Saturday, July 30, 2016

What goes to band camp must come home

Last Sunday

Yesterday, marching in from the buses in the parking lot.

Our trumpeter:
middle row, third from the field.

We can still see her!
Third row, sixth from left!

There are some old friends here, too.
Joe, first row, fourth from left.
Liam, first row, 13th from left.

And today, two ibuprofen and a heating pad for a sore back.

Emily took all the pictures on her phone. These kids move too fast for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

But, where do I vote?

My camera has not been out for a spin for so long, I threw it over my shoulder this morning. There could be one decent picture lurking in our drought out landscape.

One turkey vulture hanging over the salt shed. Far fewer take their morning roost here, since the two dead trees were removed, after they fell, one through the salt shed roof.

You may recall, the vultures lay eggs on flat roofs, like the school house roof, and leave them to hatch. Or, roll over the edge.

I had a turkey vulture morning.

There was a call on my machine,
"I used to vote right there in your schoolhouse, but I moved to Parma. Where do I vote now?"

Actually, I do a lot of public service stuff.

The caller now lives in a different county, and needs to register the new address with the Board of Elections of the county.

So, I looked up that county's Board of Elections before I returned the call.

"Now you live in Cuyahoga County. You must register your new address with them, and they will tell you where to vote."

"How do I do that?"

"You can call them. The phone number is ......"

"I'm driving. Can you text it to me?"

I keep reading the expression "facepalm moment.' I used it, and then texted the number on my personal cell phone. I could call it a turkey vulture moment, but facepalm has it covered without knowing about eggs rolling off the roof.

I paid the bill for the blocks to build a new material bin. The old wooden bins were collapsing and rotted to dust, thirty or forty years later.

Of course there was controversy when the new road super asked for authorization to buy these blocks. The iconoclasts at the decision table could not bear the thought of concrete replacing the wood.

The new road super brought in a quote for building two new wooden storage bins. It was, of course, twice the cost of the concrete blocks. The decision makers compromised; one bin this year, one next.

Not before they had a decision maker conversation on how to make them more attractive, including placing them at an angle to the building. Eventually the person of no authority said, peevishly, "It's a road department yard for crying out loud. It will never be pretty; let it be."

The discussion moved along to real topics, and today I paid the bill.

Leaving, I encountered these tourists with four kayaks.  
"Where is the river?"

I sent them back the way they came in.
How can you miss a river when you crossed it on a bridge?

In closing, a stand of black eyed Susan's that the winter salt in the parking lot has never decimated.
Hardy things, black eyed Susan's.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Another four years begin...

Laura is in 9th grade this year, and off to band camp.

A little look at memory lane:
Emily, in 9th grade.
She goes to college in the fall.

Hamilton in 12th grade, the next year.
He's at Cuyahoga Community College.

Another four years begin...

Laura is in 9th grade this year, and off to band camp.

A little look at memory lane:
Emily, in 9th grade.
She goes to college in the fall.

Hamilton in 12th grade, the next year.
He's at Cuyahoga Community College.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A happy landing

I’ve been weaving for the last year or so, using up the dwindling supply of cottons we purchased fifteen or twenty years ago.  My search for new thread for weaving was futile. F.U.T.I.L.E.  In the old days we wove with mill ends from good factories. The thread available now is imported and expensive. If it were good thread I would consider using it, and raising my prices. But, everything I found resembled twine, prickly and scratchy as all get out.

The last two warps I put on were wonderful. An all white warp of 12/2; exquisite hand. Ran through my fingers like butter. The last warp was the last of the white, with red, orange and yellow stripes. It actually was sad to weave it; everything I put on the loom would be the last and would be gone before the year was out.

Then came to decision to sell the house, and when the contract was signed, the packing began. We had an auctioneer come through to take things. The loom did not register with him, and the sewing equipment was of no interest. “No one does this anymore!”

The Cleveland Institute of Art downsized its textile program a couple of years ago, and two young women, in collaboration with CIA, put all the looms and equipment back together in a warehouse on Cleveland’s east side. It is the Praxis Fiber Workshop; its director is Jessica Pinsky. Stop right now and explore the link. This is a wonderful undertaking. I wish there were a good photo of a third of a football field filled with three long rows of world class looms. Mind boggling!

Of course Jessica would be delighted to take my studio off my hands. So, one fine day the moving company I hired to do the job showed up, loaded it up (“One, two three, lift!”) and we took it to Cleveland.

A box or two of miscellaneous essentials.

The Siruba industrial serger. It weighs two or three hundred pounds. The movers "One, two three," lifted it and took it away.


Boxes of soft, soft cotton.

The last warp. It went to Cleveland just like this. I could not bring myself to throw another shuttle.

The yoga skirts from the last warp. Behind them, the white shirts from the next to last warp. 
My July sales sheet shows them gone. That's a good thing.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last, but not least

Laura and I brought the rain barrel from the old garden.
It sat beside the house all weekend, while we transplanted flowers and all the objects d'art we couldn't leave behind.

An early morning rainstorm filled the birdbath, but, sadly, not the rain barrel, for its intake spout was not connected to the downspout.

This afternoon, in our finest old grandma and two grand daughter fashion, we used the template Emily made to locate the circular downspout entrance.

Laura used a little screwdriver and a big hammer to put a hole in that downspout, then a fine little pair of wire strippers to clip out a circle in the downspout.

Emily drove two pointy screws left from another job straight through the housing into the downspout, and there you have it.

Let the rains begin!

Friday, July 15, 2016

A new garden

One afternoon this week there was such a racket outside, I went to look.
It was Dan, the remaining handyman of the complex, ripping up the grass out front, as I'd asked.

Laura and I had planned on dividing it all into planting areas, so we went to a landscape supply company across the road and bought some stones.

