartons of stuff, leaving two narrow aisles. The road crew, having an immaculate garage, equipment in fine running order, and no snow to plow had volunteered to help. They were sorting paper goods into paper sacks. One paper towel, one tissue, one TP, and so on. I left.

Today I noticed a lot of equipment in the yard, with the hoods up. I think they deserved to pretend to putter around; look how little is left for the trustees to do.

These canned goods are sorted, then subsorted. The jar of sauerkraut is like the field marshall, I think.

Santa Claus will deliver this Saturday, to folks in need from the trustees' list. Did I mention I live in a town so small the trustees not only know who used to live in your house, they know who lives in it now, and if Santa should stop twice this year.

Santa delivers everything this coming Saturday, in fire trucks, with lights flashing. The Fire Chief stopped to see how busy he would be this Saturday, chuckled and left.

All the food and gifts here came from the community, not only from private citizens, but from businesses, through food drives and donations of cash to purchase things the trustees know will always be useful--all those cases of paper towels, tissues and toilet paper from yesterday.

I've helped in the past with tonight's job--all those boxes in a line on both sides of the hall, from my office and back again, and volunteers walking the line, filling the boxes with canned goods, soap, toothpaste--what else did we see sorted out there? I wonder who will score the sauerkraut.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Busy Saturday

In the studio, Laura sorts quilt fabric for Aunt Janice.

Emily sews quilt blocks.

Jan held up two panels of her current quilt.
She is making several quilts to be raffled to provide food bank funding.

I finished the scarf I wove on all week, and it's on Helen, at the Gallery.

Together with one lonely purple scarf.
And me, taking its picture.
And Emily, watching.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The eye of the squirrel

Over the last two or three weeks we have watched one determined squirrel work through an expensive block of bird seed that we call "the good stuff."

I begrudge the squirrel every morsel. Opportunistic or not, I bought that for the birds, not fat rodents that can feed from the ground.

I've yelled at it, and send it scampering across the road. One morning I pursued it, blowing the car's horn. Of course it was unimpressed.

Here it is at noon, when I came home from work, cleaning up the last of the goods from the red covered feeder.

Got him with the phone camera.

The girls put the hot peper block in tonight.

I'll let you know.

As we discussed the learning experience awaiting this squirrel, I realized that last year, when this was not a problem, that feeder was a couple of hooks around the tree.

On a more slender branch.

But, we'll give it a taste before we move the feeder.

As I cropped the picture down, I see what may be The Great Squirrel, giving me the stink eye.

Oh, well. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On weaving with a broken arm

Here's how to weave:
Step on a treadle, open a shed.
Throw the shuttle, catch it on the other side.
Use the hand that threw the shuttle to pull the beater into the weft.
Repeat with the other hand.

Here's how to weave with my broken arm:
Step on a treadle, open a shed.
Throw the shuttle left to right, with broken arm.

Put the shuttle in left hand, in order to use right hand to beat warp.

Put shuttle back in right hand, throw to left, catch in left hand,while beating warp with right hand.

Anyone who had done a job that requires a rhythm will see the broken beat here.
I can throw the shuttle left to right and catch it coming back if I do not lift my wrist or forearm from the breast beam.
I cannot raise my left arm high enough and far enough to reach the beater.

My left hand caught the shuttle in the picture below, but cannot rise and move left to make the return throw properly.

I have spent three days trying to weave, and can keep at it a little longer each day.
I have made half a ninety inch scarf.

Emily bailed on me. Teenagers!
Back at it tomorrow, after physical therapy.

On a happier note,
I put on a bra today, for the first time in six weeks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

We have a birthday today

Laura is 14.

The usual extravaganza.

Tempus fugit.

Four years ago neither of them were teenagers.