Our first trunk load was embarrassingly puny.

At eight this morning we were back across the road, and bought all the red stones.
Then, to the old garden for plants, and six bags of mulch we still had.
Laura planted and planted.

After lunch Dan stopped and opined the showing of rocks still was mighty puny.
I said we'd go back and buy some more in a bit.
"BUY!" he roared. He and his tractor charged around our house and up the little rocky outcrop behind. He dropped his font end loader and rushed the little hill.
Rock after rock popped up. He and Laura loaded them, and he dumped them in the front yard. Best of all, there are more we can get this weekend.

Then he surveyed our progress and announced we needed a bench in there.
We just happened to have one, and he and Laura brought it round.
Dan expects to see it all planted out on Monday. 

The first time I came over here to look at units, I came to an abrupt halt in front of this one.
Isn't it something!
We'll just keep planting.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A story from a small town

Fewer than seven hundred people live in my township.
Fewer than seven hundred additional people live in the village in my township.
As I've mentioned, most go back six generations.
This is not a good thing, although they do not recognize inbreeding.
Feuds go back generations.

This is the mausoleum in one of the cemeteries.
Technically, a mausoleum houses crypts.
This mausoleum, built in 1876 from locally quarried sandstone, was cold storage for folks who died in the winter and needed housing until the ground thawed in spring.

The mausoleum has nothing to do with the story, but it's a neat little Gothic structure.
All around it you can see the tips of trees browned off by the cicadas, and now falling to the ground.
They litter the cemetery.

This town is celebrates Memorial Day big and proper, with parades to the cemeteries and speeches commemorating the more than few service men resting in these grounds. There are Revolutionary War veterans in the oldest cemetery.

The people who manage the cemeteries get a little cranky in the lead up to Memorial Day festivities. It's done the same way every year, and with the same measure of crankiness.

Laura had time on her hands, so I asked one of the organizers if she could help.
She was assigned the weeding of one of the memorial gardens.
The next day I was asked if she could water the plants.

So, every day I go to work, I drop her at the cemetery, she finds the watering can, which seems to wander from grave to grave, pumps the pump, fills the can and makes her rounds.

My friend Nina, a town stalwart, mentioned seeing Laura in the cemetery.
I explained I volunteered her.
"But, there are sextons!" Nina said.

I explained, as the harried official told me in May, they do not want to water, too.
Well, Nina will see about that.

I'll still send Laura to water, It's good for her.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My degree of happiness plummets

The appointment was cancelled. Their records indicted I had no service due to an outage in my area, and they arbitrarily cancelled the service call.

No, fools, I had no service because my receiver is not receiving.

I would not let tonight's tech walk me through all the "now wait five to ten minutes" baloney.

Into her accented English I inserted, over and over, a demand for a technician now.

The service call will be Tuesday, between five and six p.m. A TV has been in my house since 9 am Thursday morning. It functioned for one hour on Friday.

Within minutes I received the satisfaction survey. Time Warner received all 1's, 0 not being an option for happiness.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Waiting can take half a day at a time from life, or more.  Some waits better than others. I waited half a day for the washer and dryer to arrive and be installed. Except for not plugging in the washer, it went well.

I waited half a day for Time Warner to arrive and install cable TV and internet. Things went well until the tech realized he had overlooked my PC on his work order. He rushed the end of the job of pulling more cable to get the wireless router into position. Hold this thought.

When I first looked at this unit, it was lacking the “driveway.” It was lacking a tenant, too, but from the instant I knew I wanted it, I wanted the drive in so I could carry out a scheme of turning the front area into a flower garden. The big plus will be someone else roto tilling. I simply will top dress and move plants in, or get new ones. The complex is down to one handyman, who told me he would do the job last Tuesday. Now management tells me it will be the end of this month. Still not too late, I suppose.

An enterprising young man named David did drop around and offer to get the ground in order for me. “My friend and I were thinking of renting a roto tiller…”  His age certainly did not exceed 14, and though I see he has posted a notice on the mailboxes to “do your gardening,” I think his imagination is ahead of his ability here. I said I’d keep him in mind for later.

There was no readily available TV to watch at the old house, so Laura and I were looking forward to our fill of HGTV, and whatever teenagers watch. I really had my heart set on the local channels, and made the Time Warner tech demonstrate them to me when he set up the TV—before I pointed out there was a PC on his work order, too, not just the girls laptops.

When I turned on the TV for the local news Friday, there were no local channels. CNN, yes, Channels 3, 5, and 8 stared back with blank screens. I called Time Warner, which sent a “fix” straight to the box. The change was to no TV at all. Time Warner robo called to ascertain my degree of happiness, and since it did not exist, gave me a live tech, who spent close to an hour not solving the problem. I must wait until tomorrow evening for another live tech to come to my door and resolve the issues.

In the meantime, here is a cat that does not wait. He simply “is.” 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Putting it all together

We moved on the 4th of July, from nine in the morning until ten at night.

Emily and Laura loaded Uncle Tom's truck times beyond counting.

I drove us one block north, and Emily and Laura reversed the process.

Who knows.

The first night I had all the sheets in the washer. It would not start. My tired brain eventually realized there was no power to the washer. Laura hung over its back and plugged it in.
Several trips later I put the bedding in the dryer.
It would not start. I was so tired I just stood and looked at the wet sheets lying in the bottom.
Then Laura said, "I think we have to shut the door, Gramma."
A couple of trips later we made our beds and were asleep in a flash.

Boxes everywhere.

Toby would not come out from under furniture until I closed the blinds.

Laura had her kitchen in order on Wednesday. Tonight, Friday, she may be completely satisfied.

Toby is in charge of the neighborhood now.

From the kitchen window, Caroline's orchid, Alberta's pie bird, and children at play at dusk.